Broadening Participation in the Research Workforce: Diversity in Action

The Office of the Vice Chancellor (OVCR) for Research is committed to building and supporting a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming research culture at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The OVCR supports UNC’s Diversity and Inclusion mission statement, “to build understanding across differences, create conditions to ensure the equitable educational and social benefits of diversity, and cultivate a welcoming and supportive environment…” We practically implement the statement by training and supporting diverse students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff members who contribute to the excellence of our research enterprise. Our goal is to recruit and nurture inclusive research teams to foster a creative scientific workforce.

The Carolina Postdoc Program for Faculty Diversity from UNC OPA on Vimeo.

The Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity (CPPFD)

fellowship is one of the oldest diversity fellowship programs in the nation and receives strong support and recognition at UNC and peer institutions. The program is part of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs with support from university administrators, departments, centers and institutes. Recruiting of fellows is carried out on a national basis, historically attracting scholars predominantly from the humanities, but with growing exposure to all fields. More than 186 scholars have participated in the program since its inception in 1983.

Highlights/Statistics:

  • Total, 186 scholars have participated in the program
  • 61 direct hires at Carolina
  • Gender: 53% Female 47% Male
  • Race/Ethnicity: 70% African American/ 15% Hispanic/Latino / 7% Native American
  • Have alumni on faculty at 46 US institutions
  • More than 35 alumni are Full Professors or hold Distinguished Professorships including Dr. Juliette Bell, Former President of University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

The Office of Research Communications

is devoted to sharing inclusive stories from all areas of research, conducted by scientists from diverse backgrounds and career-levels. This exciting and compelling content can be found on the website for Endeavors, Carolina’s digital research magazine. While the magazine covers the spectrum of research and researchers at UNC, a special series – Women in Science Wednesday – is devoted to raising awareness around female scientists who are making waves across STEM fields at the University.


The Frank Porter Graham Institute

sponsors the award-winning Race, Culture, and Ethnicity Committee to elevate awareness, promote dialogue, and facilitate a positive work climate, while fostering the development of culturally attuned and culturally relevant work. Members of the committee have joined other FPG strategic groups to strengthen collaborations, and the committee has held recent workshops on the impact of implicit bias on decision-making, recognizing the need for cultural competence, anti-harassment bystander training, and more.


The Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP)

oversees the Food, Fitness, and Opportunity Research Collaborative and HPDP Book Club.

Food, Fitness, and Opportunity Research Collaborative

Under the leadership of Dr. Molly DeMarco, the Food, Fitness, and Opportunity Research Collaborative (FFORC) at the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention requires all team members — students and staff — to complete Racial Equity Institute Racial Equity Workshops Phase I and II, paid for by grant funds, and has employed teams of racial equity coaches for three years to help develop internal and external racial equity goals.

This is a particular priority for FFORC, because it conducts food-related health disparities research with low-resource communities of color. Two staff members started as community partners; one leads the team on field trips to learn more about the lived experiences and history of partner communities, including visits to Stagville Plantation, Princeville, NC (founded by former enslaved persons), and the Greensboro Civil Rights Museum.

FFORC also plans and facilitates the monthly Courageous Conversations, open to all staff, at HPDP. Topics have included tokenism, implicit bias, and white supremacist culture. The FFORC Racial Equity Workgroup was recently created to help move all of these activities forward.

HPDP Book Club

When UNC’s Summer Reading Program announced Just Mercy as the read for the 2015 incoming freshmen, HPDP decided to support that effort by encouraging staff to participate. The Center purchased enough copies to support a small lending library and sponsored a discussion of the material.

What started as a one-time event has evolved into an ongoing habit of engaging staff in topics that complement Courageous Conversations. Both activities support the University’s commitment to create a work environment that values inclusion and celebrates diversity. Thus far, the reading list has included:

  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Black Man in A White Coat by Damon Tweedy
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  • Underground Airlines by Ben Winters
  • How Does It Feel to Be A Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi
  • Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú

  • Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity, 2016
  • Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute RACE (Race, Ethnicity & Culture) Committee, 2017

In partnership with the College of Arts & Sciences, the Center for Faculty Excellence, and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, UNC Research is proud to co-sponsor the following institutional membership for students, postdocs, faculty and staff. You must use your UNC email address to sign-up for your free membership.

To claim your NCFDD Membership:

  1. Access the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.
  2. Click the Become a Member box.
  3. Under the Select your institution prompt, select University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  4. Click Continue
  5. On the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill page, click on Activate My Membership
  6. Complete the registration form and follow the instructions.

The University is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment and to ensuring that educational and employment decisions are based on individuals’ abilities and qualifications. Consistent with these principles and applicable laws, it is therefore the University’s policy not to discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status as consistent with the University’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct. No person, on the basis of protected status, shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation under any University program or activity, including with respect to employment terms and conditions. Such a policy ensures that only relevant factors are considered and that equitable and consistent standards of conduct and performance are applied.