The Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity, one of the oldest higher education diversity programs in the country, has been developing postdoctoral scholars from underrepresented groups since 1983. The program, originally titled the Carolina Black Scholars Program, began with one postdoctoral fellow in the School of Medicine. The mission of the program has remained the same for three decades: to develop scholars from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups for possible tenure track appointments at the University of North Carolina and other research universities.
Faced with a shortage of minority faculty during the early 1980s, the administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill turned to the Graduate School for advice and assistance. The Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Graduate School, G. P. Manire, responded with a proposal for a postdoctoral program for minorities, one modeled after a postdoctoral experience that is common in scientific fields. The proposal was endorsed by then Chancellor Christopher Fordham, and subsequently approved by the General Administration and General Assembly.
Since that time, the Program has grown to a continuing class of ten scholars who serve two year appointments. Recruiting is carried out on a national basis, with application submission between September and early November. More than 185 scholars have participated in the program.