At UNC Pembroke, diversity and inclusion has long been part of the university's mission of service. Established in 1887 to provide educational opportunity to a group that had been previously denied that right, UNCP has a history from its beginning of being an agent for social change, equity and inclusion. Today, UNCP is proudly one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the South and strives daily to provide a work and learning environment where all faculty, staff and students feel welcome and supported.
To work toward reaching inclusive excellence, in 2020, Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings established the Inclusion and Diversity Council at UNC Pembroke. The Council, with a broad campus representation, is charged with the development of an inclusion policy for our campus, benchmarking with peers, developing key priorities and metrics using the data and input we have received, supporting the work of other organizations on campus with inclusion and diversity responsibilities, and collaboratively implementing programs to strengthen our campus community.
Message from Chancellor Cummings on Council October 22, 2020
UNC Pembroke has long been committed to maintaining the diversity of our student body and promoting a campus environment of inclusion. Over the summer and throughout the fall, administration, faculty, staff and student leaders have been engaged in productive conversations on how we can best move forward as a campus and community.
Thoughtful and insightful conversations with your input yielded a number of positive steps, and among those is the establishment of the UNCP Inclusion and Diversity Council. I am pleased to announce this Council will be chaired by Drs. Art Malloy and Nicolette Campos with broad representation across campus of faculty, staff and students. Their initial charge will be the development of an inclusion policy for our campus, benchmarking with peers, developing key priorities and metrics using the data and input we have received, supporting the work of other organizations on campus with inclusion and diversity responsibilities, and collaboratively implementing programs to strengthen our campus community.
Recently, someone shared a quote with me from Esi Minta-Jacobs that emphasizes the importance of creating a culture of inclusiveness and how to achieve such: “You can mandate diversity, but you can’t mandate inclusion. Inclusion is about behavior, relationships. You have to change hearts and minds.”
Along with the important work of the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity, the Council will be a critical part of our university’s ability to foster a climate on our campus where every student, faculty, staff and visitor feels welcomed and supported—where all hearts and minds have a space and a place.
The Inclusion and Diversity Council will have the benefit of insights and knowledge from the UNC System’s recently established Racial Equity Task Force and more than 50 meetings and conversations held on campus and in the community since June. Access to this information will provide a wide array of perspectives with which our Council can work to greatly enhance our educational and work experiences.
Over the past month, I’ve been appointed to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges’ Equity, Inclusion and Racial Justice Advisory Group and the North Carolina Medical Society’s Health and Race Equity Task Force. The AGB Advisory Group is comprised of individuals across the nation, and we are tasked with addressing equity, inclusion and racial justice in higher education. The NCMS Task Force will focus on ensuring optimal health care becomes a standard for all people. I strongly believe participation in each of these groups will provide an invaluable understanding that will benefit our university and push us further toward achieving the campus environment we all want. I look forward to sharing the best practices and new perspectives I learn through this work with the Council.
I believe UNCP can become the model for integrating inclusiveness in all aspects of the collegiate and academic experience. Our unique history, along with passionate and committed faculty, staff and students, gives us an incredible perspective, positioning our university to be a leader in inclusive education nationwide and a leader in social change. I want to personally thank each of you for being open to this dialogue, for pushing past your own comfort zones and engaging in these critical conversations.
A few months ago, in a meeting with community leaders, students and alumni came a powerful statement that has driven our work since. When asked what was needed, one of our alumni representatives asked, “do we want a moment, or do we want momentum?”
This is a time for momentum, and we have the very real opportunity to make a positive change starting here at UNC Pembroke.
Robin Gary Cummings, MD
Explore Inclusion and Diversity Programming and Resources on Campus