Yes, these topics are connected. Last week, I attended events and lectures related to all four topics.
Thursday was a triple decker day. At noon, I spoke at the wrap-up meeting of our Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, led byRumay Alexander, EdD, RN, and Bryan Weiner, PhD, who also spoke. We had charged the DITF with identifying barriers to achieve greater diversity and inclusion in the School. Then, we asked them topropose strategies to overcome them and put us on the road to even greater diversity and inclusion. It’s a great group of people who represent positions, departments and units across the SPH. The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force recommended 13 different strategies, including changes in organization, culture, teaching and other areas. I told the task force that we cannot do everything they proposed at once. But we will begin to implement some recommendations this fiscal year. Among the most important is sharing best practices across the School. Academics are smart. But we have a tendency to invent solutions in every department rather than sharing across departments (It’s not just an issue in our School.). This process is too inefficient. We must find ways to accelerate progress. The DITF report is an important milestone. We are going to use it to speed diversity and inclusion here.
Since we cannot run deficits in our School, we’ve lived with President Bowles’ maxims for the last few years. I admire him for not making the issues about political party but about solving problems. That’s the only sensible strategy. Everyone was buzzing as we left the room for the warm September evening outside.
Bowles’ lecture reminded me what a fascinating, stimulating place this is and how central UNC is to solving the world’s greatest challenges, as Chancellor Thorp has said.
As we move past the anniversary of September 11th, solving the world’s greatest challenges should be our true north. Happy Monday. Barbara.