Diversity and Inclusion

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Happenings in OIDI!

The 2020-2021 academic year held a number of exciting firsts as well as the continuation of several initiatives.  Read about them in the End of Year Report and check out the Guiding Principles that inform our work ahead.  As a reminder, the Request for Assistance form is available for individuals and organizations that desire to collaborate with our team. Use the form to request funding and/or program assistance by unit staff. Email oidi@uncw.edu with any questions.     

Updates from the Chief Diversity Officer

On November 10, Chancellor Sarterelli, Chief of Staff Bradley Ballou, and Interim CDO Donyell Roseboro joined community members downtown for the unveiling of an 1898 highway marker to honor the Reverend Dr. J. Allen Kirk. Dr. Kirk was pastor of Central Baptist Church at the time of the coup d’état and his account, “A Statement of Facts Concerning the Bloody Riot in Wilmington, NC,” remains a critical primary source that details the events that occurred. Pictured below (left) are Mayor Bill Saffo, Dr. Jimmy Tate, Board of Trustees Member, and Chancellor Jose Sartarelli.  



Our Letter of Intent proposing a new Africana Studies major has been approved at the UNC system level! As per policy, we must submit the formal Request to Establish within four months. Dr. Emmanuel Harris is leading the team that developed the developed the initial proposal and will submit the Request to Establish. Thank you to Tiffany Lane, Maia Butler, Glen Harris, Theodore Burgh, Wilson Okello, Babette Boyd, Michelle Scatton-Tessier, Paul Townend, and Sean Palmer.  

An interdisciplinary group of UNCW’s Diversity and Inclusion Fellows in partnership with the Office of Community Engagement and Applied Learning (OCEAL) leveraged their strengths to embark on a photovoice project with southside youth from Sokoto House. The series of workshops focused on the themes of community and resilience, empowering the youth to reflect on assets and liabilities in our community. After learning some photography skills, youth were provided cameras and journals to take photos and write reflections conveying their perspectives of our community. The series rounded out with a visit to campus, including a mini campus tour, a photoshop workshop, caption development, a reflection of the experiences, and a highlight of the day – eating at The Shore and playing frisbee. The UNCW team plans to continue photovoice in 2022 with other area youth with hopes of having a cumulating event to honor the youth and their photos. The UNCW project team includes Fellows, Kim Cook, Department of Sociology and Criminology, Jeff Janowski, Office of University Relations, Venita Jenkins, Office of University Relations, and Leah Mayo, College of Health and Human Services Center for Healthy Communities with support from Reddgo Long Jr., Office of Community Engagement and Applied Learning. 


OIDI Centers Expand to Serve More Students

Expansion of Centro Hispano and the Upperman African American Cultural Center started over the summer and extended into the fall semester. Centro is now located in the former student media space in Fisher University Union. At the same time, Upperman added square footage from the former Centro office area and La Sala to its existing space on the second floor of Fisher University Union.

The Mohin-Scholz LGBTQIA Resource Office underwent an expansion in summer 2020. The project was funded by a major gift commitment from John Scholz ’84 and his spouse, Dr. Anil Mohin. (more)  

New Staff Positions

In addition to the expansion of space, the centers added new positions for the 2021-22 academic year.  Angel Garcia joined UNCW as OIDI’s first Assistant Director of Centro Hispano & Program Director of MI CASA in July.  Dione Reynolds was promoted to Assistant Director in the UNCW Upperman African Cultural Center.  Dione joined the university in 2020 as Program Coordinator for Mentorship and Pre-Professional Programming.  The hiring process is underway to add additional staff to the Mohin-Scholz LGBTQIA Resource Office.
Angel GarciaDione Reynolds
Angel Garcia            Dione  Reynolds

Upperman Hosts Hybrid ABCC Conference


In late October, the Upperman African American Cultural Center hosted the 30th annual Association for Black Culture Centers Conference (ABCCC), entitled “The People Who Can Fly: Culture Centers Soaring To New Heights.”  The hybrid conference brought together more than 70 people on both virtual and physical platforms from places as far flung as Colorado, New Mexico, and Washington.  This year's experience sought to bring attention to the Gullah Geechee coast as attendees toured Wilmington, NC, heard from the executive director of the Gullah Geechee Corridor Commission, and attended workshops.  Workshops and speakers focused on how Black Culture Centers can expand their offerings, make sense of the current higher education climate, and troubleshoot nuanced challenges in management.  Both undergraduate and graduate students were invited to attend and present. Student highlights include Lauran Jones', UNCW ’22, presentation to participants on how to start a literary magazine and award presentations to Chris Neal, UNCW ’22, and Sasha McKnight, UNCW ’22, for their laudable work in helping to sustain collegiate Black communities and culture centers in the current climate. This was Upperman's second year to plan and host the ABCCC, a huge feat during the challenges associated with virtual meetings.  New Mexico University will host next year's event.

Dr. Kaia Shivers, Asst. Professor at NYU, visits UNCW as Upperman's Artist in Residence

Fresh from a two year stint at NYU’s Italy campus, Dr. Kaia Shivers, who is an African American studies and Communication studies scholar, with interests in filmmaking, served as Upperman's Artist in Residence for the fall semester.  While here, she provided four distinct lectures that linked race with contemporary issues.  Her lectures ranged from Black Farmers to Black Italians to Evolution of Bounce Music, offering sage insight into each subject. She created a culminating project that intended to have students question their own spirituality in conversation with African-derived religious traditions, as she hosted a conversation and ritual around African divination practices and African American spirituality.  Dr. Shivers also met regularly with a Black student cohort to discuss their interests in film, communications, music, and Africana Studies.  She made an indelible impression while here, and is finishing up a small documentary about her time in Wilmington, NC at UNCW.  

Seahawk for a Day


On November 11, Centro Hispano hosted the MI CASA Program's Seahawk for a Day.  MI CASA (Mentors Initiating Community Action, Support, and Advocacy) is a two-year mentoring program for local Hispanic/Latinx High School students.  Seahawk for a Day is annual event and one of several activities to prepare students for college admission.  Other activities include tutoring, community service, college preparation seminars and cultural enrichment activities.     

UNCW Alum Gives Talk in Recognition of Native American History Month  

Nancy Fields, Director and Curator of the Museum of the Southeast American Indian presented to the campus via Zoom an exploration of the histories of Indigenous peoples who lived in the area now called Wilmington. Starting in the 1500s, Ms. Fields chronicled the colonial changes that impacted Indigenous communities through the lens of the Wilmington landscape and environment.



AIDS Quilt Visit


Sections of the AIDS Quilt were welcomed in Wilmington as part of a community-wide partnership to commemorate World AIDS Day, which was December 1.  For this visit, campus locations include: The Fisher University Union, Randall Library, Veterans Hall, Kenan Auditorium and the Cultural Arts Building. Dr. Michaela Howells, Associate Professor of Biological Anthropology, gave campus tours for faculty, staff, students and community members.  Several organizations displayed quilts at their locations and/or held companion activities, such as the visual art exhibit, Day Without Art, in the Cultural Arts Building.  The quilts will be on display on campus until the end of March.  Community partners include the LGBT Center of the Cape Fear Coast, SEEDS of Healing, St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, St Stephen A.M.E. Church and Novant/NHRMC.  Major sponsors include PPD, Novant/NHRMC, Gilead, Tri-Coast Installations and UNCW’s Office of the Arts, College of Health and Human Sciences, and Department of Anthropology.   


In collaboration with the Office of the Arts and members of several NC tribal communities, OIDI is planning its second public art installation.  This initiative seeks to create an Indigenous-centered artwork for our campus. After the selection of the artist in December, additional communication will invite input from campus and community members in early 2022 to shape the final design.  Email oidi@uncw.edu if you would like to participate in the design conversations or program planning for the art reveal in the spring. 

DEI Fellows

OIDI’s DEI Fellows collaborate with partners to design programs, policies, and/or procedures that cultivate inclusive campus initiatives and/or community engagement with diverse, external organizations. Accomplishments of the current Fellows have benefited the Office of the Provost, General Counsel, Business Affairs and Student Affairs.  All 12 participants remained for their second year.  Information regarding participation in the next academic year as an individual or campus unit will be announced in the spring semester.  

We Are UNCW Highlights Alejandra Sotelo '00


For Alejandra Sotelo ’00, a Texas native and UNC Pembroke graduate student, her promotion to the Wilmington Police Department’s first female deputy chief in 2019 was facilitated by her prior experience with the department and her community. Sotelo began in the Support Services Bureau, was involved in the administrative and investigative functions of police work, then moved into field services. The promotion is a great honor for her, and Sotelo hopes that other women will follow in her footsteps.  (more)