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New School Web page addresses diversity issues

By Susan White

The School of Social Work strengthened its commitment to building a diverse learning environment with the spring unveiling of a new Web site dedicated to the School’s efforts to elevate issues of diversity within the classroom and the UNC campus community.

The site was designed as a resource for students, faculty and staff and as a space to encourage conversations around topics related to gender, race, social class, disability, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion.

“The School’s new Diversity Web page reflects the value that our faculty, staff, and students place on recognizing the unique characteristics that exist across individuals, communities and cultures,” said School Dean Jack M. Richman.

A portion of the site highlights diversity-focused research from faculty and School-produced videos that feature social work students discussing, among other topics, their own experiences dealing with discrimination.

Site links to interactive exercises are aimed at challenging and educating viewers about prejudices, sexism and stereotypes. Visitors can also find multimedia projects, including photo slideshows and videos that explore diverse historical topics such as the Civil War, slavery and abolition.

A list of UNC offices and student groups that provide diversity support to students, faculty and staff are posted, along with links to nonprofits and other organizations that raise awareness about issues such as women’s rights, human trafficking, LGBTQ equality, and challenges facing the elderly.

Shortly after the site was launched, the School of Social Work received the University’s 2009 distinguished “Diversity Award,” for its overall efforts to enhance diversity on the Carolina campus. The award, given by the UNC Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Student Government and the Multicultural Council, was created as a way to honor UNC faculty, staff, students, student organizations, schools or departments, and community members or alumni for contributions in “creating an inclusive and diverse” campus community.