DEI Strategic Plan
UNC-CH History Department Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan
The UNC-CH Department of History is committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, staff, faculty, North Carolinians, and visitors. We believe that a broad definition of diversity is essential for the protection of human rights and human dignity. It is also essential for generating lively, creative, and engaged learning and scholarship. The UNC-CH History Department rejects discrimination in all forms and is committed to creating educational programming and activities in which all people—regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, political orientation, or veteran status—can thrive.
In striving to create this environment, the UNC-CH History Department commits to the UNC-CH History Department Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan for the years 2023 through 2026, to be updated in 2026. The plan is neither comprehensive nor complete. The objectives and expected outcomes are designed to be measurable, achievable, and accountable within a confined but realistic temporal scope. This in no way precludes the department from taking up other important Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives during the period of the plan’s implementation. Nor does it mean that, once completed, we will turn our attention elsewhere. We do not see the adoption of the plan, or its fulfillment, as an end unto itself, but rather as a series of beginnings: the beginning of a public commitment to the principles of DEI; the beginning of a broader and necessary conversation about the impact of current and past policies, practices, and structures on people from historically and currently underrepresented backgrounds; the beginning of a concerted effort to reimagine, revise, and reform departmental structures with an equity mindset; the beginning of accountability in our DEI goals.
The UNC-CH History Department Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan identifies three strategic priorities. These priorities are the result of a multi-year evaluation process into the department’s DEI needs, conducted, at various moments, by the Ad-hoc Committee on Racial Equity (2020), the Working Group on Equity and Inclusion (2021), and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC, 2021-22), and in conversation with students, staff, faculty, and departmental and College leadership. These priorities are: (1) Pursue Equity in Teaching, (2) Recruit and Retain a Diverse Scholarly Community, and (3) Foster an Inclusive Departmental Culture and Climate. Each strategic priority is broken down into specific objectives and concrete action steps. In adopting the plan, the UNC-CH History Department commits to carrying out these action steps during the plan’s implementation period.
Strategic Priority 1: Pursue Equity In Teaching
The UNC History Department is committed to teaching history in a way that fosters learning, growth, and critical thinking in all undergraduate and graduate students. Central to this commitment is a recognition that students come from diverse backgrounds, and that each student’s experiences, identities, and perspectives contribute to an enriching and inclusive learning environment.
Objective 1: Provide resources for instructors to create equitable learning environments
- Action 1.1 Administer, maintain, and promote a departmental webpage offering DEI resources and templates for instructors and students. These resources may include such things as: (1) tools for constructing syllabi that are inclusive of marginalized voices and that decenter traditional narratives (e.g., crafting a land acknowledgment; representing marginalized voices and perspectives in course readings and content) (2) suggestions for de-escalating conflict during classroom instruction, addressing student behavior that may be harmful to marginalized students in the classroom, and engaging in constructive conversations about bias and harmful classroom behavior (3) tools for creating accessible documents, assignments, and course content for students with disabilities (4) tools for creating assignments and assessments that mitigate implicit bias and reach students with diverse learning styles, (5) on-and off-campus resources for mental health and counseling services, (6) the listing of on-and off-campus resources for reporting cases of sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and other forms of discrimination. At the beginning of each semester, the department will direct instructors and TAs to these resources.
- Action 1.2 Include DEI training as part of the annual TA orientation.
- Action 1.3 Provide workshops, training, and discussions on research-based practices in syllabus design, instruction, and student assessment to meet the needs of all students.
Strategic Priority 2: Recruit And Retain A Diverse Scholarly Community
Attracting and retaining a diverse community of educators, students, and staff is essential to the mission of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Moreover, it is vital to the research, teaching, and service mission of the UNC-CH History Department.
Objective 3: Ensure greater equity in the selection of candidates for faculty hires in all searches
- Action 3.1 Finalists for faculty positions will be offered a meeting with the departmental diversity liaison or DEIC member to discuss DEI-related issues and concerns.
- Action 3.2 Search committees will decide on a rubric or other consistent objectives and criteria for evaluating, assessing, and ranking finalists for faculty positions.
- Action 3.3 In compliance with the College-level requirement that search committees include an Equity and Integrity advocate (i.e., a member whose primary role will be to advocate for equity and inclusion throughout the search process), provide resources to Equity and Integrity advocates with the understanding and fulfillment of this role. These resources will be made available to all search committee members.
Objective 4: Ensure that equity is factored into salary, promotion, and performance reviews
- Action 4.1 A member of the DEIC will serve as an ex officio member of the salary review committee, acting in an advisory capacity.
- Action 4.2 In keeping with its charge to conduct routine audits of faculty salaries, the salary committee will conduct or commission a routine (e.g., every 3 years), data-driven audit of faculty salaries to identify discrepancies in pay and review criteria for evaluating faculty pay. The non-confidential findings (e.g., executive summaries) from these audits will be shared with the department.
Objective 5: Recruit and retain a diverse community of students
- Action 5.1 Work with campus and off-campus partners (e.g., high schools, MURAP, HBCUs) to attract a diverse pool of applicants to both the undergraduate and graduate program in history.
- Action 5.2 Create a History Pipeline Program that introduces students from historically and currently underrepresented backgrounds to UNC-CH History and offers practical advice on both the undergraduate and graduate application process.
- Action 5.3 Representatives of the DEIC will meet with prospective graduate students during the department-sponsored recruitment visit.
- Action 5.4 Identify and disseminate information about opportunities for awards, grants, internships, and funding for undergraduate and graduate students teaching or conducting research on topics related to DEI or historically marginalized peoples.
- Action 5.5 Hold structured conversations (e.g., faculty meetings, departmental retreats, town halls) among faculty and graduate workers to evaluate TA workload requirements, with the goal of ensuring that workloads are distributed fairly and equitably among all TAs.
- Action 5.6 Raise awareness about the living conditions and overall quality of life of our graduate students, and the ways in which these issues relate to DEI. Additionally, work with university administrators, community leaders, alumni, donors, and the development office to bring the graduate student stipend to a living wage and secure affordable housing for our graduate students.
- Action 5.7 Work with university administration, alumni, donors, and the development office to offer additional financial assistance (e.g., top-off awards and stipends) for students with a demonstrated (e.g., FAFSA-based) financial need (e.g., 1st generation, international students).
Strategic Priority 3: Foster An Inclusive Departmental Culture And Climate
A safe, inclusive, and positive work and learning environment is instrumental to the mission of the public university. The UNC-CH History Department commits to ensuring that all students, faculty, staff, and visitors feel welcome, supported, and valued.
Objective 6: Support Research, Teaching, and Programming in DEI
- Action 6.1 Recognize and Promote Achievement in DEI
- 6.1a Create two separate DEI awards, open to all UNC-CH History students, staff, and faculty. One award will recognize exemplary service and/or teaching in DEI, and the other will recognize exemplary research that advances the study and understanding of historically marginalized communities and peoples. The awards will carry a monetary value commensurate with other departmental awards (e.g., teaching awards).
- 6.1b Collaborate with on-and off-campus partners (e.g., CAS) to support research and programming that advances understandings of DEI and strengthens departmental culture.
Objective 7: Explore the possibility of drafting a departmental Code of Ethics and Conduct
- Action 7.1 Hold structured discussions (e.g., departmental meetings, town halls) to debate the need for—and potential scope of—a departmental code of ethics and conduct.
Objective 8: Offer opportunities for Bias Training and Professional Development in DEI
- Action 8.1 Work with College administration and off-campus partners to offer faculty, staff, and graduate students training in DEI and bias based on race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and other forms of discrimination.
- Action 8.2 Offer an annual Equity Reading Group to all interested faculty, staff, and students, to be convened early in the fall semester and with periodic meetings throughout the year.
- Action 8.2 Hold colloquia, roundtables, and community-building activities designed to generate meaningful dialogue around DEI-related topics and foster an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive environment for all instructors, students, staff, and visitors to the UNC history department.
Revised October 2023
 By “historically and currently underrepresented,” we refer to individuals and groups who have been marginalized, othered, or discriminated against, both within and outside of the academy. This category may encompass discrimination based on such factors as race, ethnicity, disability, class, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, or sexual orientation, to name a few.