The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) has several creative equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives.
Sophia Marshall, the senior associate director of University Recreation (UREC), shares three of those EDI initiatives below:
UREC Program Review for EDI Initiatives
“It’s an internal review in which our staff were asked to assess their own program areas and look for both strengths and weaknesses around EDI in the below categories,” said Marshall.
Those categories include:
- Student employment/hiring process, including interview questions.
- Demographics of student employees. So ask questions like, are they representative of the overall student population?
- Program offerings.
- Policies and procedures.
- Dress code.
- Marketing. Consider race, body size/shape, age, ability, etc. in all marketing photos.
After the initial review, the UREC student advisory board gave it an additional review and feedback. The hope was to identify any other EDI gaps the professional staff couldn’t see/relate to.
“Finally, it was brought back to the UREC professional staff as a whole to review, discuss, and come up with priorities and a timeline for addressing the areas needing the most immediate attention and improvement,” said Marshall.
The hope was to finalize the priorities/timeline at the UNC Charlotte June staff retreat.
The UREC Women of Color Group for Student Employees
“UREC Women of Color is a group to encourage, elevate and educate our women of color staff and allies by providing a safe space for conversation while bringing awareness to the issues that exist in a professional workplace,” said Marshall.
She explained three women of color professional staff facilitate the group: herself, Tina Mata and Sophie Rattray. “The idea is to offer a safe space for women of color who work at UREC to discuss topics, issues and concerns that impact women of color in the workplace at UREC, at UNC Charlotte and in their communities, as well as in the state, region and nation,” said Marshall.
On top of the safe space, the program also offers a mentor/mentee and student/professional development piece. This is to help prepare students for future employment, including learning how to navigate bringing more of their authentic selves to the workplace.
UREC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Book Club
During both the fall and spring semesters of 2020-2021, Marshall shared most of the UNC Charlotte UREC staff participated in a DEI Book Club.
As such, they had a weekly discussion on the following books:
- “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think and Do” by Dr. Jennifer L. Eberhardt
- “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo
“The UREC Book Club was implemented to engage in meaningful and honest conversations about equity, diversity and inclusion with the UREC professional and support staff, which led to knowing and understanding each other better and learning from each other based on our different opinions, perceptions, perspectives and lived-experiences,” shared Marshall.
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