Diversity Statement and Plan

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Gerald G. Fox Master of Public Administration Program

2020-2021 Diversity Plan

The Gerald G. Fox Master of Public Administration Program diversity plan was developed to support and promote the University of North Carolina at Charlotte diversity plan.  Because our academic goals focus on educating rising public and nonprofit leaders, it was also designed with an eye toward the public and nonprofit work settings.

The MPA Program mission is driven by the values of diversity, responsiveness, opportunity, accountability, service, equity, leadership, efficiency, and effectiveness.  Given that our faculty is scholars and educators of administration, we understand that diversity equates to “fitness.”  We approach the concept of diversity from the context that it promotes positive organizational and societal outcomes.

We define diversity as a variety of characteristics and experiences that include, but are not limited to, ethnicity, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, and religion. UNC Charlotte seeks to build a shared understanding of institutional values, including the importance of diversity, access, and inclusion in the campus community, and to create a culture that is respectful of differences. 

Our diversity goals are:

Goal 1: Ensure a curriculum that enhances understanding of diversity and the benefits of access and inclusion of underrepresented groups

Goal 2: Recruit and graduate a diverse student body that reflects community diversity 

Goal 3: Increase the recruitment of underrepresented faculty and advance their progression through the faculty ranks,

Goal 4: Promote a culture of inclusion and sensitivity for underrepresented groups

Goal 5: Continuously monitor and enhance progress toward the diversity goals

Goal 1: Ensure a curriculum that enhances understanding of diversity and the benefits of access and inclusion of underrepresented groups.

MPA faculty will continue to pursue efforts to design and deliver curricula that will equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to understand diverse perspectives. While some courses may be particularly suitable for discussions of diversity, there is no area of our curriculum that is exempt from a careful consideration of how diversity can be taught. To that end, the Program will support and encourage faculty participation in programs such as the Summer Institute for Diversity in the Curriculum that promote inclusiveness in course content, classroom climate, and diverse learning styles. 

Knowledge and understanding of issues of diversity will continue to be included in statements of program objectives and measured in assessments of student learning. We will continue to emphasize how the innovative potential of minority communities can be better identified, harnessed and brought to fruition. 

Measures of Success:

  1. Knowledge and understanding of issues of diversity are included in statements of program objectives and measured in assessments of student learning. 
  2. Faculty participation at all ranks in Faculty Diversity Summer Institute and other curriculum development programs. 
  3. Diversity discussions and assignments both in and out of the classroom
  4. Classroom speakers that represent diverse groups 
  5. Diverse Advisory Committee

Goal 2: Recruit and graduate a diverse student body that reflects community diversity. 

Important mechanisms for effective student recruitment, progression, and graduation include targeted recruitment and ongoing outreach to underrepresented groups, with the goal of achieving diversity in all disciplines.  We will continue to recruit at graduate school fairs and conferences. We will also continue our efforts to establish relationships with faculty at other institutions to facilitate referral of potential graduate students. We will continue to provide mentoring programs for advising and supporting graduate students. 

Measures of Success:

  1. Program publications and materials reflect diversity goals
  2. Coordination with the Graduate School about scholarship opportunities and communicate with prospective and current students regarding scholarships 
  3. Advertisements of the services the University offers to students of diverse backgrounds.
  4. Acceptance, retention, and graduation rates for underrepresented groups
  5. Scholarships for underrepresented students
  6. Exit interviews with students 

Goal 3: Increase the recruitment of underrepresented faculty and advance their progression through the faculty ranks.

The MPA program is gender diverse and many of the female faculty hold leadership positions.  Recruiting faculty from the remaining underrepresented groups is more problematic. While our recruitment activities aggressively seek to recruit minority faculty, we find the PHD pool to be very small and we are unable to compete with larger more affluent institutions.  In the last three years we have made job offers to three African-American scholars, unfortunately they received more substantial offers from larger institutions. Nonetheless, we will continue to work to establish and sustain a diverse faculty profile.  We will also insure that our faculty search committees use best practices in their searches to insure fair, inclusive, and effective searches.  

Measure of Success:

1)    diverse search committees and provide both recruitment and retention educational sessions.

  1. protocols for campus visits/post campus phone calls (e.g., meeting with other diverse employees or entities whose main functions are to assist diverse populations. All applicants brought to campus should be afforded the opportunity to meet constituencies they name).
  2. job descriptions that use approved commitment to diversity language. (e.g., The University is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through their research
  3. tailored mentoring and coaching that assists underrepresented faculty to feel valued and succeed academically and professionally.
  1. search committee members participate in AA/EO educational recruitment and retention session. 

Goal 4: Promote a culture of inclusion and sensitivity for underrepresented groups

There is no budget for diversity activities at the program or department level.  However, we are sensitive to the fact that “activities” do not always equate to achievements.  The MPA program engages in University level activities and encourages students to do so as well. This past year, UNCC hosted over 40 different diversity programs.  At the MPA program level, we focus our activities on building and sustaining a culture of inclusion thru praxis.  Instead seeing inclusion as a set of activities, we shift the narrative from one of special activities to one that infuses all day-to-day activities.  We work to develop a culture where the differences and diversities between individuals and groups are not only acknowledged and respected, but celebrated for the advantages they bring to the work setting and society.

Measures of Success:

1)    all published materials communicate the importance of diversity and how it is connected to the Program’s mission, unit goals, and strategic priorities. 

  1. faculty meetings and retreats that update our plan, promote consensus on definitions, goals, and activities for implementation.
  1. Published diversity plan

Goal 5: Continuously monitor and enhance progress toward achieving the diversity goals

Measures of Success:

  1. assessments of progress on measures of success
  1. semi-annual meetings to update our plan and agree on a plan for the subsequent year