Dear Carolina community,
This week, U.S. News & World Report released its annual rankings and for the 21st consecutive year, Carolina is fifth among public schools nationwide. It’s easy to quickly move past that accomplishment, but I want to pause and marvel at what that ranking represents. It reflects the incredible research and new discoveries being made every day. It reflects the hard work and dedication of our faculty, staff and students. I am so grateful to be a part of this place.
For me, the most important aspect of our rankings is that we climbed to 10th place overall for best value and retained our top ranking for best value among public universities for the 17th consecutive year. We are passionately public, and our commitment as a university that is accessible and affordable to the people of North Carolina is unwavering. Our combination of excellence and affordability is due to the generous support of the North Carolina General Assembly through the years, the sacrifices of our faculty and staff, and the investment of our alumni and broader Tar Heel community. With their commitment, we will continue to make an impact on the people of our state and beyond.
We know that our reputation as a university depends on our ability to build a community that welcomes everyone. I want to share with you some updates on that work:
- We have restarted and are expanding the VITAE hiring program along with the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity. These programs support the hiring, retention and progress of diverse faculty and post-docs at Carolina.
- We opened the physical space for our new cultural center this fall, the Asian American Center.
- I have committed to funding a request from our student government for a Distinguished Lectureship on Racial Equity and Belonging.
- We are organizing listening sessions this fall and spring intended to bring our community together to discuss concerns around discrimination and harassment. More details will come soon.
- We are recruiting additional staff in Counseling and Psychological Services, particularly therapists to support underrepresented students.
- And on Wednesday, Latinx Heritage Month began. We join our Carolina Latinx Center in celebrating our community and recognize their theme, “Pa’lante,” meaning moving forward
Our diversity, equity and inclusion work is ongoing. I met with our Alumni Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity this morning, and I told them that we will never be satisfied or finished in this endeavor. We have a lot of work to do. This work is not a box to be checked, but to show a commitment to action at Carolina. Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Leah Cox is leading our efforts. She has already become a tremendous asset to our community and team, and I am grateful for her vision and leadership. We will continue to share updates in the weeks to come.
As we build our community together, I am thankful for the students, staff and faculty who are pushing us to be better. As I said at my installation, we are fortunate to be at a university whose community has passion and a willingness to voice dissent. It’s a spirit that has, quietly and not so quietly, moved our University forward to become the leading global public research university we are today. I am eager to continue partnering with these voices to make us into a place where everyone feels, and knows, that they belong.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz