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UNC Chapel Hill Department of Geography, Diversity Committee

Mission Statement

The Geography Department at UNC Chapel Hill is committed to promoting diversity and a climate of inclusiveness in our student body, faculty, and staff. We have a particular focus on historically underrepresented groups, but also are attentive to the broader questions of diversity that include attention to economic status, gender, sexuality and ability. As a committee, we recognize that fostering a diverse and inclusive environment is not only a step in righting historic injustices, but also makes us smarter, more creative, and more diligent as a collective (see, e.g. Phillips 2014). We welcome, value and learn from different perspectives in our teaching and research. As a discipline, geography has made significant strides toward a more inclusive scholarship and academy, but we have further to go and our committee seeks to work toward this goal. A diverse academic environment helps prepare geographers to engage and become leaders in the world.

To address diversity and inclusion, we formalized a Diversity Committee in Spring 2013. The committee and the department:

  • Support and liaise with diversity initiatives across campus, such as Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and in the discipline, such as those promoted by AAG’s Enhancing Diversity program
  • Identify opportunities to integrate diversity and diversity training into the department
  • Collect and distribute information about resources (grants, fellowships, scholarships) available to our students and faculty for enhancing diversity
  • To strengthen the diversity of our faculty, we work with theCarolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity. Now celebrating its 30th year, this UNC program provides a two-year postdoc to recent PhDs. The purpose of the Program is to develop scholars from underrepresented groups for possible tenure track appointments at the University of North Carolina and other research universities. If interested, please contact our committee in advance of the November deadline.
  • Sponsor speakers and outreach activities

Please see our other pages for the latest research and teaching on these topics.


The current committee includes Sara Smith (chair), Xiaodong Chen, Altha Cravey, Clark Gray, Chris Neubert (grad representative) and Pavithra Vasudevan (grad representative).

Phillips, K.W. 2014. “How diversity makes us smarter.” Scientific American.