CHESS Inclusive Excellence Grant Recipients

CHESS inclusive excellence grant recipients

CHESS faculty are committed to diversity research and teaching in multiple ways. Many of our faculty have had the honor of receiving the Inclusive Excellence Grant for various diversity-related projects. Our faculty and staff have also published lots of works on various diversity issues and remained committed to integrating diversity into their teaching and professional life.

2022-2024 Grant Recipients

Promoting equity through the understanding of Latinx heritage speakers’ literacy practices. A Charlotte initiative

Project Team: Javier García León, Paloma Fernández Sánchez, and Olga Padilla-Falto

We are applying for funds to carry out the 2023 Heritage Language Learning Symposium. The symposium aims to enhance diversity, promote equity and foster inclusion through the understanding of Latinx heritage speakers in the educational context. The event is dedicated to better serving the needs of Latinx heritage speakers at UNC Charlotte, and to promote current debates on Heritage Language Education at large. With the symposium, we also aim to strengthen bilingual/heritage language education practices by connecting scholars, language instructors, and students at the local, regional, national, and international level.

Ageism: The Overlooked Intersection

Project Team: Cynthia Hancock, Kendra Jason and Christine Davis

Age is an often overlooked part of the intersectional framework. Ageism, then, often goes unrecognized and is misunderstood. Yet, over 80% of older adults report experiencing ageism. The Gerontology Program proposes to bring in nationally recognized activist, author, and speaker, Ashton Applewhite, for conversations through a speaking engagement, classroom visits, and reception with students, faculty, staff and the community on ageism. We have the support of multiple community partners, appropriate campus units, as well as UNC Wilmington which plans to securely stream the event to their campus and community. Applewhite’s message is one that needs to be heard again and again so that in the future, age is automatically considered when we think about access, inclusion, diversity, and equity.

Scaling Equitable Learning Environments that Promote Student Success

Project Team: Heather McCullough, Kim Buch, and Dave Frantzreb

We propose a partnership between two existing university units already focused on helping faculty create inclusive classrooms that impact learning outcomes for students: the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and the Student Experience Project (SEP). Specifically, we propose to leverage the positive results of the SEP model by integrating its content and strategies into the courses of faculty already engaged in a high-impact pedagogy initiative offered by the CTL, the Active Learning Academy (ALA) and the Adjunct Faculty Learning Community (AFLC). The proposal aligns directly with two Priority Areas for the grant, Education and Training and Cultural Programming, and has the potential to ultimately impact a third focus area, Institutional Excellence in Policies and Practice. The anticipated outcome of this project would impact an estimated 25 % of all undergraduate courses offered at the university across the next seven years (estimates based on history to date of these programs, as explained in our full proposal).

Graduate Recruitment of Underrepresented Philosophers (GROUP)

Project Team: Andrea Pitts and Trevor Pearce

GROUP–Graduate Recruitment of Underrepresented Philosophers– is a two-day workshop held on campus in fall 2022 for 5-10 promising prospective graduate students in philosophy from traditionally underrepresented groups (such as African Americans, Chicano/as and Latino/as, Native Americans, Asian Americans, women, LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities). GROUP is designed to increase the diversity of the academic pipeline in the discipline, particularly at Charlotte, by recruiting a diverse group of undergraduates from North Carolina and nearby South Carolina universities to the philosophy department’s MA program.

Immigrant Inclusion, Integration and Citizenship in Charlotte

Project Team: Gordon Hull, Beth Whitaker, Heather Smith, and Lan Kolano

We propose a series of four events (two film screenings and two visiting speakers) to explore how migrant communities in Charlotte negotiate issues of identity and inclusion. Charlotte is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States, and we intend to engage the topic both academically and in coordination with the community outside the university.

Cultural Festival 2022

Project Team: Joseph Hoff, Yongling Gorke, Nicole Ianieri, Denise Medeiros, Ryan McKeel, Chervon Moore, Kim Turner, and Adam Burden

UNC Charlotte’s Office of International Programs in collaboration with the Student Affairs Division (Office of Student Involvement and the Office of Identity, Equity and Engagement) and other departments on campus has traditionally held an “International Festival” for the last 42 years. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it is still on hold until we are certain we are able to host the 15,000 t0 20,000 people from the Charlotte area who attend the International Festival without having to cancel at the last minute. We are instead proposing for fall 2022 a smaller event that will highlight the cultural diversity of the UNC Charlotte campus and provide a sense of belonging for the different cultural groups on campus, both domestic and international. Thus, we are proposing a two-hour “Cultural Festival” during International Education Week (November 14-18, 2022) that will provide an avenue for the different groups to highlight their cultures for the campus community. Once again, this will be a collaboration between the Office of International Programs, Student, and the Office of Identity, Equity and Engagement.

Sustaining what we Start through the Critical English Educator Collaborative

Project Team: Meghan Barnes, Heather Coffey, and Lucy Arnold

The purpose of this project is to continue to develop the work of the Critical English Educator Collaborative (CEEC)–a teacher-guided, informal learning community focused on supporting prospective and practicing English teachers’ understandings of critical pedagogy. In this second year of the project, we aim to recruit ten CEEC members to form our second cohort: approximately 5 preservice teacher candidates (all of whom will be UNC Charlotte students) and 5 practicing teachers (all of whom will be UNC Charlotte graduates). We will also invite five members of our first CEEC cohort (from the 2021-2022 academic year) to provide ongoing support and professional development. Both CEEC cohorts will be invited to attend monthly meetings, wherein participants discuss a shared reading on critical pedagogy and consider its implications for the English classroom.

“Translation as a Site of Global Engagement and Democracy” — An Interdisciplinary Symposium

Project Team: David Boyd and Emek Ergun

This proposal requests $10,000 to organize a virtual interdisciplinary symposium at UNC Charlotte, where a group of distinguished scholars and translators from around the world will gather to explore translation as a site of global engagement and democracy. The daylong symposium will take place on October 11, 2022 and include four seminar sessions and two keynote addresses, where a dozen renown scholars and translators, along with a group of UNC Charlotte faculty across various departments, will discuss the critical role of translation in increasing and enhancing global connections in service of a more democratic, decolonial, and egalitarian planetary future. By enabling conversations on how to ethically connect across borders and live peacefully together in our differences, which requires translation in our multilingual and multicultural world, the symposium will contribute valuable insights to our understandings of global diversity, equality, and unity. At a time of severe upheaval around the world, exploring the politics, ethics, art, and practice of translation as a matter of global connectivity is all the more important.

Website (Re)design to Strengthen Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Graduate Students

Project Team: Andrea Pitts, Ritika Prasad, Erin Basinger, Mónica Rodríguez, and Sara Juengst

A recent study in The Journal of Higher Education notes that “over 80% of American college students reported that college websites were a primary site of information when they were
looking for a college and making college decisions” (Holland and Ford 2021). Additionally, recent internal data suggests that over ⅓ of all CHESS graduate students first learn about our programs through departmental websites and Google searches (Names-Mattefs, 2019). As graduate program directors, we likewise know how vital it is that our respective programs have an accessible web presence that encourages a diverse range of prospective students to consider our academic programs. Accordingly, this proposal for an Inclusive Excellence Grant is a collaboration between five CHESS Graduate Program Directors to create a user-friendly template for web redesign that aims to enhance the University’s recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities and first-generation students.