A New Year Brings New Hope and Renewed Efforts

NC State Belltower with spring flowers in foreground

Dear Wolfpack Community,

Spring semester brings with it a sense of opportunity and renewal, and I wish for you a fresh sense of hope as you tackle your next challenges and embrace your opportunities. I truly believe the future is ours to shape, and our way forward has so many possibilities. I invite you all to work together, both as individuals and as an institution, to make our university a more welcoming and inclusive community. As NC State launches our next Strategic Planning process, it is indicative of our strong commitment to inclusion that Diversity and Inclusion is one of the nine task forces for shaping our future. I am honored to be co-chairing this important initiative. Read more on NC State’s Strategic Planning website.

So far in 2020, several  exciting things have happened on campus that I hold as examples of the progress we can make when purpose combines with collaboration and effort.

We look forward to the implementation of NC State’s new Paid Parental Leave Policy, the result of over four years of continued effort that began with a few persistent NC State staff members and gained enough momentum to help influence a new policy at the UNC System level. I am so proud of the leadership of many NC State employees, including our Women’s Center and the Council on the Status of Women, as well as Human Resources, to help achieve this goal, not just for NC State, but for each of our sister institutions across the UNC System.

I am also still extremely energized by this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Campus Commemoration, an event that drew a full house to Stewart Theatre to hear eminent antiracist author and educator Ibram X. Kendi. Dr. Kendi is, among other things, the author of Stamped from The Beginning, which won him the prestigious National Book Award title at the age of 34, the youngest ever to receive it. His most recent book, How to be an Anti-Racist, gives shape and direction for work we can and must all do. As he spoke, his powerful words illuminated his brilliant scholarship about the history of how and why oppression and inequality still exist in America. and gave us practical and grounded ways to approach the necessary undertaking of making our society more inclusive. In addition to the amazing speech by Dr. Kendi, there was a vigorous open Q&A session following his comments, and a session with the Chancellor’s Cabinet and deans prior to the event, allowing for the powerful exchange of ideas with this esteemed scholar. If I could have one New Year’s wish come true, it would be that every single member of our NC State community read this book, and then find a way to make this information come to life in their work.

As a university, we have also taken a big step toward inclusivity for our LGBTQ+ community through the implementation of self-selected personal pronouns and gender identity in the student-side of MyPack Portal. When we recognize that one of our community’s health, well-being and ability to thrive require a few modifications to how we operate, we must respond. I thank all of the NC State employees, including our GLBT Center and the Division of Enrollment Management and Services, for working on this.

These are just a few of the many efforts that demonstrate NC State’s commitment to making progress in diversity, equity and inclusion. Wondering what’s next? Subscribe to our newsletter, the Diversity Digest to stay informed, and follow us on social media. Participate in our programs. Attend our events. Join our continuing efforts to make NC State a place where everyone can succeed to their full potential.

I wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year and a fantastic start to the year!

Sheri L. Schwab, J.D., M.Ed., ‘97
Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity
Title IX and ADA Coordinator
NC State University