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Parker wins University Diversity Award


Patricia Parker, an AssPatricia Parkerociate Professor of Communication Studies and Director of Faculty Diversity Initiatives in the College of Arts and Sciences, has won a 2014 University Diversity Award.

The annual Diversity Awards are considered the University’s highest recognition for diversity efforts.  They recognize individuals and organizations for exemplary service or scholarship in promoting diversity, equity, social justice, community engagement and cultural awareness. The awards are presented by the UNC Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and the University Diversity Awards Committee. Parker won in the faculty member category.

Honorees will be recognized at a spring reception.

As Director of Faculty Diversity Initiatives, Parker leads College-wide efforts to enhance recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse faculty, working with the Dean’s Office and Diversity Liaisons in each department.

Upon her appointment in 2012, Parker said, “Through our efforts we can change the conversation about diversity. We can begin to speak clearly, often and confidently about the centrality of faculty diversity to the College’s mission in research, instruction and engagement.”

Parker has been a member of the UNC faculty since 1998, and is an expert on race, gender and class in organizational and collaborative processes.

She has been an advocate for diversity equity, underrepresented groups and social justice throughout her career. Some of her initiatives include:

  • Serving as founder and executive director of The Ella Baker Women’s Center for Leadership and Community Activism, which engages teen-age girls in vulnerable communities as leaders and advocates for positive change in their neighborhoods and beyond.
  • Encouraging diverse students to seek academic careers, as a frequent faculty fellow and mentor in UNC’s Moore Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (MURAP), which encourages minority students interested in academic careers.
  • Hosting a two-day diversity education event last August called “Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter,” in conjunction with Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and the Center for Faculty Excellence. The event brought together more than 40 people, including Diversity Liaisons and other faculty, staff and administrators across the University campus. Participants engaged in conversations about their roles as diversity leaders and learned new tools for engaging others in their efforts.
  • Convening and meeting individually with Diversity Liaisons in the College to gather different perspectives on innovative ways to improve faculty diversity.

Parker received a Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. in speech communication from California State University, Long Beach, and a B.A. in speech, theater and journalism from Arkansas Tech University.

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