Announcing the EDI Advisory Committee

Dear Campus Community,

Today I am pleased to announce our campuswide Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Advisory Committee, and a distinguished consultant who will be working with us.

These are the first two steps in our EDI framework which Chancellor Brian Cole announced in August. This framework provides a path forward to tackle the systemic problems of racism and inequity, and to make significant and sustained change in our institution. We are deeply committed to embedding equity, diversity and inclusion into our values and actions to transform our campus into a welcoming community for everyone. 

First, let me introduce professional coach and inclusion strategist Shayla Herndon-Edmunds, who will serve as a special project assistant to Chancellor Cole and me. Shayla will help steward the EDI Framework process concluding with a set of recommendations and implementation plan in collaboration with the EDI Framework Executive Committee. 

Shayla Herndon-Edmunds
Shayla began working with us this spring as part of the team that developed our EDI framework. Going forward, she will conduct strategic planning sessions with the advisory committee and subcommittees; engage community stakeholders to provide insight and feedback through interviews, listening sessions and focus groups; and provide analysis and synthesis of community outreach data into actionable initiatives for future consideration by the advisory committee and leadership. She will serve as project manager and special assistant to the chancellor. 

Shayla comes to us with more than 15 years of experience working with corporations, higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations providing leadership coaching and strategic planning and training and development. She was the founding director of Diversity Education at Wake Forest University where she was responsible for leading campus efforts to increase cultural competence and support the development and implementation of equitable policies and practices. 

Claire Machamer and Kris Julio
The EDI Advisory Committee includes 20 members from faculty, staff, students and administration, and will be chaired by Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications Claire Machamer and the School of Design and Production’s Director of Stage Properties Kris Julio. Members of the committee are:

  • Faculty: Division of Liberal Arts faculty members Betsy Towns and Mike Wakeford, School of Music faculty member Tadeu Coelho, High School Academic Program faculty member Carrie Hart, and University Librarian Sarah Falls
  • Staff: Director of Career Development and Community Engagement Rebecca Nussbaum, HR Talent Acquisition Manager Natalie Jacobs, Strategic Communications Marketing Manager Gina Harris, Director of Title IX and Chief Compliance Officer Valerie Thelen, and Assistant Director of Institutional Research Elizabeth Davis
  • Students: Student Body President Nic Brown (Drama), Student Body Vice President Jenna Cusack (Filmmaking), Izzie Miller (Design & Production), High School Student Body President Elaine Guo (Music) and graduate student Ana Aguilera (D&P) 
  • Administration: High School Academic Program Dean Martin Ferrell, Vice Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Tracey Ford and Interim School of Dance Dean Jared Redick

Five subcommittees will assist the EDI Advisory Committee. They will focus on Campus Culture, Artistic Visibility, Curriculum/Pedagogies, and Recruitment and Retention (student subcommittee and faculty/staff/support subcommittee). A full list of committee members can be found in the diversity section of the UNCSA website

I want to thank all of those who have agreed to serve on our committee and subcommittees, as well as those who will be serving on our focus groups. I am thrilled to be taking concrete steps toward achieving our specific goals. I look forward to continuing to share our specific initiatives and plans as they take shape. 

In community,

Patrick J. Sims signature

Patrick J. Sims
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

October 21, 2020