A Diverse, Inclusive Community
The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education was built on the vision of extending education to all. Fostering diversity is a foundational principle of the Center and is central to our mission of expanding access to education and promoting lifelong learning.
The Friday Center’s student population continues to be a diverse student body in terms of gender, age, location, and race/ethnicity. (Figures based on the June 2015 Diversity Report.)
Programming That Promotes Diversity
The Friday Center’s Credit Programs for Part-time Students division offers several programs that serve under-represented minorities by expanding access to credit-granting courses at the University.
- Part-time Classroom Studies attracts part-time students who do not have the time or resources to attend the University full-time. Students are often older working adults—many with families to care for—which rules out the option of full-time attendance.
- Carolina Courses Online is a distance education program that provides access to Carolina’s credit courses through the web. Many of these students cannot come to campus to enroll; they may be in the military, studying abroad, or simply living in an area without direct access to a college campus.
- Self-paced Courses is another distance education program that serves a similar audience. Additionally, this program—which has a selection of correspondence-based courses—serves inmates in correctional institutions who do not have computer access.
- The Friday Center also offers courses in North Carolina prisons as part of the Correctional Education Program.
In addition, programming through the Center’s Professional Development and Enrichment Programs unit presents a variety of opportunities for cross-cultural experiences. Recent programs include:
- “Creating Alliances across Differences,” a day-long session on diversity issues, remains an important component in the Center’s professional development offering of BRIDGES Academic Leadership Program for Women.
- In 2012-13, the Friday Center began its “Voices” celebration series in honor of Black History Month. Each February, the Center sponsors this free series including events such as lectures, receptions, performances, and exhibits. Collaborators include the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center, Wilson Library, the Center for the Study of the American South, the Black Student Movement, and Carolina Dining Services.
The Conference Center regularly hosts conferences and events that reach deeply into a variety of social issues. The Center maintains an active public schedule of events throughout the year on diversity-related topics. The following are just a few examples of recent programming that highlight the extent of diversity outreach performed at the Conference Center.
- The NC Diversity and Inclusion Partners Fall Conference Planning Meeting facilitates planning for the state. Representing 11 different public and private institutions, it serves as an authoritative resource for individual leaders who drive diversity and inclusion programs in their organization.
- University Leadership Education and Development Program delivers leadership development to emerging leaders on campus while striving to maximize the diversity of its participants.
- Disability Rights of North Carolina Conference provides information to people with disabilities about their legal rights and how to advocate for them.
Creating New Opportunities
The Friday Center established the Friday Adult Learner Scholarship in 2013-14, which provides financial assistance to degree-seeking, undergraduate students age 24 or older. To date, four students have been awarded the scholarship. Although it is not a condition of the award, in each case recipients have been under-represented minorities. Plans to expand the scholarship through fundraising efforts are underway.
We want our communications to inform students and prospective students that this is a culture that welcomes diversity. Images used in Friday Center websites, print ads, and digital banner ads are selected to represent a diverse audience of learners. Stories of and by students from a number of under-represented minorities are shared on the Center’s website, the student blog, development communications, and digital ads.
Staffing and Employee Culture
Friday Center staff are encouraged to participate in diversity training workshops on campus. Center-wide trainings around diversity issues are conducted periodically, giving staff a context and a voice to share opinions, ask questions, and learn new ways of understanding.
The Friday Center Adheres to the University’s Diversity Policy
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to equality of opportunity and pledges that it will not practice or permit discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.