Serving since 1992

Staff invited to attend workshops on student success

August 25, 2015

Brown Bag Lunch Series on The Crossroads of Student Success: Academics, Wellness and Engagement

Fall 2015 Schedule
All lunches are from 12 noon – 1:30 p.m. in Hanes Hall Room 239

September 11 The UNC Student Care Team: A New Approach to Supporting Students of Concern
with Desirée Rieckenberg, Senior Associate Dean & Director, Office of the Dean of Students and Dawna Jones, Student Assistance Coordinator, Office of the Dean of Students

UNC, through the Office of the Dean of Students, has launched the Student Care Team (Care Team) this fall. Care teams, sometimes called behavior intervention teams, are a national best practice that deploys a multi-disciplinary, early intervention approach to identifying and supporting students of concern. Students of concern may demonstrate behavior including, but not limited to threats of self-harm, emotional or physical outbursts, extreme or sudden changes in mood or behavior, traumatic experiences (including sexual assault, surviving a crime, losing a friend or family member), excessive or uncharacteristic decline in coursework and course attendance, excessive alcohol or other drug usage, difficulty with adjustment to campus life, etc. These behaviors may occur on- or off-campus. Students, faculty, staff, visitors, families and/or other community members, may identify and report students of concern. While UNC, specifically the Office of the Dean of Students, has long responded to concerning student behavior, this initiative will allow for a more holistic review and response to students. Individuals participating in this program will learn more about the purpose and scope of Carolina’s Student Care Team, including how to refer concerns and what to expect once you share information.

October 2 Religion, Spirituality, and College
with Alyssa N. Rockenbach, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development at North Carolina State University

Laurie Schreiner, keynote speaker for the spring 2015 Student Success Conference Thriving in College, describes spirituality as one of the four major pathways to thriving (Schreiner, 2012). However, this deeply personal topic can be controversial in the context of our increasingly diverse University community. This session will explore how spirituality can impact the way students and professionals on college campuses navigate and persist through academic environments, including spirituality’s potential impact on mindset, resiliency, grit, goal-setting and problem-solving. Considerations about the demographics of North Carolina and implications for spiritual and religious beliefs and practices (including atheism and agnosticism) within educated communities and potential implications for our campus will also be discussed.
Note: This session will reference a play attended by many professionals in the Office of Undergraduate Education, Disgraced, running at Playmakers Theater from September 13 through October 4, 2015. We encourage all who are interested in this discussion to attend.

November 13 Opening Access to Global Learning
with Jaclyn Gilstrap (Center for Global Initiatives) and Rodney Vargas (Study Abroad Office)

Studies show that global learning opportunities are high impact experiences that can significantly impact college student success. However, there are often real and perceived barriers to accessing opportunities for global learning for first generation, transfer, low-income, and underrepresented students. The Center for Global Initiatives and the Study Abroad Office have employed intentional strategies to open access for all students at Carolina. This session will describe their efforts and engage participants in discussion about how to market global learning opportunities and support student access in our daily work.

December 11 Just Mercy: Beyond Summer Reading

Just Mercy, the 2015 summer reading selection by activist-lawyer Bryan Stevenson, has earned rave reviews from students, faculty, and staff across the University for its gripping personal narrative about how intersections of race, gender, wealth, and resources, manifest within the philosophy and practice of justice and fairness in American society. This interactive session is part book club and part recommendations for how to reference key themes in the book in our daily work with students across departments and disciplines. We will review the book, highlight key themes, and consider ways to maximize the use of this dynamic book within our various professional roles. Discussion questions will be sent in advance.

Bring a friend!
For further information or requests for future topics, contact:

Brent Blanton, Academic Support Program for Student Athletes,
Andrea Caldwell, The Academic Advising Program,
Candice Powell, Office of Undergraduate Education,
Kelli Raker, Student Wellness,
Maureen Windle, Counseling and Psychological Services,

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Save the dates: New 2015 book club selections announced

March 13, 2015

The Employee Forum book club is pleased to announce that we will continue with new selections through February 2016. All book club meetings will take place at Bulls Head Book Shop on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Lunch will be provided with registration, which is free to all UNC staff. Check back in coming months for more details and registration for each of the book club dates.

Each of the book selections will be available for purchase at Bulls Head Book Shop at a 25% discount!

May 28: The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

ReasonIJumpPublisher’s description:

You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.

Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”) With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights—into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory—are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again.

In his introduction, bestselling novelist David Mitchell writes that Naoki’s words allowed him to feel, for the first time, as if his own autistic child was explaining what was happening in his mind. “It is no exaggeration to say that The Reason I Jump allowed me to round a corner in our relationship.” This translation was a labor of love by David and his wife, KA Yoshida, so they’d be able to share that feeling with friends, the wider autism community, and beyond. Naoki’s book, in its beauty, truthfulness, and simplicity, is a gift to be shared.

June 25: Sea of Poppies by Amitav GhoshSeaofPoppies

Publisher’s description:

The first in an epic trilogy, Sea of Poppies is “a remarkably rich saga . . . which has plenty of action and adventure à la Dumas, but moments also of Tolstoyan penetration–and a drop or two of Dickensian sentiment” (The Observer[London]).

At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China. In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners on board, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of Canton. With a panorama of characters whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, Sea of Poppies is “a storm-tossed adventure worthy of Sir Walter Scott” (Vogue).


July 30: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (summer reading selection)

Publisher’s description:

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

 Aug 27: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichieamericanah

Publisher’s description:

A powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author ofHalf of a Yellow Sun.

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

Sept 25: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

elizabethismissingGoodread’s description:

In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also a heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?

Oct 29: Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Publisher’s description:

Richard Russo—from his first novel, Mohawk, to his most recent, Straight Man—has demonstrated a peerless affinity for the human tragicomedy, and with this stunning new novel he extends even further his claims on the small-town, blue-collar heart of the country.Empirefallsbookcover

Dexter County, Maine, and specifically the town of Empire Falls, has seen better days, and for decades, in fact, only a succession from bad to worse. One by one, its logging and textile enterprises have gone belly-up, and the once vast holdings of the Whiting clan (presided over by the last scion’s widow) now mostly amount to decrepit real estate. The working classes, meanwhile, continue to eke out whatever meager promise isn’t already boarded up.

Miles Roby gazes over this ruined kingdom from the Empire Grill, an opportunity of his youth that has become the albatross of his daily and future life. Called back from college and set to work by family obligations—his mother ailing, his father a loose cannon—Miles never left home again. Even so, his own obligations are manifold: a pending divorce; a troubled younger brother; and, not least, a peculiar partnership in the failing grill with none other than Mrs. Whiting. All of these, though, are offset by his daughter, Tick, whom he guides gently and proudly through the tribulations of adolescence.

A decent man encircled by history and dreams, by echoing churches and abandoned mills, by the comforts and feuds provided by lifelong friends and neighbors, Miles is also a patient, knowing guide to the rich, hardscrabble nature of Empire Falls: fathers and sons and daughters, living and dead, rich and poor alike. Shot through with the mysteries of generations and the shattering visitations of the nation at large, it is a social novel of panoramic ambition, yet at the same time achingly personal. In the end, Empire Falls reveals our worst and best instincts, both our most appalling nightmares and our simplest hopes, with all the vision, grace and humanity of truly epic storytelling.

itotallymeanttodothatNov 19: I Totally Meant to do that by Jane Borden

Goodread’s description:

Jane Borden is a hybrid too horrifying to exist: a hipster-debutante. She was reared in a propert Southern home in Greensboro, North Carolina, sent to boarding school in Virginia, and then went on to join a sorority in Chapel Hill. She next moved to New York and discovered that none of this grooming meant a lick to anyone. In fact, she hid her upbringing for many years–it was easier than explaining what a debutante “does” (the short answer: not much).

Anyone who has moved away from home or lived in (or dreamed of living in) New York will appreciate the hilarity of Jane’s musings on the intersections of and altercations between Southern hospitality and Gotham cool.

Jan 28: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami1Q84

Publisher’s description:

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

Feb 25: The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

peacebookPublisher’s description:

A heartfelt, and riveting biography of the short life of a talented young African-American man who escapes the slums of Newark for Yale University only to succumb to the dangers of the streets—and of one’s own nature—when he returns home.

When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn’t get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, “fronting” in Yale, and at home.

Through an honest rendering of Robert’s relationships—with his struggling mother, with his incarcerated father, with his teachers and friends and fellow drug dealers—The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace encompasses the most enduring conflicts in America: race, class, drugs, community, imprisonment, education, family, friendship, and love. It’s about the collision of two fiercely insular worlds—the ivy-covered campus of Yale University and Newark, New Jersey, and the difficulty of going from one to the other and then back again. It’s about poverty, the challenges of single motherhood, and the struggle to find male role models in a community where a man is more likely to go to prison than to college. It’s about reaching one’s greatest potential and taking responsibility for your family no matter the cost. It’s about trying to live a decent life in America. But most all the story is about the tragic life of one singular brilliant young man. His end, a violent one, is heartbreaking and powerful and unforgettable.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Forum thanks January food drive supporters

January 20, 2015

The Employee Forum and the UNC Athletics Department teamed up on January 15 to sponsor a community food drive at the women’s basketball game. UNC Athletics designated the game (UNC-Notre Dame) as a faculty-staff appreciation game. UNC staff received free admission and the first 150 employees received free t-shirts. The donated food went to Inter-Faith Council. The Forum would like to thank Karen Jenkins-Cheek, Matt Banks, Stacy Owens, Kathy Ramsey and Paula Goodman for organizing the event.

For those who missed the opportunity to donate, keep an eye out for updates on the spring departmental food drive.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Follow this website

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.