Senate Document Number 3305S
Date of Senate Approval
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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:
2. Goals and Objectives:
The Center for Human Rights
will have three core missions. The first
is to coordinate human rights initiatives on campus and to link these
activities to the broader
of the Center to the University’s
The University of North Car
There already is a great
deal of interest and activity on the UNCA campus related to human rights and
the Center will coordinate and nurture this – and help make it grow. In terms of the student population, several
of the most visible and energetic organizations on campus – including Amnesty
International, A.S.H.E. (Active Students for a Healthy Environment), Habitat
for Humanity and
In her book Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education (Harvard, 1997), Martha Nussbaum has argued that one of the purposes of a liberal arts education is to develop what she describes as “narrative imagination.” She writes:
This means the ability to think what it might be like to be in the shoes of a person different from oneself, to be an intelligent reader of that person’s story, and to understand the emotions and wishes and desires that someone so placed might have.
Notwithstanding all of the
advents of technology and the Internet, it is still difficult -- perhaps
impossible -- to fully develop one’s “narrative imagination” from afar, which
is to say that experience is still the very best teacher. This is particularly true in the field of
human rights. Toward that end, a number
of UNCA students have undertaken human rights internships in such places as the
Another testament to the
deep interest in human rights on campus is the number of students who are
pursuing graduate degrees in this field.
Matt Witbrodt (‘02) recently graduated with an
LL.M. degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Lancaster (U.K.) and he will begin Ph.D. work this fall,
doing a comparative study of aboriginal rights.
Taji Kommineni (‘03)
recently completed her LL.M. in Human Rights at the
All too often when one speaks about campus affairs one is simply referring to the “traditional” student body. However, there is also an enormous amount of interest in human rights issues in the College for Seniors reflected in such courses as “Imagining the Future” and “The Nuclear Dilemma.” It is hoped that this common interest in human rights might serve as a bridge between the two generations. In addition, a sizeable number of students in UNCA’s Masters in Liberal Arts program are studying human rights.
Beyond this, there is no
reason why human rights should be restricted to the college campus. In order to reach younger students, a
partnership program will be developed in cooperation with K-12 teachers and
community advocates. We will begin with
As an initial effort, the
Center for Human Rights will be a part of the K-12 Outreach Program that is
operated out of the
Faculty interest in human rights is as impressive as it is widespread. Listed below is the core group of faculty that has worked towards the creation of this Center, along with some off-campus affiliations.
-- Keith Bramlett (Sociology; presently the UNCA Breman Professor for Social Relations; a member of Equality NC, a gay rights lobbyist group)
-- Melissa Burchard (Philosophy)
-- Brian Butler (Philosophy)
-- Linda Cornett (Political Science; Director of International Studies)
-- Volker Frank (Sociology; with an association with the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame)
-- Jill Fromewick (Humanities)
-- Mark Gibney (Political Science; Belk Distinguished Professor in the Humanities; a member of the editorial review board of Human Rights Quarterly; with an association with the Danish Institute for Human Rights)
-- Heon Lee (Sociology)
-- Leah Mathews (Economics)
-- Jeanne McGlinn (Education; the Head of the Humanities Program and
a participant in the
-- John McClain (Humanities)
-- Afaf Omer (Sociology; Director of Africana Studies)
-- Katie Peters (Classics)
-- Dot Sulock (Mathematics; Director of UNCA Summer Institute on Nuclear Non-Proliferation)
Subramaniam (Political Science; with an association
-- Alice Weldon (Spanish; with an association with Andean Rural Health Care/Curamericas; UNA-USA Global Health Initiative)
-- John Wood (Anthropology; with an association with the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)
This expansive faculty interest in human rights is reflected in an impressive array of human rights courses including: Economic Growth and Development (ECON 314), Immigration/Refugee Law & Policy (POL 331), Philosophy of Human Rights (PHIL 214), Human Rights and International Politics (POL 388), International Law (POL 389), Evolution, Revolution and Social Change (SOC 240), Liberal Universalism and Its Critics (POL 384), Environmental Health (ENVR 336), International Organizations (POL 387) and Women, Islam and Human Rights (SOC 373). To promote the teaching of human rights, Interdisciplinary Studies is in the process of creating a Global Issues major, and one of the tracks of this major will be International Law and Human Rights. In addition to this, there will be students who desire to have more of a domestic focus to their human rights studies (i.e., poverty, affordable housing, criminal justice) in which case the program of study would be accommodated within the existing Interdisciplinary Studies major.
The human rights curriculum has been supplemented by a variety of extracurricular programs. For example, the campus has benefited from a series of human rights experts and practitioners who have given public lectures at UNCA during the past few years. These lectures have included: Katarina Tomasevski (United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Lund University, Sweden) “The Right to Education Under International Law”; Makau Mutua (University of Buffalo School of Law) “Human Rights: A Cultural Project”; Sigrun Skogly (Lancaster University, UK) “Globalization and Its Discontents: Human Rights and the Challenges of an Integrated World”; Edward Weisband (Virginia Tech) “Accountability and Transparency in the Pursuit of Rights and Standards”; Randa Farah (University of Western Ontario, Canada) “Palestinian Rights”; Rhoda Howard-Hassmann (Canadian Research Chair, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada) “Are Western Human Rights Values Offensive (and if so, to whom?)”; Ian Williams, (journalist with The Nation.) “The War in Iraq”; Bonny Ibhawoh (Brock University, Canada), “Non-Western Visions of Human Rights”; Jonathan Marks (UNC School of Law) “Prosecuting Pinochet”; Paul Magnarella (University of Florida/Warren Wilson College) “The Rwandan Genocide”; LaShawn Jefferson, (Executive Director of the Women’s Rights Project at Human Rights Watch) “Why Women’s Rights Matter,” Robin Kirk (Human Rights Watch and the Duke University Initiative) “Colombia and the War on Terror”; and Abdullahi An-Na’Im, “Genocide in Darfur.” While the lecture series already has become a permanent feature of campus life, it is envisioned that the program will be expanded to include short-term fellowships on campus where our guests could become a more integral part of the UNCA campus.
university’s held its first human rights film festival two years ago and in
January 2005 it will be a co-host for a week-long Amnesty International film
festival that will be shown both on and off campus. This film festival will become an annual
event and the
Photography is another
important means of marrying the political and the personal and UNCA and the
local community have been enriched through a number of exhibits with human
rights themes, by faculty and students alike.
These include Leigh Ann Henion’s, “Portraits
of Working Children:
The Center for Human Rights will be firmly committed to faculty research and it will serve as a vehicle to develop research themes that both build on already existing knowledge but also explore new ideas that continue to emerge as a result of a rapidly changing world. We are particularly interested in exploring themes that are raised by the victims of human rights violations themselves. Thus, the Center for Human Rights is committed to value related research because human rights themselves are concerned with dignity, liberty and freedom.
One of the more exciting
aspects of the
Yet, notwithstanding all this energy and activity, many of these efforts exist isolated and apart from one another. One of the goals of the Center, then, is to help coordinate these human rights initiatives that already exist. Beyond that, the Center for Human Rights will make the interest and commitment to human rights grow.
One of the core aims of the UNCA Center for Human Rights is to advance human rights scholarship, thinking and “active learning” far beyond the UNCA campus. There are several ways that this might be done. One is by providing students and faculty in the UNC system the opportunity of presenting their scholarship. Toward that end, UNCA will host an annual conference on human rights for students and faculty alike. In addition to this, through the UNC-EP Program, it is envisioned that UNCA’s international service learning initiatives will serve as a vehicle for “hands on” human rights work for students throughout the entire UNC system.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, one of the goals of the Center for Human Rights is to infuse human rights values into a younger population. Toward that end, and working alongside the Center for Diversity Education, the Center for Human Rights will establish a summer training program that will teach teachers how to teach “human rights.”
4. Anticipated Effects on Instructional Programs at UNCA
The Center for Human Rights will galvanize the instructional programs at UNCA. The university is presently revamping its General Education program and Human Rights will play an instrumental role in this transformation. For one thing, Humanities 414 is being eliminated and in its place will be a variety of capstone course options, many of which will have human rights as a focus. In addition, the University will now mandate that all students take a diversity-intensive course, and once again, nearly all of these will be based around some human rights theme.
The excitement surrounding a
Center for Human Rights already has led to several new courses. Katie Peters (Classics) and John McClain
(Humanities) are presently developing a course on Human Rights in the Ancient
World that is based on their important scholarship in this area. In addition, their work will also be useful
in bringing a human rights dimension to UNCA’s
nationally recognized Humanities Program.
Volker Frank in Sociology is proposing two new courses with a human
rights theme: “Democracy and Social Justice in
Finally, the proposed Center
for Human Rights has led to a re-thinking of the study abroad options at UNCA
and there is now an effort underway to create international service learning
The ultimate goal is that the Center for Human Rights will fundamentally change the place of human rights in the university curriculum. In terms of the UNCA campus, what is envisioned is that the Center will help to attract students who want to study human rights and faculty who are keen on teaching and doing research in this area. Beyond this, however, the Center will serve as a lightning rod for human rights initiatives for students and faculty on all of the other UNC campuses.
5. Director and Advisory Board
The overall direction of the Center will come from three main sources: a Director and Assistant Director, an Advisory Board, and finally, Faculty Affiliates.
The Director will be responsible for overseeing the daily functions of the Center for Human Rights. These duties will include:
Identification of funding opportunities and the creation of teaching and research projects that relate to human rights;
Grant proposal submissions;
Directing Undergraduate Research proposals;
Management of periodic and final reports from grant projects including the writing, reviewing and the submission of reports to funding agencies;
Establishment and coordination of the Center for Human Rights Advisory Board;
Coordination of the Center with UNCA in terms of teaching assignments and project initiatives for human rights related courses.
Mark Gibney, UNCA’s Belk Distinguished Professor, will serve as the interim director. The term of the Director is three years, with the possibility of one renewal.
Advisory Board will provide broad guidance to the Center. The Board will consist of fifteen people:
five (5) faculty from the UNC system, five (5)
individuals from the state of
Finally, interested faculty – from the UNCA campus but from the other UNC campuses as well -- will serve as Affiliates of the Center. In that capacity, Affiliates will help to develop and guide the mission of the Center. In turn, the Center will aid faculty both in terms of their teaching and scholarship.
6. Organizational Structure
The Director of the Human Rights Center will report to the Chief Research Officer. The Chief Research Officer will report to the Provost who will report to the Chancellor who, in turn, will report to President Molly Broad.
7. Budget Estimates
It is envisioned that funding for the Center will come from government, non-profit and private sector sources. Because the Center for Human Rights cannot operate efficiently without external funding sources, it will be necessary to consistently identify and pursue external funding opportunities. First year costs are based on present expenditures.
Speaker/Fellowship Program: $4,000
Film Series: $2,000
Internships/International Service Learning: $10,000
K-12 Program: $1000
Faculty Research: $0
Speaker/Fellowship Program: $5000
Film Series: $3,000
Internships/International Service Learning: $20,000
K-12 Program: $3000
Faculty Research: $5000
Speaker/Fellowship Program: $13,000
Film Series: $5,000
Internships/International Service Learning: $25,000
K-12 Program: $9,000
Faculty Research: $10,000
Speaker/Fellowship Program: $20,000
Film Series: $5,000
Internships/International Service Learning: $35,000
K-12 Program: $9,000
Faculty Research: $20,000
8. Capital Needs
At present, there are no capital needs. However, the Center will need money for books and a video collection in the library. There will also be the need for furniture expenditures for the Director’s Office and the Conference Room listed below. External funding will be sought for these expenses.
9. Space Needs
At present, there are no space needs as the office of the interim director (Dr. Gibney) will be used as the “home” of the Center for Human Rights. However, when a permanent Director is hired, this person will need an office. If Dr. Gibney is named permanent Director, his faculty office would suffice for the office space required. In addition, the Center for Human Rights will need a conference room for its various functions although this space might be shared with the other centers and also with departments in the same building.
At the core of the Center for Human Rights is the pursuit of academic scholarship, research and service for faculty and students in a multi-disciplinary setting. For the free exchange of ideas between UNCA faculty and students and visiting scholars working at this center, as well as for easy access of students working on undergraduate research through the Center projects, it is essential that the Center for Human Rights be located on campus, or as close to campus as possible. Therefore, the Center Director will work with the Associate Vice Chancellors and other Administrators in allocating space for the Center or in determining its location, in such a way that will support the academic environment of the campus to the greatest degree.
10. Additional Information
Although what is being submitted is in the nature of a proposal to create the Center for Human Rights, it also has to be said that all (or nearly all) of the on-campus activities that have been described are already well under way at the university. That is, a substantial portion of the student body at UNCA has a deep interest in human rights issues. These students are taking courses with human rights themes, creating their own human rights majors, joining one of the many organizations on campus (such as Amnesty International) that are devoted to human rights work, filling the halls when outside speakers are brought to campus or when human rights movies are shown on (and off) campus, doing undergraduate research in the area of human rights, and finally, working as interns in a myriad of human rights organizations. In addition, an increasing number are now pursuing graduate studies in human rights and these admirable young women and men are making human rights their life’s work.
Although UNCA students have set the bar very high, the faculty has kept pace. There is a burgeoning number of courses with human rights themes and this interest in human rights issues will become only more evident with the creation of human rights major and with the institutional changes that will come with the Integrative Learning Studies initiative. What is equally impressive is the off campus activity of UNCA faculty, but perhaps that should not be so surprising given the host of local organizations that are devoted to human rights work. Finally, faculty at UNCA are doing some very important research in this field and they are presenting their work at conferences or through journals and books.
Notwithstanding all of this activity, the Center of Human Rights will fuel the flame, so to speak. In terms of UNCA itself, the creation of a Center will fundamentally change the nature of the university – at the same time that it reinforces the liberal arts mission of the campus. Yet, the entire reason for creating a Center is to infuse these objectives well beyond the confines of our small campus. What is envisioned is that “human rights” will become a centerpiece of the UNC system itself. The aim is to give students and faculty on all the campuses the opportunity and the incentive to engage in human rights work – while at the same time helping to make this world a better place.