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CCU team chosen to participate in diversity, equity, and inclusion science program

May 26, 2021
William G. Ambrose Jr., vice dean of the School of Coastal Environment and professor of marine science at CCU.

Coastal Carolina University has been selected as one of four institutions to participate in the first cohort of All-ABOARD (Alliance-Building Offshore to Achieve Resilience and Diversity). The diversity, equity, and inclusion program is funded by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Geoscience Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity – Expanding the Network.

All-ABOARD creates a unique professional development model that provides four intergenerational teams of geoscience leaders —from undergraduate students to graduate students, from early career faculty to deans and chairs — with the tools they need to advance the goals of increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion on their home campuses. CCU was chosen through a competitive application process.

“The program is designed to enhance diversity in the geosciences, but our work will undoubtedly have an impact across the University,” said William G. Ambrose Jr., vice dean of the School of the Coastal Environment and professor of marine science at CCU. “We are all very excited about Coastal being selected and the potential for the program to make a significant impact on DEI at the University.”

The CCU All-ABOARD team includes Ambrose; Diane Fribance, associate professor of marine science; Angelos Hannides, assistant professor of marine science; and Lissett Diaz, a biochemistry major and a marine science minor. Teresa Burns, associate professor/associate dean of the Gupta College of Science, was instrumental in writing CCU’s successful All-ABOARD proposal.

Michael Roberts, dean of the Gupta College of Science, looks forward to the collaboration the CCU team will experience through All-ABOARD.

“The Gupta College of Science at Coastal Carolina University is pleased to provide one of the teams selected for the ‘All-ABOARD’ project,” Roberts said. “In addition to recognizing CCU’s expertise in marine science, this selection – consistent with the University’s DEI Strategic Plan – speaks to the importance the college places in creating inclusive spaces within which scientists can pursue their careers.”

Atiya Stokes-Brown, vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion at CCU, said: “It is an honor for Coastal Carolina University to be selected for this prestigious NSF project. Through this program, inter-generational teams will explore shared challenges and engage in difficult and uncomfortable discussions to better understand how to develop and support initiatives that strategically and proactively support a culture of inclusiveness and equity. This endeavor will undoubtedly advance the work underway at CCU, enhancing our goal to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion into the fabric of our institution.”

The program began with online meetings this spring and will continue into the summer. During the next academic year, CCU’s team will embark on reciprocal visits to the other three participating institutions: University of South Florida, West Virginia University, and Salisbury University. In the fall, the four participating teams will likely participate in a unique in-person retreat that will partially take place on a research ship operated by the U.S. Academic Fleet.

All-ABOARD’s organizers believe some of the most significant work will happen on this offshore expedition, as individuals will come together on equal footing and collaborate while out in the field.