2002 Outstanding Faculty Staff Award
Archie W. Ervin ’99 (PhD)
The mission of Carolina’s Office of Minority Affairs is to provide a University-wide approach to developing policies, practices, and programs that promote diversity in our faculty, staff and student populations. It is a mandate that Archie W. Ervin sees as demanding a never wavering vigilance to ensure that minority students, faculty and staff view UNC not as a “historically white” institution, but rather as a campus of opportunity where ability and the desire to achieve are rewarded, regardless of race. And because of Archie’s ability and desire, the opportunity for rewards increases daily.
Archie grew up in a paper mill family in Brevard, attended segregated public schools until 1967, and was the first in his family to receive a post baccalaureate degree, earning his BA and MA in political science at Appalachian Sate University. He earned his doctorate in educational organizations and policy studies at Carolina in 1999, and that same year he was appointed director of the Office for Minority Affairs by the late Chancellor Hooker.
He has spent more than 15 years developing diversified outreach and recruitment programs as well as campus support programs that have helped Carolina more accurately reflect North Carolina in its undergraduate population. He has done so with an uncommonly personal touch—he’s often referred to as “Doctor E” by students both as a show of respect for what he has accomplished, and for the informal friendly ties he keeps.
His efforts have gained national attention. Carolina consistently ranks among the foremost universities in the country in attracting, enrolling and graduating African American students and for its progress at bringing black professors to the campus. Carolina has nine African American faculty members who hold endowed chairs, the highest number in the United States.
For 10 years he has been involved in the effort to make the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center a real force on the campus as a member of the BCC Advisory Board. He has served as its chair and as financial secretary. Getting the freestanding BCC operational remains his greatest challenge.
In the 1990s he chaired the Black Faculty/Staff Caucus for two terms and helped monitor the University’s actions to enhance the working environment and opportunities for advancement among the housekeepers and groundskeepers, most of whom are African American or Hispanic.
Archie is, says On-Campus Recruitment Director Terri Houston, “relentless at getting the job done. He won’t stop until it’s complete. This could prove to be overwhelming or burdening for some, but for him, he’s a fighter and will fight to the end.”
Harold Woodard, associate dean for the Office of Student Academic Counseling, points out that Archie “has done an outstanding job of institutionalizing many of the University’s programs to recruit minority students and has contributed significantly to improving the quality of life for African American students and staff.”
Archie has extended his role at the University into the community at large. He is involved with religious leaders on matters of reconciliation among different faith communities, striving to open doors for less advantaged black males to education, raising college grant assistance funds for high school juniors and seniors, serving on the board of directors for Volunteers for Youth which works with young artists, and mentoring elementary and high school minority students as president of the Durham Alumni of Kapa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
“Carolina,” Archie says, “has given me the opportunity to be a positive force in our community and our state. I realize that many of the invitations extended to me to speak to groups, lead workshops, and participate with public forums addressing issues related to diversity and equal access to higher education are due to my work and affiliation with Carolina. There is no better ‘bully pulpit’ in the region.
“There are many others out there who may only need a little advice here or there, a helping hand once in a while, or just some encouragement along the way to realize their own dreams. The thought that I might be the one who can give any of the above keeps me inspired.”
As Chancellor James Moeser said, “The richer our diversity, the richer our learning experiences will be.” For that, we indeed owe Archie Ervin our gratitude.