Transforming Community Project emory shield

Recovering Our Past, Building Our Future

The Transforming Community Project seeks to mobilize individuals in every sector of Emory University in a reflective, fact-driven engagement with the University’s history and current experiences of race, gender, sexuality and other forms of human difference at Emory and beyond. These activities provide opportunities to develop new, concrete strategies to transform the University. All members of the Emory community (staff, faculty, students and alumni) are invited to participate in Community Dialogues; to develop research projects related to Emory’s history and current experiences around diversity; and to use these dialogue and research experiences to effect change in the community at large.

The name “Transforming Community Project” begins with a recognition that all communities are constantly changing. In the last fifty years, however, many universities have faced new challenges as they shifted from being institutions exclusively designed to reinforce students’ middle-class and elite mores, with populations that are homogenous in terms of race and gender. The greater racial, ethnic, gender, class and international diversity among students is mirrored by the faculty, although to a lesser extent; and by staff. The Transforming Community Project seeks to empower members of the Emory community—both individually and collectively--to actively address the challenges and opportunities provided by this increased diversity.

Emory University is well positioned to engage in this work. Founded in 1836, Emory was a jewel of the cotton and slave South, dedicated to upholding the slave system and to creating leaders for that system. Emory remained a segregated, predominantly white and male institution through much of the twentieth century. But today, the University boasts one of the most diverse campus populations in the United States.

The Transforming Community Project is supported by generous funding from Emory University’s Office of the President; Office of the Provost; Office of Community and Diversity; and the Creating Community, Engaging Society Theme of the university-wide strategic plan. In addition, the Project has been awarded two grants from the Ford Foundation’s Difficult Dialogues Initiative.



2011 Slavery and the University Conference, February 3-6

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