Dean's Campaign Signature Initiatives Think. Communicate. Collaborate. Create. ... For meaningful lives.

Dean Terry Rhodes’ signature initiatives in the Campaign for Carolina advance the College’s work in bringing the best minds together to reimagine the arts and sciences for the public good. An investment in the College is an investment in a better future — For All Kind.

Chancellor's Science Scholars

Promoting diversity and inclusion in science and technology fields.

The Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program (CSS) recruits high-achieving students to pursue STEM degrees and careers in scientific leadership. CSS offers merit-based scholarships, opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research, professional development, leadership training, mentorship and other programming designed to pave the way for academic success and future achievement. Along the way, students become members of a community of scholars committed to individual excellence and a more inclusive culture within STEM academic disciplines and professional fields.

Learn more about this Program and how it enables students to reach their fullest potential and become the next generation of leaders in science and technology. This program is transformative not only for the Scholars, but also for the state of North Carolina and the nation.

The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust has generously offered a challenge match. For every $2 million raised, they will contribute $1 million to the program, up to a total of $5 million. All gifts will help CSS reach its goal.

Recent CSS features and news

Wanda and Roy Williams donate $500,000 to support the Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program. Read full article here.

This video gives a sneak peak into Summer EXCELerator, a summer immersion program to prepare scholars for their first year at UNC.

Institute for Convergent Science

Solving the world's most challenging problems.

The great problems of our time are as vast as they are complex. Deadly diseases, energy shortages, water scarcity and more will not be solved by one discipline, industry or sector alone, but rather by a diverse array of experts. At Carolina, we recognize our unique responsibility and embrace the opportunity to work together to create a better future.

As a leading global public research university bound by 226 years of service to the greater good, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill seeks daring solutions to the world’s most challenging problems. Convergent science is the next step in realizing those solutions.

Learn more about the Institute for Convergent Science (ICS) at UNC and its Innovation Framework. Located in Carolina’s premier science research facility, the UNC Genome Sciences Building, ICS brings the very best commercialization process to the University’s research enterprise. By redefining the journey from idea to proof of concept to market, ICS enables research teams to focus on solving the problems at hand—collectively at one central hub—with the infrastructure, lab space, expertise, and funding needed to drive breakthroughs and create exceptional outcomes.

“Convergent science is a problem-centered approach to research. You start by framing an interesting problem or challenge you want to solve — such as how to generate or store energy more effectively — and then you build the team you need to make the most impact.” — Chris Clemens, senior associate dean for research and innovation

Current research projects

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the critical need to work collaboratively and rapidly to unleash breakthrough solutions. Ronit Freeman, an associate professor of applied physical sciences and biomedical engineering, is working with two interdisciplinary teams to discover ways to block COVID-19 from entering host cells. Read "Molecular approaches to detect and mitigate COVID-19" article here.

Program for Public Discourse

Promoting civic virtue, fostering civil debate.

The UNC Program for Public Discourse is working to encourage a culture of debate and deliberation through curricular and extracurricular programs, enabling our students to be better citizens, leaders and stewards for our democracy. The Program is housed in the College of Arts & Sciences and includes faculty from across the University.

Learn more about the UNC Program for Public Discourse, its opportunities for students and faculty and its popular events.

Recent news

$8 million investment from Nancy and Doug Abbey establishes the Abbey Speaker Series in the Program for Public Discourse. Read full article here.

In summer 2020, Sarah Treul, a Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor of Political Science at Carolina, was appointed as faculty director of the Program, and Kevin Marinelli, former professor of rhetoric at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, began as executive director. Read full article here.


The UNC Program for Public Discourse has recently hosted virtual events with more than 400 participants for each. Check out more information about previous and upcoming events below. Anyone can register to attend the free events offered through the Abbey Speaker Series.

Click here for the recording of “The Future of Conservatism,” held on March 23, 2021.

Click here for more information on the inaugural Abbey Speaker Series event, “Defining Racial Justice in the 21st Century: Competing Perspectives and Shared Goals” – held on February 23, 2021.

Click here for the recording of "Free Speech on Campus" - held October 20, 2020.

Click here for the recording of Robert P. George and Cornel West in Conversation - held Sept. 10, 2020.

Southern Futures

Reimagining the American South and building a future where all Southern communities can flourish.

Southern Futures is a new campuswide initiative that supports cutting-edge scholarship, creative endeavors and thoughtful conversations across disciplines, in partnership with the Center for the Study of the American South, the College of Arts & Sciences, Carolina Performing Arts, University Libraries and Southern communities. This initiative is guided by three foundational goals: Develop future Southern leaders. Focus on art, music and storytelling. Gather and share Carolina’s resources.

Learn more about this initiative and how it is bringing together unrivaled Southern expertise and resources for a transformative impact on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus, the state of North Carolina, and across the South.

Recent happenings in Southern Futures

Bill Ferris, Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History, published "I AM A MAN: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1960–1970" in February 2021. The collection features powerful images from pivotal moments during the Civil Rights Movement, as told through the lens of notable Southern photographers. Undergraduate student Greer Underwood ’22 had the opportunity to conduct research that contributed to Ferris’ riveting book. Underwood’s father, Jay Underwood, a member of the College’s Center for the Study of the American South External Advisory Board, was inspired by the impact that this research experience had on his daughter, as well as Ferris’ work and established the William R. Ferris Undergraduate Research Fund. This fund paves the way for more undergraduates to be empowered to conduct innovative and applied research in all areas related to the American South, as part of the Southern Futures initiative.

The Carolina Arts & Sciences magazine featured Southern Futures in a cover story in the fall 2020 issue.

Check out seasons one and two of Southern Futures, a podcast that tells stories of the diverse and changing South through authentic and accessible conversations with UNC-Chapel Hill and other scholars.

The first two podcast episodes featured (from the top): Tyree Daye (teaching assistant professor; UNC department of English and comparative literature), Blair Kelley (assistant dean for interdisciplinary studies and international programs; N.C. State University), and Malinda Maynor Lowery (professor; UNC department of history, and director; Center for the Study of the American South).

The Arts and Sciences Fund

Gifts to the Arts and Sciences Fund play a crucial role in funding the College’s highest priorities — recruiting and retaining faculty, enhancing student engagement, deepening academic excellence and achieving global impact. This support helps shape the experience of nearly every student in the College and makes an immediate impact on campus, which is more important now than ever.

In the 2020-2021 year, gifts to the Arts and Sciences Fund provided:

  • Partial research grants for junior faculty whose research progress has been delayed by the pandemic.
  • Funding to remodel a space in the old Walgreens building on Franklin Street as a temporary home for our department of communication faculty.
  • Support for units that were hit by revenue losses such as PlayMakers Repertory Company and Study Abroad.

To learn more, please visit the Arts and Sciences Fund website.


For more information on any of the Dean's Campaign Signature Initiatives, please contact Anne Collins, Senior Associate Dean and Executive Director, at anne.collins@unc.edu or 919.843.3920.