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Professor's Research Shows Implicit Bias by Institutions

Susan McCarter has one of those personalities that draws one in. Even when she’s giving an academic presentation, the School of Social Work professor is warm, engaging and almost relentlessly cheerful. Still, when she starts talking about her research, her audience — regardless of its size or composition — often becomes visibly uncomfortable.

That’s because McCarter’s subject is always race. She has spent the last 20 years researching and talking about disproportionate minority contacts (DMC), or the over-representation of minority youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system.

She readily acknowledges that even the official name for her work tends to make people defensive. "The word 'disproportionality' has taken on a bad connotation, but it only means that things are out of whack mathematically," explained McCarter. "It simply means when a phenomenon doesn’t reflect the population at the time."

University Forges Connections in South Africa

UNC Charlotte has a robust global network of alliances that enhance diversity and increase study and research opportunities for students and faculty members. One currently in the spotlight is South Africa, where "sawubona" means "hello" in Zulu. UNC Charlotte has received more than a warm hello from South Africa.

This summer, two faculty-led programs involving 11 students will return to the country’s Stellenbosch University to build upon pioneering work started in summer 2015, when 23 students participated in three programs — the largest contingent of UNC Charlotte scholars who have visited that country at the same time. And new this summer, 20 South African students led by Jako Volschenk, a faculty member in the Stellenbosch University Business School, will participate in a weeklong program coordinated by the UNC Charlotte Office of International Programs and Belk College of Business.

Stellenbosch University is a leading higher education institution in South Africa, noted UNC Charlotte Assistant Provost for International Programs Joël Gallegos. "These summer programs are excellent opportunities for students to be immersed in the rich cultural environment of the Western Cape," he said, referring to a province of South Africa. "They also can serve as gateways for future engagement, including faculty exchanges and collaborative research partnerships."