Royster Society of Fellows

The Royster Speaker Series:
Discourse Within the University & Beyond

DATE: April 5th @ Carolina Inn
TIME: 5-7 PM
LOCATION: Old Well Room in Carolina Inn


On University Day last year UNC Chancellor Carol L. Folt stated: “The pursuit of knowledge is where you learn to be nimble, open to ideas, willing to try new things. It can be and usually is hard work and very messy. But opportunities to change can be fleeting – doors open and close quickly – and it requires much greater flexibility if we are to move at this accelerated speed.”

Over the past year increasing attention has been brought to how we as a society use language and express ideas. On many college campuses students have called for consideration or elimination of words, ideas, and subjects that cause or are have potential to cause discomfort or give offense. These demonstrations have drawn national attention to important issues around sex, gender, race, religion, etc, yet some have criticized the changing environment in discourse as being stifling to the academic environment.

At the next Royster Speaker Series event, we would like to invite Royster Fellows and guests to hear from a panel of campus leaders about their work to support the pursuit of knowledge in the classroom and scholarly activities. Topics include the nature of discourse on campuses and in the public, the tension between free speech and emotional safety in academic settings, the burgeoning role of social media in academic discourse, the influence of power dynamics on scholarly activities, and the ways in which discourse on university campuses interacts with local and global communities. Through this informal discussion, attendees will be stimulated to consider how their own practices may be adapted to best reflect the flexibility needed to pursue knowledge in the modern university.


Dr. Rumay Alexander, Special Assistant to the Chancellor & Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs in the School of Nursing

Dr. G. Rumay Alexander's nursing career spans over 21 years in the areas of public policy, advocacy, teaching, and health careers development with an emphasis on cultural diversity issues. At a national level, she has served on the AHA's Workforce Commission, the board of The American Organization of Nurse Executives, The National Quality Forum Nursing Care Performance Measures' Steering Committee, Chairperson of the AONE Diversity Council, and a member of the AHA's Leadership Circle of Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. She frequently speaks to groups across the country on the issues of the healthcare workforce, diversity, and strategic planning.

Dr. Frank Baumgartner, Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science

Frank R. Baumgartner joined the department of Political Science in 2009 as the first holder of the Richardson professorship. A proud Michigander, he has three degrees from the University of Michigan including his PhD in political science. He currently serves on the editorial boards of multiple journals, including the Journal of Public Policy and Political Research Quarterly. Dr. Baumgartner is also a prolific writer himself -- authoring over 15 journal articles and books in just the past six years. His work focuses on public policy, agenda-setting, and interest groups in American and comparative politics. Apart from his research, Dr. Baumgartner is active in University service activities, serving as an elected member of the University-wide Faculty Council and as the Diversity officer for Political Science.

Dr. Geni Eng, Professor in the Department of Health Behavior.

Geni Eng, DrPH, a Peace Corps veteran and UNC-educated public health professional, is recognized nationally as an expert and practitioner of the community-based participatory research (CBPR) technique. As a researcher, Eng focuses on the integration of community development and health education interventions in the rural United States and developing countries. Her current research projects apply CBPR principles to the design and evaluation of lay health advisor interventions and look at the influence of sociocultural factors on STDs and early detection of breast cancer. Dr. Eng directs the Community Health Scholars post-doctoral program. She also serves as principle investigator on the National Cancer Institute-funded Cancer Health Disparities training grant housed in the department. She teaches community organization, cross-cultural aspects of health education practices, community diagnosis and health issues relevant to women, ethnic minorities, and developing nations.