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Fellowship Faculty
Fellowship Faculty

The William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations is served by Wildacres Leadership Initiative (WLI) staff and the Fellowship Faculty.

These faculty members are highly qualified in the academic sense but also in practice.  Leadership as a practice is the key principle of WLI's programs.  Having leaders who practice together is the way we will all move forward together.

Carolyn Finney

Carolyn Finney, Ph.D. Department of Geography, University of Kentucky

Carolyn Finney, Ph.D. is a writer, performer and cultural geographer.  As a professor in Geography at the University of Kentucky, she is deeply interested in issues related to identity, difference, creativity,and resilience. In particular, she explores how issues of difference impacts participation in decision-making processes designed to address environmental issues.  More broadly she likes to trouble our theoretical and methodological edges that shape knowledge production and determine whose knowledge counts. 

Carolyn is grounded in both artistic and intellectual ways of knowing-she pursed an acting career for eleven years, but a backpacking trip around the world and living in Nepal changed the course of her life.  Motivated by these experiences, she returned to school after a 15-year absence to complete a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. 

The aim of her work is to develop greater cultural competency within environmental organizations and institutions, challenge media outlets on their representation of difference, and increase awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to speak to environmental issues and determine policy and action.  Carolyn has appeared on the Tavis Smiley show, MSNBC, NPR and has been interviewed for numerous newspapers and magazines. 

Along with public speaking, writing and consulting, she has served on the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board working to assist the National Park Service in engaging in relations of reciprocity with diverse communities.  As a national spokesperson, she is part of The Next 100 Coalition - a first-of-its-kind coalition of civil rights, environmental justice, conservation and community leaders from around the country who put together a vision statement and policy document on diversity and public lands for the Obama Administration. 

Her first book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors was released in 2014 (UNC Press).


Ben Frey

Ben Frey, Ph.D. Department of American Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill

Ben received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he returned to join the faculty in 2015.  During the interim, he earned an M.A. and Ph.D in German with Minor in Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

His research interests center on sociolinguistics, with particular emphasis on language shift. His current project is a book manuscript on the process of shift as analyzed through the lens of economics, politics, religion, and race. The book notes the important roles of community agency and boundaries in insulating social networks, and compares the shift situations of several communities across the United States.

The motivation for Ben's interest in language shift is primarily in language revitalization. If we can understand the processes that led to a shift away from endangered languages, we can also work with communities to promote their growth. As a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the mission of language revitalization is close to Ben's heart.

After joining the American Studies faculty in July of 2015, Ben has taught courses in Cherokee language and sociolinguistics. One of his particular interests in teaching is in inspiring students to see how classroom knowledge can apply to real world social situations. In his ‘America’s Threatened Languages’ course, he encourages students to consult census data to supplement historical knowledge about community development. This helps to form a picture of how shift situations unfold.


Hope Tyson

A Visual Approach, Durham, NC

Hope Tyson is a visual thinker born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. Her work in community engagement, capacity building and training, human-centered design and visual thinking has led her around the world from Peru to Zambia to Bangladesh. An activist focused on gender equity, Hope is committed to increasing access to freedom and power for all. She lives in North Carolina and works in Spanish and English.

Hope offers graphic facilitation and recording to clients. The role of the graphic facilitator is to capture essential content during your meeting through the use of hand-drawn words and imagery. Visual facilitation supports greater participant engagement, planning and understanding of complex content through this real-time synthesis of information. Participants can see the conversation taking shape!

Graphic facilitators shine a light on the insights of any group. Because graphic recording and facilitation make it easy for participants to engage with big ideas, see connections, and make decisions more quickly, they can leave the conversation ready to act and collaborate.

Hope also provides Sketchnoting, similar to graphic recording, it is real-time capture of essential content being presented, shared, or discussed. Sketchnotes are typically smaller-scale images and are primarily shared after an event, such as a webinar, conference, or presentation. Sketchnotes make engaging and useful follow-up material to help boost learning.


Wildacres Leadership Initiative is connected with Wildacres Retreat, Little Switzerland, NC.