Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Big Doings on Campus

The beginning of fall semester is moving fast toward campus like last night's thunderstorm. And like a storm, the coming semester presents challenges in dealing with the deluge of activities on a campus of 24,000 students and 3,000 faculty and staff. But the beginning of an academic year is the lifeblood of a university and the excitement is building in all corners of the campus.

Two events are already capturing the enthusiam of students, even as most of them are off-campus for the summer. First, UNC Charlotte's new 196,000 square foot Student Union is nearing completion. A few tweaks are still in the works on the exterior, which is striking. Inside, the building is even more awesome. Just check out the UNC Charlotte fan page on Facebook or You Tube to see photos and video clips students have posted recently. The union is the new magnet for students -- an Apple computer store; Starbucks; a stunning Barnes & Noble store for books, supplies and branded gear; a hair salon (do they still call it that?); movie theater; an amazing atrium; a massive ballroom; an array of knoshing options and lots more -- this facility rocks. Grand opening officially begins with an Aug. 28 dedication.

Earlier in August, beginning the week of the tenth, UNC Charlotte officially launches its Stake Your Claim brand campaign. It debuts publicly with advertising in The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte Business Journal, Charlotte Post and Charlotte Weekly. Underwriting announcements also will appear on WFAE radio beginning that week. The University will communicate the launch internally using Web-based media such as the Web site, Facebook and Twitter. Visotors to campus can already see the giant SYC pick axe set prominently just inside the Dickson Gate entrance to campus.(In response to the recession and a recent freeze on almost all State of North Carolina spending, no state funds are being spent on this initiative.)

We'll soon complete our imposing Bioinformatics building which embodies what will be one of the leading bioinformatics programs in the nation. We'll also break ground on our Energy Production Infrastructure Center this fall and we will complete the Master Plan that will guide campus development for the next 10 years; wait til see what the future holds -- it is fantastic!

Stay tuned also for a blockbuster academic announcement coming in late August.

The recession has presented many challenges at UNC Charlotte, but it has not stopped our high-velocity blast up the growth curve. The 2009-2010 academic year is going to be one of the best on record. Great things are happening at UNC Charlotte. Come see us.

Monday, July 13, 2009

People create a truly engaged university

A great public university provides all sorts of benefits to its locale. College-educated people, of course. Jobs. Arts, athletics, thought-provoking speakers, research in concert with business to produce solutions to problems in the marketplace. And it also provides engagement with the community.

At UNC Charlotte, examples of community engagement are countless, which is one of the reasons the University was selected for a prestigious 2008 Community Engagement elective classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The designation recognizes institutions that have internalized and sustained their commitment to collaborate with communities through teaching, research, and outreach.

One person, among many, who embodies UNC Charlotte's culture of community engagement is Susan Harden. This month whe was recognized with the 2009 Civic Engagement Professional of the Year Award from Campus Compact. Harden is coordinator for UNC Charlotte’s Crossroads Charlotte initiative.

A national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents, Campus Compact represents some six million students who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. The Civic Engagement Professional of the Year Award highlights Harden's critical and valuable role in UNC Charlotte's higher education mission. The award validates the fact that Harden has become a vital link between the community and campus.

During this past year, Harden introduced new Crossroads-themed courses such as UCOL 1200 Freshman Seminar and LBST 2215 Citizenship. More than 600 students participated in the courses, which resulted in almost 2,000 community service hours. Harden also spearheaded the development of a strategic network of Crossroads partners for service learning and event collaboration. These partners include Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Levine Museum of the New South, YWCA and the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

UNC Charlotte is staking its claim as a leading institution for the Charlotte region. It leads through scholarship, research, arts, culture, athletics, global outreach and community engagement. Harden is one of many, many students, faculty and staff who enrich the Charlotte region through their service.

Keep reading UNC Clt_News to meet more students, faculty and staff like Susan Harden.

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