Monday, July 23, 2012

Jeanette Sims to Lead Community Affairs

UNC Charlotte took another important step in staking its claim as an engaged university by naming Jeanette Sims as director of community affairs. She begins work in the Division of University Advancement on Aug. 21.
Her primary responsibility is to direct programs and initiatives in support of UNC Charlotte’s mission as it strives to address the cultural, economic, educational, environmental, health and social needs of the greater Charlotte region. 
Sims will serve as a principal conduit between the university and the community at large and will provide leadership and strategic direction to campus-wide activities that build collaborative relationships with key local constituencies and organizations.
“Engaging our students, faculty, and staff in the challenges and opportunities in Charlotte and all of the cities and towns in our region is one of our campus' top strategic priorities,” said Niles Sorensen, Vice Chancellor for Advancement. “I am delighted to have someone with Jeanette's breadth of experience in both the corporate and nonprofit worlds to lead our efforts.”
Most recently, Sims was Interim Conference Director for the North Carolina Governor’s Conference for Women.  Prior to her work with the NC Governor’s Conference, she worked with The Lee Institute as the Charlotte Regional Director for the American Leadership Forum, the Institute’s flagship program.  Sims graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. 
Sims reports to Sorensen, as a member of the University Advancement senior team.  The division supports the University’s mission by cultivating alumni, community and government support and affinity. It helps strengthen the identity and awareness of the region’s only doctoral-granting institution in order to build and sustain effective, lasting partnerships throughout the community and state.
“UNC Charlotte is an important member of the Charlotte community,” said Sims. “I am excited to be part of the UNC Charlotte team and work with its valued community partners.  Together, we can build effective programs to address community issues and serve the common good of our region and state.”

Friday, July 13, 2012

How to spot a liar -

How to spot a liar -

University Gets $1 Million Endowment for Scholarships

The Bernard Osher Foundation recently awarded a $1 million endowment to UNC Charlotte.  The endowment provides a permanent funding source dedicated to help nontraditional students return to complete their degrees.

“Adults of all ages continue to discover the benefits of an undergraduate degree in today’s knowledge economy, so the Osher Foundation’s endowment is outstanding news for potential students and their families. Increasingly, greater private support is needed for prospective students to achieve the dream of a college degree,” said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois.

UNC Charlotte’s Office of Adult Students and Evening Services (OASES) will administer the Osher Reentry Scholarship program. Prospective recipients, ideally between the ages of 25 and 50, must have college credits and at least a five-year gap in enrollment. Also, this must be their first bachelor’s degree, and they must have been in good academic standing with demonstrated financial need and a significant period of future employability.

UNC Charlotte has a history of serving nontraditional students; the institution traces its founding in part as an educational center for veterans returning home after World War II. Through OASES, the University offers programs and services specifically for nontraditional students, including getting started and transition seminars, academic advising, extended hours in the evenings and on weekends, adult mentoring programs and honor societies and individual course assistance.

“UNC Charlotte successfully administered the Reentry program for several years before an endowment was considered,” said Osher Foundation president Mary Bitterman. “That record, along with the abundant services that benefit nontraditional students, including the OASES program, prompted this gift.”

For each of the past four years, the foundation awarded OASES $50,000 grants for scholarships for reentry students. The foundation is providing a $50,000 award for scholarships for this academic year, too, in addition to the $1 million endowment that will fund future scholarships.

The Bernard Osher Foundation was founded in 1977, and it seeks to improve quality of life through support for higher education and the arts. Through post-secondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities across the nation, the foundation focuses special attention on reentry students.
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Monday, July 2, 2012

49er Democracy Experience—H.U.D. Sec. Shaun Donovan Housing Issues Part 1

Students Dig Archeology Gig with Schiele Museum

By Paul Nowell

While many of their peers were sitting in air-conditioned classrooms during the first summer session, some UNC Charlotte students were literally getting their hands dirty while making some important discoveries about Mecklenburg County’s past.

Led by UNC Charlotte Anthropology Professor Janet Levy and Alan May, curator of anthropology at Gaston County’s Schiele Museum, the students battled ticks, poison ivy (and enjoyed spring sunshine and fresh air) as they unearthed artifacts from the site of the historic Holly Bend house, which was built between 1795 and 1800 in the northwest corner of the county.

(In the photo, Alan May confers with a UNC Charlotte during the springtime dig.)
The class began on May 21 and ended on June 14 and the students worked in the field from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. The purpose was to conduct basic exploratory work to provide information for the planned development of the site, which was purchased for $6.6 million by the county.

The dig is the latest example of an ongoing collaboration dating back more than 25 years, between the university and the Gastonia museum. According to Levy, the project provides students with a hands-on experience in the field. In turn, the museum benefits by having the opportunity to collaborate with faculty experts on a local project.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Holly Bend house was built by Robert Davidson, son of John Davidson of Revolutionary War fame. It was once center of a 2,800-acre plantation and is an example of Federal Neoclassicism style.

The county plans to restore the house in partnership with local preservation groups and eventually open it for public tours and events. For now, it provides an educational experience for students who are interested in the past.

The work is difficult and very meticulous. During one day’s work in early June, the students used shovels and trowels to search through 2-meter-square grids for fragments of pottery, bottles and other items. When something of interest was located, its precise location was documented.

While some students were busy digging, others were taking buckets of dirt and sifting the soil through a screen to pick out anything noteworthy. Some early discoveries included fragments of Pearl ware, which dates to the time of the construction of Holly Bend.

“Getting out in the field and breaking a sweat doing this sort of work is not that bad,” said Doug Sanders, 23, a senior applied anthropology major from Raleigh, wiping a bead of sweat from his brow. “I would absolutely enjoy it if I could turn this into my career.”

Read more about UNC Charlotte’s work with the Schiele Museum in the Q3 edition of UNC Charlotte magazine; it will be available in late August.

Paul Nowell is media relations manager in UNC Charlotte's Office of Public Relations.