Friday, December 21, 2012

University Brings Martha Graham Dance Company

One of the most revered dance companies in the world – the Martha Graham Dance Company – comes to Charlotte on Friday, Jan. 18.
The UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture is hosting the dance company for its first performance in the Queen City in more than 30 years. It will take place at 8 p.m. in the Knight Theater, Levine Center for the Arts.
The Martha Graham Dance Company, named for the groundbreaking 20th-century choreographer of modern dance, will present a program that includes “Appalachian Spring,” Graham’s most famous piece. It will feature the original set by Isamu Noguchi and a live performance of Aaron Copland’s beloved score.
Additional highlights of the performance include the premiere of a lost Graham work “Imperial Gesture,” reanimated by Kim Jones, assistant professor of dance and a former Martha Graham dancer, and “Panorama,” which will be presented by a 33-member ensemble of dancers from the University (current and alumni) and across the broad spectrum of the dance community. These dancers were chosen through professional audition and have been trained by Jones throughout the four months leading up to the January performance.
In presenting this performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company, the College of Arts + Architecture seeks to present to the community distinctive and high-profile cultural programming of exceptional quality that reflects particular expertise and research activities within the college.  This presentation is rooted in the expertise and research of Jones.
The Jan. 18 performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company is supported in part by Wells Fargo Private Bank, with media partners WDAV and WFAE. The reanimation of “Imperial Gesture”  is being funded through a UNC Charlotte faculty research grant.
Tickets are $35 and $45 and are available online at For more information, visit

Ashleigh Thornton: This Girl’s on Fire

By Buffie Stephens

When Ashleigh Thornton arrived in Charlotte five years ago, she had a feeling this would be her city. After visiting the campus of UNC Charlotte, she knew she had found her place.  

“During that first visit, I had a moment,” Thornton said. “I visited UNC-Chapel Hill and some other UNC schools. Most of them were located in small towns. I grew up in Chicago and Kansas City, so I love big cities. I fell in love with Charlotte and the UNC Charlotte campus.”

As a freshman, Thornton had aspirations of becoming a lawyer and declared a political science major. But she came to the conclusion that the study of political science wasn’t inspiring. Soon after, she discovered the Belk College of Business and found her academic home—the coursework was challenging, the students were competitive and the classes were stimulating.

Being a business major hasn’t come easy, Thornton noted.  “I took operations management four times until I finally got a B in that class. The curriculum also requires us to take a lot of math-intensive courses, and for me, math was a real challenge,” she said. 

Now a 21-year-old senior poised to graduate with a degree in marketing and a minor in Spanish, Thornton is a member of UNC Charlotte’s honors program and the Belk College Dean’s Fellows organization. She’s held impressive internships with Hallmark Cards Inc. in Kansas, as well as Procter & Gamble and McGuireWoods LLP. In early September, she shadowed the president of Bloomberg Businessweek, Paul Bascobert, during the Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte.

And last September, as a junior, she started her own business.

“I started wearing my hair naturally a few years ago, and I was spending a fortune on hair products. Finding something that was all-natural and concentrated enough to work on my thick hair texture, without having to use a whole lot of product, was almost impossible. I wanted an alternative,” Thornton said. “When I started looking at what was in those products, I was shocked at the ingredients. I decided I would make my own hair products.” And she did, concocting a host of ingredients at home, in the kitchen sink.

“Not having a background in chemistry was definitely a challenge for me, but I Googled all the ingredients and their properties and kept trying different combinations,” she said.

Using all of the money she saved from two summers of internships, Thornton created NoireNaturals.

“The name and overall theme of the line was inspired by my French-Creole heritage. Noire is the French, feminine form for the word black.” The line is designed for kinky, curly, wavy and relaxed hair, she explained

“Our prices are competitive, our ingredients are completely wholesome and 100 percent all-natural,” she said. The company sells anywhere from 100 to 200 product items a month online, in addition to wholesale orders. One of Thornton’s sales representatives is DJ Yasmin Young, co-host of the Morning Maddhouse on WPEG Power 98 Radio in Charlotte. Young was so impressed after trying the products that she asked to represent the line. 

“Seventeen Magazine” recently selected Thornton as one of three winners in their Make Your Own Money young entrepreneur contest. Thornton is featured in the magazine’s November issue, on newsstands now.

Anticipating a jump in business due to increased awareness generated by the magazine article, Thornton sought a manufacturer to help produce enough product to meet the demand. She approached Dudley Cosmetics founder and CEO Joe Dudley about producing NoireNaturals. Dudley Cosmetics is one of the world’s largest producers of African American cosmetics. Dudley agreed to produce the products and allow Thornton to maintain ownership of the company she created.
Thornton credits her parents, Curtis and Bridget Thornton, for instilling in her the will to explore and succeed. “My parents encouraged me and my brother and sisters. They let us try everything when we were kids,” Thornton said. “My Mom is the planner. She made us do vision boards when we were young. We figured out where we wanted to be in one year and five years and we set goals. My Dad is the people person and my business acumen comes from him. I talk to my Dad almost every day.” 
She also is indebted to her professors at UNC Charlotte and to the business people she’s met during the past few years. “I consider my Dad, Nigel Long (of Trade Street Investors) and professors Carol Swartz (Belk College of Business), Pamela Richardson (English) and Jody Turner (Women and Gender Studies) as mentors,” Thornton said.
Thornton recently added North Carolina General Assembly representative Becky Carney to her list of mentors. She credits an “ah-ha” moment at the spring 2012 Women’s Summit, which focused on women, wages and work, to her renewed desire to attend law school. 
“When I met Rep. Carney and Gov. Beverly Perdue I realized that I want to go into politics to help craft laws; to be a voice for the youth, women and minorities,” Thornton said. “I’d love to be a state representative and run for U.S. Congress someday. I know I can make a difference.” 
“I was very impressed in the ways Ashleigh determined her goals by knowing her interests, being inquisitive and listening to others and that she took the initiative to develop a small business,” Carney said. “Her immeasurable energy and enthusiasm are contagious, and she uses them in a smart way. I encourage young women like Ashleigh who are interested in public service to go in on the ground level and work their way to where they would like to serve by first getting familiar with their surroundings while gaining the knowledge they will need to make intelligent decisions. Then they will know when they want to go into politics and unselfishly make a positive difference in the lives of the people they serve, and I believe Ashleigh will.”
Since winning the “Seventeen Magazine” young entrepreneurs contest, Thornton has been approached by an MTV casting director who is working to design a reality series about young entrepreneurs under the age of 25. Though she’s not certain she wants to be followed night and day, she has until the end of the year to decide. She also is featured as a Hallmark cover girl on the Mahogany Cards website for the holiday season. 
For now, Thornton will continue on with her senior year and focus on graduation. She’ll run her business, participate in the University Honors Program and the Sigma Alpha Lambda National Honors Society, serve as a Belk College of Business Dean’s Fellow and continue on as a public policy intern at the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.
If she decides to pursue law school and politics, Thornton thinks she can hire the right people to run NoireNaturals.
One of Thornton’s favorite rhythm and blues artists, Alicia Keys, recently released the lead single, “Girl on Fire.”   It’s a strong female empowerment anthem, with inspiring lyrics—the song could have been written for Thornton. 
Oh, we got our feet on the ground
/ And we’re burning it down /
Oh, got our head in the clouds
/ And we’re not coming down
/ This girl is on fire /
This girl is on fire
/ She’s walking on fire
/ This girl is on fire
She’s just a girl, and she’s on fire.
Buffie Stephens is media relations manager for University Communications.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

University Committed to Even Safer Campus

The following is a message from Chancellor Philip L. Dubois to the UNC Charlotte campus community
November 27, 2012
Before the Thanksgiving break, I issued a statement to the campus community about campus safety in the wake of a recent report of a possible sexual assault in the Fretwell Building. To ensure that all members of the community are properly informed, I am reissuing that statement today with some additional information I want you to have.
As indicated last week, you should know first and foremost that our own Department of Police and Public Safety, with the assistance of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, is carefully and vigorously investigating this reported incident. The University’s full resources are devoted to assisting the investigation, but the collection and review of evidence will be a deliberate process.
In the meantime, UNC Charlotte continues to implement improvements to ensure that our campus is a safe place to live and work. As shown by the University’s most recent Annual Security Report, reported crime in virtually every category has decreased consistently in recent years. That’s a particularly important fact to consider in light of the expansion of the student population by more than 25 percent since 2005.
It is also important to know that we are constantly assessing the resources allocated for campus safety and security. In response to a request earlier in the year, I have recently allocated funds to provide even more sworn officers on campus. Police Chief Jeff Baker and I agree that all of these new officers will be dedicated to foot and bike patrols.
We also continue our work with the Student Government Association on its annual “Safe Walk” program to identify campus safety and security issues that require attention. Thus far, more than $1 million has been allocated to address the issues identified by this program, which sends out SGA representatives and University staff in an evening inspection of the campus. I have reserved funds to address the results of this year’s Safe Walk once SGA has completed its report and submitted it to me.  
Notably, our safety-related investments have not been limited to those discovered through Safe Walk. UNC Charlotte has made an additional investment of nearly $5 million in a range of safety and security initiatives including improved lighting in the parking decks, state-of-the-art door access systems (which should be completed this year), the SafeRide program, the installation of parking lot watch towers and building security cameras (of which there are more than 360 across campus), and expansion of the campus network of “blue light” emergency telephones to more than 300.
With that said, it is obvious to nearly everyone that there is more to be done. Of particular concern are areas on campus where additional lighting is needed and where additional security monitoring might be helpful. We also need to rethink the routes, schedules, and stops related to SafeRide. I have asked Jesh Humphrey, chair of the Chancellor’s Campus Safety and Security Committee, to work with Police Chief Baker and other members of that Committee to provide me with a report and recommendation on these issues early in the spring semester.
For those of you who may not know, the Chancellor’s Campus Safety and Security Committee, which was chartered in 2008, is comprised of faculty, staff, and students who carefully review and provide recommendations for security measures which have been instituted across campus. The Committee’s Safety and Security Report from earlier this year, as well as information regarding the Committee’s work and membership, can be found at You are welcome to communicate with the Committee should you have additional ideas for their consideration.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Memorial service held at UNCC for national guardsman killed in C-130 crash

Memorial service held at UNCC for national guardsman killed in C-130 crash

Dubois Meets with Cabarrus County Leaders

Chancellor Dubois address the Cabarrus Regional Chamber

Chancellor Philip L. Dubois delivered the keynote address at the Cabarrus Chamber State of the Region meeting held in Concord Tuesday.
In this presentation, Dubois talked about how Cabarrus County’s and UNC Charlotte’s future are linked and that both have bright outlooks.
“Highly educated and well-trained college graduates, along with applied research, will continue to power economic development in Cabarrus County,” stated Dubois. “Initiatives like EPIC, data analytics and advanced manufacturing will continue to grow jobs and investments here… The only real gains (in jobs) during the still struggling recovery are those filled by workers with at least some post-secondary education.” He added there is an urgent need to find ways to train workers for the more skilled jobs of the future, and UNC Charlotte is responding.
Dubois also stressed significant connections between the University and Cabarrus County – of all the college students from the county pursuing an education at a UNC system institution, 43 percent attend UNC Charlotte.
Dubois met with Concord Mayor Scott Padgett
Currently, the University enrolls 1,659 students from Cabarrus County, which includes 190 freshmen, 164 transfers (more than half from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College) and 284 graduate students. Roughly 6,300 of the University’s 60,000 alums in the region live in Cabarrus County, and more than 700 employees live in the county – that would make UNC Charlotte the ninth largest employer if the campus was located in Cabarrus.
The chancellor also discussed educational and health care partnerships between the University and Cabarrus County schools and human services facilities and agencies. An alumni reception at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, which featured head football coach Brad Lambert and Mesbah Uddin, director of the motorsports engineering program, concluded the day.

As part of the day-long outreach initiative, the chancellor also met with business and industry partners and civic and governmental leaders. This focused visit is part of a series of stops to the 12 counties that comprise the greater Charlotte region in an effort to strengthen relationships within the communities UNC Charlotte serves.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Celebrating an International Partnership

By Mary Lynne Calhoun
Dean, College of Education

An 18th century baroque palace was the setting of an international discussion on 21st century education policy among delegations from Russia, Israel, Japan, China, the United States, and Germany, Oct. 10-11.  The occasion was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ludwigsburg University of Education (Germany) through a gathering of the university’s international partners.

A global audience considered Obama, Romney views.
UNC Charlotte Provost Joan Lorden and I joined delegates from institutions including the University of Yamanashi (Japan), Beit Berl College (Israel), Samara State Academy of Social Sciences and Humanities (Russia), Tianjin Normal University (China) and UNC Pembroke (USA).

Each participating university was asked to present educational policy issues of importance in their own country.  Joan and I made our presentation through a mock presidential debate based on the education platforms of President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

All of the participating universities have a substantive role in teacher education in their state or nation, and though there were many differences among the institutions, our conversations circled back to very similar interests and concerns. Global competitiveness, teacher shortages in mathematics, science, and special education, and the relationship of teacher education to the broader university emerged as common themes. Concerns about rising tuition costs and rising student debt also crossed international boundaries, as did the demand for universities to become more efficient and more accountable.

The power of international partnerships in teacher education was affirmed through the universities’ shared commitment to prepare teachers with global perspectives.

The Ludwigsburg University of Education is one of UNC Charlotte’s most established international partnerships. Student and faculty exchanges between the two universities began over 30 years ago; since then more than 300 students have participated in exchange programs between the institutions.

The author (right), with Joan Lorden (left) and colleague.

The Ludwigsburg University is part of a major education reform initiative within the state of Baden-Wurttemberg, helping the state move toward a comprehensive school system and away from a system of separate schools for pupils with different ability levels.

The UNC Charlotte-Ludwigsburg University of Education partnership has expanded to include an annual faculty symposium designed to highlight cross-cultural education issues and to share findings from collaborative research projects.  Three groups of UNC Charlotte elementary education majors and faculty have studied at Ludwigsburg for a full semester to explore international issues and practices in teacher education.

Engagement such as this extends UNC Charlotte's global reach and burnishes our reputation for high quality, high value education on a global stage.
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Governor Tours Energy Center on Campus

Gov. Perdue tours the EPIC building with EPIC Director Johan Enslin (right) and Bob Johnson (left), dean of the William States Lee College of Engineering.
During a visit to the UNC Charlotte campus on Thursday,  Oct. 25, Gov. Beverly Perdue toured the University’s new Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) along with two of her top advisors. During her visit, the governor met with students and faculty members and she also got a close-up look at some of EPIC’s cutting-edge sustainability features and technologies.

Chancellor Philip L. Dubois presented Perdue with a framed photo of the EPIC building and thanked the governor for her support of UNC Charlotte and leadership in efforts to grow the state’s energy cluster. Also on hand to greet Perdue were UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees Chairman Gene Johnson; Bob Johnson, dean of the William States Lee College of Engineering;  EPIC Director Johan Enslin;  and members of the EPIC Advisory Board.

EPIC is headquartered in a new $76 million building on the Charlotte Research Institute campus. EPIC also will further position Charlotte as the nation’s energy capital because of more than 240 energy-oriented organizations and more than 26,000 energy-oriented employees in its 16 counties.  It is a partnership between UNC Charlotte, state and local governments, and corporations, including several energy companies with major footprints in the Charlotte area. 

Along with corporate partners, the state of North Carolina also committed millions of dollars in funding to build the EPIC building and for ongoing support for new faculty members at the center.  
Considered critical to training new engineers and conducting research in energy technologies, EPIC will serve the diverse needs of existing and new energy companies, further positioning Charlotte as the nation’s energy hub. As the new home for Civil and Environmental Engineering, as well as Electrical and Computer Engineering, EPIC is a collaborative, state-of-the-art teaching and research facility. The EPIC building was designed with an eye toward sustainability, incorporating chilled-beam cooling, rainwater harvesting, drought-tolerant landscaping, sun-shading on the windows, day lighting, local building materials, and low-emitting furnishings.

Before departing, Perdue also got a brief tour of UNC Charlotte’s new football facility.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Speaker to Present “Vision for Public Education in NC”

By Lisa Patterson

The UNC Charlotte Department of Educational Leadership will host its first annual Distinguished Speaker Series at 5 p.m. , Oct. 24, in the Cone University Center Lucas Room. Bill Harrison, North Carolina State Board of Education Chairman, will deliver the keynote address titled, “A Vision for Public Education in North Carolina.” 
The speaker series will serve as a forum for educational stakeholders to address 21st century standards, challenges and best practices in education. Featured guest speakers will share insight and critical perspectives on education, its delivery, and impact on student performance. Policymakers, educational leaders, teachers and community members are invited to participate.

Harrison was appointed to the State Board of Education by Gov. Beverly Perdue in March 2009. A native of Pennsylvania, Harrison has served North Carolina public schools throughout his career. In addition to more than 11 years as superintendent in Cumberland County, he has served as superintendent in Orange County and in Hoke County. He also has served as an assistant superintendent in BrunswickCounty and as a principal and teacher.

For additional information, please contact Jennifer Townsend, 704-687-8998.

Transparency, Diversity of Perspective Yield Teaching Award

Associate professor Joanne Robinson from the Religious Studies Department in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is the 2012 recipient of the highest teaching honor bestowed by UNC Charlotte, the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence.

James Tabor, chair of religious studies, described Robinson’s impressive teaching accomplishments: “I think I can say without the slightest exaggeration that no faculty member I know of, in our department or outside of it, has had more of a high quality educational, inspirational and life-mentoring influence on students than Professor Joanne Robinson.”

Robinson was selected from an esteemed list of finalists for the award. The other nominees were: Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau, associate professor of German; Sunil Erevelles, chair and associate professor of Marketing; Harold Henry “Hal” Jaus, professor of reading and elementary education; and Michael J. Turner, associate professor of kinesiology.

The announcement was made at a reception on Oct. 19, at Bank of America’s Founder’s Hall.  Robinson, an associate professor, and the other finalists were honored during an evening ceremony and gala attended by UNC Charlotte faculty members and their guests.

Since joining the Department of Religious Studies faculty in 1996, Robinson has received an impressive number of teaching-related awards and grants.  She received the B.E.S.T. (Building Educational Strengths and Talents) Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008 and became a University College Faculty Fellow in 2010-11. She also has received funding and recognition from the Wabash Center in Indiana and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

According to Robinson, the key to her success as a teacher is transparency; by ensuring that the goals and outcomes of the course are transparent, she establishes a classroom ethos of mutual respect and high expectation. She extends this engaged and collegial intellectual atmosphere beyond the classroom. Her students describe weekly informal gatherings hosted by Robinson in which interested graduate and undergraduate students stop by her office for “playtime,” where they ask questions, discuss related issues and exchange ideas.

One graduate student wrote: “Dr. Robinson brings enthusiasm and openness to active student engagement that encourages a free exchange of ideas and diversity of perspective that make the course material accessible and interesting.” By creating a stimulating environment, Robinson has been able to cultivate a practice of intellectual courage and creativity among her students, achieving her goal of instilling “analytical sophistication about complex issues, even in the absence of solutions or agreement.”
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Friday, September 28, 2012

Beschloss shares views on length of presidential terms

Beschloss talks of presidential character

Prominent author and historian Michael Beschloss talked with more than 200 students and faculty on the main campus and another 200-plus at UNC Charlotte Center City on Sept. 27. The visits comprised the second edition of the annual Chancellor's Speaker Series. Beschloss spoke largely on the topic of presidential courage and other qualities of character. He said the four key qualities for a good president are 1) presidential courage to do what is right, but unpopular; 2) oratorical skills that can sway opinion and drive behavior; 3) a sense of history that helps him/her avoid making major blunders and helps guide prudent decisions; 4) the ability and actual interest in working with those in other parties and with differing positions.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Stack of Books" Comes Alive in Center City

On Saturday, Sept. 22, UNC Charlotte Center City hosts the second annual Community Day, beginning at noon. UNC Charlotte staked its claim as a key resident uptown when it opened its 11-story facility two years ago. The Center City campus at Ninth and Brevard is home to MBA programs, continuing education, urban education graduate programs, an art gallery and special events. Saturday's event is a chance for neighbors in the Third Ward, Fourth Ward and throughout Charlotte to enjoy arts and culture with UNC Charlotte students, staff and faculty. Come see us.

Cultural shifts in America's suburban neighborhoods

Research suggests that suburbs are serving as natural laboratories for interacting among diverse, bipartisan social groups.

Cultural shifts in America's suburban neighborhoods - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Reality check on Jesus and his ’wife’

Religious Studies professor and author James Tabor comments re role of women in early Christianity: Reality check on Jesus and his ’wife’

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Discussion: Women’s Role in Middle East Elections, Revolutions, Empowerment

By Lynn Roberson

International leaders spoke on Sept. 5 to over 100 students, faculty, staff and community members at UNC Charlotte’s Cone University Center on “Elections, Revolutions, Empowerment: The Role of Women in Tomorrow’s Middle East.”

The event was part of the 49er Democracy Experience, in partnership with the National Security Network. Panelists were Dr. Tamara Wittes, Brookings Senior Fellow and Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and Dr. Franziska Brantner, Member of the European Parliament. Dr. Gregory Starrett, Professor of Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, moderated. Starrett’s research focuses on cultural politics of Islam in the Middle East.

Dr. Franzisk Brantner (left); Dr. Tamara Wittes
During the discussion, the panelists addressed the mobilization of women, youth and others in the Arab Spring movements in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other parts of the Arab world.

“This unrest was driven by some deep, underlying changes in Arab society,” Wittes said. These included demographic changes, a youth “bulge,” increased literacy and education for women and a delay in the age at which women have children, she said.

The changes saw a rise of a young generation with aspirations, who looked around and saw political repression and other issues. “They found the reality was very, very far from what they hoped to achieve,” she said.

Protests occurred outside the normal constructs of these societies, Wittes said. She noted the impact of social media on the movements, citing as an example an Egyptian worker who organized a strike through the use of Facebook and became a leader in the broader movement.

A challenge now is transforming these past actions into permanent and meaningful change, requiring the formalizing of equality and inclusion efforts, she said. The United States can play a role in helping women learn how to participate in government and to operate businesses, and by creating models of what women’s leadership looks like, she said.

Wittes served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs from November of 2009 to January 2012, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East for the State Department.

Brantner is spokeswoman for foreign affairs of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and Parliament’s standing rapporteur for the Instrument for Stability. This is a strategic tool designed to address a number of global security and development challenges.
In the past, “it was not about democracy or human rights; it was about stability,” she said. Policy priorities have now shifted as a result of the movements, she said.

Women have played critical roles in the uprisings, she said. Now, women’s rights over their own bodies, who they marry, how they dress and other rights are threatened, such as in Tunisia’s draft constitution that describes women as “complementary to men.”

Brantner noted that supporters must consider women’s personal decisions on how they will participate, such as in labor movements. “We have to be careful to support women in whatever struggle they have chosen,” she said.

Asked why a focus is centered on women, the speakers said issues of equality offer fundamental insights into prospects for stability.  “If the women lose out in these countries, democracy won’t stand for long,” Brantner said.

International studies major Cole Garde said he gained insights from the panel into how policies and priorities are established by the U.S. and other governments. For international studies and philosophy major Charles Williamson, the discussion brought home the need to continue to address women’s rights in the U.S. “I feel like it’s going to impossible to promote women’s rights in the Middle East or internationally,” otherwise, he said.

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Lynn Roberson is director of communication for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dubois Talks About the Importance Morrill Act

Inside UNC Charlotte - 49er Democracy Experience Special Report #1

Community Day Coming to Center City

UNC Charlotte Center City will hold a second Community Day celebration from noon to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22.

Billed as an interactive afternoon, the celebration will feature UNC Charlotte alumnus and national poetry slam master Boris Rogers, along with an appearance by Norm the Niner, as well as local DJs, the band Vess, radio station La Raza and cultural and departmental stations.

“We’re inviting all students, family members, faculty, academic departments and the community at large to attend this year’s event,” said Donell Stines, community outreach coordinator for UNC Charlotte Center City. “Last year, approximately 200 attendees participated in our inaugural celebration. This is a great opportunity to meet new people, experience the surrounding local flavor, connect with local artists and learn more about UNC Charlotte Center City and the eclectic area around it.”

New for this year will be the “Center City Scavenger Hunt” that will take participants through the 11-story building.

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Inside UNC Charlotte - 49er Democracy Experience Special Report #2

Lumina Foundation panel seeks solutions for higher education

By John D. Bland

As part of the 49er Democracy Experience this reporter observed a panel discussion with state and national higher education leaders on Sept. 4 in uptown Charlotte. Hosted by the Lumina Foundation, the panel talked about the role of higher education in the social and economic future of North Carolina and the United States.

The Lumina Foundation works to ensure that all students who come to college graduate with meaningful, high-quality degrees and credentials that enable them to contribute to the workforce, improve society and provide for themselves and their families. It seeks to help develop college educated citizens who are more ethical, healthier and less reliant on public assistance.

Based on the premise that college degrees are the currency of our democracy, the panelists and attendees shared ideas for solving engrained problems facing K-12 and higher education. Panelists included Lumina Foundation President Jamie Merisotis; Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce Director Anthony Carnevale; Former North Carolina Central University Chancellor Charlie Nelms; American Chamber of Commerce Executives President Mick Fleming, and Young Invincibles Executive Director Aaron Smith

One of the Lumina Foundation’s primary objectives in its College Advantage initiative is to increase the percentage of Americans with high quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025.  In 2010, only 38.3 percent of Americans had such credentials (which include four-year college degrees or better, as well as professional certifications and licensures.) In the Charlotte-Gastonia region, that percentage is 43 percent.

If the Lumina Foundation achieves its objective of boosting the attainment of college degrees and credentials of Americans to 60 percent by 2025, the Foundation says that would add $500 billion to the U.S. GDP.

Some of the highlights, according to the panelists:
Two-thirds of people without college educations in 1980s still ranked as middle-class. But since 1983, the wages of such people have steadily declined, while the wages of college educated people increased. That trend continues.
Unemployment for those with a high school education or less is three times worse than for the college-educated, during the recent recession as well as the nascent economic recovery.
Today’s labor market demands more college educated and highly credentialed workers – innovative people, not just those who are technically trained.
Access to higher education is no longer the burning issue – attainment and completion of degrees and other credentials is the more pressing now.
Education attainment is a “consuming issue” among Chambers of Commerce. In the past, business leaders tended to view higher education in a “too-personal” way – seeking to locate interns and graduates only for their organizations. Now, business interests are beginning to take a more global view in shaping and supporting education policy.
Business leaders are increasingly looking for educated workers who have well developed “soft skills,” and critical thinking capabilities. Business is looking for a “new inventory” of smart, capable people.
Leaders in education, business and philanthropy agree that young people should become active in shaping education policy.
Female participation in higher education has bested that of males for many years; Men are beginning to make gains, though it will take them more than 10 years to match the rate of female participation. The increase in male participation in higher education is very important because it is now much harder for males without college degrees to find substantive, sustainable work.
States must be careful to educate their resident citizens, and not rely too heavily on “imported” talent provided by educated people who move in from other states or countries; those people can just as easily relocate again.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Dubois discusses bright spots, concerns

PBS News Show Tapes on Campus

With the Democratic National Convention ready to kick off, the focus on the U.S. presidential sweepstakes moved to the UNC Charlotte campus on Friday with the taping of the PBS weekly show, “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill.”
Nearly 300 students, faculty and other guests filtered into the Anne R. Belk Theater to watch Ifill discuss the latest political news with a panel of veteran reporters: Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post; Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times; John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC and a political writer for the New York Times; and Alexis Simendinger, of RealClearPolitics.
Ifill arrived on the UNC Charlotte campus earlier Friday, after wrapping up her duties as co-host of  PBS's Republican convention coverage from Tampa with her “PBS NewsHour” colleague, Judy Woodruff. They will continue those same roles at the DNC in Charlotte, starting next Tuesday, Sept. 4.
After being introduced by Chancellor Philip L. Dubois, Ifill engaged the audience with her humor, telling them she was looking forward to introducing the panel of “sleep-deprived journalists.”
Once the roundtable conversation began, she questioned her colleagues on topics ranging from whether Republican nominee Mitt Romney succeeded in raising his likability rating in Tampa to what President Obama needs to do in Charlotte to help him win a second term.
Harwood said he felt Romney did show off his human side at the Republican National Convention.
“He showed some emotion and he talked about his family and his parents,” he said.
“His favorability ratings are in the mid 30 percent range, which means he is the arguably the most unpopular presidential nominee in history,” said Tumulty, citing polling results by her newspaper.
Ifill asked Zeleny what President Obama needed to accomplish at next week’s convention.
“He needs to reach out and reconnect with the same people who voted for him next year,” he said. “And he needs to be more forward looking.”
Following the taping of the “Washington Week PBS Election 2012” special, a second half-hour program was taped featuring Ifill and the panelists fielding questions from the audience. The “Washington Week Extra-North Carolina Edition” will be available on the “Washington Week” website:
On Thursday, UNC Charlotte held a special in-depth “Behind the Scenes View” for students with the TV show’s producers as part of the university's 49er Democracy Experience. The 49er Democracy Experience brings together expert faculty, civic-minded students and community partners to develop educational programming to enhance the public understanding of and participation in our nation’s democratic process.
“Washington Week,” the critically acclaimed PBS program, is in its 45th year on the air, making it the longest-running primetime news and public affairs program on television.
Ifill is moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and senior correspondent for the “PBS NewsHour.”  She is also the best-selling author of “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama” (Doubleday, 2009).

Why Charlotte? Because it's Engaging, Diverse, Determined

The simple question “Why Charlotte?” was the topic of a lively and compelling political discussion at UNC Charlotte Center City.
More than 200 students, faculty and top University leaders were on hand as Provost Joan Lorden moderated a panel on why North Carolina’s largest city was selected to host the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
Former Charlotte mayors Harvey Gantt and Richard Vinroot and Charlotte Chamber President Bob Morgan were the panelists for the discussion; each provided his perspective on the convention’s value to the community and UNC Charlotte. They also encouraged students to become more involved in their communities.
“There are 15,000 young people helping put on this convention,” said Vinroot, a Republican who served as mayor of Charlotte from 1991 to 1995. “Hopefully this will inspire them to engage.”
For his part, Gantt suggested one lasting legacy of the 2012 Democratic National Convention will be promoting diversity. A Democrat, Gantt served as mayor of Charlotte from 1983 to 1987.

“Charlotte created a directory of diverse businesses that wanted to do business with the DNC – much more than Denver – because we were very intentional about it,” he said.
Morgan said the DNC’s economic impact is estimated at $100 to $150 million, but the long-term impact will be much larger because the national spotlight will shine on the city for several days.
“There are 6,000 delegates coming and many of these people have never been here,” he said. “Some 15,000 media have never been here. And many corporate big shots are coming here as well as 350 representatives from foreign governments who will be here for the first time.”
Morgan said UNC Charlotte will become one of the top economic drivers in this region, much like the role Charlotte-Douglas International Airport has played in the growth of the region’s economy.
The panel discussion, part of the University’s 49er Democracy Experience, was held in partnership with the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, which provides students with transformational experiences that foster academic and professional achievement, leadership and civic engagement.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Largest, stronger freshman class at UNCC ever – again

The incredible popularity of UNC Charlotte is testament to the tremendous value of the university. Through great public relations and marketing, smart students and parents from all over the United States are choosing a fine university and a dynamic city. This is good news for everyone associated with UNC Charlotte and for the Charlotte community. More and better college students help produce a better future.

Largest freshman class at UNCC ever – again | & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Don't Get Mad; Get Smart About Campus Parking

With move-in weekend beginning this Friday. Aug. 17 and fall classes beginning Monday, Aug. 20, the perennial "strategery" used to master on-campus parking is underway.

Beware: Permit enforcement begins the first day of class. Please have a current valid permit properly displayed on you vehicle or park in a Visitor deck or meter until a permit is obtained.

Student permit purchase/pick-up will be set up in the Student Union first floor Art Gallery, Thursday, Aug. 16 - Tuesday, Aug. 21

Thursday, Aug. 16, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 17, 8 a.m. - 8:00 pm

Saturday, Aug. 18, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 19, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 20, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 21, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

If you're unable to purchase a permit before classes and permit enforcement begins, you may buy a temporary permit for $5 per day.

Parking anywhere during the first two weeks of classes is typically challenging

The beginning of a new academic year creates the highest strain on parking availability. That’s because nearly every student - residents, commuters, full-time, part-time, night and online - need to conduct business here, like paying tuition, checking in with financial aid, meeting with advisors,buying books and parking permits, etc. Add to that a full roster of faculty and staff people and lots of extra visitors and it’s easy to see why parking gets uncomfortably close to capacity.

Advice for that first week or two of parking:

1. Park remotely - take the shuttle in

It’s so much easier to park along the margins and take the shuttle into the core of campus; and much faster too, as you’ll spare yourself the frustration of circling crowded decks. The best spots to park and ride the shuttle into the academic areas are:

North Deck (across Cameron from Witherspoon Hall, near Police and Public Safety and Laurel Hall). Rt. 49 Green Line picks up there Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.;

Lower portion of Lot 6 (Cameron across from Campus Edge). Rt. 50 Red Line stops there Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m - 10 p.m., Friday, 6:30 a.m. –6 p.m..

Here’s what you can do:

Make a plan – Before commuting to class on the first day, familiarize yourself with the lots and decks in which your permit allows you to park. Have a ‘plan B’ lot in mind if your first choice is full when you arrive. The first two weeks of the semester will be especially crowded, so make a ‘plan C, D and E’ while you’re at it. Know where you’re going and give yourself plenty of time to get there.

Get real – decks and lots closest to campus core will fill up quickly and early. Maybe this will be your lucky day and that one guy will be pulling out of a primo spot just as you’re rolling in five minutes before class. But probably not!

Don’t circle – in the time it takes you to loop five floors of a deck and /or stalk a pedestrian in hopes they’re leaving, you could have parked elsewhere, taken the shuttle in and started your day with a whole lot less stress.

PARK ONCE – unnecessarily driving around campus gums up traffic flow and makes the shuttles run late. Park once, then take the shuttle around if you need to go from one end of campus to another.

Don’t be ‘that guy’ – you know, the "sweetheart" who uses up two spots. Take a second to check that your vehicle is within the lines. And if you have to pull out a little to straighten up, do it to that person who’s stalking your back-up lights.

Don't get mad; get smart.

Dubois: UNC Charlotte on a Roll; Serving Public Good

By Phillip Brown

As UNC Charlotte welcomes its largest class of freshmen this fall, Chancellor Philip L. Dubois, during University Convocation Tuesday, Aug. 14, reminded the campus community about the value of providing access to quality higher education, such as that provided by the University.

“Like perhaps many of you, I owe my current position in life to having had the opportunity to attend a public university at little or no cost,” said Dubois. “What has happened in the last 20 years, of course, could lead some to conclude that this country’s commitment going forward to accessible and affordable higher education is in some peril… The ‘public good’ of public universities is less apparent to many, even though it is clear that the production of degree-holding citizens has positive outcomes for state economies, the generation of state tax revenues, the health of the population, the reduction of crime and a variety of other indicators. It is our obligation to attempt to turn this around with advocacy and information… To fail to do so not only has the potential to undermine our national and state economies but could result in the creation of a large swath of middle and lower class voters who feel no stake in the future of the public university because they cannot afford to attend.”
Dubois noted that student interest in UNC Charlotte is at unprecedented levels, with record numbers of applicants and enrolled students, representing a more diverse population with stronger academic backgrounds.

“Our freshman class this fall will be over 3,600 students, nearly 500 more than last year as a result of a higher matriculation rate,” he said. “The third outstanding class of Levine Scholars joins us this fall. And, at the last commencement held in May, we celebrated the 100,000th alumnus of UNC Charlotte and a record-number of annual doctoral degrees awarded - 118.”

Despite tough economic circumstances, the University is on a roll, stated Dubois, adding it was apparent everywhere one looked across campus with new facilities under construction and renovation of existing ones. The University has added UNC Charlotte Center City, EPIC and Motorsports Research. One new residence hall has been completed and two more are under construction, and the University will soon bid a new student dining commons.

“Our industry partnership building – PORTAL - is coming out of the ground as I speak,” Dubois said. In addition, there is a new tennis facility and a nearly complete football stadium complex.

The chancellor said he and fellow University leaders remain optimistic that the gradual turnaround in the state’s revenue picture will continue and additional gains could be seen in future years.

“With that said, we are not going to quickly forget the experience of the last four years. Although the state budget for the second year of the biennium turned out to be much better for us than it could have been, we must remain prudent and conservative in managing our affairs,” he said. “Our governing motto has always has been “hope for the best, but plan for the worst. That approach has served us well.”

University Convocation is an opportunity for members of the campus community to hear about UNC Charlotte’s long-term goals and immediate plans and issues. Provost Joan Lorden; Vidal Dickerson, president of the Staff Council; Conor Dugan, president of the student body; and Faculty President Ed Jernigan from the Department of Management in the Belk College of Business; spoke at the event, too.

New members of the faculty and professional staff were welcomed, and faculty members who have been granted permanent tenure were recognized, along with those who are beginning their 25th year of service to the University.

The Broadcast Communications Department provided a live Web stream of University Convocation; click here to watch a recorded version.   # # #   Phillip Brown is internal communications manager at UNC Charlotte.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

49ers Men's Soccer Team Poised for Championship Run

Last season, the 49ers Men's Soccer team advanced all the way to the National Championship game and despite falling just short of the ultimate prize, the team is poised to make another run at capturing Charlotte's first National Title.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Computers for Haitian Girls; Students, Faculty Teach Practical Skills

By Clark Curtis

Spring break for many college students conjures up images of warm sandy beaches and the roar of the waves. However that wasn’t the case this year for 10 students and faculty members from UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics. They had their sights set on three rural schools in northern Haiti as they embarked on a volunteer effort to share their computer expertise with teachers and mentors of Haitian girls. 

“This all came about as part of a collaboration with Charlotte-headquartered Mothering Across Continents, through which volunteer ‘catalysts’ receive consulting, coaching and mentoring to develop dream projects that help raise tomorrow’s leaders,” said Tiffany Barnes, associate professor in the department of computer science (pictured on the left, opposite). 

“MAC, in partnership with Hands for Haiti received a grant from Waveplace Foundation, to provide 25 XO laptop computers to each of the three schools, along with mentoring and educational software,” she continued. “The missing element was the computer training, which made this a perfect fit for us and an incredible opportunity for international outreach.”

Participants are part of the Students & Technology in Academia, Research & Service Leadership Corps, a STARS Alliance program that develops leaders to impact the world through computing. Led by the College of Computing and Informatics, STARS is a national consortium of 31 colleges and universities dedicated to preparing a larger, more diverse computing workforce for the 21st century.

Barnes said students worked with the female mentors to teach them how to use the laptops and “Scratch,” a programming language developed at MIT. The drag and drop technology allows the user to create colorful games.

In this instance, the women how to develop interactive games or presentations that address real world problems in the area, Barnes said. Such examples include energy, or lack there of, pollution in the river due to the lack of bathrooms or finding the nearest doctor.

“If we could get everyone, be it the mentors or students, telling stories via their laptops to others in the community about how things are and the need for change, then it will hopefully make everyone come together and find solutions to the problems,” Barnes noted. “We specifically targeted young women for the training as studies show in developing countries girls are much more likely to remain in the community and give back to others.”

For STARS student Nick Blanchard, the experience was life changing. He was approached by one of the female mentors and asked if he would create a program that could teach them how to speak English, he said.

“With the help of a fellow student from the college we were able to create a working prototype in about 20 minutes,” said Blanchard. “It then took four of us about 30 hours to create a program with 75 words and phrases to teach English. Not only could you see the word but hear it. 

Blanchard said the gratitude and appreciation the Haitians expressed despite their many hardships was overwhelming. His plan is to develop his own nonprofit and continue the effort.

“It was exhilarating for me to see the personal development of the STARS students and the mentors,” 
Barnes said. “I think this kind of work is extremely important because it makes you feel like you are making a difference. It’s a way of giving back whether it is giving back as computing people or (through) other diverse skill sets. For me, taking your advantage and giving back to the community is very important.”

Clark Curtis is director of communications for the College of Computing and Informatics.