Friday, August 30, 2013

My Friend the Congressman Comes to Visit

By Paul Nowell

In my former life as the Charlotte correspondent for The Associated Press, I had the opportunity to meet people from a wide variety of disciplines. Some were quarterbacks or federal judges. Others were banking executives or artists.

Along the way, I even interviewed one or two television evangelists.

During my career in the Fourth Estate, I had the pleasure to cover the comings and goings of former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes and members of his congressional staff, which included a graduate of UNC Charlotte, Richard Hudson.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson and Chancellor Dubois
With the 8th District always up for grabs in election years, I spent a considerable amount of time with Richard at campaign events in downtown Charlotte or outside former textile mills in smaller towns such as Kannapolis.

No matter how things were going for either of us, we always enjoyed ourselves, swapping war stories from the campaign and giving each other grief if one of our favorite sports teams was on the skids.

I knew Richard was from Charlotte and that he had graduated from UNC Charlotte. I did not know he was the Student Government Association president – most likely because he never boasted about his personal accomplishments.  He was totally dedicated to his boss and a consummate professional in his duties as the district director for Hayes from 2000 to 2005.

Flash forward and now Richard is the new representative in Congress from the 8th District. After winning 64 percent of the vote against Scott Keadle in the Republican primary, he went on the defeat Democratic incumbent Larry Kissell in November.

In an always-competitive district, he captured 54 percent of the vote to Kissell's 46 percent and took office in January 2013

So it was a real treat when I learned a couple of weeks ago that Richard was coming to campus to meet with Chancellor Philip L. Dubois and vice chancellor Bob Wilhelm to learn more about the University’s role in advanced manufacturing.

Here is the item I put together about the visit:

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson Tours Advanced Manufacturing Labs at UNC Charlotte

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson ’96 visited his alma mater, UNC Charlotte, on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, as part of his August recess from Congress.  Hudson wanted to visit the campus to learn more about the University’s role in advanced manufacturing.

Hudson met with Chancellor Philip L. Dubois, Bob Wilhelm, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, and other University officials.  After a stop at Jerry Richardson Stadium, he stopped in at the Precision Metrology Lab and other high-tech industrial labs in Duke Centennial Hall.

Hudson meets with Prof. Scott Smith and Dubois
Hudson said he viewed the visit as a chance to see firsthand how UNC Charlotte is becoming the critical training ground for high-skilled manufacturing jobs. One of his stops was the Center for Precision Metrology, which is internationally known for its expertise in manufacturing processes and quality assurance for mechanical parts.

For his part, Dubois said it is essential for UNC Charlotte to have access to federal funding for research such as the work being done in the center, where equipment is expensive. “That’s why it is important for members of Congress to understand why this work is so critical,” he said.
Mechanical Engineering Professor Scott Smith showed Hudson some of the discoveries made at the center, ranging from military aircraft construction to consumer electronics such as the iPod.
“North Carolina is on the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing jobs,” Hudson said, “and we need to make sure we increase the number of job opportunities in our community and ensure our students have the skills they need when they enter the workforce.”

Hudson, a Republican, was elected in November 2012 to represent North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from UNC Charlotte while serving as Student Body President. Hudson serves on the House Agriculture Committee, the Education and Workforce Committee and the Homeland Security Committee.  He is the current Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Transportation Security.
  Paul Nowell is media relations manager in the Office of Public Relations.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

49ers smoke the competition in grillfest

By Jenny Matz

Last Saturday, UNC Charlotte competed alongside UNC Chapel Hill, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, UNC Wilmington, East Carolina University, Appalachian State, the University of South Carolina and the University of Tennessee in “Grill University,” sponsored by The Southern Ideal Home Show. 

49ers faithful  at the Grill University event on Aug. 24.
From August 23-25, at the Charlotte Merchandise Mart, schools went head to head in a grilling and tailgate showdown to determine the best of the best.

Over 100 proud 49er fans showed up in their green and gold to cheer the UNC Charlotte team. Even Norm and “The Normbulance” lent support by coming out and whipping up the crowd. UNC Charlotte did a full sweep, winning all categories: Taste, Team spirit, Flair, Creativity and Originality, and Best of Show.

Way to go Niners! Bring that grill technique to tailgating at 49ers football this fall.

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Jenny Matz is assistant director of community affairs at UNC Charlotte.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Affordable Car Act Part of Healthy, Fresh Beginning

By Nancy Fey-Yensan

Summer has come and gone and once again, and we are kicking-off have kicked-off another fall semester. I always look forward to this time of the year – the energy and excitement it brings to our campus and of course, the chance to embark on a fresh beginning. With our opening Convocation ceremony we, as a University, took a moment to celebrate our achievements and reflect on the lessons of the past and our aspirations for the future. These sentiments also ring true for the College of Health and Human Services. With a fresh beginning, we can also celebrate our accomplishments and the many new opportunities taking shape that will most certainly take our College to the next level of success.

This year, we have several new professors joining our exceptional faculty, lots of new talent among our graduate students, administrative and growing research staff, and of course, many new first year students assuming their role as members of the class of 2017. The College as a whole is accomplishing extraordinary things that also mark fresh beginnings. This summer the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree was approved, with a full class entering the School of Nursing now.  The Department of Public Health Sciences just received notice that our PhD in Behavioral Science was approved and they will start accepting applications in January of 2014.  

We are launching many new and innovative research and service relationships with the health care industry, and, we are watching with great interest as the next phases of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unfold -- hopeful for the potential of fresh beginnings for many uninsured families in our Charlotte community, across the state and nationally. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the ACA because it has such a direct connection to our work at the College in terms of community engagement, research and how we must educate and orient the next generation of health care and social service providers. 

This is truly an amazing opportunity for us and those we seek to serve through our work. First and foremost, we hold the belief that everyone has the right to health, which includes full access to affordable and high quality health care. Under the ACA, currently uninsured families will have expanded opportunities to receive regular primary and preventive care—reducing emergency room visits for health issues that could have been avoided in the first place, and at substantially reduced cost to individuals and the health care system—costs that are both emotional and financial.  We will play a huge role in this groundbreaking preventative effort by producing the most highly trained community-based work force we can while continuing to expand the competencies of our graduates in the acute-care arena, where hopefully, fewer newly insured will end up. 

Gratefully, we are ahead of the curve as we already have our students across all programs experience the delivery of care and services in community settings, working in interdisciplinary teams to strategize more comprehensive and integrated solutions for patients and clients.  Newly insured folks will also need easily accessed and understandable health information so that they can be fully engaged partners in staying or becoming healthy.  Our nurses, social workers, exercise scientists and public health students will have to communicate effectively and with high cultural competence to help families realize optimal health. What role will we play on the research front? Our goal is to grow connections and partnerships across the new landscape of health care delivery- from grass-roots health and social service agencies, to municipal services, to non-profit health care, to industry- working in tandem to design and assess best and evidence based practices and, to provide analytical expertise for large data bases that will drive decision making to continuously improve patient and client care outcomes.

The ACA is a bold, fresh beginning to creating a health care system that is focused on meeting the basic healthcare needs of ALL Americans, and we will learn much about its impact over the coming months and years.  Whatever its major successes or minor failures, I am proud to know that the College of Health and Human Services is a needed and engaged partner in an initiative that will lift up and strengthen families and our communities for years to come.  

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Nancy Fey-Yensan is Dean of the College of Health and Human Services  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Convocation message of unity grows from Bonnie Cone legacy

By Jared Moon

While pondering this year’s Convocation presentation, one inevitably is forced to contemplate the emphasis placed on encouraging an engaged, committed and collaborative environment at UNC Charlotte with Chancellor Phil Dubois' theme of restoring the “Uni” in University resonating throughout speech.

Thanks to Bonnie Cone – the University founder, this is not a new concept at UNC Charlotte.  This institution has a rich history of leveraging the joint efforts of many individuals to form a single, unified institution charged with providing an affordable, high-quality education.  Miss Bonnie’s tireless efforts and ability to motivate others to join her mission has always provided a standard for which is a great point of pride for this University; a standard that is also engrained in the 49er spirit the school’s mascot personifies.

That sense of collaboration and resilience remains relevant to this day and is paramount to the success of the University as it continues to grow in both size and stature within the region.

UNC Charlotte is integral to the fabric of the Charlotte region and as the city attempts to stake its claim as a leader, inevitably, UNC Charlotte must follow suit.

The demand for higher education in this region has never been higher and UNC Charlotte has positioned itself to meet that need.

While industry partnerships like EPIC (Energy Production and Infrastructure Center) and PORTAL (Partnership, Outreach, and Research to Accelerate Learning) are vital to the University’s growth, and football allows for new opportunities, its fundamental element is the mental and physical capital of its faculty and staff.

Chancellor Dubois’ message was not novel but necessary.  Those of us invested in UNC Charlotte must continue to tap that unified sense of purpose to maintain that the University continues to be the vibrant, kinetic and essential resource it already is.

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Jared Moon is communications coordinator in the Office of Public Relations.