UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Archives for December 2011

Winter commencement Dec. 15

UNCG will confer degrees to hundreds of students during the annual Winter Commencement Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Greensboro Coliseum. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m.

Dr. Jennifer Etnier (Kinesiology) will be the commencement speaker.

Etnier, an expert in exercise psychology, has taught at UNCG since 2004. She earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics from the University of Tennessee, her master’s degree in exercise and sport science from UNC Chapel Hill and her doctoral degree in the same field from Arizona State University. She’s the author of “Bring Your ‘A’ Game: A Young Athlete’s Guide to Mental Toughness.”

A full report is at UNCG News. Additional information can be found at the Commencement Central web site.

By Lanita Withers Goins
Photography by David Wilson

I give that a 2

When a first year student loves what you did for them, that encounter just might get a good review. And if they found the interaction less than stellar? Their letting someone know can help the university know where to improve.

It’s part of the university’s efforts to improve student success and increase retention rates. By 2013, UNCG’s goal for retention for fall of first year to fall of second year by 2013 is 80 percent.

The First Year Task Force began last January, and it’s led by Kristen Christman and Kim Sousa-Peoples. It grew out of work that Cherry Callahan and Steve Roberson led about the first year experience. And this Text Track program (using the Spartan Scale grading system – see visual) is part of the Task Force’s assessment plan.

The “Spartan Scale” allows 53 first year students to give a grade to their interactions and experiences on campus. When something is perceived as problematic to a student, they can text and alert us to it, she explains. If we can do anything about it, then we will try. If we can’t, at least the student feels heard, she notes. “For example, one student said it rains too much here. Well, what can you do?”

And when something goes very well? They can text it and give it a positive score.

Any clear patterns from students’ texts so far? “They do like the staff in the Dining Hall, [finding them] friendly and helpful, and the Jackson Library resources are very useful,” Sousa-Peoples says, according to the texts to date.

Graduate assistant Jessica Quattrucci, who is supporting Your First Year/First Year Task Force, collects the Text Track messages as emails through Google Voice.

The new First Year Web site, a clearinghouse of info, is tailored just for these first year students. For example, having trouble with academics? It tells them where to turn. Need help with classes? There are eight places to click, from Tutoring info to Writing resources to Special accommodations. Many of these pages already existed. The idea is to make it easier for the students to access what they need, so they can be successful.

Additionally, 65 students this year in a pilot program spent part of their first two days of classes helping students to their classes and classrooms. They wore lime green T-shirts – the motto was “Look for the Lime.” Next year, there will be about 300 students – with an eye toward efficient use of resources, student groups who are already trained (such as RAs and Spartan Guides) will be utilized. This year, these SPEARS (student peers encouraging achievement for retention success) were from SOS (Student Orientation Staff) and PALs (Peer Academic Leaders).

Throughout the semester, these 65 students also are each contacting four first-year students. Whether by phone, email or Facebook, it’s a simple check-in system. This should help with retention efforts, Sousa-Peoples explains. If a first-year student is considering transferring, staff members can be made aware of the student’s needs and perhaps something can be done to help the student.

Every department has the potential to positively impact retention rates, the task force notes. It is a university-wide effort.

By Mike Harris

Middle College at middle of year

Angela Polk-Jones, who holds the UNCG record for most points in women’s basketball, made a few key points about the UNCG Middle College as she introduced four of the ninth-graders at last week’s Trustees meeting.

Polk-Jones, an educator for 20 years – and most recently an assistant principal at Aycock Middle before becoming the middle college principal – spoke of the support they’ve received as departments around campus have reached out to them.

The middle college’s focus is on health and wellness fields, she noted.

She reminded those in attendance that Dr. Tom Martinek had been working on this project for about 10 years. The middle college opened in August.

Each of the ninth-graders spoke a moment about their perspective on the middle college:

“I love the middle college. It’s opened up so many doors for me….”

“I want to be a dermatologist…It helps me get to where I want to be in life.”

“I want to be a microbiologist,” said one student, explaining that there is a lab in the school. She added, “It is good to try new things…”

A recent field trip to Cone Women’s Hospital opened students’ eyes – about what areas they may have a passion for, or what they will shy away from.

There are a wide variety of students. Polk-Jones spoke, on a personal note, about her not-so-promising background years ago. Her time at UNCG had helped put her where she is today, helping many others realize their potential.

Currently, 49 students are enrolled, all in ninth grade. With each passing year, an additional 50 will be added, until there are about 200 in grades 9-12.

She said they are developing “care teams” of 2-3 mentors for each student – one would be an adult employee on campus. Those interested in this mentoring program may contact 4-3662.

Also, the Middle College is collecting items and gift cards to make a better holiday season for 11 families. Those interested may contact the middle college as well.

By Mike Harris

Tuition proposal approved by trustees

Tuition will increase by 10 percent in 2012-13, if a proposal passed by the UNCG Board of Trustees Dec. 2 is approved by the UNC Board of Governors (BOG).

The tuition increase would be 6.5 percent, plus there would be a quality enhancement tuition increase of 3.5 percent.

The primary justifications for the tuition increase are:

  • To retain faculty, in part by bringing UNCG faculty salaries closer to the 80th percentile of peers (goal of the UNC Board of Governors)
  • To restore as many course sections as possible lost as a result of successive budget reductions (loss of 157 faculty positions and approximately 975 course sections and 40,000 class seats in 2011-12)

As part of the Quality Enhancement Tuition proposal approved by the trustees, UNCG will:

  • Pursue annual tuition increases over the following three years (2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16) in keeping with prevailing guidelines from the BOG, and as recommended by the UNCG Tuition Committee appointed each year.
  • Plan for an additional “quality enhancement” tuition increase of up to 3.5 percent in each of these three years, contingent upon an annual reassessment of then current financial conditions and needs, as documented by the Tuition Committee appointed for each of those years and discussed with the chancellor.

Under the proposal for 2012-13, student fees would increase as well.

As an example, an in-state undergraduate that year would see their annual combined tuition/fees rise a total of 12.1 percent (an increase of $660) to $6,105. An out-of-state undergraduate would see their annual tuition/fees rise by 10.6 percent (an increase of $1,913) to $19,883.

Currently, UNCG is fifth in tuition and fees in the UNC system. A decade ago, it was third, noted Vice Provost Alan Boyette.

View the presentation.

By Mike Harris

View unit level program review reports

Provost David H. Perrin told the Board of Trustees at their Dec. 2 meeting that he had received most of the unit level committees’ academic program review reports. These unit level committees have worked during this fall semester to create the reports, which are being forwarded to the University-level Academic Program Review committee.

These reports on academic programs are available at http://opa.uncg.edu/programreview/.

At that web page, click on “centrally provided data login.” Then log in with your UNCG username and password. Click on “Centrally Provided Data – Program and Departmental Profiles.”

At the bottom of that screen, click the icon that reads “Unit and Deans Reports.”

Faculty and staff are invited to leave commentary on these reports through Dec. 15, 2011, for the university-level program review committee to consider. Comments may be offered by clicking on the link “Academic Program Review Feedback Form” at http://opa.uncg.edu/programreview/.

This form will remain available for comments on other aspects of the process until the review process is completed.

The ongoing academic program review process will be one of the topics of discussion at the Faculty Senate meeting today (Wed, Dec. 7.) The meeting will be in the Alumni House’s Virginia Dare Room at 3 p.m.

UNCG Magazine offers extras

The fall 2011 UNCG Magazine has published. The standard version and the online version have features ranging from a look at students forming relationships with roommates, to four UNCG professors whose research became big news over the past year.

Online, you’ll find extras not in the paper version, such as:

December? Time for ‘Flannel Shorts’

UNCG’s theatre students often perform the work of others. But in the two-performance run of “Flannel Shorts” Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9-10, they’ll give their own 10-minute plays center stage.

The performances, featuring sophomore acting majors, will also include the work of current and former students of theatre professor Janet Allard. The show will start at 8 p.m. each night with the doors to the Brown Building Theatre opening at 7:30 p.m. The event is open to the public with a suggested donation of $5 at the door. All proceeds will support the 2012 BFA/MFA Showcase, an annual trip graduating theatre students take to New York City to perform and network.

Full story at UNCG News.

Angel Tree 2011 update

The Staff Senate’s Angel Tree Project will accept donations through Dec. 15.

They need cards: pharmacy cards, WalMart cards, gas cards and grocery cards. Especially grocery cards.

One 4-year-old girl likes coloring books and Mexican dolls, they say. A 9-year-old boy in another family likes trucks, tractor-trailers and flash cards in all subjects. A daughter in a third UNCG family likes books and stuffed animals – especially dogs.

The committee stresses that food cards are the overwhelmingly most requested item.

For information about dropping off or having someone on the Service Committee pick up gift cards, toys or other items, contact Maggie Dargatz (mmdargat@uncg.edu) or Amy Cook (ancook2@uncg.edu).

Tree planting at Peabody Park

Peabody park has grown – by 92 trees. Dr. Elizabeth Lacey’s graduate level conservation biology class recently completed a multi-phase tree planting project along the slope near McIver parking deck. Students worked with the UNCG’s experienced ground crew to learn how to carefully plant the trees.

By protecting and expanding Peabody Park, UNCG is providing habitat for woodland animals, such as the wood thrush, notes Jessica Trotman (Sustainability). These birds live and nest in only woodland interiors. Destruction and degradation of woodland habitat has caused suffering for this particular species.

The tree planting was funded by donations made to the UNCG Peabody Park Fund, and the Building and Grounds budget.

Trey McDonald talks whales, sustainability, Climate Action Plan, and how he fared in those 5Ks

Trey McDonald moves fast. Those following the News and Record’s running blog knows he tied for first in the inaugural Greensboro Race Series. He explains that he lettered in swimming at Auburn, but running is so much simpler. “You throw on your shoes and your shirt,” head out the door, and you’re ready to train.

Being outdoors is good. As he finished his Auburn marine biology undergraduate work and headed to grad school, he envisioned becoming a research scientist, doing acoustic work with large whales. But after dealing with funding issues with one project after another, he took a break, working with an environmental consulting firm, and saw environmental laws up-close. “There has to be a better way,” he thought. And his graduate education and career took an entirely different trajectory.

McDonald is UNCG’s sustainability coordinator. He came to UNCG from the University of Richmond, where he held the same position.

At Richmond and now at UNCG, he sometimes breaks the ice at presentations by talking about his work with whales – “I have a lot of experience with large, slow-moving creatures” – and humorously notes the traditional university bureaucracy, which can sometimes be as slow-paced if not as awe-inspiring.

He and Jessica Trotman in the Sustainability office have groups of initiatives underway. The Green Office program. Green Teams. Spartan Sparks. The “vampire energy slayers” educating individuals in each building about small things that can save energy, like putting their computers in sleep or hibernate mode during the day when they’re not in use.

And of course a big news item of the semester was Chancellor Brady signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

Work on the campus’ Climate Action Plan is beginning. “We want to get representatives across campus,” he says, as the plan is compiled. This spring will be a time for idea generation and investigating. The summer will be a time for rough drafts and for team reviews, and second drafts. If all goes ideally, they’ll present the plan to the chancellor and Executive Staff next winter.

Well, that’s pretty fast moving, for a large effort. “We need to carbon neutral by 2050,” McDonald says. There’s no time to waste.

More information is at http://www.uncg.edu/fac/sustainability/

By Mike Harris

Looking ahead: Dec. 7, 2011

Faculty Senate meeting
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 3 p.m., Virginia Dare Room, Alumni House

JSNN open house
Thursday, Dec. 8, 9 a.m., 2907 E. Lee St.

Staff Senate meeting
Thursday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m., Cone Ballroom A, EUC [revised location]

“Climate Refuges,” Sustainability Series film
Thursday, Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m., Weatherspoon

“Flannel Shorts,” short plays
Friday, Dec. 9, 8 p.m., Brown Building Theatre

Winter commencement
Thursday, Dec. 15, 10 a.m., Coliseum

“Amahl and the Night Visitors,” UNCG Opera
Friday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m., War Memorial Auditorium

Men’s basketball vs. VCU
Thursday, Dec. 22, 7 p.m., Coliseum

With the staff: December 2011

Hello: Peter A. Lorenz, Facilities Operations; Richard Beck, Office of Safety; Richard Pegram, Facilities Operations; Jeremy Murray, Housekeeping; Thomas Holder, Development; Daniel Little, Housekeeping; Melinda Wolf, EUC; Krystal Blackstock; Advancement Services

Good-bye: Chad Therrien, University Libraries; James Crabtree, Postal Service; Edward James, Facility Operations; Ronald Stacey, Facility Operations; Larry Ayers, Postal Services; Steven Yang, Alumni Relations; Rosa Allen, Postal Service; Caroline Morrow, Warehouse; Patricia Tickle, Accounting Services; Charles Williamson, Housekeeping; Dana Donaldson, Nursing

Media Studies’ documentary films

UNCG’s Department of Media Studies presents “13 short student documentary films” Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m. Carousel Luxury Cinemas, 1305 Battleground Ave, Greensboro. Admission is free to the public. Questions? Email Brett Ingram at bringram@uncg.edu

See/Hear: December 7, 2011

Coach Wendy Palmer’s first SoCon win came last Saturday (Dec. 3) against Samford. Check out her post-game thoughts, in this UNCG Athletics clip.

Dr. Tim Johnston

Dr. Tim Johnston (Arts and Sciences) was recently elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences (CCAS), a national organization “whose purpose is to sustain the arts and sciences as a leading influence in American higher education.” More information is available on their web site at www.ccas.net. Johnston has been dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since 2002.

Chris Gregory

Chris Gregory (Housing & Residence Life) was recently elected onto the Executive Board of the North Carolina Housing Officers’ (NCHO) Association as the Professional Development Chair-Elect for 2012-13. Chris will be responsible for coordinating annual conference programming as well as providing professional development opportunities throughout the year for the association’s membership.

Erica Estep

Erica Estep (Housing & Residence Life) will continue her two-year term as Member-at-Large for NCHO.