UNCG Campus Weekly

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

Five Greensboro-based community organizations receive first-ever UNCG funding

L to R: Cherizar Crippen, Holden Cession (both with How We are Free), Paula Sieber, Deborah Barnes (both with Peacemaker Collaborative and Urban Farm), Beth Sheffield (Learning Circles, Greensboro Library), Glenn Perkins (Democracy Tables, Greensboro History Museum), Kathy Newsom and Liz Seymour (Growing Green for Greens, Neighborhood Markets)

Five innovative Greensboro-area community organizations have just received special recognition and funding support from UNCG, the first of its kind from the University.

UNCG’s Department of Communication Studies, the host institution for the National Communication Association’s Center for Communication, Community, Collaboration, and Change (CCCC), has awarded a total of $20,000 for programming and research to five Greensboro-based community organizations for the 2020-2021 school year. The programs advance the theme “Cultivating Resilient Communities” by featuring vibrant citizen participation that focuses on improving the lives of people in Greensboro, making explicit connections to communication, and offering ample opportunities for curricular and student partnerships.

UNCG’s deep roots in community engagement have led to the first-ever grant, which will support (financially and with research) community groups that are engaged in social justice-based work to uplift under-resourced members of the community. Researchers will evaluate programs and perform research on how communication influences, shapes, and leads change of lasting impact.

Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Dr. Terri Shelton and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. John Kiss were attendance at the award ceremony in the Faculty Center on January 13.

“You can see lots of connections between these projects and the way in which people are thinking about communication, community, and change. Democracy, sustainability, justice – these are really core commitments for us, and this is an opportunity to really exercise some of these skills, sensibilities of compassion, and empathy so that we can really make some change and impact in our community that continues to evolve and grow,” said Professor of Communication Studies Dr. Spoma Jovanovic.

The five community organizations that were recognized include:

Growing Green for Greens (Neighborhood Markets, Inc.)
The Green for Greens program enables customers at two of Greensboro’s local farmer’s markets to purchase healthy, locally-grown food using SNAP/EBT. Using a token-based system, customers can double the dollar amount of SNAP-approved foods that they can purchase, allowing their limited funds to go twice as far. The program is supported by donations from individuals, churches, and other local institutions. The grant from CCCC will allow the program to develop a more sustainable donor network and expand the awareness of the program, reaching more families who experience food insecurity.

Democracy Tables: An Experiment in Community Connection (Greensboro History Museum)
Democracy Tables are a series of facilitated discussions designed to attract city residents, particularly those from traditionally underrepresented communities, into dialogues on locally-based issues and concerns. Participants will explore collaborative processes to understand the diversity of experiences among city residents and how people can connect to government mechanisms that support change. The project seeks to involve a multi-generational cross-section of Greensboro.

Greensboro Learning Circles: Journeys into Knowledge (Greensboro Public Library)
In an increasingly digital world, members of marginalized communities often find themselves lacking the resources to truly benefit from all the knowledge opportunities that are available online. Learning Circles will bring together members of the community who are participating in online study courses to provide peer support and to help them navigate the digital world. Participants will have a space to meet and access to the internet in order to take online courses and receive technical support. Support from peers and facilitators is designed to motivate participants to further pursue online educational opportunities and improve their use of digital tools.

The Peacemaker Collaborative & Urban Farm Project
This initiative addresses food insecurity through community engagement, partnership development, and sustainable practices. Nearly four acres of donated property will be transformed into a local urban farm to provide area residents access to healthy foods, as they learn about local agriculture issues, training and workforce development opportunities, and available entrepreneurial activities. The farm plans to provide 1,056 families with fresh produce at little or no cost while encouraging innovation and resilience among families of need in the community.

How We Get Free
How We Get Free is a series of conversations and gatherings focused on exploring the needs, dreams, and aspirations of Black youth in Greensboro. These conversations will operate as a location for young Black people to bring their knowledge, experiences, and visions together for the future. Activities such as small group discussions, art-making, and role-playing will help participants break down various barriers – including age, gender, and sexuality – in order to cultivate a space for engagement and dialogue surrounding systemic oppression, and to craft strategies that empower communities for a brighter future.





Dr. Deborah Lekan

Dr. Deborah Lekan (Nursing) received new funding from the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses for the project “Frailty Risk Using EHR Nursing Data for ICU Transfer and Mortality.”

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the performance of a Frailty Risk Score (FRS) derived from nursing flowsheet data in the electronic health records (EHR) of hospitalized adults 50 years and older admitted to a health system during 2013 to 2017 for two outcomes: Time to ICU transfer, and in-hospital mortality. Applying frailty in risk prediction models may improve model performance and identification of high risk patients who need more resource-intensive care and care coordination.

Dr. Zhiyong Yang

Dr. Zhiyong Yang (Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality & Tourism) received new funding from from the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center for the project “Faculty Liaison Grant.”


Dr. Kenneth Gruber

Dr. Kenneth Gruber (The Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships) received new funding from the Greensboro Housing Coalition for the project “Build Health Challenge 3.0 Collaborative Cottage Grove.”

It is becoming widely recognized that it is important to identify social determinants of health as both causal and ameliorative factors affecting the health and welfare of children and families. Childhood asthma exacerbated by environmental conditions in the home represents a prime example of a health issue for which a solution extends beyond the doctor’s office. A partnership with the local Health Department, hospital system, safe and health housing advocates, and families living in unhealthy homes will be established to create a replicable model that can make a major impact on childhood asthma.
The goal of this project is twofold: 1) reduce the prevalence of asthma attacks (resulting in emergency department (ED) and hospital visits) among children caused by unhealthy housing conditions and 2) improve the attendance and school performance of children with asthma living in housing that may be exacerbating their asthma. To achieve this goal, the researchers will employ an intervention approach that will address the housing environments of children with asthma through family education, housing condition assessments, and remediation of asthma triggers present in the home environment. Public health nurses involved with case management of students with asthma in 10 elementary schools will provide the sampling frame for this project. Approximately 600 students attending these schools have been identified with asthma. The nurses will contact families of these children to invite them to participate in the project. Project participation will involve a healthy homes assessment, assistance with remediation of asthma trigger conditions if present, and general education about maintaining a safe and healthy home.

Dr. Sat Gupta

Dr. Sat Gupta (Mathematics and Statistics) received new funding from the National Science Foundation for the project “REU Site at UNC Greensboro in Complex Data Analysis using Statistical and Machine Learning Tools.”

The REU project aims to provide 10-week sophisticated training in Complex Data Analysis using statistical and machine learning tools to eight highly-motivated, nationally-selected undergraduates from Mathematical Sciences during summers of 2020 and 2022. The eight students will be divided into 4 to 5 research teams, each headed by a faculty mentor and supported by a co-mentor.

Intellectual Merit:
The focus of the training will be on complex data analysis involving topics such as high dimensional data analysis, subdata selection, machine learning, robust data analysis, and data confidentiality. The six mentors associated with the training have strong publication record in these areas, and five of them have strong experience in student mentoring. Emphasis during the training will be on both theory and applications. In addition to focused research in these specific areas, the program will offer participants a broad professional development training. As part of the training, students will undertake trips to major research centers in North Carolina such as SAS, SAMSI (Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute), and the Joint School of Nano Science and Nanoengineering.The researchers expect that the research completed as part of this training will be of very high quality and will lead to journal articles and conference presentations, as was the case for the 2018 ASA REU program.

Broader Impact:
UNCG has a welcoming culture and specifically attracts women and minority students and faculty. Our aspirational target will be to recruit in the program at least 4 women, at least two minority students. The students will live in the same residence hall on campus so that they can develop a long-lasting network.  The program will have plenty of social events (field trips, picnics, movies, bowling etc.) to foster team environment. The mentors will remain in contact with student participants even after the program is completed, as they did for the 2018 ASA REU students, and offer them continuous mentoring towards their transition to graduate school and overall professional growth. The program involves a good mix of senior and junior mentors so that the junior faculty gets an opportunity to learn the art of mentoring from senior faculty and be able to present a strong case for tenure and promotion.

Newsmakers: Smith, Porter, CHCS, Debbage, Link, CNNC

Whether researchers with timely insights or students with outstanding stories, members of the UNCG community appear in print, web and broadcast media every day. Here is a sampling of UNCG-related stories in the news and media over the last week:

  • Dr. Jocelyn Lee Smith has an article in the latest NCFR report on gun violence, which was recently distributed to Congress. See the report here.
  • Bryce Porter, UNCG Chief Information Security Officer, was interviewed on WFMY News. The article and video.
  • UNCG’s Center for New North Carolinians to co-host “Shifting Worlds” conference. See “The State of Things” article.
  • UNCG’s Center for Housing & Community Studies contributed a study to Resilience High Point’s work to reduce community violence, High Point Enterprise News reported. The piece.
  • Dr. Keith Debbage was quoted in a Winston-Salem Journal piece about the popularity of North Carolina as a destination for people moving to a new state. The article.
  • UNCG alumna Kelly Link was featured in the prestigious literary journal Poets & Writers. She was featured in UNCG Magazine last spring. The P&W feature article.

In Memoriam: James Weston Sherbon

Dr. James Weston Sherbon died January 2. He had retired in 2002, and was promoted to professor emeritus. Sherbon worked in music education and research all his life, teaching graduate music education at UNCG for 27 years. In addition to teaching, Sherbon was director of graduate studies in music for fifteen years. He served on editorial boards for over thirty publications, journals, and textbooks in the field. As a scholar, his primary research focused on hearing acuity and conservation, pitch perception, and musical aptitude. 

See the full obituary, from which this piece was drawn, here.

Newsmakers: Ricketts, Cuda, Pubantz, School of Music, Watts, K-9

Whether researchers with timely insights or students with outstanding stories, members of the UNCG community appear in print, web and broadcast media every day. Here is a sampling of UNCG-related stories in the news and media over the last week:

  • Billy Ricketts’ (Class of ‘42) life and career was featured in a front-page News & Record article. The piece.
  • Dr. Anthony Cuda, a leading Eliot scholar, was quoted in the Guardian and the New York Times on newly revealed letters from T.S. Eliot to Emily Hale.
  • Dr. Jerry Pubantz spoke to WFMY about the recent airstrikes in Iran. See his commentary here.
  • UNCG School of Music students played a concert for the dogs of the Guilford County Animal Shelter, as reported by CBS 17 and other outlets.
  • Jamie Lee Watts, doctoral nursing students, was named one of thirteen “Students Who Rocked Public Health” by the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, WXII reported. The piece.
  • WXII featured the retirement of UNCG’s K-9 police dog Tink. The article.

‘Hop into History”: Greensboro saloons and state’s beer history

Are you curious about what the saloon scene in Greensboro was like during Prohibition? Well hop on down to the “Hop Into History” pop-up exhibition at Oden Brewing on Thursday, January 16, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Hosted by UNC Greensboro Special Collections & University Archives, Well Crafted, and Eden Brewing, the event will take a look at the drinking scene during that tumultuous time, and the various laws that were put in place to try and stop it.

The free event will be hosted in the restored historic building at 804 w. Gate City Boulevard, near the UNCG campus.

Also, be sure to listen in to WUNC’s “The State of Things” live in Greensboro on Tuesday, January 14, at noon, for “The History Of Beer In North Carolina.”

The craft beer industry is believed to bring in more than $2 billion a year in North Carolina and employs more than 12,000 people. As the industry boomed, archivists at the UNC Greensboro Libraries started in 2017 to document the history of beer and brewing in Greensboro. They soon expanded their project Well Crafted NC statewide, and through research and oral histories with brewers and brewery owners, the project documents the key moments in the state’s beer history.

WUNC will talk with UNC Greensboro archivist and professor Dr. Erin Lawrimore about the project, what they’ve heard in interviews with people who helped establish this state as a leader in craft beer, and the significance of North Carolina’s role in beer production as the country marks more than 100 years since Prohibition.

Visit this form to RSVP to attend the WUNCC Radio event live.

Joy Everhart

Joy Everhart (Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships) received new funding from Guilford County Partnership for Children for the project “Equity in the Earliest Years Program.” Dannette McCain is a co-principal investigator on the project.

There is a critical need for addressing social issues as early as infancy and toddlerhood. In North Carolina, a child can become involved with the Juvenile Justice System at the age of six. According to the 2017 annual report of the NC Juvenile Justice System, 1,364 juvenile justice complaints were received in NC for children ages ten and younger. In addition, children with low socioeconomic status who do not receive quality early childhood education can be impacted by devastating consequences and life outcomes. For example, students living in poverty who do not receive high quality early childhood education are 50% more likely to be placed in special education, 60% less likely to attend college, and 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime (Heckman, 2008).

These facts point to the importance of equipping ECE Professionals with knowledge and skills to (1) build equitable, high quality early learning environments and (2) work effectively with infants and toddlers facing multiple risk factors for negative outcomes in later childhood and beyond.

The target population for this project is ECE Professionals in Guilford County. As a pilot of the EEY Program, the initial plan for this funding cycle is to train 25 professionals, including teachers, teacher assistants, and childcare center directors. In selecting the initial cohort for this program, priority will be given to those working directly with infants and toddlers in programs serving predominantly children of color from families with lower incomes, given their elevated risk of juvenile justice system involvement.

Dr. Anne Hershey

Dr. Anne Hershey (Biology) received new funding from North Carolina State University for the project “The Impact of Antibiotics on Stream Nitrate Removal via Denitrification.”

In this project, microcosm experiments will be performed to evaluate the effects of an antibiotic mixture on denitrification in stream sediments.

Dr. Talia Fernós

Dr. Talia Fernós (Mathematics and Statistics) received new funding from the National Science Foundation for the project “Young Geometric Group Theory IX.”

Funding is for U.S.-based participants of the Young Geometric Group Theory (YGGT) meeting to be held at Saint-Jacut-de-la-Mer, a small village located in Brittany, France,  February 24 to 28, 2020. The main audience for the meeting consists of graduate students and early-career researchers. The central goal is twofold. The conference gives the young researchers a platform to present their work, learn from each other, and encourage future collaboration. Mini-courses given by senior mathematicians and plenary talks by mid-career mathematicians will also introduce important current ideas in geometric group theory, and the participation of the more senior researchers will give networking opportunities to young participants. This meeting is distinctive in its focus on young researchers in a specific area, both as speakers and as the intended audience for the mini-courses, and for drawing together a large number of participants from both the U.S. and Europe. Each year, the meeting sees a new influx of graduate students and postdocs, and showcases areas where current research is particularly dynamic. It is thus an important annual event for the international geometric group theory community.

Dr. Louis-Marie Bobay

Dr. Louis-Marie Bobay (Biology) received a continuation of funding from the University of Texas at Austin for the project “Dimensions: Ordering the microbial world into natural genetic, ecological, and functional units.”

The project goal is to classify prokaryotes into biological species based on gene flow and analyze the dynamics of gene flow within and between prokaryotic species.

Researchers will conduct three main analyses:

Year 1: Re-classify all prokaryotic genomes into biological species based on the detection of gene flow with the ConSpeciFix program developed and improved by Dr. Bobay.
Year 2: Re-classify all prokaryotic genomes into species based on commonly used methods and compare the different classification schemes to the biological species.
Year 3: Evaluate the dynamics of gene flow within and between species.


Dr. Chris Rhea

Dr. Christopher Rhea (RISE Network) received new funding from the UNC System Office for the project “UNC Greensboro’s Science Everywhere event on the main campus and at the Moss Street Partnership Elementary School.” Dr. Tracey Howell, Dr. Christina O’Connor, and Dr. Kim Sousa-Peoples, are co-principal investigators on the project.

The project maintains an expansive footprint which includes the signature Science Everywhere event on UNCG’s campus and a mini-science event at the Moss Street Partnership Elementary School (MSPS), located in Reidsville, which is operated by UNCG in partnership with Rockingham County Schools. All activities are free and open to the public. The event at MSPS will lead into the Science Everywhere event on UNCG’s main campus. The 2020 theme of “The Future” will be incorporated in two ways. First, “The Future” can be defined as the future leaders and professionals of STEM, which will be engaged in our events that cater to K-12 students. Engagement at an early age is a key pathway in the development of a STEM workforce pipeline. Second, “The Future” can be defined as the future of STEM. What better way to show the future of STEM than by including futuristic demonstrations, such as using virtual reality for medicine or how to grow plants in outer space.

At UNCG’s 6th annual Science Everywhere event, families will engage in new and interesting scientific ideas, will have access to labs, and will interact with science experts in many fields. Collaborators include UNCG’s Research and Instruction in STEM Education (RISE) Network – a coalition of STEM educators and researchers, faculty and students – the Provost’s Office, the Office of Enrollment Management, the School of Education, and University Communications.

In Memoriam: Rosemary McGee

Update: A Celebration of Life will be held for Dr. McGee Feb. 24 at 10 a.m., Alumni House, Virginia Dare Room. Learn more and RSVP here.


Dr. Rosemary McGee died Dec. 31. When she joined Woman’s College/UNCG in 1954, McGee was the youngest faculty member with a doctorate at the department of Health and Physical Education, according to her obituary. She taught for 34 years, focusing on theoretical areas of evaluation and statistics, and oversaw 33 doctoral dissertations and over 60 master’s theses. From 1966-68 she served as Dean of Women, and from 1979-80 as interim dean of the School of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. But, she was a teacher at heart and working with students remained her primary focus through her career. McGee co-authored “A Practical Approach to Measurement in Physical Education” and received honors including Golden Chain, The Alumni Teaching Excellence Award, and the Gladys Strawn Bullard Leadership Award.

Her full obituary, from which this information was drawn, can be read here.

Dr. Kimberly Kappler-Hewitt

Dr. Kimberly Kappler-Hewitt (School of Education) received a continuation of funding from the University of Kansas for the project “Equity Leadership in High Need Schools.”

UNC Greensboro will partner with SWIFT Education Center to support development of Equity Leaders through the SWIFT Education Center Equity Leadership program. The partners will provide coordination and logistics support, as well as actively participating in a series of learning sessions and providing coaching support to one school district’s selected principals and their teams in four cohorts over four years. The Equity Leadership series will include three, 2-day learning sessions for each cohort of participating principals and will be held in – or near- district.

Dr. Carrie Rosario

Dr. Carrie Rosario (Public Health Education) has been appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to the North Carolina Institute of Medicine as a member at-large. She currently serves as a member of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Healthy North Carolina 2030 Task Force.

Her research interests relate broadly to addressing tobacco-related health disparities as communities of color and low socioeconomic communities bear a disproportionate burden of tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. She specifically examines institutional, community, and policy-level influences on tobacco product usage patterns within young adults and college students.

Most recently, Rosario has explored the intersection of health literacy and tobacco use, elucidating the relationship between health-related messages sent by the university culture and college students’ health literacy and tobacco use behaviors. Currently, she is investigating the relationship between health literacy dimensions, alternative tobacco product and poly use to determine how it can inform tailored health communication interventions and tobacco regulatory policies.

Dr. Ramji K Bhandari

Dr. Ramji K Bhandari (Biology) received new funding from NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for the project “Correction of endocrine disruptor-induced transgenerational epimutations by CRISPR-dCas9.”

Although epigenetic profiles are highly specific to cell lineages and differ from cell to cell within a tissue, some of those transmitted via germline are more uniformly distributed throughout the body as the zygote gives rise to the whole individual. Environmentally induced transgenerational alterations in DNA methylation, also called epimutations, have been demonstrated in mammals and fish. It is not clear if transgenerational epimutations can be inherited by soma and corrected by CRISPR-dCas9 epigenome editing tools in vivo. A successful method to correct transgenerational epimutations in vivo has promising applications in health and disease. Fish models can provide excellent opportunity to develop such tools as several transgenerational studies have already demonstrated environmentally induced phenotypes and epimutations comparable to mammals. In two successive transgenerational studies, we found reproducible male medaka fish phenotypes with approximately 20-30% reduced fertilization rates at the third generation (F2) after exposure of embryos during the first generation (F0) to birth pharmaceutical estrogen, 17?-ethinylestradiol (EE2), suggesting that embryonic EE2 exposure alters programming of developing germ cells. EE2-exposed fish germ cells maintained global hypomethylation including DNA methyltransferase 1 (Dnmt1) expression at a suppressed state at F0 generation, which was maintained in the germ cells and soma at F2 generation. We, therefore, hypothesized that EE2 induces hypomethylation in germ cells’ genome at F0 generation which is inherited by F2 generation germ cells and soma resulting in alterations of transcriptional network and gene expression leading to reproductive impairment in male gonads. We, therefore, propose to screen for EE2-induced transgenerational epimutations by whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) and to correct epimutations in vivo by CRISPR-dCas9 genome editing method.

The study has two specific aims.  Aim 1 will identify EE2-induced genomewide epimutations in F0 and F2 generations.  EE2-induced epimutations will be analyzed in F0 sperm and eggs and in F2 sperm and testicular somatic cells by WGBS. Unique epimutations that were present in F0 generation and are associated with reproductive impairment at F2 generation will be selected for genome editing. Aim 2 will remove epimutations (DNA methylation or demethylation marks) by CRISPR-dCas9 tools to recover reproductively healthy phenotype at F2 and F3 generations using the embryos with demonstrated epimutations (offspring of the F1 and F2 parental lineages from Aim1). The researchers will microinject programmable CRISPR-Tet1-dCas9  or CRISPR-Dnmt3ba-dCas9 or CRISPR-Dnmt1-dCas9 into F2 and F3 zygote at 1-cell stage. Resulting adult males will be tested for recovery of reproductive functions. Results from this proposed R21 study will be used to develop a R01 project directed toward development of epigenome editing tools to correct other phenotypes in vivo. Researchers believe that this will ultimately bring new insights into epigenetic mechanisms underlying transgenerational diseases in humans and their therapeutic applications.

Dr. Keith Debbage

Dr. Keith Debbage (Geography, Environment, and Sustainability) received the American Association of Geographers (AAG) 2020 Media Achievement Award for his efforts in finding the right voice to bring geographic scholarship to the public sphere.

Debbage’s research spans local-scale urban planning, regional economic decline and recovery, and the impacts of creative economies. The AAG notes that Debbage “breaks the complexity down into jargon-free and readable packets of knowledge.”

“Debbage draws on his scholarship, extensive professional service, including his appointment as a Coleman Foundation Fellow, and his lived experience when communicating with the public, such as in his recent columns on the power of local-scale entrepreneurialism and the role of higher education in the economic and cultural life of North Carolina,” the Association’s award announcement continues. “A disarming folksiness is underlain by decades of applied scholarship, much of it completed with external grant and contract funding.”


Mark Bell retirement celebration

After 41 years at UNC Greensboro, Mark Bell is retiring from his role in Information Technology Services.

Bell led the establishment of the campus’ managed print services. All those networked printers and copiers around campus are the result of his efforts.

But he didn’t start out in ITS. He spent the first ten years of his UNCG career as a campus police officer. “I’m very proud of our police department and how far they’ve come over the years,” he says.

Mark left the police department to work on mainframe computers in the Research Triangle for a few years, then returned to UNCG. That’s when he started working for the ITS department.

What was it like working on computers then versus now?

“Back then, I could go into a person’s office and it would be six to seven hours of me manually loading software onto each computer build. When I started in IT, it was me and one other guy taking care of all the faculty and staff computers. Five years ago, we were up to 15.”

Bell says that one of the biggest advances in campus IT support is the standardization of hardware and software. He notes that in the early days, most of the computers were custom-built and consisted of varying components. Now all of that has been streamlined so that IT personnel know what to expect when they go to work on someone’s computer.

He notes that an added benefit of the department is that it gives students solid working IT experience. “Students work with us and can leave here with a two or three years of hardcore IT experience to go along with their degrees. That’s a real advantage for them when they go out onto the market.”

Bell notes that one of the most important things about his experience working at UNCG is that he has genuinely loved his job. “Most days I arrive to work and then leave with a smile on my face. It’s a place where I am comfortable, and I really like the people here.”

Bell’s last day on campus will be Friday.

The retirement celebration is open to the public and will take place Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2020, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Virginia Dare Room, Alumni House.

By Matthew Bryant



Newsmakers: Dunn, GCSTOP, Weatherspoon, Davis, Whitt, Brady, basketball

Whether researchers with timely insights or students with outstanding stories, members of the UNCG community appear in print, web and broadcast media every day. Here is a sampling of UNCG-related stories in the news and media over the last week:

  • Provost Dana Dunn spoke to Root Cause about UNCG’s efforts to raise graduation students. The interview.
  • Government Technology interviewed members of the GCSTOP opioid prevention program, including Terri Shelton, Stephen Sills, and Chase Holleman. The piece.
  • The News & Record highlighted the Weatherspoon Art Museum’s work to diversify its collection. The feature.
  • Graduate student Monica Therisa Davis spoke to ABC 11 about efforts to turn Wilson-area shotgun houses into accessible tiny houses. The piece.
  • MyFox8 highlighted Vickie Whitt, who was recently crowned UNCG homecoming royalty. The article.
  • Ashlyn Brady spoke to Fatherly about the risks of infidelity in relationships. The piece
  • The UNCG vs. NC State game – with its dramatic ending – was on a lot of newscasts. The Raleigh News & Record report and News & Record.

George Hancock

George Hancock (SERVE Center) received new funding from Alamance-Burlington School System for the project “Haw River Elementary School Comprehensive Needs Assessment.”

Hancock also received new funding from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools for the project “Moore Magnet Elementary School Comprehensive Needs Assessment.”

These projects are a systematic assessment of practices, processes, and structures within a school to assist school leadership and key stakeholders in determining needs, examining their nature and causes, and setting priorities for future actions. The assessments guide the development of a genuine school improvement plan that is grounded in data and provides a road map to future progress. Research supports the fact that schools who undertake a true comprehensive needs assessment make better decisions, resulting in improved outcomes relative to the achievement of their students.

An assessment team (2-3 team members) will visit each school, providing an opportunity for teachers, support staff, school improvement team members, and other stakeholders to outline current perceptions relative to leadership, instruction, professional development, planning, and operations, and family and community engagement.


Dr. Ayesha Boyce

Dr. Ayesha Boyce (Educational Research Methodology) received new funding from Indiana University at Bloomington for the project “Network for Computational Nanotechnology – Engineered nanoBIO Node.”

Dr. Boyce will oversee evaluation for the project using a mixed-methods strategy in which data from one type of method (quantitative or qualitative) is merged, connected, and/or embedded with data from another type of method. Mixed-methods evaluations provide richer data allow for better triangulation of data, and result in more nuanced evaluation results. Qualitative and quantitative data will be collected concurrently as a way to extend the breadth, scope and range of inquiry, to learn about different phenomena within the same study, and to capture the richness and diversity of the program and program participant experiences. This evaluation will provide formative data to guide NCN improvement and summative assessment of nanoBIO Node quality and impact. Evaluation questions will center on: nanoBIO Node theory of change, implementation, effectiveness, diversity/inclusion/equity, communications, outcomes, and impact.

Dr. Sara Heredia

Dr. Sara Heredia (Teacher Education and Higher Education) received new funding from the Exploratorium for the project “The Phenomenal Genome: Evolving Public Understanding of Genetics in the Post-Mendelian Era.”

Heredia will be responsible for supporting the design team in developing and researching the teacher component of the project. This includes an on-site meeting at the Exploratorium with the advisory board to ideate and prototype experiences for science teachers to explore their current understanding of genetics. In years two and three, Heredia will travel to the Exploratorium each summer to collect data on implementation of experiences within the context of professional development settings. Heredia will also interview teacher participants in the year following their participation to inquire about if and how the teachers changed their instruction in relation to genetics. In the final year of the project, Heredia will work on data analysis and writing to disseminate research to multiple science education research audiences.

Dr. Eric Josephs

Dr. Eric Josephs (Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering) received new funding from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

The researchers will experimentally validate new molecular tools that they computationally predict could dramatically accelerate the production of crop variants with targeted genetic modifications (‘precision breeding’) to address future agricultural challenges. They expect the tools will be especially potent in important NC crops like tomato, sweet potato, tobacco, soybean, and cereals.

Help out families and students through the Moss Street Angel Tree

The Moss Street Partnership School is asking Spartans to pitch in to help families and students in need this holiday season through the Angel Tree Holiday Assistance Program.

There are still a few families and students available on the signup list, which can be found HERE.

Items can be dropped off to Christina O’Connor (School of Education Building, Room 253A) by Friday, Dec. 13. Please contact Johnette Walser at jcwalser@uncg.edu if you have any questions.

Luciana Lilley and Frank Donaldson

Luciana Lilley (English) and Frank Donaldson (Media Studies) spoke last Sunday at Triad Stage productions. Lilley discussed Triad Stage’s adaptation in Winston-Salem of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, directed by Preston Lane, a UNCG CVPA faculty member and co-founder of Triad Stage. Donaldson spoke in Greensboro on the golden age of radio, connected to Triad Stage’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.

Newsmakers: Leavel, Laota, oldest long leaf pine, social mobility

Whether researchers with timely insights or students with outstanding stories, members of the UNCG community appear in print, web and broadcast media every day. Here is a sampling of UNCG-related stories in the news and media over the last two weeks:

  • Chancellor Gilliam spoke to Higher Ed Works about UNCG being ranked #1 in the state for social mobility. The feature.
  • Beth Leavel MFA ‘80 will be starring in the new “Devil Wears Prada” musical, Playbill reported. The feature.
  • Recent PhD graduate Zobaida Laota shared related her multicultural counseling experiences in the latest issue of Counseling Today. The article.
  • UNC-TV featured efforts by UNCG researchers to identify and also preserve the world’s oldest long leaf pine, in the Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve. The piece.

Cranes, drains, and trains: a campus construction cornucopia

As fall draws to a close, here are highlights of the campus construction projects that are finishing up, underway, or on the horizon for the coming calendar year.

Recently completed/wrapping up:

  • Steam line replacement behind Mossman – You know the one … the project with the long, blue fence.
  • Weatherspoon Art Museum – Upgraded lighting and dimming controls in Falk, Tannenbaum, and Gallery 6.
  • Well-Winfield fire alarm replacement
  • Bryan School Room 137 – Renovation (in the space formerly known as Au Bon Pain)
  • Mossman third-floor suite – Final tweaks to space and furniture are being conducted.

Nursing and Instructional Building progress as of December 2, 2019.


  • Nursing and Instructional Building – Building drywall and most of the brickwork was completed by Thanksgiving. Occupant move-in is anticipated for October 202o, with the building fully open by Spring 2021.
  • Coleman Building Academic Success Center – An existing athletics equipment room is being repurposed into an academic study space for 50 students.
  • School of Dance Coleman – Landscaping is being done in the courtyard outside of the second-floor circulation space.
  • Tennis courts – Final inbounds colors are being added to the recent resurfacing.
  • Spartan Village II retail monument sign – The new sign will be a 4-sided brick and precast retail sign that includes integral lighting, changeable retail plates for up to 13 tenants, and a digital component that is remotely programmable by University Communications.

Upcoming for spring 2020:

  • UNCG Police station plaza – New banners will be installed.
  • Ragsdale-Mendenhall Residence Hall – The building will be fully renovated, prompting the relocation of occupants (see related story).
  • Stone Building Room 142 -The project includes new auditorium seating, handrails, acoustical tiles, ceiling tiles, LED lighting, flat-panel screens, and air distribution devices, along with the removal of the stage.
  • Coleman Athletics weight room – A new mezzanine and support offices will be added, and equipment upgraded.
  • Coleman 139 and 141 – These rooms will be combined to created a new Men’s Basketball team lounge and film review room.
  • Music Building – Brickwork will be done at the Herring Garden water feature and handicap access path.
  • Weatherspoon Art Museum – Sculpture courtyard modifications  will include the removal of Cor-ten steel “wave” planter and trees.
  • UNCG Online office – This project includes the creation of 6-8 additional offices and modification to existing space as needed.
  • Sullivan Science Building – All lighting will be upgraded to LED.
  • Coleman dance studio 221A & B – The floors will be replaced.
  • UNCG Auditorium – The chandelier hoist mechanism will be upgraded.
  • Mossman – The main path of egress will be relocated from Room 241 to 200E, and a new door installed between those rooms.
  • Mossman 275 – A new pantry will be installed, and the flooring and carpet will be upgraded.

Upcoming for summer 2020:

  • Moore-Strong Residence Hall – Full roof replacement
  • Graham Building – Full roof replacement
  • Phillips-Hawkins – Full roof replacement
  • Stone Building – Repair of damaged exterior masonry stairs and landings will take place at northwest entrance.
  • Stirling St./Theta to Bryan Building service drive – The steam distribution system will be replaced.
  • Sullivan Science Building greenhouse – New environmental control systems will be installed to meet temperature, humidity, and sunlight requirements.

Pending for 2020:

  • New Arts Place at Tate & Gate – A new multi-cultural arts venue to include flexible performance space, gallery, instructional and practice rooms, office space, and a retail component.
  • Railroad bridge painting – Railway bridges at Tate St. and Josephine Boyd will get new colors.
  • Steam Plant control system upgrade – A new building automation system means big improvements to efficiency in campus climate control and energy usage.
  • Campus Master Plan update – The project will update the 2014 Master Plan to incorporate the strategic plan, capital plans, recent construction, millennial campus designation, land acquisition, and campus-wise space assessment.
  • Moore Nursing Building – Modernization and reconfiguration of existing space will take place to support general instructional use and academic support.

Compiled by Matthew Bryant

UNCG announces 13 Gilman Scholars

Thirteen UNCG students will receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to study abroad next semester.

The Congressionally funded Gilman Program broadens the U.S. student population studying and interning abroad by providing scholarships to outstanding undergraduate Pell Grant recipients who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise study abroad.

With thirteen recipients, UNCG has more Gilman Scholars than any other college or university in the Carolinas.

UNCG is ranked 14th nationally out of 407 institutions in the number of Gilman Scholarships awarded.

Since 2012, 130 UNCG Gilman Scholars have received over $430,000 in scholarship funding through the Gilman program.

UNCG’s Gilman Cycle 1 Recipients for Spring 2020:

That Htoo, Belgium
Jazlyn Ibarra, Spain
Malaika Nzau, South Africa
Esteban Garcia, Finland
Joseph Santiago, South Korea
Shante McNeill, Sweden
Jaimon McMillan, France
Faith Brown, Botswana
Leonardo Lopez-Trejo, Netherlands
Kiara Bethune, South Korea
Ian Surman, China
Kaila Williams, Canada
Nyat Fessehaye

All Gilman Scholars are studying abroad on exchange programs at UNCG partner institutions. 

For a full list of Gilman recipients, visit gilmanscholarship.org

To learn more about UNCG’s International Programs Center or to support global opportunities for UNCG students, visit international.uncg.edu.

Gifts, music, and Spartan spirit at Greensboro’s Festival of Lights

Photo of the horn choir at the festival of lightsOne of Greensboro’s most enduring holiday traditions will again light up downtown this Friday, as the Festival of Lights brings holiday cheer to the city. And, as always, Spartans play a big role.

The UNCG Pop Up Shop will hold its grand opening during the festival. Come find discounted UNCG merch just in time for holiday gift-giving, and enjoy appearances by Spiro, the UNCG spirit squad, and the UNCG Chariots a capella group.

Once you’re done at the shop, make sure to stick around for the variety of Spartan musicians who will be performing at the festival. The UNCG Horn Choir and Tuba Band will play LeBauer Park and the UNCG Sapphires, the women’s a capella group, can be found throughout the festival performing as a strolling group.

As well, a variety of UNCG alumni will bring their talents to the Elm Street Musical Stroll. Catch UNCG Old Time Ensemble alumni in The Zinc Kings and The Gate City Railbenders for some lively fiddling and folk at 308 and 527 S. Elm respectively. Then, find Laura Jane Vincent ‘04 at the corner of Elm and Washington for a set of rousing ballads. Finally, end your stroll with a wide repertoire of jazz and pop classics, delivered by alumna Jessica Mashburn, near Gate City Boulevard.

For a list of all Pop Up Shop events, see here. For a map and full schedule of the Festival of Lights, see the event page here.

Campus Holiday Open House Dec. 5

Photo of the Vacc Bell Tower with a wreathThe annual Campus Holiday Open House will be held Thursday, Dec. 5. Join the Spartan community at the Alumni House for an afternoon of food, music, and cheer. Make sure to bring a non-perishable food item, to donate to the Spartan Open Pantry. The open house will run 2-4 p.m.

A special treat just before the open house: Help UNCG’s Grounds crew plant two new trees in Foust Park! From 1 to 2 p.m., Assistant Director of Grounds and certified arborist Andy Currin will be on hand at Foust Park (in front of the Alumni House) to talk about the trees in the beautiful park and to answer your questions about UNCG’s Tree Campus USA distinction.

Later in the day, UNCG will host another campus tradition. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the UNCG luminaires, which have provided a warm glow throughout campus on the evening of Reading Day since 1969. (See UNCG Archives’ story about the tradition’s origin.)

Additionally, the Vacc Bell Tower will be decked out for the holidays that evening – and throughout the month.

Angel Tree donation deadline extended to Dec. 10

It’s that time of year for Spartans to sign up and purchase gifts for our Angel Tree Families to help make their holidays special. Find a particular item or items you would like to purchase, sign up, and shop – it’s that easy.

Once you have identified your gift, please contact one of the following to arrange a time to drop off your donation. The deadline has been extended to Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, but the sooner the better.

You do not need to wrap the gifts. However, please be sure to tag them with the Family No., gender, and age. This information, along with the signup link, may be found at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c4dada72fa6fc1-angel

Dr. Wendy McColskey

Dr. Wendy McColskey (SERVE Center) received new funding from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for the project “2019-2020 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Cohort 14 Level I Grant Application Review and 2018-2019 Annual Evaluation Reporting.”

SERVE will conduct the Level I application reviews of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Cohort No. 14 grant applications in the spring/summer of 2019 and 2) conduct Cohort No. 12 and No. 13 evaluation activities for the 2018-19 school year.

The 21st CCLC supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities (i.e., before, during and/or after school programming) for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. The program helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

Dr. Audrey E. Snyder

Dr. Audrey E. Snyder (School of Nursing) received new funding from The Edward M. Armfield, Sr. Foundation for the project “School Health Coordination at Moss Street Partnership School.”

This project will help to develop the School Health Coordinator/Nurse role, nurse health room and create a new and innovative student clinical practice site at Moss Street Partnership School (MSPS). Moss Street Partnership School was specifically chosen because it offers UNCG students an opportunity to make a positive contribution with an at-risk population in a rural and underserved community, address some of the significant health education needs in the community and participate in interprofessional collaboration with other health professionals. The goal of this project is to create a unique learning environment for undergraduate students to have real world nursing experiences in community and school-based health.