UNCG Campus Weekly

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

Opera on Catfish Row

031710Feature1_Porgy“Porgy and Bess,” the classic George Gershwin opera that introduced “Summertime” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So” into the American songbook, will be performed at Aycock Auditorium Sunday, March 21.

The 3 p.m. matinee, part of a national tour marking the 75th anniversary of the work, is the fourth performance of the 2009-2010 University Concert & Lecture Series. Tickets for the event are $28-35 and are available at 4-4849 or boxoffice.uncg.edu.

Set along “Catfish Row” in segregated Charleston, S.C., the opera details the relationship between Porgy, a street beggar, and Bess, a prostitute. Written and performed in English, the folk opera is beloved for its memorable characters and enduring songs. In addition to “Summertime” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” the opera also includes the famous songs “I Got Plenty of Nuttin’,” “I Loves You, Porgy” and “Bess, You Is My Woman Now.”

This production of “Porgy and Bess” is produced by Michael Capasso, general manager of New York’s Dicapo Opera Theatre. The production also includes talent with local ties. Philip Boykin, who plays the role of “Crown,” and Peter MacBeth, the show’s technical director, are both graduates of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

After this performance, one show remains in the UCLS season. Moscow Festival Ballet presents “Coppelia” on Wednesday, April 14, at 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale.

For more information, visit ucls.uncg.edu.

Disque Will Retire

031710Feature2_DisqueDr. Carol S. Disque will retire June 30 after 14 years as UNCG’s vice chancellor for student affairs.

Disque’s responsibilities at UNCG include oversight of Campus Recreation, Housing and Residence Life, Career Services and Student Health.

Dr. Cheryl (Cherry) M. Callahan, associate vice chancellor for student affairs, will serve as interim vice chancellor for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Disque credits her staff for the positive changes she implemented during her tenure. Enrollment has grown nearly 50 percent, and the student body has become increasingly diverse in race and age, she says.

“We have worked institutionally and in student affairs to become more student-centered, more learner-centered, more multi-culturally competent, and to respond to enrollment growth. The accomplishments that occurred during my time as vice chancellor for student affairs reflect the efforts of a dedicated and very talented student affairs staff, along with many faculty and staff across the whole university. What I am most proud of is the energy and endless creativity of the staff members who work in Student Affairs — not only those who provide administrative leadership and counseling/ programming for students, but also those in web/technology, and assessment/evaluation, and fundraising, and building maintenance, and support roles that help student affairs functions make this university a positive and powerful experience for students.”

Callahan is equally complimentary of Disque as a leader.

“Over her fourteen years of service to UNCG, Carol has enabled and supported her staff in creating new programs and opportunities for students,” Callahan says. “She has always been a cheerleader for her staff and the work that they do. She has also been a strong advocate for students. Those students with whom she has interacted look to Carol with great respect and admiration and they will miss her.

Under Carol’s leadership, the Office of Leadership and Service-Learning – an award winning office – was created and outstanding programs developed,” Callahan notes. “Students have participated in a multitude of local and national community service projects bringing relief to the Hurricane Katrina-devastated area as well as meeting local needs through many community agencies. Most recently, Carol led a comprehensive review of our housing system and developed a strategic plan that will double our current housing inventory. This plan will create new opportunities for student engagement and increase connections across generations of students.”

Disque worked at Ohio University from 1979-1989, serving as director of career planning and placement and as assistant professor of educational leadership. She was dean of students at the College of William and Mary from 1990-1996 before she was hired to fill the UNCG vice chancellor position vacated by the retiring James H. Allen.

Her move to UNCG signaled a homecoming for Disque, who lived in Jamestown as a teenager and graduated from Ragsdale High School. She is also a magna cum laude graduate of Duke University and from 1976-79 was director of placement and career development at Wake Forest University.

As an undergraduate at Duke, Disque majored in English and psychology. She holds an MEd in counselor education and a PhD in education from the University of Virginia.

Under Disque’s leadership several new programs emerged, including the Student Employment Office; several living learning communities including Grogan College, LEAD, and Make a Difference House; the Office for Adult Students; the Office of Leadership and Service-Learning; Team QUEST; the Multicultural Resource Center; the Dean of Students Office; Campus Activities and Programs Office; Parent and Family Programs; and UNCG Cares.

Improvements to facilities under the stewardship of Student Affairs have included the Aycock Auditorium renovation; Elliott University Center renovation and expansion; the Library-EUC Connector, Gove Health Center renovation and expansion; outdoor recreation improvements including the Recreation Field, outdoor trail and courts, Piney Lake and Team QUEST facilities. Millions of dollars in repair and improvement projects have been invested to improve the safety and functionality of the residence halls, such as card key access, fire sprinkler systems and wired/wireless information technology access. New construction has included the Spring Garden Apartments, a 400-student residence hall, and planning is underway for a new indoor recreation center.

“Vice Chancellor Disque has led the Division of Student Affairs during a period of significant growth in student numbers and diversity,” says Provost David H. Perrin. “UNCG’s reputation as a student-centered university is in no small part a result of Carol’s dedicated and tireless leadership. She has overseen the creation of several nationally acclaimed programs and improvement to many of our facilities. We will miss Carol’s expertise and leadership.”

In Support of Black Men

030310Feature2_RitesofPassageJeffrey Coleman, assistant director of multicultural affairs, took a hard look at the data and decided to do something: Of 72 black men who enrolled at UNCG in 2003, only 19.4 percent graduated within four years and 45.8 percent graduated within six years.

So Coleman went straight to the source – the students. What are your goals for college, he asked them, and what barriers distract you from those goals?

Wanting to improve retention rates and achievement for black men at UNCG, Coleman last year launched Rites of Passage. The program helps black men reach their goals despite distractions caused by negative stereotyping, sexuality issues, unhealthy love relationships, balancing work with school and other problems.

“I thought if they could get a better handle on these outside challenges, they could focus more attention on being successful,” Coleman said. “We need to create an environment where they feel supported.”

Rites of Passage encourages success through service-learning and educational workshops. This year, students can choose to mentor black male high school students for the academic year or spend a semester volunteering at the Servant Center of Greensboro, which provides transitional housing for disabled veterans and homeless men.

Students also attend monthly workshops on topics such as sexuality, managing emotions, alcohol and drug abuse, preparing for the job market and black love relationships. They are strongly encouraged to attend at least four workshops per year.

The most recent workshop, held Feb. 9 in advance of Valentine’s Day, focused on romantic relationships. Dr. Ebony Utley, professor of communications at California State University, and Dr. C.P. Gause, associate professor in UNCG’s Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations, led a discussion, question and answer session and coaching session. The discussion centered on both heterosexual and homosexual relationships.

Black women at UNCG graduate at a much higher rate than black men, Coleman found. Of 331 women who enrolled in 2003, 32.3 percent graduated within four years and 55 percent graduated within six years.

“African-American females are the example,” Coleman said. “Their graduation rates are good, and retention is great. Black males are dealing with a lot of stereotypes of them as African American males. They say they feel they are perceived as unsuccessful, that they don’t feel encouraged to overachieve.”

So far, 57 men have participated in Rites of Passage. Nick Foggie, a freshman majoring in history education, said the program has provided a networking opportunity, putting him in touch with other black men on campus, and a chance to mentor young men still in high school.

“The mentoring program is really rewarding,” Nick said. “It’s a wonderful experience to be able to give back to the community.”

Visual: Dr. C.P. Gause speaks at a recent Rites of Passage workshop, on relationships.

Giving Those Trees a Hug

030310Feature1_TreeCampusOur university loves our trees. So does the Arbor Day Foundation.

It honored UNCG as a 2009 Tree Campus USA University for its dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship.

UNCG is the fourth college or university in North Carolina to receive this distinction – and the first in the UNC system.

“Our UNCG Peabody Park Preservation Committee is delighted,” said Elizabeth Lacey, committee chair. One of the committee’s recent projects was planting trees along the eastern edge of Peabody Park, near the McIver Parking deck. “The award honors all the students, faculty and staff who have volunteered their time to help maintain a beautiful and diverse environment on campus.”

Chancellor Linda P. Brady noted that it was a  “great honor” for UNCG to be recognized as a Tree Campus USA University. “We are grateful to the many faculty, students and staff that have worked through the years in the planning, design, maintenance and management of the university’s grounds and forest resources and in engaging our community in our conservation efforts,” she said. “UNCG’s environmental commitment and leadership are acknowledged in being the first institution in the University of North Carolina System to receive this recognition.”

Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation, honors college and universities and the leaders of the campus and surrounding communities for promoting healthy urban forest management and engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship.

“The Tree Campus USA program will have a long-lasting impact at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as it engages college students and local citizens to plant trees and create healthier communities for people to enjoy for decades to come,” said John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “The university will benefit from exceptional tree-care practices on campus as it works with tree-care professionals in the community to improve the tree canopy in Greensboro.”

UNCG met the required five standards of tree care and community engagement in order to receive Tree Campus USA status. Those standards are establishing a campus tree advisory committee; evidence of a campus tree-care plan; verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan; involvement in an Arbor Day observance; and the institution of a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.

“The staff of the Facilities Grounds department takes tremendous pride in the care of the landscape and trees so that future generations will be able to enjoy the beauty of the campus as much as the current campus community does,” said Chris Fay (Grounds).

More information about the Tree Campus USA program is available at www.arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.

Class in Session in Mossman

022410Feature1_NegotiationClassThe soft-spoken woman in the purple jacket doesn’t mince words. And she speaks from experience.

“International negotiation is all about what you think you can ‘sell’ back in Congress,” she tells the students in her undergraduate International Negotiation course. “Capitol Hill doesn’t do policy. They do politics.”

The professor, Chancellor Linda P. Brady, moves on to discuss game theory models in international negotiation. The Prisoner’s Dilemma Model. The Game of Chicken. Outcomes. Moves. Payoffs. Side payments.

Brady’s students, many of whom want careers in international relations, appreciate the practical, first-hand information she offers them. Brady worked in the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Defense from 1978-1985, serving in both the Carter and Reagan administrations and dealing with issues of nuclear weapons, arms control, and international logistics.

“She’s actually used this stuff in practical application in Washington, D.C.,” says Elizabeth Schultz, a junior double-majoring in International and Global Affairs and Spanish. “She speaks from personal experience and not just out of a textbook.”

In fact, Brady wrote one of the textbooks on the course reading list, “The Politics of Negotiation: America’s Dealings with Allies, Adversaries, and Friends.” The book was published by UNC Press in 1991.

She has always kept one toe in the classroom, despite her role as an academic administrator at Georgia Tech, NC State and the University of Oregon. It helps her to stay connected with the students, she says. The class meets for three hours on Wednesday mornings in the Chancellor’s Conference Room.

The course, the first Brady has taught since she came to UNCG in August 2008, has drawn upper-level undergrads from such diverse majors as diverse as political science, music and history. The syllabus introduces students to theories of negotiation and conflict resolution and focuses on four major issues – U.S./Russia arms control, our current tense relationships with Iran and North Korea, and the Middle East Peace Process.

Brady has been able to give her students access to policy advisers and dignitaries, incorporating visits by former U.S. Ambassador to Estonia Aldona Wos and Andrew Parasiliti, U.S. director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Parasiliti, a former foreign policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel who did his undergraduate work at UNCG, recently shared some of the lessons he learned during his time on Capitol Hill.

“Learn how to write short; learn how to write analytically,” he told them. “There is power in a one-page memo. You want your stuff to be read.”

Brady reinforced Parasiliti’s advice, once again drawing on experience. “During the Carter administration, Harold Brown was secretary of defense. We would write five-page memos and he would read them,” she adds. “Then, under Reagan, Caspar Weinberger was secretary of defense and he made it very clear that he was not going to spend his time in the office reading memos. You adjust your style to suit the operating style of the people you are working with.”

In addition to the need for flexibility, what does Brady want her students to take from the course?

“I hope my students will learn that negotiating skills can be taught,” she says. “And that they will leave the course prepared to be active and informed participants in foreign policy debates.”

Visual: Brady and Andrew Parasiliti, U.S. director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, at a class last week.

A Science Olympiad

022410Feature2_OlympiadThe air at UNCG was filled with mechanical birds and rockets carrying eggs when 39 teams from area middle and high schools converged on UNCG for the regional competition of the N.C. Science Olympiad on Saturday, Feb. 20.

The competition took place beginning at 9 a.m. at a variety of locations across campus. Organizers hosted roughly 600 students, parents and teachers from Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Davidson, Forsyth, Guilford, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rockingham and Stokes counties.

The dozens of events included building bridges with only wood and glue, launching projectiles for accuracy, constructing mousetrap-powered vehicles, and analyzing “crime scenes.” Detailed information about the the featured events can be viewed here.

“The Science Olympiad provides students who have an interest in science an opportunity to compete and to receive recognition of their achievements,” said Dr. Robert Muir, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy, beforehand. “It’s a nice counterpoint to athletic competition and recognition.”

The events challenged students to creatively apply their knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, technology, and earth/environmental science. The middle and high school students defended their work while interacting with professors, educators, research scientists and college students.

Dr. Meg Horton (Biology) was asked afterward about the Olympiad. “For me, one of the best parts of Science Olympiad is getting together with so many collegues from different Departments across campus – we have volunteers from Georgraphy, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. We also have volunteers at all levels – undergrads, grad students, lecturers, tenured faculty and lab managers.” She also mentioned community volunteers, such as engineers from General Dynamics. She added, “Watching the kids having fun doing science is such a thrill that our volunteers return year after year. We even have a former student volunteer, Amanda Herlacher, who is now a teacher and returns to help out as an event leader.”

This marked Dr. Adam Zahand’s (Biology) fourth time as an event leader for Science Olympiad. “I do look forward to it every year. The students are delightful and it is thrilling to see them so enthusiastic and excited about science. It’s a wonderful opportunity to promote science in the schools,” he said.

This is the fifth straight year UNCG has hosted a regional competition.

The top performers in 10 regional tournaments will now compete in the state tournament held at North Carolina State University April 23-24. The top two middle and high school teams at the state tournament will go on to the national tournament.

For more information, visit the N.C. Science Olympiad web site at http://www.sciencenc.com .

Bowles Will Step Down

021710Feature2_BowlesUNC System President Erskine Bowles will step down as president. Bowles made the announcement at the UNC Board of Governors meeting last Friday in Chapel Hill.

Bowles has been president of the system since January 2006. He will remain as president through 2010, or until a successor is named.

“President Bowles’ leadership has affirmed the University of North Carolina as the most highly regarded system of public higher education in the United States,” Chancellor Linda P. Brady said. “His signature initiative, UNC Tomorrow, will have a lasting impact on the system and on economic development and quality of life for the citizens of North Carolina.”

That particular accomplishment of his tenure, UNC Tomorrow, sought a diverse spectrum of input, from throughout the state, on the UNC system and what it should achieve for North Carolina. The UNC Tomorrow initiative will help in long-range planning and in making assessments. Full details are at the UNC Tomorrow web page.

A native of Greensboro, Bowles was installed as president in an April 2006 ceremony at Aycock Auditorium.

He began his career in corporate finance and investment banking. In the 1990’s, he was tapped to be director of the Small Business Administration. He later became deputy chief of staff in the Clinton White House. He served as chief of staff from 1996 to 1998.

He made runs for the U.S. Senate in 2002 and 2004.

Visual: At Bowles’ inauguration in 2006 in Aycock Auditorium, he was flanked by previous presidents C.D. Spangler Jr. and Molly Broad.

Walk It Off

021710Feature1_SpartanStepsThink it’s hard to get rid of five percent of your weight? How about for your department as a whole?

The Spartan STEPS wellness initiative was started last fall by Human Resource Services to create friendly competition among participating departmental teams – “Biggest Loser” style – and promote weight loss and wellness. The winning team for Fall 2009 was recently announced: Student Affairs.

Fall’s competition focused on weight loss. The spring competition (see below) will focus much less on weight loss and instead, on walking or jogging – literally taking steps toward better health.

But last fall, weight loss was the focus. Seven teams competed: TLC, Student Affairs, Office of Safety, Police, HRS, Student Health and Graduate School.

Teams began the competition by posting their total team weight. From there, biweekly weigh-ins were conducted. HRS would calculate the overall team weight loss percentage and post it on the online leaderboard.

Some teams participated in sub-challenges, such as group walks, healthy lunches, or physical activity events, with other teams. And a few sabotage antics were observed, such as the delivery of Krispy Kreme doughnuts to the leading team.

Chancellor Brady, along with Jason Morris and Melissa Barnes of HRS, presented the winning plaque to Student Affairs on Jan. 28. (See visual.)

“I need to know how many pounds were lost,” Brady told the group, everyone smiling.

“Five percent,” volunteered Melissa Barnes.

“Wow,” said the chancellor. “This is so exciting.” She spoke with and congratulated each member of the team. In the background was the tap-tap-tap of a hammer and nail, Student Affairs wasting no time in hanging their plaque in their foyer.

They talked of how they had won: some members are running, some are exercising at Campus Rec, they’re all eating healthier. “We don’t bring in homemade goodies – except for students,” one said.

Josh Green has begun training in earnest for triathlons. Brett Carter has focused on running, doing a half-marathon and 5K in recent months. Kim Sousa-Peoples and Jennifer Goff are avid runners as well. Others enjoy walking or going to the gym.

Amy Jones, the team’s point person, told CW, “Almost everyone participated.” She added that it was “just fun to have the camaradarie – the support of each other.”

The new campus-wide Spartan STEPS challenge:

This spring semester’s challenge will be tailored around the concept of “10,000 steps a day for 100 days.” It’ll be a million steps to make you, hopefully, feel like a million. The challenge period will run from March 1 to June 8.

Departmental teams and/or individual faculty and staff are challenged to walk/run more steps within 100 days than any other participant.

HRS will provide pedometers to participants to track the amount of steps they take, TIAA-Cref is providing water bottles to keep participants hydrated, and the Graduate School is supplying sunglasses to help shade eyes during those sunny day walks. (All while supplies last.)

HRS and Rhonda Strader (FDC) have started to plot walking routes around campus. Maps are available. Participants may share other “trails” that they may walk regularly.

Participants will log their steps on the Spartan STEPS web site and compete to be on the top 5 steppers leaderboard and for a chance to win weekly prizes.

At the conclusion of the 100 day period, a winning team and individual will be announced. The winning departmental team will take ownership of the title. The winning plaque, currently displayed as you enter Student Affairs, will get its new home.

The winning individual will be awarded with the top prize of a $100 gift certificate to and provided by Omega Sports in Greensboro. Individual second and third place prizes will be also be awarded.

More information on how to sign up and receive your free pedometer will be announced in an upcoming Campus Weekly.

Questions? Contact Jason Morris or Melissa Barnes in HRS, 4-5009.

Professorship Honors Tillman, Drane

021010Feature2_SmartTillman2UNCG is creating a new distinguished professorship in the performing arts to honor the first two African-American students to attend our institution. [Read more…]

Healthy UNCG

021010Feature3_HealthyUNCGAfter the winter holidays – and their temptations for over-indulgence – what better time to refocus on being healthy and hearty?

The campus is launching a new initiative to foster the health and well-being of employees here. The launch will be the day after Valentine’s Day.

On Feb. 15, the Healthy UNCG kickoff event will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in Cone Ballroom, EUC. All faculty and staff are invited. There will be various booths representing health-related campus resources. Those attending may enjoy fun activities such as fitness assessments, playing Wii, sampling free healthy food courtesy of Chartwells and various door prizes.

“Please join me as we strive toward one of our strategic goals of leading the UNC system in enhancing the health and wellness of students and employees,” Chancellor Linda P. Brady said.

Last year, a majority of UNCG employees responded to a survey about their health interests. As a result, Healthy UNCG is offering new campus programs that focus on stress management, healthy eating, physical activity and smoking cessation.

The initiative was developed by an advisory group of faculty, staff and students in response to an Office of State Personnel mandate to create programs, policy and environmental supports to improve the health of state employees. Dr. Dan Bibeau (Public Health) is the appointed leader of our campus’ effort. All participants are volunteers.

Features that employees can take advantage of include:

1. Taking a Personal Wellness Profile that provides employees with a customized assessment of their health risks and recommendations of actions to improve health. Healthy UNCG will supply the profiles and employees will complete them. Healthy UNCG will then provide a computer-generated report to each person. Individuals or departments interested in taking a Personal Wellness Profile may email adsteven@uncg.edu.

2. Attending various programs and events offered by Healthy UNCG throughout the year.

3. Visiting http://healthy.uncg.edu/. The web site will offer healthy resources and online tools to help employees reach their health objectives.

A Sit-Ins Celebration

020310Feature3_WoolworthsA lot of events will mark Black History Month. The month began bright and early Feb. 1 with a ribbon-cutting at the historic Woolworth’s on Elm Street.

Due to the snowstorm, UNCG was closed that day. The march from UNCG to Woolworth’s, scheduled for noon, was cancelled. But a number of individuals from UNCG were able to attend the 8 a.m. ceremony dedicating the new International Civil Rights Center and Museum. It is located where four African-American college students began a sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter, which sparked similar protests throughout the South.

“The work begun in this building is unfinished,” Gov. Beverly Purdue said. “The work goes on.” Museum founders and elected officials were joined by three of the surviving four students.

As the ribbon was cut, some in the large crowd spontaneously and briefly shouted “Aggie Pride! Aggie Pride!” It was a reminder that the four freshmen who launched the sit-in at the Elm Street Woolworth’s lunch counter were NC A&T freshmen. Most everyone in attendance, it seemed, on that Feb. 1 day – the 50th anniversary of the day the freshmen began the sit-in – was an Aggie in spirit.

“It was a very special event,” UNCG Chancellor Linda P. Brady said, noting that Provost Perrin attended as well. “I was incredibly moved by Franklin McCain’s remarks, and his charge to all of us to continue the fight for equal opportunity and justice,” she said. McCain was one of the four students who requested service at the lunch counter, exactly 50 years earlier. “Closing my eyes and listening to his voice, I could envision the young NC A&T student who had the courage to stand up for what is right in the face of tremendous odds.”

Mike Tarrant, UNCG’s special assistant for federal relations, serves as the university’s primary liaison with federal elected and appointed officials. He had arrived early to get a good view at the “joyous occasion … an historic moment for the community as a whole,” and he was also moved by McCain’s remarks, one line in particular: “Don’t ever request permission to start a revolution, because people don’t like change.”

Dr. Tara Green, director of the African American Studies program, reflected how everyone had stood huddled together in the cold, joined in unity to see the opening of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

“I want students to remember that students started a movement that civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., found inspirational. I want them to know that they too can inspire those how have come before them. I want them to think about the meaning of Dr. Franklin McCain’s words, “Don’t wait for the masses.”

Dr. Spoma Jovanovik, associate professor of communication students, braved the cold as well. “It was great, exciting, inspiring and historic, wasn’t it?”

She reflected on the new center and museum. “I’m so happy that our community was able to pull together, secure the necessary financial resources, and finally pay proper tribute to the work of students in this city to launch a major social change initiative. … What the Greensboro Four did in 1960 ought to be the model for what we do today to challenge unfair practices wherever they exist.”

Jovanovik called attention to three of the UNCG students she saw there: Zim Ugochukwu, Kaira Wagoner and Alex Babic. They carry the same torch. “Zim, Kaira and Alex are devoted to efforts to support the International Civil Rights Museum, encourage the full support of the City Council to use the findings of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report, and make global connections to local concerns … Those are important and noble pursuits.”

Kwadjo Steele, assistant athletic director for student welfare, picked up on that point, as he reflected on the event honoring the courage of the four A&T freshmen. “These were students! It shows the potential of these young people we work with every day.”

Visual: A moment after the ribbon-cutting, Mike Tarrant (center, right) speaks with associates. Around 3,000 were estimated to be in attendance, according to one news source.

Conscience As Guide

020310Feature2_McGovernWhen you’re known as the “conscience of the Democratic Party” – with regular op-ed pieces on current events in major newspapers – people are keenly interested in your views.

A large group from the campus community and wider community gathered in Jackson Library to hear former senator and 1972 presidential nominee George McGovern speak about Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 27. McGovern has written a book titled “Abraham Lincoln.” The talk was held in conjunction with the Lincoln-focused exhibition “Forever Free.”

Provost David H. Perrin introduced him. They’d had lunch together, Perrin said. “I can attest to his political convictions.”

Perrin noted he had been UNCG’s commencement speaker in 1969.

McGovern acknowledged that, saying, “I want to pick up where I left off.”

He spoke of his love of libraries and books. And spoke specifically about Lincoln. “He read everything he could get his hands on … King James Bible, Aesop’s fables, Pilgrim’s Progress, Shakespeare.” Lincoln was reading till the day he died.

Lincoln did not like manual work, but he worked tirelessly on his speeches. “He worked on those speeches night and day.” He’d write a draft, then call in cabinet members for their input and reaction. They’d take notes, give comments. For example, Secretary of State William Seward suggested the phrase “better angels of our nature” when he heard a draft of Lincoln’s first inaugural address.

Lincoln battled with depression, McGovern said. McGovern’s daughter Terri died as a result of depression and alcoholism. It shows the strength of Lincoln, he said, who refrained from alcohol, that he was able to cope without the treatments and medications that are available today.

Lincoln’s greatest achievement was not the Emancipation Proclamation, McGovern said. “It was saving the Union – that’s what the war was all about.”

An audience member asked McGovern what he would have done as president at that time, what would he have been? “I may very well have been an abolitionist,” he said. But Lincoln was a cagey politician, he added. “Sometimes you have to be that way.”

McGovern touched on the need to address world hunger. McGovern saw the devastating effects of hunger during the Great Depression, when Dust Bowl storms and grasshoppers ravaged South Dakota. He saw even worse hardship while stationed in Italy as a bomber pilot during World War II. He ended a question and answer session with a story about a bomb from his plane obliterating a particular Austrian farmhouse, which nagged at him for decades. He told the story on a European television station, not so long ago. An older farmer called his hotel late that night. “That was my farm, “he said. “We saw the bomber coming. We got in a ditch. No one got hurt. … Tell the senator to forget about it.”

McGovern’s Jackson Library talk was the first of two on January 27. He also spoke at the screening of Matt Barr’s “Hungry for Green” documentary.

Civil Rights Greensboro

012710Feature2_CivilRightsUNCG, in conjunction with the 50-year anniversary of the Greensboro Sit-ins, has launched Civil Rights Greensboro, an online portal to information about people and events that have helped define Greensboro’s history.

The site represents a combined effort between UNCG, Guilford College, Greensboro College and Duke University. It is hosted and maintained by the UNCG University Libraries’ Electronic Resources and Information Technology department.

Civil Rights Greensboro, a searchable digital archive, covers such subjects as desegregation of local schools, the February 1960 sit-ins at Woolworth’s, race relations at UNCG and Guilford College, the Black Power movement in Greensboro and the Klan-Nazi shootings at Morningside Homes in 1979. Audio clips of first-person accounts, transcribed oral histories and archival photos and clippings are available on the site.

Digitized resources came from the following collections:

• University Archives and Manuscripts, UNCG

• Friends Historical Collection, Guilford College

• Brock Historical Museum, Greensboro College

• Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library, Duke University

• Greensboro Historical Museum

A $74,616 NC ECHO Digitization Grant from the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, with money from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, funded the project.

Visual: In April 1969, student supporters of striking food service workers listened as Henry Frye, attorney and state legislator, spoke. Photo is from The Carolinian and is part of Civil Rights Greensboro.


012710Feature3_MossmanA steering committee has been named to develop recommendations on how to implement the administrative restructuring that places the Division of Student Affairs within the Division of Academic Affairs.

Provost David Perrin announced the Student Affairs/Academic Affairs Restructuring Steering Committee, which is co-chaired by Dr. Cherry Callahan and Dr. Steve Roberson. A trio of subcommittees will focus on the areas of retention/persistence, living-learning, and leadership and service learning. The UNC Board of Governors approved the restructuring on Friday, Jan. 8.

Those appointed are:

  • Student Affairs/Academic Affairs Restructuring Committee: Roberson and Callahan, co-chairs, Dr. Jen Day Shaw, Dr. Micheline Chalhoub-Deville, Dr. Alan Boyette and Dr. Tim Johnston
  • Living-Learning Subcommittee: Dr. Mary Hummel and Chalhoub-Deville, co-chairs, Dr. Brett Carter, Kathy Crowe, Dr. Jerry Pubantz, Dr. John Sopper, Dr. Jim Weeks and Dr. Erin Bentrim-Tapio
  • Retention/Persistence Subcommittee: Boyette, chair, Shaw, co-chair, Kristen Christman, Dr. John Rife, Johnston, Lise Keller, Dr. Kim Sousa Peoples and Dr. Audrey Lucas
  • Leadership and Service Learning Subcommittee: Dr. Celia Hooper and Dr. Checka Leinwall, co-chairs, Dr. Laurie Sims, Dr. Rebecca Adams, Dr. Cathy Hamilton, Dr. Mary Crowe and Dr. Ruth DeHoog.

Perrin said the restructuring will provide a creative environment leading to the development of common goals and new approaches to enhancing student success. The committee is charged with:

  • Reviewing the range of activities, responsibilities and resources for each of the 12 Student Affairs departments and the relevant components of Academic Affairs, to discover opportunities for enhanced cooperation among the two divisions.
  • Recommending how Student Affairs resources will complement the work of Academic Affairs with initial emphasis on retention and persistence, living-learning communities, and leadership and service learning.
  • Proposing organizational restructuring that coordinates activities directly related to student success (e.g., retention, persistence and graduation) under the supervision of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
  • Examining and proposing additional opportunities for Student Affairs and Academic Affairs collaboration and restructuring to better coordinate activities in support of UNCG’s living-learning communities, and leadership and service learning programs.

Responsibility for UNCG’s academic programs, research activities, and student affairs have been consolidated under Perrin, who has the title Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. The position’s direct reports will include the Vice Provost, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, the Deans Council, director of the Weatherspoon Art Museum, director of the Lloyd International Honors College, and director of SERVE. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development will remain members of the Chancellor’s Executive Staff.

Woolworth’s Sit-in Commemorations

012010Feature3_WC3CivilRightsUntil 1960, African Americans could spend money in any part of Greensboro’s department stores such as Woolworth’s, but they could not sit and eat at the lunch counter. Under the segregationist customs of the time, the lunch counter was reserved for whites only. On Feb. 1, 1960, four NC A&T students started a sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter that sparked similar sit-ins throughout the South.

Last week, one of the four Woolworth Sit-in leaders of 50 years ago, Franklin McCain, recounted those days before and during the sit-ins. He noted that three students from Woman’s College [UNCG], whom he called “some brave souls,” joined in the protest after a few days. They have been called the WC Three. He described their participation as “heartwarming,” explaining that “they knew what we were doing.” He also noted that WC’s then-chancellor threatened these WC women with suspension if they continued.

McCain, who is a UNC Board of Governors trustee, was the featured speaker at UNCG’s MLK Celebration in 2004.

Two events on our campus will mark the 50th anniversary of the sit-ins, which is Feb. 1.

– The discussion “WC at the Lunch Counter: UNCG’s Involvement in the Sit-In Demonstration of 1960” will be Thursday, Jan. 28, from 4-5:30 in the EUC’s Multicultural Resource Center. It will look at the participation of the WC Three and also Claudette Burroughs-White in the sit-ins. The discussion will include Dr. Lisa Levenstein (History), Betty Carter (University Archives), Dr. Tara T. Green (African American Studies Program) and Dr. Hephzibah Roskelly (English). The discussion will focus on the women, the climate for women in the 1960s and the response of the college to their participation in the sit-ins.

– A commemorative walk from Guilford Residence Hall to the Governmental Plaza downtown will take place Monday, Feb. 1, the day the new International Civil Rights Museum will open. The museum is located in the former Woolworth’s Building. The historic lunch counter is a prominent part of the museum’s features. The walk from UNCG will replicate the one at least two of the WC Three took to go downtown and participate in the sit-ins. People will begin to gather in front of Guilford Hall at 11:30 a.m. The walk starts at noon.

Both events are open to the public. For details, email ttgreen@uncg.edu or barbara_king@uncg.edu.

The events are sponsored by the African American Studies Program, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Department of History, Office of the Provost and Women’s & Gender Studies.

In addition, several exhibitions by Archives are on view at Jackson Library.

  • In the Jackson Library entryway – A display marking NC A&T students’, Bennett College students’ and WC (UNCG) students’ participation in the sit-ins.
  • In Jackson Library foyer, near Reference Desk – Exhibition detailing WC’s move toward racial integration. WC’s first two African-American students were JoAnne Smart and Bettye Tillman. They enrolled in 1956. In 2008, the Smart-Tillman Distinguished Professorship in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance was created.
  • In Jackson Library/EUC breezeway – Exhibition on the WC Three and Claudette Burroughs-White’s participation in the Woolworth’s sit-ins.

McGovern on Film, in Person

012010Feature2_McGovernFormer presidential nominee and Senator George McGovern will speak and participate in a discussion Wednesday, Jan. 27, following the premiere of “Hungry for Green,” a film written and directed by Matt Barr (Media Studies) and narrated by McGovern.

“Hungry for Green: Feeding the World Sustainably,” a 26-minute documentary about the interconnections between feeding the world’s hungry and making agriculture more organic and sustainable, will be screened at 7 p.m. in Elliott University Center Auditorium. Chancellor Linda P. Brady will introduce McGovern.

Barr, a professor in the Department of Media Studies, shot the film in McGovern’s home state of South Dakota and North Carolina, and used additional footage from around the world. After the film is shown on Jan. 27, Barr and McGovern will discuss it with the audience.

“It was thrilling and wonderful to be able to make this film and to work with Senator McGovern, who has always been one of my heroes,” Barr says.

Barr can be heard speaking about the event and film at http://iminervapodcast.blogspot.com/.

“It is one of the first documentaries to tie together the issues of agricultural sustainability and the worldwide problem of hunger. We plan to get ‘Hungry for Green’ out to PBS stations as well as to educational venues nationwide.”

The music for the film was scored by Dr. Pete Kellett (Communication Studies) and performed by Dr. Kellett, Dr. Steve Kroll-Smith (Sociology) and Dr. Art Murphy (Anthropology).

The film has already won praise from acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. “This is an important film that underscores the urgency of achieving agricultural sustainability to help alleviate hunger and protect our natural environment,” Burns says.

At 3:30 p.m. the same day, McGovern will speak about Abraham Lincoln and sign copies of his book about the 16th president in Jackson Library’s Reading Room.

Both the film screening and the book signing are free and open to the public. Free parking will be available in the Oakland Avenue Parking Deck for attendees of the film premiere.

Sponsors of McGovern’s visit to UNCG include the O’Henry Hotel, Green Valley Grill, the Sierra Club, Sustainable Health Choices, Tate Street Coffee House, the UNCG College of Arts and Sciences, the UNCG Department of Media Studies, the UNCG Sustainability Committee, UNCG University Libraries, and the Friends of the UNCG Libraries.

McGovern saw the devastating effects of hunger during the Great Depression, when Dust Bowl storms and grasshoppers ravaged South Dakota. He saw even worse hardship while stationed in Italy as a bomber pilot during World War II.

After graduating from Dakota Wesleyan University in 1946, he earned a master’s and doctorate in history at Northwestern University, where his thesis advisor was Arthur Link, the father of longtime UNCG history professor Bill Link.

He served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1957-61, and three terms in the Senate, 1963-81. Between his stints in Congress, he led the federal Food for Peace Program, an effort to use American surplus to feed the needy in other countries. McGovern spoke at UNCG’s graduation in 1969.

The Democratic Party nominated him in 1972 as its candidate for president. His career in public office was marked by his opposition to the war in Vietnam, his support for farmers and his work to feed the hungry around the world.

Forgotten Stories of Slavery

011310Feature3The 1860 U.S. Census registered the names of slave owners and the age, gender and color of slaves. But there, as in much of the historical record, slaves are nameless.

UNCG’s new Digital Library on American Slavery provides the names of more than 83,000 individual slaves from 15 states and the District of Columbia.

The web site, created in cooperation with University Libraries, features petitions related to slavery collected during an 18-year project led by Dr. Loren Schweninger (History). The petitions filed in county courts and state legislatures cover a wide range of legal issues, including wills, divorce proceedings, punishment of runaway slaves, calls for abolition, property disputes and more.

“It’s among the most specific and detailed databases and web sites dealing with slavery in the U.S. between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War,” said Schweninger, the Elizabeth Rosenthal Excellence Professor in History. “There’s no web site like this, either in extent or content. The amount of information in here to be mined is enormous.”

Started in 1991, the Race and Slavery Petitions Project collected, organized and published the petitions. The Digital Library on American Slavery is the final phase of the project.

A complete collection of the full petitions, “Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks: Petitions to Southern Legislatures and County Courts, 1775-1867,” has been published on 151 reels of microfilm. In addition to Jackson Library, North Carolina university libraries with all or part of the microfilm collection are located at Duke, East Carolina, N.C. A&T, UNC Chapel Hill and Wake Forest.

Schweninger knows the value of conducting research from primary sources, something he learned from his mentor, the late Dr. John Hope Franklin. The stories he found in legal records were often not preserved anywhere else. “This was info that was not tapped,” he said. “Very few scholars had gone to county courts.”

Building the database for the archive was painstaking work. Schweninger visited about 160 county courthouses in the South and 15 state archives between 1991 and 1995. “The first three years, I was on the road 540 days,” he said.

Marguerite Ross Howell, senior associate editor, worked on the project for 11 years and was responsible for entering tens of thousands of slave names and connecting them with their own family members as well as their owners, creating a unique resource from original documents. Nicole Mazgaj, associate editor, worked on the project for seven years and focused her analysis especially on the rich documentary evidence from parish court houses in Louisiana.

“The archive is chock-full of information detailing the personal life of slaves,” Mazgaj said. “It’s probably about the most detailed that you’ll find.”

The project was supported by $1.5 million in grant money, a particularly impressive sum in the humanities, from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and UNCG.

The library includes petitions by more than 2,500 slaves and free blacks who sought redress for numerous causes. For example, George Sears of Randolph County, a blacksmith and a free man of color, purchased his slave wife Tillah for $300. He then petitioned the North Carolina General Assembly in 1818 to emancipate his wife and daughters and “render them Competent in Law to inherit the Estate of your Petitioner.”

A number of the petitions also speak to how slaves fought their enslavement, providing details of slaves who ran away, burned down plantations or plotted to murder slave owners. As the petitions show, the position of free blacks in the South was also precarious.

In some cases, whites petitioned for free blacks to be allowed to remain in the state, citing their value to the community. In others, a few free blacks petitioned to be returned to slavery so that they could be with loved ones who were slaves.

1,520 Receive Degrees

011310Feature2As the word suggests, commencement is a beginning rather than an end, Dr. Matina C. Kalcounis-Rüppell told soon-to-be UNCG graduates and their families at commencement Dec. 17.

“Although you have reached a milestone in your career, your learning is far from over,” the associate professor of biology said. “In fact, your degree is actually the starting point for new degrees of learning across multiple disciplines that you will face over the course of your life.”

The university conferred 1,520 degrees – 1,076 bachelor’s, 372 master’s, 13 specialist in education and 60 doctorates – during the ceremony. In addition to Chancellor Linda P. Brady and Kalcounis-Rüppell, participants included Erskine B. Bowles, president of the UNC system; Provost David H. Perrin; Dr. Laurie Kennedy-Malone, chair of the Faculty Senate; Randall R. Kaplan, chair of the Board of Trustees; and Jana Welch Wagenseller, president of the Alumni Association.

The problems we face can only be solved with contributions from across the academic spectrum, Kalcounis-Rüppell said. Countering threats to the state’s frogs, bees and bats, for instance, will require collaboration among scientists, educators, geographers, public health experts and economists.

“As much as I would like to tell you that you can take a break from learning, I cannot,” said the winner of the 2009 Alumni Teaching Excellence Award.

Also taking part in the ceremony were UNCG’s academic deans; Dr. Daniel Winkler, faculty marshal and mace bearer; Margie Wiggins, chief marshal; and Renwick Pridgeon Jr., undergraduate tassel turner. Commencement Brass, conducted by Carole Ott, provided music.

Jacob Scott Henry spoke on behalf of the December graduating class and urged his classmates to take the day to rest and reflect, to find joy in their achievement, and to appreciate the role models and supporters who made graduation possible.

Graduates should strive to be good stewards, Henry said, growing resources for the common good and contributing to a more just world. “We can and should be agents of renewal for all aspects of society,” he said.

New graduate Julie Tesh and Diane Carpenter Peebles, an alumna of the Class of 1959, rang the University Bell at the conclusion of the ceremony.

The full text of Kalcounis-Rüppell’s address, “New Degrees of Learning,” is available online.