UNCG Campus Weekly

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

Ken Jeong tells graduates: Find your passion, be persistent

Photo of Ken Jeong speaking at Commencement

It was a day of celebration at UNC Greensboro, with nearly 2,500 Spartans turning their tassels at May Commencement and embarking on a new journey as future business executives, health professionals, artists, teachers, and community leaders.

It was also a day full of laughter, thanks to comedian, actor, writer, producer, and physician Ken Jeong, who imparted words of wisdom and shared his personal story – often irreverent and unfiltered – to the Class of 2019.

A Greensboro native, Dr. Jeong began his remarks by talking about his connections to the city and to UNCG. His sister graduated from UNCG’s Master of Library and Information Studies Program, and Dr. Jeong himself took organic chemistry at UNCG – and spent many hours studying in Jackson Library – between his freshman and sophomore years at Duke University.

Throughout his speech, Dr. Jeong had the audience in stitches. But his key message to the graduates was serious: Find your passion.

Dr. Jeong talked about how he found his passion later in life – at age 38 – after working for years as a physician in California. At first, he was apprehensive to take the plunge into the entertainment industry. But with the encouragement and support of his family, he decided to quit his day job and pursue his passions of comedy and acting full time.

“The only thing I have to offer in life is my passion. I think that’s the only thing that keeps me going,” he said. “I’m just looking at every single student here: Find your passion, and if you’ve found your passion, as you graduate, let that evolve.”

He also recognized and celebrated the first-generation students who graduated today, and applauded the University’s efforts to support these students. Approximately 38 percent of UNCG students are the first in their family to attend college.

Dr. Jeong finished by telling the graduates that his biggest talent is persistence.

“After my show got cancelled, I stuck it out. After good things happen, I stick it out. I keep moving no matter what. And I encourage you, good times and bad, keep moving, keep finding your passion. I honestly say to every single soul in this coliseum: If I can do this, and if I can do what I want, so can you. You have the light and the future and the universe ahead of you.”

See full story and social media hightlights and photos at UNCG Now.

See a highlight video of Dr. Jeong’s speech at www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFqbXD1m8Ds.



Teaching Excellence Award Recipients from each part of UNCG

Photo of MinervaEach year, UNCG’s many schools award faculty members for outstanding performance in the classroom. This year, seven professors have been named recipients of the respective schools’  Teaching Excellence Awards:

  • Dr. Hamid Nemati (Information Systems & Supply Chain Management – Bryan School)
  • Dr. Haimeng Zhang (Mathematics & Statistics, College of Arts and Sciences)
  • Dr. Ali Askerov (Peace & Conflict Studies – School of Health and Human Sciences)
  • Dr. Cynthia “Cindy” Bacon (School of Nursing)
  • Ms. Janet Allard (School of Theatre, College of Visual and Performing Arts)
  • Dr. Eric Josephs (Nanoscience, JSNN)
  • Dr. Melody Patterson-Zoch (Teacher Education – Higher Education – School of Education)

Greensboro Bound literary festival this weekend

Dr. Martin Halbert in front of a banner for Greensboro Bound

Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival strikes up, with the opening reception at UNC Greensboro’s Weatherspoon Art Museum the evening of May 16, and an event with bestselling author Zadie Smith at the Elliot University Center on May 18.

The festival is a free, weekend-long series of readings, discussions, and events focused on books, writing, diverse voices from around the world, North Carolina’s literary traditions, and an inclusive community of readers from Greensboro and far beyond.

UNCG is one of the Greensboro Bound’s most prominent partners, with leading sponsorship from University Libraries, as well as support from the Office of the Provost, the Humanities Network and Consortium, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the faculty and alumni authors and musicians who are participating in the festival.

“Literary festivals are great moments to celebrate what we most admire in our culture and what issues are getting attention in terms of literary treatments,” said Dean of University Libraries Martin Halbert. “It’s an opportunity for the city to come together and explore different parts of our shared culture. The festival puts Greensboro on the map in a new way, and University Libraries is a very happy partner.”

Award-winning writer Zadie Smith will read from her work and join Halbert in a conversation at EUC’s Cone Ballroom at 7:30 p.m. on May 18.

Smith is the author of the bestselling novel “White Teeth,” which won numerous awards and was included in Time magazine’s list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. Her 2005 novel “On Beauty” earned the Orange Prize for Fiction, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the United Kingdom. Her most recent published works are “Swing Time,” a novel, and “Feel Free,” a collection of essays that received the 2018 National Critics Circle Award.

Tickets for the event’s main space are sold out, but free overflow tickets for seating in the EUC Auditorium are available on the event site, and attendees are invited to submit questions for the conversation.

From the preceding Thursday through the following Sunday, Greensboro Bound also offers many opportunities to hear and experience the work of UNCG faculty and alumni writers, and to celebrate literary culture through campus connections.

The kick-off party begins Thursday, May 16, at 5:30 at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, and will feature the work of School of Art faculty member Sheryl Oring with her “I Wish To Say” project.

See full story at UNCG Now.


Newsmakers: Journell, “Instrument Petting Zoo,” DeJesus, and Debbage

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 week:

  • Dr. Wayne Journell spoke on the Visions of Education Podcast about his new book, “Unpacking Fake News: An Educator’s Guide to Navigating the Media with Students”. The episode.
  • The News & Record highlighted photos from the “Instrument Petting Zoo” at LeBauer Park, which is hosted by School of Music students and held the first Monday of every month from May through August. The pictures.
  • Dr. Jasmine DeJesus was featured in a WFMZ piece on helping parents deal with picky children. The article.
  • The Winston-Salem Journal spoke to Dr. Keith Debbage for a piece on the Smith-Reynolds Airport’s potential legacy status. The piece.

‘Reach the unreachable star’ with Triad Stage/UNCG Theatre’s ‘Man of Mancha’

Photo of actors during a performance of The Man of La ManchaThe 60s were a time of social upheaval driven by hope and idealism. Now, to bring the year-long “The 60s: Exploring the Limits” series to a close, UNCG Theatre has partnered with Triad Stage for a production of Dale Wasserman’s classic musical about pursuing dreams in the face of harsh reality, “Man of La Mancha.” The musical was a great hit during its 1965 debut, winning five Tony Awards, and has been performed worldwide and revived on Broadway four times since.

In prison, the poet Cervantes tells the story of the knight Don Quixote and his squire, Sancho Panza, as they embark on a quest to fight a giant and win the heart of Quixote’s beloved Dulcinea. Featuring favorite songs such as “The Impossible Dream,” “Dulcinea, and “I, Don Quixote,” the play reimagines the original novel as a story about courage and striving to “reach the unreachable star.”

Photo of actors in Man of La Mancha

The cast and staff include a number of UNCG students, faculty, and alumni in the production:

  • Students: Kemari Bryant (José), Christina Duchesne (Antonia), Yansi Fatama (Fermina), Kezia Moore (Captain of the Inquisition), J. Andrew Speas (Anselmo), Forrest Wilson as Juan
  • Alumni: Bradley Carter (Paco), Michael Tourek (The Governor/The Innkeeper), Dr. Justin P. Cowan (Musical Director), Virginia Hirsch (Dramaturg)
  • Faculty: Christine Morris (Maria, The Innkeeper’s Wife/Housekeeper), Denise Gabriel (Choreographer), Jim Wren (Resident Fight Choreographer)

Photo of actors in Man of La Mancha“Man of La Mancha” will run for two more weeks, and tickets are still available. To see the schedule and purchase tickets, see the web entry on Triad Stage here.

Compiled by Avery Campbell.
Photography by Vanderveen Photography.



Spartans in top photo: J. Andrea Speas, Kemari Bryant, Bradley Carter, Forrest Wilson
Spartans in middle photo: Christine Morris, Christina Duchesne
Spartans in bottom photo: Yansa Fatima, Christina Duchesne


UNCG staff awards celebration May 20

Photo of Minerva

UNCG’s staff will be recognized and applauded Monday, May 20. Please come and enjoy the special event.

From 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. that afternoon, the University will host its inaugural all-staff celebration and appreciation event at Alumni House and the adjoining Taylor Garden (weather permitting).

At 3:30 p.m., the Staff Senate chairs will provide a welcome, and Chancellor Gilliam will provide remarks on the critical role staff play at our university, before presenting the Excellence Awards and Gladys Strawn Bullard Award.

Staff award recipients – including those who have received unit awards – will have special nametags marked with ribbons so they can easily be recognized throughout the afternoon.

Earlier in the day, the three Staff Excellence Award honorees and the Staff Gladys Strawn Bullard Award winner will have a special lunch with Chancellor Gilliam and members of the Bullard family.

Questions? Contact Sarah Alston at s_alston@uncg.edu.


Hooding ceremony is Thursday, Commencement is Friday

Photo of a student at commencementUNCG expects to award more than 2,500 degrees at the University’s May Commencement Ceremony and Doctoral Hooding Ceremony.

UNCG will confer approximately 1,867 bachelor’s degrees, 578 master’s degrees, 111 doctoral degrees, and 20 specialist in education degrees. Ninety-three of those degrees will be awarded to international students.

The Commencement Ceremony will be held Friday, May 10, at 10 a.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum. The University’s Doctoral Hooding Ceremony will take place Thursday, May 9, at 3 p.m. at UNCG Auditorium.

Actor, writer, producer, and Greensboro native Ken Jeong will deliver the keynote address at Friday’s ceremony. Also a physician, Dr. Jeong earned his undergraduate degree at Duke University and went on to get his medical degree at UNC Chapel Hill. He attended Page High School here in Greensboro, where his parents still live.

Dr. Jeong is perhaps best known for his scene-stealing abilities and has established himself as one of today’s top comedic stars. He gained international fame for his role in the sleeper-hit film “The Hangover,” one of the biggest comedy franchises of all time, and starred in the No. 1 box office hit, “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Tierra Thompson, a senior majoring in political science and sociology, will deliver the student speech.

Dr. Gaëtane Jean-Marie, dean of the College of Education and Richard O. Jacobson Endowed Chair of Leadership in Education at the University of Northern Iowa, will serve as the speaker for the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony.

General seating at the Greensboro Coliseum is unlimited and is not reserved. Parking at the coliseum is free for all graduates and their guests, and parking permits are not required. For the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony, parking is available in the lot behind the Graham Building and Weatherspoon Art Museum.

Park & Ride buses will be available to transport volunteers, students, staff, and faculty between campus and the coliseum. Buses will depart campus every 30 minutes beginning at 7 a.m., with the final shuttle returning to campus at 1 p.m. Passengers may board the bus on Stirling Street in front of Elliott University Center.

For those who cannot attend Friday’s ceremony in person, a livestream of the event can be accessed here.

For more information, visit UNCG Commencement Central.

May 18 at UNCG: Guilford County Heart & Stroke Walk

Photo of people at the heart walk

Last year’s event at UNCG

Updated with new totals and info May 14 

Life is why we walk. On Saturday, May 18, walkers, donors, and volunteers will walk UNC Greensboro’s campus to raise awareness and funds to save lives of the country’s number 1 and number 5 killers – heart disease and stroke.

The free, 5K (3.1 miles) noncompetitive Guilford County Heart and Stroke Walk is the American Heart Association’s premier event. Hundreds of people will step out in the name of heart health and stroke prevention from Stirling St., at 9 a.m.

Join a UNCG team by completing the online sign up on the UNCG Walk Page. Children who attend (5th grade and under) will receive free passes to Wet’n Wild at Emerald Pointe.

Last year, UNCG raised $7,911 and had 144 walkers. As of this week, UNCG has 52 walkers registered with donations at $3,106.

Tents and check-in open at 8 a.m. followed by a “Puppy Parade” at 8:45 a.m. There will be an after-party with music, kids’ activities, and light refreshments beginning at 9:30 a.m. Strollers and leashed dogs are allowed, and the route is accessible to people with disabilities.

The UNCG School of Health and Human Sciences and the UNCG School of Nursing will be on hand with various activities and fun swag for walkers.

Parking is free at the Oakland and Walker Parking Decks.

For more information on the 2019 Greater Guilford Heart & Stroke Walk, visit the event website.

By Elizabeth Harrison

Make nominations for Biotechnology Excellence Awards 

Triad BioNight, a premier event for our region’s biotechnology community, takes place June 20, 2019.

The Biotechnology Excellence Awards are the cornerstone of the Triad BioNight celebration. Nominated leaders from the Piedmont Triad will take home awards in five categories: Academic Development; Biotechnology Community Leadership; Biotechnology Service/Support; Entrepreneurial and Research & Development.

Award submissions are due by May 23.

UNC Greensboro is closely engaged with the event. Dr. Kim Littlefield, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement, serves on the awards committee. Dr. Terri Shelton, Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement, serves on the board.

Learn more at www.ncbiotech.org/events/triad-bionight-2019

See Research & Engagement Office post.

Four INNOVATE grants awarded

Four faculty members have received grants for Intentional, Notable, and Valued Teaching Experiences (INNOVATE) Research Projects, awarded by the Office of the Provost.

The awards are one-time mini-grants to conduct research that investigates the development, evaluation, and promotion of student success through innovative teaching practices at the University.

Mariche Bayonas (LLC) received the INNOVATE grant in Spanish to support the assessment of “Boomalang” software to facilitate speaking practice in both online and face-to-face introductory Spanish courses. The software was studied across four courses using both self-report data from student questionnaires and comparative data from summative assessments in the form of exams and compositions. The research has been presented widely, including an international conference (AESLA in Cadiz, Spain), two national conferences (AAAL in Chicago and ACTFL in New Orleans), and two regional conferences (SLINKI at Wake Forest and MIFLC in Knoxville). Those presentations have now become manuscripts submitted to the Hispanic Studies Review journal, in addition to several Conference Proceedings.

Diane Gill (Kinesiology) received an INNOVATE grant for evaluation of the online EdD program with a focus on how the program facilitates student progress through the dissertation and professional development. The Doctor of Education in Kinesiology Online program provides a distinct case for evaluation of the factors that promote student success in this environment. The study, with assistance from an independent consultant, looked at a variety of metrics across each of the four existing cohorts, including course evaluations, student self-efficacy, and sense of community. Internally, the Kinesiology department has used the evaluation findings to help better meet the needs of students, especially the students starting their dissertations, through a task force and EdD faculty committee. Externally, the project leads have presented the evaluation work in two sessions at the AIESEP World Congress in Edinburgh, UK. The findings are also being prepared in two related manuscripts to be submitted for publication.

Hemali Rathnayake (Nanoscience) The interdisciplinary graduate program in Nanoscience used the INNOVATE grant to pilot a new model for scientific communication education to practice written, visual, and oral communication skills through professional skills in synthesis of literature reviews, oral presentations, and research proposals. Measurable targets included the ability to interpret and synthesize scientific literature and effectively communicate scientific material in written and oral formats, which were assessed using the National Communication Association’s evaluation rubric. The grant helped to fund seven group sessions in collaboration with the Speaking Center, modeled on their sessions for non-native English speakers, that were open to all JSNN students. The project culminated in several workshops and an open forum, which included practice “TED-like” talks. The project has produced two manuscripts which are currently under revised submissions. It has also served as the foundation for a grant proposal to the NSF-IGE program, which is under review.

Iglika Pavlova (Biology) The INNOVATE grant helped the Biology department to expand research capacity for evaluation of the effect of course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) on improving equitable access and preparation toward STEM careers. Initial data from implementation of CUREs in BIO 112 showed promising improvement in research skills, but the INNOVATE grant facilitated research into whether effects persist across semesters and different instructors, expanded the markers of improvement to be observed, and helped to work towards an expansion of available CURE labs. This work was done in collaboration with Mark Davenport in Institutional Research, John Wilse’s team in ERM, and Sara Heredia in TEHE. Preliminary findings from the research have already been shared with the UNC System, as well as at two national conferences (ASM and SABER). Since the research continues following the INNOVATE grant, submission to peer-reviewed journals is planned for 2020, upon completion of data analysis across four semesters.

Fun in the great indoors, at UNCG’s Employee Field Day

People with mascotWhen clouds threaten, you just move the fun inside! More than 225 competitors and spectators enjoyed the annual Employee Field Day, held in the Kaplan Center for Wellness.

Highlights from the day:

  • 7 teams competed in the team competitions
  • Over 50 individual game winners in the events of hula hooping, egg and spoon race, ball toss, three legged race, musical “chairs,” cookie face, and junk in the trunk!
  • Lots of food donations for the Moss Street Partnership School – about ten full boxes. (see photo)packaged foodpeople wearing medalspeople on yoga balls

The UNCG Employee Field Day Champions:

Push Up Competition Champion: David Fuller- Facilities Operations, Housekeeping

Burpee Competition Champion: Jeff Milroy- Public Health Education

Plank Competition Champion: Kyle McCoil- New Student Transitions & First Year Experience

Obstacle Course Relay Champions

SOARing to the finish line

– Ally DeLucia

– Kyle McCoil

– Rachel Dodd Blackley

– Austin McKim

Chicken in the Hen House Champions

SOARing to the finish line

– Ally DeLucia

– Kyle McCoil

– Rachel Dodd Blackley

– Austin McKim

Tic Tac Toe Champions

UNCG Human Resources

– Sarah Dreier-Kasik

– Linh-An Doan

– Cati Munoz

– Marge Webb

Join in next year: April 24, 2020.

Photos on this post by Jiyoung Park. More pictures from the event are here.

Community-Engaged Pathways and Partnerships (P2) info session Tuesday

A Collective Scholarship Fellows Program will be hosted by the UNCG Institute for Community & Economic Engagement and the UNCG Office of Research and Engagement. Applications are due October 11, 2019. Questions or want to learn more? Contact Lori Kniffin, lekniffi@uncg.edu.

And continue reading:


This grant-funded fellows program aims to strengthen collective approaches to community-engaged scholarship through the development of sustainable pathways and partnerships that build deep, reciprocal processes to achieve mutually beneficial, community-identified priorities. Scholarship is broadly defined to include research, creative activity, inquiry, and teaching. This scholarship fellows program is unique in that spans three years, focuses on community-engaged practices and outcomes, supports team-based scholarship, and provides professional development to P2 Fellows.


Community-university partnerships are often limited in their capacity, reach, effectiveness, and sustainability, because the relationships and activities are focused on the aims of individual scholars and partners. By connecting to larger, more collectively-designed, teams in which the relationships, vision, plans, efforts, and outcomes are shared, the partnership can reach its full potential.

This program supports the visioning and planning needed to develop sustainable and reciprocal community-university partnerships. Highly collaborative, reciprocal, community-university partnerships are foundational to transforming regions, students, and scholarship (key areas in the UNCG Strategic Plan) and are increasingly required to secure external funding. Therefore, this three-year grant provides the time and support needed to develop sustainable pathways and partnerships.

An information session will be held Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 9-10 a.m. in 3603 MHRA Building.

*Please register here

Learn more at https://communityengagement.uncg.edu/uncg-engagement/community-engaged-pathways-and-partnerships-grant/.

UNCG Nursing collaborates with Swiss university for nurse practitioner program

Photo of Dr. Ursula Klopfstein-Bichsel and Dr. KellyAs a former forensic pathologist, Dr. Ursula Klopfstein-Bichsel smiled like a kid playing with a new toy as she performed a virtual autopsy on a digital cadaver.

To examine the male cadaver’s large intestine, all she had to do was make a few incisions by running her right hand across an Anatomage Table, which resembles a massive iPad.

Klopfstein-Bichsel, a lecturer in the Department of Health at Switzerland’s Bern University of Applied Sciences, observed a variety of new things while visiting the UNC Greensboro School of Nursing for two weeks in April. She watched nursing students attend classes, perform simulations, and take their objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). She also attended a Greensboro Grasshoppers baseball game.

Klopfstein-Bichsel’s visit was part of an international collaboration in which UNCG faculty members are helping Bern start a nurse practitioner program this fall. The partnership could eventually expand to include a global exchange program that would give UNCG nursing students the opportunity to study in Switzerland.

“I guess both sides are very excited about this collaboration,” Klopfstein-Bichsel said, “and we at Bern are very very happy for all those things we learn from UNCG because you have much more experience in nurse practitioner courses than we have.”

More than 20 students have already enrolled in Bern’s nurse practitioner program. With the first day of class quickly approaching, Klopfstein-Bichsel traveled to the United States to work with UNCG faculty members on creating the program’s curriculum. They also developed content for courses that Swiss professors will teach, including in pathophysiology and pharmacology.

Nurse practitioner is a new profession in Switzerland, and it has become a problem that there are some regions of the country where nurse practitioners aren’t available. At the same time, Klopfstein-Bichsel said some Swiss physicians have raised concerns about Bern starting a program that trains nurses to perform certain procedures that doctors have traditionally done.

“My medical colleagues, some are very excited, and the others are very critical. They say, ‘But nurses can’t do this,’” Klopfstein-Bichsel said. “They fear nurses will pick work from them, and they’re very skeptical. We have to work on that to make them confident about this new role.” As a result, there is pressure for Bern’s program to have a successful launch in a few months to avoid further criticism. UNCG’s nursing faculty have provided guidance along the way. Photo of Dr. Ursula Klopfstein-Bichsel

“Since they’re just starting the nurse practitioner role, it will not be equivalent to what is in the United States,” said Dr. Kelly Stamp, who has been instrumental in UNCG’s collaboration with Bern as an associate professor and department chair of Family and Community Nursing. “But I think giving Ursula the opportunity to see where the role will go over the years and where it will end up is important. It’s helpful for her to see how independent we teach our students to be and the level of nursing that we’re teaching.”

UNCG’s partnership with Bern is actually several years in the making. In 2013, Stamp started traveling to Switzerland to teach as a part of a global exchange program that Boston College has with the University of Lausanne. At the time, she was a faculty member at Boston College. In addition to teaching, Swiss officials asked Stamp to give talks about her research on heart failure to doctors around the country. They later asked if she would continue to collaborate with them on new projects after she joined UNCG’s faculty in August 2017. In the spring of 2018, when Bern administrators needed help starting its nurse practitioner program, they reached out to Stamp.

“We’ll be there on the side to make sure they’re sustainable,” Stamp said. “If we need to go over to Switzerland, we’ll go over. If we need to talk via Skype more often, we’ll do that to help mitigate any barriers that Ursula is having along the way.”

By Alex Abrams
Dr. Ursula Klopfstein-Bichsel in both photos, with Dr. Kelly Stamp in red jacket in the top photo. Photos by Alex Abrams.

Goodbye, Michael Parker. And thanks for all the books.

Photo of Michael ParkerIt’s his tenth book. He likes going out with a round number.

Author Michael Parker, whose novel “Prairie Fever” will be released May 21 by Algonquin Press, will retire from UNC Greensboro at the end of this semester. Tuesday, he led his final class.

“I actually published my first book the first year I was at UNCG, so my career coincides with my career here. So it’s really wonderful to be publishing my tenth book right before I leave, because I’ve written all ten of those books here,” he said, in an interview at Alumni House.

The first to hold the UNCG Nicholas and Nancy Vacc Distinguished Professorship, he has taught in the MFA Program in Creative Writing since 1992.

”I’ve always loved teaching the undergraduates here. They’re really an interesting bunch. It’s a very diverse population. They’re very open-minded. They’re fun to teach, because they don’t get offended. A lot of them have full-time jobs, and they have other lives, and when they’re writing fiction, they have stuff to write about.”

The nationally prominent MFA in Writing program attracts high-caliber graduate student writers, he notes. “Top-notch students who publish really tremendous work,” as he says. “The excellence of our alumni is the result of the legacy of program directors Jim Clark, and now Terry Kennedy, both of whom are geniuses when it comes to bringing us talented students, and the teaching of former faculty Bob Watson, Fred Chappell, Lee Zacharias and Tom Kirby-Smith, as well as my current colleagues – Stuart Dischell, who has been here as long as I have, Craig Nova, Holly Goddard Jones and Emilia Phillips. We’ve had some wonderful visitors over the years as well who have helped shaped the program.”

He explains the program offers a unique approach to teaching creative writing. “When I arrived they had a tutorial system in place, where you work with the students one-on-one, weekly or bi-weekly, in their last year of the program. You get to ask questions in tutorials that you can’t in a workshop: ‘What were you thinking?  What are your models for this work? How can we make this more clear?’”

Students are drawn to plenty of one-on-one opportunities with the faculty, he says – and you get to know most everyone in the department. “There’s just a great deal of community here that doesn’t exist in other places.”

As he speaks, he turns to the distant Vacc Bell Tower, named for Nancy Vacc and the late Nicholas Vacc. “I’ve been lucky enough to be the recipient of their generosity for the past five years, because they established the Vacc Distinguished Professorship. It was tremendously helpful to me, not only in my research, but also in just what I was able to do to use the money to help out with the MFA program. … I was able to use some of their money to fund the graduate students doing summer research trips.”

In 2009, he was awarded the UNCG Senior Research Excellence Award for his body of creative work. During his tenure at UNCG, he has received three career-achievement awards: the Mary Hobson Award in Arts and Letters, the North Carolina Award for Literature, and the R. Hunt Parker Award for significant contribution to the literature and culture of North Carolina.

In the coming months, he’ll move from his current Saxapahaw home to Texas. And he’ll give readings for his new book.

What can readers expect? “Like a lot of my books, it’s based on an anecdote, or actually an image, really, just an image.”

“It comes from my Grandmother, who I did not know. She died a few months before I was born. She grew up in Oklahoma, and the one thing I knew about her at an early age – I always knew the story and I have come to know a lot more about it, but this is one thing that was sort of the most salient thing I knew about it – was that in the winters in Oklahoma, in the really cold weather, she and her sister would get on a horse and their mother would pin blankets around them, all the way around them because it was so cold …

“The horse knew the way to school and would take them to school. It was four or five miles because they lived out in the country. And then the teacher would be waiting to unpin them and then they would do the same thing on the way home. So I had this image of these two girls, a year apart, in school. What was it like under that blanket in the freezing cold? What did they say to each other? Were they fighting? Did they have a secret language, you know?

“Really all you need to write a novel is just one image. I mean, Faulkner said about ‘The Sound and the Fury’ that someone asked him where he got the idea and he said, ‘I saw a girl climbing a tree and she had muddy pants.’ And if you’ve read ‘The Sound and the Fury,’ you know that’s not what it’s about. It’s about a lot more than that, but you just need – at least I just need – one little, simple image or line of dialogue.”

I asked if he thinks readers will be surprised with this novel. “This whole thing is set in Oklahoma, Wyoming, and then a little bit in West Texas, which is high prairie. And so really it’s landscape and I feel like I accessed a different kind of language because I believe that language comes out of landscape. That these two things are really deeply connected. That people, the way they talk, the way they communicate, comes out of where they’re from and their relationship to land …

“I hope that they’re surprised by it. Because you want readers to be surprised. If they’re not, they’ll close the cover and you’ve failed.”

On Friday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the UNCG Alumni House, Michael Parker will read from his latest novel, “Prairie Fever.” The event will be followed by a reception and champagne toast honoring Parker, who is retiring from UNCG after 27 years. The event is free and open to the public.

See the related story where Parker reveals two of his favorite books, which authors and bands he’s enjoying right now – and the most memorable writing tip he ever got.

Interviewed by Mike Harris.
Photograph by Martin W. Kane.

Favorite books? Writing tips? Best bands? Michael Parker unpacks (before he packs for Texas).

A photo of Michael ParkerWhen one of the nation’s most noteworthy authors tells you in an interview “Actually, my nightstand collapsed the other night because there’s so many books on it,” you know what your next question has got to be:

What are you reading these days?

I have been reading Patrick Modiano, who is a Frenchman who won the Nobel Prize a few years ago. I’ve been sort of plowing through his novels. And then over the summer, Herta Müller, Romanian. She’s living in Germany. I read all of her novels. I tend to kind of get into one writer and then if I love them I’ll read their entire corpus. Peter Orner, who was just here, he’s a short story writer and novelist. He’s maybe one of the most talented contemporary writers around. Actually, my nightstand collapsed the other night because there’s so many books on it. It’s just crazy. … Also, I’m reading Liza Wieland’s new book, which is about Elizabeth Bishop. It’s called “Paris 7 a.m.”

What was your favorite book, as a young person? “I wasn’t a very literary type when I was in high school. I was more into music. But I did read, and I read mostly Kerouac, Ginsberg, the Beats – and that was sort of the influence of my older brother who was reading that kind of stuff at the time. I also remember one summer I went to a summer program at St. Andrew’s College over in Laurinburg, and I had a guy who taught a Faulkner seminar, and I read Faulkner – I read “As I Lay Dying.” I think I already knew I wanted to be a writer, but I think reading “As I Lay Dying” at maybe age 15 or 16 and trying to figure out what the hell was going on, but also being really seduced by the rhythm of the prose and by the mastery of the structure of the novel, and understanding without being able to articulate that something really masterful and powerful was going on. Something very moving. And having a desire to want to do that, but also to be able to figure out what it was that he was doing. I mean, I was really, really, extremely taken by that, even though, I have to say, I don’t sit around and read Faulkner all the time now and I haven’t really read him in years. I still teach “As I Lay Dying” every chance I get.”

(The conversation went from Hemingway to Ann Beattie, Mary Robinson, Elizabeth Tallent, Raymond Carver.) “I decided, for every contemporary book I read, I would read a book published before 1900 or, say, 1920 or something, from another culture or from another country. And that way I read all of Flaubert; the Russians, who I still love; Chekhov; Turgenev; and, you know, magical realism and the Latin American writers.”

What stands out in your mind as the most influential book that you read during all of that period?

“‘Madame Bovary,’ that’s the book for me. That’s the book that tells you what you need to do to be a fiction writer. Because Flaubert sort of invented all the stuff like free and direct discourse, and close third-person. All the stuff that we just take for granted now, he was the first one to do it. So if you read that book and you sort of forget that it’s about a woman who commits adultery, and you look at all the technical things that he’s doing, you can learn so much from a technical standpoint from reading that novel. Also it’s really funny.”

It’s obvious from your fiction that you love music. What bands are you listening to right now?

“I’ve been listening to Eric Bachmann’s solo work. He used to be in Archers of Loaf, and also Crooked Fingers. Particularly the last two solo albums. And I’ve actually had this album since 1972, but I just saw the Aretha Franklin documentary ‘Amazing Grace,’ where she was filmed two nights in a church in LA in the early 70s, and my (album) copy is so scratched because I’ve listened to it so many times. I never knew they filmed it – it’s tremendous. So I’ve been listening to that. I’ve also been listening to this Swedish band called The Amazing, and a lot of Swedish music in general. A lot of it is very sort of 70s. Very country rock-ish, which is interesting.”

Final question: What’s the most memorable piece of writing advice you ever received?

“I was really lucky to study with the novelist Lee Smith, and she was really the first creative writing teacher I ever had. … One time, I said, ‘I’m serious, I really want to do this! Is there any advice that you can offer.’

And she said, ‘Yeah, write every day for ten years.’

“I said, ‘Ten years? Every day for ten years?’ She said, ‘Yeah,’ and she said it like, “Oh, that’s just what one does.’ And so I did. I wrote every day for ten years. I wrote on the day that my daughter was born, I wrote on the morning that I got married. I wrote when I was deathly ill. I wrote when I had terrible hangovers. …

“Years later I ran into her and I said, ‘You know, I can’t thank you enough for giving me that advice. I feel like it made such a difference in my discipline.’

And she said, “Oh, you didn’t. I was just kidding. You didn’t believe me, did you?”

On Friday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the UNCG Alumni House, Michael Parker will read from his latest novel, “Prairie Fever.” The event will be followed be a reception and champagne toast honoring Parker, who is retiring from UNCG after 27 years. The event is free and open to the public.

See related story about Michael Parker’s UNCG career and his perspective on UNCG’s students and the MFA Writing Program – and his new book, “Prairie Fever.”

Interviewed by Mike Harris.
Photograph by Martin W. Kane

UNC System Interim President Roper visits UNCG

man and woman in front of library

Dr. Roper talking with SGA President Samaya Roary outside Jackson Library

Monday morning, Dr. William L. Roper paid a visit to our campus.

He met with Chancellor Gilliam and then with the chair and chair-elect of Faculty Senate and co-chairs and chairs-elect of Staff Senate. He also met with the leadership of the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Association, in addition to Board of Trustees leaders. A reception was held in Alumni House with university leaders, including Board of Trustees members and leadership of the Alumni Association, Excellence Foundation and Board of Visitors.

people talking at a table

Dr. Roper speaking with leaders of Faculty Senate and Staff Senate in the Hodges Reading Room.

Roper has served as interim president of the UNC System since Jan. 1.

He was most recently the dean of the School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs at UNC Chapel Hill and CEO of the UNC Health Care System. He also was professor of health policy and management in the School of Public Health and professor of pediatrics and of social medicine in the School of Medicine at UNC Chapel Hill.

By Mike Harris
Photographs by Jiyoung Park

Fun farewell to ‘The Sixties’ at UNCG

Singers at the Dead concertIt’s been quite a tied-dye, revolutionary year. But UNCG’s “The ‘60s: Exploring the Limits” series is coming to a close.

An encore performance by UNCG Spartans Play Dead, a cover band of faculty, alumni and staff, closed the year with festive cheer Saturday night downtown. (In visual at left, Dr. Rebecca Adams welcomes everyone before enjoying the band.)

That performance came on the heels of the daylong academic conference “UNCG Dead Scholars Unite!,” examining the Grateful Dead and Deadheads from various perspectives. It included a reunion of those who participated in UNCG classes that did field study on Deadheads in the summer of 1989.

The year’s “The Sixties” events on campus have included Weatherspoon art exhibitions, UNCG Dance concerts, jazz legend Herbie Hancock, a photography exhibit about the Freedom Riders and Freedom Schools, films and discussions dedicated to protest and music, and much more.

Musicians at the Dead concertOne more big “The Sixties” event remains:

UNCG Theatre and Triad Stage present the musical “Man of La Mancha” at Triad Stage. Tickets are still available, and can be purchased at the Triad Stage box office.

Photos from Saturday’s performance by Martin W. Kane. At top, symposium co-organizer Dr. Rebecca Adams speaks before the cover band plays their opening number, as alumnus David Bryan and vocalist Dr. Melissa Floyd-Pickard look on. Right, a song early in the performance Saturday night, with Dr. Jamie Anderson taking a harmonica solo, alumnus Bob Worrells on guitar, and drummer Jeremy Fountain, an alumnus.

By Mike Harris





Provide names of your school’s staff awards, for big ceremony

UNCG’s staff award winners will be recognized at the Staff Appreciation Day hosted by the Chancellor’s Office on May 20, 2019.

If your department, school, program or college has staff awards that you would like to be recognized at this event, please send the award name, name of the recipient, and a brief description of the award to s_alston@uncg.edu by May 6, 2019. If information is not received by this date, the award will not be recognized at the event.

We don’t want any staff awards winners to be “left out.”

Here are some samples: We’ve already received award information from the School of Health and Human Services about a national academic advising award recipient in their school. Award recognitions submitted by the UNCG Police Department include an officer who saved a life. Several departments have notified us about awards that staff members have received from entities other than UNCG – from state or national organizations or from publications such as the Business Journal.

Have any questions? Email s_alston@uncg.edu.

Starfish updates: Summer 2019

With the spring semester coming to a close, the Students First Office would like to wish students, staff, and faculty a productive and restorative summer. As the University transitions out of the spring term, we would like to remind the campus community of important information about the Starfish features available over the summer.

Starfish Features and Availability: Summer 2019

May 9: Last day to issue feedback items (flags, kudos, referrals) for Spring 2019 classes

May 10: Commencement; all Spring 2019 flags, kudos, and referrals will be cleared (Note: Cleared tracking items will remain available for historical viewing until the start of fall term)

May 15-June 19: Summer Session I; Starfish flags, kudos, & referrals available for issue to
undergraduate students enrolled in summer courses

June 20-July 25: Summer Session II; Starfish flags, kudos, & referrals available for issue to undergraduate students enrolled in summer courses

Appointment Scheduling: Online appointment scheduling will remain available over the summer to all instructors and staff who post availability in Starfish. Instructors and staff who will be away from campus during this time should remove all calendar availability prior to leaving. Note: Incoming students (new freshman, transfers, and readmitted students) admitted for Fall 2019 will not be able to use Starfish for appointment scheduling until the Fall 2019 term starts.

Starfish Support & Training

For Starfish assistance, and for individual/group/departmental training sessions, please email starfish@uncg.edu.

Students, staff, and instructors are encouraged to explore UNCG’s Starfish website for additional information about Starfish and available training guides.

Newsmakers: Haines, Buehler/Zhou, Dread & Delight, Blackledge, Kalcounis-Rueppel, and Grant

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 week:

  • A Wall Street Journal article featured research by former HDFS graduate student Dr. Nan Zhou and HDFS faculty member Dr. Cheryl Buehler. The article.
  • Professor Steve Haines spoke to the News & Record about music, his career, helming the Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program, and his upcoming album. The interview.
  • The Weatherspoon Art Museum’s “Dread & Delight” exhibition, hosted last fall, was reviewed in the Journal of Folklore Research, one of the most prominent journals in its field.
  • Yes! Weekly featured graduate student Erin Blackledge’s work to make museums accessible by hosting a speakeasy night at the Greensboro History Museum. The article.
  • The research of Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Rueppel and her graduate students on bat calls was highlighted with a UNC TV documentary. The video.
  • UNCG Nursing alumnus Ernest Grant was featured on the WUNC Radio’s “The State of Things.” He was also recently the recipient of the International Fire Service Training Association’s 2019 Dr. Anne W. Phillips Award for Leadership in Fire Safety Education.

Leerkes will receive Jefferson-Pilot Excellence Professorship

Photo of Dr. Esther LeerkesThe new recipient of the Jefferson-Pilot Excellence Professorship will be Dr. Esther Leerkes, professor of Human Development and Family Studies.

Leerkes has been a faculty member at UNCG since 2002. She was promoted to Professor in 2013 and appointed Associate Dean for Research in the School of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) in 2017. In the latter role, she has worked diligently, strategically, and collaboratively to nurture and strengthen research activities throughout HHS and across campus.

She is a nationally and internationally recognized authority on parent-child relationships during infancy and early childhood. She has published more than one hundred peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters and she has been instrumental in securing a dozen external grants. As investigator or principal investigator, she has received more than $12 million in NIH funding alone. She currently serves on four editorial boards, has served as a member of an NIH study section since 2014, and presented more than 125 papers or posters at national and international conferences.

Leerkes is also an award-winning teacher and mentor. Recognition of her teaching excellence includes the Mary Frances Stone Outstanding Teacher Award (in the former School of HES) and the Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award in HHS. She has directed a dozen masters theses and doctoral dissertations and served as a member on numerous other student committees.

Interim Dean Dave Demo said, “I am thrilled that we are able to recognize Dr. Leerkes with a distinguished professorship that she so richly deserves. She has had a prolific scholarly record, along with sustained success in securing external funding, teaching and mentoring. Dr. Leerkes is also an energetic and enthusiastic ambassador for research in HHS and across campus.”

The Jefferson-Pilot Excellence Professorship was established in 1983 when Excellence Fund contributions from the Pilot Life Insurance Company and Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company were combined to form one endowment fund.

At 2019 Faculty Awards, celebrating ‘outstanding achievements’

Photo of the Faculty Awards recipientsThe videos showed the honorees larger than life. And that’s fitting, when you consider the impact these faculty have on our students, our state, and – in many cases – our world.

The 2019 Faculty Awards Ceremony was held Wednesday in the EUC Auditorium. The awards honor UNCG faculty who display excellence in teaching, research, and enhancing student success.

Provost Dana Dunn welcomed the audience and honorees with remarks – as did Chancellor Gilliam via a beautiful taped video message. They noted the ceremony presented an ideal opportunity to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our faculty.

Trustees chair Brad Hayes joined Dunn in presenting awards. Dr. Alan Boyette assisted in the ceremony, which included a brief video highlighting the recipients’ accomplishments and approach to teaching.

The recipients of the 2019 Faculty Awards:

  • Dr. Dianne Welsh: UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award
  • Dr. Mariche Bayonas: Mary Settle Sharp Award for Teaching Excellence 
  • Dr. Amanda Gale: James Y. Joyner Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Dr. Aaron Terranova: Anna Maria Gove Award for Teaching Excellence 
  • Dr. Pam Kocher Brown: UNCG Online Award for Excellence in Online Education
  • Dr. Susan Keane: Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award from the Graduate School
  • Dr. Ruth DeHoog and Dr. Ken Klase (on behalf of MPA program, Political Science): Student Learning Enhancement Award
  • Dr. Ramji Bhandari: Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor Award
  • Sarah Dunning: Advising Excellence Award for Faculty Advisor
  • Steve Haines: Gladys Strawn Bullard Award 
  • Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Ruppell: Holshouser Award for Excellence in Public Service nominee
  • Dr. Tom Martinek, Sr.: O. Max Gardner Award nominee
  • Dr. L. DiAnne Borders: Senor Research Excellence Award
  • Dr. Risa Applegarth: Junior Research Excellence Award

Six faculty members received 30 years of service awards: Dr. Keith Debbage, Dr. John Lepri, Roberta (Robin) Maxwell, Dr. Jonathan Tudge, Dr. Kathleen Williams, and Dr. Michael Zimmerman.

Six received 35 years of service awards: Dr. Rebecca Adams, Cathy Griffith, Mary Eloise Hassell, Dr. Susan Keane, Professor Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll, and Dr. Jerry Walsh.

Three were recognized for 40 years of service: Dr. William Karper, Dr. Stephen Layson, and Mark Schumacher.

A reception in the Alumni House, Virginia Dare Room followed.

This year the Faculty and Staff Awards are being presented in two parts, to better highlight the outstanding contributions of both UNCG faculty and UNCG staff members. The Staff Awards Ceremony will be held on May 20.

View the videos below to learn about the award recipients.

Videos by UNCG media studies students and Professor Michael Frierson
Photograph by Jiyoung Park.



Cookie Monster, Sesame Street and UNCG-based HRI

Photo of Cookie Monster, Elmo, and AbbyEveryone’s favorite furry, blue, cookie-loving monster is coming to Guilford County next week.

His love for cookies is simply summed up in his favorite quote: “C is for Cookies. That’s good enough for me.” However, Cookie Monster’s upcoming visits to Guilford County are to celebrate a local collaboration that leverages the simplicity and familiarity of Sesame Street characters to help parents and professionals discuss complicated issues with young children.

Guilford County is one of a small number of communities in the United States that has a formal partnership with Sesame Street in Communities (SSIC), which is the nonprofit arm of Sesame Street that offers online and print resources to foster positive development in early childhood. In addition to resources that foster positive academic, social, and physical development, SSIC resources use familiar characters to address serious challenges that families may face, such as trauma, homelessness, community violence, and grief.

The Sesame Street in Communities-Guilford County collaborative is spearheaded by five local organizations: UNC Greensboro’s Healthy Relationships Initiative, the Guilford County Partnership for Children, Guilford Child Development, the United Way of Greater High Point, and Ready for School, Ready for Life.

Dr. Christine Murray, the UNCG professor who directs the Healthy Relationships Initiative, said, “Our organizations have been working independently for the last few years to embed the Sesame Street in Communities resources into our programs. Last year, we formalized our local collaborative so that we could most effectively share these resources with families and professionals in our community. The May 7th events will be a great way to celebrate our collaboration and spotlight the wonderful resources that our partnership with Sesame Street in Communities brings to Guilford County.”

Two free launch events will occur on May 7, with the morning program at the High Point Public Library and the afternoon program at the Greensboro Public Library. Both events will feature appearances by a walk-around Cookie Monster character, performances by local band, Big Bang Boom, free cookies, and family-friendly activities.

“We know that families in our community face many difficult challenges when raising young children,” said Murray. “The resources from Sesame Street in Communities offer some kid-friendly tools that parents and professionals can use to help young children through challenging times.”

For more information, visit the Facebook event page or www.ssicguilford.org/launch.

Prestigious Phi Beta Kappa welcomes 55 Spartan initiates

Photo of the PBK initiates standing outside the WeatherspoonPhi Beta Kappa’s initiation ceremony for new members was held Monday, April 15.

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and one of the most prestigious honor societies in the United States for liberal arts undergraduates. Established in 1934, UNCG’s Epsilon chapter is just one of seven Phi Beta Kappa chapters in North Carolina. It and was recognized in 2006 by the national society as the nation’s most outstanding chapter.

Now, UNCG’s chapter of PBK has inducted a new group of 55 exemplary UNCG students.

The ceremony, held in the Weatherspoon Art Museum Auditorium, featured Dr. Stan Meiburg, Director of Graduate Programs in Sustainability at Wake Forest University. He presented the lecture “Wisdom and the Sustainable Life.”

Provost Dana Dunn was presented with an honorary membership to Phi Beta Kappa, in recognition of her support of and excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.

The in-state inductees and their hometowns are:

Alamance County: Jessica Rebecca Lewis Miller (Burlington)

Buncombe County: Eliza Rosebrock (Asheville)

Caswell County: Evan Bradner (Blanch)

Cherokee County: Lily Eliza Beaster (Murphy), Caitlin Clement (Murphy)

Edgecombe County: David Jamal Webb (Rocky Mount)

Forsyth County: Kyle Eric Bays (Lewisville), Alexis Jane Brunnert (Kernersville), Mr. Peyton Carver Hammed (Kernersville), Rebecca Martinez (Kernersville)

Guilford County: Michael J. Bell (Greensboro), Mr. David Lawrence Blackman (High Point), John Mark Bracewell, Jr. (Oak Ridge), Walter Combs (Stokesdale), Matthew Edwards (Greensboro), Ayesha Ejaz (Jamestown), Madeline Cecilia Galliano (Greensboro), Skye Michelle Harrelson (Greensboro), Mr. Jonathan Andrew Harris (Greensboro), Sufiya Sheikuna Hassan (Greensboro), Melissa Hensch (Stokesdale), Mr. Ibeabuchi Iloghalu (Greensboro), Manead Khin (Greensboro), Miss Brenna R. Koss (Greensboro), Morgan Eliza Lathery (Greensboro), Shelby Kay Dearborn Lentz (Greensboro), Mr. Daniel McLaughlin (Greensboro), Abigail Panz (Greensboro), Miss Hannah Snow (High Point), Amy Elizabeth Stanton (Greensboro), David John Von Dohlen (High Point), Mrs. Virginia Owens Wheeler-Truhe (High Point)

Halifax County: Monique Williams (Roanoke Rapids)

Henderson County: Kaitlyn Rose Farina (Hendersonville), Sarah Ezzat Kasem (Hendersonville), MaryKent Renee Wolff (Fletcher)

Iredell County: T. Brandon Purcell (Statesville)

Johnston County: Olivia Rose Biro (Clayton)

Mecklenburg County: Anitra Celeste Harris (Charlotte), Jeremy Munden (Charlotte)

Pitt County: Shayla Lee (Greenville)

Rockingham County: Elizabeth Padgett Robertson (Reidsville)

Wake County: Talita Ahmed (Cary), Mr. Nicholas Jack Chambers (Wake Forest), Ms. Carolina Elizabeth Galdi (Apex), Arielle Smallwood (Cary), Mr. Alexander Williams (Morrisville)

Yancey County: Brandon L. King (Burnsville)

Out-of-state inductees are:

Arizona: Sarah L. Banks (Litchfield Park)

Colorado: Kayley Rae Tucker (Littleton)

Georgia: Miss Abigail Elizabeth Klima (Dallas)

Maryland: Trevor Richardson (Street)

Ohio: Ruth Anne Michelle Robinson (Caldwell)

Pennsylvania: Mrs. Tracy Probst Bowman (Annville)

Virginia: Megan Amber Saunders (Ashburn)

Edited by Avery Campbell. Photography by Jiyoung Park.

Call for Participants – 2019 Global Engagement Summer Institute

As part of UNCG’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) on Global Engagement, a final summer institute for faculty development will be offered May 15-17, 2019, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Days 1 and 2, and 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Day 3, including lunch.

The purpose of this year’s institute is to provide professional development opportunities for selected faculty and administrators who wish to sustain global engagement activities on campus beyond the funding of the QEP. “We are particularly interested in participants who serve as committee heads, dean’s office personnel, and other influential stakeholders who work within the realm of global engagement. We will focus on the future by considering a toolkit, incorporating high impact practices into majors and in co-curricular activities, discussing ways to address new general education competencies, and advancing best practices to include graduate students in global engagement. In addition to speakers, activities, and panels, GESI participants will help build a campus network of champions who are interested in sustaining global engagement beyond the five years of the QEP. Our keynote speaker is Dr. Anthony Ogden, of the University of Wyoming, who created an intercultural toolkit similar to what we have in development now at UNCG. We will focus some of our energy on sustainability work groups designed to brainstorm a future plan that supports faculty development and student education across all learning environments at UNCG.”

If you are committed to sustaining global engagement at UNCG, and you are involved in influencing your unit on campus, then please join in, in May. Fill out the application below by April 29, 2019. Selected participants will be notified by May 2.
Submit your application here:  https://forms.gle/orLqJ2iyc7N6rsAc7

Coffee and collaboration and nursing deans throughout the region

Photo of the Deans around a tableMore than two dozen administrators shared ideas over coffee and discussed best practices during lunch. They spent the day advocating for North Carolina nursing students.

Representatives from 25 universities and colleges across the state gathered April 10 as UNC Greensboro and North Carolina A&T hosted the North Carolina Council of Higher Education in Nursing’s annual spring meeting at the Union Square Campus.

Dr. Robin Remsburg, dean of UNCG’s School of Nursing, was among 17 chief academic officers who represented in-state institutions that ranged from large public universities to small private colleges at the day-long meeting.

“There’s nothing like being with other deans because frankly no matter where you’re from, whether it’s here in North Carolina or across the country, we have a special bond because of our profession,” said Dr. Marion Broome, dean of Duke University’s School of Nursing.

“We have a special responsibility because we’re putting out the future nurses, and frankly we have all the same challenges. It really doesn’t matter how big your program is or how small it is, the challenges are very very similar.”

Tables were arranged in a large rectangle to seat all the administrators who had traveled to Greensboro to discuss a variety of issues affecting North Carolina nursing schools. One presentation covered ways to identify and address work-related stress in nurses.

Dr. Tama Morris serves as president of the North Carolina Council of Higher Education in Nursing in addition to her position as dean of the Blair College of Health at Queens University of Charlotte. She said the council represents a united “voice of higher nursing education” in the state.

“It could be a very adversarial type relationship, but what we do is we actually share ideas. We address common issues,” Morris said. “We provide a lot of support for each other. We have a mentoring piece that we’ve started in the last two years, so that if you’re new in the state, you get a mentor. We also pick up the phone and call each other.”

The North Carolina Council of Higher Education in Nursing consists of 28 in-state universities and colleges that serve as members. Its mission includes improving the nursing profession by “advancing the quality of baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing.”

Other states have similar organizations. “The needs in health care and the challenges in health care are so enormous, and there is plenty of work to go around,” Broome said.

“So especially in nursing education, there’s no room for competition. We each have a different mission.”

By Alex Abrams

Diversity in Language and Culture Conference May 4

On Saturday May 4, 2019, the Coalition for Diversity in Language and Culture will host the second annual Diversity in Language and Culture Conference in the School of Education Building from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This year’s conference theme is “Love and Compassion in Education.”

Dr. Laura Rendón, the author of “Sentipensante Pedagogy: Toward a Transformed Vision of Education Centering Wholeness, Social Justice, & Liberation,” will provide the keynote address. Following her keynote speech, numerous breakout sessions will be available for workshops and panel presentations. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are welcome to attend.

Visit the conference website for more information and to register: https://dlccuncg.weebly.com/

Annual Jack Cooke Golf Classic

All are invited to join the Department of Recreation at Oak Hollow Golf Course Monday, May 13, for the 33rd Annual Jack Cooke Golf Classic.

Register at https://recwell.uncg.edu/im/golf/

The fee is $40 per person and includes the green fee with cart, range balls, picnic, and door prizes. The round will begin with a 9:00am shotgun start and will feature 18 hole Captain’s Choice (4-person teams) format. Teams must register by Tuesday, May 6, 2019.

If you have any questions or would like to request accessibility/disability accommodations reach out to b_ohr@uncg.edu or 336-334-3575.

Information Literacy Development Awards available for faculty and instructors

UNCG’s University Libraries will offer four $1,250 awards for courses to be taught in Fall 2019.

These awards support faculty who plan to restructure a course in order to more intentionally integrate information literacy and research throughout the course. Recipients will also participate with colleagues in a new faculty learning community on information literacy. This award is open to anyone who teaches a course at the undergraduate or graduate level and has the authority to make substantive changes to that course.

Applications are due by April 29, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. For full details and application materials, visit http://go.uncg.edu/ilfacdev. For questions or more information, contact Jenny Dale at jedale2@uncg.edu.

Newsmakers: Nash, Minerva, Phillips, and Moss Street

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 week:

  • Dr. Donna Nash’s research was featured in National Geographic online last week. Look for it in the print magazine. It was also featured in The London Economic. The National Geographic article and the TLE Piece.
  • Professor Emilia Phillips was one of two poets sharing their work at the “Poetry on the Porch” event, hosted by UNC Chapel Hill’s Center for the Study of the Americna South. The article.
  • UNCG’s Moss Street Partnership School was featured on Triad Today.
  • Yes! Weekly featured an article on UNCG’s Minerva statue, with commentary from the sculptor, James Barnhill, as well as UNCG staff and students. The piece.

UNCG Retired Faculty will hold end-of-year reception

Photo of an ARF banner with a picture of a dog, that reads, "We don't just roll over when we retire. We join ARF, the UNCG Association of Retired Faculty."

An ad for the Assn. of Retired Faculty

UNCG’s new Association of Retired Faculty – ARF – has had a successful first year. They sponsored or co-sponsored six informative and thought-provoking events/presentations. The nine-member ARF Board did an outstanding job planning both organizational issues and events. They were able to secure ongoing discounts for our members to several university events and services.

They invite all faculty members who are 55+ years old to the end of the year business meeting on May 6, 2019, in the Virginia Dare Room, Alumni House,  from 4 to 6 p.m. This wine and appetizer reception will give faculty a good overview of the events that ARF sponsored this year along with plans for next academic year.

New UNCG hub for web accessibility support services

UNCG invites you to visit a new website, accessibility.uncg.edu. This website will serve as a hub for web accessibility support services and educational resources for faculty, staff and students.

Within the site, you will find detailed, practical how-to guides for making various types of online content accessible, checking existing materials for accessibility, and useful resources such as a syllabus statement about accessibility.

You will also find forms for requesting assistance and ordering captions, as well as relevant laws, guidelines, concepts, and on-campus resources and contacts.

This website reflects UNCG’s commitment to accessibility. The materials included are a result of a major effort and commitment on the part of UNCG faculty and staff over the past few months. This site will continue to evolve as new technologies for accessibility and new opportunities to support learning emerge.

For questions and/or feedback regarding the site, or to schedule a session to learn about the site’s key features, contact Accessibility Coordinator Melanie Eley at accessibility@uncg.edu.

Signs of Excellence: UNCG’s unique Professions in Deafness program

Photo of Latoya Jordan

The full version of this story originally appeared in UNCG Magazine. To read the full story and other stories about Spartans making an impact, visit alumnimagazine.uncg.edu.

The presence of skilled sign language interpreters, teachers, and advocates is critical in working toward a more accessible and fair society. Meeting needs for communication begins with comprehensive education in American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture. That’s where UNC Greensboro comes in.

UNCG’s Professions in Deafness in the School of Education is the only program in the UNC System that graduates students with a license in sign language interpreting. It is the only one in the nation to offer a program with three distinct tracks: Interpreter Preparation, Deaf Education K-12 teacher licensure, and Advocacy Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. And with each graduating class, its uniquely remarkable impact continues to grow.

The PID curriculum isn’t only about developing professional-level ASL skills but also about becoming familiar with the deaf or hard of hearing person’s experience, and the nuances within the Deaf community.

Read the full story with photos.



UNCG celebrates 2019 Earth Day and Arbor Day

Photo of the college ave cherry treesIn 2009, the UNC System adopted a Sustainability Policy compelling each of the schools in the system to recognize sustainability as a core value, and to work toward carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest.

Working toward that goal, UNCG established a Sustainability Council, developed a Climate Action Plan, committed to constructing new buildings to United States Green Building Council LEED Silver standards, embedded sustainability-related topics across the curriculum, including annual appointments of Sustainability Faculty Fellows, and has initiated a process to move toward socially responsible investing strategies, with the involvement of governance groups and investment committees.

Four years ago, students elected to establish a Green Fund which has since invested over $183,000 in 39 projects that include numerous research and professional development opportunities for students, the creation of campus wetlands, and the installation of occupancy sensors in dorms, outdoor LED lighting, a cistern to collect rainwater, and electric vehicle charging stations in the Oakland parking deck (more are being installed in McIver), to name but a few. Those efforts have produced annual savings of over $16,000 and an annual reduction of 230,000+ kWh used.

All of that work recently earned UNCG a STARS Silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). (See full story.) STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. With more than 800 participants in 30 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.

Furthermore, UNCG was just ranked within the top 101-200 universities globally in the inaugural Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings, which measures global universities’ success in delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which serve as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Those rankings reflect the day-to-day operations and culture of UNCG’s campus community. At UNCG, we define sustainability as the enduring interconnectedness of social equity, the environment, economy, and aesthetics. That interconnectedness provides a foundation from which we aim to instill values that promote justice and invent innovative approaches and solutions to environmental and economic challenges.

Whether you attend guest lectures from leading experts in climate change, ride a bike, rent a Zipcar, recycle (UNCG has an average annual landfill diversion rate of about 40 percent), or join student clubs that garden, clean-up streams, and reduce food waste, there’s never a lack of opportunity to learn about or to lessen your impact on the environment. Earth Day may only come once a year, but at UNCG we do our best to celebrate and protect the Earth every day.

This April 22 is the 49th anniversary of Earth Day. We hope you will join us for our Earth Day Fair as student clubs and UNCG departments table from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the EUC lobby. Then on Friday, April 26, we’ll celebrate Arbor Day with a tree planting and a walking tour of our Tree Campus USA – meet in the EUC quad near Campus Ministries at 10 a.m. Later in the day, you can attend a nutrition workshop on a plant-based diet – register here.

Copy provided by Sean MacInnes, Sustainability Specialist

A spring of sweet music: upcoming ‘Concert Weeks” at UNCG

Photo of several musicians playingNear the end of each spring, UNCG’s wonderful music ensembles perform a variety of world-class concerts. These concerts, nearly one night after another, allow you to enjoy beautiful music in great venues.

And, most performances are free. It’s hard to find an opportunity like this anywhere else.

Here are just some of the exciting performances coming up for “concert weeks.” Events are free unless otherwise noted:

  • 4/23: Symphonic Band: The Symphonic Band is made up of 55 music majors chosen by audition who perform a variety of pieces in two concerts each semester. They will perform a variety of pieces with Professor of Oboe Ashley Barrett and Guest Conductor Andrea E. Brown. 7:30 p.m. at the UNCG Auditorium.
  • 4/25: Wind Ensemble: The Wind Ensemble is a highly select concert band of fifty performers majoring in music at the UNCG School of Music. They will be performing with soprano Lindsay Kesselman. 7:30 p.m. UNCG Auditorium.
  • 4/26: Becca Stevens With Jazz Ensemble I and The Third Floor Orchestra: As part of the Miles Davis Jazz Festival, singer-songwriter and Winston-Salem native Becca Stevens will be featured in a program of her original music, American songbook standards, and other surprises. 8 p.m., UNCG Auditorium. Tickets range from $6-12. To purchase tickets, see the entry on the website here.
  • 4/28: University Chorale and Chamber Singers: The University Chorale is an ensemble of approximately 60 of the most gifted and dedicated singers from the UNCG student body, while the Chamber Singers are a highly select ensemble of 22-26 pre-professional singers, music educators, and amateurs chosen from the UNCG student body. 5 p.m., First Presbytarian Church, 617 N. Elm St.
  • 4/29: Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia: The University Band consists of 85 music majors and non-majors who perform challenging music of artistic and historical significance. The Symphonic Band is made up of 55 music majors chosen by audition who perform a variety of pieces in two concerts each semester. The Sinfonia is dedicated to broadening the artistic performance level of its members while presenting programs that encompass a wide range of styles, from Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras. 7:30 p.m., UNCG Auditorium.
  • 5/1: University Band: The University Band is comprised of approximately 85 musicians, both music majors and non-majors, who join together to perform two concerts each semester. This ensemble is dedicated to broadening the artistic level and interest of its members while performing challenging music of artistic and historical significance. 7:30 p.m., UNCG Auditorium.

If you can’t make it to an event, many programs are streamed via CVPA Live. See more information here.

For a complete listing of events, see the School of Music website.

Some copy drawn from the CVPA website.