UNCG Campus Weekly

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

Laundry, Service

120810Feature_WashersThe immigrants living in Avalon Trace community had no good access to laundry facilities. They’d wash clothes in bathtubs, which would sometimes overflow, and hang or lay the clothes throughout the property – on trees, bushes and mostly flat on the ground.

The apartment manager asked for assistance. The Center for New North Carolinian volunteers and community center director Stephanie Baldwin, a UNCG staff member, saw an opportunity.

They could help meet the basic needs of the immigrants – clean clothes and clear living spaces – while the residents learned how to operate American-style washers and dryers.

But the results could go much further.

They installed three washers and two dryers, donated by the apartments’ management company.

African immigrants first began using the machines, after they were installed. Baldwin and CNNC Americorps volunteers showed them how to operate the switches, how much detergent to use, how full to load the washer. Then more began using them. They’d not go directly back to their homes – they’d sit and talk with each other – and with volunteers. They’d learn about English classes offered at the center. About a women’s support group there. Clothes for new arrivals. Computer-education and tutoring opportunities there. Health education – such as sickle cell outreach. Or if you just want someone to help you read mail …

The residents began taking greater advantage of what was offered – and became more empowered – simply because of some laundry.

Immigrants who’d learned the ins and outs of washing and drying with the machines would gives tips to other immigrants.

There’s now a greater sense of community, Baldwin explains. All because of a few machines – and basic needs being met.

The community center at Avalon Trace, located in eastern Greensboro, was created two years ago in partnership with the African Services Coalition and CNNC.

“We approached the complex. The apartment managers said, “OK, we’ll do this.” The groups were given use of three units and utilities.

Avalon Trace residents are primarily from Africa, Vietnam and Burma, Baldwin says.

Baldwin received her master’s in social work in the joint master’s program run by UNCG and NC A&T. She did much of her graduate work with former CNNC director Raleigh Bailey.

“I moved here [from West Virginia] just to do this,” she said.

She explained all this at the CNNC open house in Stone Building, this fall. Others running the table included Lizzie Biddle and Krycya Flores Rojas, UNCG staff members who are both involved with the Glen Haven and Avalon Trace centers.

Other CNNC programs such as Immigrant Health Access Project and UNCG’s AmeriCorps ACCESS Project were at nearby tables at the open house.

HES Dean Laura Sims noted that HES has helped with putting recycled computers in the center.

CNNC director Dan Beerman noted that UNCG students are regular volunteers at the two centers.

The international knitting group at Avalon Trace, which gathers once a week to converse and to knit and crochet, offers a selection of scarves, hats, pins and more for sale for the holidays. For more information about the knitting and this women’s group, contact Stephanie Baldwin.

By Mike Harris
Photography by Chris English

At MLK Celebration, One of Little Rock Nine

120810Feature_TerrenceRobertsDr. Terrence Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine, will be the keynote speaker for UNCG’s 2011 Martin Luther King Day celebration on Tuesday, Jan.18.

The program will run from 7-9 p.m. in Aycock Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

The Little Rock Nine were the nine African-American students who entered Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Sept. 25, 1957, confronted by a hostile crowd and escorted by the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne. The Supreme Court’s landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision three years earlier struck down segregation in public schools and these nine children put the decision to the test.

Roberts was a 15-year-old junior when he entered Little Rock Central High school. Despite daily harassment, he completed his junior year but moved with his family to Los Angeles the following year and graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1959.

He went on to earn a BA in sociology from California State University at Los Angeles in 1967. This was followed by an MS in social welfare in 1970 from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1970 and a PhD in psychology from Southern Illinois University in 1976.

Roberts is CEO of Terrence J. Roberts & Associates, a management consultant firm devoted to fair and equitable practices. A much sought after speaker and presenter, Roberts also maintains a private psychology practice.

Roberts is the recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal and the Spingarn Medal, an award created by NAACP president Joel Elias Spingarn in 1914 and awarded to African Americans who perform acts of distinguished merit and achievement. He serves on the boards of the Economic Resources Center in Southern California, the Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena and the Little Rock Nine Foundation.

His visit is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

For more information, contact Mark Villacorta at mark_villacorta@uncg.edu.

Also in honor of the King holiday, United Campus Ministries, Multicultural Affairs and Dining Services are sponsoring a 2011 Interfaith Celebration Dinner on Thursday, Jan. 20.

The dinner is free and open to UNCG faculty, staff and students. It begins at 6 p.m. in the Associated Campus Ministries Building.

Seating is limited. RSVP to mark_villacorta@uncg.edu by Jan. 12.

There When Emergency “Rain” Falls

120110Feature_ELFWhen the poet Longfellow wrote, “Into each life a little rain must fall,” he probably wasn’t envisioning the kind of precipitation that comes in the form of, say, a burst water heater, car repairs, medical or dental expenses, or just plain bills – all of which need to be paid.

UNCG has a remedy for those financial bombshells in its Emergency Loan Fund (ELF), which was created over a decade ago with funds donated by UNCG employees. The fund is there to assist our colleagues with help when they face a short-term financial crisis.

“It is a way of giving a ‘hand up,’ not a ‘hand out’ to those in the UNCG family who have unforeseen financial emergencies,” said Betty Betts of Human Resource Services, who administers the fund and processes the loan applications.

About 100 loans are made each year from the ELF’s $55,850 principal. All loans are interest-free (that’s right, no interest) and are paid back monthly through payroll deduction. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is $500, and Betts says most of the loans are for that amount. Recent stats show the number of loans has grown steadily, more than doubling from 48 in 2003-04 to 118 in 2008-09 and 116 in 2009-10. Loans are available to both staff and faculty.

Employees’ needs are spelled out in these statements, drawn from their applications: “I need help to purchase a bus ticket so I can go see my (relative) who is not expected to live much longer’; “My washing machine just ‘konked’ out and I don’t have money to purchase a new one”; and “Unexpected car repairs and I need my car to get to work.”

ELF seldom gets requests for year-end, seasonal things like presents or festivities. Initiatives like Staff Senate’s new Angel Tree Project help UNCG families provide for more than just the necessities at holiday time. ELF guidelines, instead, are specific about what the fund can be used for and what constitutes an emergency.

Loans of $250 or less are turned around in two days; applications from $250 to $500 are reviewed by a committee of UNCG employees. Betts processes all of them.

While an employee occasionally leaves UNCG before a loan is repaid, that’s not a problem – the loan balance is taken from the person’s final payout. Full details about ELF are available and you can download the application form.

If you’d like to make a donation to the ELF, gifts are accepted through the Office of Advancement Services, 4-5920.

By Steve Gilliam
Photography from photography archives.

Every Building Has a Story, on Elm Street

120110Feature_Then&NowIf these walls could talk… Elm Street’s buildings have witnessed nearly a century of life – businesses and families, hustle-bustle and hard times, struggle and rebirth. Can the stories these buildings contain be recovered?

The exhibition “Look. Again. Elm Street,” created by Museum Studies graduate students working under Dr. Benjamin Filene (History), takes up the challenge. It will be on view at the Elm Street Center, 203 South Elm, as part of downtown Greensboro’s special holiday version of First Friday, Dec. 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. This Festival of Lights event, featuring musical groups (including some with UNCG connections) and entertainers at various points along Elm Street, is a popular holiday event for Greensboro. This year, those strolling along Elm Street can appreciate the history of some of the buldings they are passing.

The “Look. Again. Elm Street” project began in August when nine Museum Studies graduate students each chose a historical photograph of a single downtown building. The goal was to breathe life into each space by piecing together the stories of the people who made their lives and livelihoods in these spaces. Featured sites include the Kress Building, Meyer’s Department Store, Schiffman’s, the Green Bean, the Ellis Stone Building, the Deal Printing Building, and others.

“There is great architecture on Elm Street, but sometimes we forget that these buildings were settings where people’s lives played out,” says Filene, director of Public History, who oversaw the project. “The idea was to dig back for tidbits that could humanize the past and show the richness of local history.”

The students’ detective work forms the basis for the exhibition. It shows each of the buildings from multiple vantage points as revealed through historical clues—“then and now” photographs, census records, fire insurance maps, classified ads, oral interviews, and fragments of the architecture itself.

“We always think of buildings as cold,” says student Alaina McKee but a little bit of research can bring them back to life through the people who lived and worked there.” McKee discovered William Meyer, the original proprietor of Meyer’s Department Store. “Even though this man lived one hundred years ago, I was able to relate to him by reading his wedding announcement and other information I found in newspaper articles and public records.”

Each student conducted an oral interview with someone connected to their building. Those interviews often revealed what the building meant to the people who lived and worked there. The interviews will be archived at the Greensboro Historical Museum, as well as by UNCG’s University Archives.

Most of the students are new to Greensboro and experienced Elm Street for the first time during a class outing to look at potential building choices. After working on these buildings for the past four months, many students have formed a connection to their new town. Amelia Gallo, a native of Wilmington, says of the project, “It has been an opportunity to not only learn about the history of Greensboro but the people of Greensboro. The project gave us the chance to become active participants in our new community.”

Now they want to share that information with Greensboro residents as well as visitors to the monthly First Friday event.

In the end, the nine buildings offer nine portals onto the past—not a complete picture of Elm Street’s history but new vantage points that invite one to see downtown with fresh eyes and to imagine what it would have been like to stroll down Elm in an earlier age.

The Web Becomes Alice’s Wonderland

111710Feature_AliceYou can bet Lewis Carroll never imagined this. The Mad Hatter is a DJ, Tweedledee and Tweedledum are two dance crews and the White Knight is on a razor scooter. Oh, and the Looking Glass is a computer screen that pulls Alice into the internet.

Adapted and directed by Jim Wren, associate professor of theatre, this new “Alice” production is being described as an urban techno original that draws on Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass.”

“Internet safety is a theme because in this version Alice falls asleep at her computer and awakes to find herself in a strange, exciting and dangerous new world,” Wren said. “We decided to connect ‘Alice’ to this issue because the rabbit hole in our production is the internet.”

Staging a classic in contemporary terms is a challenge that Wren enjoys. In “Alice,” the play is internet-inspired. This becomes a jumping off point for talking about internet safety, which has been publicized widely for problems like cyber bullying and cyber stalking.

“The internet is a valuable tool for children,” Wren said. “Many schools now are emphasizing the importance of internet safety – with specific lessons about how the internet may seem strange and exciting with fascinating information – but that some of that information is dangerous and not appropriate for children.”

The stage for Wonderland/Internet and its special effects promises to be a unique experience for audiences.

The play, which opened last week, has plenty of fun for audiences, and the major characters will be there, although some with a more contemporary twist.

“The title character, Alice, uses Skype to talk with her big sister at college, she plays Wii on stage, she has her iPod and iPhone and is completely connected technologically speaking. But on her journey through the internet she meets fascinating and sometimes dangerous characters,” Wren says.

There is an educational component, with a study guide that has been developed for school groups, and an online internet safety quiz that children can take.

The play is a joint production of UNCG Theatre and NC Theatre for Young People. Performances in Taylor Theatre are at 2 p.m. Nov. 20 and 21; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19; 9:30 a.m. Nov. 17-19; and noon on Nov. 18. Tickets cost $15 for adults; $12 for seniors, students and children; $9 for groups of 10 or more and UNCG alumni; and $7 for UNCG students. Tickets may be purchased at boxoffice.uncg.edu, 4-4849 or campus box office locations.

By Steve Gilliam
Photography by Jody Cauthen

Litter Patrol Before Dawn

111710Feature_GroundsStaffIf you see a piece of trash at 3 a.m. on campus, it’ll be disposed of by 6.

Overnight, trash may blow on campus from busy streets. Fast food bags and cups from late night runs may pepper the parking lots. Wrappers and papers from the day before may be seen here and there.

No problem. By the time dawn arrives, the Grounds staff, part of Facilities Operations, has covered campus, picking it all up.

About 24 members of Grounds check in at 5:30 a.m. They meet for a few minutes when there are particular areas of emphasis – such as the site of an event at the plaza, College Avenue or Foust Park. And then the first hour is devoted to litter patrol. The crew has a map of campus, colorcoded for each small team of individuals. Some sectors, such as the Quad, have one person. Some very public areas have three or four.

Then by 6:30 a.m.or so, they’re ready for their other jobs, says Bill Hardin, a Grounds supervisor.

Those first hours are valuable. On the one hand, they can’t use any noisy equipment near any residence halls until about 9 a.m., so some potential work like mowing and sawing has to be scheduled after that, says Hal Shelton, a Grounds supervisor. But those very early hours mean little car traffic and almost no foot traffic – so getting around and doing jobs quickly is a snap.

“It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it,” says Shelton.

Grounds does a lot to make the campus attractive, from the planting and mulching to the weeding and leaf pickup. And they don’t like litter messing up the beauty.

“If there’s litter, it takes away from all the other great work the Grounds staff has done,” says Chris Fay, assistant director for Grounds.

He notes that after litter pickup, early each morning, their attention turns to getting up leaves, this time of year – but they have to do it without disturbing sleep.

“We stay away from the dorms.”

Know of any other staff members doing interesting jobs in the overnight hours on campus? University Relations photographers want to hear about it. Email them at cwenglis@uncg.edu or dswilson@uncg.edu.

By Mike Harris
Photography by David Wilson

UNCG a Campus Sustainability Leader

111010Feature_SustainabilityThe grades are in. And UNCG rose nearly two letter grades, in the College Sustainability Report Card 2011.

It rated 322 institutions in the United States and Canada, and named UNCG a Campus Sustainability Leader. Overall, the university received a grade of B, up from a D+ last year.

The leadership designation is based on performance in six of the report card’s nine categories – administration, climate change and energy, food and recycling, green building, student involvement, and transportation. The Report Card identifies 120 Campus Sustainability Leaders, including only two others in North Carolina – Duke and UNC Chapel Hill.

“Our progress in sustainability is a tribute to the hard work of students, faculty and staff across campus,” said Chancellor Linda P. Brady. “We’re proud of the strides we’ve made, and we are committed to further improvement.”

The Report Card highlights many of UNCG’s recent sustainability initiatives and achievements:

  • Sustainability is one of UNCG’s five core values.
  • UNCG has created an Office of Sustainability and has hired a sustainability coordinator, Richard “Trey” McDonald, and a sustainability education and outreach coordinator, Jessica Trotman.
  • The university is creating an organic campus garden at 123 McIver St. UNCGreensboro Gardens, a group affiliated with the campus Sustainability Committee, has built dozens of raised beds, each 4’x8’ and framed with boards salvaged from an old barn. WFMY News 2 reported on the project.
  • Even while adding new buildings, the university has reduced annual energy consumption from 623 million to 577 million MBTUs (thousand British thermal units) since 2005. In 2007, UNCG became the first university in the UNC system to sign an energy performance contract, an agreement that paid for energy-efficiency upgrades to five buildings with future savings. Individual building electricity metering was installed during summer 2010, and an online dashboard will soon allow constant monitoring of energy and water use.
  • Students are volunteering as vampire energy “slayers,” working their way through academic buildings and bringing attention to electronic equipment that consumes energy even when off or in standby mode. Seventeen students have participated, and more than a dozen have signed up for future events.
  • The number of people on campus has grown, but water usage has dropped from 176 million to 172 million gallons since 2005. Trayless dining reduces water usage and food waste. Low-flow faucets, showerheads and toilets have been installed in some residence halls. Where possible, landscaping is designed to minimize the need for watering.
  • Construction is under way on two buildings, a School of Education building and a residence hall, designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver standards. The university plans to renovate the seven Quad residence halls and the Dining Hall to meet LEED Silver criteria during the next three years. In the past year, 92 percent of non-hazardous construction and demolition waste was diverted from landfills.
  • Each year, the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling collects and sells the clothes, books, decorations and other items students leave behind when they leave their dorm rooms. The latest edition of the Cram & Scram Yard Sale in June raised more than $1,100 to support environmental learning opportunities for students and, best of all, kept more than six tons of material out of the landfill.
  • Since 2005, the amount of waste generated annually on campus (garbage, recycling and compost) has dropped from about 10,800 tons to 10,300 tons. Roughly 38 percent of that waste is recycled rather than sent to a landfill.
  • Zipcar, Zimride, Spartan Cycles and several bus services provide transportation alternatives. Two of the four Zipcars available on campus for short-term rental are hybrids. Zimride is a free rideshare matching network that helps connect drivers and riders interested in carpooling. Spartan Cycles allows students and employees to check out six bicycles provided by the non-profit bike advocacy group Bicycling in Greensboro with support from UNCG Police. Spartan Chariot buses operate on a campus loop seven days a week. Greensboro Transit Authority and HEAT buses provide free transportation to off-campus locations.
  • The university’s 159-vehicle motor pool includes 17 electric vehicles, 16 that use biofuel and 15 that use ethanol.
  • The Report Card is produced by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a nonprofit organization engaged in research and education to advance sustainability in campus operations and endowment practices. Founded in 2005, the institute is based in Cambridge, Mass.

Visual: A campus Earth Day information fair.

By Dan Nonte
Photograph by Becky Kates

Tailgate Before the Tip-off Nov. 14

111010Feature_TailgateMen’s and women’s basketball moves into action this weekend, with Friday away games before the teams return for their big home openers.

The men host Florida State Sunday, Nov. 14, at 3:30 p.m at the Coliseum, their home court. Come early to enjoy tailgating festivities.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • The Tailgate party at the Coliseum’s Pavilion will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. There will be inflatables for the children and giveaways as well. Cheerleaders, the UNCG Athletics Band of Sparta, the Spartans G’s and Spartan Force will also be on hand. Admission is free.
  • To enjoy a catered lunch at the Tailgate party in the Pavilion, you may purchase a lower level ticket for $20, which will include the lunch free of charge. This offer is available through Saturday. (For those faculty/staff who have season tickets, it is free, but you must RSVP [smlaurit@uncg.edu]. To purchase season tickets or to purchase tickets to this game and tailgate – or if you have any questions – contact Shona Lauritano (Ticket Office) at 4-3250 or email smlaurit@uncg.edu.
  • Free shuttles from the campus will run starting at 12:30 p.m. Shuttles will stop in front of the EUC.
  • Halftime entertainment at the Florida State game will be Acrodunk, doing high-flying dunk routines. All games will offer halftime entertainment, by local groups or by nationally known performers.
  • The first 1,000 fans will receive “fan banners” as they enter the seating area.
  • Various ticket options are available. Faculty/staff discounts for season ticket packages are still available, for $20 off the regular price. And “Gimme 5” packs are still on sale – you choose the games, which include Duke. Contact the UNCG Athletics Ticket Office for details or to purchase these special packages.
  • Moses Cone Health System is the game day sponsor of the first men’s game – as well as the season sponsor.
  • The women’s team starts their home schedule on Monday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. They will host UNC Wilmington. Senior Monique Floyd led the Spartan scoring in their recent exhibition game win against Winston-Salem State.
  • Faculty and staff will enjoy free admission to all women’s games this year. Just show your university I.D.

By Mike Harris
Photography by David Wilson.

Faculty and Staff Vie to Become Spartan Chefs

110310Feature_SpartanChefsEver asked co-workers what economical, healthy things they cooked for themselves? Wondered what were some of the best on your hall? Or in your building? You’ll soon find out – with recipes from across the whole campus.

Visit www.dineoncampus.com/uncg/?cmd=showRecipes at the Dining Services web site to see recipes your fellow faculty and staff members are posting. And if you have an economical, healthy recipe to share – perhaps it’s your specialty – post one yourself, at http://www.dineoncampus.com/uncg/?cmd=recipes.

Your recipe – and all the submitted recipes – will be published at the Dining Services site.

The recipes will be accepted through Nov. 30.

Winners will be selected and announced by Dining Services over the holiday break.

If you are one of the winners, your dish will be prepared by Dining Services chefs and served during a meal in the next semester. Your colleagues can enjoy it before deciding if they want to prepare it at home.

Spartan Chefs is co-sponsored by Human Resource Services and Dining Services.

The Spartan Chefs ‘healthy, economical eating’ challenge complements Spartan Steps, another HRS-sponsored challenge.

Submit your economical, healthy recipe here.

By Mike Harris

Photograph by David Wilson

Making the Grammy Entry List

110310Feature_WindEnsembleThe UNCG Wind Ensemble, long recognized as a premiere performance group, has gotten the attention of someone at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Yes, the people who ultimately give out Grammy Awards.

The ensemble has been entered into consideration for music’s highest honor by a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for its most recent recording, “fireworks!” The Wind Ensemble is on the Grammy Entry List in the Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance categories.

“There were 61 UNCG student performers on this recording and they represented the very finest wind and percussion students in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance,” said Dr. John Locke, UNCG’s director of bands. “This year, there are some 300 entries for Best Classical Album, so we’re realistic about our chances. Nonetheless, to be placed on a worldwide ballot with the greatest classical ensembles is very rewarding.”

At least one of those competitors will be very familiar. Also making the list are Dr. Michael Burns, an associate professor of bassoon, and Dr. Inara Zandmane, staff accompanist for the music departments, for their CD “Primavera: Music for Bassoon and Piano by Bassoonists.” The recording is listed in Best Classical Album and Best Chamber Music Performance categories.

Members of the recording academy will whittle down the entry list in the coming weeks as they select their top five choices in a variety of musical categories in a round of voting. Those five projects will be considered Grammy nominees. Another ballot will determine the Grammy winner in each category.

“fireworks!” is the ensemble’s 16th studio recording and the first to be distributed through a commercial recording label. The album was released in March 2010 and is available at Amazon.com, through many online distributors, directly from Equilibrium Records and for download through the Apple iTunes Store.

Though the recording process is arduous for both faculty and students, the experience is well worth it, said Dr. Kevin Geraldi, UNCG’s associate director of bands. “For the students in the group, the experience of recording gets them to refine their playing to the highest level of detail,” he said.

The ensemble will often rehearse pieces for six to seven weeks in preparation for a recording. A recording session can take 90 minutes to three hours per song and include 40 to 100 takes of various measures of music. Then add in six to eight hours of editing per piece, plus time for touchups and sound engineering.

“We do it until we do it right,” Geraldi said.

Several students who participated in the recording of “fireworks!” are still on campus, including graduate Brad McMillian, who now works in the UNCG Bands Office. He was thrilled when he learned of the project’s Grammy attention.

“It’s a huge honor to be in a category with some of the world’s most famous ensembles,” he said.

Zandmane had a similar response. “I am very happy that the CD is selected to be on the level suited for a Grammy,” she said. “It is a very big achievement.”

By Lanita Withers Goins

Preparing for Big Budget Cuts

102710Feature_BudgetTalkThe state’s budget deficit is expected to be much greater next year. Each of the system’s schools is planning accordingly.

“I think it will be difficult for the next two years,” Chancellor Linda P. Brady told the Staff Senate at its Oct. 14 meeting.

“Planning for 2011-13 Budget” was the topic of the chancellor’s talk. She had spoken at the most recent Faculty Senate meeting about the budget cycle as well.

Officials foresee a 3.2 billion dollar budget gap for 2011-12, brought on not only by a weakened economy but also expiring temporary taxes and loss of federal stimulus funding.

UNCG as well as other UNC campuses have been directed to plan for five or ten percent cuts, for next year.

Anticipating that the budget gap could ultimately be larger than projected, Brady believes universities, including UNCG, must be prepared for an even higher cut.

Provost David H. Perrin and the vice chancellors have been working on plans, for cuts at five and ten percent. The draft plan is due to UNC General Administration Oct. 29.

“We have operated for the last two years – and we will continue to operate – on a set of budget principles,” she said. They were last updated in May 2009. “We do not expect to change those principles.” The budget principles can be viewed here.

She noted that this year, UNCG has a single Tuition and Fee Committee co-chaired by Dr. Alan Boyette and Dr. Cherry Callahan, with two sub-committees, which will look at potential increases in tuition and fees and their impacts.

She anticipates receiving their recommendations by the end of October.

“We need to move our recommendations on tuition and fee increases to our Board of Trustees by the December meeting,” she said.

The Expansion Budget requests include three items for 2011-12:

  • Additional $1 million operating funds for Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering
  • Approximately $750,000 for staff/programs designed to improve retention and graduation rates
  • About $1.1 million for enterprise systems infrastructure and support (such as Banner and Blackboard), which the chancellor currently must fund from other sources.

Priorities that UNCG will submit for the Six-Year Capital Plan include:

  • A replacement for McIver Building, which would house classrooms, offices and labs and provide a single home for Nursing. This new building and other buildings currently under construction will necessitate an additional chiller plant.
  • Jackson Library addition and renovation, including a UNCG Data Center in the lowest floor.
  • Renovations to Eberhart Buidling and Moore (Nursing) Building.

One of the non-appropriated projects that are on UNCG’s list includes a new Student Recreation Center, to be built in University/Glenwood mixed-use neighborhood. The bonds would be funded by students’ facilities fee.

There are many uncertainties, she said. For example, in the spring, there’s the possibility they could be told a different budget-cut figure. Also, “We don’t know if furloughs will be available for 2011-12.”

She indicated she would like the option of furloughs next year.

“If we end up taking a $17 million dollar cut [10 percent], that could translate into as many as 250 faculty and staff. If a cut of that magnitude is required, then we need to seriously look at furloughs, which would reduce the number of employees we would have to lay off, understanding that all of us would essentially take a pay cut. But at least we would be employed, we would have benefits, we would be paying taxes – which actually helps the state get out of this.”

Another unknown is what, if any, state-mandated tuition increases there may be – and whether those funds would remain with each respective university or be used elsewhere.

The hour-long talk ended with a question and answer session. She fielded about a dozen questions, including one about the expansion beyond Lee Street – where she said the increase in residential housing and learning communities will enhance retention and graduation rates.

Visit the university’s budget web page for updates and information related to the budget.

By Mike Harris
Photograph by Mike Harris

Evening News from Colbert? That’s the Way It Is.

102710Feature_ColbertYears ago, Geoffrey Baym paused his late night channel surfing to listen to an in-depth conversation with Sen. John McCain about campaign finance reform. CNN? CSPAN? Nope, Comedy Central.

It turns out that Baym, an associate professor of media studies, was watching “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” A former television journalist, Baym was fascinated by the forum as much as by the reasonable discussion itself.

He explores this “serious comedy” and more in his recent book “From Cronkite to Colbert: The Evolution of Broadcast News,” winner of the 2010 Book Award from the National Communication Association’s Political Communication Division. The award will be presented next month at the association’s national conference in San Francisco.

Along with laughs for the audience, the hosts of faux news programs deliver tough questions for politicians, questions frequently missing from mainstream news coverage, Baym says. “Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are doing the heavy lifting of the Fourth Estate. They’re doing what Cronkite was trying to do all those years ago, although using radically different methods.”

Stewart and Colbert, hosts of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report,” clearly are thinking outside the cable box. Colbert testified before Congress about immigration on Sept. 24. On Oct. 30, he and Stewart will host dueling rallies on D.C.’s National Mall, spoofing Glenn Beck’s Aug. 28 Restoring Honor Rally.

Baym suggests that Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity emphasizes a point “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” have long been making.

“Stewart asks us to be serious by being silly,” Baym says. “Colbert calls for reason by being unreasonable. The tools of comedy – satire, irony, and parody – have become necessary ways to talk about a political culture that itself is growing increasingly bizarre.”

By Dan Nonte
Photography courtesy Comedy Central

‘Dream House’ Arises

102010Feature_HabitatWhen Beshir Ibnaouf came to North Carolina from Sudan in 1997, it was the first step in a long journey of building a new life for his family. His wife, Maarif Abbas, and infant daughter, Romesa, joined him two years later. The family has grown with the birth of four more children.

The family will have a new home in April thanks to their own hard work and a helping hand from Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro, Well•Spring and the UNCG community. A team of UNCG volunteers kicked off construction on Thursday.

Habitat houses are partnerships between families and the community. A sponsor, in this case Well•Spring, a not-for-profit LifeCare retirement community located in Greensboro, has donated the cost of initial construction and materials. About 360 UNCG students, faculty, staff and alumni will work on the house before it is dedicated in early April.

Habitat acts as a “bank” to give the family an interest-free mortgage on the house, which the family is required to repay. In addition, recipient families are required to put in 300 hours of “sweat equity” labor – 200 hours on someone else’s house and 100 hours on their own. Habitat homes must be owner occupied.

Beshir worked as a taxi driver during his first years in N.C., but he has worked as a printer operator at Banner Pharmacaps for the past six years. Romesa is now 14 and excelling at Guilford Middle School. She tutors younger students in math and is part of the school’s yearbook staff, school newspaper staff and photography club.

Mohamed, a 10-year-old son, and Rowah, a 7-year-old daughter, are enrolled at Jefferson Elementary School, where Mohamed is part of the school’s Safety Patrol. Hassan, a 3-year-old boy, and Noon, a 2-year-old girl, keep the family home lively. Beshir and Maarif beam with pride when discussing their children, whom they refer to as their “treasure.”

“The Ibnaouf family is a very good fit for Habitat’s goals,” said Lillie Brown-Doggett, director of family services for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro. “They are hardworking, financially responsible and dedicated to building a better life for their children.”

The family has just completed its required work hours on other homes. Both Beshir and Maarif worked on their own house Thursday. The lot in northeast Greensboro had only a bare concrete slab In the morning, but by the end of the day almost all of the first-floor framing, the wooden skeleton of exterior and interior walls, had been nailed in place.

Owning a home will not be the end of the family’s journey. “Romesa plans to become a dermatologist,” Beshir says, “so now we’re starting to investigate medical schools in N.C.”

Construction on the Ibnaouf home will continue on Thursdays and Saturdays, October-April. Habitat professionals train and supervise all volunteers, so no construction skills are needed. In addition to helping with construction, there will be opportunities to volunteer by providing lunch for the construction volunteers, doing morning set-up and other tasks.

Everyone in the UNCG community is encouraged to participate. Contact Beth Hens at brhens@uncg.edu for more information.

By Anita Tesh and Dan Nonte
Photograph by David Wilson

With Dig Pink, It’s Spartans vs. Breast Cancer

102010Feature_DigPinkAs volleyball practice ended last Tuesday, senior Billi Baker stopped to tell what this weekend’s Dig Pink games in Fleming Gym mean for her.

“My mother is a five-year survivor,” said the senior, who said her mother was cured of breast cancer in 2005. “She will be here for the event.” In the past decade, an aunt had been diagnosed with breast cancer. “We lost her.”

Baker says this weekend’s volleyball Dig Pink games will raise breast cancer awareness and also raise money for breast cancer research.

On Friday at 7 p.m, the team hosts College of Charleston. On Saturday, they host The Citadel at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Patrick Nicholas, in his second year as Spartan coach, spoke of his mother, after the practice. In the early 1980s, she had detected a lump, but waited before telling her doctor. “A few months, six months, a year …”

She had surgery. He began college at George Mason. “A year later, they found a spot in her hip.” She had a year or two of heavy chemotherapy, he says, but cancer appeared in other parts of her body as well.

This was decades ago when less could be done.

As an upperclassman, he learned from relatives that it had been much more serious than his mom had told him. “She’d told the doctors to get her to my graduation.”

He found college to be very hard. He was the first in his family to attend. But his mother’s courage and determination motivated him. “She was fighting to get to my graduation,” he thought.” If she can do that, I could finish college.”

He did. A month before commencement, he went home to visit her. She was on morphine, and he held her hand all night. She woke up that morning and told him the doctors thought she’d be at the ceremony. But she died before commencement.

“It’s a nasty disease. If you live long enough, you’ll know somebody with it.”

He added, “We all have an investment in finding a cure for the disease.”

Senior Alissa Beaudway told of grandparents dying of cancer. “It’s something our team is passionate about.”

Sophomore Olivia Humphries said, “I had a cousin die in 2006 of a brain tumor.” He was 13 years old. “You think it’s not going to happen to you. You never know … So many families are affected by [cancer].”

The players said they’ll likely wear as much pink as possible – pink shoelaces perhaps, and pink hair ribbons. They will also wear commemorative pink jerseys.

Nicholas notes you’ll also see slams at over a hundred miles an hour and diving saves in the back line. “You see the power and the grace and the gymnastics” of high level volleyball, while supporting an important cause.

“Come support our team and the fight for a cure for cancer.”

The women’s basketball team has a similar event each winter, called the Pink Zone game. And all Athletics teams are involved in the Relay for Life on campus in the spring.

Everyone who comes to the games to show support, who competes, who perhaps makes a donation are part of something important.

“It’s all Spartans against cancer,” said Nicholas.

More notes about the weekend’s events:

  • On Friday against College of Charleston, the first 200 fans will receive pink pom poms. A postgame autograph session with the volleyball team will be held after both of the weekend’s games.
  • Two-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor will speak before Saturday’s Citadel match. Hours before the game, she will help lead a sand volleyball clinic on campus through the Greensboro Sportsplex.
  • The first 200 fans on Saturday will receive free pink T-shirts. A silent auction will be held before the match, including items autographed by May-Treanor.
  • All proceeds raised during the two matches will go toward the Mammography Scholarship Fund at The Women’s Hospital, which provides screening mammograms for women unable to afford them.
  • Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the games.

Visual: An autograph session at last year’s Dig Pink event in Fleming Gym.

By Mike Harris
Photograph courtesy Spartan Athletics

Business Summit Set for Nov. 9

101310Feature_SummitEach year, UNCG presents the fifth annual UNCG Business Summit in order to bring the corporate leadership of Greensboro and the Triad together to hear from a major executive. The summit highlights the relationship between business and higher education. The Triad’s colleges and universities are among the region’s key drivers of economic growth.

Attendees can hear what UNCG is doing to advance the economic vitality and quality of life in our city and region.

This year’s summit will be 8 a.m.-noon onTuesday, Nov. 9, in EUC’s Cone Ballroom.

The keynote speaker will be James L. Turner, a group executive of Duke Energy and president and COO of its U.S. Franchised Energy & Gas business.

Chancellor Linda P. Brady and NC A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin will join in a discussion moderated by Douglas Copeland of The Business Journal regarding collaboration between the two universities.

Also, Dr. James G. Ryan, founding dean of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, will provide updates on the joint school and John Merrill, executive director of Gateway University Research Park, will provide updates about the research park.

The registration deadline is Nov. 2. The cost is $25. Register at http://www.uncg.edu/dur/business/BusinessSummit2010/BusSummitReg.htm or by calling 6-1284.

Photography of attendees at last year’s event by Chris English.

Talking with the Dying

101310Feature_BarbaTalkHow many of you have had an experience with someone’s who’s dying?

Dr. Beth Barba posed that question to the 40 or so attendees of the first LIHC Food for Thought talk in October. Each Wednesday, all students, faculty and staff are invited to come learn about an interesting topic while enjoying a light lunch in the Faculty Center.

Barba (Nursing) noted her area is largely gerontology. UNCG’s interdisciplinary Gerontology Program is particularly strong. In the School of Nursing, she and Dr. Laurie Kennedy-Malone, who leads the Geriatric Nurse Practitioners Program, are among the 18 or so of its faculty members who have expertise in geriatrics, according to Barba.

Surveys of nurses in the workforce tend to show the nurses wish they’d been taught more about how to interact with and talk to those who are dying and their families.

“I do teach a 500 level course on end-of-life care. I’ll teach it this summer – all online. An elective,” she told the Nursing upperclassmen in attendance.

What do the dying and their family members want, when nurses – or any others – speak with them?

Information. A way to maintain a sense of control. To disclose feelings. A need for meaning. Hope.

What do they hope for? Perhaps an afterlife. Perhaps assurance that their life has held meaning. Perhaps a comfortable death.

She noted older adults often have no time for frivolous talking. They’ll cut right to the chase.

On the other hand, an exercise Barba led halfway through her talk was enlightening. The audience broke up in pairs, each role playing. One listened for two minutes while the other described a loss of some sort. And vice versa.

Opening up took a while, some discovered.

Barba noted that’s often how it is, when you speak with a person approaching death. Just be an active listener, she said, showing that you care. “Put yourself in the moment. And being silent is good. Provide serenity.” That could mean anything of a spiritual nature, whether overtly religious if that’s requested or perhaps turning the bed so the person can face out the window. Singing with them or for them can be serene as well.

“Be there, on their journey. You go where they are.”

And Barba gave a tip to ensure the individual goes ahead and says what they want to say – and doesn’t hold back. Say “I have [whatever] minutes. I’d love to come in and sit.” The person will open up to you more quickly.

She made an analogy. “It’s like therapy. You know you have 50 minutes.” The person won’t wait until the 49th to start talking.

“I would just sit. Sit quietly,” she said.

“The person will eventually say what they want to say.”

You might encourage them to tell their stories, if they wish, by asking an open-ended question. And keep in mind that the person dying could be feeling guilt – if for example, they thought their smoking led to the lung cancer. Or they might feel fear. Non-acceptance. Anger.

Physicians are focused on cures, Barba said. “We want them to be.” Dealing with the needs related to dying is often left to the nurses.

People in America don’t die at home much, she noted – they die primarily at nursing homes and also at hospitals and Hospices.

“People want to die at home,” she said.

They have a need to be surrounded as they die by people who care for them.

A writer for Hospice once said the dying and family members have five things that should be expressed to each other:

  1. I love you. “You can never say that too much,” Barba said.
  2. I forgive you.
  3. Please forgive me.
  4. Thank you.
  5. Good-bye.

By Mike Harris
Photography by Mike Harris

Ergonomics 101

100610Feature_ErgonomicsIs your chair adjusted so that your feet are flat on the ground? Is there a 2 inch space between the front of the seat and the back of your knee when sitting? Is the computer monitor directly in front of you when in use? Is the monitor located 28-36 inches away from your face?

When Todd Beck (in visual) visits an office for an ergonomics check-up, these will be among the things he usually looks for. They are part of a computer workstation self-inspection checklist his department distributes.

Beck is industrial hygiene coordinator at the Department of Environmental Health and Safety. Commonly he will visit an office for one individual, and a person in the next office or work station will also want an assessement. Soon a half-dozen in the office want the same. But often he can get to them all.

“You get a lot of enjoyment. You get immediate feedback. [You hear things such as] ‘That does feel better’ or ‘That’s a better set-up.’

“We want to be proactive,” he said. He encourages the campus community to consider ergonomics when they get set up with a new office. “We’re a service to the university – we want to make sure you’re set up correctly.”

He stresses that his department helps employees doing all sorts of work and tasks – whether in front of a computer, cleaning, using motor equipment or other types of work.

Beck has a BS degree in occupational safety and is a Board Certified Safety Professional (CSP).

Think about ergonomics, he says, in regards to how you interact with your work. Be considerate of body positions. And if you need some help from others or some mechanical help, get it.

Chairs are often a point of discussion. His department even has a few in their front office that can be used to demonstrate good ways to make adjustments and achieve proper fit.

“The chair set-up is often an issue,” he says, explaining that it often comes down to some simple adjustments that need to be made using the existing chair features.

One person he sees may be 5 feet, 2 inches. Another may be 6 feet, 1 inch. “We’re very different in dimensions.” The chair is only one aspect of the equation, he explains. “It’s all about the adjustability of the workstation.”

Generally, when a person is sitting at a computer, he likes to see “nice, 90 degree angles” on their body, he says. And he likes to see the mouse on the same plane as the keyboard.

“People can be more efficient if they’re in a good position when they do their work,” he says.

For information on ergonomics at work, OSHA offers a great web site, he says. It is www.osha.gov. There’s an A-Z index, including a web page on Computer Workstations.

Those with questions may contact Todd Beck at todd_beck@uncg.edu.

By Mike Harris
Photography by Mike Harris

Free Flu Shots

100610Feature_FlueShotSeasonal flu shot clinics will be offered again this year.

These clinics, sponsored by Human Resource Services, will provide free flu shots to State Health Plan members. The clinics will provide flu shots for UNCG employees and their covered family members, at least 9 years of age. Retirees with State Health Plan coverage are also welcome. Please bring your State Health Plan ID card and a photo ID.

There is no separate vaccine required for H1N1. H1N1 is now included as part of the standard flu vaccination, according to Melissa Barnes (HRS).

The dates and locations are:

Monday, Oct. 25
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Campus Supply Store Training Room – Physical Plant

Tuesday, Oct. 26
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Elliott University Center – Kirkland Room

Wednesday, Oct. 27
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Elliott University Center – Ferguson Room

Questions? Contact Melissa Barnes (HRS) at mkbarnes@uncg.edu.

Photography courtesy The White House.

Check Out That Car – No, Really

092910Feature_ZipCarPersonal vehicles are increasingly optional on campus, as the university makes strides to be more sustainable and offer students, faculty and staff greater transportation options.

That work is gaining attention. The university was recently named one of the Best Workplaces for Commuters by the National Center for Transit Research. UNCG is the first employer in the Triad to earn the national recognition.

“We have been working on changing a culture at UNCG so people no longer feel they have to come to school with a car,” said Scott Milman, director of auxiliary services.

UNCG also introduced two new services this fall – Zipcar and Zimride – designed to reduce the need for individually-owned cars on campus.

  • Zipcar is a car-sharing service that allows members to reserve cars by the hour or the day, easing congestion on campus and reducing the need for additional parking. Gas, 180 miles per day, insurance, reserved parking spots and roadside assistance are included in the hourly and daily Zipcar rates. Cars can be reserved for as short as an hour or for up to four days. Rates on all UNCG vehicles start as low as $8 per hour and $66 per day (24 hours). UNCG students, staff and faculty can become Zipsters by visiting www.zipcar.com/uncg. The annual membership fee is $35 and UNCG applicants receive $35 worth of free driving credit that applies toward their first month of driving. Free annual memberships are offered to departments. Four Zipcars are located on campus – two on Gray Drive and two on College Avenue. It’s estimated that every Zipcar takes 15-20 personal cars off the road.
  • Zimride is a free rideshare matching network that helps connect drivers and riders interested in carpooling. Open to the UNCG community through a private network, Zimride helps registered users offer or request rides for occasional road trips as well as daily commutes. More information can be found at http://zimride.uncg.edu.

Spartan Cycles is another initiative launching this fall. In fact, it is launching today (Sept. 29). The program will allow students and employees to check out bicycles from the Housing & Residence Life FIXT office. Bikes in the program were provided by the non-profit bike advocacy group Bicycling in Greensboro with support from UNCG campus police.

“UNCG has been working hard to expand Campus Access Management programs like our partnerships with HEAT, GTA, PART, UNCG bi-ped programs and Zimride ridesharing,” Milman said. “Zipcar provides the missing link for our faculty, staff and students – access to a car on campus.”

UNCG participants made up half of the more than 4,000 pledges collected during the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) annual Commuter Challenge. Those making pledges promised to try a sustainable form of transportation: a bus system, carpooling, walking, biking or telecommuting.

UNCG’s ridership numbers on Greensboro Transit Authority (GTA) buses, especially the Higher Education Area Transit (HEAT) service, continue to grow. For the 2009-10 academic year, Spartans took 197,061 rides on HEAT buses, a 44 percent increase over the previous year. UNCG has the second highest participation in the HEAT network, slightly behind N.C. A&T, which had 202,169 riders.

Provisions have been made for commuters who may need a ride in case of an emergency. PART now offers an Emergency Ride Home Program, giving a free ride to UNCG students and employees in the PART coverage area who commuted to work using a sustainable form of transportation and have an emergency. Covered emergencies include an illness or severe crisis for the commuter or an immediate family member, or abandonment caused if a ridesharing driver has to stay late or leave early, leaving their passenger without a way home. For more information, visit http://www.partnc.org/uncgemergency.html.

UNCG’s focus on alternative transportation expands the university’s sustainability efforts and allows students and employees to save more of their hard earned money, Milman said.

More details are at http://parking.uncg.edu/sustain.html.

Visual: Zipcars ready to be checked out, on Gray Drive.

By Lanita Withers Goins
Photography by Mark Unrue

Musical ‘Oklahoma!’ Debuts Sept. 29

092910Feature_Oklahoma“Oklahoma!,” the iconic musical created by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, changed the face of American musical theatre with its bold combination of music, theatre and dance.

That makes it a fitting choice for the inaugural season of the newly formed School of Music, Theatre and Dance, said Bryan Conger, the show’s director and a third-year MFA directing student in the school.

“I went to Rodgers and Hammerstein because they are really where it all began, where the modern day musical came from,” Conger said. “‘Oklahoma!’ was the first to integrate story, music and dance together to create one cohesive project. The new school is joining together. What better way to celebrate?’”

“Oklahoma!” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29-30, 8 p.m. Oct. 1-2 and 2 p.m. Oct. 2-3 in historic Aycock Auditorium. The 8 p.m. show Oct. 2 doubles as the first event of the 2010-11 University Concert/Lecture Series, which is now sponsored by the school.

Tickets for the shows are $20 adult; $15 for children, seniors and non-UNCG students; $12 for UNCG alumni and groups of 10 or more; and $10 for UNCG students. Tickets may be purchased at boxoffice.uncg.edu, 4-4849 or campus box office locations.

Set in the American West at the turn of the 20th century, “Oklahoma!” uses the spirited rivalry between cowboys and farmers as the backdrop for the romantic relationship between Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a winsome farm girl. Dr. William Carroll, associate dean for the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, will direct the show’s memorable tunes as the production’s musical director.

“The play’s main message is that of community,” Conger said. “In a modern time of division and social controversy, ‘Oklahoma!’ explores our states’ first moments of pride as we expanded our nation and brought opportunity to people of all origins.”

Information about the full UCLS series will be in an upcoming issue. Details about performers and about purchasing tickets for the series can be found at http://www.uncg.edu/mus/ucls/.

Visual: Cast members Leah Turley, Matt Delaney, Diana Yodzis (l-r)

By Lanita Withers Goins.
Photography by Bert VanderVeen

Obama and the Terrible Twos?

092210Feature1_PresidentObamaCNN? FOX News? Drudge Report? Democracy Now?

As news media become more seemingly partisan, where can you turn to find accurate information and reasonable reflection? It’s as important as ever to be fully informed politically.

“Political science can provide perspective and context for both the campaign and election results that are often difficult to find in the current media environment, dominated as it is by cable talk, talk radio, and partisan/ideological blogs that often miss the forest for the trees,” says Dr. David Holian (Political Science). He is director of UNCG’s Center for Legislative Studies

As the Obama presidency nears its two-year mark, the Center for Legislative Studies in the Department of Political Science will present the fall lecture series “Obama at Midterm: Polarization and Backlash.”

“We feel it’s important to take a step back and discuss how the current midterm elections are not only unique in certain ways – for example, the effect of the Tea Party in Republican primaries and the competition between increasingly polarized parties – but also perfectly predictable given our understanding of past midterms – for example, the expectation of large losses by the president’s party, especially given the poor economy.”

Two talks are before the midterm elections. One is afterward. “The first talk will be about Republican prospects for taking over the House, Senate or both,” said Holian (Political Science). “The second talk will discuss the Obama presidency in the context of the highly politically polarized era we live in. Finally, the third talk will place the election results in context and discuss Obama’s leadership challenge as we turn our attention to the 2012 presidential election.”

The talks begin this week:

“How Large a Wave? The Outlook for the 2010 Midterm Elections”
Dr. Alan I. Abramowitz (Emory University)
Wednesday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.

“Barack Obama and the Partisan Presidency”
Dr. Richard M. Skinner (Rollins College)
Wednesday, Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m.

“The 2010 Midterms and Their Consequences”
Dr. David W. Rohde (Duke University)
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m.

All events will be held in the Weatherspoon Auditorium.
Free parking will be behind the Museum.
A reception will follow each lecture in the Atrium.

Dr. Alan I. Abramowitz, the first speaker, is the Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University in Atlanta. He has authored or coauthored five books, has made dozens of contributions to edited volumes, and has published more than 40 articles in political science journals dealing with political parties, elections and voting behavior in the United States. His book “The Disappearing Center: Engaged Citizens, Polarization and American Democracy” was published this year by Yale University Press.

Questions? Contact Carrie Klamut at ceklamut@uncg.edu

By Mike Harris
Photography courtesy The White House

SECC Goal: $235,000

092210Feature2_SECCThe poverty rate is at a 15-year high. Unemployment, particularly in our state, is exceptionally high. The Great Recession has caused lots of hurt, making this year’s State Employees Combined Campaign (SECC) particularly important.

“We know the impact that the economic situation has had on our community and indeed on our friends and neighbors,” said Chancellor Linda P. Brady.

We each have particular causes we may want to give to. The SECC allows you to pinpoint your donations, if you choose. The chancellor personally prefers United Way of Greater Greensboro, which supports the community in which she lives, she explained. Whether the organizations you choose are local, regional or even national, it’s important to note that they do make a difference, she said.

The official workplace giving campaign for employees throughout state government and the university system, the SECC assists more than 900 agencies and groups.

The campus’ many volunteer solicitors from throughout campus gathered last Friday in the Virginia Dare Room (in visual) to pick up packets for their departments and learn about this year’s drive.

SECC chair Benita Peace (HRS) announced the year’s goal: $235,000.

Peace spoke of her home county, Rockingham County, having one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Many of those in her community have been hit hard. She also said last year she directed her donation to breast cancer awareness, in honor of her mother.

Many UNCG employees give through payroll deduction. That spreads the donation over 12 months, starting in January.

To make a donation, simply fill out the form, include payment and returned the sealed envelope to your department’s solicitor so it can be forwarded for processing.

The campus SECC web page is uncg.edu/secc.

“I know we can do it,” Brady said, about reaching the goal. “We had an ambitious goal last year and we exceeded our goal. I’m hoping we can do that again this year.”

By Mike Harris
Photography by Mike Harris

Founders Day Events Launch Homecoming Week

091510Feature2_FoundersDayFounders Day will be observed Monday, Sept. 20, which is near founder Charles Duncan McIver’s 150th birthday. (See details about the new library exhibition about McIver’s life.)

“We’re hoping that by kicking off Homecoming with the Founders Day party we can create more awareness of UNCG’s history and traditions among our UNCG campus family,” said Linda Carter, executive director of the UNCG Alumni Association and director of the Office of Alumni Relations.

At 11 a.m. on Monday, a poetry reading presented by the N.C. Writer’s Network will be held in the Virginia Dare Room of the Alumni House. The Randall Jarrell poetry contest winner, Rebecca Warren ’81 MFA, ’86 MA, will read her award-winning poem, “Grass Bridge.”

The festivities will kick into high gear with a noon party in Taylor Garden near the EUC, complete with steel drummers and a cake decorating contest. The birthday cake cutting will be around 1 p.m.

The big Homecoming Week will extend from Sept. 20-26.

Mid-week activities include a comedy show and the men’s soccer match versus Campbell.

The biggest day of activities will be Saturday, Sept. 25, with the Children’s Festival and all the Spartan Village offerings in front of the EUC, capped off by the men’s soccer match vs. Wake Forest. All home soccer matches this year are free.

A full schedule of the entire week’s activities is at www.uncg.edu/ure/homecoming/map_biglist.html.

Details about Homecoming Family Weekend – including the Children’s Festival – can be found at orientation.uncg.edu/families/weekend.

Visual: Statue of McIver. The noon party will not be held at the statue. It will be held at Taylor Garden.

By Beth English and Mike Harris
Photography by David Wilson

Snowden Testifies on Covered Bonds

091510Feature1_CapitolSenateDr. Ken Snowden, an associate professor of economics and director of graduate studies in the Bryan School, testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs today (Sept. 15).

He will address the committee during a panel discussion on “Covered Bonds: Potential Uses and Regulatory Issues.”

An economic historian, Snowden has studied the historical development of the mortgage market in the U.S. for more than 20 years. His research has become particularly relevant in light of the mortgage crisis that contributed to the nation’s economic recession.

In recent years, lenders have utilized a securitization process where mortgage loans were sold and repackaged, Snowden said. With covered bonds, “instead of selling the mortgage, the intermediary holds on to it and uses it as collateral for bonds they issue,” he said.

“The key advantage that people talk about with covered bonds is that issuers keep ‘skin in the game.’ What that means is they’re retained some of the risk. That’s their skin. Hopefully, that’ll make them more careful in what mortgages they make.”

The covered bond model has been widely used in European markets, where it has performed better than securitization, he said. “What Congress is trying to do right now is see if there needs to be legislation or regulatory action to encourage the development of the covered bond market.”

If legislators encourage movement in that direction, it’ll be a return to a model used decades ago. “We actually had covered bonds systems before 1940 in the United States,” Snowden said. He’s one of only a few scholars who have studied those markets extensively “so I can provide some historical perspective on how well they worked and the regulations that were implemented at the time.

“I’m the only historian on the panel. Everyone else is either a regulator or folks in current financial markets. My job is to provide a little historical context.”

Snowden spent the weekend preparing a paper for the Senate Banking Committee that he planned to submit prior to his testimony. Today, he’ll give five to seven minutes of verbal testimony and be available to answer questions from committee members.

After the testimony, he’ll hop a plane back to Greensboro to teach class. For an academic who has dedicated countless hours to his research, it’s a sacrifice he’s happy to make.

“I was happy to be asked and I’m happy to contribute,” Snowden said. “That’s why we do this work, hoping it can matter in some way.”

By Lanita Withers Goins.

Want Others to See Your Program’s Calendar?

090810Feature2_GoogleCalYou want to be in-the-know? The UNCG Public Calendar provides lots of events.

You want to get your events on people’s calendars? There’s something new: a UNCG calendar directory that will help people know about your events.

But first, your department or program needs to have a Google calendar. You need to make it public, if it’s not already. You need to make sure it has plenty of events (an empty calendar is not helpful). And you need to submit it to the UNCG calendar directory.

A Campus Weekly story earlier in the summer described the campus’ calendar initiative, and encouraged more departments to create Google calendars. Since that time, more Google calendars have been created around campus and many have been added to one centralized directory. That directory, which “went live” very recently, can be found at http://calendar.uncg.edu/directory/index.php. You may want to bookmark it.

There, you will see many calendars. Some you may be very interested in. Some less so. You may want to know about upcoming lectures in one department, but not in another.

If for example you are interested in the Student Affairs calendar, click “S” to get to it. Or use the “categories” groupings to find the ones you want.

You can create your own personal, customizable “mash-up” calendar, so each time you come back to view it, the calendar will show just the types of events you want to see.

Your personal mash-up calendar would be a combined view of several calendars offered in this directory.

For example, you may be interested in having on your mash-up calendar home volleyball games, theatre events, Staff Senate events and archaeology events.

Click those ones – and any others you’re interested in – to provide the one calendar you want. And you can add or delete calendars at any time.

This customizable app is available to all faculty, staff and students.

Have questions? There is an FAQ section for the Public Calendar, which is a broad calendar for the general public. And there is an FAQ section for the calendar directory, as well as training materials.

Those with questions about placing particular events on the Public Calendar may email dan_nonte@uncg.edu.

The campus calendar effort is a joint venture of Students Affairs Technology, University Relations and Information Technology Services.

The use of these Google calendars is part of the Google Apps for Education initiative. See the related video.

By Mike Harris

A Milestone, as JSNN Welcomes First Students

090810Feature1_BradMillerCongressman Brad Miller has a keen interest in the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, says Mike Tarrant, special assistant to the chancellor. The school opened last month, welcoming its first students.

Miller serves on the House of Representatives’ Science and Technology Committee, where he is chair of that committee’s subcommittee on investigations and oversight.

“He has a special interest in nanoscience,” Tarrant says, noting that Miller is currently co-sponsoring legislation that will provide more education and research in the area of nanotechnology.

The JSNN has welcomed its first group of students – and just before classes began, Miller met with N.C. A&T Chancellor Harold Martin, UNCG Chancellor Linda P. Brady, Dr. James Ryan, the JSNN founding dean, and John Merrill, executive director of Gateway University Research Park, at the joint school. Other NC A&T and UNCG officials as well as John Hardin, executive director of the NC Board of Science and Technology, participated.

Miller spoke with students and faculty, toured the current classroom and labs and saw the construction site at the Gateway University Research Park’s south campus. The school’s $65 million building is under construction, with completion scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2011. Construction so far is on time and on budget, Ryan said. For now, classes are being held next door in the conference room of Gateway’s USDA research building.

“The enrollment of the first cohort of students into the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering marks the fruition of a vision that was cast years ago,” said UNCG Chancellor Linda P. Brady. “The cutting-edge disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering combine the strengths of the two universities, and the training these students will receive at the Joint School will be in demand and spur economic development for years to come.”

Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr., chancellor of NC A&T, also cited the singular opportunities the school represents for both students and the community. “This unique school will provide our students with remarkable education and research experiences in the rapidly developing field of nanotechnology,” Martin said. “The Joint School enables our universities to enhance the competitiveness of our community and region, and we look forward to continuing to work with our local business and government leaders to realize the school’s potential for a very real impact on our economy.”

In the most recent state budget, the two universities received $1 million in recurring funds for JSNN to hire additional faculty and staff.

Information released by the JSNN explains that it is one of fewer than 10 schools nationally to offer degree programs in nanotechnology, according to the National Nanotechnology Initiative. And JSNN, which was created by NC A&T and UNCG, is the only one created and operated collaboratively by two universities.

The school opened last month with 18 students in two degree programs – 17 are in the doctoral program in nanoscience, and one is in the professional master’s degree program in nanoscience.

That enrollment is considered remarkably strong, considering that the first degree programs were approved by the UNC Board of Governors only last January. “The original projection was 10, due to the lack of time we had to market the program to prospective students,” said Ryan.

First semester courses include Mathematical Methods in Nanoscience and Nanoengineering as well as Nanochemistry.

The students also will take two lab rotations and a professional development course. The students will have a choice of labs, including two JSNN labs temporarily located in the USDA building and nano-oriented labs at both of Gateway’s campuses.

Second-semester courses include Nanobiology and Nanophysics, two more lab rotations and another professional development course. With those first-year courses as a foundation, Ryan said, students will be prepared to focus on the specific fields of their choice in the subsequent three years of the Ph.D. program.

The doctoral program is designed to produce researchers for industry and academia. The professional master’s program is for students who want to work on the business side of the nano field. It will include management courses taught at the two universities’ schools of business as well as the first-year science courses.

In addition to the two nanoscience degrees, which are offered by UNCG, N.C. A&T will submit proposals to the UNC General Administration this fall to offer master’s and doctoral programs in nanoengineering at the JSNN.

The 100,000-plus-square-foot research facility that will house JSNN is scheduled to open in the spring of 2012.

Visual: Jim Coleman, who has begun work on his doctorate in nanoscience, speaks with Congressman Brad Miller in a lab.

By Mike Harris and staff
Photography by Chris English

Music, Theatre and Dance Share Stage

090110Feature2_CollageFaculty and students from the newly formed School of Music, Theatre and Dance will showcase their talents on a shared stage for the third annual Collage Concert.

The popular performance, which has enjoyed near sell-out crowds for the past two years, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, in Aycock Auditorium. Tickets for the event are $10-20 and can be purchased online at boxoffice.uncg.edu, by calling 4-4849 or at campus box office locations. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. All proceeds will benefit the School of Music, Theatre and Dance Scholarship Fund.

This year’s event will highlight the strength of the performing arts at UNCG and within the new unit dedicated to the three artistic disciplines. The theatre department will present an excerpt from the iconic musical “Oklahoma!” (A full performance of the musical will have a several-day run later this semester.) Students from the dance department will perform two pieces choreographed by faculty members. And the music departments will be well represented, with performances by 350 vocalists and instrumentalists as well as contributions from faculty members with specialties in jazz, voice, keyboard, string, and wind instruments.

The Collage Concert is a great opportunity for patrons to experience a wide range of artistic expressions, said Dr. Kevin Geraldi, an assistant professor of conducting in the school. “People who normally might only be interested in hearing a certain type of music, or who tend to attend performances by certain areas of the school, will have the opportunity to explore the breadth of what our excellent faculty and students have to offer.

“Collage is not a normal concert experience,” he added. “It is much more interactive, with performances that surround the audience presented seamlessly with special lighting.”

The 2010 Collage Concert is the first in a series of special performances planned to celebrate the inaugural year of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. The school was officially established July 1.

For more information about the Collage Concert, visit http://www.uncg.edu/mus/collage.

By Lanita Withers Goins
Photography by David Wilson

eMarketplace for One-Stop Shopping

090110Feature_MarketplaceUNCG has implemented a new e-procurement system called the UNC Greensboro eMarketplace.

eMarketplace is an automated, streamlined procurement application that will provide cost savings to departments making purchases.

  • What It Is: eMarketplace is an online marketplace for UNC Greensboro. It is a shopper’s one-stop shopping and requisitioning portal. It will feel very much like shopping at Amazon.com. The eMarketplace allows for browsing by category and adding items to a shopping cart. Shopping becomes as easy as point and click.
  • Where it is: eMarketplace is located online, which makes it an efficient paperless purchasing system, designed to be user friendly. Once trained, shoppers can access it at: http://purchasing.uncg.edu/eMarketplace/
  • Who It Affects: All Shoppers and Requisitioners. Banner continues to be our Finance system of record, but eMarketplace overlays Banner, making your shopping experience easier, faster and more financially relevant. Once a shopper/requester is trained, they will do all their shopping in eMarketplace. All current Banner requesters must be trained by the end of 2010.
  • When Does it Go Into Effect: Training will be held through the end of the year in preparation to go live at the first of January 2011.
  • How You Get Trained: Campus training sessions are scheduled beginning Sept.13. You can sign up online at: http://purchasing.uncg.edu/eMarketplace/training.html. If you have questions regarding training, contact Sandy Rogerson at slroger2@uncg.edu

Shannon Clegg, senior director of Campus Enterprises, said, “This new e-procurement system will provide the ability to bring UNCG’s spending under management, cut processing costs, and negotiate more competitive contracts with major suppliers, hence saving the university departments money.”
Clegg also provided some benefits of an e-procurement system:

  • Establishes a one‐stop shopping and request portal for all request types
  • Easier access for departments to the system
  • Increase overall operational efficiencies across campus
  • Drive purchases to contract suppliers
  • Increase purchase volume to HUB suppliers
  • Enhance strategic sourcing capabilities – new and better contracts
  • Improve efficiency of back‐office staff from procure‐to‐pay

Additional information on the eMarketplace can be found on the Purchasing page at: http://purchasing.uncg.edu/eMarketplace/

By Angie Schrock
Photography of a training session last week by Mark Unrue

Blue & Gold Day This Friday


Chancellor Linda P. Brady signed a university proclamation Tuesday that declares each Friday during the 2010-11 academic year a “Blue and Gold Day”. [Read more…]

Veterans & Military Expo

082510Feature2_MilitaryJosh Green feels lucky. Although he spent five years as a military policeman, he was never deployed.

When he left the military, he earned an undergraduate degree here at UNCG. Since 2006, he has worked in the Dean of Students’ Office.

“I’m very fortunate to be where I’m at,” says Green, whose mother served in the first Gulf War and whose brother was deployed to Afghanistan.

With the idea of helping other veterans get their bearings after completing their military service, Green is working with U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and others at UNCG to organize the first annual Veterans and Military Expo. It is the first such event to take place on a UNC System campus, Green says.

The Expo, which includes a panel discussion on veterans’ benefits and a resource fair, takes place Tuesday, Sept. 7, from 1-4 p.m. in Elliott University Center. It is free and open to all veterans, their families and friends. Free parking is available at the Greensboro Coliseum with shuttle service to the university.

The panel discussion runs from 1-2 p.m. in the EUC Auditorium on the main floor. Hagan will introduce a four-person panel to talk about education, job readiness and other issues affecting veterans.

The resource fair runs from 2-4 p.m. in the Claxton, Alexander and Kirkland rooms on the lower floor of the EUC. Representatives will speak with veterans about health benefits, education benefits and other services.

Green worked with Dedrick Curtis from the UNCG Registrar’s Office; Mike Tarrant, special assistant to Chancellor Linda P. Brady for government relations; and Dr. Kristine Lundgren, a professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders, to plan the event.

“I hope the EUC is packed,” says Green, who wants to make the Expo a yearly happening and wants to see the idea spread to other campuses. “It’s just a really good thing to let our community, and our campus, know we really care.”

For details, contact Josh Green at 4-5514 or jagreen@uncg.edu. Green suggests that veterans bring along their discharge papers so they can immediately apply for veterans’ benefits.

By Michelle Hines
Photography courtesy of the Department of Defense photographer Cherie A. Thurlby

Awards for Excellence

081810Feature3_AwardsOne of the real strengths of our university? Chancellor Brady said that it is the commitment so many show. It’s revealed in classes, in laboratories, in studios and in offices, on all parts of campus.

At a special awards ceremony Wednesday morning at Aycock Auditorium, awards were presented to faculty and staff for teaching, research and service. Provost David H. Perrin, Vice Chancellor Terri Shelton and Alumni Association President Keith Ayscue assisted the chancellor in presenting the awards.

The award winners are:

Gladys Strawn Bullard Award for service:

  • Faculty, Dr. Jan Van Dyke, Professor and Department Head, Department of Dance
  • Staff, Dr. Kim Sousa Peoples, Director, Office of Orientation and Family Programs
  • Student, Michael Tuso, who is currently studying abroad

University Staff Excellence Award:

  • Libby Sexton, Classroom scheduling officer, Registrar’s Office
  • Steve Sparks, Equipment operations manager, Parking Operations & Campus Management

Alumni Teaching Excellence Award:

  • Tenured Faculty, Dr. Llewelyn G. Brown, Associate professor, Department of Business Administration
  • Untenured Faculty, Dr. Tracy R. Nichols, Associate professor, Department of Public Health Education

University Research Excellence Award:

  • Dr. Cheryl A. Lovelady, Professor, Department of Nutrition
  • Dr. Michelle Dowd, Associate professor, Department of English

UNC Board of Governors Teaching Excellence Award, which was originally announced at May’s Commencement, was presented to Dr. Nancy J. Hodges.

University Service Awards, for those who have served at UNCG for 30 years, were presented to:
Cheryl (Cherry) Callahan, Student Affairs; Jim Clark, English; Bill Hardin, Facilities Operations; Rebecca Saunders, Graduate School; Svi Shapiro, Department of Educational Leadership & Cultural Foundations; Patricia Turner, Registrar’s Office

University Service Awards, for those who have served at UNCG for 35 years, were presented to:
Sheldon Balbirer, Accounting and Finance; Hazel Brown, Nursing; Joseph DiPiazza, Music; John King, Philosophy; Cheryl Logan, Psychology; John Neufeld, Economics

Visual: Dr. Cheryl A. Lovelady receives University Research Excellence Award from Dr. Terri Shelton.
By Mike Harris
Photography by Chris English

New Programs and Initiatives

081810Feature2_SpencerThe academic year is springing to life, as residential students begin moving in today (Aug. 18). Classes begin Monday, Aug. 23.

But those students won’t be the only new elements at UNCG. The 2010-11 academic year also marks the start of several programs and initiatives at the university.

Among the new offerings are the following:

  • The first UNCG Guarantee students start their collegiate careers this fall. Funded with a portion of a $6 million anonymous gift to the university, the need-based financial aid program allows students to complete their higher education with little to no debt. There were 123 applicants, and UNCG expects to welcome more than 30 UNCG Guarantee students to campus. Ten will be a part of the Lloyd International Honors College. The accepted students’ average high school grade point average was 3.87.
  • The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering is welcoming its first students this fall. The school, a collaboration between UNCG and NC A&T, has been in the works for several years. Seventeen students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in nanoscience are expected to enroll this fall with UNCG designated as their “home” campus. A&T will be the “home” campus for future students pursuing advanced degrees in nanoengineering. Construction is underway on the 100,000-plus-square-foot research facility that will house the school on the South Campus of Gateway University Research Park.
  • UNCG in 3, an accelerated degree program that allows undergraduates to complete their studies in three years, also starts this fall. The five participating students, all psychology or communication studies majors, are entering UNCG with at least 12 earned credit hours and will attend winter and/or summer sessions to complete their degrees on a faster timetable.
  • Several new majors and fields of study are launching this fall at UNCG, including the start of a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship, a master’s and doctoral degree in nanoscience and a doctoral degree in environmental health science. A post-master’s certification in urban school leadership and administration and a post-master’s certificate in ethnomusicology are also being offered for the first time this fall, as well as a concentration in pedagogical kinesiology at the master’s and doctoral levels.
  • UNCG’s School of Music and departments of dance and theatre merged July 1 to form a combined School of Music, Theatre and Dance. The school is kicking off its inaugural year with the Collage Concert. Now in its third year, the popular concert series will feature performances from students and faculty members from each area of the performing arts. The event will be held Saturday, Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m. in Aycock Auditorium. Tickets for the event are $10-20 and may be purchased at http://boxoffice.uncg.edu or by calling 4-4849 after Aug. 23.
  • A renovated North Spencer Residence Hall will reopen as a space for students from the Lloyd International Honors College. The $60,000 renovation, funded primarily through tuition fees, took a year and a half to complete. Changes include refurbished bathroom and laundry facilities, office space for faculty, a refurbished parlor and north end porch, a touch-screen computer portal linking students to University Libraries, a computer lab, and a new classroom for use as a global teleconferencing center. Only a portion of UNCG’s 1,000 honors college students will live in North Spencer, said Dr. Jerry Pubantz, dean of the honors college.
  • Students in another program with UNCG ties will face a rite of passage this year. The Beyond Academics program is a post-secondary experiential program for adults with intellectual disabilities. Beyond Academics students, many of whom live in apartments near campus, are part of the UNCG community and work toward living as independently as possible. The program is beginning its fourth year and plans to hold its first graduation in May. For more information, visit http://beyondacademics.blogspot.com.

By Lanita Withers Goins
Photography from University Relations Photography Archives

‘Oklahoma!’ to Tennessee (Williams, that is)

080410Feature2_BrownTheatreUNCG Theatre has announced its 2010-11 season lineup. Enjoy Rodgers and Hammerstein, Tennessee Williams and everything in between. [Read more…]

Big Dates for August

080410Feature1_ConvocationWednesday, Aug. 18, opens a new year for UNCG. The Chancellor’s State of the Campus Address and the Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards Ceremony will be in Aycock Auditorium, beginning at 10 a.m. The address and the ceremony will be followed by the traditional university community luncheon in the University Dining Hall.

A big day for students will be Sunday, Aug. 22, when they’ll enjoy the Chancellor’s New Student Convocation followed by Charlie’s Block Party.

The first day of classes is the following day, Monday, Aug. 23.

A listing of key opening activities and dates:

Dates/Time/School or Department/Event

  • Friday, August 13, 8 a.m.– 5 p.m., Graduate School, Graduate Teaching Assistant Training Workshop – Bryan Auditorium, Room 160
  • Monday, August 16 – Wednesday, August 18, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Office of Orientation, SOAR for Transfer/Adult Students
  • Tuesday, August 17, 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Graduate School, New Graduate Student Orientation- EUC Auditorium
  • Wednesday, August 18, 10 a.m., Chancellor’s Office, Chancellor’s State of the Campus Address/Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards Ceremony, Aycock Auditorium
  • Wednesday, August 18, 11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m., All UNCG Faculty and Staff, Community Luncheon – University Dining Hall
  • Wednesday, August 18, 1:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., All New Faculty, New Faculty Orientation and Reception – Weatherspoon Art Museum
  • Thursday, August 19, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., All New Faculty, New Faculty Orientation – Weatherspoon Art Museum
  • Thursday, August 19, 8 a.m.– 10 p.m., Office of Orientation, SOAR for Freshman – EUC, various locations
  • Thursday, August 19, 9 a.m.– Noon, Graduate School, New Graduate Student Orientation – EUC Auditorium,
  • Friday, August 20, 8 a.m.– 5 p.m., Office of Orientation, SOAR for Freshman – EUC, various locations
  • Sunday, August 22, 4 p.m., College, Schools, Departments, Chancellor’s New Student Convocation – Aycock Auditorium
  • Sunday, August 22, 5 p.m., Charlie’s Block Party – The Fountain/Caf
  • Monday, August 23, 8 a.m., Classes begin.

Visual: At the 2009 Chancellor’s New Student Convocation in Aycock Auditorium

Face Time on Facebook

072110Feature2_FacebookWhere are you? For 8,723 “fans” of UNCG’s official Facebook page, that’s the question every Wednesday. It’s called “Where Am I Wednesdays.” And the pictures, from mysterious spots on campus, are getting a little harder every week, as Facebook fans try to guess the right answer.

What about campus history and little-known facts? “Trivia Tuesdays” are another regular feature.

Debbie Schallock (University Relations), who oversees this Facebook page, says Betty Carter has agreed to provide trivia questions, when the new semester begins. Carter recently retired as universty archivist. “She wants to make it fun and informative,” Schallock says.

Schallock says Facebook fans have told her they want the fun items to be more challenging – and they will be.

This university Facebook page launched last fall. The current rate of growth is 100-125 new “fans” each week. Some events, such as inclement weather which spurs more postings from fans, have led to spikes in additional fans.

“Social media tools such as Facebook present new ways to tell UNCG’s stories,” says Helen Dennison Hebert, associate vice chancellor for university relations. She explains that people are relying on social media more and more to be informed.

The page is a true forum, a community. Everyone can see, even those who are not signed up on Facebook.

Those who are members of Facebook can become a fan – which lets them make their own postings on the “wall.” Or comment on a post. Or ask a question, so other fans can respond.

It’s a neat dynamic, Schallock says. “Prospective students ask questions,” she says as an example. “Students and alumni answer them.”

Sometimes she provides an answer or leads a questioner to the right place to find the answer. But she often waits, knowing that others in the page’s community will do the same. She encourages participation by all.

For example, a high school student may ask about best residence halls or apartments. Others will respond with their opinions.

A student may complain about a service. Schallock or a staff member in the particular department will respond with help or information.

It’s very immediate. Which makes it a way that a department or program may choose to let others know about an event happening very soon. In other words, if you’re a fan, your UNCG program can occasionally make its own post.

On the page are links to a select number of other UNCG-related Facebook pages, such as:

Members of the campus community may choose to “like” (in other words, become fans of) some of these pages as well.

This fall, a UNCG social-media guide with recommendations and guidelines for best practices will be published, says Hebert, for use by UNCG-affiliated social media sites.

In the coming month, the university’s Facebook page will add a new landing page, Schallock adds. New tabs will invite readers to check out the university’s central Twitter feed and use an RSS feed. And G-Cast video podcasts, featuring faculty, staff and students, will be added. There was one two-part G-Cast podcast, featuring Joe Erba (Bryan School), last semester.

And Schallock anticipates the number of “fans” will grow – which will result in more information and experiences being shared among the participants.

“We monitor and moderate,” she says. And post items along with the nearly 9,000 others. “Every day but weekends – and sometimes on weekends – there’s something being posted.”

The university’s official Facebook page can be viewed at facebook.uncg.edu. There, you’ll find links to more UNCG-related Facebook sites.