UNCG Campus Weekly

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

Alan Alda on stage at UNCG Friday night

Photograph of Alan AldaAlan Alda is known for many roles – from Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H” to the engaging host of “Scientific American Frontiers.”

The acclaimed actor opens this year’s UNCG UC/LS with a special presentation this Friday (Sept. 21) at 8 p.m. in UNCG Auditorium.

Tickets may be purchased via this page or at the Triad Stage Box Office, (336) 272-0160. There is a special price for UNCG faculty, staff and retires as well as students.

Alda, through his writing and lectures, shares fascinating and powerful lessons from the art and science of communication, and teaches how to improve the way you relate to others using improv games, storytelling, and your own innate ability to read what’s probably going on in the minds of others.

With his trademark humor and frankness, Alan Alda explains what makes the out-of-the-box techniques he developed after his years as the host of PBS’s “Scientific American Frontiers” so effective.

One of TV Guide’s 50 Greatest Television Stars of All Time, he has starred in series such as “M*A*S*H,” “30 Rock,” T”he West Wing” and “ER.” Among his recent science-focused work, he hosted “Brains on Trial,” a neurological look at brains in the courtroom. He also wrote “Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie,” a play about the personal life of the scientist who discovered radium, and presented “Dear Albert,” a stage-work he wrote based on letters written by Albert Einstein, for the World Science Festival in 2016.

A recipient of the National Science Board’s Public Service Award, Alda is a visiting professor at and founding member of Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, where he helps develop innovative programs on how scientists communicate with the public.

He published his New York Times bestselling memoir “Never Have Your Dog Stuffed—And Other Things I’ve Learned” in 2005. His second bestseller, “Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself,” came out in 2007. Alda’s latest book, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating, was released in June 2017.

A book signing will follow his lecture Friday evening.

Also, Alda, a science advocate, will speak earlier in the day on campus – from 2 to 3 p.m. in UNCG’s Sullivan Science Building, Mead Auditorium. This “Dialogue Across Disciplines: Bridging Humanities, Arts and Sciences” event will be a one-hour open discussion and exchange with audience participation. The theme will be communication across disciplines, based on Alda’s recent book “If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?”

This afternoon UNCG and UNCG Medicinal Chemistry Collaborative (MCsquared) hosted event is free-admission, but space is limited. Please click on “Register” to RSVP at this page: HERE.

UNCG Music’s Dr. Carole Ott is a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil

Photo of Carole Ott For Dr. Carole J. Ott, associate director of choral activities, every opportunity to work with new students is an opportunity to learn more about herself and her craft. Ott has taken this passion for teaching, as well as a passion for research, to São João del-Rei, Minas Gerais, Brazil as the first Fulbright Scholar to collaborate with the Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei. There, she will explore archives of relatively unknown sacred choral music held by orchestras that have been performing this music continuously since the 18th century.

“The music brings the possibility of diversifying the well-known canon of composers such as Mozart, Haydn and Bach, and highlights the abilities of colonial Brazilian musicians,” Ott said.

While teaching and collaborating at the Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei, Ott will work with primary sources found only in local archives, observe and document modern adaptations of 18th century choral music in Brazil, listen to Brazilian pronunciation of Latin texts and transform these primary sources into modern performing editions for choral directors worldwide.

“The editions I create from archival materials could become inspiration for free improvisation, enabling students to experience this music from a new perspective,” Ott said.

Free improvisation is a fundamental part of how she teaches her students. By incorporating free improvisation, Ott said her students experience themselves as not only performers of music, but as creators of original music.

“This has unleashed the creative potential of my students and of every group with whom I have worked in this manner,” Ott said. “I am extremely excited to share this method with music students and faculty in Brazil through workshops or exploratory coursework.”

Ott’s work in Brazil will continue through December, but Ott said she is confident her experiences in Brazil will stick with her well beyond her term as Fulbright Scholar and provide her yet another perspective on teaching and how best to serve all of her students.

By Victor Ayala

Dr. Olav Rueppell will be Florence Schaeffer Distinguished Professor of Science

Photo of Dr. Olav Rueppel Provost Dana L. Dunn and Dean John Z. Kiss (College of Arts & Sciences) have announced that Dr. Olav Rueppell will be appointed as the Florence Schaeffer Distinguished Professor of Science beginning January 1. In making the announcement, they noted that Rueppell is an exceptional scholar and researcher, teacher, and mentor to students.

This professorship is named for Dr. Florence Schaeffer who joined the Chemistry Department in 1922.  She became head of the department in 1934 and held this position for 30 years.

In making this appointment Dean Kiss stated that “Dr. Rueppell is the consummate teacher-scholar. We are very proud of his accomplishments and believe that he is a strong role model for our faculty.”

As a researcher, he uses honey bees to study the genetics of complex traits, genomics, social behavior, and aging. In addition, he has been addressing the urgent problem of honey bee health, which has been in national headlines. He also is interested in how the complex division of labor among bee colony members evolves, how behavioral specialization is determined, and what consequences at the individual and colony level can be measured.

In recognition of his research accomplishments, Dr. Rueppell has won the UNCG Research Excellence Award in 2009. Since then, he has had 76 peer-reviewed publications in prominent journals. He has successfully acquired many external grants from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, among others.

Regarding this strong research record, Provost Dana Dunn stated that “Professor Rueppell’s impactful research is a great example of how UNC Greensboro’s faculty make a difference by tackling issues and problems of significance.”

Rueppell started at UNCG in 2003 and has made the mentoring and training of students the highest priority in his research program. Each student that he mentors receives a high quality and intensive research experience, the announcement noted.

Five of his mentees have won UNCG Excellence Awards and a sixth won a national award, the White Research Award, for their undergraduate research. Four students have earned their Honor’s Theses under his direction. Nearly all of his mentees have gone on to successful professional careers in the sciences or medicine.

In recognition of his dedication to undergraduate education, Rueppell received the 2016 UNCG Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor Award and in 2015 the prestigious Mid-Career Mentoring Award from Division of Biology of the Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR). He is equally dedicated to graduate mentoring, and he has graduated eight M.S. students and one Ph.D. student.

In addition, he is a superb classroom teacher, consistently receiving excellent student-based evaluations and very strong reviews from his peer faculty members. He has also been active in developing both the undergraduate and graduate curricula in biology, and he also has greatly contributed to service activities at UNCG and beyond.

 

Dr. Meredith Powers explores intersection of social work, sustainability

Headshot of Dr. Powers Dr. Meredith Powers, assistant professor in the Dept. of Social Work, launched a new, open access book this summer: “Social Work Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability: A Workbook for Global Social Workers and Educators (Vol. 2).”

The international book launch took place at the Social Work and Social Development Joint World Conference in Dublin, Ireland, in July.

The workbook, co-edited by Powers and Dr. Michaela Rinkel of Hawaii Pacific University, is the second in a series of publications exploring the intersection of these two fields and beyond.

Powers explains that the oppression and marginalization of groups are often related to environmental issues – natural disasters, water quality, food access, etc.

“These are timely, urgent issues that we should be working on and addressing as quickly as possible,” she said.

Contributing authors represent a variety of countries and academic and practice backgrounds. With the second volume, Powers and Rinkel made an effort to focus on interdisciplinary work, and to include more indigenous perspectives.

“Working with colleagues from around the world has been incredible – it’s built a sense of solidarity and hope,” Powers said. “Change is being made at the local and international levels.”

The book, which includes exercises at the end of each chapter that can be built into classroom curriculum, is available for free download on the publisher’s website.

By Alyssa Bedrosian
Visual: l-r, Powers, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson and co-editor Michaela Rinkel. 

Dr. Steven Fordahl explores effects of high saturated fat diets

Fordahl High saturated fat diets physically alter the way we think about food. They wreck the brain’s pleasure center, requiring ever more saturated fat to elicit the same level of enjoyment. Assistant professor Steven Fordahl is determining how and why that wreckage occurs.

Fordahl explores the flow of neurotransmitters in the brain to identify the causes of – and potentially treatments for – obesity. Obesity is one of the fastest growing public health concerns in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it affects over one-third of our population.

To better understand obesity’s dominance over the brain, Fordahl measures real-time neurotransmission in response to food intake. The technique is typically used to map neural circuitry, but Fordahl, who joined UNC Greensboro’s Department of Nutrition last year, uses it to illustrate the profound effect that dietary choices have on normal brain function.

Fordahl’s work builds upon research conducted during his postdoc, which found that the brain responds differently to various types of dietary fat. He says an ideal diet limits saturated fat in favor of mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. The combination helps the brain control appetite, leading to less potential for overeating.

As we consume food, the brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine as a messenger to the central nervous system. The dopamine activates specific neural circuits to tell us we are full and feel content. During his postdoc, Fordahl measured dopamine neurotransmission in response to diets high in saturated fat and found significant reductions in regular dopamine message delivery.

Fordahl studies high saturated fat“Saturated fat highjacks the brain’s reward system in a way that may promote overeating, especially over time,” he says. “A diet that is high in saturated fat may change the way we perceive the foods we are eating.”

Over the past year Fordahl’s research group at UNCG has sought to further understand how saturated fat takes control of these normal brain functions. He is examining whether immune system proteins, called cytokines, change dopamine signaling in the brain as a result of a poor diet.

When fat tissue expands, it triggers the release of cytokines, which contributes to the development of insulin resistance and – if activation of the immune system is prolonged – diseases like diabetes. Fordahl wants to know if the same inflammatory immune response alters dopamine’s control over feelings of fullness, potentially accelerating obesity and other disease progression.

To get a clear picture of the relationship between food choice and immune response, Fordahl is measuring cytokine levels in dopamine-rich areas of the brain under different dietary conditions.

“We ran a full suite of experiments to see how the neurons in the dopamine-rich regions of the brain are functioning in response to different diets,” says Fordahl. “The next step is to correlate that with cytokine levels, to measure the impact of inflammation on dopamine signaling.”

Fordahl’s results already have important implications for obesity prevention. As he digs deeper into how saturated fats reprogram the brain, he ultimately hopes to discover how to reverse the whole process and restore the body back to health.

This text originally appeared in the spring edition of UNCG Research Magazine.

By Rebecca Guenard
Composite image by Mike Dickens

Bruce Pomeroy, Staff Senate co-chair and director of OARS, strives for fairness, equality and opportunity for all

Bruce Pomeroy, director of the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services (OARS), learned three lessons from his time working for an advertising agency in New York City: first, believe in who or what you represent; second, be creative; third, be flexible.

Pomeroy has held onto these lessons over a 45-year career in higher education, and will bring them into his new appointment as Staff Senate co-chair, where he will be an important resource regarding campus-wide staff issues. As co-chair, Pomeroy hopes to do for staff what he’s always done for students: nurture a community of fairness, equality and opportunity for all.

“I truly believe that we can represent all levels of staff,” Pomeroy said. “We have so many wonderful people on campus, and every member of campus has an impact on our students.”

Pomeroy first came to UNCG after 38 years of serving the State University of New York system as a disability services coordinator. He applied at numerous colleges in the Carolinas and received many offers, but UNCG in particular spoke to him.

“I was convinced by the sincerity of those I spoke with that UNCG had a commitment to making sure students had every opportunity to do the best they could,” he said. “I felt theirs was a true commitment to quality supportive services to students here.”

For the past eight years, Pomeroy has been bringing together creativity, flexibility, a belief in UNCG and a dedication to equality to make college an equitable experience for students.

“We’re making a difference, helping people realize their potential, and minimizing how disability impacts our students. In the end, we all benefit from that. Where far too many are quick to say ‘you can’t,’ we are focusing on ‘how you can.’”

He serves as chair of the Greensboro Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities and is also a past president of the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD). He has also been a trainer for the US Dept of Education, and has performed disability services evaluations.for other campuses across the country.

By Victor Ayala

Stephen Hale wears many hats, from senate co-chair’s to O. Henry’s

Portrait of Stephen HaleIf you work for UNCG, there’s a good chance you’ve met Stephen Hale, senior benefits consultant in Human Resources. With detailed accuracy and a bit of humor, he guides new hires through the choices they should expect to make in the first month of working at UNCG and planning for their benefit selections.

This year, Hale is serving as Staff Senate co-chair, which means he’ll be even more visible and available to staff as a first point of contact concerning campus-wide staff issues. As co-chair, he hopes to inspire more recognition for Staff Senate across campus, and promote a new award for emeritus staff. He also aspires to encourage open communication between staff and administration and greater staff participation on committees pertaining to campus-wide initiatives.

“Bringing the fun into Staff Senate” is also on his to-do list, through senator socials and a book club.

Hale is not only an ambassador for UNCG, but for a literary tradition in Greensboro – the “Five by O. Henry” production, this year hitting the stage of the Greensboro History Museum Aug. 10 through 19.

Hale has played O. Henry, Greensboro’s favorite literary son, for the last ten years.

Image of Stephen Hale dressed as O. Henry next to "5 by O. Henry" sign(He has also served as grandmaster of the Greensboro Fourth of July parade, dressed as O. Henry, and played the part for the U.S. Postal Service stamp dedication.)

At thirty-two years, “Five by O. Henry,” directed by UNCG alumna Barbara Britton, is the longest continuously running rendition of O. Henry plays in the country. Hale says the audiences appreciate the language of the time and coming to see the same actors year after year in different plays. Some even sing along at the musical interludes and try to guess the surprise endings that O. Henry stories are known for.

“The tradition helps keep O. Henry’s memory at the forefront of Greensboro history,” says Hale.

This is the last year the play will be performed downtown before it moves to the new auditorium at the Well·Spring retirement community.

Tickets, for evening and matinee performances are available online at www.TicketMeGreensboro.com or by calling 336-373-2982.

By Susan Kirby-Smith

Dr. Kelly Stamp leads with the heart

Portrait photo of Kelly StampLast year, Dr. Kelly Stamp joined the UNC Greensboro School of Nursing as Eloise R. Lewis Excellence Professor and department chair of Family and Community Nursing.

In June, Stamp was named the new president of the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses, which is dedicated to the improvement of heart failure patient outcomes through education, clinical practice and research. For Campus Weekly’s Spotlight this week, Stamp tells us a bit about AAHFN and how her work can be of interest to our campus community.

What do you plan to bring to the organization as the new president?

The American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN) is a strong organization with approximately 3,000 members that educate and advocate for heart failure nurses and patients. In addition, AAHFN stays on the cutting edge of creating and implementing evidence-based care for the positive outcomes of heart failure patients.

As president, I plan to continue the mission of uniting professionals, patients and caregivers in the support and advancement of heart failure practice, education and research. We will do this through growing our membership and sponsors, improving our marketing initiatives, broadening our patient and nurse focused educational offerings via an online platform and continue to offer the only heart failure certification exam for nurses.

In May 2018, we started The Heart Failure Patient Foundation, which will be a 501c3 that will allow donors a tax deduction for their gift. This foundation will provide more resources to heart failure patients as they navigate their disease trajectory. We also have more exciting initiatives around this that will be announced to the public shortly. In addition, we will continue our advocacy efforts for patients to receive the necessary resources so they can take advantage of the latest evidence-based treatment therapies. Last, but not least we will continue to be on the forefront of bringing nurse scientists and heart failure nurse clinicians together to lead the way in nursing research and translation of evidence into practice. We are so excited about our new initiatives and cannot wait to bring updates of our progress throughout the year.

What do you appreciate about the organization?

I appreciate that AAHFN is the only organization that is dedicated to advancing the knowledge and networking of heart failure nurses and patients. Heart failure nurses are our everyday heroes that are on the frontline in fighting the battle of heart failure with their patients’ day in and day out. As president, I constantly hear stories from patients about how their heart failure nurse helped them through a very scary phase of their heart failure treatment and how they would not have received a particular therapy if not for their heart failure nurse.

Our organization stands by these nurses and patients to advocate for the necessary resources to improve patient outcomes. In addition, we not only educate, but certify nurses in their specialty. We did not just create a certification exam to say that certified heart failure nurses performed better, we tested it!

A nurse researcher conducted a study with a sample of 605 nurses to test how well certified heart failure and non-certified heart failure nurses performed with providing evidenced based care and decision-making. It was found that certified heart failure nurses performed significantly better with providing evidence-based heart failure care and decision-making than non-certified heart failure nurses. The results were published in the Heart & Lung Journal in early 2018.

What opportunities can this bring to UNCG?

Every nurse in every specialty will encounter a heart failure patient during their career. My presidency of the AAHFN can bring awareness of the importance of heart failure nursing and the resources that the AAHFN can provide to our community. UNCG supported the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Heart Walk in May 2018 to shed a light on cardiovascular disease and now I hope that UNCG will work with the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN) to shed light on the impact of heart failure, which is the end point of most cardiovascular diseases.

With UNCG’s support we can together raise awareness of the impact of heart failure and how we can come together as a community to improve the outcomes of this devastating disease. Approximately 5.7 million Americans have heart failure – it is significant and we can make a difference. I hope that during my Presidency, our nurses, nursing students, providers from affiliated healthcare hospitals and agencies, and other health related specialties across campus will become members of AAHFN to support our mission and vision for the future of heart failure patients, nurses and advanced practice providers.

*For more information about The Heart Failure Patient Foundation and donations, contact Karyn Lockshine at
klockshine@aahfn.org

By Susan Kirby-Smith

 

Charlie Maimone and UNCG’s wide-ranging Business Affairs departments

Charlie Maimone, vice chancellor for Business Affairs since 20​14, recently sat down for a Campus Weekly interview about the upcoming expo and conference that Business Affairs will offer the campus on Aug. 1. We asked about a few other things as well.

CW: What are some things about Business Affairs that maybe people don’t know?

Maimone: I​’m guessing most faculty and staff could not list all the departments in Business Affairs. In some ways that is absolutely OK because our departments are university services with their own identities. So many of our departments develop working relationships with practically every department on campus so it’s easy to think of them as stand alone programs. For example the Print shop, Purchasing, Campus Police or Human Resources all communicate their services directly to our campus.

Actually, the ​upcoming ​ expo​ is really ​a great place to see the wide range of programs within Business Affairs. At the same time, I’m sure most people might not realize how much the business affairs departments depend on each other to complete all of the required work of the university.

CW: Can you give one or two examples?

Sure. ​When you think of ​our ​Facilities​ department​ there are actually 6 major areas of responsibility with over 20 departments. For example our Facilities Operations area is made up of 7 departments – Building and Trades, Work Order Services, Energy Management, Facility Services, Grounds and Garage, Surplus Warehouse, Services, Utility Operations and Waste Reduction and Recycling. Our Campus Enterprise area is made up of 8 departments – Bookstore, Dining – everybody’s favorite, Parking, Printing, Property Leasing, Spartan ID Card, Spartan Mail and Vending. With any major event on campus nearly all of these departments will be involved. Helping to get ready for the event, helping out during the event and finally helping put the university back to normal after the event.

​Move-in day, Convocation, Homecoming and Graduation are good examples. ​

CW: Some of this is what people will learn at the expo and conference?

Absolutely. On August 1st, the third ​annual Business Affairs Expo will take place in the EUC and the second ​annual Business Affairs conference​ and workshop for the campus will be going on too​. ​This day is a great way for our teams to present their services to the campus, to answer questions and to interact with others to describe how we can help.  

We’ll have about fifty people set up during the expo, and many different departments will present what they believe to be the most important services that they provide to the campus community. They will be able to interact with individuals and small groups, answer questions about the services and just enjoy getting to know each better. The expo is a very casual event. You can decide how long to stay, which departments you want to talk to – a no pressure environment. What we try to do is to identify compelling, important, relevant topics that individuals across the campus can use in the coming year, and really update them on what, let’s say, slight changes may have occurred to travel or reimbursements or something in Purchasing. By the way, it’s free, with refreshments!

CW: Are there two or three examples of some new things they may hear about?

Sure. ​One ​new thing our committee ​is doing ​this year is ask​ing​ people ​around campus ​what​ they ​are interested in​ us covering​. I​ was surprised to hear that one of the ​new topics we might be covering this year is how to build and use pivot tables​!​

​P​ivot tables​ are a great tool in Excel that allows you to summarize a great deal of information and present it on a single page. ​We use them a great deal ​ in budget planning and budget management ​ but they can be used to help organize lots of information.

​ ​Another good example, is our University Police Department ​will be conducting the very important. Run Hide Fight ​training. It’s a program that helps departments​ and individuals recognize what they ​can and ​should do in​ the event of an active shooter on campus. ​The program has been taught about forty different times​ year​ and the feedback is excellent. Our police department would love to reach ​ every ​ individual across the campus, so the Run Hide Fight as a conference workshop​ will be a great opportunity​to take the training if you have done so already.

Last year we had over three hundred people come to the expo ​and ​one​ hundred and twenty-five people attended the conference​. We hope everyone who attended last year will return and even more folks will come​ for the first time.

CW: Anything else you’d want to mention about the service your division provides?

Within the Business Affairs division, ​many of our departments have ​ the very important responsibility ​of​ ​regulatory ​ compliance and ​public accountability that goes along with ​being an agency of the State. Keeping the university in good standing with local, state and federal regulations while trying to meet the service needs of  3,000 employees and 20,000 students can be challenging. We not only accept the challenge but embrace it. What makes programs like the Expo and the conference so important to us is the amazing opportunity we have to hear directly from our colleagues and to better understand exactly how we can help them to accomplish their part of our university mission. The better we understand your programs, the better we can line up our services to help.

CW: Anything else people will probably want to know about? Anything on the horizon?

​The first thing that comes to mind is the important investment that Business Affairs partnering with Information Technology and Academic Affairs ​is making in the Banner 9 Initiative.

​This collaboration is transformational and the staff’s dedication to improving UNCG’s use of technology is amazing. We are aligning our ​use of technology around​ a single commitment to improving student success. One wouldn’t necessarily​ immediately think about the impact that ​business affairs might have on student success, but ​when we line up our systems and ​focus our business ​processes and procedures ​on student​’s progress toward degree, it’s remarkable how quickly we can make the connection between what we do every day and student progress.

One early example is the great work our ​Cashier Office​ has done partnering with the Financial Aid Office and Registrar’s Office to develop new payment plans​As mentioned before, there are tremendous compliance responsibilities​ and certainly high ​regulatory constraints, but ​the teams have used the technology to build new payment plans and lessen the pressure of payment deadlines for many of our students.

Interviewed by Mike Harris. Interview was edited and condensed.

All employees are invited to the UNCG Expo and Conference presented by Business Affairs, on August 1 in the EUC. Learn more and “put a name to a face.” See information here, including how to register for the conference.

Dr. Dianne Welsh’s commitment to entrepreneurship results in major honor

Leaders in educating the next generation of entrepreneurs gathered at UMass Lowell this month for the seventh annual Deshpande Symposium for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The symposium featured the annual Deshpande Symposium Awards, recognizing the best in entrepreneurial education.

The Excellence in Curriculum Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award was presented to UNC Greensboro’s Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Program. Dr. Dianne Welsh, the University’s Hayes Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, is the program’s founding director.

“We congratulate Dr. Welsh for this outstanding honor,” said Provost Dana Dunn. “Because of Dianne’s decades-long commitment to building innovative courses that foster entrepreneurship at UNC Greensboro’s Bryan School of Business, the Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Program has grown exponentially under her leadership. UNC Greensboro graduates have launched successful businesses and the university continues to receive national recognition as an institution that demonstrates excellence and serves as a role model in the field.”

The entrepreneurship major and minor at UNCG focus on the skills necessary to start a business, grow a business or enhance creativity and innovation in a corporate environment. Welsh is a globally known scholar in international franchising, family business and entrepreneurship.

More than 57 million Americans are employed by small businesses and each year, 200,000 new startups launch in the U.S. alone. Dr. Welsh is equipping a new generation of entrepreneurs to find their path to success in the marketplace.

By University Communications, with some copy courtesy of UMass Lowell Office of University Relations

With Michael Parker, the stories keep coming

UNCG creative writing professor Michael Parker is one of the foremost voices in contemporary Southern literature. With six novels and three collections of short stories under his belt, and a new novel forthcoming, it’s full speed ahead.

His short story “Stop ‘n’ Go” was selected for inclusion in the 2018 Pen/O. Henry Prize Stories anthology, an annual collection of the top twenty stories among the thousands published in the past year by U.S. and Canadian magazines.

The O. Henry Prize Stories anthology has been an American literary institution since 1919, and in 2009 was renamed to reflect the partnership with PEN American Center. This was Parker’s third time winning an O. Henry Prize and the story was the second that came from his most recent book, “Everything Then and Since,” published last year by Bull City Press.

“My feeling about those stories was that they would not be to everyone’s taste, and that if ten people read the book, I’d be happy,” said Parker. “I was thrilled to have published the story in the New England Review, and doubly thrilled to have it appear again in the O. Henry.”

But, if not to everyone’s tastes, the stories are certainly to a lot of people’s tastes. The collection of 23 micro-stories was a “staff pick” of the Paris Review and received enthusiastic praise in a number of other periodicals. Each story displays Parker’s unforgettable humor, woven between the small but poignant moments that reveal the rich internal lives of his characters, most of them firmly rooted in the rural South.

Parker has received fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Hobson Award for Arts and Letters and the North Carolina Award for Literature. His work has been anthologized in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and New Stories from the South. Recently, he spoke on a panel with writer Lee Smith at the Greensboro Bound literary festival.

Parker came to teach in UNCG’s MFA Creative Writing Program in 1992 and in 2015 was honored with the first Vacc Distinguished Professorship, a recognition for a faculty member with a record of outstanding accomplishment as a teacher, scholar or practitioner. The appointment has allowed him to bring in high-profile visiting writers and to create writing residency opportunities for graduate students.

“His work and the creative writing program are an exemplar of excellence at UNCG,” said Provost Dana Dunn.

And the proof’s in the pudding; among the many other accomplishments of his former graduate students, Kelly Link had a story in the 2013 Pen / O. Henry Prize Story anthology and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2017.
Parker deeply values the opportunity to work with students in the MFA program, which was one of the first in the nation.

“Our students keep in touch, with us and with each other, and we’re always hearing news of their success in publishing,” he says. “The MFA degree takes only two years to achieve, but it lasts a lifetime.”

Michael Parker’s newest novel, “Prairie Fever,” will be published by Algonquin Books in 2019.

By Susan Kirby-Smith

Link Jarrett is named SoCon Coach of the Year

Link Jarrett, head coach for UNCG Men’s Baseball, was named SoCon Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons.

The team finished the regular season with a 37-13 overall record, taking the regular season title with an 18-3 record in Southern Conference games. The SoCon regular season title is a first for UNCG Baseball.

He guided the Spartans to 35 or more wins for the third-straight season, the first time in program history that feat has been accomplished.

Junior pitcher Matt Frisbee and junior outfielder Andrew Moritz were selected as the Southern Conference’s Pitcher and Player of the Year, respectively.

Jarrett came to the university in 2012 as head coach, and last year led the Spartans in achieving their first-ever SoCon Tournament championship, earning them a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Beth Fischer will be Vice Chancellor for Advancement

Chancellor Gilliam has an announcement regarding our new leader for advancement:

Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Beth Fischer has accepted our offer to be UNC Greensboro’s next Vice Chancellor for Advancement. She begins on July 31.

Beth has been serving as the Executive Director of University Development at UNC Charlotte, leading major gifts, planned giving, corporate and foundation relations, and donor relations. She designed and led the campaign strategy, planning, and execution of the university’s “Exponential” capital campaign.

She also has Greensboro roots. Her mother attended UNCG and Beth earned a BS at Guilford College before pursuing her JD at Case Western Reserve University. She also holds a certificate of nonprofit management from the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations and earned her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) designation in 2008.

Beth was selected by the Charlotte Business Journal as a “40 Under 40” award winner in 2009, and subsequently received the “Outstanding Women in Business” award in 2017. She is an active member of Women Executives and the American Leadership Forum Class XVII. She previously served on the US Airways Education Foundation Advisory Board and is a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Charlotte Chapter.

My motto as we have built our team at UNCG is “Don’t compromise on talent.” It was important to me to find someone who not only has the leadership qualities we need in this pivotal role, but also is the right fit for UNCG. In Beth, we found someone who both has a proven track record of fundraising success and is still a rising star. Beth’s current and former colleagues and peers in the UNC System confirm what I noticed about her during the extensive interview process: her ability to develop and lead a campaign; her quick and strategic mind; a warm personality that will engage various stakeholders; and her authentic commitment to UNCG’s mission.  

Thank you to those who participated in the search process. I deeply appreciate the time you spent meeting the candidates and the invaluable feedback you provided me. I’d also like to thank Kris Davidson, who has admirably led the division since Jan Zink’s departure in January.

Please join me in welcoming Beth, her husband AJ, and their two children, Eric and Allison, to our community and to the Spartan family.

Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.
Chancellor

Terrance Stewart named SoCon Men’s Golf Coach of the Year

The UNCG men’s golf team won its first-ever Southern Conference Championship last week. Spartan coach Terrance Stewart was named the SoCon Coach of the Year.

Stewart is the first coach in program history to win the award from the conference. He has been at the helm since August, 2001.

UNCG freshman Nick Lyerly won the SoCon Individual Championship, with the only sub-par score in the field. He also won the Freshman of the Year Award; a Spartan has won the freshman award five of the past six years.

A league-best three Spartan golfers – Bryce Hendrix, Nick Lyerly and Josh Stockwell – were named to the all-conference team. The three all-conference selections matches last year as the most in program history.

“There was a maturity level that was a little bit higher this year. It was very evident,” Stewart said. He has seen his players mature as students in the classroom, as golfers in practice, in the matches. He noted senior Josh Stockwell, who grew up in Pinehurst and returned to Pinehurst for his final SoCon Tournament. He was so focused.

“It was a storybook end to his regular season,” Stewart said – as the team now heads to the NCAA regionals.

And it’s the result of a continual building process many years in the making.

“Our guys have practiced hard,” he explained. They’ve put a lot of effort into their academics. They’ve made good choices off the golf course, he continued. It all allows them to compete at high levels.

“It’s a sign of doing the right things.”

Stewart noted that their winning the title is a university effort – from the players, the professors and staff, the chancellor and administration, alumni, donors. “It takes the entire university.”

The Spartans had posted three straight second-place finishes at the SoCon Championships before taking the title this season. They’ve had 9 top-3 finishes during Stewart’s coaching tenure.

In winning the team title, UNCG clinched the automatic bid for the NCAA Regionals May 14-16, in what will be the program’s second NCAA appearance after earning an at-large bid in 2013-14.

Where will the Spartans play? The selection show for the regionals is today (May 2) at 5:30 p.m. on the Golf Channel. A “watch party” for the NCAA Selection Show will be held 5-6 p.m. (Wednesday) at the Starmount Country Club (Main Clubhouse). The team and coaches will be there; the campus community is invited.

Olympic champion Joey Cheek will speak at UNCG Commencement

Olympic Speed Skating Gold Medalist, NBC Winter Olympics commentator and humanitarian leader Joey Cheek will deliver the keynote address at the university’s May 4 Commencement at the Greensboro Coliseum.

A Greensboro native, Cheek won gold and silver medals at the Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, in 2006. He won his first ever international medal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, a bronze in the 1000 meters, and has accumulated more than 25 World Cup and World Championship medals throughout the course of his career. Most recently, Cheek completed his first stint as a broadcaster covering speed skating for NBC at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Cheek was named to TIME’s 100 most influential people, the US Speedskating Hall of Fame, and the International Sports Humanitarians Hall of Fame. He even got to be on the Wheaties box.

“We are thrilled to have Joey address the class of 2018,” said Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “He exemplifies the values we work to instill in our Spartans – a tenacious work ethic and commitment to excellence that leads to real, meaningful impact on our world. As our graduates look to the next chapter of their lives, to what is possible, his story is inspirational and aspirational. His Olympic dream came true, but he did not stop there. He used that success as a springboard to achieve even greater things as a humanitarian. I am confident he will inspire our graduates to forge their path and take giant steps in every area of their lives.”

After winning gold in Torino, Cheek turned his talents to worthy charitable causes. He announced he’d donate his Olympic winnings, totaling $40,000, to Right to Play helping refugees driven from their homes in the Darfur crisis, in western Sudan. He then challenged others to donate as well. In total, Cheek raised $1.5 million in charitable donations to aid Right to Play. In 2006, Cheek cofounded Team Darfur, an international coalition of more than 500 athletes around the globe, to continue to advocate and fundraise for the people from that region.

Since ending his athletic career, Cheek has worked as a corporate speaker with dozens of Fortune 500 Companies, started a digital sports content company, and currently serves on the board of the US Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame.

Dr. Mike Perko will receive BOG Teaching Excellence Award

Photo of Dr. Mike Perko .The University of North Carolina Board of Governors has selected Dr. Mike Perko, professor of public health education, to receive a 2018 Award for Excellence in Teaching.

He will be recognized at the April 26 Excellence Awards ceremony at UNCG, and he will receive the award during the May 4 Commencement ceremony.

Perko is one of 17 award recipients, who represent all 16 of North Carolina’s public universities as well as the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

Perko describes his teaching philosophy using what he calls the “Seven C’s”: courage, community, conceptualization, creativity, collaboration, collegiality and compassion. He sees himself as a “hero for the underdog,” helping to support and encourage all students, no matter their background, throughout the learning process.

He says, “For me, teaching is the ultimate gift back to the professors and teachers who saw beyond my weaknesses to encourage my strengths. Every single class I teach is an opportunity to encourage personal and professional growth in my students.  The greatest gift back to me is the celebration of graduating seniors year after year who acknowledge knowing something about themselves that they didn’t know before. I feel I owe it to all the students who have ever stood at the board with their back to the class needing just a little help because they really wanted to answer the question. I wake up every day and say, ‘I hope I get that chance today.’”

Outside of the classroom, Perko’s research is focused on worksite health promotion, as well as young athletes and their use of sport performance products.

To learn more about Perko and his teaching philosophy, click here.

Dr. Debra Wallace, O. Max Gardner Award nominee, strives to increase health access for vulnerable populations

Dr. Debra Wallace, UNCG Nursing’s senior associate dean for research and innovation, focuses on how disease affects vulnerable populations. And what can be done to fix that.

She has worked to reduce health disparities, to increase health care access and equity, and to disseminate good health care practices in throughout the state and beyond. The Daphine Doster Mastroianni Distinguished Professor in the School of Nursing particularly focuses on the way diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes affect communities with disparate access to health care.

Now she is UNCG’s nominee for the O. Max Gardner Award, which honors a faculty member in the UNC system who “has made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.”

She is known for her collaborative approach, crossing both disciplinary and university lines. She works with specialists from multiple fields, and works in partnership with local institutions, especially local HBCUs – as well as agencies throughout the state.

Dr. Wallace is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. The Director of the UNCG Center for the Health of Vulnerable Populations has taught and conducted research for more than twenty years, and published more than 60 articles in a variety of journals.  

Dr. Wallace has:

  • Served as the PI for the P20 TRIAD NIH Center of Excellence in Health Disparities Research Center for 11 years. Its major foci were diabetes and cardiovascular disease and related risks, as well as HIV prevention, among African Americans and Hispanics, and ways to decrease risk of obesity and physical inactivity and improve health.
  • Served as chair of the Nursing Research Initiative study section of the US Department of Veteran Affairs – and was grant reviewer for the department, the National Institutes of Health, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where she assisted in selecting test strategies for better ways to provide and evaluate care.
  • Co-initiated a statewide geriatric HRSA funded staff training initiative, which trained more than 10,000 RNs across the state to help provide better care for older citizens.
  • Co-initiated the UNCG Veterans Access Program, an accelerated bachelor’s in nursing degree program (BSN) for medically trained military veterans.
  • Co-initiated the community assessment and engagement aim of the interdisciplinary Guilford Genomic Health Initiative and co-led the UNCG portion of the project. 
  • Served as PI or co-I on more than $25 million in grants to support this work with UNCG and other colleagues.

Recently, she has served as co-investigator of an intervention serving Hispanic diabetics and their families. She also co-led the effort to establish a PhD Nursing program in health promotion and health disparities.

Through this work, Dr. Wallace maintains that healthcare access and outreach is just as important as the care itself. Her cross-disciplinary efforts have promoted effective healthcare access for populations who may not otherwise have it, developing “unique individualized efforts for and with people and not just to people.”

By Avery Campbell with Mike Harris

Adaptive Learning expert Karen Vignare visits campus April 11

Personalized. Efficient. Customized. This is adaptive learning – a technique Dr. Karen Vignare, PhD, MBA, will discuss during her campus visit Wednesday, April 11. Vignare, executive director of the Personalized Learning Consortium at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, will give a talk on the foundations of adaptive learning from 1:30 – 3 p.m. in the School of Education Building Room 204. To RSVP, visit this link.   

Vignare will meet with departments and faculty regarding the foundations of and the opportunities for adaptive learning throughout the UNCG experience. Adaptive Learning practices and software have the ability to assess and adjust content and assessments to an individual student’s learning process. The software offers faculty a diagnostic tool for learning comprehension in a variety of subjects and disciplines.

Adaptive learning systems use a data-driven approach to adjust the path and pace of learning, enabling the delivery of personalized learning at scale. Adaptive systems can support changes in the role of faculty, enable innovative teaching practices, and incorporate a variety of content formats to support students according to their learning needs, according to the higher education technology association, EDUCAUSE.

Vignare is a strategic innovator leveraging emerging technologies to improve access, success and flexibility within higher education. She manages a network of universities committed to student success through personalization. She also oversees the adaptive courseware grant providing leadership and support to eight pioneering universities which are scaling adaptive courseware in introductory level courses.

Vignare previously served as a vice provost at University of Maryland University College, the largest online public open access institution, where she led innovations in adaptive learning, student success and analytics. Previous to that work, she served as director of project planning and implementation for MSUGlobal at Michigan State University, where she helped multiple units leverage emerging technologies in extension, non-credit programs, corporate settings and research projects. She has published extensively on online learning, analytics and open educational resources. Vignare has a PhD from Nova Southeastern University and an MBA from University of Rochester, William Simon Business School.

The Office of the Provost is sponsoring Vignare’s UNCG visit. Those with questions may contact Laura Pipe at lmpipe@uncg.edu.

NY Times columnist and pianist speaks at UNCG April 3

The College of Visual and Performing Arts presents an evening with artist and writer Michael Kimmelman on Tuesday, April 3, at the Weatherspoon Art Museum Auditorium.

The lecture will be at 6 p.m., followed by a reception.

“How Culture Explains (Almost) Everything” is the topic of the talk.

Michael Kimmelman is an American author, critic, columnist and active performing pianist. He is the architecture critic for The New York Times and has written about public housing, public space, climate change, community development, infrastructure, urban design, landscape design and social responsibility.  

His New York Times best-selling book, “The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa,” explores art as life’s great passion, with the message that everyone has art in their lives, even if they haven’t learned how to recognize it.

Kimmelman’s lecture is made possible by gifts from Georgetown University professor Anna Harwell Celenza ’89 (dual majors in music and art) and by the Elizabeth Little Endowment for Lectures in Creativity.  

It is free and open to the public.  

Photo courtesy of Michael Kimmelman

Celebrated pianist Dmitry Rachmanov performs on campus tonight (March 21)

Wednesday, March 21, acclaimed pianist Dmitry Rachmanov will play a free concert in the Music Building Recital Hall (100 McIver St.) at 7:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. 

Declared a “suave and gifted pianist” by the New York Times, Rachmanov has performed at venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall, Washington DC’s Kennedy Center, London’s Barbican and South Bank Centres and Beijing Concert Hall.

“Dmitry Rachmanov, who was a classmate of mine at Juilliard in the early 1980s, has become one of the premiere interpreters of Russian romantic piano music,” said UNCG Professor of Piano John Salmon.
“With the last name Rachmanov, eerily similar to the name of the iconic Russian composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff, it is perhaps completely appropriate that Dmitry Rachmanov will play works by both Rachmaninoff and Scriabin at his UNCG recital March 21st. Dmitry Rachmanov understands the long, deep tradition of Russian pianism, enhanced by his study with Nadia Reisenberg, Arkady Aronov, and Vitaly Margulis.”

Rachmanov is known for his historical performance practice and has performed regularly on period instruments at the Massachusetts’ Frederick Historic Piano Collection. His album “Beethoven and His Teachers,” recorded in collaboration with the pianist Cullan Bryant on the collection’s period instruments and released by Naxos in 2011, has received critical accolades.

He is professor of piano at California State University, Northridge, where he serves as chair of keyboard studies. A sought-after master class clinician and lecturer, Dr. Rachmanov has served on the faculties of Manhattan School of Music and Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and has appeared as a guest artist/teacher at The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Indiana University at Bloomington, University of Michigan, Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, Beijing Central, Shanghai and Harbin Conservatories as well as East China Normal and Shanghai Normal Universities, among others.

A prizewinner of international competitions, he was awarded a fellowship from the American Pianists Association and received the George Schick Award for Outstanding Musicianship at Manhattan School of Music. In 2008, Rachmanov was named the Jerome Richfield Memorial Scholar of the Year at California State University, Northridge. In 2015, he became an honoree of the Outstanding Faculty Award presented by the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars for his dedicated service to the International Community at CSU, Northridge, and he was a recipient of the Outstanding CAPMT (California Music Teachers National Association) Member, State Recognition Award.

 

Donna Heath a Triad Business Journal ‘Outstanding Women in Business’ honoree

Vice Chancellor of Information Technology Services Donna Heath has been an information technology executive in global corporations, as well as public and private research universities for more than 25 years. Throughout her career, she has been a leader in strategic planning, innovation, development of collaborative partnerships and talent management for transformative success within organizations across complex and diverse industries.

The Triad Business is honoring her for both her professional accomplishments and her work through civic engagement, including mentoring.

Before joining UNCG in 2004, she was:

  • Chief Information Officer, The Import Center (2002 – 2004)
  • Vice President and Chief Information Officer, DAN, Inc./Duke University Medical Center (1999 – 2002)
  • National Director of Information Systems, The Todd Organization (1997 – 1999)

She received her master’s at North Carolina State University and her bachelor’s at East Carolina University.

More information is at https://www.bizjournals.com/triad/news/2018/03/08/revealing-the-outstanding-women-in-business-of.html.

Master’s student Sarah Hamrick receives state recognition

The National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC) has named Sarah Hamrick as the recipient of the 2018 NASW-NC Presidents’ Award for Master of Social Work (MSW) graduate student for the 2017-2018 academic year.

The NASW-NC Presidents’ Award honors Hamrick’s leadership ability, academic achievement, commitment to her community, and potential to impact the field of social work as a professional. Hamrick exhibited her exceptional leadership ability by establishing and presenting on writing in a graduate school setting and professional writing to incoming JMSW students at orientation. Additionally, she helps students individually with their writing so that they may succeed in their graduate program.

Hamrick has served as both Vice President and Co-President of the JMSW social work student organization, where she has helped coordinate a mentoring program for first- and second-year graduate students in the program and assisted in organizing service events and guest speakers for the JMSW program.

In addition to her leadership in school, Hamrick serves as a Guardian Ad Litem in Guilford County and is currently an advocate for a family of six children helping to place them in a permanent home. She has been a mentor with the UNCG Guarantee Program for the past five years, which provides scholarships and academic support to low-income, first-generation students. Hamrick also worked with Greensboro Operation Transparency, an activist group that seeks to highlight and combat injustices in the community.

Academically, Hamrick has shown excellence through her engagement in research and scholarship outside of her normal coursework in the JMSW program. At the UNCG Graduate Creativity Expo in April 2017, Hamrick presented data with faculty member Dr. Maura Nsonwu centered around culturally competent social work with Latinx families in Greensboro. She also took the initiative, and is working diligently with another faculty member, to design an independent study course for the spring 2018 related to her career interest in maternal mental health. She hopes to bring competent, compassionate mental health care to new and expecting mothers and their families in underserved rural populations where there are not many resources.

Hamrick’s commitment to the social work profession is evident in the passion she displays in all she is involved in and the impact she has had on her program and the community at large. Dr. Jay Poole, Interim Chair at the UNCG Department of Social Work, speaks highly of her dedication to the social work program and to the social work profession. Poole stated that Hamrick’s “commitment to being a social worker is evident” and “she exemplifies the core values of the NASW.” Poole also commented that he believes “she will become an excellent social worker and an asset to the social work profession”.

Hamrick will be honored at the 2018 NASW-NC Ethics Conference and Awards Luncheon on Friday, March 23, at the Durham Convention Center.

Copy courtesy NASW press release.

Softball’s Janelle Breneman looks to season ahead, with ‘Team 33’

UNCG Softball is coming off a great 2017 season. With 11 wins and 6 losses in Southern Conference play, they earned the program’s first ever regular season title since joining the conference in 1997.

Now they’re atop the coaches’ Southern Conference preseason poll for the first time under head coach Janelle Breneman’s six-year tenure.

“The team is dedicated,” Breneman said, “They have high determination for a championship and a regional appearance.”

She noted their goal of winning the regular season, which would place the team in the top seed for the SoCon Tournament. The winner of that tournament advances to the NCAA postseason.

It would be a milestone. UNCG Softball hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since joining the Southern Conference. 

Coach Breneman believes that the core of a great softball team isn’t just individual talent, but cohesiveness and coordination. This season’s team is the 33rd in UNCG Softball history. They call themselves “Team 33”, and they’re a group of diverse personalities who like each other and work well together, she explained.

“When it comes to softball,” she said, “and how we treat each other, we’re gonna be great teammates, respect each other, and make sure everyone’s doing their part.”

Spartan softball has posted a winning record every season since Breneman became coach six years ago. Her teams have topped 30 wins in three of the previous five seasons. During her tenure, UNCG has had 12 first team All-Southern Conference selections, 15 second teamers, two SoCon All-Freshman, a pair of freshman of the years, three SoCon Pitchers of the Month, four SoCon Players of the Month, 14 SoCon Players of the Week, and five SoCon Pitcher of the Week awards.

In addition to their achievements on the field, the Spartans are also outstanding in the classroom.

“The players’ number one priority is academics.”

Six players maintained a 4.0 GPA during the fall 2017 semester, and the team as a whole had a record high GPA for UNCG Softball. 15 members of the team also made the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, and 13 the Dean’s List. UNCG Softball has also earned two CoSIDA Academic All-District selections, and a second team CoSIDA Academic All-American during Breneman’s coaching tenure. Breneman is proud of her team for their success both on and off the field, and is excited to see where their future takes them.

“When softball ends,” she said, “I want them to be in the forefront” for their job search.

“The teamwork and skills they’ve worked on, those are going to really help them in their careers.”

Breneman arrived at UNCG with 17 years of coaching experience under her belt, including 9 years as head coach at Bucknell and East Stroudsburg. As a starting shortstop at Bloomsburg, Breneman broke several records, including the still-standing career record of assists with the Huskies.

This season, the Spartans have fourteen returning players and five newcomers.

“It’s been on the minds of the players to reach a championship and play well,” Coach Breneman said.

For the seniors, it’s their final collegiate softball year. They want to be the first UNCG softball team in the SoCon era to go all the way to the NCAA Tournament. 

Coach Breneman is looking forward to seeing how far Team 33 goes.

“I’m excited for them,” she said, “They’ve fought and worked hard.”

Marisa Sholtes, first baseman, was chosen as a Southern Conference Player of the Week for her strong offensive performance. Other strong early season performances have come from new and returning players including Makenna Matthijs, Alicia Bazonski and Jordan Gontram. This early play sets a strong precedent for the rest of the season.

The UNCG Invitational will be this weekend. Feb 23, UNCG will play Seton Hall; the 24th, Seton Hall and Virginia; and the 25th, Virginia and Appalachian State. These games will be held at the UNCG Softball Stadium, and admission is free.

See the full schedule of upcoming games here.

By Avery Campbell

Dr. Lisa Goble named director for Office of Research Integrity

On Jan. 1, Dr. Lisa Goble was named director of the UNCG Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

Goble, who became interim director on April 1, 2017, is responsible for managing research compliance programs for research policy matters across campus as well as compliance with state and federal regulations, academic best practices and federal compliance program standards for research activities.

The ORI works with regulations on human subject research, animal subject research, the use of biologicals on campus, conflicts of interest, and export control. The ORI also provides training on responsible conduct of research.

In her prior role at UNCG, Goble was instrumental in developing intellectual property policy and building infrastructure to support a nascent technology transfer office, commercializing academic innovations spanning the IP spectrum from creative IP to science-based inventions. She has a broad interest in federal research policy and how the policies can intersect and influence the activities of research institutions.

Dr. Goble is a proud UNCG alumna. She is a summa cum laude graduate from the Bryan UNCG School of Business and Economics, with a B.S. in information systems and supply chain management and a minor in economics. She also has a Ph.D. in public policy from UNC Chapel Hill, which she obtained while directing the technology transfer office at UNCG.

See full post at UNCG Research site.

Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award recipient will be Rachel Briley

The 2017-18 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award will be presented to Rachel Briley, Associate Professor of Theatre.

The UNCG Graduate School received many strong nominations for the 2017-18 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award that demonstrate UNCG faculty members’ commitment to student success and the diverse ways in which faculty engage with their students beyond the classroom.

Briley serves as a tireless mentor to her current and former MFA students. Her former students, writing on her behalf, describe how she gets to know each student’s professional goals and tailors their experience to determine appropriate challenges and experiences that lead them to their chosen career. Colleagues and former students commend her ability to leverage her international reputation to bring well-known experts in the field to UNCG to work closely with her students over a period of several days. The connections she forges have resulted in professional internships and opportunities for her students as they enter the profession and her mentoring continues beyond the degree as she helps her students navigate their careers. She is a role-model for her students who believes that theatre can provide a transformative experience for artist and audience alike.

Author Colson Whitehead highlights 125th Anniversary Speaker Series

Next week, UNCG will receive a visit from esteemed author Colson Whitehead.

His best-known work, “The Underground Railroad,” has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Carnegie Medal for Fiction and countless other prizes and honors.

Whitehead’s research for his novel included slave narratives such as that of Harriet Jacobs, scholarly work, historical dictionaries, seminal works of fiction such as Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and a remarkable online resource that was created at UNCG and is part of the Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Collections: the Digital Library on American Slavery. Throughout “The Underground Railroad,” Whitehead placed images of runaway slave advertisements that are part of the digital library, giving the fictional work a grounded link to American history.

In an interview at the Miami Book Fair that appeared on CSPAN2, Whitehead explained, “I definitely mix and match and move things around, and I think that allowed me not to make the book just about slavery or the Underground Railroad but rather about American history and race, and different ideas about how race has changed over time.”

Whitehead will speak at the UNCG Music Building on Thursday, Feb. 8, as part of the University Concert and Lecture series. The lecture, which is in the Recital Hall, is booked to capacity, but there will be a simulcast in the Collins Lecture Hall (Room 217). Reservations for the simulcast are required and available on a first-come, first-serve basis by calling (336) 272-0160.

During the event, UNCG Libraries will display an exhibition related to the Underground Railroad and the Digital Library of American Slavery, in the Music Building atrium. Earlier in the day, Whitehead will also meet with a group of students in a discussion group led by Associate Professor of English Noelle Morrissette.

This spring, UNCG and the Weatherspoon Art Museum host several other events that relate to the theme of the Underground Railroad:

       Noon-Time Talk: Documenting Slavery and Freedom with Gwen Gosney Erickson, Guilford College archivist and librarian, and Richard Cox, UNCG digital technology consultant, Feb. 21, 12 p.m., at the Weatherspoon Art Museum

        Book Discussion of Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad,” in conjunction with the exhibition of work by Sanford Biggers, with UNCG Associate Professor of English Dr. Noelle Morrissette, March 1, 7 p.m. with pre-talk reception at 6:30 p.m., at the Weatherspoon Art Museum.

        Sanford Biggers, Falk Visiting Artist exhibition on view at the Weatherspoon Art Museum now through April 8. Biggers will come to UNCG March 15 to give a talk at the Weatherspoon Art Museum at 7 p.m.

By Susan Kirby-Smith

Lorena Guillén creates songs of immigration; concert is Saturday

UNCG Music’s Dr. Lorena Guillén has been shining a spotlight on the unique stories of immigrants.

Guillén, a performer and professor of musicology, is a highly awarded singer, songwriter and conductor. A native of Buenos Aires, she had been looking for a way to engage with the community, and to help Latina women share the stories of their journeys from their countries of origin to North Carolina.

“I am an immigrant, a Latina, and I want to use my art to give voice to other women like me. The music I’ve done has always been leading me to this.”

And so, “The Other Side of My Heart” was born. Guillén and her husband, Alejandro Rutty, who also teaches at UNCG’s School of Music, wrote the piece which is a musical-visual artwork composed of songs and recorded conversations with six women who shared and reflected about their dreams and fears while evaluating the things they gained and lost

Guillén says the music and story, performed by her Tango Ensemble, transcend politics and stereotypes.

“This is not an openly political piece – and we are not preaching – some people find the topic of immigration to be uncomfortable. But these topics can appeal to not just immigrants.  They are the concepts of home and the value of friendship.”

Guillén holds a Master’s in Vocal Performance and a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology and Music Theory from State University of New York at Buffalo. She has taught as a lecturer at UNCG since 2007, and has previously taught at Wake Forest University, Hartwick College (NY) and SUNY at Buffalo.

If you’d like to learn more about Guillén’s work, visit https://www.lorenaguillen.com/the-other-side-of-my-heart.

Hear a talk: Members of the Lorena Guillen Tango Ensemble and guest speakers of Greensboro immigrant support organizations, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, UNCG Music Building, Collins Lecture Hall

See the work: Saturday, Jan 27, 2018, 8 p.m., UpStage Cabaret at Triad Stage: Concert Album Release of “The Other Side of My Heart” with the Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble. Tickets on sale at Triad Stage box office.

Copy drawn from CVPA web site. See full story by Terri Relos.

2018 MLK Celebration is postponed; will be rescheduled

Update:  Due to inclement weather on Jan. 17, this event has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 12. All times and locations remain the same. 

For the sixth consecutive year, UNCG and North Carolina A&T State University will host a joint celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event was scheduled to take place Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. at Harrison Auditorium on the campus of N.C. A&T, but it was postponed due to the weather. It will be rescheduled.

To learn more, visit intercultural.uncg.edu and olsl.uncg.edu.

Visual: speaker Payton Head

Duane Cyrus teaches not only dance technique and choreography, but also career strategies

Associate Professor Duane Cyrus has had the career that all aspiring professional dancers dream about.

He’s toured internationally with renowned modern dance companies like the Martha Graham Dance Company. He’s performed in musicals, including the original London production of Lion King. And he’s worked as an independent artist, performing, teaching and making his own work.

When asked about his success, Cyrus credits his entrepreneurial spirit – something he helps develop in his students.

Cyrus firmly believes that the arts can – and should – translate into successful, professional careers.

“I’ve always believed that there is no such thing as a ‘starving artist.’ That’s a myth, there’s no need for it,” he said. “A smart professional has a strong business acumen.”

In addition to the courses he teaches on dance technique and choreography, Cyrus teaches a career strategies course open to all students in UNCG’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.

“Students need to know how to launch a career, regardless of the discipline,” he said. “The class is about more than just teaching how to start a company – not everybody is going to do that. But everyone needs that kind of mindset and planning.”

Cyrus’ goal is to prepare well-rounded students in dance technique, choreography, dance education and professional practice. To do this, he often includes students in his own research and creative activity.

Cyrus worked with eight undergraduates, in addition to several recent graduates, on his research-based dance production “Hero Complexities” (formerly titled “Comanche: Hero Complexities”). The work, which premiered in September at UNCG Auditorium, explores themes of rescue, self-sacrifice and heroism when black male bodies are positioned in contemporary spaces.

The group will bring “Hero Complexities” back to the stage at the Collegium for African Diasporic Dance at Duke University and at UNCG’s Conference on African American and African Diasporic Cultures and Experience (CASE). Both events will take place in February.

In addition to his ongoing work with “Hero Complexities,” Cyrus is planning to revamp his 2010 piece “Middle Passage” in an effort to contribute to the discussion of the Atlantic slave trade in new ways. As part of the project, he is teaming up with Dr. Tara Green in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies and Dr. Colleen Kriger in the Department of History.

See full story at UNCG Now.

By Alyssa Bedrosian

George Hancock named executive director of UNCG’s SERVE

George Hancock has been named executive director of UNCG’s SERVE Center.

SERVE has worked with educators and policymakers for nearly 30 years to improve educational outcomes for students of all ages. The center offers research, development, dissemination, evaluation and technical assistance services related to education, and its current work includes providing services for at-risk students, evaluating high school reform and providing program evaluation services.

Hancock has led SERVE over the last year as interim director.

He joined UNCG in 2015 as director of SERVE’s National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), which he continues to lead. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and housed within the SERVE Center, NCHE provides information to schools and universities all over the country on how to identify homeless students, increase enrollment, and keep students from falling behind in their classes.

Hancock has worked at nearly every level and position available in the state education system, including as a teacher, principal and state coordinator. He became an administrator in Wake County, and eventually worked his way to principal of a Title I school. He later became the state coordinator for a set of federal prevention and intervention programs for children who are neglected, delinquent or at-risk, before joining UNCG.

Located at the north Gateway University Research Park in Browns Summit, SERVE is a university-based, non-profit center dedicated to the most efficient and effective use of data, research, and evaluation at all levels of the education. When SERVE began, the challenges that schools faced were lack of data and access to research. Today, the challenges for leaders often lie in too much information and too little time to make sense of the vast amount of data, research, and evaluation. SERVE commits to helping educational leaders make sense of the complicated array of data, research, and evaluation available in light of their particular issues, organizational challenges, or specific needs and time frames. The center works closely with its clients to understand their organizational context, then design tailored services that result in timely, relevant, and responsive information to inform strategies, policies, programs, and practices.

SERVE has been awarded over $200 million in contracts and grants and has successfully managed 14 major awards.

Archivist Erin Lawrimore reflects on the university’s 125 years

If there’s one person who knows UNCG’s history, it’s University Archivist Erin Lawrimore.

From the days of McIver to the Woman’s College era to the arrival of men in the 1960s and beyond, she’s uncovered some fascinating stories that don’t often get told – student Lucille Pugh’s dedication to getting an education, no matter the cost; faculty member Mary Channing Coleman’s beloved terrier “Bonnie”; and the gutsy mentality that drove so many students to make a difference across the nation.

In celebration of UNCG’s 125th anniversary, Lawrimore shared some of her favorite stories from UNCG’s 125 years – interesting people, places and moments – and how she sees the university moving forward. Check out the highlights in the Q&A below.

What stands out about UNCG’s archival collections?

When the school first opened its doors in 1892, folks knew they were doing something special. And because they knew that, they kept everything. We have about 140 boxes of materials from founding president Charles Duncan McIver, including really specific items like letters of recommendation for students. They were purposely saving stuff because they knew that a public university for women was groundbreaking, and they wanted to document it.

Who is your favorite student from UNCG’s 125-year history?

Lucille Pugh. She never graduated from the North Carolina State Normal and Industrial College, but she studied here for several years. Pugh arrived in 1899 with no money – she actually wrote a letter to McIver and told him she was willing to do anything to get an education. Pugh got a job on campus and worked her way through school. Finally, one semester she just couldn’t come up with the money. She had to withdraw, and she ended up moving to New York City to live with an aunt and enrolling in night classes at New York University’s law school for women. She graduated with a law degree and became the first woman in the United States to defend an accused murderer in court.

Who is your favorite faculty member?

Mary Channing Coleman, in large part because of her dog. She was the founding head of the Department of Physical Education, and the Coleman Building is named in her honor. Coleman took her dog Bonnie with her to every single class. And she was tough. She handpicked each of her majors – she would interview all prospective students to make sure they didn’t just like sports, but were actually interested in physical education.

What is the most interesting relic in University Archives?

The thing that everyone loves is the death mask of Charles Duncan McIver. It creeps me out – I wouldn’t want to look at it every day. But people love it, so it’s on exhibit all year long.

What is your favorite historical spot on campus?

One thing that people don’t tend to notice is the cornerstone for the old Students’ Building – located in the bushes between the Minerva statue and College Avenue. The cornerstone was laid in 1902, construction finished in 1906 and the building was torn down in 1950. It housed the post office, meeting halls for literary societies, the auditorium and other spaces. It was a beautiful building, but eventually it started to fall apart.

Who was the most famous campus visitor?

It depends on who you ask, but personally I like Eleanor Roosevelt because she came to campus multiple times and engaged with students, faculty and staff. She was the face of progressive women at the time, so it made sense to bring her to campus.

What have you been most surprised to learn during your six years as university archivist?

I think a lot of people don’t realize how forward-thinking this school has been since the beginning. Students here were advocating for change statewide before they had the right to vote. They came in with a purpose. I’ve always admired their ability to make something happen, even when the cards were stacked against them.

Why is UNCG’s history important and relevant to students on campus today?

You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. A lot of what we do, if you look closely, still traces back to McIver’s vision. For example, health and wellness and visual and performing arts – we’ve always been a leader in those areas. Looking back helps guide us forward. With students in particular, it helps them see where they fit in. The stories of former students show current students how they can make a difference.

Knowing where we’ve been, where do you see the university heading in the next 15-20 years?

I think our students, faculty, staff and alumni are really excited about how we’re moving forward. Right now, people feel a lot of pride being associated with UNCG. With Chancellor Gilliam’s mission of “Giant Steps,” we have an opportunity to think bigger. We have an opportunity to make a major impact across the state, and I think we’re doing it already.

Interview by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications

Dr. Cathy Akens will be Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Provost Dunn sent the following announcement to the campus community:

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Cathy Akens to the position of Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Her appointment is effective January 29, 2018.

Dr. Akens is Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Florida International University, one of UNCG’s national peer institutions, and has a long and distinguished record of leadership within Student Affairs.  She was appointed as FIU’s first Dean of Students and prior to that served as the senior student affairs officer for FIU’s branch campus on Biscayne Bay.  

Previously, she worked in the area of housing and residence life at FIU and Bowling Green State University.  Since 2002 Dr. Akens has taught at the graduate level in FIU’s higher education program. She has been engaged in professional service and scholarship throughout her career, and is currently co-editing a book on college students and their environments.

Dr. Akens was selected for this position following a national search.  I wish to express my gratitude to the Search Committee for their time and efforts.

In addition, I am grateful to all members of the University community who took part in interviews, attended Dr. Akens’ campus forum, provided comments following candidate visits, and otherwise contributed to the successful outcome of our search.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Akens to our campus community.  I am confident that she will prove to be an outstanding resource for our students, faculty, and staff.

Kim Sousa-Peoples receives Outstanding First Year Student Advocate Award

Dr. Kim Sousa-Peoples, director of New Student Transitions & First Year Experience, has been honored by the Division of Enrollment Management with an inaugural Outstanding First Year Student Advocate Award.

The Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award recognizes and celebrates the efforts and significant contributions of UNCG faculty and staff who provide leadership in creating a positive transition to college and successful learning environment for first-year students.

She is being recognized most specifically for her dedication and contributions to the inaugural NAV1GATE New Student Convocation program.

Dr. Sousa-Peoples supports first year students in many ways through her influence on and oversight of Your First Year programs, including SOAR, Rawkin’ Welcome Week, Foundations for Learning (FFL), and the Keker First Year Common Read. This award citation notes that her creation and implementation of the NAV1GATE New Student Convocation program went above and beyond to garner campus-wide support to develop an innovative program designed specifically to support the successful transition of first year students, promoting a welcoming campus environment, and a positive attitude that fosters a positive first year experience.

Some brief excerpts from nominators:

  • Kim and I worked together on Nav1gate for the first time this year and she never ceased to impress me.”
  • I especially appreciated the leadership role that she assumed when it came to allocation of resources.”
  • “She is easily the most compassionate person I know – the kind of person who goes out of her way to help students and staff every day.”

The Division of Enrollment Management provides first-year students experiences that help them better understand how to navigate UNCG, the college experience, and develop the skills and connections required to excel in and out of the classroom.

Faculty and staff members across campus contribute to this mission and help first year students find academic and personal success. To recognize these faculty and staff, the Outstanding First Year Student Advocate Award will be presented annually to the winning nominee.

The award is open to any full-time or part-time UNCG faculty or staff member. Among the criteria: Successful transition of first year students to UNCG; Providing resources and/or support to assist first year students; Helping students to achieve academic and/or personal success; Promoting a welcoming campus environment; and Exhibiting a positive attitude that fosters a positive first year experience.

Photograph of Kim Sousa-Peoples by Susan Kirby-Smith

Laurie Wideman tapped for Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professorship

Dr. Laurie Wideman will be the inaugural recipient of the Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professorship in Kinesiology, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

The overarching focus of Dr. Wideman’s research is the impact of exercise, disease and injury on the endocrine system. Her work examines body composition, heart rate variability and ways that the body can regulate itself. She also looks at sex-specific hormonal influences in injury and disease.

Wideman is board chair of the Office of Research Integrity and helped develop and regularly teaches the responsible conduct of research training at UNCG. She is most recently the principal investigator on the large NIH-funded grant “Pathways from childhood self-regulation to cardiovascular risk in adolescence.” In the last year, she served as co-investigator on four other interdisciplinary, collaborative grant submissions to NIH and as Research Mentor on a large Career Development Grant for a junior scholar.

Wideman graduated from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, with a bachelor of science degree in biology, and received her PhD in exercise physiology from the University of Virginia. She has been a faculty member at UNCG since 2000, where she has received the Research Excellence Award. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Dr. Celia Hooper, dean of the School of Health and Human Sciences, remarked that Wideman’s scholarship has been impactful on how we think of exercise throughout the lifespan. Equally important is her willingness to help so many other faculty and students find their own paths to scholarship, exhibiting HHS’s “culture of care.”    

Dr. JoAnne “Jo” Safrit, a 1957 graduate of Woman’s College, established the Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professorship in Kinesiology to enable the university to recruit or retain faculty in the Department of Kinesiology who are outstanding researchers, scholars, and teachers. She shares the name of the award with Dr. Catherine “Cathy” Ennis, her partner of 32 years, who passed away April 8, 2017.

Safrit, a native of Salisbury, North Carolina, received her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught for 20 years. Safrit serves on the UNCG Alumni Association and Excellence Foundation boards.

Ennis, born in Richmond, Virginia, completed her master of science degree in physical education (now kinesiology) from UNCG in 1977. She completed her PhD at the University of Georgia and held faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Maryland-College Park and UNCG. She was an internationally recognized teacher education, scholar and curriculum specialist.

Cherry Callahan retirement reception Nov. 29

Join Student Affairs on Wednesday, Nov. 29, as we celebrate and honor the 38-year legacy of our very own Dr. Cherry Callahan.

The ceremony in the Cone Ballroom will begin at 4 p.m. with remarks starting at 4:30 p.m.

For more information, visit sa.uncg.edu/cherry or call the Division of Student Affairs at (336) 334-5099.