The summary below highlights selected actions taken by the UNC Board of Governors during its August meeting.
For a full account of board proceedings and meeting materials, please check the board meeting archive.
UNC Board of Governors welcomes new members
Nine new members joined the Board of Governors on July 1 and took their oaths of office at this meeting. (The Board’s 32 voting members are elected by the General Assembly to staggered four-year terms. Sixteen seats are filled every two years.)
The new board members will serve through June 30, 2019. They are:
- Pearl Burris-Floyd, chamber of commerce executive, Dallas, NC
- C. Philip Byers, nonprofit agency president, Forest City
- Walter Davenport, certified public accountant, Raleigh
- Thom Goolsby, attorney, Wilmington
- Joe Knott, attorney, Raleigh
- J. Alex Mitchell, real estate developer, Durham
- O. Temple Sloan III, business executive, Raleigh
- William Webb, law consultant, Raleigh
- Michael Williford, attorney, Fayetteville, NC
Employer Focus Group Results
The Board’s Strategic Directions Committee heard results from recent focus groups with employers across the state.
Participating employers affirmed the value of strong communications skills in graduates. UNC Faculty Assembly and Board committees have previously identified “critical thinking” and “written communication” as core competencies for system-wide emphasis in all academic curricula.
Employers also urged UNC to take steps to increase the number of students who complete internships prior to graduation. That very same recommendation is found in the Board’s five-year Strategic Plan, and the University is now participating in three pilot programs. One places HBCU students in internships with large companies, with support from the NC General Assembly. The second connects students to internships in government and nonprofits, with support from the State Employees Credit Union. The third will connect students from six constituent universities to internships with small and medium-sized companies with support from Duke Energy.
Duke Energy Grant Announced
During his regular report to the Board of Governor, President Ross announced that six UNC institutions and UNC General Administration will share in a $2-million grant from Duke Energy designed to increase UNC’s ability to help meet the needs of regional employers. Participating campuses include UNC Asheville, UNC Wilmington, NC State, East Carolina, Fayetteville State and UNC Pembroke.
With the help of these grant funds:
- UNC Asheville will launch an initiative designed to teach its mechatronics students entrepreneurship skills.
- ECU will design programs that better serve pharmaceutical industries in the region, including the development of short courses, certificates and other collaborative projects.
- UNC Wilmington will develop new programs to address two essential skills gaps identified by clinical research organizations in the area: hands-on experience in biostatistics and clinical operations.
- NC State will use its grant funding to expand “Backpacks to Briefcases,” a program that matches recent graduates who are unemployed or under-employed to high-quality internships. The goal is to help them gain relevant work experience and a leg up in finding good jobs in business, government and academia.
- UNC Pembroke and Fayetteville State University will also use their grant funds to expand internship efforts.
- UNC General Administration will administer an internship program serving students from all six participating campuses. The program will focus on rising seniors who have not previously had internships, matching them with small- to medium-sized businesses. The program will pilot a model partnership between each campus’ Career Services Office and the Small Business and Technology Development Center, putting rising seniors in ten-week summer internships. Through this partnership with Duke Energy, UNCGA hopes to connect more than 100 students to high-quality internships, and to learn valuable lessons as it looks to expand the model system wide.
UNC Research Opportunity Initiatives
UNC President Tom Ross highlighed the work of the UNC Research Opportunity Initiative, targeted funding for innovative and potentially game-changing research projects, during his remarks to the Board of Governors. The UNC ROI website showcases a video of researchers at NC State who are currently using ROI grants to fund work in organic electronics.
Degree Program Proposals
The board approved UNC Greensboro’s request to establish a BS in psychology degree program. The board also approved the discontinuation of the following degree programs:
- East Carolina University, MS in vocational evaluation
- UNC- Chapel Hill, BS in pharmaceutical sciences
- UNC Greensboro, MA in romance languages and literatures, French
- UNC Greensboro, MA in romance languages and literatures, French education
- UNC Greensboro, MA in romance languages and literatures, Spanish education