UNCG Campus Weekly

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

Former POW Porter Halyburton will give HHS lecture

Retired Navy Commander Porter Halyburton, whose inspiring story of war and friendship was told in the book “Two Souls Indivisible,” will visit UNCG on Monday, Feb. 20, to share his experience as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.

The event will begin at 4 p.m. in EUC Auditorium.

The lecture, titled “Honor Under Pressure: Reflections of a Former POW in North Vietnam,” is part of HHS’s Ethel Martus Lawther Lecture Series and the War & Peace Imagined event series.

The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Oakland Avenue Parking Deck on campus. A reception will follow.

Commander Porter Halyburton was commissioned in 1964 and flew combat missions in Southeast Asia from the aircraft carrier USS Independence beginning in 1965. In his 75th combat mission, Halyburton was forced to eject and was captured by the North Vietnam military. He spent 2,675 days in captivity, and was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. He received the Prisoner of War Medal, the Legion of Merit award for exceptional meritorious conduct and the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action.
Halyburton remained with the Navy until his retirement in 1984, serving with the Navy ROTC at Georgia Tech and then at the Naval War College where he taught strategy and policy, international relations, leadership and ethics, and the military code of conduct.

For more information, contact hhsevents@uncg.edu.

To learn more about UNCG’s School of Health and Human Sciences, visit uncg.edu/hhs.

Dr. Sat Gupta’s landmark work in survey sampling

A fall 2016 Research Magazine article

Fifteen years ago, Professor Sat Gupta brought up his favorite subject, RRT survey sampling, in his introductory statistics class. RRT, or Randomized Response Technique, is a practical approach to a common dilemma in survey sampling — the possibility that a respondent might lie.

“A face-to-face survey may lead to serious social desirability response bias,” explained Gupta. “It’s the tendency in respondents to give socially acceptable responses rather than true responses.”

RRT reduces that tendency in survey participants by allowing them to scramble their responses and maintain their privacy. This is particularly helpful, Gupta told the class, with embarrassing survey questions, like “Have you ever had an abortion?”

Suddenly, a student stood up and asked, “What makes you think that a woman would be ashamed of having an abortion?” Gupta was taken aback — and then inspired.

He realized that researchers had been limiting themselves with RRT by making assumptions about what participants would and would not find sensitive. What researchers needed was an optional RRT model.

A new model

In a commonly used RRT model, a researcher might have a participant draw a card from a deck. Some of the cards display the number 0, some display 1, some -1, and so on. The participant is instructed to add the number on the card to their answer to a question — for example, “How many sexual partners have you had?” The participant is able to respond without fear of judgment because the researcher doesn’t know what is on the card they have drawn and has no way to unscramble their individual answer.

However, the researcher does know what cards are in the deck — both the type of cards and how many. So he knows the probability that a participant is adding 1 to their answer, or -1, etc. Using that probability information, the aggregate answers provided by the survey participants, and sophisticated statistical modeling, the researcher can estimate the surveyed group’s average answer to the question of interest.

In Gupta’s Optional RRT model, the participant has an additional choice if they don’t find the research question embarrassing. They can draw the card, ignore its contents, and provide a straightforward answer to the researcher’s question. The researcher will not know that particular participant provided an unscrambled response. However, the pool of survey answers now contains unscrambled responses as well as scrambled responses, which, with the correct modeling, allows the researcher to estimate the average response to the research question with greater accuracy.

Seminal work

Gupta’s 2002 publication on Optional RRT became a landmark paper in the field.

“We proved that optional models are more efficient than their non-optional counterparts,” explains Gupta. “This idea has become very popular and a lot of papers have been written based on this idea.” In fact, the paper has been cited more than 100 times.

With more than 25 papers on this topic, Gupta has continued to refine the Optional RRT model. His recent work centers on unifying Optional RRT with the use of auxiliary variables. In the latest model, researchers collect sensitive information from participants using Optional RRT, but they also gather secondary, non-sensitive information. The trick? The secondary information — for example, responses to “How many relationships have you had?” — is statistically correlated with the primary, sensitive question.

Each evolution of the model brings researchers greater accuracy. Gupta’s impact is felt not just in his field but in every field using survey sampling as a tool.

“Survey Says,” by Anna Warner and Sangeetha Shivaji, originally appeared in the fall 2016 Research Magazine

Bob Wineburg examines increasing role of churches as ‘houses of service’

According to UNCG’s Dr. Bob Wineburg, there’s a gap between perceived religious life in America and the reality of religious life in America.

There’s what he calls the “religious industry,” which is focused on high-profile issues such as abortion and religious freedom. And then there are the millions of acts by congregations – the coat drives and the warm meals – that greatly contribute to public life with little fanfare.

It’s these acts that have fascinated Wineburg for decades.

Since the 1980s, Wineburg, a professor in the Department of Social Work, has partnered with religious communities to study their role as “houses of service.” Now, he’s compiling all of the scholarship in the field as editor of “Religion, Welfare and Social Service Provision: Common Ground,” a special edition of the international academic journal Religions.

This special edition features articles from top community-engaged scholars in the United States and Australia. UNCG’s Dr. Jay Poole, Dr. John Rife, Dr. Daniel Rhodes and Fran Pearson contributed to the edition, along with professors from Duke University, University of Pennsylvania and Bucknell University, among others. Their findings are the result of years of developing deep relationships with congregations and faith leaders.

Why is this research important? Wineburg explains that contractual relationships with religious congregations providing public service date back to the beginning of the nation, when Quakers transformed their poorhouses into hospitals and contracted with the Continental Army to serve wounded veterans.

“Religious communities and their contributions to the collective are the least understood part of our voluntary tradition in the United States,” he said.

The special edition provides a better understanding of the partnerships between religious communities, government and nonprofit organizations and what makes them successful. Ultimately, Wineburg plans to assemble the articles into a volume that will help shape best practices and guide younger scholars in the field.

“There’s a whole generation of engaged scholars out there who want to solve real-world issues,” he said. “This is an opportunity to put all of the work that’s been done in the field in one spot.”

By Alyssa Bedrosian

 

Nancy Doll represents UNCG in Nanjing

Nancy Doll, director of UNCG’s Weatherspoon Art Museum, traveled to Nanjing, China, this past fall as the only American to present at the first International Forum of Cultural Inheritance and Innovation.

Doll was invited to the conference because of her vast experience in curating and preserving modern and contemporary art, and also because of a visit that twenty-eight delegates from the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) paid to UNCG in 2012. The representatives of seven Chinese provinces had traveled to the United States specifically to see how the arts are developed, promoted and taught. During their three days at UNCG, they visited the Weatherspoon, receiving an introduction to it from Doll and her colleagues.

The October conference in Nanjing, organized in-part by Nanjing University, UNESCO and the CPAFFC, featured a mixture of scholars and cultural officials from all over the world, presenting on a variety of topics concerning the preservation of cultural heritage. For her presentation, Doll described the Weatherspoon and spoke about the challenges of collecting and preserving contemporary art. Her topic, she said, was of particular interest to scholars from China and other cultures traditionally focused on preserving centuries-old historical artifacts rather than contemporary work.

The International Forum of Cultural Inheritance and Innovation was highly international, and Doll remarked on the particular novelty of having simultaneous translations of many languages were available through headphones. Conference participants were given cultural tours of the Nanjing area, including the Nanjing Museum, which Doll described as impressive, particularly in its display practices. Doll also traveled to Shanghai to view the city, which she found visually, technologically and culturally inspiring.

“I think it altered my perspective, to be in touch with this extremely ancient, extremely enormous culture,” she said.

By Susan Kirby-Smith

Dan Hendrickson’s vision for campus health

For Dr. Dan Hendrickson, UNCG’s new medical director of Student Health Services, college campus health is his ultimate calling. As a parent of three college athletes, and a physician who’s spent most of his career serving a student population, he knows the student is not a number.

One new thing Hendrickson is bringing to UNCG’s student health center operations is the Student Health Advisory Committee, a group of eight to ten students who will help assess UNCG’s health services.

He is also looking forward to collaborating with the new Kaplan Center for Wellness, the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services and other campus health resources.

In 2015, UNCG was chosen by Active Minds as one of five campuses in the nation distinguished in prioritizing health and in creating a healthy college community, and Hendrickson is pleased to build on that accomplishment. His vision for a campus health center focuses on understanding day-to-day life on a campus, offering integrated services to each individual student. He says there is no one size fits all for managing the health of a campus community.

Before coming to UNCG, Hendrickson spent 18 years as director of medical services and head team physician for the University of Michigan Athletic Department, and was a staff physician at their University Health Services. Before that, he was an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Penn State University College of Medicine and an attending physician in the Department of Medicine at Lehigh Valley Hospital. He has covered many championship events and Bowl games with Michigan Athletics, as well as the New York City Marathon, and has served as a volunteer at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid.

With “education in his blood,” as he says, Dr. Hendrickson takes it as his mission not only to provide accessible and high quality health services to all students, but also to teach them about their health care options.

“We have the ability to work with a multidisciplinary approach, because there’s so much here,” he says.

By Susan Kirby-Smith

Growing green shoots: Keith Debbage and ‘entrepreneurial ecosystems’

120716spotlight_debbageDr. Keith Debbage is on a new track. He’s been writing the State of the City Report for the Greensboro Partnership for twelve years, and in the past year, he has moved into research concerning the geography of entrepreneurship by metropolitan areas, a subject he describes as “a key part of our future.”

Debbage is a professor of urban development in the Department of Geography and Veteran Coleman Entrepreneurship Fellow in the UNCG Bryan School of Business and Economics. This fall he attended the World Bank/George Washington University Annual Entrepreneurship Conference in Washington DC, presenting a paper titled “Geographies of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Non-Farm Proprietorship Employment by U.S. Metropolitan Area.” He finds his new research and teaching interests well-suited to a city like Greensboro, experiencing significant changes and development in recent years, especially regarding the ongoing evolution of its own entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Following his submission of this year’s State of the City analysis, his op-ed in the News & Record reported on Greensboro’s “fledgling recovery,” citing major developments in downtown, the desirability of a growing Greensboro as a place to live, and a low high school dropout rate. Debbage and his colleagues have studied comparable developing cities, such as Greenville, S.C., and Chattanooga, Tenn.

Debbage says of Greensboro, “There’s one big thing that makes us truly unique. A substantial amount of the really cool change in this city is not from the private sector, and it’s not from the public sector. It’s from the non-profits.” He points to the public art downtown, the urban greenway, Center City Park, and the Grasshoppers’ new stadium, noting that the Bryan Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and other  non-profits have spurred a great deal of Greensboro’s recent development.

In his teaching, Debbage strives to expose students to a blend of traditional research and applied research, or experience with real world projects. Students he’s worked with often go on to become Triad city planning directors or policy analysts in the U.S. Census Bureau, most likely because of their applied geography experience.

Debbage praises private entrepreneurs, some of them UNCG graduates, who are developing South Elm Street. As well, he praises Greensboro’s grassroots entrepreneurial startups and the “green shoots phenomenon” – young graduates inventing their own projects and, subsequently, careers.

He said, “To me, it’s an exciting time. Greensboro seems to be reinventing itself, moving away from declining traditional industry, and gradually developing new ways of doing business.”

By Susan Kirby-Smith

Michelle Lamb Moone will be associate vice chancellor for human resources

Photo of Michelle Lamb Moone.Vice Chancellor Charlie Maimone announces the appointment of UNCG’s new leader of human resources:

Michelle Lamb Moone has been named as the new associate vice chancellor for human resources at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Moone has over 25 years of human resources experience.

Moone received a bachelor of science degree in Human Resources Management from the University of Maryland and a master of science degree in Applied Behavioral Science from Johns Hopkins University. Most recently, she held leadership positions at Howard University in Washington, DC, including senior director for talent management; director of compensation for performance management and HRIS; and director of organization development and change management.

Moone is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and a member of several professional organizations, including the College and University Professional Association of Human Resources, Society for Human Resources Management and Organization Development Network.

Moone will assume her leadership role on December 12, 2016. She replaces Deb Carley, who has served as the interim associate vice chancellor for human resources since spring 2015.

I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Terri Shelton, chair, and members of the search committee; and faculty and staff, who participated in this very important search.

Please join me in congratulating and welcoming Michelle Lamb Moone as associate vice chancellor for human resources. We are excited about her addition to the UNCG campus community.

Kristine Davidson joins UNCG as associate VC for University Advancement

Photo of Kristine Davidson.Kristine Davidson has joined UNCG as associate vice chancellor for University Advancement.

Among other responsibilities, she will oversee the major and annual giving teams in Development.

“I am proud and delighted to have a new associate with the breadth of experience Kris brings to this pivotal role,” said Dr. Jan Zink, vice chancellor for Advancement.

Most recently, Davidson was associate dean for advancement for the UNC Chapel Hill School of Law. She served in Chapel Hill six years, overseeing all fundraising and alumni relations for the law school.

Before that, she was director of development at Duke University School of Law, where she also managed the Annual Fund team.

And the start of her career? “I cut my teeth as a (higher education) fundraiser at Westminster College in Salt Lake City,” she says. She became director of the annual fund and then director of development.

She has a special calling for the support of higher education. “I love asking people to invest in a vision for our students and faculty,” she says.

She graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in public relations, and planned to begin her career at a firm in New York City. But her 19-year-old sister died in a car accident, and her outlook on life changed.

“What am I doing with my life?” she asked.

So she began her career with something particularly meaningful, as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

“Working for a non-profit was great training.” Resources were limited so you had to be strategic and nimble, she explains. And there were lots of opportunities to learn.

Her work furthering the mission of first the cancer society and now her work at universities has been very fulfilling.

She enjoys strategy and planning vision. This (UNCG position) allows me to do that at a higher level.”

By Mike Harris

Jeff Shafer will be new AVC & Chief Communications Officer

Jeff Shafer

Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. provides an announcement to faculty and staff:

I am pleased to share that Jeff Shafer will be UNCG’s new Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Communications Officer.

Jeff brings with him over 23 years of communications experience. As Vice President of Global Communications for Lenovo, a $46 billion global technology leader, he has led the firm’s global marketing and branding campaigns, crisis management, executive and internal communications, and media relations. He has also served as Senior Vice President at Fleishman-Hillard, the world’s largest public relations agency.

Jeff has been actively engaged in the higher education community in North Carolina. He currently serves on the UNC Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism Board of Advisers. In addition to guest lecturing at a number of area colleges, he is also the Wells Fargo Endowed Chair in Communications at North Carolina Central University this semester.

I would like to thank the team at University Communications for their hard work and dedication during this time of transition.

Jeff’s appointment is effective November 28.

See more at UNCG Now site.

Dr. Kelly Burke leads Graduate School

110216spotlight_burkeDr. Kelly Burke has spent the last 27 years creating memorable learning experiences for music students at UNCG. Now, she’s bringing that ingenuity to her new role as vice provost for graduate education.

“I teach creativity. I teach risk taking. My goal is to never have a repeatable event,” she said. “I give other people permission to think about things differently.”

UNCG’s Graduate School partners with departments to add capacity, share ideas from program to program and provide professional development for students.

“It’s a really exciting time to lead the Graduate School,” Burke said. “I have a larger impact on the university than I did when I was primarily in the arts.”

UNCG’s graduate students are working on high-level research and interesting projects, and they’re led by exceptional faculty members.

“The quality of your graduate education goes hand in hand with the quality of your faculty,” Burke said. “UNCG has always accepted students where they are and taken them to where they need to be to be successful.”

Since her early days at UNCG, Burke has consistently taken on a growing role within the university. When she first started teaching clarinet, she only had seven students. Over the years, she grew the clarinet program and began teaching other classes, such as pedagogy, literature and research for musical performers. She also served as department chair and associate dean.

Burke’s doctor of musical arts is from the University of Michigan. She earned both her master’s degree in performance and music education and her bachelor’s degree in music performance and music education from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. She also received an associate of art degree from Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York.

Story by Jeanie McDowell, University Communications

Steve Strader receives Bryan School Distinguished Alumni Award

Photo of Steven Strader and Mac BanksThe UNCG Bryan School of Business and Economics presented Steven Strader with the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award during the annual Emeritus Advisor Society and Awards Dinner in September. This annual award is presented to alumni who have achieved outstanding success in business. The award recognizes exceptional achievement and significant contribution to the recipient’s profession and to the business community.

Steve Strader (left, with Dean Banks) received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business studies from the Bryan School. His career began in corporate and commercial banking, where he spent 20 years in progressively responsible positions with NCNB, NationsBank, and Bank of America. He moved to the automobile industry as Chief Financial Officer with Driver’s Mart Worldwide where he helped build an impressive company that was later acquired by AutoNation, a Fortune 200 company and America’s largest automotive retailer. He served as President of both the Colorado and Midwest markets before moving on to become Senior Vice President of Retail Operations, having responsibility for new and used vehicle sales on a national level, overseeing over 300 dealerships, vehicle pricing, car and truck inventories, associate performance development, and finance and insurance.

He embodies the UNCG motto of “Service.” His many philanthropic and volunteer causes have included SafeHouse Denver, Horses and the Handicapped of South Florida, Boy Scout Council of Sarasota County, The Hundred Club – an organization that supports firefighters and law enforcement officers and their families, The Economic Council of Palm Beach County, the United Way of Broward County, Racing for Cancer, and the Dolphin Cycling Challenge. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board within the Bryan School.

Dean Celia Hooper is 2016 Ms. Homecoming

Photo of Dean Celia Hooper.Last week, the UNCG Alumni Association awarded Dean Celia Hooper ‘74 MA with the 2016 Ms. Homecoming award.

They surprised her in a morning meeting with blue, gold and white balloons, flowers (mostly daisies), and a proclamation of her title as “Ms. Homecoming 2016.”

Each year, the Alumni Association recognizes a UNCG employee who demonstrates a strong sense of Spartan pride, serves as a mentor to others and is committed to providing quality service to all members of the UNCG community as “Mr. or Ms. Homecoming.”

Dr. Hooper received her master’s at UNCG in Speech-Language Pathology. She has been a member of the UNCG faculty since 2003. She served as dean of the School of Health and Human Performance from  2007 to 2011 (the initial year as interim dean), and has served as founding dean of the School of Health and Human Sciences since  2011.

She will be a featured participant in the Parade of Chariots Saturday afternoon, and she will be introduced at Kaplan Commons on the main stage around 7 p.m. along with the Homecoming Court.

Robert Walker receives 2016 Governor’s Award for Excellence

101216spotlight_walkerRobert Walker, director of Business Services and Systems, has received a 2016 Governor’s Award for Excellence for his innovative redesign of UNCG’s mail management system. The Spartan Mail Management system, introduced in 2013, is the first of its kind in use at a university.

Before the invention of Walker’s mail system, UNCG was facing a cost of up to a million dollars if it were to purchase a commercial mail management system. Over six months Walker created his own web-based system that included helpful features that weren’t available in the marketplace systems. With the new system, traditional mailbox assignments were done away with, and students receive an email telling them when they have mail to pick up. That saves UNCG $65,000 each year and means staff do not have to re-assign individual mailboxes. Additionally, junk mail is no longer distributed. Students are more satisfied, and the savings to the university are substantial.

Along with the other UNC system award winners, Walker received a congratulatory tweet from UNC President Margaret Spellings. He has been featured in University Business Magazine, as well as on UNCG’s homepage, and has won the NACAS Regional Rising Star and Innovative Use of Technology awards.

Walker joined UNCG in 2007 as a technical design specialist, charged with managing departmental websites, and in 2011, he also became the manager of the SpartanCard Center. His work with the SpartanCard program became a good foundation for his completion of UNCG’s MBA program, from which he graduated in 2014. Walker, who also currently is Staff Senate co-chair, says about himself, “I really just view myself as someone who wants to solve problems.”

By Susan Kirby-Smith

John Gale, Robert Walker are Staff Senate co-chairs

Photo of John Gale and Robert Walker.John Gale and Robert Walker say that UNCG Staff Senate has grown into a strong and articulated organization, thanks to the thoughtful participation of staff members and great leadership year after year since 1998.

John Gale and Robert Walker are 2016-17 co-chairs. Gale is senior security specialist in ITS. Walker is director of Business Services with Campus Enterprises.

When Gale joined, he had worked in ITS at UNCG for nine years. He explains that he joined because of his curiosity about what was going on at the university. Now, he knows. And he’s spent six of the subsequent eight years serving on Staff Senate in addition to fulfilling his ITS duties. During those years, Staff Senate really grew into its own, he explains. “Over time each staff senate has laid out processes that the next group can follow, so you’re not always starting from scratch.”

Robert Walker, who created the award-winning Spartan mail management system (see related story in next week’s issue), was recruited to serve on the organization for a couple of years, partly to assist with some technical duties such as website building, but he returned in 2016 with new enthusiasm. In the years between Walker’s first tenure and when he rejoined, Staff Senate evolved to a point that it serves as a crucial communication link between staff and administration, aiming to be, as John Gale says, “A trustworthy group to both parties.”

Both co-chairs say that the administration is quite supportive of the dialogue with Staff Senate, and they have actually expanded their meetings in recent years, so that they meet with the chancellor every month and the provost and vice chancellor of Business Affairs every other month. “It’s really nice to get different perspectives,” Gale notes.

Some recent highlights of Staff Senate activity? There’s the recently launched voluntary leave program, through which employees can donate extra leave time to colleagues in critical need because of a medical or family situation. Staff Senate is also still developing, by having members participate in more campus committees that concern UNCG’s strategic plan and its growth. Other Staff Senate projects include organizing Habitat for Humanity builds, Sullivan Garden on the Downtown Greenway, One Million Good Nights pajama drive and Angel Tree drives. Concerning Staff Senate’s increased activity, Gale says, “We’ve really got some momentum.”

Often Staff Senate is aware of changes that are taking place on campus and can become informed of the reasons for them, and can then better explain them to their fellow staff members. Also, every two years they collect information from staff through a survey designed to clarify staff concerns for the administration. At the same time they ask their administration contacts, “What are the priorities of the institution and how can we help?”

Gale speaks of working toward “alignment,” that is each staff member’s goals with those of the university, so that every person feels he or she is contributing towards a definite mission. He uses the alignment in NASA’s mission to put man on the moon as an example. Walker’s message for UNCG staff concerning what’s happening on campus? “Be engaged. And if you have a problem or issue, bring it to us. We’re here to help.”

By Susan Kirby Smith

Levinson honored at park on Downtown Greenway

Photo of Dr. Henry Samuel Levinson. Dr. Henry Samuel Levinson, professor of religious studies, died in 2010 at age 61 from complications stemming from multiple sclerosis.

But his spirit lives on. He was honored this past weekend as the Woven Works Park on the Downtown Greenway was officially opened. It is one of the cornerstones of the Greenway.

Levinson was a professor at UNCG for over twenty-five years. He served as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, head of the Department of Religious Studies, and director of the Center for Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts.

In 1998, UNCG established the Henry Samuel Levinson Program Fund in Jewish Studies, including the Levinson Lecture in Jewish Studies series, in his honor, his obituary notes.

Before joining the UNCG faculty in 1982, Levinson taught at Stanford and Harvard Universities. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford and earned a doctorate from Princeton.

Levinson family members were on hand for the dedication last Saturday. A speaker noted that due to MS, Levinson had used a wheelchair for the last decades of his life – and that the accessible features in the park were a wonderful tribute to Levinson.

Visual: In 2009, Levinson was honored at “Henryfest,” where former and current students and colleagues honored him.

Ken Pearce, Facilities Design & Construction director

Photo of Ken Pearce. “It’s a beautiful campus,” says Ken Pearce, UNCG’s director of Facilities Design & Construction.

He joined UNCG in March, succeeding Fred Patrick, who retired earlier in the year.

In some ways the campus and architecture remind Pearce of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. “Classic and timeless,” he says, adding that newer styles have to fit. And at UNCG they do.

He notes that the UNCG campus is pedestrian-friendly and has nice, open expanses, compared to some other campuses. And you don’t feel the constrained hustle and bustle during class changes, he says.

“I have diverse experience,” he explains, in recounting his career so far. He has 10 years of supervisory experience in capital construction. How did he get his start? After graduating from NC State University with an engineering degree, he worked there before joining Cape Fear Community College. He is a registered professional engineer, a LEED accredited professional, and a member of the Innovations Committee of the NC State Building Commission.

You need to learn to build things first, he advises people just starting their careers in design and construction. By doing that first, you have better understanding for maintenance and everything else.

Some things about him you may not know:

  • Pearce lived in Greensboro six months as a kid.
  • He loves deep sea fishing. “Nothing like being 70 miles off-shore.”
  • He grew up in rural Johnston County. After spending years in North Carolina cities, he has a deeper appreciation for our state’s countryside, the quiet, the nighttime stars.
  • He enjoys sports and looks forward to the heart of the fall and spring Spartan sports seasons.

He is an engineer, with one eye on how to build it and another on how to maintain it.

“Everything is a problem,” he says, in a very positive manner. “I like to solve problems.”

He is here to help, as is his department, he explains. He know it’s a big responsibility – and an honor to play a big role in the campus’ current and future appearance.

“I take pride in what we will leave behind – our fingerprint.”

By Mike Harris

Paul Kocher, a freshman in UNCG Beyond Academics, makes history

090716Spotlight_KocherThis summer, Paul Kocher made history as North Carolina’s first state legislative intern with Down syndrome.

The first-year UNCG Beyond Academics student spent his summer working in Rep. John Bradford’s office helping with events, interacting with lawmakers and attending committee meetings.

Kocher’s favorite tasks were applying Bradford’s signature wax seal to constituent letters and navigating the tricky hallways of the North Carolina legislative building to deliver mail to three different offices.

But the highlight of Kocher’s summer was attending debates on the House floor – a privilege reserved only for pages. With honorary page credentials, however, he was able to attend debates and votes. Bradford would look back at Kocher for a thumbs up or thumbs down before each vote.

By Jeanie Groh

Visual: Kocher and Bradford, r-l. Photograph by Martin Kane.

Full story at UNCG Now.

Eloise Hassell shares strategies for success at New Student Convocation

083116Spotlight_HassellThe class of 2020 received a warm welcome to campus at The Chancellor’s New Student Convocation, where they learned campus traditions and received timely advice as they begin their journey at UNCG.

Intermingling sage counsel with a sense of humor, Eloise Hassell, professor in The Bryan School of Business and Economics, shared strategies for success with the students.

“The key to being successful here at UNCG is one word – choices.”

She supported her statement with a quote from Albus Dumbledore, a character from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Hassell encouraged the students to pay attention to their surroundings, make friends, try out their major, pick their priorities, go to class, have fun, get involved on campus and to look at the good in everyone.

Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam Jr. also urged the students to have fun and make wise choices.

By Jeanie McDowell

Full story at UNCG Now.

New book of poetry for Stuart Dischell

Photo of Stuart Dischell. Stuart Dischell has a new book of poetry, “Standing on Z,” to be released Sept. 1 by Unicorn Press. He is the author of Good Hope Road, a National Poetry Series Selection, Evenings & Avenues, Dig Safe, Backwards Days, and the chapbooks Animate Earth and Touch Monkey. Dischell’s poems have been published in The Atlantic, Agni, The New Republic, Slate, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and anthologies including Essential Poems, Hammer and Blaze, Pushcart Prize, and Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems. A recipient of awards from the NEA, the North Carolina Arts Council and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, he teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing.

The chapbook has another UNCG connection: The editor of the series, Andrew Saulters, is a UNCG MFA alumnus who has taken up artisan printing of books.

Dischell will give a reading at the UNCG Faculty center on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m..

Risa Applegarth Wins 2016 CCCC Outstanding Book Award

Photo of Dr. Risa ApplegarthDr. Risa Applegarth, associate professor of English, has received a 2016 CCCC Outstanding Book Award in the Monograph category for her book “Rhetoric in American Anthropology: Gender, Genre, and Science.” It was published by University of Pittsburgh Press. The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) is a constituent organization within the National Council of Teachers of English. This award honors books within the field of composition and rhetoric.

The book grew out of her dissertation, which received the organization’s national Outstanding Dissertation Award in 2010.

The award selection committee noted noted, “In ‘Rhetoric in American Anthropology: Gender, Genre, and Science,’ Risa Applegarth provides a wealth of historical research to show how the development of disciplinary identity is intertwined with gender and race. Following the trajectory of American Anthropology from the 19th century through the uptake and reshaping of various genres — what she calls a ‘rhetorical archeology’ — Applegarth makes an important contribution to research on disciplinary rhetorics and genre.”

Applegarth received the CCCC Outstanding Book Award during the 2016 CCCC Annual Convention.

She joined UNCG’s Department of English in 2009, where she is associate professor. She also teaches in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. She received her bachelor’s degree from Carleton College, and received her master’s and doctoral degrees from UNC Chapel Hill.

Her research and teaching interests include rhetorical history and theory, genre theory, women’s rhetorics, and scientific and professional discourse.

Additionally, she was awarded UNCG’s 2015-16 Mary Settle Sharp Award for Teaching Excellence, in April.

More information about the CCCC Outstanding Book Award, including past winners, may be found at www.ncte.org/cccc/awards/oba.

Dr. Bert Goldman, who died Aug. 2, served in School of Education 43 years

Photo of Dr. Bert Goldman. Dr. Bert Goldman, emeritus professor of Curriculum and Instruction, died Greensboro on August 2 in Greensboro. He served in the School of Education for 43 years.

Goldman taught at Tufts University, Tulane University, Mary Washington College, the University of Virginia and SUNY – Albany before joining the UNCG School of Education in 1965.

He served as dean of the Office of Academic Advising at UNCG from 1970 until 1985. In the 1970’s and early 80’s he also served as UNCG’s first men’s varsity tennis coach. Also, he was instrumental in founding the North Carolina Hebrew Academy at Greensboro (now B’nai Shalom Day School) in the early 1970s.

From 1987-88 he served as acting chair of the Department of Educational Administration, Higher Education and Educational Research in the School of Education at UNCG. He was co-editor of nine volumes of The Directory of Unpublished Experimental Mental Measures. Further, he wrote the grant that founded UNCG’s Master’s program in Educational Research and Evaluation.

In 2000, based on his exemplary record of teaching, research and service, Goldman was appointed UNCG’s Faculty Marshal by Chancellor Sullivan. He served as Faculty Marshal until 2005. In 2009, he received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, the highest honor bestowed on a civilian by the Governor of North Carolina. Goldman retired from UNCG in 2008 (with a surprise party from his Education students).

(Much of this information was drawn from his obituary.)

Supporting Student Research: Keith Gorman helps bring UNCG collections to area schools

Photo of Keith Gorman. Keith Gorman, assistant dean for Special Collections and University Archives, received the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) EZ Literacy and Lifelong Learning Grant for the 2015 – 16 academic year.

Gorman said the grant went towards training Graduate students to design a curriculum with collections and archived materials. The curriculum brought collections and instruction to middle and high school students in four counties surrounding Greensboro (Guilford, Forsyth, Alamance and Rockingham). Gorman and a UNCG graduate student taught 35 classes and met with 1150 students.

The classes are designed to use both digital and analog primary sources to empower students with skills relevant in the modern workplace. Placing the sources into context, using effective strategies to access and analyze online resources are important research tools that Gorman hopes to offer students and teachers.

“Critical thinking and analyzing information is essential to everyone’s professional success,” said Gorman. “I want to give these students a glimpse of the experience most university students experience in an information literacy and research methods class – I stress that they will have a leg up on their classmates.”

While the LSTA Grant has been completed, UNCG Libraries continues to support Gorman’s program. For the upcoming 2016-17 year, Gorman will focus on schools in Guilford County.

Email Keith Gorman at k_gorman@uncg.edu for more information or to learn how you can submit an application for an archival-based research class.

By Daniel Wirtheim

Remembering friend of our university Tobee Kaplan

Photo of Tobee Kaplan.Philanthropist Tobee Kaplan died July 19.

She created a generous endowment in support of health and wellness programs on the UNCG campus. UNCG’s Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness, which opens Aug. 1, was named in her husband’s honor.

The Kaplans made an indelible mark on the community through their extraordinary record of philanthropy and leadership. Together they established the Kaplan Family Foundation (later renamed the Toleo Foundation). The foundation has been active in furthering the causes of education, health, social services and community improvement. The Kaplans led the effort to establish the Moses Cone cardiac unit, were instrumental in building a new home for the Women’s Resource Center and have been tireless supporters of Greensboro Urban Ministry, the United Way and Habitat for Humanity.

See more information in this News and Record article, from which some of this information was drawn.

Dr. Shanna Eller and UNCG’s vision for sustained aesthetics

071316Spotlight_EllerPhotographs of magnolia, amaryllis, ferns and hellebores serve as a multi-paned window onto campus from Dr. Shanna Eller’s office.

Eller, who assumed the sustainability coordinator role in the Office of Sustainability in March, noted that attention to aesthetics in UNCG’s sustainability program makes it unique from others.

“Nearly every sustainability program is focused on three things: social justice, the environment and economics,” said Eller. “But UNCG also recognizes aesthetics to be a part of the sustainable campus. There are a lot of three-leaf clovers out there; UNCG is a four-leaf clover.”

Having been the sustainability director at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, and, before that, the director of community environmental services at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, Eller brings years of experience to the sustainability program. One of her big tasks as sustainability coordinator, she says, is to further enact the university’s Climate Action Plan. The university adopted the Climate Action Plan, a sustainability-to-do list, in 2013.

The Climate Action Plan is designed to limit UNCG environmental footprint. Eller sees making UNCG a more sustainable campus as having implications for the greater city and nation, as well.

“Universities are like mini-cities,” said Eller. “They’re mini-cities with a vision for the future. And I think the university has an opportunity that other businesses don’t have because we do just that, train people for the future. It’s a place where we think big.”

Learn more at the Office of Sustainability website or read through UNCG’s Climate Action Plan.

By Daniel Wirtheim

Astrophysicist Miroshnichenko organizes international conference on ‘B[e]’ stellar phenomenon

Photo of Miroshnichenko.Astrophysics is one of the research and teaching directions in UNCG’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. At least two of the three undergraduate courses in astronomy (AST-209, Astronomy: The Solar System and AST-235, Astronomy: Stars and Galaxies) and astrophysics (PHY-330) are offered every semester. The courses include sessions in the UNCG Planetarium (Petty Bldg., room 310) and at the Three College Observatory (TCO, Alamance County), both of which also offer sessions to the general public. Nearly a thousand people go through these two facilities every year. The TCO has a 32-inch reflecting telescope, one of the largest in the Southeastern U.S.

Using the TCO telescope, UNCG astronomers Dr. Anatoly Miroshnichenko, associate professor, and Dr. Stephen Danford, emeritus professor, are carrying out several research projects on stars at various evolutionary stages and collaborating with colleagues from ten foreign countries. The TCO has been very active since the installation of a spectrograph in 2011, which has opened more research opportunities for interested students.

As a result of the international collaborations, Dr. Miroshnichenko has been chosen to lead the Scientific Organizing Committee of the international conference “The B[e] Phenomenon. Forty Years of Studies,” taking place June 26 to July 1, 2016, in Prague, Czech Republic.

Miroshnichenko joined the UNCG Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2005. His research interests are focused on early-type stars (hotter than the Sun) surrounded by circumstellar envelopes (Herbig Ae/Be stars, B[e] stars, Novae, high-luminosity objects, and classical Be stars) as well as on studies of fundamental parameters of stars (surface temperature, luminosity) and stellar evolution.

The main scope of the Prague conference is recent progress in studies of several groups of stars which are surrounded by large amounts of atoms and molecules gravitationally bound to the stars. Such a situation may occur when stars are still forming in clouds of interstellar matter or stars are getting dispersed back into interstellar space due to evolutionary processes. This phenomenon (called the B[e] phenomenon, in which “B” refers to a range of surface temperature of the stars and “[e]” refers to the presence of certain spectral lines in the stars’ spectra) was discovered in 1976 by two astronomers, Jean-Pierre Swings of Belgium (who will be the first conference speaker) and David Allen of Australia, and has been studied by dozens of astronomers worldwide. This conference is only the third one devoted to studies of this phenomenon. The first two were held in 1997 in Paris, France, and 2005 in the Netherlands. Both these conferences attracted roughly 40 astronomers each. The 2016 conference has 85 participants from 12 countries.

The conference will highlight astrophysics research conducted at UNCG through two major oral presentations and nearly a dozen poster presentations, where results of observations and data analysis done by the UNCG astrophysicists will be used.

The conference website is http://bepstars2016.org.

A short video featuring the conference and the leading role of UNCG can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUCmkWhnyOU.

 

Dr. LeGreco works with partners throughout county to foster vibrant food system

Photo of Dr. LeGreco.One of the biggest conversations happening in Guilford County in the last year is about food. Dr. Marianne LeGreco, associate professor of communication studies, has been one of the people at the forefront of that conversation.

“How hungry is Guilford County?” many have asked. How accurate were the measures that the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) used when it ranked the Greensboro-High Point area as No.1 in food hardship rates nationally? What do we do now? What’s the solution?

LeGreco, whose research links communication and food, will be the first to tell you that how we talk about and make sense of our food practices, food systems and access to food as a community matters. This is a big part of her research on the current conversation in Greensboro-High Point about food insecurity.

The use of the term hunger raises some eyebrows. LeGreco agrees that it may not be the right word as it is not exactly what the FRAC study was looking into. That, however, “does not mean that we shouldn’t be talking about food in Guilford County,” says LeGreco.

In a recent op-ed piece in the News & Record, she wrote, “While we may not experience hunger in the same ways that hunger operates globally, we are experiencing some sort of disconnect between the food available to us and how people are using those resources.” The focus, she continued, “needs to be on building and maintaining a strong local and regional food system.”

It’s an issue about health and access to healthy food.

To date, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has identified 24 food deserts in Guilford County.

LeGreco has galvanized UNCG students in Public Health, Communication Studies, Computer Science and other fields to get involved in the conversation about food hardship in Guilford County. In 2014, she helped with the Mobile Oasis Farmers Market installation. In 2015, LeGreco worked with UNCG Public Health faculty members Amanda Tanner and Kay Lovelace and Laura Cole, formerly of Interior Architecture, along with students from UNCG and other area universities to host a Local Food Storm event. The food storm was a brainstorm around local food that brought together diverse voices in the community.

In 2016’s Local Food Storm event, LeGreco and students from UNCG and NC A&T were able to produce a map of the food resources currently available in Greensboro/Guilford County. She hopes that by pulling together all available food resources, we can start to see where we are and where the gaps are.

LeGreco believes that collecting more detailed data would help shed light on permanent solutions to the area’s food insecurity issues. This is the next task for LeGreco and other local food advocates.

As efforts and conversations around food evolve, LeGreco’s research direction is evolving as well. “People don’t just need access to resources, they need to know how to make use of those resources,” she says.

Next week, the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, along with community partners Guilford County Food Council and Greater High Point Food Alliance, will have a local foods celebration June 20-25, 2016, bringing together local food advocates, farmers, local chefs, local restaurateurs, agricultural professionals and local food supporters to highlight and celebrate what Guilford County is doing to create a vibrant food system.
LeGreco is one of the organizers.

This event is an opportunity for the citizens of Guilford County to join the conversation about food and take action.
Event details can be viewed here.

By Nancy Maingi

Justin Streuli is NC Minority Business Advocate of the Year

Photo of Justin Streuli.Justin Streuli, director of UNCG’s NC Entrepreneurship Center, was recognized as the 2016 NC Minority Business Advocate of the Year. The award was presented by the Small Business Administration NC District Office in conjunction with The Support Center in honor of National Small Business Week.

One of the main programs that was highlighted with the award was the entrepreneurship center’s Micro-enterprise for Refugees in the Triad (MERIT) program, which is a partnership with the African Services Coalition, the Center for New North Carolinians and the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center. MERIT puts immigrant refugees in the Triad and beyond through a business plan workshop, helping them fine-tune their business idea into an actionable plan.

Once approved, these refugees are given a low-interest loan to help them start their business as well as build credit to become more easily acclimated into the North Carolina small business community. About 60 refugees have been through the program so far.

Streuli is a UNCG alumnus, earning his MBA degree in 2011.

Tresa Saxton retiring as director of Student Health Services

Photo of Saxton. After twenty years of service to UNCG, Dr. Tresa Saxton, Director of Student Health Services, will be retiring effective the 31st of May. Dr. Saxton came to UNCG from Kent State University where she had served as Director of Student Health. During her tenure, she provided leadership in blending the medical and counseling services in order to create a holistic approach to student health. She has served as a leader among her peers in the UNC system and one to whom others have sought counsel and advice. Tresa has also overseen the implementation of both the required student health insurance program and electronic medical records while serving as a campus resource for all things related to HIPAA. Dr. Cherry Callahan, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, noted that “Tresa’s expertise and willingness to challenge the ‘ways things have always been done’ have been instrumental in creating a first class Student Health Center. She will be missed!” Kathy Baber, current Associate Director of Student Health Services, will serve as Interim Director for the coming year.

Dr. Spoma Jovanovic and students help make history in Participatory Budgeting

050416Spotlight_JovanovicGreensboro is the first city in the American South to attempt participatory budgeting. Community members from all five City Council districts will directly decide how to spend $100,000 per district. The idea is that participatory budgeting can deepen democracy in communities and build stronger communities.

Over the course of two semesters, about 50 UNCG undergraduates and two graduate students in UNCG Communication Studies have been involved in helping get the word out throughout the city and in helping facilitate the process.

They were led by Dr. Spoma Jovanovic, professor of communication studies.

Jovanovic is part of a local research board that, along with the public, will have access to the data. “It’s extremely transparent.”

She has published one article on this research so far. There will be more. And she has a book proposal on the topic of participatory democracy. The book would include research about this Greensboro participatory budgeting process.

She notes that some key participants in the local participatory budgeting process have been UNCG alumni or graduate students.

The city council gave approval to the participatory budgeting (BP) process by a 5-4 vote in 2014.

Through the BP process, citizens get involved in the government process as they propose ideas and ultimately vote on them, district by district. They research the feasibility and costs of the ideas. They see why some ideas are very costly. Government becomes more transparent. Citizens become more informed. Trust and understanding grows, Jovanovic explains.

It’s takes a lot of time and effort, on the part of a lot of people, to work – as everyone involved listens, learns and finds out what people want and need. “Democracy is messy … in a good way, she says.”

Researchers such as Jovanovic study participatory budgeting from various angles. Jovanovic is interested from a communication standpoint.

Government staff and officials learn what citizens want. At the many meetings throughout the city, government staff were on hand to listen and answer citizens’ questions. Citizens learned. Staff learned. “There was a whole education process going on,” she explains.

As an example, those advocating for more or better bus shelters learned the cost breakdowns, the accessibility / ADA requirements, the surface requirements and more.

Citizens in five districts proposed ideas – ranging from a phone app to help bus riders with bus schedules and times, to shade canopies for community pools, to bicycle lane improvements. There were 675 suggestions, which were then narrowed down. Voting on these ideas ended earlier this month. Presentations to the city council on the most requested items will be later this year.

Jovanovic is currently doing research on the surveys.

“I hope the research shows how participatory budgeting increases citizens’ engagement,” she says, in addition to boosting the relationship people have with their government.

For the UNCG Communication Studies faculty and students it’s community engagement. And with an idea that began in Brazil and is being considered, she says, in places from Canada to Scotland to China, it becomes global engagement.

“People want to have a say in their lives.”

More information is at the City of Greensboro’s web site. The handbook may be viewed here.

By Mike Harris

David Cook, films and his universally renowned textbook

Photo of David Cook.When film professor David Cook joined the UNCG Media Studies Department in 2007, “A History of Narrative Film” was in its fourth and largest edition.

The textbook, which is used at the Beijing Film Academy, the Free University of Brussels and over 400 colleges and universities in North America is one of W.W. Norton & Company’s longest-running publications. It’s been translated into eight different languages and had grown into a thick volume of film history when Norton released the fifth edition in early March.

“Each edition got fatter and fatter,” said Cook. “The fourth edition had 1120 pages – it had grown 400 pages. The publisher and I realized we couldn’t keep going on like this, it was almost too big to carry to class.”

The newer, fifth edition is slimmer and more comprehensive than the last. Cook cut pages of film descriptions – items that were becoming “list-like” – to add more analysis and a chapter on global cinema. And so far it’s the only edition of “A History of Narrative Film” to have UNCG stamped on the first page.

Originally published in 1981 while Cook taught at Emory University, “A History of Narrative Film” was something of a risk for W.W. Norton & Company. Because of its many photographic illustrations and because its author was a relatively unknown scholar, Cook’s editors were uncertain of the book’s market. ‘It was a much welcomed but unexpected success,” said Cook.

Cook, who has a Ph.D in Victorian English Literature from the University of Virginia, had originally focused his analysis on the director. Now in its fifth edition, “A History of Narrative Film” acknowledges the economics of filmmaking more than it has in previous editions.

“I still believe the director is the author,” said Cook. “I believe that you can look at his/her canon or his/her works as the process of art. But I also realized that this was an industrial art. For example, you have to look at the economic mechanisms that let Orson Welles direct ‘Citizen Kane’ at 26.”

The textbook’s newest chapter, “A Global Cinema” explores the rise of independent film movements such as the Nigerian film industry known as Nollywood, a sort of thread-bare “people’s cinema.” Cook tracks the growing ability for “Hollywood mega-pictures” to skirt cultural divides, cashing in on a larger, global audience even as North American movie theater attendance is falling.

Cook said that the condensed material, larger scope and four-color format of the fifth edition should bring “A History of Narrative Film” to a larger audience. “It literally puts the name of UNCG around the world.”

By Daniel Wirtheim

Trina Patterson Named Women’s Basketball Head Coach

042016Spotlight_PattersonDirector of Athletics Kim Record announced the hiring of coaching veteran Trina Patterson as women’s basketball head coach Sunday. Patterson brings 17 years of head coaching experience at the NCAA Division I level to the Spartans and joins UNCG after spending the last three years as the top assistant at Old Dominion. Additionally, she has been part of USA Basketball as an assistant coach on two different occasions in her career.

Patterson, a native of Newport News, Va., joins the Spartans after spending the last three years on the staff at Old Dominion for coach Karen Barefoot. During her time at ODU, the Lady Monarchs posted three straight appearances in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), including second round showings the past two years. She helped ODU record 56 wins over the past three seasons, including a 21-win campaign in 2014-15.

Patterson has helped Old Dominion bring in recruiting classes ranked in the top 50 in the nation the last two seasons. During her time she has helped the Lady Monarchs boast six All-Conference honorees. The Lady Monarchs finished the season ranked in the top five in six defensive categories, including topping the league in rebounding margin and ranking second in field-goal percentage defense (.397).

Prior to Old Dominion, Patterson spent two seasons working for Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer at Stanford, working primarily with the Cardinal frontcourt and recruiting efforts. During that span Stanford racked up a 68-5 record, capturing the Pac-12 double (conference regular-season and tournament titles) each season and reached its fifth straight Final Four in 2012.

Prior to arriving at Stanford, Patterson served as head coach at University at Albany from 2002-10. She also served two prior head-coaching tenures — University of Maryland Eastern Shore (1999-2000) and the College of William & Mary (1991-99). She was named conference coach of the year on two different occasions during her 17-year career as leader of a program, earnings honors at both William & Mary and Albany.

Full story at UNCG Athletics web site.

Michael Parker keynote speaker at N.C. Writers’ Network Conference at UNCG

Photo of Michael Parker.UNCG hosts the North Carolina Writer’s Network 2016 Spring Conference in Curry Auditorium on Saturday, April 23.

Michael Parker, who holds the Dr. Nicholas A. Vacc and Dr. Nancy N. Vacc Distinguished Professorship in UNCG’s MFA Writing Program, is the keynote speaker. He has been honored with the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction (1994), the Pushcart Prize (2002), the North Carolina Arts Council Fiction Fellowship (2003), the N.E.A. Fellowship in Fiction (2004), and the O. Henry Award (2004), and three career-achievement awards: the Mary Hobson Award in Arts and Letters (2006), the North Carolina Award for Literature (2006), and the R. Hunt Parker Award for significant contribution to the literature and culture of North Carolina.

Jennifer Whitaker, recent recipient of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry and director of UNCG’s University Writing Center, teaches the Poetry Master Class.

The conference features 11 distinct workshops on fiction, non-fiction, the creative process and marketing. “Open Mic Readings” and a “Lunch with an Author” session are also featured.

The majority of the sessions are led by UNCG faculty or alumni.

To pre-register or find more information, visit www.ncwriters.org

Jennifer Whitaker takes prestigious prize in poetry

Photo of Jennifer Whitaker.UNCG English Professor and Director of the University Writing Center Jennifer Whitaker won the 2016 Brittingham Prize in Poetry for her manuscript “The Blue Hour.”

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of English awards the Brittingham Prize to the best book-length manuscript selected by a nationally recognized poet. Denise Duhamel chose “The Blue Hour” for the 2016 prize winner.

The prize-winning book – Whitaker’s first – was published in March by the University of Wisconsin Press.

“The Blue Hour” is steeped in the fairy tale motifs that Whitaker developed a passion for as a graduate student. But unlike pop-culture fairy tales, “The Blue Hour” promises no happy endings. Her poems often meditate on remorse, familial abuse and incest.

“Fairy tales are my way of dealing with that complexity,” Whitaker said. “Fairy tales are the container that I try to pour these stories and difficulties into.”

Whitaker said that many of the concepts explored in “The Blue Hour” are ones that she had experimented with as a graduate student in UNCG’s MFA program in Creative Writing.

She adds that the creative writing faculty fostered a sense of community between the students, which gave her the support she needed as an aspiring poet.

“Being in the MFA program taught what it’s like to be in a community of writers,” Whitaker said. “It was supportive, so I could fight against my worst nature to stay holed up in my apartment and write.”

UNCG alumni have won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry for the past two years. Christina Stoddard, another graduate of UNCG’s Creative Writing MFA program, won the 2015 Brittingham Prize for her manuscript, “Hive.”

For Whitaker, winning the Brittingham is one of the greatest achievements in her career so far.

Whitaker said, “Overwhelmed is an understatement.”

Listen to Jennifer Whitaker read from “The Blue Hour” in the Maple Room of the EUC Thursday, April 7, at 7 p.m.
By Daniel Wirtheim

New Veterans Resource Center Coordinator Brad Wrenn

Photo of Brad WrennBrad Wrenn is the coordinator for the Veterans Resource Center for the Division of Student Affairs. He officially began March 7.

Wrenn comes to the VRC from the UNCG School of Nursing, where he worked in Medical Simulation, and as the Project Manager for the School of Nursing’s Veterans Access Program.

He was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force in 2002 after a six-year enlistment and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business from the Bryan School at UNCG as well as a Master’s Degree in Adult Education from East Carolina University. He lives in Greensboro with his wife, Rachel.

In a presentation to Staff Senate March 10, Wrenn spoke about the large number of veterans that are enrolled at UNCG.

The Veterans Resource Center, which opened in 2014, has a carefully crafted environment of support that allows military-affiliated students to thrive. Located in Spring Garden Apartments on campus, it provide services and support for all military-affiliated students, and it provide programming focused on the veteran experience.

Details are at veterans.uncg.edu/veterans-resource-center.

Dr. John Z. Kiss named Dean of College of Arts & Sciences

0323216Spotlight_KissProvost Dana Dunn shares this announcement with the campus community:

Dr. John Z. Kiss, dean of the Graduate School and professor of biology at the University of Mississippi, has accepted the position of dean of The College of Arts and Sciences at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro effective July 1, 2016.

John Kiss will succeed Dr. Timothy Johnston, who has held the position since 2003. After a yearlong transition leave, Johnston will return to UNCG as professor of psychology.

Dr. Kiss has been the dean of the graduate school at the University of Mississippi since 2012.  His academic appointments include Professor of Biology and Research Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the National Center for Natural Products Research. In 2014, Kiss received the NASA outstanding Public Leadership Medal “for exceptional contributions in spaceflight research in the fundamental biology of plants in support of NASA’s exploration mission.” Previously on the faculty of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (1993-2012), Dr. Kiss received the title of Distinguished Professor, for which the emphasis is on both research and teaching, as well as the Benjamin Harrison Medallion (the highest faculty honor). From 2008-2012 he served as chair of the Department of Botany.

Commenting on the value of a liberal education, Dr. Kiss responded, “It is clear to me that a liberal arts and sciences education will prepare our students for lifelong learning which will lead success in our increasingly competitive society. Liberal education develops critical thinking as well as writing and quantitative skills. Students also develop their ability to analyze the written word and to speak clearly. Since our students will have many careers throughout their lives, I firmly believe that a liberal education is an important hallmark of a university experience.”

I would like to thank the members of the search committee for their work on this search and the many faculty, staff and students who participated in the candidate interviews. Also, thank you to everyone who took the time to complete evaluation forms on the candidates.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Kiss upon his appointment and welcoming him to this important position.