Copyright 2004
'Smart Commute' offers ticket to home ownership
Moeser embarks on 'Carolina Connects' tour across state
Jablonski named vice chancellor for student affairs
University Gazette

House budget proposal advances
Trustees approve $18 million Morrison renovation
Task force gives green light to explore advertising at sports venues
Employee Forum resolution calls for affordable health insurance coverage
Information best defense against West Nile virus
Research News: FYI Research: NIH seeks to speed use of new research
Research News: Seeing Eye to Eye: Facetop puts partners on the same page
Human Resources: Last of 2004's Star Heel awarded; more available for 2005
Nominations needed for Excellence in Management Award
Xiao earns University Manager Training Grant
Making it official

House budget proposal advances

The state House of Representatives approved a spending plan on June 9 that would earmark $64.69 million for enrollment growth throughout the UNC system.

At the same time, the House budget calls for permanent cuts of 1.7 percent in the UNC system's operating budget, or about $26 million.

In both these ways, the House proposal is similar to Gov. Mike Easley's budget proposal that he presented in May.

House budget highlights

$64.69 million for UNC system enrollment growth

$26 million in permanent cuts to UNC system

$1,000 raise for state employees

The House version of a $15.8 billion state budget has been sent to the Senate where subcommittees have already begun crafting their own version. Both chambers want to see a final budget approved by July 1, the start of the 2004-05 fiscal year.

Another issue of particular interest to the University is a bill passed by the House Education Committee that would establish a law to limit out-of-state students to 18 percent of all freshman classes except at the N.C. School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.

The bill follows an initiative begun and abandoned last year to raise the prescribed cap for out-of-state students from 18 percent to 22 percent. The UNC Board of Governors postponed a November vote on the issue in response to opposition throughout the state against the proposal.

The House budget also offers a flat pay increase of $1,000 to all state employees, in contrast to Easley's pay proposal that would offer a 2 percent pay raise, along with a one-time bonus of $250.

An employee making about $38,000 would get about the same pay raise under other either plan. An employee making less than $38,000 would do better under the House plan. An employee making more than $38,000 would do better with Easley's plan.

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Trustees approve $18 million Morrison renovation

From any angle, the question boiled down to the same thing.

"I don't think, no matter how long we study this, we'll reach a conclusion that includes tearing down any of these dorms," Trustee Timothy Burnett said at the University Board of Trustees' May 27 meeting. "I think the resources are too precious."

Burnett was referring to the four high-rise residence halls on the southern fringe of campus. He was the first to voice that conclusion aloud, but a consensus soon emerged around that point.

Trustee Rusty Carter had argued earlier in the meeting that if renovations are authorized for Morrison Residence Hall -- the first scheduled for an overhaul -- they should be limited in scope to preserve the future option of tearing it down and replacing it.

THE DOMINO EFFECT The work to renovate Morrison Residence Hall -- its lobby pictured here -- will begin in summer of 2005, just in time to house its residents in Odum Village before the student family housing unit is torn down after 2010 to make way for the construction of medical buildings.

But as each trustee was asked to give his or her views, a consensus emerged to follow through with the original staff recommendation to remove asbestos and add air conditioning along with fire sprinklers and alarms. Rooms and bathrooms will be upgraded as well.

The work is set to start in summer of 2005 and will take two years to complete. The total cost of $18 million is a fraction of the estimated costs of replacing the structure.

The other high-rise residence halls -- Hinton James, Craige and Ehringhaus -- are set for renovations in the next few years.

The sequencing of work within these four buildings is what made the timing nearly as critical as the money. Too much juggling with existing plans, officials feared, could interfere with carefully synchronized schedules designed to avoid displacing students to points off campus. The projects also fit into the campus master and development plans.

Trustees had to decide what to do with Morrison at their May meeting in order to seek approval from the General Assembly this summer for revenue bonds to pay for the project. Revenues would be generated through students' room fees.

About 3,200 students are housed in the four high rises, and a key to the strategy of keeping students on campus is to temporarily house them in Odum Village while renovations are under way.

The long-term plan for Odum Village, the home of student family housing, is for it to be torn down after 2010 to make way for the construction of medical buildings.

Odum Village, in turn, is being replaced by the new apartment complex off Mason Farm Road.

The trustees' decision was made after six alternatives were presented for their consideration. The most expensive of them called for spending nearly $180 million to renovate Craige and Ehringhaus and replace Morrison and Hinton James.

The trustees decided to forego spending some $5.4 million for improvements to Morrison's brick facades.

In the end, trustees argued, that money could be put to better use elsewhere.

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Task force gives green light to explore advertising at sports venues

The Task Force on Signage in Athletic Facilities approved May 27 a carefully crafted resolution that raises the possibility of advertising in Kenan Stadium and the Dean E. Smith Center.

The resolution will be forwarded for consideration to Chancellor James Moeser and the University Board of Trustees. If trustees approve the idea, another committee would likely be formed to work out the details.

The issue is sensitive because of the University's longstanding tradition to keep Kenan Stadium and the Smith Center free of fixed commercial advertising. That has meant signage has not been used in these facilities to help fund athletic programs.

Task force members acknowledged this sensitivity at the outset of the meeting, but there was also an inescapable fact they had to confront: The Department of Athletics needs the money.

The trustees created the task force in response to Athletic Director Dick Baddour's warning back in October that for the first time the Educational Foundation may not be able to fund fully the scholarship program for student athletes.

In the fall, the shortfall looked to be as much as $300,000. For the upcoming year, the shortfall is expected to increase to $500,000.

In recent years, the Department of Athletics has struggled to balance its budget, in part because of the rising costs of athletic scholarships tied to tuition increases.

The department also needs funds to cover facilities costs and sport-by-sport operating budgets. Carolina fields 28 teams.

In light of all this, the task force resolution calls for the campus "to explore signage and other related partnerships" in athletic venues.

The resolution also lays out guidelines for any such measures, stating they "should only be introduced in a limited and tasteful way, with a small number of companies that have strong integrity and national impact."

John G.B. Ellison Jr., a trustee who served on the task force, captured the dominant sentiment on the task force when he said, "We want the most money for the least amount of advertising."

He added, "We'd love to not need this money."

Baddour, too, said he would prefer not to have any advertising, but he had to balance his reservations with his overriding responsibility to make sure the scholarship program remains strong and Olympic sports programs are not put at risk.

Baddour also emphasized the open process by which the issue had been explored by the task force, which included faculty, staff and students, as well as trustees and alumni. The issue had been aired with campus constituency groups throughout campus, too, he said.

Frank Craighill, a sports marketing consultant who helped the task force, had urged the panel to seize more fully upon the opportunities that may be unique to this campus.

"Carolina has a national basketball program," Craighill said. "We have an opportunity that very few programs in America have. We have a tremendous opportunity to do a `less is more' program."

But task force members backed away from Craighill's call to take a broader look at corporate relationships on the academic side of the University because of concerns about faculty reaction.

Business Professor Jack Evans, for instance, recounted a 1999 controversy over Wachovia's contract with the University that allowed the bank to open a service center in The Pit.

With such concerns in mind, the resolution calls for limiting relationships to those that "would make a significant financial impact within the athletic department; and the partnerships protect insofar as possible the environment and tradition of the institution."

Faculty Chair Judith Wegner attended the meeting and had sent an e-mail to some task force members outlining her concerns about how advertising might lead to excessive corporate influence in campus affairs.

Trustee Rusty Carter, who served on the task force, asked Wegner how she felt about the resolution after it was passed.

"I'm happier than when I walked in," Wegner said.

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Employee Forum resolution calls for affordable health insurance coverage

The Employee Forum has approved a resolution calling for affordable health care insurance for UNC system employees.

Approved at the forum's June 2 meeting, the resolution also asks that employees be able to choose from a menu of health care options as well as have access to the process behind how health insurance benefits are decided.

UNC system employees -- who include Carolina personnel -- now contribute $427.48 per month toward the cost of their premiums for family coverage; $178.22 per month for employee/child(ren) coverage. The state picks up the tab for employee-only coverage.

Gift funds loan program

A new emergency loan program will be available to employees, thanks to an anonymous gift of $25,000.

Laurie Charest, associate vice chancellor for Human Resources, announced the news at the June 2 Employee Forum meeting.

The program was one of the recommendations included in the report of the Chancellor's Task Force for a Better Workplace. Charest told forum members that proposals have been received for all of the task force's recommendations and that those not needing funding are moving ahead. A consolidated budget will be requested in July for those that do need money, she said.

Premiums will not change for the State Health Plan's upcoming plan year, which begins Oct. 1, but the forum felt it was important to pass the resolution so that lawmakers in Raleigh could consider it as they plan their agendas for future legislative sessions.

"If we want to be heard, we have to get this out today," said Delita Wright, chair of the forum's Personnel Issues Committee, which drafted the resolution.

The resolution does not define "affordable" health care insurance, but after the meeting Wright said it would be coverage that would have both affordable premiums and deductibles for trips to the doctor.

The resolution comes against the backdrop of a recent Office of Human Resources analysis that showed that among nine southeastern states, North Carolina employees paid the most for family coverage premiums. The $427.48/month rate here was $71.48 more than the state with the next highest amount, Mississippi, and $328.48 more than the lowest, Virginia.

North Carolina workers who opt for employee-only coverage fared better, because the state covers their monthly premium costs. Two other states in the comparison -- Mississippi and Kentucky -- also cover these costs for their employees. At the other end of the spectrum is Louisiana, where workers pay $97.02 each month.

Along with affordability, the forum's resolution calls for the state to provide a "cafeteria plan" that would allow employees to choose and tailor benefits according to their health care needs.

It also asks that state employees be represented on "all boards and committees all boards and committees related to the State Health Plan and other state employee health benefits.

Last, the resolution says that all information about the plan and benefits should be "made open and available to state employees and the public."

The forum has asked Chancellor James Moeser to support the resolution and for staff organizations at the other 16 UNC system campuses to adopt similar resolutions.

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Information best defense against West Nile virus

Carolina has created a plan to fend off the West Nile virus, and the wider use of mosquito repellant and the vigilance of staff who work outdoors are the front lines of defense.

Transmitted by mosquito bites, West Nile virus is most harmful to birds but also can infect other animals, including humans.

The disease typically shows up in humans as flu-like symptoms. And while these cases of fever tend to last a few days and don't appear to have long-term health effects, the disease can be fatal. From 1999 to 2003, 457 people in the United States died from West Nile virus. Two North Carolina deaths have been reported, both in 2003.

"Health officials have reported that this year's West Nile virus season could be early and severe. We need to take steps to reduce this risk," said Peter A. Reinhardt, director Department of Environment, Health & Safety (EHS). "This plan focuses on West Nile virus, but these practices will also protect us from the risk of other mosquito-borne diseases that occur in North Carolina, such as LaCrosse Encephalitis and Eastern Equine Encephalitis."

The most effective ways to prevent these diseases are to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, Reinhardt said.

Carolina's "West Nile Virus Action Plan" calls for both measures. The plan, developed by EHS and based on recommendations from local and state health officials, was approved June 10 by the University Safety and Security Committee. It calls for:

EHS to encourage people who work in or frequent outdoor areas to use a DEET-based mosquito repellant. Student Health Service will provide this advice to students who spend time outdoors.

EHS to provide a checklist that departmental building contacts can use to identify potential mosquito breeding areas that could lead to West Nile virus risks.

Grounds and Facilities staff to identify and eliminate mosquito breeding sites such as empty containers, puddles at construction sites and areas with poor drainage. When breeding sites can't be eliminated, Grounds and Facilities staff will consider other methods to further control mosquitoes and their breeding areas.

EHS and the Student Health Service to disseminate educational materials to the University community via the web and other means, as well as to provide public awareness training and critical updates.

To a degree, Reinhardt said, the plan reinforces practices already in place. Grounds now provides repellent to employees as needed, and its staff are very attentive to water that has been standing for three days or more. Facilities performs scheduled preventive maintenance on gutters and downspouts.

Plus, Reinhardt said, Carolina's policy of not managing stormwater through surface collection -- such as retention ponds -- minimizes mosquito breeding areas.

But the new plan builds on current practices by raising awareness among people on campus. "All faculty, staff and students should learn about these risks and use DEET to prevent mosquito bites," he said. "If you are going to spend time outdoors and be exposed to mosquitoes, you should use a repellant."

For more information about Carolina's West Nile Virus Action Plan, see ehs.unc.edu.

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NIH seeks to speed use of new research

Medical research discoveries sometimes follow a slow path from the lab bench to the bedside. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would like to change that.

The NIH Roadmap for Medical Research is a nationwide strategy to accelerate the progress of medical exploration by identifying the most pressing problems facing medical research today, including knowledge gaps and other roadblocks that are too big for any single NIH institute to confront alone. The roadmap will also unite researchers and institutions all across the nation to transform scientific knowledge into tangible benefits for people.

Technology Transfer Update

The Office of Technology Development helps Carolina faculty, students and staff develop and commercialize patentable inventions resulting from their research. In May 2004, the University executed two license agreements and had two U.S. patents issued.

A patent is a legal document granting inventors the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using or selling an invention for a number of years. A license agreement is a written contract granting permission for a person or company to use an invention under certain terms. For more information about OTD, go to research.unc.edu/otd.

"We have made remarkable progress in medical research in recent decades, and NIH-led research has changed the landscape of many diseases," said NIH Director Elias Zerhouni. "However, very real -- and very urgent -- needs remain. NIH is now drawing all fields of science together in a concerted effort to meet these challenges head-on."

The roadmap identifies three main themes of research. The theme "new pathways of discovery" attempts to understand complex biological systems and learn more about the combination of molecular events that lead to health or disease. The focus is on molecular libraries and imaging, bioinformatics, nanomedicine and other high-tech approaches.

The second theme, "research teams of the future," seeks to encourage scientists to break down the barriers between their disciplines and to combine their skills in pursuit of answers to some of biomedicine's biggest questions. "We need to find even more innovative and effective ways of doing biomedical research and converting that into cures," said Lawrence Tabak, director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

With the third theme, "re-engineering clinical research," NIH hopes to make it easier to transform basic clinical research into diagnostics, drugs, treatments or prevention methods. NIH is stressing new partnerships among organized patient communities, community-based physicians and academic researchers as a starting point for revamping the way clinical research is carried out.

Carolina wants to be ready to get in on the action, said Rudy Juliano, professor of pharmacology and chair of the NIH Roadmap Executive Committee on campus. "We already have many very talented interdisciplinary groups and investigators who are working together very effectively," Juliano said. "But we can identify other nascent areas where we can match up with the roadmap plans and get folks talking to each other."

"In the future, I think this is the way science in general will be going," Juliano said. "You're going to see more emphasis on collaboration, more emphasis on `big' science."

Juliano's committee will steer Carolina's efforts to create research teams and partnerships, to share information and to coordinate the development of roadmap proposals. And much like researchers will be expected to do, offices within Research and Economic Development will team with the College of Arts & Sciences and the schools of medicine, dentistry and public health to help coordinate Carolina's Roadmap response.

"In my view, this new campuswide effort, drawing on our established strengths, will ensure that Carolina is well-positioned for leadership in the next generation of biomedical research," said Tony Waldrop, vice chancellor for research and economic development.

Provided by Research and Economic Development.
Editor: Neil Caudle
Writer: Jason Smith

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Seeing eye to eye
Facetop puts partners on the same page

Editor's note: The following story is reprinted from the Spring 2004 issue of "Endeavors," a magazine highlighting research at Carolina. It is published three times a year by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. Neil Caudle, who wrote this piece, serves as editor. Employees who would like a free subscription to "Endeavors" should send their name, job title, department and campus address to the "Endeavors" office via campus mail (Endeavors, CB 4106), e-mail (endeavors@unc.edu) or the subscription form at the magazine's web site (research.unc.edu/endeavors).

For David Stotts, computing needs a new face: yours. He'd like to hook you up to a partner miles or continents away, pipe live video of each of you onto the same computer desktop, and let you hash out your ideas, pointing to work on the screen, hearing each other's voices, and watching each other react.

The invention that could make all this possible is Facetop, software that adds some smoke and mirrors to a standard Macintosh computer. The key is transparency, which is wired into today's high-performance graphics hardware. By tapping that capacity and the human brain's ability to organize visual patterns, Stotts and his team found a way to let you peer through transparent images of yourself and your partner at the same time you're watching your work on the screen. (If you've ever looked through your reflection in a pond and noticed a fish swimming under the surface, you'll have the idea.)

The breakthrough occurred, as it often does in science, because of a student.

Jason Smith, who is working on a Ph.D. in software semantics, walked into Stotts' office in Sitterson Hall one day to talk about a project. Stotts, associate professor of computer science, had been fiddling with a new video camera, pointing it at himself so that it cast a mirror-image view. As they worked, Stotts loaded Smith's work onto the computer and projected it onto the wall. They began to talk.

"I lifted my hand so that the image of me on the screen was pointing at the thing I thought he was talking about," Stotts says. "And Jason looks at me and says, oooh... "

That was the moment David Stotts and Jason Smith became inventors. They even had a market in mind. For a couple of years, Stotts had been studying ways to improve pair programming -- the increasingly popular method of using two people working side-by-side to write computer code. Stotts says that studies have shown that this system is faster and less error prone than working solo. Stotts had been experimenting with a form of pair programming in which the programmers work together over the Internet.

"When we'd interview these people, invariably they would say, `This works well, I enjoyed it, but I really want to point at stuff, and I really miss seeing facial expressions of the person I'm working with,'" Stotts says.

So when Smith and Stotts had their eureka moment, they knew that pair programmers were potential users. But then all kinds of people began taking notice -- architects who wanted to meet over drawings, chemists developing new compounds in distant laboratories and doctors inspecting medical images.

The team is working with Carolina's Office of Technology Development to protect the invention and investigate its business potential. Meanwhile, Stotts and the team, including Carl Gilstrom in the lab, are fine-tuning the software and waiting for the next generation of Microsoft Windows, which may include code that will enable Facetop to run on PCs as well as on Macs.

If all goes well, you may soon find a partner gazing back from your desktop -- far away but facing you.

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Last of 2004's Star Heels awarded; more available for 2005

The Employee Services Department has announced that all of the available Star Heels awards for the 2004 year have been awarded to deserving Carolina employees.

With continued sponsorship from TIAA-CREF, employees who have gone the extra mile and contributed to the University are able to be honored through this campuswide recognition program. In its fourth year, the program rewards staff and faculty with a gift certificate to one of four local vendors -- Lowe's, Student Stores, A Southern Season or The Streets of SouthPoint -- and a certificate noting their accomplishment.

For the upcoming program year, TIAA-CREF will increase the sponsorship amount, allowing more employees to receive Star Heels awards.

"The Office of Human Resources is very appreciative of TIAA-CREF for their increased support of this very popular and vital recognition program," said Shelly Green, who oversees the Star Heels program for the Employee Services Department. "We congratulate all of the 2004 Star Heels winners. You contribute in many unique ways to make Carolina the special place that it is, and for this, we thank you."

HR Facilitators will receive their department's new allocations in September via e-mail from the Employee Services Department. There will be a Star Heels Kick-off event in the fall to begin the new program year. For questions regarding this program, e-mail Green at sogreen@email.unc.edu.

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Nominations needed for Excellence in Management Award

The Excellence in Management Award recognizes meritorious and distinguished accomplishments in management at Carolina. The program began in 1998.

For the purposes of this award, "management" includes managing employee or student resources, financial resources, facilities and/or coordinating special projects or efforts such as leading a task force or an ad hoc committee of a sizable nature.

All permanent employees serving in this managerial capacity are eligible for nomination. This includes SPA, EPA non-faculty and faculty employees.

All University employees -- including temporaries -- and students are eligible to submit nominations for eligible employees.

Nomination forms are available at hr.unc.edu/formfinder/forms-recognition/eim.doc.

Completed nominations must be received by the Employee Services Department (CB# 1045) no later than 5 p.m. on July 2.

Two awards are given annually. Each award recipient will receive a monetary award of $500 and a framed certificate. The awards will be presented, along with the Chancellor's Awards, at a luncheon in August.

For more information, call the Employee Services Department at 962-1483.

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Xiao earns University Manager Training Grant

Dana Xiao, accounting manager from the Department of Genetics, has received the University Manager Training Grant. This $250 award is given annually to recognize significant contributions that many managers make to their departments. The recipient may use the grant toward the cost of a development program that will benefit both the employee and his/her work unit, department or the University. Both SPA and EPA managers at the University are eligible to apply.

Funding for the University Manager Training Grant was made possible by an anonymous donor. The grant will be made annually until the fund is depleted. The Training and Development Department in the Office of Human Resources administers the program.

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Making it official

Chancellor James Moeser (left) and Duke University President Nan Keohane (right) watch as Julian Robertson signs the articles of incorporation for the establishment of the Robertson Scholars Program. In June of 2002, Julian and Josie Robertson entered into an agreement with Duke and Carolina to fund the Robertson Scholars Program with a gift of $12 million to each institution. After a successful external evaluation of the program completed in 2003, the Robertson Foundation, Carolina and Duke have joined together to create a support organization, the Robertson Scholars Program, to allow for the continuation and long-term extension of the program.