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State of the University: Moeser highlights goals and initiatives for UNC

University reaches out to help hurricane victims

Salary increases, budget cuts affect UNC departments

Special insert: 2005 University Teaching Awards Winners

Tony Bennett was one of the performers during the opening weekend celebration of the transformation of Memorial Hall


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University Gazette


Chancellor James Moeser proclaims a vision for a global future.

Highlights of the address:
Chancellor James Moeser's annual State of the University address Sept. 15 focused on engagement with the state at a time when globalization is such a pressing issue for North Carolina.

Moeser announced the creation of a task force — the Chancellor's Task Force on Engagement with North Carolina — that will explore how Carolina might most effectively mobilize resources to benefit the state.

School of Education Dean Thomas James will lead a related effort to direct UNC’s resources toward helping improve K-12 education across the state.

Moeser’s address also focused on Carolina’s engagement internationally, economic development, the Carolina Covenant, scholarships and the importance of diversity within the campus community.

Other specifics Moeser announced included:

 A $10 million bequest for merit-based scholarships for students;

 A $5 million challenge gift to support the performing arts from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust;

 Plans to build affordable housing for faculty and staff to own on part of a 63-acre tract close to Carolina North; and

 A new salary schedule for full-time, permanent staff starting at $20,800. The University is also making additional salary adjustments to maintain equity. The changes affect about 350 staff employees in 20 campus units.

Editor’s note: The following is the prepared text of Chancellor James Moeser’s 2005 State of the University Address, which he delivered Sept. 15 in the Great Hall of the Frank Porter Graham Student Union.  

Before I begin, I want to thank the University community for your splendid response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I received an e-mail from the father of a Tulane freshman who enrolled here four days after Tulane’s announced closing for the semester. His older son is a UNC junior. The father wrote, “Chapel Hill is every bit the special place my oldest son said it was. You and your team will be remembered by our family for the warmth and kindness you have extended to us and those like us.”

All across this campus, students, faculty and staff have reached out in extraordinary ways to the people of Louisiana and Mississippi. Your actions confirm what I already knew about Carolina’s uncommon spirit and character. I ask only that you sustain that same spirit in the weeks and months ahead. The people of the Gulf Coast, and now our own coast, will need our help for a long time.

The importance of this University reaching out — both here in North Carolina and beyond — to meet the competitive challenges of globalization is the central theme of my remarks today. Later, I will share my thoughts about key issues including scholarships for students, compensation for faculty and staff, building for the future and the renaissance of our performing arts. Carolina is moving forward with tremendous momentum. Our challenge is to sustain that energy and focus it in the areas that will best serve the people of North Carolina in the future. ...  

A Global University for North Carolina
Over the summer, my wife Susan and I led a delegation from Chapel Hill to Singapore and Bangkok. Our trip had several purposes, one of which was to participate in a meeting of university presidents and chancellors representing the Association of American Universities and our counterparts from the Association of Pacific Rim Universities who came from Australia, China, India, Japan, Thailand and South America. We were hosted by the National University of Singapore, which was celebrating its centennial.

While in Singapore, we met 25 rising Carolina sophomores, several faculty members and alumni benefactors Alston Gardner and Barb Lee. We heard our students, many of whom were studying abroad for the first time, discuss their experiences. We also traveled to Bangkok to visit Kenan Institute Asia, which is playing a key role in Thailand’s economic development.

Our colleagues at the National University of Singapore took advantage of their role as conference host, not only to celebrate their centennial, but also to announce their vision for a place on the global stage as a leading world university. The city state of Singapore has made a strategic decision to support NUS by investing heavily in its future. We heard from national leaders who made a compelling case for the power of higher education to shape a successful future for their country.

We explored additional relationships between Carolina and NUS, as well as other universities in Asia. UNC has extensive relationships with NUS, but several other American research universities have an even larger presence in Singapore than we do. Our delegation met with their provost and senior deans to discuss our existing programs as well as new ones, including a proposed undergraduate degree between the two universities. They also had this message for us: For years, they said, you American universities have been trolling in our waters for faculty and graduate students. Now we are going to troll in your waters.

Here is the lesson of these conversations: We are in a competition with this and other international universities, and our global partners are also our competitors. Singapore not only has an eye on the United States and Western Europe, but an even more acutely wary eye on their neighboring giants, China and India, both of which are making huge investments in their universities and in research. Singapore’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Tommy Koh, in a speech to our conference, put the expansion of these two countries in stunning perspective, citing annual growth rates approaching 8 and 9 percent. “The rise of China and India are the two biggest growth stories of this century,” Koh said. “If they succeed, they will inevitably change the world.” 

Before leaving for Asia, I had just finished reading Thomas Friedman’s New York Times best-seller, “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century”, and this book was fresh on my mind. Friedman’s thesis is that the playing field of ideas and innovation — the fuel of a knowledge economy and once the province of the United States and the developed world — is wide open. Friedman draws from those who have called this new phenomenon the “globalization of innovation.”  The job loss we are now experiencing to China and India is not just low-paying, semi-skilled manufacturing jobs, but high-paying, knowledge-based technology-sector jobs. The next wave could mean the potential loss of our international leadership in innovation and creativity.

In describing the rapidly changing environment of international competition,  Friedman uses a metaphor that we should be quick to grasp at Carolina –– basketball. Most of us can remember when the United States Olympic team was pre-eminent. We sent our best college athletes and won easily. But then the world took it up a notch, and we responded by sending in our pros. However, the 2004 American team, made up of NBA stars, lost to Puerto Rico, Lithuania and Argentina and came home with a bronze. Previously, the United States had lost only one game in the history of the Olympics.

Next year in the City of Beijing alone, more students will take the SAT than in the entire United States. China has 1.3 billion people, and its government is making huge investments in its universities. Our country is on an opposite track. Federal funding for research in the physical and mathematical sciences and engineering, as a share of gross domestic product (GDP), declined by 37 percent between 1970 and 2004. When we should be doubling our investments in basic research, just to keep up with the rest of the world, we are making cuts.

Chancellor James Moeser, right, greets former Chancellor William Aycock following his 2005 State of the University address in the Great Hall of the Student Union.

The key to retaining and creating jobs in this international competition is an educated, well-trained workforce. But consider these developments:

The National Science Board reports the percentage of scientific papers written by Americans has fallen 10 percent since 1992.

By 2010, if current trends continue, over 90 percent of the world’s scientists and engineers will live in Asia.

The United States is falling behind in producing college graduates, especially new Ph.D.s in science and technology. North Carolina is in the lowest quartile of all 50 states for the production of Ph.D.s in science and technology as a percentage of population. 

Our situation is particularly troubling if you look at the state of American science education at the pre-college level. Test results of fourth- and eighth-graders in science and math worldwide should be a wake-up call for all of us. For example, 44 percent of eighth-graders in Singapore scored at the most advanced level in math, as did 38 percent in Taiwan. Only 7 percent of American students scored at the most advanced level.

Leadership that matters for North Carolina
So what does this mean for us? For UNC? For North Carolina?

First, North Carolina must compete in this global economy, so it is absolutely critical that its flagship university be a player on the world stage. We must be engaged internationally. Our new Global Education Center, now under construction, is a visible and tangible symbol of that commitment.

Second, we are called to deepen our engagement with North Carolina. Globalization strikes fear in many hearts across our state, which has been so heavily stricken with job loss. Peter Coclanis, associate provost for international affairs, describes this well in a paper that he read last year at our “Globalization and the American South” conference. Peter’s paper, “Down Highway 52: Globalization, Higher Education and the Economic Future of the American South,” asks the question that I want to pose today: What is the role of a great university in a state that wants to be — indeed must be — fully competitive in a global economy?

If there is one thing I have learned in my travels to nearly 50 communities last year around the state, it is this: Our University is deeply engaged in the issues that matter most to North Carolinians — their health, their economy and their education, both for themselves and their children. In every place I have visited, from the mountains to the coast, I have seen our students, faculty and staff making a difference and touching people’s lives.  

Health care
I have enjoyed stops at several of our Area Health Education Centers. AHEC is a shining example of an outreach program that improves the health of North Carolinians in every part of the state. We coordinate a sophisticated array of educational and clinical programs, increasing the supply of health-care providers and enhancing the quality of care to patients.

A key component of AHEC’s service mission is Medical Air Operations, based at Horace Williams Airport. We plan to relocate Medical Air to Raleigh-Durham Airport when we begin the development of Carolina North. Last May, I pledged to keep Horace Williams Airport open until site work for Carolina North begins in approximately three years.

We are absolutely committed to both AHEC and Carolina North. We are not satisfied with maintaining the status quo when it comes to health care for our citizens. With shortages increasing for health professionals, we have bold plans for AHEC. We will seek support this year to expand our training capacity to meet the growing need for dentists, pharmacists, nurses, physicians and other health-care professionals. We will look to AHEC for leadership in improving the diversity of the health-care workforce and addressing unacceptable disparities in health care.

We are deeply proud of the services AHEC provides. Let me ask Dr. Alan Stiles, chair of pediatrics in the School of Medicine, to stand. His department has the highest number of faculty participating in AHEC. Last year, children with special health problems — many with cancer, sickle cell anemia or heart abnormalities — made over 5,000 patient visits to clinics served by our pediatrics faculty.  

Economic development
The change in the economic landscape of North Carolina affects all of its communities, and those dependent upon farming and manufacturing have been especially disrupted. But as I pointed out earlier, no sector of the economy, no sector of the state, is immune from global competition.

We have a great opportunity to reach out to one particularly hard-hit region through the initiative announced Monday in Kannapolis. The North Carolina Research Campus is a promising partnership with the Dole Food Company and the UNC System. We intend to leverage our own research strengths in obesity, nutrition and disease prevention in the development of a new biotechnology and research campus on the site of the former Pillowtex plant.

This project could be yet another great example of how this University is reaching out beyond Chapel Hill and the Research Triangle.  

Expanding our capacity for innovation
We fully intend to expand this University’s capacity for innovation. The best example is Carolina North, our new campus for living and discovery, a place where we will engage in a significant way with the private sector and create affordable housing for faculty and staff in a beautiful environment that will allow people to live near their workplace. We presented the concept for Carolina North to the Board of Trustees in May. The trustees voted unanimously to authorize us to move ahead in working with our potential partners, as well as the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

An economic impact study estimates that Carolina North will generate 7,500 local jobs and about $48 million in annual tax revenues by the year 2020. More importantly, the study confirmed that Carolina North has the potential to position UNC as a leading national center for public-private partnerships.

Carolina North will be a catalyst for the state’s economic transformation.

The state’s universities are the engine for the new economy for North Carolina. Our challenge is to maximize our capacity to help fuel that transformation.  

Public Schools
A fundamental problem facing North Carolina is K-12 education. The numbers I cited earlier send a clear message that our public education system in North Carolina is not keeping pace with 21st century needs.

We have several programs that reflect the University’s growing involvement in K-12 education. For example, LEARN North Carolina is a collaborative statewide network of teachers and partners devoted to improving student performance and teacher proficiencies. Its Web site in our School of Education receives 10,000 visitors per day and provides support to teachers and students in all North Carolina counties.

Destiny and Discovery, our traveling science laboratories, just received additional funding from the General Assembly. This program provides students with hands-on wet-lab science experience and critical classroom materials for teachers. I’ve watched children in several schools experience the innovative science available in these buses, and their enthusiasm is contagious.  

Chancellor’s Task Force on Engagement with North Carolina
Our overall contributions are considerable. The Institute of Government, AHEC and the Carolina Center for Public Service, these are all wonderful examples of how the University is engaged with the state. But I see two problems. First, as a University community, we are not organized for the best possible coordination of our outreach and engagement. Often the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. People around the state are often uninformed about the actual involvement of this University in their communities, or where to go if they have a problem.

We can and must do more. We have a responsibility to continue leading and probing with humility and curiosity opportunities to match our resources with the state’s needs. Our commitment to engagement and public service is part of Carolina’s genetic code.

Therefore, I am convening a panel of University leaders to recommend how we might most effectively mobilize our resources. I am asking a number of senior officers to work directly with me as a special task force to address this question. These challenges facing our state are urgent, and we must respond accordingly.

Their recommendations should reflect an understanding of the work already underway, emphasize specific strategies to improve these efforts, respond to areas of unmet need and identify resources to assure a continuity of effort. The task force will report preliminary findings and recommendations by the end of December.  

A special focus on K-12 education
There is one problem facing North Carolina that we cannot wait to engage — not even for the time it will take this task force to report — and that is the problem of our public schools. To live up to our calling to be the nation’s leading public university, our light must shine with greatest intensity where it is most needed. Nothing calls us more urgently than the challenge of improving public schools in this state.

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded our School of Education a $10 million grant to be the nation’s lead school of education tackling rural school reform. Through our National Research Center on Rural Education Support, our faculty will provide support to teachers and develop programs for students. We can make North Carolina the leading state in school reform.

However, that is only a start. Working under the umbrella of the engagement task force, I am asking the dean of our School of Education, Thomas James, to spearhead a bold initiative that will mobilize us to help the state’s schools achieve dramatic gains in teaching and learning for all children. But this problem is not the province of the School of Education alone. I am committing Carolina’s full range of intellectual power to address these complex issues.

Chancellor James Moeser emphasizes a key point during his annual State of the University address.

Dean James will also work directly with State Board of Education Chair Howard Lee on this strategy for engagement with our public schools. At our summer retreat for deans and vice chancellors, Chairman Lee appealed to us to create a network of faculty, including but going beyond the School of Education, who can respond to critical issues facing public school teachers, much as our Institute of Government faculty respond to the needs of public officials around the state. He also pointed to the critical need for leadership at the level of the local school. I will ask the engagement task force to study these proposals from Chairman Lee.

We have made great strides to ensure that UNC is accessible and affordable to low-income and middle-class students. The Carolina Covenant and its promise of a debt-free education to qualified needy students is widely recognized nationally. It has become a blueprint, not only for admitting deserving students from low-income families, but also for ensuring their academic success. I am pleased that our first class of scholars did exceptionally well. We had an attrition rate of 2.2 percent to the second year. To ensure the continued success of these students, we have launched a faculty mentoring program led by Fred Clark, associate dean of academic services. Let me recognize Fred and those faculty volunteers. I look forward to even more progress with this year’s second class of 344 Covenant Scholars admitted under expanded eligibility requirements announced in last year’s State of the University address.  

Diversity task force
Diversity is a key component of our academic plan. Last year, a special diversity task force underscored the importance of diversity on this campus.

We have made tremendous progress since the racial integration of the University 50 years ago, and from the days when women were not admitted.

We have seen improvement in the diversity of our full-time permanent faculty, especially among female African-Americans and male and female Asians and Hispanics. But we have made frankly little progress among African-American males. We need to examine what is working and what is not. One of the programs that is clearly working is the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity. This state-supported program, begun in 1983, develops scholars from underrepresented groups for possible tenure-track appointments at UNC and other research universities. Twenty-one program graduates now hold tenure-track jobs at Carolina, and another 78 serve on faculties of other universities.

However, the essence of the diversity we seek is not something that can be captured in data. It is intangible; it deals with the spirit, with the culture of the campus.

I want to extend this idea to every dimension of human interaction, including race, religion, politics and sexuality. Some of these categories are the very fault lines in the culture wars in America today. This is our raison d’etre. This University was created at the beginning of the American republic to be a laboratory for democracy. We can show America how to have civil discourse about difficult topics.

We can have a campus culture where gays and lesbians feel welcome, where faith-based groups and political conservatives, as well as liberals, feel that their voice can be heard and respected, and we can do this without adopting speech codes or infringing upon the First Amendment or academic freedom. We can do this.

Archie Ervin, the associate provost for diversity and multicultural affairs, will lead the development of a diversity plan for Carolina, which can have a positive impact on every aspect of our life together on this campus.  

Faculty salaries and campus-based tuition increases
A great university starts and ends with a great faculty. Thus, the number one priority for this University remains attracting and retaining the finest faculty in the world.

As we benchmark ourselves against our national academic peers, we have worked hard to make up lost ground — to stay competitive with America’s and now the world’s best universities.

Last year, faced with increasing competition from private universities, we again held steady with the overall faculty retention rate. From 32 external offers, we retained 21 faculty members and lost 11 to other institutions. The year before, we retained 43 faculty and lost 26, reversing a negative pattern from the year before that.

Our real success, however, has been the ability to reward faculty based on merit and achievement, not just responding to raids. A pre-emptive strategy of recognition and reward always trumps a reactive strategy of offers and counter-offers. No one should feel that recognition only comes through an external offer.

I am encouraged that the Board of Governors has launched a study of the competitive needs of research universities and has established a task force on tuition policy that includes our trustee Chair Nelson Schwab. Meanwhile, our own Tuition Task Force has just begun its work this fall. No one likes tuition increases, and our request to the Tuition Task Force is to study carefully the needs of this campus and to ask only for that which is truly necessary to maintain the high quality of a Carolina education.

Last year, we raised money for 25 new endowed faculty chairs through the Carolina First Campaign. The General Assembly appropriated $8 million in recurring funds across the UNC System to match these gifts and doubled the amount to be matched by the state. Our share of these new state funds totaled $4.3 million, clearing the way for 18 of the 25 new chairs to be fully funded.  

Staff salaries and benefits
Staff salaries and benefits remain a great concern. While we all appreciate this year’s salary increase from the Legislature, I know that many of you just received notification from the State Health Plan about the sharp increase in your out-of-pocket costs. This is yet just another sign that the state’s benefits package is increasingly non-competitive with the private sector and with peer institutions in other states.

We will continue looking for opportunities to take positive action when we can, particularly for employees at the bottom end of the pay scale. Effective last week, we increased annual salaries for all eligible full-time permanent staff to no less than $20,800. That exceeds by at least $688 the most recent action taken by the General Assembly. We have made these in-range adjustments, based on a market study, following state employee procedures and policies. Besides these salary increases, the University is making additional salary adjustments for other lowest-paid staff based on equity. In addition, Dr. Bill Roper, CEO of the UNC Health Care System, is implementing a similar plan for health-care system employees that will take effect early next month.

The work of our employees is important to our academic success. We operate in the highly competitive Research Triangle labor market, and we must compete to keep our very best employees.

I am honored now to recognize winners of the 2005 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards. Please hold your applause until I ask each of them to stand individually: Paul Spencer Davis, maintenance mechanic, Facilities Services; Boka Hadzija; professor, School of Pharmacy; Sue Hester, administrative manager, Honors Program and the Johnston Center; Shirley Ort, associate provost and director of scholarships and student aid; Eric Schopler, professor and founder, Division TEACCH, School of Medicine; and Betty Russell, housekeeper, Facilities Services, who could not be here. These are our very best.

Affordable housing
One issue of concern for both faculty and staff is the need for affordable housing in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. I am pleased, therefore, to announce our intention to build new affordable housing for UNC faculty and staff on a portion of a 63-acre tract that we own close to Carolina North. Details are pending. We hope to create a neighborhood of approximately 140 single-family homes, town homes and condominiums. We are doing this to benefit our faculty and staff. It will be our first venture in building homes for faculty and staff to own, but it will not be our last. We will build even more in Carolina North.

Merit- and need-based scholarships
Carolina attracts great students, and the best of these students have many opportunities. In the past we have lost some to other universities offering merit-based scholarships. We intend to intensify our recruitment of students with exceptional academic and leadership potential, but we shall not do this at the expense of our support for need-based awards. Some institutions have actually diverted funds from need-based aid to recruit high-ability students. That approach is contrary to our values. Rather, we are building a merit-based scholarship program upon a strong foundation that takes care of need first. Few universities can declare, as we do, that they meet 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need of their students.

Last year, our trustees, responding to a creative proposal from Faculty Chair Judith Wegner, voted to allocate all of the proceeds from the sale of trademark-licensed products to scholarships and financial aid. As a result, we created 55 new merit-based scholarships this year. 

Chancellor James Moeser’s address set a bold agenda for UNC.

Through the Carolina First Campaign, we intend to raise $60 million to support additional merit-based scholarships. To jump-start this drive, I am delighted to announce a $10 million bequest from the estate of alumnus Colonel John Harvey Robinson. Within one year of investment, we expect this fund will provide $500,000 annually for new merit-based scholarships. Colonel Robinson’s generosity will assist us in attracting the best and the brightest to Chapel Hill. A member of the Robinson family, Tom Heath, associate director of finance and administration at the Carolina Population Center, is with us today. Let us thank Tom for representing his family.

We will also work to increase the support for need-based awards. We have had great success in seeking support for the Carolina Covenant, for which we have raised almost $3.5 million. We shall continue to seek additional support for this great program with the goal of a $10 million endowment.  

Master plan update
Last fall, we began updating our campus master plan. We remain committed to the bedrock principles of this plan. The bottom line is we are fast approaching the full build-out of the main campus, thanks to a pace of construction that greatly exceeds that envisioned in the original plan. Completion of the main campus and Carolina North together are the future of the University.

As part of our efforts to engage the campus and larger community in this work, we are scheduling additional briefings for the community and the Chapel Hill Town Council. After briefing the council on the master plan update, we will then seek town approval for modifications to our current development plan. At the same time, we will begin conversations with our neighbors in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, as well as with the regional and state transportation and traffic authorities, about key issues related to Carolina North, including transportation and traffic, fiscal equity and environmental issues.  

A renaissance of the arts
We have made enormous strides in science and technology over the past five years. I am enormously proud of what we have accomplished in adding people, equipment and facilities in areas including genomics, advanced materials science, nanotechnology, biotechnology, bioinformatics and information technology, among others. We will continue to pursue excellence in these areas.

But being a great university also includes strength in the arts and humanities. Last weekend, the University community enjoyed the re-opening of Memorial Hall, which, I truly believe, marks the beginning of a renaissance for the arts at Carolina. For me, this is a long-awaited reality. I believe in the power of the arts to transform the human spirit. We don’t talk much about the spirit in this secular university, but we should. The arts can provide the platform for the deepest expressions of what it means to be human. The restoration of Memorial Hall and the new Carolina Performing Arts Series is only the beginning. We also want to enhance the bonds between our academic units in art, dramatic art and music, as well as with existing organizations such as the PlayMakers Repertory Company. Ultimately, the realization of the arts common, including the restoration of Old Playmakers Theatre, Gerrard Hall, the expansion of the Ackland Art Museum and a new music building, will constitute the full story.

The essence of this Renaissance, however, is not in buildings, but in people and programs, representing a tangible bridge to the communities beyond the campus. We invested in this first year of the Carolina Performing Arts program to launch this new series at a level commensurate with a great university, but we cannot sustain it with University funds alone. We have set a goal of a $10 million endowment to continue this high level of program activity. I am delighted to announce a challenge grant of $5 million from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust to help us realize this goal. Dick Krasno, executive director of the Kenan Trust, is with us today. Please join me in thanking him.

Let me also challenge our faculty to find ways to integrate the arts into their teaching, and challenge our students to take advantage of the $10 tickets that are available to them for every one of the 40-plus performances in Memorial Hall. My hope for Carolina is that these presentations, plus the countless other student performances and public lectures that will take place in this wonderfully restored hall, will invigorate the intellectual life of this University, restoring that richness and fabric that we have so missed these past three years.

Ars longa vita brevis. My free translation of that is life is short, but art lasts forever.

Hail to the brightest star of all. Carolina.  

Watch video highlights of the address at

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