Tar Heel women soccer players Ariel Harris, Casey Nogueira
and Yael Averbuch celebrate after an exciting 2-1 victory Dec. 3 over Notre
Dame at SAS Soccer Park in Cary. The victory secured Carolina’s 18th NCAA
championship and concluded a magical season with 27 successive wins after a
season-opening 1-0 double overtime loss at Texas A & M. That mark tied the
school record for victories in a season and returned the NCAA title the team
has won 18 times in the past 25 years to Chapel Hill for the first time since
2003. The Tar Heels improved to 18-3 in the NCAA championship games under Coach
Anson Dorrance’s leadership.
Council approves development proposal change
The Chapel Hill Town Council on Dec. 4 approved the
development plan modification for the main campus that University officials had
submitted last summer.
Council, however, deferred action on a proposed expansion of
the Carolina Inn that had been added to the modification request. The council
also approved a special-use permit for the park-and-ride lot at the Chapel Hill
Bible Church. The lot will reserve 241 badly needed spaces in eastern Chapel
Hill for UNC users.
The plan will add 1.2 million square feet of building space
beyond the previously approved 6 million square feet.
The development plan, which is based on the campus master
plan, is the planning instrument by which the town oversees campus
construction. The plan operates under a special zoning classification that the
University sought in tandem from the town.
Since the development plan was approved in 2001, such
modifications have also been endorsed in summer 2003 and in March 2004.
The latest modification includes several parking projects,
including a three-level addition to the existing Craige deck on Manning Drive
that will shift 890 spaces and the 710-space Bell Tower parking deck. Three new
research buildings for genome sciences will surround the Bell Tower deck. A
pedestrian bridge across South Road will also be a part of the Bell Tower
development. A new two-level parking deck on Skipper Bowles Drive also was
approved that will add 230 parking spaces and feature tennis courts on the top
level connected to the new Rams Village apartments for students.
Other projects include:
A new 180,000 square-foot medical office building on North
A new 200,000 square-foot building for the School of
A new building for the Department of Psychology.
A new 125,000 square-foot building for the School of
Information and Library Sciences.
UNC Imaging Center building connected to the Lineberger
Comprehensive Cancer Center.
A three-building office and storage complex for the
An 8,804-seat addition and improvements at Kenan Stadium.
Renovation of Boshamer Stadium.
A 12,000 square-foot addition to the George Watts Hill
When the University seeks a modification to the plan, it
asks the town to approve in one fell swoop the general characteristics of a
list of new projects before they are designed. Funding is pending for many of
the newly approved projects. The General Assembly appropriated planning funds
for the genome sciences building last year.
Carolina North LAC debates future open space
Perpetuity. It’s a word that’s been tossed back and forth a
lot lately by members of the Carolina North Leadership Advisory Committee.
Some in the group want the University to commit to keeping
75 percent of the land at Carolina North in its natural state in perpetuity —
or forever. Some repeated that desire at the most recent meeting on Nov. 30.
University officials have declined to make such a
commitment, bound by a word that sounds strikingly similar to perpetuity but
means something starkly different.
Future generations will live with the consequences of the
decisions that will be made today about the future of Carolina North.
One thing University Trustee Roger Perry said he and other
trustees refuse to do today is to tie the hands of future leaders 50 years from
University trustees have argued that it is not possible
legally to bind future boards to such a commitment, and even it they could, it
would not be wise to do so.
Fifty years is the span of time that University planners say
it will take to complete five phases envisioned in a previous draft concept
plan. Within those 50 years, Perry said, University officials might accept
making a commitment to restricting development on the 250-acre footprint
Perry identified four types of land within the roughly
1,000-acre site located about a mile north of main campus on the western edge
of Martin Luther King Boulevard.
There is the footprint of 250 acres on which development
could take place, in phases, over the next 50 years.
There is environmentally sensitive land within watersheds
and elsewhere that everyone agrees must be preserved indefinitely.
The third subset of land is buffer zones at the edge of
Carolina North designed to protect adjoining neighborhoods. This land, too,
should remain untouched forever.
The fourth category is the rest of the land outside of the
“There is never, ever going to be a willingness on the part
of the University to put that land in perpetual open space,” Perry said.
On the other hand, he added, it did not seem out of the
question for the University to agree to a conservation easement of 50 or 60
Perry’s comment drew this appreciative response from Chapel
Hill Town Council Member Cam Hill: “For the purpose of most of the people in
this room, 60 years is in perpetuity.”
The issue surfaced again during a discussion about building
heights and the general consensus that had emerged that taller buildings,
especially in the interior of the property away from surrounding neighborhoods,
would put more square footage of buildings on fewer acres to preserve more open
Perry, a successful Chapel Hill developer, said taller
buildings may be the answer for research and academic buildings, but questioned
whether people would want to live in high-rises.
Right now, Perry said, there simply are not many folks who
would choose to live in them.
The University long has pursued plans for mixed-use
development at Carolina North that would include academic, research, housing,
retail and open spaces.
The committee, which has been meeting since last March, is
on track to conclude its work earlier than expected, helped in part by a
marathon six-hour meeting set for Dec. 16. If all goes as planned, the final
meeting will take place on Jan. 18, more than a month ahead of the deadline
that Chancellor James Moeser set when he appointed the group earlier this year.
Among the issues yet to be explored are a set of principles
related to public schools, fiscal equity and a joint report on housing that is
being prepared by Carolina North Executive Director Jack Evans and Carrboro
Mayor Mark Chilton.
Graduate student Andy Pennock (right) has his picture taken
at the Get-a-Passport Drive, held Nov. 15 and 16 during International Education
Week. State Department officials were on campus with passport applications, and
passport photos were taken as a one-stop shopping service to apply for or renew
Among other events that week, Carol Bellamy, former director
of UNICEF, spoke on “Global Poverty: Reflections on Millennium Development
Goals,” and the University Center for International Studies staged its sixth
annual international photography contest and exhibit.
Cabinets to kiosks: Woodworkers’ artistry adorns campus venues
The University has exclusive access to a skilled group of
craftsmen. ‘Craftsmen’ actually might not adequately describe these workers;
they are accomplished artisans — and artists — whose work is displayed in
buildings throughout the campus, including the homes of the UNC president and
Cabinetmaker Terry Tripp uses a planer to smooth a piece of
wood in the Carpentry Shop.
Bobby Jones, Alan Moran and Terry Tripp are cabinetmakers
from Facilities Services’ Carpentry Shop who build the highest quality woodwork
for the entire Carolina community. While ‘cabinetmaker’ might be their working
job title and their expertise can be seen in the cabinets they build, their
work is not limited to cabinets. They are skilled in designing and constructing
desks, furniture, cubicles, vanities, display cases, furnishings for entire
lobbies and reception areas, benches, windows, shutters, kiosks — even bridges
— and much more. In short, if a project involves wood, they can handle it,
whether it requires a table saw, jig saw or a chainsaw.
One of the most impressive skills displayed by this group is
the ability to replicate existing works. They can build exact matches to
furnishings and woodwork, oftentimes just by looking at a photograph. There is
a rich history at Carolina that can be seen in the architecture of the campus’
buildings, and these artisans can capture and duplicate these detailed,
intricate historic and antique designs in works such as doors, decorative
moldings and antique furniture. How they actually produce this woodwork is a
history lesson as well. None of the equipment they use is computerized; they
work with their hands, using both modern and old fashioned tools that require a
great deal of skill and manual dexterity which can only be gained through years
of experience. It may not be as simple as hitting ‘enter’ on a keyboard, but
the time and care they put into their work shows in the quality of their final
The Carpentry Shop also takes on smaller projects that an
outside contractor would never even consider, such as making picture frames,
plaques, recycling bins and easels. They also repair office furnishings that
have been obtained from surplus. They are able to provide the finished product
much quicker — and cheaper — than outside contractors as well; they’re
frequently called upon in an emergency when a department needs quality work
fast. The lead-time for contractors can be up to two to three months.
When it comes to quality, there is no comparison between
their furnishings and the mass-produced, pre-fabricated office furniture from
commercial stores. There’s also no comparison in the quality of overall service
they provide to their customers. Often, UNC employees will make do with the
equipment and furniture that they inherit in their office. Jones, Moran and
Tripp, however, make sure Carolina employees don’t just have furnishings that
“will work,” they make sure their customers have exactly what is needed to do
their jobs. They are dedicated to their customers and will meet with them
one-on-one, talking and listening, sketching out designs and working
collaboratively to ensure employees are completely satisfied. Academic
departments call on them for podiums, lecterns and media centers for their
classrooms while researchers rely on them to provide a place to safely store
years of notes, findings and life-saving research.
All this may seem like a large order for three employees,
but they have pride in and a passion for their work, not to mention nearly 100
years of experience among them. In fact, they have earned such a reputation for
excellence that others not associated with UNC have sought out their services.
They were recently contacted by Duke University about providing their
woodworking expertise, but as employees of a state university, they can only
ply their craft for state government agencies.
As work spaces get more and more cluttered, remember that
quality cabinetry and craftsmanship is at your disposal; and Facilities
Services’ Carpentry Shop is only a call or a click away.
Scope of out-of-state tuition hikes uncertain among BOT
Out-of-state undergraduate tuition now stands at $19,681,
about $4,000 below the average for other top public universities.
Under a “bold stroke” proposal that Chancellor James Moeser
floated before University trustees last month, that $4,000 gap would be closed
in one fell swoop with incoming freshmen next year — who would pay the increase
with the guarantee they would not face another campus-based increase provided
they graduate in four years.
“Our students are asking for predictability,” Moeser said.
“This provides that.”
In regard to his proposal, Moeser told trustees, “I want you
to think about it. That’s all I’m asking you to do today because it’s an
Moeser offered the idea in the midst of a Nov. 16 discussion
about possible tuition increases that will resume next month when the
University Board of Trustees will likely decide on its own proposal to forward
to the UNC Board of Governors for consideration.
Along with Moeser’s trial balloon proposal, trustees will
weigh Moeser’s official recommendation that mirrors that of the Tuition and Fee
Advisory Task Forced co-chaired by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Bernadette Gray-Little and Student Body President James Allred.
The option favored by most task force members — and the one
Moeser endorsed by recommending it to trustees before their meeting, calls for
tuition increases of $250 for resident undergraduates and $500 for all other
students on campus. Further, it calls for requiring all students to pay the
increase, including graduate and professional students subject to paying
school-based increases as well.
Two task force members who did not agree are trustees Karol
Mason and John Ellison who will cast their votes again when the board makes its
final decision next month.
In January of 2004, trustees adopted a philosophy for
tuition increases that set the goal of reaching the 75th percentile among
national peer institutions for out-of-state undergraduate students, while
keeping tuition for in-state undergraduates within the bottom quartile of
The trustees’ philosophy to keep in-state tuition low is
consistent with the University’s historical stance and with a new system-wide
policy the UNC Board of Governors approved this fall that sets a 6.5 percent
cap for in-state undergraduate tuition and fee increases on its 16 campuses
over the next four years.
At Carolina, the cap for next year comes out to $305. The task force
recommendation falls slightly below it, with proposed increases of $250 in
tuition and $50.48 in student fees subject to the restriction.
The other bedrock policy that has been in place since
campus-based tuition increases have been allowed is to hold low-income students
harmless by setting aside 35 percent to 40 percent of additional revenues for
For the current academic year, in-state undergraduate
tuition rose by $250, while out-of-state undergraduates paid an additional
Moeser, before making his $4,000 proposal, said he sensed
that the consensus among trustees had a similar increase for out-of-state
students in mind.
Moeser said he understood and supported the trustees’ push
to reach the 75th percentile, yet he said he shared the concerns that Allred
and students have expressed that out-of-state students not begin to feel as if
they were here only to serve as cash cows. Out-of-state students come here to
get a quality education, but their presence here enhances the quality of
education for everybody, he said.
Everyone agrees on the goal, he said, which is to generate
revenues needed to improve faculty salaries so that they are truly competitive
with national peers. Moeser said the proposal was his attempt to offer “an
alternative to get to the same point with a different path.”
That path has been a long and arduous one, with an end goal
that is a moving target. As Carolina moves aggressively to raise its faculty
salaries, competing institutions are not sitting still in the salaries they
offer their faculties.
The task force recommendation that Moeser initially backed
would generate about $6.5 million for faculty salaries, graduate stipends and
need-based financial aid. But that calculation is based on requiring all
students to pay the campus-based increase — a recommendation that a majority of
trustees appear not to support.
Gray-Little, in making the case for a true campuswide
increase, has argued that it was the original model used after UNC campuses
were authorized to set campus-based hikes and use the revenue for campus
Since the 2000-01 academic year, campus-based tuition has
generated more than
$24.6 million for targeted faculty salaries and compensation, including
Trustee Paul Fulton, who co-chairs the Carolina First
steering committee, said the campaign expects to move past the $2 billion mark
by March and that faculty support has been a major campaign priority.
Similarly, the state legislature awarded generous average
increases of 6 percent to faculty members within the UNC system. The trustees,
in turn, must be willing to do their part — even when what they have to do
isn’t easy, he said.
“I don’t know how I in good faith can go to the legislature
and donor base (for continued support) when we are not making tough decisions
that are consistent with our state’s philosophy” of low in-state tuition,
Gomes, Aber named as 2007-08 Keohane chairs
The University welcomes two distinguished professors next
year as part of an ongoing collaboration between Carolina and Duke University.
Harvard professor Peter Gomes, who delivered the 2005
commencement address at Carolina, and New York University professor J. Lawrence
Aber, a child development specialist, will teach jointly at the universities as
recipients of the Nannerl O. Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professorship.
Provosts at UNC and Duke selected Gomes and Aber in
consultation with an advisory committee of faculty from each university.
Recipients, who spend about six months at each university, receive up to
$50,000 for travel, research and related expenses. They are responsible for
contributing to the teaching mission and undergraduate curriculum at both
universities, delivering at least one major public lecture and promoting
collaboration and the enhancement of intellectual life.
Gomes will teach at UNC in spring 2008, Aber in Fall 2007.
The yearlong professorship was created in 2004 to honor former Duke president
Keohane’s contributions toward advancing collaboration between the two
“It is wonderful to welcome Dr. Gomes back to Chapel Hill
and to introduce Dr. Aber to the leading academic institutions in the Tar Heel
state,” said Steve Allred, executive associate provost. “Both men have
distinguished themselves in their fields, and they will be fine additions to
the longstanding history of collaboration between Carolina
Gomes has been Plummer professor of Christian morals and
Pusey minister in the Memorial Church of Harvard University since 1974. He is
recognized as one of the nation’s most distinguished preachers and has been
profiled in CBS’ “60 Minutes” program and The New Yorker, among other national
Aber is professor of applied psychology and public policy at
New York University. His research examines the influence of violence and
poverty in families and communities as it relates to child development.
Half of the $3 million needed to create the professorship
bearing Keohane’s name was pledged as a challenge by Carolina graduate Julian
Robertson and his wife Josie of New York, who also funded the Robertson
Scholars Program, a joint merit-based scholarship program at Carolina and Duke.
The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust provided the remaining $1.5 million.
The trust has been among Carolina’s most generous benefactors and also has
supported the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke.
Near-record returns grow endowment
The UNC-Chapel Hill Foundation Investment Fund reached $1.48
billion in fiscal 2006, after recording a 19.2 percent net investment return,
the third highest in the past 20 years.
Jon King, president and chief executive officer of UNC
Management Co. Inc., which manages the fund, presented the investment results
the November meeting of the University Board of Trustees.
“What this return means to UNC, and to the state, is that
the University has a very solid foundation from which to support new and
existing programs and to build for the future,” King said. The investment fund
makes up a majority of UNC’s overall endowment.
According to an independent survey of 149 colleges and
universities, UNC’s investment return rate was first among public universities
and in the top 6 percent overall. Only returns in fiscal 2000 (27.3 percent)
and 1999 (19.7 percent) outperformed this year’s, King said.
UNC’s investment fund, a diversified portfolio, is
positioned for growth and includes a significant allocation to non-traditional
assets including international equity, private equity and private energy
related investments. The allocation to these asset classes, combined with
excellent performance generated by the fund’s investment managers, were key to
the fund’s growth, King said. The fund outperformed its primary benchmark, the
Strategic Investment Policy Portfolio (SIPP), which returned 14.1 percent for
“We had the wind at our back,” said King, who began his role
at UNC Management Co. Inc. in January 2005, after growing Dartmouth College’s
endowment to almost $2.5 billion. “We were over-allocated to the asset classes
that did well, under-allocated to the classes that didn’t do well, and our
investment managers turned in very strong performances.
“UNC’s fund tends to do better in years when non-traditional
asset classes outperform traditional U.S. stocks and bonds, as was the case in
the most recent fiscal year,” he said.
The 2006 results set the three-year return — 16.9 percent —
at its highest mark in 20 years. The five-year return hit 10.6 percent, placing
the one-, three- and five-year returns above the SIPP benchmark for each of
these periods. The growth also places UNC’s endowment in the top 15 percent of
all colleges and universities for the past one-, three-, and five-year periods.
Increasing the University’s overall endowment is a major
objective of the Carolina First Campaign, a multi-year private fund-raising
effort with a goal of $2 billion by December 2007. The campaign has received
gifts and pledges of more than $1.9 billion.
The campaign has nearly reached its $800 million target to
support the endowment.
Researchers work with rural educators nationwide
School of Education researchers involved in federally funded
collaborations with rural schools have learned that teachers there are the
projects’ best friends.
Marnie Ginsberg performs a targeted reading
intervention with Rachel Quade at FPG Child Development Institute.
The teachers’ understanding of their students’ families and
communities has proven indispensable, say School of Education professors
involved with the projects — all conducted by the National Research Center on
Rural Education Support in the school.
“Many of our teachers are extremely experienced,” said Lynne
Vernon-Feagans, William C. Friday distinguished professor of education and a
center co-director. “They live in these areas. They know the families. You
often don’t have that in an urban area.”
The U.S. Department of Education established the center in
2004 with a $10 million, five-year grant to the school. Researchers from UNC’s
Center for Developmental Science, School of Social Work, Frank Porter Graham
Child Development Institute and psychology and sociology departments also are
The grant funded three projects, on children’s transitions
into kindergarten and first grade; use of distance learning in rural schools;
and students’ transitions into early adolescence.
Since then, researchers have worked with rural educators
nationwide to add more studies, said Tom Farmer, center director and a former
UNC School of Education faculty member, who left recently for Pennsylvania
The additional research looks at the following topics in
rural schools: teacher retention and administrative turnover; special education
needs and services; and the preparation of rural adolescents for transition
from high school to adulthood.
Center partners in these projects include the Rural Schools
and Community Trust, the University of Oklahoma, Stephen F. Austin University,
the Southwest Regional Educational Laboratory and Penn State.
The researchers recognize that many rural school districts
lack the resources of wealthy urban and suburban districts. The national
research center aims to level the achievement playing field nationwide —
starting from when students enter kindergarten.
Vernon-Feagans and her researchers began by asking teachers
about the challenges they face. “They all have kids at the bottom of the class
who don’t seem to be learning,” she said
Research shows that such children benefit most from
individual attention, but how could teachers find the time? They all
brainstormed. “We problem-solve with the teachers,” said Vernon-Feagans. “We
don’t tell them what to do.”
Creating learning stations where the other children could
work independently for a time and briefly turning classes over to teaching
assistants were among the answers.
“If a teacher works one-on-one with a child for 15 minutes a
day, four times a week, for two months or so, that child can make enormous
progress,” Vernon-Feagans said. “Teachers come to like these children better
through this process, and the children come to like them.”
Her group and
the teachers develop simple strategies and inexpensive materials for this
tutoring, including free resources teachers can download from the Internet.
So far, the project is at work in just a few school
districts, but the work is always hardest at first. Vernon-Feagans expects
lessons learned in these districts will make for easier start-ups later, so
that the project could be in as many as 20 states by 2009.
Wallace Hannum, UNC associate professor of educational
psychology, directs the center’s project on distance learning for secondary
education and professional development for teachers in rural schools.
Often, the schools cannot offer comprehensive curricula
because of problems finding and retaining teachers for all subjects —
especially advanced math and science, he said.
The School of Education’s LEARN North Carolina program
offers more than 50 advanced placement and other courses online to all schools
statewide. Now, LEARN collaborates with Hannum by offering courses to the
schools he is studying.
Hannum finished a national survey on distance learning in rural schools, with
responses from 394 of a random sample of 415 districts. Among the findings: 68
percent use distance learning to offer courses they can’t offer otherwise. Next,
Hannum will look at how to improve the effectiveness of such courses.
Kim Dadisman, co-director of intervention research at the
UNC Center for Developmental Science, directs the national center’s project on
transition to early adolescence. The project now operates in two areas of the
country, with school districts nationwide to be added in the years to come,
Before working with a district, researchers gather data on
the community and its schools. Then, they work with teachers in grades five
The researchers ask teachers to describe the most important
issues in their classes and communities. Then, researchers and teachers
collaborate to develop training for teachers in managing these issues, using
engagement, or ways to get students actively involved in learning;
social dynamics, or peer networks, how teachers can recognize them and use that
awareness to develop positive behavior;
parents understand their children’s changing needs as they grow into
Research findings figure in the training, conducted before
school starts in the fall; some districts offer continuing education credits
for participation. Researchers then consult throughout the school year with the
teachers, in face-to-face meetings, videoconferences and online.
“This is a time developmentally when students are acquiring
new skills, new peers and new social roles,” Dadisman said. “It is a prime time
for teachers to guide these students as they are coming into new social roles.”
Library offers mapping services to interpret data
Everything happens somewhere.
For University Library employee Amanda Henley, that means
everything can be placed onto maps.
Henley is the geographic information systems, or GIS,
librarian at Davis Library. She provides training and consulting for use of the
library’s four GIS-ready computers and three printers.
GIS is a way to make maps using computers. Custom maps are
created from layers of spatial data (such as roads, rivers or county
boundaries). Those features are paired with attributes, such as county names or
population information. So, county boundaries could be combined with population
data to make a map with populations by county. Or road maps could be paired
with air pollution data.
“The location and attributes of map features are compared to
perform complex analyses,” Henley said. “This would be very difficult using
Henley, who received her master’s degree in geography from
UNC, said students from a number of disciplines have used the library computers
and her consulting services to complete projects.
Dilys Bowman, a doctoral student in the geography
department, has used the GIS services provided by the library. Henley, she
said, has been a helpful resource.
“She has gone to bat to make data easier to use, and also to
ask for data when we don’t have it, and the need is potentially greater than
one individual’s,” Bowman said.
A GIS map is only as good as the data that goes into making,
Henley said, so she is constantly on the lookout for new or more comprehensive
Henley also collaborates with other campus groups that
provide GIS services, including the Odum Institute for Research in Social
Sciences and Information Technology Services.
“I think we’re very fortunate to have her,” Bowman said.
GIS is useful for a number of topics. Public health students
might use maps to look for trends in diseases when combined with census data.
Planning students can use the technology to analyze population sprawl and
transportation trends. Environmental science students might look at land cover
change over time, or the impact of urbanization on water quality.
The advantage of computer mapping over the more traditional
paper method, Henley said, is the ability to make calculations and changes.
Symbology can be altered, and databases can be added or updated.
In addition to providing consulting for GIS users at the
library, Henley also has taught several short training classes at the Odum
Institute, and designed web pages and online tutorials — complete with animated
demonstrations and step-by-step instructions. Henley has also worked with ITS
to facilitate access to commercial GIS courses available online to UNC students
Much of her time, she said, is spent helping people find and
format data for accurate mapping.
Davis Library’s four GIS computers are available any time
the library is open, and the printers are available any time the reference desk
is staffed. A large format plotter, used solely for printing maps made using
GIS, is available for use by appointment only.
With myriad uses and modern capabilities, GIS offers
students researching topics that interest them a way to put data into a
tangible format. For Henley, the allure of GIS started with an interest in
resource management and has grown to include the wide span of work she does
today. “I really enjoy this job because there is so much variety,” she said. “I
get to see bits and pieces of different kinds of projects all the time.”
For more information about the library’s GIS services, call
Henley (962-1151) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or refer to
@yourlibrary highlights library services, collections,
events and news of special interest to faculty and staff. Questions about this
feature and requests for future topics may be sent to Judy Panitch
(email@example.com), director of library communications. The website for
the UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries is www.lib.unc.edu. This month’s column was
written by Margaret Hair.
Davis is welcomed at UNC
The University introduced Butch Davis as the new football
coach during a Nov. 27 news conference. Since arriving, Davis has been
introducing himself to Carolina fans, appearing during halftime of recent men’s
and women’s basketball games. Davis is a 32-year coaching veteran with stints
at the University of Miami, where he turned around a program hit with NCAA
sanctions, and the Cleveland Browns. UNC leaders have emphasized his commitment
to graduating players and helping develop their character.
Students use wireless clickers to share feedback in classrooms
It’s not “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” but it’s close.
Response systems similar to ones used to poll studio audiences are now being
used in classrooms at Carolina.
Michael Masterson uses his wireless response system on a
quiz during Debra Murray’s class.
Commonly known as “clickers,” these hand-held wireless
devices are used in academic settings to gauge students’ comprehension, provoke
discussion and facilitate class participation and peer feedback.
Instructors using clickers are finding them to be a
thoughtful and periodic way during a 50- or 75-minute class to keep students
engaged. Even in very large classes, all students can participate equally.
Debbie Murray, a lecturer in the Department of Exercise and
Sport Science, has been using the clickers for three semesters.
“I teach the course entitled ‘Personal Health,’ she said,
“and because the course is designed around applying concepts of health and
wellness to each individual’s personal lifestyle, there needs to be strong
interaction between instructor and student. I teach classes with 70 to 85
students and the clickers really help students participate in a meaningful
One of the biggest benefits is immediacy. According to
Murray, clickers offer the option to poll and almost instantly display a graph
of results. Those results often surprise students and foster discussion and
class participation, especially since the clicker offers an anonymous mode.
“The opportunity to answer sensitive questions anonymously
is very important because my class addresses topics such as being sexually
responsible and the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs,” said Murray.
Murray also uses clickers for quizzes, test preparation and
a daily class participation grade.
“The feedback I get from students is very positive,” she
According to sales figures provided by Student Stores, at
least a dozen instructors ordered clickers last semester and more than 900
students purchased them. The devices are often marketed by textbook publishers,
and, in addition to the cost of the device itself, some publishers also require
additional fees for device registration.
In response to the growing use of these devices, Information
Technology Services (ITS)Teaching and Learning is evaluating several response
systems and plans to announce a recommended standard by Feb. 1 in time for
textbook orders to be placed for the next summer and fall.
“The market is in flux at the moment with a number of
available products,” said Bob Henshaw, project coordinator for academic
outreach. “It’s really a pocketbook issue for the students. If we can recommend
a standard, then it will help prevent students from having to purchase and keep
up with multiple devices.”
A recommended standard provides leverage to negotiate
favorable pricing for students and instructors and will facilitate technical
and pedagogical support for instructors interested in using response systems,
“Because these are wireless systems, Teaching and Learning
is consulting with the Networking division to gauge each product’s
compatibility with campus WiFi and other devices using radio-frequency
transmission,” said Suzanne Cadwell, academic outreach consultant, who is also
working on the project.
Cadwell and Henshaw are gathering information from
instructors who use clicker systems for feedback on what features the
instructors find important and how the systems are used in classes.