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University Gazette

bullet Celebrating 75 years: Information, library science school marks anniversary
bullet Diversity plan advances vision for community
bullet Bowles to help celebrate UNC’s 213th birthday
bullet Carolina hits new NIH funding mark, ranks 15th
bullet Carolina First campaign
bullet Albright to speak at May 2007 commencement
bullet Faculty Council: New chair asks what issues council should explore
bullet SECC kicks off campaign with Oct. 3 charity fair
bullet Pandemic topic of Sept. 29 broadcast, talk
bullet Tuition task force set to weigh tuition levels against revenue targets
bullet Planetarium launches ‘Destination: Space’
bullet FYI Research: Mapping invaders in Darwin’s Isles of Inspiration

bullet Detecting mercury: making the workplace a safer environment
bullet Basic PowerPoint class is available through CBT
bullet HR and ITS collaborate to offer business skills training courses

Information, library science school marks anniversary

José-Marie Griffiths (left), dean of the School of Information and Library Science, is accompanied by former deans Joanne Marshall, Barbara Moran, Evelyn Daniel and Raymond Carpenter as they cut birthday cake at the school’s 75th anniversary celebration on Sept. 18.

The reception, held at Memorial Hall, was the kickoff of SILS’ series of events encompassed by the theme “Illuminating the Past, Imagining the Future.” On Sept. 21, for example, SILS students held poster sessions and panel discussions. And the Adventures in Ideas Symposium, co-sponsored with the Program in Humanities and Human Values, featured “Censorship, Privacy, National Security and Other Dilemmas of the Information Age,” on Sept. 22-23.

For complete information on SILS’ anniversary speakers and events, refer to

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Diversity plan advances vision for community

The University announced this month a five-point plan to advance a campus vision for a diverse and inclusive campus community.

After attending a national summit on diversity in higher education held at the University of Texas-Austin in 2004, Chancellor Moeser became convinced that Carolina should not leave its vision for a diverse and inclusive community to chance, but rather should develop a plan that would help guide its actions and commitment to diversity.  During a debriefing with senior administrators on the diversity summit, Moeser asked Archie Ervin, associate provost for diversity and multicultural affairs, to take the leadership for assessing how well the University was doing in creating a campus climate welcoming to all. The Chancellor’s Task Force on Diversity completed work in April 2005 with a report that contained eight recommendations to advance Carolina’s vision for diversity.

In response to the diversity task force report, Moeser appointed Ervin to lead an ad hoc committee of faculty and senior administrators to use the work of the task force to develop a plan for diversity that would address the issues identified by the diversity task force. In May 2006, the ad hoc committee submitted a final draft of the diversity plan to the chancellor.

Moeser, in a campuswide letter on Sept. 7, said the plan will set common goals for University leaders and provide an avenue for sharing strategies. The five goals are to:

bullet Define and publicize the University's commitment to diversity.

bullet Achieve the critical masses of underrepresented populations necessary to ensure the educational benefits of diversity in faculty, staff, students, and executive, administrative and managerial positions.

bullet Make high-quality diversity education, orientation and training available to all members of the university community.

bullet Create and sustain a climate in which respectful discussions of diversity are encouraged and take leadership in creating opportunities for interaction and cross group learning.

bullet Support further research to advance the University's commitment to diversity.

Ervin, in a recent interview, said the five-point plan is the cornerstone initiative that will put into practice what the campus has long embraced in principle. The practice calls on unit leaders to submit baseline reports this fall and an initial full diversity report in spring 2007, as part of the annual budget review process.

Ervin emphasized that the diversity initiative is really an extension of the goal of diversity that is already part of the University’s five-year academic plan.

“We took a cue from the academic plan, which was the result of lots of labor, lots of groups vetting, but the approach of the plan is these are the strategic steps that will allow us to achieve the vision we have for ourselves,” Ervin said.

Ervin said the expectation is that senior leadership will embrace these strategic steps as goals within their respective units, departments and schools. This approach, he said, avoids “dictating downward.” Instead, it seeks to get school deans, department chairs and directors to incorporate diversity into their budgeting and planning. “Deans, vice chancellors and other senior leaders are expected to balance budgets and put a plan together for academic priorities,” Ervin said. “We want to say that included in that planning and leadership are issues and dimensions of diversity that are relevant to each unit.”

He described it as a process of self-accountability. “We are not in a culture where you can dictate accountability,” Ervin said. “People either assume responsibility for things or they don’t.”

Ervin said a second part of the process is for campus leaders to complete a report of what they are already doing related to diversity in October. “We’ve never had a way to systematically become more aware of what we are doing,” He said. “There are so many things going on here that Carolina deserves a lot of high praise for.”

The reports, Ervin said, will create an inventory of activities that can be catalogued in such a way as to allow good models to be shared throughout campus.

To learn more about the diversity plan and download the complete plan, go to:

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Bowles to help celebrate UNC’s 213th birthday

Virtual museum debuts on University Day


The University will celebrate its 213th birthday on Oct. 12 with a speech by UNC President Erskine Bowles and an awards presentation in Memorial Hall. Students, faculty, staff and the public are invited to the free public ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m.

University Day was created by the UNC Board of Trustees to commemorate the laying of the cornerstone of Old East, the nation’s first state university building, on Oct. 12, 1793. The university was chartered by the state legislature in 1789 and welcomed its first students in 1795.

At 3 p.m., Chancellor James Moeser will help unveil a virtual museum of University history at a public symposium in Wilson Library’s Pleasants Family Assembly Room. The web-based museum, a joint project of the UNC Center for the Study of the American South and the University Library, chronicles Carolina’s people and events from its founding to the present day. As a comprehensive resource, the virtual museum contains blunt historical truths, including the role of slavery in the growth of the University.

“This project was born of both pride and responsibility,” said Harry Watson, director of the Center for the Study of the American South. “Carolina has a rich and complex story that includes some very painful episodes. It’s important to thoroughly understand our past in order to move intelligently to the future.”

In addition to Watson, the symposium will include William Darity Jr., Boshamer distinguished professor of economics and director of the Institute of African American Research; James Leloudis, associate professor of history, associate dean for honors and director of the Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence; and Jacquelyn Hall, Spruill professor of history and director of the Southern Oral History Program. The symposium will explore historical perspectives on race and the University; service to the state and region; and gender and Southern education.

University Day became a college holiday in 1877 and an all-day celebration in 1900. In 1906, Edwin A. Alderman, former University president, received an honorary degree, the first given on University Day. That practice evolved into the Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards, first presented in 1971 to alumni who had distinguished themselves in a manner that brought credit to the University.

This year’s recipients, who will be recognized at the Memorial Hall event, are: Valarie Alayne Batts, Angela Rebecca Bryant, William “Bill” Burwell Harrison Jr., Weiming Lu, Charles Barnet Nemeroff and George Edwin Stuart III.

Batts and Bryant are co-founders of VISIONS Inc., a nonprofit firm offering consultancy and training in multiculturalism. Both are natives of Rocky Mount. Batters earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UNC in 1974. She helped found the Black Student Movement at Carolina and was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece, the Order of the Valkyries and the Order of the Old Well.

Bryant earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1973 and a doctoral degree in law in 1976, both from UNC. She helped develop the Wright Center, a multicultural adult daycare health project in Rocky Mount.

Harrison earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from UNC in 1966 and played basketball for Dean Smith. In 2001, Harrison was named chair and chief executive officer of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. He piloted the company through its merger with Bank One Corp. Harrison has served on Carolina’s Board of Visitors, the Bicentennial Steering Committee and the National Development Council. In 2004, the Board of Trustees honored him with the Davie Award.

Lu earned his master’s in regional planning from UNC in 1956. As president of Lowertown Redevelopment Corp. in St. Paul, Minn., Lu has advised major urban design projects including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and redevelopment of Chattanooga, Tenn., and south-central Los Angeles. Lu is a member of the Committee of 100, a national organization of Chinese American leaders.

Nemeroff earned his doctoral and medical degrees from UNC in 1976 and 1981, respectively. He is now Reunette W. Harris professor and chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Emory University School of Medicine. Nemeroff’s research focuses on biological basis of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and affective disorders. He has received numerous honors, including the Gold Medal Award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry and election to the Institute of Medicine.

Stuart earned his doctoral degree in anthropology from UNC in 1975. He spent 38 years as resident archaeologist for the National Geographic Society, retiring in 1998, and was the society’s vice president for research and exploration. A native of Barnardsville, his seven books include “Lost Kingdoms of the Maya” and “The Mysterious Maya.” He founded and directs the Center for Maya Research in the Yucatan and oversees the scholarly journals Research Reports on Ancient Maya Writing and Ancient America.

More information is available at

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Carolina hits new NIH funding mark, ranks 15th

The University received nearly $300 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in fiscal 2005, placing Carolina 15th overall and first among public universities in the South.

The $296.6 million total, an all-time high, was a 2.3 percent increase over funding of $289.7 million in fiscal 2004, and it represented more than $150 million in growth in biomedical research at UNC since 1998. It was also slightly more than half of UNC’s total research funding for fiscal 2005.

“The growth of investment by the federal government is a tribute to the diligent and creative work performed by Carolina faculty,” said Tony Waldrop, vice chancellor for research and economic development. “The continued success reflects a determination to improve the health of everyone in North Carolina, while making a mark among the best research institutions in the world. Everyone in the state can be proud of this success.”

The NIH is the federal government’s main source of basic research into such diseases as cancer, AIDS, diabetes, heart disease and mental illnesses. The bulk of the funding went to academic research centers.

NIH funding to UNC put all five health affairs schools in the top 20 of all public and private universities.

Within the medical school, the department of pharmacology ranked first in the nation, with more than $21 million in funding. That department has particular strengths in developing drugs to fight cancer and alcohol addiction as well as studying cellular proteins and their roles in causing disease. Other top-10 medical departments were: biomedical engineering, fifth; biochemistry, seventh; anatomy and cell biology, ninth; and genetics, 10th.

“The increase in NIH funding reflects our commitment to becoming the nation’s leading public medical school,” said William L. Roper, dean of the School of Medicine, vice chancellor for health affairs and chief executive officer of the UNC Health Care System. “The NIH is a very important source of funding for UNC. It makes possible much of the work we do in our laboratories and the clinical trials our patients participate in.”

The growth comes when total NIH awards had its smallest one-year increase since 1996. The NIH budget doubled from $11.2 billion in 1998 to more than $22.9 billion in 2004. In 2005, awards totaled $23.4 billion. The NIH budget is expected to decrease in 2007.

Roper attributed Carolina’s steady climb to the success of interdisciplinary teams, which compete more effectively for NIH grants. Also, UNC has received more NIH Roadmap awards than any other school. These grants encourage researchers to attack some of the most difficult problems using interdisciplinary collaboration. They are intended to break through traditional barriers to discoveries and deliver results more quickly, according to the NIH. Carolina’s total funding through this program, in its second year, totals $15.5 million.

UNC’s strategy to create centers where multidisciplinary teams can work together will help Carolina continue to compete successfully for shrinking research funding, Waldrop said.

“We’re in a good position now, but we need to continually assess our strategies and decrease our dependence on federal funding. Carolina has lagged in the arena of corporate support. That’s one target we are taking careful aim toward now so we’re more strongly positioned in the future,” Waldrop said.

Health Affairs' schools’ NIH rankings and funding totals:

bullet School of Medicine, 17th, $217.4 million

bullet School of Public Health, 6th, $36.6 million

bullet School of Dentistry, 5th, $10.1 million

bullet School of Nursing, 4th, $7.3 million

bullet School of Pharmacy, 14th, $5.8 million

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Carolina First

Gift of the Month: August

Gift: $500,000

Donor: The V Foundation for Cancer Research

Purpose: Breast Cancer Research

The V Foundation for Cancer Research, headquartered in Cary, has funded a $1 million, four-year collaboration between UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, with each getting $500,000. The grant will fund a study to individualize treatment for breast cancer. The grant honors Jamie Valvano Howard, Jim Valvano’s daughter, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2005.

Goal: $2 billion

Raised: (as of Aug. 31) 87 percent/$1.83 billion

Amount of campaign complete: 84 percent

Amount raised in August: $4.1 million

Campaign runs through: Dec. 31, 2007

More information:

bullet Amount of campaign complete:
84 percent

bullet Amount raised in August:
$30.2 million

bullet  Campaign runs through:
Dec. 31, 2007

bullet More information:

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Albright to speak at May 2007 commencement

Madeleine Albright, first female Secretary of State, will deliver the University’s spring commencement address set for May 13.


Chancellor James Moeser, who will preside at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony in Kenan Stadium, said, “I think it is fitting that Dr. Albright will address our graduates as the University celebrates our accomplishments in global education throughout 2007.

“Our students will benefit from her valuable insights on world affairs.”

Albright served as the 64th Secretary of State and is the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. As secretary, Albright reinforced America’s alliances, advocated democracy and human rights and promoted American trade and business, labor and environmental standards abroad.

Moeser chose Albright in close consultation with the University’s commencement speaker selection committee. The committee, chaired by executive associate provost Steve Allred, is composed of an equal number of students and faculty.

“Dr. Albright was a unanimous and enthusiastic choice,” Allred said. “She is a highly sought-after opinion maker and consultant on world affairs,” he said.

In 2006, Albright participated in meetings at the White House to discuss United States foreign policy with Bush administration officials.

Student Body President James Allred, who nominated Albright to the selection committee, said he was thrilled Albright would participate in commencement.

“Carolina students are entering an increasingly global work force, and she can address students’ interests in these areas. Global and immigrant issues will also be fresh on the minds of the Carolina student body because our summer reading book focused on these topics,” James Allred said.

Prior to her appointment as secretary of state, Albright served as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations (presenting her credentials at the UN on Feb. 6, 1993) and as a member of President Clinton’s Cabinet and National Security Council.

“I am honored and privileged to have such a distinguished political figure as part of our commencement ceremony,” said Meg Petersen, senior class president. “Personally, as a female leader on campus, I am especially enthusiastic about hosting the first female Secretary of State at UNC.”

After retiring as secretary of state, Albright published her memoir, “Madam Secretary” in 2003 and “The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs” in 200). She is currently a professor at Georgetown University and a principal in The Albright Group LLC, a global strategy firm she founded in Washington, D.C.

Albright is the first Michael and Virginia Mortara Endowed Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service; the first Distinguished Scholar of the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan Business School; chair of The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation.

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Faculty Council News

New chair asks what issues council should explore

Carnac the Magnificent was the role Johnny Carson once ruled. At the Sept. 15 Faculty Council meeting, the role was reprised — minus Ed McMahon and his hermetically sealed envelopes and mayonnaise jar — in the form of new Faculty Chair Joe Templeton.

In place of McMahon was sidekick Sue Estroff, who, exactly six years before, debuted for her three-year term as faculty chair by whipping on a glittering, sequined Carolina jacket that a student gave her and dared her to wear.

Estroff, in introducing Templeton, said there are many different models for being a chair. There are the hot seat, and the electric chair (filled by outgoing chair Judith Wegner), the easy chair (James Peacock), the overstuffed chair (unnamed), the booster or high chair (Jane Brown), the ergonomic chair (Pete Andrews), and the folding chair, which Estroff claimed for herself. The one chair yet to be modeled, Estroff added, is the rocking chair.

For Templeton, a chemistry professor at Carolina the past 30 years, Estroff bestowed the undistinguished and unendowed chair: “the Carnac chair of questionable judgment.”

Templeton, like Carson, divined answers to questions sealed inside envelopes. And hidden within each answer was a joke or pun aimed more at being corny and fun than funny.

An example:

Estroff: Ebenezer. Old geezer. James Moeser.

Templeton: Describe the name of Scrooge, Joe Ferrell (the longtime faculty secretary) and the best UNC chancellor of the 21st century.

Another example:

Estroff: Dunce.

Templeton: What would be the logo after Duke merged with UNC.

Templeton, at the end of the meeting, revealed he really does not have psychic powers when he set up a white board and asked Faculty Council members to come up with issues that the council should explore over the coming year.

Among the topics suggested were PACE (UNC President Erskine Bowles’ President’s Advisory Committee on Efficiency and Effectiveness); ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning; the role of graduate students, health-care costs, faculty compensation, research collaboration and non tenure-track faculty.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bernadette Gray-Little reviewed efforts to improve four-year graduate rates and, in a separate presentation, the potential major challenges posed by enrollment growth in the decade ahead. The provost previously made both presentations to the Board of Trustees.

The current long-range plan, submitted to General Administration in December 2005, projects a student population of 29,447 by fall of 2015, an increase of 2,171 students from the 27,276 students enrolled in fall of 2005.

Gray-Little said there will be increasing pressure over the next decade to accept more students because of the rising number of college-age students within the state, coupled with the popularity of the Carolina campus.

One of the concerns that Gray-Little cited was that a bigger campus would become less desirable for the top students that the University seeks to attract.

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SECC kicks off campaign with Oct. 3 charity fair

The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina serves an estimated third of the state of North Carolina — or 18,689 square miles. And the need is great within that large area: The 34 counties served are home to more than 400,000 people who are at risk of hunger, statistics indicate.

“Food is a lifeline — period,” said Christy Simmons, manager of public relations for the organization. “If a person has enough food, that means they don’t have to choose between food and other necessities. A mother doesn’t have to choose between food and rent. An elderly person doesn’t have to worry about choosing between food and medicine.”

The Food Bank is one of the more than 850 independent charities and organizations that receive — and depend on — support from the North Carolina State Employees Combined Campaign. “Carolina Together: Supporting a Great Cause” is the theme for UNC’s upcoming SECC effort, which will officially kick off Oct. 3 with a 10 a.m.-noon charity fair at the Frank Porter Graham Student Union’s Great Hall. The University community is invited to attend.

“Carolina has been a huge component in the fund-raising efforts for the SECC, and our employees have put a lot of time, creativity and fun into their individual department efforts in the past,” said John N. Williams, UNC’s SECC chair and dean of the School of Dentistry. “The Carolina community comes together quickly and effectively to help people in need, and I am confident that we will have an extremely successful effort this year.”

Refreshments and door prizes (including four tickets to the UNC-Georgia Tech game, lunch for two at Carolina CrossRoads Restaurant, SECC T-shirts and much more) will be part of the fun on Oct. 3. Training for captains, who will lead SECC efforts in their own academic units, will take place in the multipurpose room on the Student Union’s first floor concurrently with the charity fair.

Administrative costs for the SECC have totaled 15 percent or less since 1992, and organizations must meet stringent requirements each year to participate, said Stephen E. Davis, interim executive director for the N.C. SECC.

 Simmons said that for every dollar donated, the Food Bank is able to distribute more than $8 worth of food. She added that 97 cents of every dollar goes directly to food and food programs.

“More than 890 partner agencies come in our warehouses to shop, and we get so much pride in looking out the window and seeing the food move, literally, onto the shelves and off the shelves.”

For more information on the organizations included in this year’s SECC initiative, visit For more information on the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, refer to

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Pandemic topic of Sept. 29 broadcast, talk

Public health experts predict that a new pandemic flu would affect every community and every citizen. On Sept. 29, the School of Public Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will examine how communities can prepare for pandemic influenza.

The program, part of the Public Health Grand Rounds broadcast series, will air live via satellite downlink and online from 2 to 3 p.m. Registered viewers may submit questions to the panel at interactive satellite conference sites, by fax or online. Members of the medical community, the media and the public can register at Program information and list of broadcast sites are also on the web site.

After the broadcast, Edward L. Baker, research professor and director of the N.C. Institute for Public Health, will moderate a discussion about the University’s pandemic preparations. Also presenting information will be: Pia MacDonald, director of the N.C. Center for Public Health Preparedness; Kristina Simeonsson, medical epidemiologist with the General Communicable Disease Branch of the N.C. Department of Public Health and Human Services; and Peter Reinhardt, director of UNC’s Department of Environment, Health and Safety.

The discussion will take place in the School of Public Health’s auditorium on the lower level of the Michael Hooker Research Center, or through a web conference.

To access the web conference, go to and log in as guest. A broadband Internet connection is recommended for best results, and users will need Flash Player on their computers. Flash Player may be downloaded at

For computer support, call 962-4357 or visit  For other questions, call Linda Kastleman at 966-8317 or e-mail

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Tuition task force set to weigh tuition levels against revenue targets

With two more meetings left to go, the Tuition and Fee Advisory Task Force is zeroing in on two sets of numbers. One deals with a model for campus-based tuition increases, the second with the total revenue required to reach target goals for faculty salaries and graduate teaching assistant stipends.

The task force has met three times to date. On Sept. 22, the panel reviewed various tuition models to show how much money various scenarios of increases might generate to meet specific University needs.

At its Oct. 4 meeting, both sets of numbers are expected to come into sharper focus if not final resolution, said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bernadette Gray-Little, who co-chairs the group with Student Body President James Allred.

The group is expected to complete its work on Oct. 18. The group reviewed tuition models that included financial assumptions that represent a break from recent practices.

First, the models assume that the campus-based tuition increases be paid by all students, including professional and graduate students in professional schools where there are often separate school-based increases.

Under the policy used last year, a student in a professional school that had a $1,000 school-based increase would pay the $1,000, but not the campuswide increase. Under the proposal being considered now, the student would pay both.

Gray-Little said there are two philosophical and practical arguments for changing the practice.

The philosophical issue is fairness. Since all schools and units received a fraction of the revenue from campus-based increases for priorities like faculty salaries, students in all schools should bear a fraction of the burden.

On the practical side, the more students who pay the campus-based tuition increase, the less the increase would have to be to raise the same amount of revenue.
Gray-Little noted that having all students pay the campus-based tuition was the original practice that was followed until it was modified several years ago to exclude students paying school-based tuition.

The second change is to exclude the
5 percent of additional revenues that previously had been set aside for graduate student support. Once again, Gray-Little noted that the extra 5 percent earmarked for graduate students was a surcharge added the past few years to the 35 percent that is the standard amount set aside for need-based aid for undergraduate, graduate and professional school students.

Task force members quickly endorsed the 35 percent set-aside, reflecting a core principle of protecting accessibility that past groups have almost set in stone.

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Planetarium launches ‘Destination: Space’

Destination: Space

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center (MPSC) will launch its new planetarium show, “Destination: Space,” with a full weekend of activities Sept. 28-Oct. 1.

MPSC will couple the show’s public premiere with a lecture by one of the few men to walk on the moon, Charlie Duke. Duke, who visited the moon as part of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972, is one of just 12 men ever to set foot on Earth’s closest neighbor. The premiere and Duke’s lecture will begin at 7 p.m. on Sept. 28.

The premiere and lecture are free and open to the public. Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Current NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn will offer perspectives on the future on space exploration Sept. 30, at 11:30 a.m. in a program designed for children and their families. Marshburn, a Statesville native, completed astronaut candidate training in February and has not yet been to space. Marshburn’s talk is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Normal showings of “Destination: Space” begin Sept. 29. MPSC will be showing “Destination: Space” in every time slot Sept. 29-Oct. 1. Normal admission prices apply.

“Destination: Space” examines the history and future of America’s space program, from the moonwalkers of the 1960s to NASA’s current plans to send astronauts to Mars. Morehead Planetarium played a role in that history. During the 1960s and 1970s, the planetarium served as a training center for NASA, teaching celestial navigation to more than 60 astronauts - including 11 of the 12 astronauts to visit the moon.

Retired “CBS Evening News” anchor Walter Cronkite narrates “Destination: Space,” an original MPSC production. The show also features appearances by Duke, fellow Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, space shuttle astronauts Kathryn Thornton and William Thornton (no relation), and current astronaut Robert Satcher.

GlaxoSmithKline made the largest gift ever to MPSC for the production of a planetarium show for “Destination: Space.” Capital Broadcasting is also providing support for the show, while a North Carolina Space Grant award is supporting “launch weekend” activities.

For more information, refer to:

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FYI Research

Mapping invaders in Darwin’s Isles of Inspiration

Invasive plants and animals once foreign to the famous archipelago are eroding fragile landscapes and threatening species that have been aiding scientific discovery since Charles Darwin’s first voyage in 1835. The Ecuadorian government knows this, as do other local organizations and the United Nations, which is considering listing the archipelago as a World Heritage Site at risk. That’s why Ecuador’s ministry of the environment asked Steve Walsh, geographer and fellow at the Carolina Population Center, to help map the problem and form a team to find solutions.

This summer, geographer Steve Walsh led a team of students on a trip to the Galapagos Islands where they used their satellite data and spatial imaging to map invasive species that harm the breeding grounds of giant tortoises, like the one pictured with Walsh.

Since 1997, Walsh has been studying changes in land use and land cover in the Ecuadorian Amazon Forest. The ministry wondered if Walsh’s satellite technology and high-resolution imaging could pinpoint invasive species in the Galapagos. So last February Walsh’s team mapped the spatial patterns of selected invasive plants and used satellite data to build digital elevation models to map three dimensional landforms and landscapes. One of his maps shows how guava fruit trees, which were brought in by humans long ago, spread so fast that grasslands are changing into forests. Before that, no one could show the pattern of how guava had been spreading.

But beyond making maps and models, Walsh is putting together a team to tackle the larger issue of human involvement that dates back to Darwin’s time.

The Galapagos remained unsullied by humans for millions of years until whalers, sealers, and even pirates put goats and pigs on the islands as food sources for return visits. The animals thrived, in part by eating guava, whose seeds traverse animal digestive tracts intact. Thanks to the natural fertilizer and the increase in animal populations, guava trees began sprouting like weeds. They germinated densely, creating a canopied forest where grasslands had been.

“Now such plants are overtaking indigenous plants that appear no place on Earth other than in the shadows of volcanoes,” Walsh says. “There are entire landscapes overcome by invasive species. It is a dramatic problem.”

Eradicating some invasive species might be a result of Walsh’s maps, but his goal is much broader.

“It’s about trying to understand how the human dimension connects with the environment,” he says.

Thirty thousand people live on the Galapagos, and about 125,000 tourists visit annually. There are hotels, restaurants, two airports, farms and plans for further development.

Walsh returned to the archipelago this summer with sociologist Ron Rindfuss, anthropologist Flora Lu Holt, Carolina students Carlos Mena, Amy McCleary, Julie Tuttle and Patricia Polo, and two colleagues from other universities. They validated Walsh’s preliminary maps, gave workshops on spatial digital technology, and held meetings about Carolina becoming a longstanding research partner with the Charles Darwin Research Center, the Galapagos National Park, and Ecuador’s Ministry of the Environment to study and help ecological systems under stress.

Walsh will return to the Galapagos this fall to present his team’s preliminary research at a public forum.

Provided by the Division of Research
and Economic Development

Editor: Neil Caudle

Writer: Mark Derewicz

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Detecting mercury:
making the workplace a safer environment

Editor’s note: Following is a conversation with Ron Howell, industrial hygienist, who has put his skills to the test over the years to ensure the University and local communities are safe.

As an industrial hygienist specializing in indoor environmental quality, Ron Howell has a unique job. He makes sure the environment inside campus buildings is safe for everyone — from students, faculty and staff to administrators and visitors.

Last May, Howell’s skills were put to the test when he was called upon to help determine if there was mercury contamination at Davis Library — and later at an elementary school in Durham. UNC has one of the most advanced mercury vapor analyzers available, so Howell was the first person contacted by state authorities to test the schools.

Davis Library was temporarily closed the morning of May 24, as Howell came in to scan the building for possible mercury contamination. Finding none, Howell went to Oak Grove Elementary School to search the campus, buses and children’s clothing for possible traces of mercury. Investigators connected the two contaminations to a housekeeper who worked at both buildings.

What does an industrial hygienist do?

People may say that they do not want to come to work because they have allergy reactions or are getting headaches or other discomfort or health concern. So what I do is assess the conditions in the building. I look at ventilation, the HVAC system or sources of contaminant. Did they recently apply an adhesive or paint that may be outgassing? One of the big issues is mold in the buildings because of the humidity in our climate and the age of buildings.

For what possible contaminants can you test?

I have a set of instruments that I use to measure temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, bacteria, molds and other organic chemicals. We have equipment that will measure explosive gas levels in buildings, oxygen levels in buildings, carbon monoxide levels and general chemical levels in the air. We have equipment that can measure other contaminants as well.

Are you involved in building planning?

I review designs of buildings to ensure that when we build we are minimizing the chances of indoor environmental quality issues. We work with contractors and consultants as we take a building down. We come up with a contract and specifications on how we systematically take the building down. We look at the building and what was done in the building.

Why does UNC have a mercury vapor analyzer?

The University has had mercury monitoring equipment for a while because we are involved with mercury responses on campus. If someone breaks a thermometer or there is a spill, we have the ability to analyze the situation.

Within the last year, we have purchased a new instrument, the Ohio Lumex mercury vapor analyzer. We purchased this because we are going through some building decommissioning and some of the old buildings that are coming down may have mercury. We use the Ohio Lumex because it has a high sensitivity — it measures down to the nanongrams rather than the microgram range.

How important is it to have this machine?

If we start tearing buildings apart, we don’t want that mercury to get into the environment. We want to make sure we get that mercury out of the building. We want to protect workers during the demolition and protect the environment at the same time.

What did you do at Davis Library?

We worked with Public Safety to check the people. We checked clothing and went around places where the housekeeper had been working to look for residue of mercury contamination. We found nothing.

How did you become involved in Durham?

The state emergency management called Public Safety and was concerned if we had any mercury tracked over here to Davis Library where he worked. I had worked at the Division of Public Health in North Carolina. Having kept in contact with them, they knew we had an Ohio Lumex. They did not have direct access to one without it taking a while to get.

State toxicologist Luanne Williams called me and asked for our assistance. I helped assess the school situation there with public health officials and the school system. The EPA had not arrived yet, so we were the only ones in the neighborhood with this type of equipment. We were a valuable commodity to them.”

What did you do at the scene?

I got to Oak Grove Elementary School around 2 p.m. Their first concern involved school buses. The kids had ridden on the school buses from a couple of different schools. So, we went to test the buses first. They were trying to determine if they could use the buses to send the children home at the end of the day. There was evidence of elevated mercury on one bus and another that had slight elevation of mercury. The third one was clean. The school system had those buses professionally decontaminated.

Did you check the children?

They wanted us to see if they had any mercury contamination on their clothes or backpacks before they left school. So we spent time measuring shoes, clothing, backpacks to check for contamination.

We screened about 30-plus students. We found some elevated levels of mercury to a point that the state toxicologist wanted them to put on new clothes. Children are much more susceptible to mercury poisoning than adults.

How did it feel to help in that way?

It was a good way for us to be able to provide a service and protect public health. It was also a good test for us to use the equipment in a real-world situation. It is one thing to use it here on campus, but it is another to use the equipment at a school where it may be tracked out. It was a learning situation for us to use the instrument in that situation.

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Learn IT @

Basic PowerPoint class is available through CBT

Featured CBT Course
One of the most popular computer-based training (CBT) courses available is PowerPoint 2003: Creating a Basic Presentation. This course teaches how to create a new presentation, add slides to a presentation, format slides, and add basic images to slides.

PowerPoint offers flexible and powerful features and it is often tempting to use them even though they may detract from your content.  It is always important to remember that the purpose of a presentation is to convey content.  PowerPoint makes it easy to incorporate features that could obscure the message you want to convey.  Always consider if a feature will add to your content — or be a distraction.
To subscribe to CBT, point your web browser to and follow the instructions. Until the end of September, receive an entry into a drawing for two gift cards to the Student Stores for a new subscription and for each course you complete.

Listserver tip: nomail option
Do you use more than one e-mail address? If so, you may have experienced a common problem using a listserver:  receiving an error refusing to send a message to the list because you are not subscribed under that address. Many listservers only accept messages from members of the list. If you are subscribed to a list as, the list will only accept messages that are from that address. If you regularly use more than one address, you can subscribe to the list using both addresses to ensure your messages will always be accepted.

To receive just one copy of messages sent to the list, you can set the “nomail” option for one address. To do that, point your web browser to and log into the list. Select the tab labeled “My Account.” Under “Essentials” -> “Membership type,” select “No e-mail; receive no e-mail from this mailing list.” Save the
change, and from now on, you can send mail from that address without receiving an extra copy of all messages. If you would like to find out more about setting options for your lists, point your web browser to

Teaching with computers tip: set expectations in syllabus
If faculty expect students to use a laptop during some or all of their classes, they should consider including their expectations in the syllabus. For example, remind students to fully charge the battery before class, be sure their wireless connection works and be sure the software they need to use is installed. Let students know what the consequences will be for off-task computing, and be sure to tell them what (if any) storage media they should bring to class with their
laptops. Do you have tips about teaching with computers you would like to
share in this column? If so, please send them to  

Have questions about technology or Information Technology Services?
Send your question to Beth Millbank, public relations manager, at, or Elizabeth Evans, manager for training and education, at You can always visit the ITS web site (, the Help site ( or the Help Desk at 962-HELP if you have a pressing need.

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HR and ITS collaborate to offer
business skills training courses

Two University units — Human Resources’ Training & Development and Information Technology Services’ Teaching and Learning  — have partnered to bring a new library of business skills computer-based training courses to the Carolina community for a one-year pilot program.

“Whether you want to learn Oracle or time management, there’s a course for you,” said Elizabeth (Libby) Evans of ITS Teaching and Learning. “The courses offer practical tools that people can use every day — and they’re there whenever you need them.”

Computer-based training (CBT) is available to subscribers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People often think that they have to complete an entire course at one time, but courses can be completed one lesson at a time.

The business skills courses focus on workplace and interpersonal behavior skills such as conflict intervention, applying leadership basics and solving problems as a team.

“I really appreciate the tools that the courses provide,” said Tammy Sopp, Programs and Projects specialist. “For example, in the Time Management course, I had the option of 10 different downloadable resources including a ‘Daily Time Log’ to help see where I spend my time and a ‘Meeting Agenda Form’ that outlined how to effectively time manage and plan for a meeting. After completing the course I was able to better balance my time commitments and had fantastic tools to help.”

ITS recently added more than 2,000 additional technology courses to bring the total number of CBT courses to more than 2,800.

“HR Training & Development and ITS Teaching and Learning share a commitment to provide quality training and education to the campus community,” said Rob Kramer, director of Training & Development.

In the past the two groups have shared information, jointly encouraged staff to incorporate learning opportunities into professional development plans and brainstormed about how to enhance the identification and tracking of professional development activities. The computer-based pilot project is another opportunity for collaboration that provides maximum benefit to the Carolina community while efficiently sharing resources.

HR Training & Development and ITS Teaching and Learning intend to continue seeking collaborative opportunities.

To learn more about CBT or to subscribe to the free service, visit