October 3, 2007 edition

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The University Board of Trustees on Sept. 26 unanimously approved the plan for Carolina North to develop 250 acres of the nearly 1,000-acre site during the next half-century.

The trustees’ action clears the way for the plan to be reviewed and approved by the Chapel Hill Town Council.

The plan anticipates that 2.5 million square feet of building space will be completed over the first 15 years along the eastern boundary of the property bordering Martin Luther King Boulevard. The first of those projects will be a new 85,000-square-foot Innovation Center for which the University has already requested a special-use permit to begin construction.

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When visiting San Francisco, most tourists flock to see the Golden Gate Bridge, the internationally recognized symbol of the city, considered the engineering marvel of its age when the bridge opened in 1937.

Seventy years later, the San Francisco marvel that has caught the eye of Carolina’s Mark Crowell lies on the edge of the city in Mission Bay. Crowell is associate vice chancellor for economic development and technology transfer.

Once an industrial wasteland, Mission Bay is now home to a satellite campus for the University of California at San Francisco and, next to it, the burgeoning life science complex that is being developed by Alexandria Real Estate Equities of Pasadena, Calif.

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A philosopher who has interests in metaphysics and the mathematics of logic, a geneticist who is working to develop cancer therapies, a computer scientist who specializes in bioinformatics and data mining, and a historian who studies the African-American experience in the American South have received the 2007 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty.

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Seven Carolina employees were recognized for their outstanding contributions Sept. 24 at a luncheon at the Carolina Inn. Five people received the Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence and two received the Excellence in Management Awards.

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Campus-based tuition over the past decade has played a pivotal role in generating revenue to bolster faculty pay to keep Carolina competitive.

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  Today's date:

Moeser touches on achievements, challenges

Editor’s note: Following are excerpts from the State of the University speech given Sept. 26 by Chancellor James Moeser:

Chancellor James Moeser shows heartfelt emotion at the end of his speech.

LET ME SAY A WORD about the North Carolina General Assembly’s budget, which may be the best in the University’s history. … The General Assembly made a stunning series of allocations including meaningful salary increases for faculty, a well-deserved raise for our staff and the creation of the University Cancer Research Fund that will help put Chapel Hill on the map as one of the world’s pre-eminent institutions leading cancer research. …

This year’s first-year class is again the most academically qualified in Carolina’s history. We received over 20,000 applications, up from 16,000 a decade ago. The average SAT score for this fall’s first-year class was 1302; 10 years ago it was 1220. This year 77 percent of our newest students graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class; a decade ago it was 66 percent. This year’s class is also more diverse than ever.

Carolina leads the nation in access and affordability. Through several key policy decisions, Carolina has become more affordable to a larger number of North Carolinians than ever before. … We also set the bar high for graduation rates, a critical measure of undergraduate quality. Our goal is to match the six-year rates for Berkeley, UCLA and Michigan by 2010. Last year, they were at 87 percent, while we were at 84 percent. It is too early to report progress on this front.

For the first time in several years, the General Assembly included additional funding for tuition remissions to help us recruit and retain outstanding graduate students, who constitute nearly 40 percent of our students. They are the faculty’s partners in teaching and research and make invaluable contributions to undergraduate education.

Faculty compensation
With regard to faculty, we have improved how we pay, recruit and retain them because they are this University’s number one priority. Our goal is to take average faculty salaries up to the 80th percentile of our peers. We are roughly at the 50th percentile, and we may reach the 80th percentile as early as next year ….

More competitive salaries are helping recruitment and retention. Last year we retained 72 percent of faculty who received outside offers to whom we made counter offers. That was our best showing in five years. We were at 52 percent in 2006 and 40 percent in 2003. ….

Research and creativity
The most critical problems of our society require all the resources of a great research university — in ethics and values, the creative arts, as well as science and technology.
… This is where Carolina excels, where the low stone walls of our campus become a metaphor for our ability to work together to solve big problems.

For our science faculty, the principal metric of success is sponsored research. Total grants and contracts grew by 2.9 percent in 2007 to more than $610 million — more than double where we were a decade ago. These gains came even as funding from the National Institutes of Health began to shrink after its budget doubled in the 1990s. …

"THE UNIVERSITY IS TRULY UNIQUE. It is a place that is
OPEN AND FREE, that celebrates EXCELLENCE
wherever it occurs, that honors TEACHING and
embraces selflessly a tradition of
PUBLIC SERVICE."

Creating a margin for excellence
The Carolina First Campaign, the most successful fundraising effort in University history, ends in three months well over the $2 billion goal. We exceeded that goal in February when we recorded the largest single pledge in UNC history, the $50 million commitment to the School of Public Health by Dennis and Joan Gillings. Our campaign total does not include the magnificent $100 million gift to the John Motley Morehead Foundation from the Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation, nearly doubling its endowment.

This morning, we announced an anonymous $5 million gift to benefit the honors program through five new endowed professorships to recognize Peter Grauer and William Harrison — alumni who have served Carolina with great distinction. That exceeds the campaign goal of creating 200 new endowed professorships. We are heading to the campaign’s finish line with a special drive for faculty support, increasing that goal by an additional $100 million to $500 million.

For students, our donors have established 544 undergraduate scholarships and 188 graduate fellowships. Our endowment has surpassed $2 billion, over twice what it was seven-and-a-half years ago, a result of gifts and successful endowment management. …

Our massive building program is adding 6 million square feet to the main campus. This program is grounded in core values of architectural quality and sustainability. The 2000 Higher Education Bonds brought $515 million for new buildings and renovations, and we more than kept our promise to triple this investment by North Carolina taxpayers. …

The total $2.1 billion building program, including projects funded by gifts, research grants and our own revenues, is giving the campus community the physical space in which to excel in ways we have never been able before. The campus is being transformed. …

Serving the state
Carolina has a long and cherished tradition of service to North Carolina, but we can and must do more. Vice Chancellor Mike Smith has formed the Carolina Engagement Council to help set our course, leading a campus dialogue on engaged scholarship. The Golden LEAF Foundation has committed at least $10 million over the next five years to support the faculty’s work in rural communities across  North Carolina.

Our ongoing work on this campus ties in naturally with the University of North Carolina Tomorrow Commission created by the Board of Governors and led by President Bowles. … We are continuing our own “Carolina Connects” initiative, launched in 2004, to listen to the people, to understand their needs and to show what this University, with its statewide mission, is doing or ought to be doing to serve them.

Carolina North will be critical to our ability to help build the 21st-century economy for North Carolina. … We have identified our first building for Carolina North — an Innovation Center, where fledgling companies, using intellectual capital drawn from faculty research, can take their very first steps toward full viability. This partnership with a private developer, and the companies it creates, will pump new tax dollars into the community and support the local economy. Later, these new companies will create products and procedures that improve human health and the welfare of us all. …

One issue closely related to Carolina North is our plan to close the Horace Williams Airport, which is where we will start the first phase of the new campus. Some see closing the airport as a lack of full support for the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program. AHEC is the absolute anchor of this University’s service to North Carolina, and the last thing we would ever do is diminish that service to communities, patients and health professionals across the state. I firmly believe that we can both build Carolina North and strengthen AHEC. …

Global perspective
UNC has taken some critical steps toward becoming a great global university, bringing the world to North Carolina and taking North Carolina to the world. On University Day, October 12th, we will dedicate the FedEx Global Education Center and convene for the first time the Global Leadership Circle, a task force of visionary alumni and friends, to help us develop a strategic vision for global engagement.

We are a world power in global health. Building on our faculty’s historic strengths, we have launched the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases. ….

Ultimately, achieving our global objectives may be one of the most important things we do for our state. North Carolina’s competition is not South Carolina or Georgia. It is Singapore … China … India. UNC must be a presence in the world so that North Carolina can compete in the world. It is as simple as that.

"WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY, and
I am pleased to report that the
state of the University is EXCELLENT."

Challenges and opportunities
Every part of the University is positioned for the kind of distinction that we expect at Carolina. We have come a long way, and I am pleased to report that the state of the University is excellent. However, … we have some real challenges to face. I want to do all I can this year to address the issues that, I believe, will dominate my successor’s tenure.

First, enrollment growth will be, without question, the single most critical issue facing my successor. The UNC system expects to absorb approximately 80,000 additional students by 2017. Chapel Hill is already growing, and we will grow more to respond to the needs of an expanding and more diverse population seeking access to higher education in North Carolina. …

This fall, for the first time in our history, enrollment exceeded 28,000, about 4,000 more students than we had when I arrived seven years ago. Under our current trustee-
approved plan from several years ago, enrollment will increase to nearly 30,000 by 2015. …

We must ensure that admissions standards for undergraduates remain highly selective, and we must continue to push for higher graduation rates, which in itself will create more capacity. We must do nothing to degrade the quality of the entering class or of a Carolina degree. And we must increase support for graduate students. …

The second most urgent challenge facing the University is the intensifying competition for research support. In my installation address in 2000, I described the investment that we had just made in 18 faculty positions to support a new genomics initiative. That dramatic investment speaks for itself. Seven years later, UNC is a world leader in genomics and genetics research. Later, we made a similar investment in advanced materials science and nanotechnology.

Last year, I announced a goal of securing $1 billion in external research funding by 2015. It remains the audacious goal I described: “to take UNC to another level of excellence and prominence as a research university.”

To reach this goal, we must make some fundamental course adjustments. UNC has benefited enormously from the run-up of the NIH, but now we face a new federal reality — the decline in real dollars at NIH and a new federal escalator in the physical sciences, energy and technology areas under legislation signed last month by President Bush. This initiative received initial Congressional funding this year and will ultimately double funding in these areas. …

To be successful in this new environment, we must … increase our research capability in the physical sciences and build even more bridges between the biomedical and physical sciences. …

The third challenge will be to identify the resources for new investments. … Realistically, we cannot expect the state to provide all of the new resources we will need for major new initiatives to the degree that it has done for cancer. We must find these resources internally. …

The fourth challenge is the essential resource of people — especially tenured and tenure-stream faculty — the people who do this research and provide service to the state. They are the key to everything. This is the supreme challenge. 

Nearly 41 percent of our faculty are 55 years of age or older. … We expect at least 500 tenured faculty members to retire in the next decade. Besides those 500 new hires required by retirements, we will have to replace 1,300 faculty who will resign or not be reappointed, and find another 225 faculty to cover the current enrollment growth projection for 2015. … Hiring 2,000 faculty in eight years is the equivalent of replacing about five of every eight faculty. …

Embracing change
… This University is truly unique. It is a place that is open and free, that celebrates excellence wherever it occurs, that honors teaching and embraces selflessly a tradition of public service. We are a university with a healthy ego, but an innate modesty and lack of pretension. We take literally, sometimes too much so, I think, the motto of the State of North Carolina — “Esse quam videri” — to be, rather than to seem.  …

I believe this University has the strength of character and maturity to embark on the bold and audacious initiatives I have described and not lose or endanger that wonderful culture of openness, freedom, civility and collegiality. We love this place, but we must not let our love of it lead us to complacency and self-satisfaction. Once again, Carolina is called to lead — to lead change — to reinvent itself for the 21st century, holding fast to the incredible ethos of our bedrock values. …

To read or watch the speech, see: tinyurl.com/2wyfd2.

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