April 23, 2008 edition

April 23, 2008 Gazette



The contributions of long-time Carolina benefactor Maurice John Koury have been felt throughout campus.

Earlier this month, the University showed its deep appreciation by renaming a south campus residence hall in Koury’s honor.

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May 1 will mark the deadline for Carolina to submit its response to UNC Tomorrow, but not the finish line.

That was one of the key points that Mike Smith, vice chancellor for public service and engagement, made during two public forums held on campus last week to update the campus community on the UNC systemwide initiative.

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Several were commended for their personal warmth and longstanding dedication. One was cited for her devotion to social justice, another for her commitment to University sports, and yet another for 30 years of indispensable service to the biology department. A faculty member was recognized for a commitment to the University that stretched far beyond his vitae.

Among them they have nearly 160 years of service, and they are the six outstanding University employees who have been selected to receive 2008 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards, one of the most coveted honors bestowed by Carolina.

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Jonathan Oberlander, wielding the divining rod of a political scientist rather than the stethoscope of a doctor, has detected a strange ailment spreading across the American political landscape.

Symptoms include hyperactive faith in the political process and the delusional belief that health-care reform is just around the corner.

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Individuals, organizations recognized for service to state

In some way, the University touches all 100 counties in North Carolina.

Public Service awards
Ned Brooks, left, poses with Pam Silberman, winner of the Ned Brooks Award for Public Service.  She received the award during the April 11 Public Service Awards luncheon and ceremony sponsored by the Carolina Center for Public Service.

Working with the local Burmese immigrant community, developing a statewide consortium of future K–12 teachers who take service-learning into public schools, addressing some of the state’s major health and health-care issues, and lending a hand to the people of Appalachia are a few of the public service efforts involving the University community this year.

“Engagement is really building relationships with the communities and municipalities around our state. This commitment is in our DNA,” Chancellor James Moeser said at the April 11 Public Service Awards luncheon and ceremony sponsored by the Carolina Center for Public Service.

Honoring the nominees and award recipients recognizes “the importance of these connections as an integral part of who we are as an institution,” said Lynn Blanchard, the center’s director.

Blanchard and Mike Smith, vice chancellor for public service and engagement, surprised the chancellor with an award recognizing “his leadership in strengthening and expanding Carolina’s tradition of public service and engagement, and ensuring that we continue to change lives through educating scholars and leaders dedicated to forging a brighter future for our state, nation and the world.”

Pam Silberman, a research associate professor in the School of Public Health’s health policy and administration department, received the sixth annual Ned Brooks Award for Public Service.

The award, named for Brooks, a Carolina faculty member and administrator since 1972, recognizes a faculty or staff member who has built a sustained record of community service through individual efforts and promoted the involvement and guidance of others.

Silberman, who is also president and chief executive officer of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, was recognized for her research, which has led to beneficial legislation and policy making on topics including the state’s child health insurance law, dental care access and insurance coverage for low-income populations.

Her involvement of residents, fellows, graduate students and other faculty in these endeavors has created a direct and effective link between the University’s analytical capacity and health policy in North Carolina.

Silberman said she was trying to follow in the footsteps of her nominator and mentor Gordon DeFriese, a professor in the schools of medicine, public health and dentistry, president of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, former director of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research and founding director of the UNC Institute on Aging.

The Carolina Center for Public Service also presented two Office of the Provost Public Service Awards honoring campus units for service to North Carolina: the Student Coalition for Advocacy in Literacy Education (SCALE) and the School of Law Center for Civil Rights.

SCALE was honored for Learning to Teach, Learning to Serve, a statewide consortium of public and private universities designed to develop a generation of K–12 teachers who have extensive experience with service-learning. The program team works to identify community concerns that can be addressed through placement of trained volunteer pre-service teacher candidates.

The School of Law Center for Civil Rights was recognized for its work representing several communities in Moore County as an advocate to address annexation issues. The success of their work was built on the trust developed early on between residents and the center. One resident said, “I am so thankful for the center … We were struggling down here — when they first started working with us, I didn’t know which way was up … I thought I was in a strange land. But, when I think about all of things they’ve done with us, I just feel more invigorated.”

The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award — recognizing individual students and faculty for exemplary public service efforts — went to graduate students Megan Ellenson and Thanh-Thu Tran, faculty member Flora Lu and staff member Hannah Gill.

Ellenson, a second-year graduate student in the health behavior and health education department, has devoted time to working with the Burmese immigrant community in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. After working as part of a team project to identify issues faced by these recent refugees, she wrote a grant to support the children’s participation in a school-based art therapy program.

Tran, a second-year medical student, is honored for her work in initiating and nurturing the involvement of the school with Orange County’s Special Olympics program. She has recruited medical students to serve as coaches and as medical staff for the various Special Olympics events and competitions.

Lu, assistant professor of anthropology, was recognized for her community-based research course on social justice. Students collaborate with community partners around the state to develop research based on community needs and to communicate their findings back to the community in relevant ways. Undergraduates in Lu’s course have worked on issues from assessing hog waste technologies to investigating the feasibility of the University purchasing locally produced food.

Gill, assistant director of Institute for the Study of the Americas in the Center for Global Initiatives, was honored for her work in developing the Latin American Immigrant Perspectives course.

The course focuses on exploring the global and local aspects of migration and gives students the opportunity to work with immigrants in North Carolina and spend their spring break in immigrants’ home communities in Guanajuato, Mexico.


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