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   W O R K I N G   A T   C A R O L I N A

* *Carolina North agreement: Owens’ success is tied to a rich legacy
* *Victory Village earns NAEYC accreditation
* *UNC complies with N&O’s public records request
* *Star Heels

Carolina North agreement:
Owens’ success is tied to a rich legacy

Owens

David Owens is not one to bask in personal glory, much less seek it out.

But when Chapel Hill Town Manager Roger Stancil sought Owens out a year ago to assist the town in ironing out a development agreement, which included the creation of a new zoning district for Carolina North, a measure of acclaim found him.

Owens’ pivotal role in drafting the agreement and parameters of the University-1 zoning district – and getting them approved by both the town and Carolina last month – made it virtually impossible for him to escape the limelight.

Owens answers the call

A substantial accounting of David Owens’ work life for the past year is buried in the two-foot stack of papers and notebooks on the floor of his fourth-floor office in the Knapp-Sanders Building.

From that pile of papers the recently approved development agreement for Carolina North emerged. But the story behind the agreement runs much deeper.

The creation of the document itself could be fairly described as a Herculean feat. But getting both the University Board of Trustees and the Chapel Hill Town Council to agree to it – unanimously – borders on the miraculous.

Equipped with his professional expertise and intimate familiarity with the inner workings of both the University and town, Owens managed to establish a framework of activity that joined town and gown leaders and staff in the pursuit of a shared goal.

To read more about this collaborative process, refer to the Carolina North Web site, cn.unc.edu.

Owens, Gladys H. Coates Distinguished Professor in the School of Government, was called upon because of his unparalleled expertise in land-use planning within North Carolina. He also possessed a kind of unflappable affability ideal for a facilitator whose job was to step in when needed to keep both sides working toward a common goal.

Just don’t expect Owens to tell you that.

The credibility he carried into Carolina North’s long, tedious process had far more to do with the place he works than the individual qualities he might possess, he insisted.

Credibility is the School of Government’s stock in trade and has been since Albert Coates founded what originally was the Institute of Government some 80 years ago and began cultivating a culture that embraced service to the state along with research and teaching.

Not having all the answers
Owens found himself immersed in that culture soon enough. Nineteen years ago, his phone rang on his first day on the job. It was the phone he had inherited (along with the job) from Phil Green, the legendary land-use lawyer who upon arriving at Carolina in 1949 began writing most of the statutes and virtually all the books on the subject during his 41-year career.

The person on the phone was a town attorney from the western part of the state who needed to talk to Green about a zoning matter he would provide advice to his board about later that night.

As Owens explained to the caller that Green had retired and that he had replaced Green, he understood what the School of Government existed to do  – and by extension, what he was there to do.

After exchanging pleasantries for a few minutes, the attorney asked his question and Owens took a stab at answering it. “Fortunately,” Owens said, “he asked something on that first day that I knew the answer to.”

But not knowing the answer would have been all right, too. In fact, knowing you don’t have all the answers is equally important in his line of work, Owens said.

It was that understanding he drew upon in helping the Town of Chapel Hill craft a development agreement that both the town and Carolina governing boards did not merely accept, but embraced. The agreement will guide the development of 3 million square feet of building space for Carolina North on 133 acres during a 20-year period.

“An absolutely key element was that the parties at the outset said they wanted active collaboration in design and eventual implementation of the agreement,” Owens said. “The task they asked me to take on was to help them figure out how to effectively do that. I think that mutual interest in and commitment to active, meaningful collaboration was a real key to the success to date.”

Owens credited the positive outcome to the executive leadership displayed all around, from Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy to Chancellor Holden Thorp, and from Stancil to Carolina North Executive Director Jack Evans. They made the right decisions at the right times; that was the decisive factor that led to success, he said.

“Our longstanding tradition, which I think is a good one, is for us to do the behind-the-scenes work,” Owens said. “We do the technical work and the staff work, and ultimately it is the city council, the trustees, the legislators who have to make the policy choice and adopt the thing.

“They are the ones who should have the ultimate responsibility, and with that comes the praise, if it is good, and the consequences, if it is not so good.”

The development agreement, which was limited to 20 years as required by state law, not only allows for continued negotiations and modifications, it makes them a requirement as the development of Carolina North unfolds during the next two decades.

Creating a model for the state
When Owens went to Mike Smith, dean of the School of Government, to discuss taking on the Carolina North project, they considered whether the town and University could create a model for a development agreement that other municipalities around the state could use.

Owens believes that has been achieved.

Beyond that, the process Owens crafted allowing town and gown leaders to reach agreement may have become a model as well.

A few days after the two governing boards signed the development agreement, Owens got a call from his longtime colleague, David Godschalk. Owens replaced Godschalk as the chair of the chancellor’s Building and Grounds Committee when Godschalk retired several years ago.

Make that near retirement. Godschalk called to find out if Owens would be willing to talk to the one class he planned to teach next semester. The class, Godschalk said, was on dispute resolution.

In light of Owens’ triumphant experience shepherding the Carolina North agreement, Godschalk said he could not think of anyone more proficient to speak on the subject.

Name the day, Owens told his old friend, and he’d be there.

* *


Victory Village earns NAEYC accreditation

Victory Village, photo by Jeanne Wakefield

Victory Village Day Care Center, also known as the University Child Care Center, has recently earned accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The center limits its enrollment to the children of faculty, staff and students from the University and UNC Hospitals.

The home-away-from-home to Carolina’s kids for more than 50 years, Victory Village had already achieved the state of North Carolina’s highest five-star rating under its Division of Child Development licensing system.

But earning coveted NAEYC accreditation took more than two years of preparation, said Jeanne Wakefield, executive director of Victory Village. “There were some initiatives that we had to put into practice, including fully implementing a new curriculum into our program.”

Among other changes made were the institution of a family-style dining program and improvements to the playground, classroom activities and the center’s physical space. In addition, Wakefield said, “We added materials to our classroom to enhance our math, science, social studies and literacy programs.”

These changes were painstakingly documented by Wakefield and the center staff. Each of the 11 classrooms made an extensive portfolio to add to the comprehensive program portfolio, and the center’s part of the process was completed with a validation visit during which an assessor verified that the required standards were met.

“We are proud of having achieved this national accreditation because it measures some important components of a quality program that are not necessarily assessed in the state’s five-star program,” said Wakefield. “Most importantly, we believe that NAEYC is about relationships: between teachers, parents, children, center administration and the community.

“We think that this is an area of strength in our program, and we are pleased to have received our accreditation to reflect that.”

Victory Village began in 1953 as a parent cooperative. For 45 years, it was located off Manning Drive, near the neighborhood of the same name that housed married students after World War II.

Since 1998 the University and UNC Health Care have jointly owned the University Child Care Center and have contracted with Victory Village Day Care Center to manage the facility – now located near the Friday Center.

The center offers full-time care for 120 children, who range from 6 weeks to 5 years of age. For information, refer to victoryvillage.home.mindspring.com.

* *

UNC complies with N&O’s public records request
* *


In response to a public records request from The News & Observer last month, all UNC system campuses released accrued leave information for their employees by name, age, hiring date and salary. This release included balances for sick leave, vacation leave, bonus leave and accrued compensatory time as of June 30 and overtime paid between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009.

UNC General Administration made the decision that all UNC system institutions should comply with the newspaper’s request based on a legal opinion issued by the N.C. Attorney General’s office that this information was not confidential under the State Personnel Act.

General Administration, which provided the same information about its employees, set a target date of July 15 for system campuses to respond to the request. Carolina administrators released the requested information to The News & Observer on July 14.

“The University responded to the newspaper’s request within the timeframe established by General Administration,” said Brenda Richardson Malone, vice chancellor for human resources.

“We don’t know how The News & Observer plans to use the information because the newspaper is under no obligation to disclose that in advance. But the Attorney General’s office determined that the information requested was not confidential, so the UNC system campuses were obliged to comply.”

* *


STAR HEELS

Friday Center
Rondie Clemmons
Angela Lloyd
Sherry Sparks
Brian Thornburg

Health Affairs Library
Freda McClain
Cynthia Raxter
Teresa Sharpe
Martha Stuckey

Highway Safety Research Center
Austin Brown
Daniel Carter
Michael Daul
Natalie O’Brien

One Card
BJ Riesland
Natha Shafar

International Affairs
Noah Kriger
Bogdan Leja
Robert Locke
Tara Muller

Laundry
Marcilius Baker
Melinda Bakken
Matt Hines
Helen Long-McAdoo

Medical School Administration
Patricia Oliver
Diane Urlaub

Morehead Planetarium
Mary Apple
Karen Kornegay
Cathy Pike
Mickey Jo Sorrell

Medicine
Jo Stevens

Military Science
Mike Chagaris
Gary Custer
Jon Hart

Nursing
Tevin Boggan
Kathleen Knafl
Kathy Moore
Talat Qazi
Susan Snyder
Jill Summers
Theresa Swift-Scanlan

Oral Surgery
Pamela Baldwin
Tasha Curtis
Angel Davis
Eva Keele

Philosophy
Jennie Dickinson

Orthodontics
Martin Bean
Sheila Eubanks
Faith Patterson
Brandy Teague

Pathology
Paul Cox
Sandra Elmore
Gwyn Esch
Susan Hadler
Donna Hardee

Purchasing Services
Steven Gale
John Medlin
Dale Poole
Jeffrey Robbins

TIAA-CREF logo

Periodontology
Donna Knight
Kristy Pickard
Stacey Vaughn
Trina Wiley

Prosthodontics
Janna Ellington
Ramona Futrell
Cynthia Holt
Sandra Rothenberger

Public Health IT
Lewis Binkowski
Jennifer Hill
Helen Nulty
Trumella Webb

Environment, Health
and Safety

Daniel Gilleski
Joe Sutton

Public Health
Dixie Brink
Kembrie Greene
Linda Kastleman
Linda Mitchell

Property Office
Rebecca Ashburn
Jannice Ashley
Brandy Elsenrath
Linda Oakley

INSIDE THE PRINT EDITION: AUGUST 12, 2009

Aug. 12 issue
Click here to read the AUGUST 12 issue as a pdf

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