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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

‘Lightning’ talks to showcase Carolina faculty members’ improvement science work

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 2.48.51 PMIn a daylong symposium on May 19, Carolina faculty members will give 40 “lightning” talks and interactive poster presentations about work directed toward challenges faced by residents across the state. These challenges include the achievement gap between North Carolina’s poor students and those who are better off, the shortage of living-wage jobs in the state’s rural communities and disparities in health outcomes across the state.

The event – “Toward a Carolina Improvement Science Initiative: A Lightning Symposium” – will bring together more than 107 faculty, staff and graduate students from eight schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. All of them have expertise employing techniques in improvement science (how to accelerate how a field learns to improve) and its close cousins implementation science, design experimentation, quality improvement and continuous improvement.

The event will be at Hill Alumni Center, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Attendance is free. Those wishing to attend are asked to register at the event website:

“As reflected in the Chancellor’s Strategic Framework, the University seeks to encourage and strengthen networks of collaboration and convergence across disciplines as we are called upon to help tackle increasingly complex problems,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost James W. Dean Jr. “This event will help build cross-disciplinary understandings and set the stage for future improvement science work at Carolina.”

Topics span a variety of fields, with each presentation limited to five minutes.

One of the event organizers, School of Education Dean Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, said he expects the event to serve as a springboard to further pan-University collaboration.

“We hope to start a hub of activity with resources to facilitate cross-disciplinary teams at Carolina to develop education and training programs in improvement science, pursue external funding opportunities, design and test improvement tools and modalities, and conduct impactful research that has transformative potential for improvement at scale,” Abd-El-Khalick said.

The event is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Kenan-Flagler Business School, School of Dentistry, School of Education, School of Medicine, School of Nursing and School of Social Work.