Springing forward in Chapel Hill


In a 2011 presentation, President Emeritus Mote of the University of Maryland wrote that acceleration characterizes everything from information to expectations. Whether it is a response to the email that was sent seconds ago or the answer to a question asked in class, speed is a fundamental quality of our lives. I have been thinking about this with regard to the role of public universities. I am really proud that our school of public health was recently ranked the top public school of public health and #2 among all accredited schools of public health in the country by US News & World Report. To maintain our ranking and fulfill our mission, we must continue to accelerate.

As we face another year of significant, permanent budget cuts, what does it mean to be a public university? Surely, it means more than the fact that some of our support (about 20%) comes from the state. That support means a great deal to us. I would not want to be in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or California right now. As a state-supported institution, we owe something to North Carolina. We educate thousands of North Carolinians and provide continuing education to thousands more. Many of us also believe that we owe service as well.  However, in this resource-stressed era, that’s increasingly a challenge.

We are asking more of our faculty and staff—to write more grant applications since the NIH, CDC and other organizations will be funding fewer applications, teach without teaching assistants since we are cutting a lot of them to save faculty and staff jobs, and teach more students since some class sections will be cut. Yet, we are a professional school, and service is part of what we do, how we teach and how we solve problems in N.C. We are meeting this week with health directors from across the state to develop some clearer ideas about how we can serve more…with less.

Bad news NCAA

What a disappointment for the men’s team to lose to Kentucky 76-69. For a while near the end, we were behind by only 2 points, and then we tied. I thought we had it. We played really well and had a better season than most sports writers predicted.  The women’s basketball team was defeated 72-65 on Saturday by top-seeded Stanford in the regional semi-finals. I’m proud of them all. On to next season or, if you’re in the mood, baseball.

Happy Monday.  Barbara

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