Sophomore Amanda Phillips is an elementary education major with an English concentration and a minor in religious studies. She works heavily with the Office for Leadership and Service Learning and is grateful for the need-based financial assistance she received to attend UNCG. A native of Wallburg, NC, Amanda calls the UNCG Guarantee an amazing opportunity for support and success.
UNCG is starting a scholarship and academic aid initiative, the UNCG Guarantee, which will help eligible North Carolina students graduate with little to no debt.
The goal is to help in-state students demonstrating both need and academic promise to graduate from UNCG in four years with as little debt as possible, said Chancellor Linda P. Brady at a Feb. 9 press conference announcing the initiative.
UNCG will meet financial needs through a combination of federal, state, university and private grants and scholarships.
The Project on Student Debt, conducted in 2008, found that 65 percent of UNCG students graduate with debt, and that the average debt per student is $16,326, the chancellor said. Despite the fact that UNCG is one of the most affordable universities in the nation, we want to do better for the students who make UNCG their first choice.
The first UNCG Guarantee scholars will begin in fall 2010.The program addresses the campus strategic plan goals and UNC Tomorrow goals for expanding educational opportunities. It is being created through UNCG's $6 million gift from an anonymous donor who made national headlines in 2009 with gifts to several American universities.
Phase One of the UNCG Guarantee will provide support for 30 to 40 first-year students. Given current resources, it is expected that the program can initially fund 130 to 140 scholars over four years.
Although these numbers sound promising, this represents Guarantee support for just 12 percent of students who meet eligibility requirements. The goal is to grow UNCG's capacity to support an ever-increasing number of deserving scholars.
In this 2009-10 academic year, UNCG has more than 800 students who meet the poverty definition for students with eight family members or less.
Students chosen for the program will receive a financial aid package that includes funds from the program's newly created Lula Martin McIver Scholarship Endowment, established by the $6 million anonymous gift, and other private gifts, along with federal and state grants. The aid package will include tuition and fees; on-campus room and board; and books, supplies and other educational expenses. Currently, $14,500 per year covers these costs for in-state students.
In addition to financial aid, students will receive an array of academic support services, and a program administrator will develop a customized plan to guarantee their academic success, noted Steve Roberson, dean of undergraduate studies. The Alumni Association and Board of Visitors members will be vital partners in administering the volunteer mentor component of the program.
The Development Office will conduct a fundraising initiative this year to raise additional funds for UNCG Guarantee, according to Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Patricia W. Stewart.
For more information, visit http://guarantee.uncg.edu.
UNCG in 3D
At a news conference announcing the program, participants donned 3-D glasses to watch a commercial on UNCG in 3. Catch the commercial at uncgin3.uncg.edu
UNCG has a new initiative that will allow highly motivated students to graduate in just three years.
The program, called UNCG in 3, is designed for the growing number of high school seniors who enter the university with transferable college credit earned through advanced placement (AP), UNCG iSchool or other early college programs. Incoming freshmen with 12 or more credit hours will be eligible to participate.
UNCG in 3 is perfect for students who are eager to earn a degree and get on with other life goals, said Chancellor Linda P. Brady. They can pursue a graduate degree, get a jump start on a career or even use what they save in tuition to launch their own business.
The first UNCG in 3 students will start this fall and will be able to save up to $8,000 in tuition, fees, room and board. They will earn the same high-quality degree UNCG typically offers, but at an accelerated pace by taking classes year-round. The university will provide both priority advisor support and priority scheduling to ensure that all degree requirements are met.
The program's goals are to decrease the cost of obtaining a degree for students and their families and to recruit highly talented and highly motivated students to UNCG. The program also addresses the UNC Tomorrow goals for expanding educational opportunities and is included in the UNCG Strategic Plan 2009-2014.
UNCG in 3 will start with the following degree programs: accounting, African-American studies, business administration, communication studies, economics, elementary education, English, entrepreneurship, finance, German, history, information systems and operations management, political science, psychology, religious studies, romance languages and Russian.
Here's how it works. Students need to take and pass at least 16 credits each fall and spring plus seven credits each for two summer sessions. The estimated $8,000 in savings assumes that the student will take the summer courses online.
In planning the program, UNCG surveyed its own student body. In fall 2009, 526 freshmen entered UNCG with AP credits, with 92 students holding 12 or more. At the same time, 59 first-year students entered with credits from UNCG iSchool, joining 139 continuing students with iSchool credit.
To learn more about the initiative, visit uncgin3.uncg.edu.
From boardroom to classroom
Even as an administrator at other universities, Chancellor Linda P. Brady has always kept one toe in the classroom. This semester she is bringing her expertise to students with an upper-level undergraduate course on international negotiation. Brady worked in the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Defense from 1978-1985, serving in both the Carter and Reagan administrations and dealing with issues of nuclear weapons, arms control, and international logistics. I hope my students will learn that negotiating skills can be taught, she says. And that they will leave the course prepared to be active and informed participants in foreign policy debates.
Web site tells forgotten tales of slavery
Loren Schweninger spent years locating slave petitions in county courthouses and state archives. Now, all are indexed in the Digital Library on American Slavery.
The 1860 U.S. Census registered the names of slave owners and the age, gender and color of slaves. But there, as in much of the historical record, slaves are nameless.
UNCG's new Digital Library on American Slavery provides the names of more than 83,000 individual slaves from 15 states and the District of Columbia.
The web site, created in cooperation with University Libraries, features petitions related to slavery collected during an 18-year project led by history professor Dr. Loren Schweninger. The petitions filed in county courts and state legislatures cover a wide range of legal issues, including wills, divorce proceedings, punishment of runaway slaves, calls for abolition, property disputes and more.
It's among the most specific and detailed databases and web sites dealing with slavery in the U.S. between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, said Schweninger, the Elizabeth Rosenthal Excellence Professor in History. There's no web site like this, either in extent or content. The amount of information in here to be mined is enormous.
Started in 1991, the Race and Slavery Petitions Project collected, organized and published the petitions. The Digital Library on American Slavery is the final phase of the project.
Schweninger knows the value of conducting research from primary sources, something he learned from his mentor, the late Dr. John Hope Franklin. The stories he found in legal records were often not preserved anywhere else. This was info that was not tapped, he said. Very few scholars had gone to county courts.
Building the database for the archive was painstaking work. Schweninger visited about 160 county courthouses in the South and 15 state archives between 1991 and 1995. “The first three years, I was on the road 540 days,” he said.
The library includes petitions by more than 2,500 slaves and free blacks who sought redress for numerous causes. For example, George Sears of Randolph County, a blacksmith and a free man of color, purchased his slave wife, Tillah, for $300. He then petitioned the North Carolina General Assembly in 1818 to emancipate his wife and daughters and render them Competent in Law to inherit the Estate of your Petitioner.
A number of the petitions speak to how slaves fought their enslavement, providing details of slaves who ran away, burned down plantations or plotted to murder slave owners. As the petitions show, the position of free blacks in the South was precarious, especially as certain states and counties sought to expel them or refused to allow them to enter.
Other petitions show how race and slave status were sometimes in dispute. In one case, a Georgia slave owner sued one of his neighbors for slander for calling him a damned negro, averring he was white. In another, a woman in Baltimore petitioned for divorce because her husband instead of being a white man is a mulatto and in reality had been born a slave. A New Orleans teenager who was put on the auction block to be sold as a slave asserted in her petition that she was in fact a free white woman.
To explore more petitions, visit the site at http://library.uncg.edu/slavery.
Taking the reins
Bradley leads his horse, Tailor, at Horsepower, a therapeutic riding program.
This is a leadership class, Tim Clifford tells a group of students from UNCG and Beyond Academics gathered Sept. 2 for the first day of a class at a horse farm in Colfax. Out here we're going to learn how we can lead ourselves better, and we're going to learn ways we can lead others.
The UNCG students are studying to be special education teachers. A partnership with UNCG, Beyond Academics is a college experiential program for adults with intellectual disabilities. Students in Beyond Academics are part of the university community and work toward living as independently as possible.
Clifford, a former teacher and principal, leads the 12-week class at Horsepower, a nationally certified therapeutic riding program. Meeting once a week during the fall semester, the class pairs UNCG students with Beyond Academics students.
During the second class, half the students practice leading the horses. Bradley from Beyond Academics and his UNCG partner, Ai Kamei, work with a brown and white horse named Tailor.
Bradley, shifting his weight anxiously from foot to foot, holds the placid horse's lead rope. Walk on, he softly says to the horse. Neither takes a step.
You're in charge, Clifford coaches Bradley. You're a leader. Walk where you want him to go and he'll follow. What are you going to do if you get nervous?
Deep breath, Bradley replies. Walk on, he urges the horse, his voice a little louder. Then Kamei encourages Bradley.
Walk on! Bradley tells the horse and together they walk forward.
I like how you said that, Clifford says. Better and better. You're going to be a cowboy.
The Horsepower program isn't just about leading and riding the horses. It's also about learning to care for them. Students muck stalls and groom the horses.
They're in there getting their hands dirty, says Dr. Stephanie Kurtts, an associate professor in the Department of Specialized Education Services. That's very therapeutic. Caring for an animal teaches responsibility. It teaches accountability.
The UNCG students are part of Project RESTART, an effort led by Kurtts to recruit and support nontraditional adult students who are studying to become special education teachers. The U.S. Department of Education has backed Project RESTART with a four-year, ű800,000 grant.
Everyone is learning from one another, Kurtts says of the Horsepower class. The UNCG students and the Beyond Academics students are peers.
The last day of the class is Dec. 9. Clifford congratulates the students on their willingness to go beyond their comfort zones. Sometimes we need to go out and do a thing we're not entirely comfortable with if it's going to make our lives fuller,” he says.
Then the students have a last chance to ride the horses. Bradley climbs atop the saddle. Walk on! he tells his horse, Fantasia.
So, you're pretty relaxed up there? asks Clifford.
Yup, Brad says and grins.
Taking a couple of slow laps around the arena, Bradley does look comfortable in the saddle. In fact, he looks a little bit like a cowboy.
Measuring the good life
Quality of life can mean a great many things to people time with friends, financial security, good health and more. But how do you measure something like that?
Thanks to Woman's College graduates, Dr. Paige Hall Smith, director of the Center for Women's Health and Wellness, has data that sheds a little light on the subject.
A preliminary study done in 2005-06 with a few alumni focus groups provided the basis of the study. After hearing what those 28 women had to say, Smith was able to create two models predicting quality of life. The survey questions allowed her to analyze those models, one based on financial security and the other based on social interactions.
We were interested in understanding our own alumni and what they have to teach us about good quality of life, she said.
More than 1,000 WC alumni shared their insights in a 44-page questionnaire. Topics ranged from how they perceived their health to the types of activities they participated in on a regular basis.
What did they find? Leisure is huge, Smith said.
In the social model, having enough leisure time scored high in quality of life, mental health and perceived health. In the economic model, income led to a higher quality of life and feeling good about health. A lack of worry about money was important to mental health.
This is not earth-shattering news, Smith said. But if you're younger, here are the take-home messages: Plan for your retirement. If you're having to work until you're 80, you will not be happy about it. You'll have less time to spend with family and friends.
Also, don't neglect your relationships and the development of your own interests, she said.
Smith will present her findings at Reunion for the next several years as different groups return to campus. She and other faculty will continue to analyze the data, potentially looking at questions related to work, mothering and caretaking.
A deeper shade of green
From a trayless cafeteria, which cuts down on the amount of water used and food wasted, to the construction of the campus' first LEED certified green building on campus, UNCG has embraced environmental sustainability.
Now, even more greening of the campus is on the way thanks to a system-wide initiative to make The University of North Carolina a leader as an academic environmental steward. The policy aims to integrate sustainable principles into the fabric of the university system, from master planning to operations and maintenance. One goal of the sustainability plan is for the system to become carbon neutral producing a net of zero carbon emissions by 2050.
When you look at the policy, the first principle you see is systematic implementation of sustainability principles, integrating sustainability throughout the institution, said Dr. Anna Marshall-Baker, a member of the UNCG Committee on Sustainability.
For example, the policy could influence decisions on what kinds of cleaners housekeepers use to the types of paper products ordered for office use, she said. This is a policy intended to reach into all aspects of the university.
And since the policy extends to all of North Carolina's public universities, it allows constituent institutions to be good role models, she added. I think it's just fantastic that the Board of Governors has approved this. … North Carolina has 17 campuses spread across the state that can become models of sustainable practice and policy and those models can be spread to their communities and their regions and throughout the state. NC has the potential to be the greenest state in the country.
Those who can, teach
Along with their passion for science, some students at UNCG discover a calling to be educators. They find the joy of teaching while serving as laboratory assistants, tutors or leaders of study groups for science classes.
If you ask science teachers, they often got into it almost by accident, says Dr. Terry Nile, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry. They do it informally and really enjoy the experience. Being introduced to the joy of teaching, without the pressure of having to become an educator is, perhaps, how most of us get into education.
The university's Project Excellence in Science Education Learning is nurturing this passion for teaching and helping the state meet its critical need for middle and high school science teachers.
Supported by a five-year, $746,300 federal grant, Project ExSEL provides mentoring, summer stipends, two-year Noyce Scholarships and other support for future science teachers.
The National Science Foundation's Noyce Scholarships provide recipients with $10,000 per year, roughly the annual cost of in-state tuition, fees, room, board and books at UNCG. Scholarship recipients will be required to teach for two years in return for each year of scholarship support.
When the grant period ends in 2013, it should have helped the university graduate 28 well-qualified science teachers. The grant will also allow the university to mentor these teachers during their first two years in the classroom, a time when many new science teachers choose to pursue another career.
About 40 students assist faculty each year as laboratory assistants, setting up equipment, monitoring safety and answering basic questions for students in introductory level courses. Another 55 serve as tutors or leaders of study groups for science courses.
Students who demonstrate a talent for teaching will be encouraged to become peer leaders in the fall of their sophomore year. A workshop at the beginning of the fall semester will help prepare these students for additional duties, such as helping students prepare reports and hosting tutoring sessions. Students who thrive in this role will be recognized with awards and encouraged to apply for Noyce Scholarships for their junior and senior years.
Noyce Scholars will continue to be peer leaders and will be designated instructional assistants with extensive interaction with science content faculty, science education faculty and school teachers. As instructional assistants, the scholars will teach some pre-lab presentations under the guidance of faculty members, who will critique the presentations.
Project ExSEL builds on UNCG's strength in teacher education. UNCG is one of the largest producers of teachers in the state, graduating on average 229 undergraduate and 111 graduate students annually.