The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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Digging in
Dr. Linda Stine, in blue ballcap, talks about what they are searching for as they stand by one of the pits dug by students at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.

Dr. Linda Stine, in blue ballcap, talks about what they are searching for as they stand by one of the pits dug by students at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.

Dr. Linda Stine loves a good mystery. And the one she and her husband, Dr. Roy Stine, are working on with anthropology, archaeology and geography students this summer at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park is a big one.

Where exactly is the original Guilford Courthouse?

But first you have to understand a little history.

During the Revolutionary War, Lord Charles Cornwallis marched his Redcoats into North Carolina's first line of defense — near what is now the Brassfield shopping center on Battleground Avenue. The militia (generally farmers pressed into temporary service) gave way and the British went through the woods and encountered the second line of defense. Again, they broke through and then met Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene and his Continentals, the third line of defense. The two sides fought in front of the courthouse.

The Americans lost that day, but the casualties left the British weak and ultimately led them to Yorktown where they faced defeat.

Historians know where the first line of battle occurred. But the third line? That's unclear.

In the '70s, Stine's former professor, Joffre Coe, along with fellow archaeologist Trawick Ward, came to the park and worked on the question of the courthouse location on and off for two years.

They found a few buildings, but Stine isn't convinced any are the courthouse.

Coe and Ward located the remnants of one building with a cellar and chimney and brass artifacts. It might be the courthouse, but the artifacts lead her to believe otherwise. “Too many domestic pieces,” she says. And the idea of a cellar and a courthouse doesn't seem quite right to her.

“There is enough debate that I want to learn more,” she says. “It would help to know where the courthouse was.”

From historical documents, she knows they are looking for a 30x26 building with an 8-foot porch addition. It has a masonry chimney with underpinnings, but what exactly that means is unclear.

At the work site, Stine stands under a tall, shady tree and searches for a map on top of a folding table. Finding it, she points to small squares, which mark the buildings Coe and Ward found.

While Stine talks, geography professor Dr. Roy Stine, walks purposely across the site using ground-penetrating radar, or GPR. Earlier in the day, one of her students used a dual gradiometer — “like a super duper metal detector.”

Both methods reveal any anomalies underground. Those anomalies could be brick or pillars or even the dark stain that indicates a builder's trench.

A little more than a week into their work, they are fairly sure they have located the chimney and hearth that Linda Stine's predecessors found. That excites her. Now the professors and their students can layer their map of anomalies on top of the old map and begin working in new areas.

But while modern technology helps them know where to dig, the actual excavation is done with old fashioned shovels, trowels and patience.

At one excavated square shaded by a tent, Charlie Gait and Rebecca Lowe do the tedious work of clearing North Carolina red clay from an 8-inch deep pit. Some old bricks have emerged but it's still unclear if the bricks are part of a broken structure or just simply a place where builders dumped their leftovers.

Beside the tent, a pile of dirt sits next to two sizes of soil sifters. Stine runs her hand over the earth left on the smaller-holed sifter and picks up a few pea-sized bits. She is looking for pottery, bone or even something as small as fish scales.

Whatever they do find will be washed, labeled and catalogued. And, maybe, just maybe, in addition to the small bits of history, they'll find an answer.

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Dr. David H. Perrin
Dr. David H. Perrin
Reviewing the upcoming Program Review

UNCG will conduct an academic program review during the course of the 2011-12 year, determining how well its academic offerings meet the needs of its students and society. The review process on the academic unit level will be conducted during the fall semester. Then a committee with members from throughout the university will look at programs on a university-wide level, over the winter.

Dr. David H. Perrin, provost and executive vice chancellor, spoke with UNCG Magazine in late June about the process and what it will mean for the university.

Provost Perrin, which UNCG programs are under review and why?

This is the first time, to my knowledge, in many, many years, the university has conducted a university-wide review of every academic program at the same time. Universities are very good at adding programs. But it would hold true that if the demands of society and the needs of our students require the addition of new programs on a continual and regular basis, there may in fact be programs that we have maintained for many years that are no longer meeting the needs of society and our students. So I am hopeful that this process will help inform us in determining which academic programs represent our strengths and are essential to maintaining a sound and balanced educational program, consistent with our mission and Strategic Plan and where we're trying to go as an institution of higher learning.

Has the timeline changed since the spring issue of UNCG Magazine?

Yes, we have extended the timeline in a couple of ways. First, we have extended to Aug. 15 the deadline for program leadership to respond to the program and departmental surveys that they've been working on. And we've extended the deadline for the university program review committee's recommendations to me and to the chancellor. That's now March 1 of 2012.

Looking at the big picture, what do you foresee as the result of this process?

The recommendations of the university program review committee to me and the chancellor will place programs into one of several categories, ranging from programs recommended for discontinuation to programs recommended as continuing as high priority and in fact receiving additional resources to become even stronger — and many categories in between those two. But I think that the recommendations that we will receive will provide opportunities for looking at possible collaboration among programs, combining of programs perhaps. I think another outcome of our process at UNCG is that we will be much better prepared to respond to the UNC System process, which will attempt to identify areas of unnecessary duplication system-wide. And I want us to be in a position where we can convey to the system — to that committee and that process — what our strengths are, rather than to have them tell us what our strengths are and what we will eliminate or combine with other campuses and so forth.

Where can readers find more information about this?

Readers can go to the UNCG home page and find a link for Academic Program Review. That is quite a comprehensive web site in terms of presenting the criteria for the process and the timeline for the process.

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Quad renovations photo
Scaffolding outside quad residence halls indicates work has begun.
Quad renovations begin

After decades of use and generations of students, UNCG's historic Quad is getting a face lift.

Renovations to the seven 1920s residence halls began the day after spring commencement. The renovations, estimated to cost about $55.5 million, will keep the residence halls offline for a little more than year. Construction is scheduled to wrap up in the late summer of 2012 for fall occupancy.

The project will include complete interior renovations of Cotten, Bailey, Hinshaw, Coit, Shaw, Jamison and Gray residence halls, totaling approximately 225,000 gross square feet. The renovations will also include exterior wall and roof repairs; the replacement of existing windows with energy efficient ones; and ADA accessibility improvements, including ramps and elevators. Improvements will be made to the existing site and underground utilities.

Two living-learning community classrooms will be included on the north side of Shaw Residence Hall as well as new office space. The halls' parlors will be expanded to two stories and the primary entrances to the buildings will be created on the Quad side of the structures. The mature trees within the Quad will be protected during the renovations, and the grass within the area will be kept with enhanced walkways on either side.

After a series of discussions about the fate of the Quad, UNCG Chancellor Linda P. Brady recommended the renovation of the historic structures to the university's Board of Trustees in September 2009. “UNCG has demonstrated its commitment to historically sensitive renovation — illustrated by Aycock Auditorium, the Alumni House, Forney and other projects — and I pledge we will approach renovation of the Quad residence halls in the same spirit,” Brady told the board.

The other option considered during planning for the campus' long-term housing needs was to raze and rebuild the residence halls.

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Dr. Adam Hall watches as students prepare the experiment.
Dr. Adam Hall watches as students prepare the experiment.
The final frontiers

The tiniest spaces and outer space. JSNN researchers have had an eye on both.

A group of Mendenhall Middle schoolers had a tiny experiment selected for the final flight of the space shuttle Endeavor. Researchers at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering assisted and inspired the young students every step of the way.

Their experiment involved what many people would refer to as “Sea-Monkeys,” but are more accurately called “brine shrimp.” One specimen of the miniscule brine shrimp was on the shuttle as it orbited for two weeks, one was in a control group back on planet Earth. The experiment was designed to look at the effect of gravity on their life cycle.

The students came to the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengeneering (JSNN) one final time, in April, before the shuttle's scheduled lift-off.

Dr. Adam Hall and Dr. Joseph Starobin led the students step-by-step through the preparation on April 25.

“OK, the next person will add the salt. Who wants to be next?” Hall asked, making sure each student got a hands-on turn. “So now, we need to do the brine shrimp extract and the yeast.”

As the preparations continued, Starobin explained to the students about capillary action in liquids, and how the size of containers affects that action along the edges.

The scheduled lift-off was delayed at the last minute. But when their experiment, using a freshly prepared sample, blasted off with the shuttle May 16, the students knew they were a part of history: the Endeavor's final flight. They gathered to watch via a special two-way webcast.

Weeks later, the brine shrimp specimens were brought back to the joint school, where the researchers helped guide the middle schoolers in examining the results. The JSNN microscopes can peer into spaces so small, you can peer into the world within cells.

“I've learned to think small,” said sixth grader Bailey Weikel-Feekes. “It takes so much more to think little than to think big.”

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Dr. Tom Martinek, yellow shirt, and new school principal Angie Polk-Jones walk with students who want to learn more about the program.
Dr. Tom Martinek, yellow shirt, and new school principal Angie Polk-Jones walk with students who want to learn more about the program.
High school students get college experience

Guilford County high school students interested in health careers will soon have the option of going to school on the UNCG campus. Guilford County Schools (GCS) and UNCG are creating a middle college focused on health sciences that opens in the fall.

The Middle College at UNCG will allow high school students to graduate with up to two years of transferable college credit and to explore a variety of health careers, including human services and medical fields, through a work-study program. Tuition-free middle colleges provide extra support for students who may be disengaged or who may struggle to adapt to the traditional high school setting.

The school will enroll up to 50 ninth-graders in fall 2011 and will add as many as 50 more ninth-graders in each of the three following years for a total enrollment of 200.

Funding for the school will include federal dollars from the district's Race to the Top grant and GCS Title I dropout prevention funds in addition to a donation from Businesses for Excellence in Education.

Angela Polk-Jones '89 BSE, '07 MSA, a stand-out women's basketball player and one-time assistant coach at UNCG with 20 years' experience in education, has been hired as principal. Tom Martinek, professor of kinesiology, will serve as the school's UNCG liaison.

The program at UNCG will be the eighth early/middle college in Guilford County. The others are located at Bennett College, Greensboro College, Guilford College, Guilford Technical Community College — where there are three — and NC A&T State University.

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Remembering to forget

Daydreaming of an exotic locale may be a pleasant detour, but that mental vacation will make it harder to recall the facts you learned before you packed your imaginary bags, according to psychology faculty members Dr. Peter Delaney and Dr. Lili Sahakyan.

In fact, letting your mind wander to an overseas destination interferes with memory more than thoughts of a trip somewhere closer to home, the researchers say. The explanation seems to lie in the theory of context. It's well known in psychology circles that memory is influenced by context — a complex web of associations, including physical location, that are part of memories.

In a famous study, one group learned on land and another learned underwater while using scuba equipment. Some subjects were tested in the same environment where they had studied; others switched environments. Whether they had learned on dry land or underwater, people had better recall when they were tested in the same environment where they had learned. When it comes to memory, context matters.

“This is why when you think of something it often reminds you of something else,” Delaney says. “A lot of times when we retrieve a memory, it is often not obvious what is reminding us. Memories are associated with lots of things that are going on at the time they're learned. They're associated with the place you are. They're associated with the thoughts you're having.”

“They're associated with the feelings you have, the time of day,” Sahakyan adds.

A study by Delaney, Sahakyan and colleagues at Florida State University indicates that daydreaming interferes with memory in a way similar to physically changing location. “When you mentally travel, you're essentially changing the context yourself,” Delaney says. “The change between here and Myrtle Beach is not as big as the change between here and, say, Bologna, Italy.” The greater the change, the more difficult recall becomes.

The article resulting from the study, “Remembering to Forget: The Amnesic Effect of Daydreaming,” received national and international media attention when it was published last summer in the journal Psychological Science.

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Last updated: Tuesday, 04 October 2011
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