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Fall 2009

Dean's column

We are sending out our “first ever” HES e-newsletter to all our friends for whom we have email addresses. We hope you like our new format designed to embrace the technology-enhanced environment in which we find ourselves these days. If you know friends of HES who aren't receiving this newsletter, please let me know (, and we'll be sure to send it to them.

The 2008-09 academic year was a challenging one for us, primarily due to budget uncertainties in the state. However, I am happy to report that we have weathered this storm very well and are prepared to have a great 2009-2010 year!

Students First Campaign. The official Campaign ended on June 30, and I am very pleased to report that HES surpassed its goal of $6.5 million. Hats off to our many extraordinary donors — and special thanks are due to our development team for all their hard work, especially to Jane Lawrence, our director of development in HES. We provided over $200,000 in scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students from the HES Foundation in 2008-09.

Students. Students really do come first in HES. We are showing increased enrollment and graduation rates; and HES can boast of the highest retention rate from the freshman to sophomore years among all academic units at UNCG, a result, I think, of our faculty's personal attention to student advising and quality of instruction. Jennifer Clark, our director of student services, and I are teaching sections of UNS-101, the freshman orientation course that we offer to incoming HES students. What a way to learn about our students' concerns and interests! HES students excel in their classes and internships: More than 500 students completed short-term or semester-long internships in business, community and educational settings.

Faculty. Despite budget constraints, we were able to invest in the hiring of four new extraordinary faculty. We have been joined by Dr. Jigna Dharod, assistant professor of nutrition, who received her doctorate from the University of Connecticut, and Hannah Mendoza, assistant professor of interior architecture, who comes to UNCG from the Savannah (Ga.) College of Art & Design. In addition, two Distinguished Professors were added to the Department of Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies: Dr. Biyoung Ho is the Putnam and Hayes Distinguished Professor, and Dr. Nancy Miller (who will join us in January 2010 from the University of Nebraska) is the Burlington Industries Distinguished Professor. We are delighted to have these women join the ranks of our tenured/tenure-track faculty. Drs. Keith Erikson (Nutrition), Esther Leerkes and Catherine Scott-Little (HDF) were awarded promotion to the rank of associate professor, with permanent tenure. Dr. Deb Cassidy, professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, is on professional leave to serve as director of the Division of Child Development at the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Research. Scholarship was a major strength of HES in 2009. For several years in a row, HES has earned the greatest amount of external dollars of all the professional schools at UNCG — faculty obtained 41 awards totaling over $8.2 mil! HES faculty were productive scholars in 2008-09, publishing over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles. In 2008, Dr. Susan Calkins, professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, was awarded the Outstanding Researcher Award, the highest award of its kind at UNCG.

The themes of “5 Is and an S” (Innovation, International, Interdisciplinarity, Inclusivity, I(Engagement), and Sustainability) guided our collective, inter-departmental work in HES. In this issue of the e-newsletter, you'll learn about the work of students and faculty in IAR and CARS to design a new “boutique” store for the Salvation Army, a great example of how we in HES participate in community engagement and interdisciplinary work. The bone density research of nutrition professor Cheryl Lovelady reflects the innovative research taking place throughout the school. Read about how the Class of '59 (from the then School of Home Economics) is giving back to current students with the highest revenue from a class gift ever! You'll also enjoy the story about our Center for New North Carolinians (CNNC), which is continuing to help immigrants make new lives in the United States.

Let us hear from you, please. HES … and UNCG … a great place to be!

— Laura S. Sims, Ph.D.
    Dean, School of Human Environmental Sciences




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