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Folt emphasizes education changes

Chancellor Carol L. Folt spoke about the future of UNC and her plans to make changes as a part of Dean's Speaker Series at Koury Auditorium at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School on Monday night. "UNC may be ground zero for the future of higher education in America," said Folt.
Chancellor Carol L. Folt spoke about the future of UNC and her plans to make changes as a part of Dean's Speaker Series at Koury Auditorium at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School on Monday night. "UNC may be ground zero for the future of higher education in America," said Folt.

Chancellor Carol Folt says the University needs to adapt to the changing environment brought by an educational revolution.

Folt spoke at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School Monday night in the second installment of the Dean Speaker’s series. Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jim Dean, former dean of the business school, scheduled Folt to speak in May before she even started at UNC.

“We wanted a senior woman that could talk about what it took to be successful,” Dean said. “She has attained the same level of success as previous speakers, but she is one of our own.”

Folt said higher education has undergone three revolutions in the past century. She said the first occurred after World War I, when the United States wanted campuses to grow much larger. The second took place after World War II.

“Americans began to link the people who did the research directly to the education of the next generation,” she said. “When we embedded research in the universities, we set in motion innovation.”

And now the country is beginning its third revolution, for which Folt said she is prepared.

“Change comes naturally to me,” she said. “I certainly wouldn’t have flourished if I wanted to keep doing it the same way.”

Folt said the needs and demographic of the state are shifting.

“We have to work hard to increase our diversity and match the nation in that way,” she said.

Folt said there are three things UNC needs to do to keep up with the education’s current revolution.

The first is that the University must be aware of the exceptional people who are there.

Folt emphasized the struggles women still face in rising to positions of leadership, citing her own experience at Dartmouth College.

Folt also said UNC must create an extraordinary learning environment, which could be accomplished by focusing on the breadth, depth and practice of UNC’s liberal arts curriculum.

“Our faculty now not only create and teach, but also apply,” she said.

Folt described the current generation as pragmatic idealists who need solid skills, while still being capable of blurring the lines between departments and regions.

Finally, Folt said UNC needs to define being a public university while also being a great one.

“The University is mostly funded by the federal government, tuition and philanthropy,” she said.

She said if UNC is asking alumni for support, then it must use the money to keep UNC’s learning experience relevant and modern.

Freshman Brent Comstock said he appreciated Folt’s emphasis on the need for innovation the most.

“The fact that she said the majority of CEOs don’t actually have a business degree resonated with me,” he said. “Every field of study has its own entrepreneurial spirit.”

Organizers of the Dean’s Speaker Series said Jeb Bush will be the next speaker in January.

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