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Thursday June 17th

UNC-system happenings for Sept. 15, 2014

ASU freshman found dead

An Appalachian State University freshman who had been missing for 11 days was found dead close to campus Saturday morning.

Anna Marie Smith, 18, of High Point, was reported missing Sept. 3 by her roommate after she was last seen in her on-campus residence hall on Sept. 2.

A statement released by the Boone Police Department said that the cause of death is unknown and that Smith’s body has been sent to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for an autopsy.

“I find strength in the great power of our community to support those with broken hearts and burdened spirits who have been powerfully affected by the loss of this bright young light,” said Sheri Everts, ASU’s chancellor, in a statement sent to students Saturday. 

Smith’s disappearance was considered voluntary. Her laptop and cell phone were in her parent’s possession at the time of her disappearance, and police found no evidence of sexual assault, according to the updates.

Pope Center takes aim at State

The Pope Center took shots at N.C. State University’s general education program at a panel discussion Wednesday.

Jay Schalin, the center’s policy director, authored a May report that called N.C. State’s program a “smorgasbord.” He said Wednesday that the number of courses offered should be much smaller and that they should focus on broader subjects and critical thinking.

“A well crafted gen-ed program and a lot of choice can’t coexist very well,” he said.

But David Zonderman, chairman of the faculty, said most students choose a broad range of courses at the general education level.

“They are in fact taking advantage of the ‘smorgasbord,’ not just picking out the marshmallows and leaving the fruits and vegetables.”

Zonderman added that Schalin’s methodology was flawed because he made no effort to study course syllabuses or student experiences.

“It strikes me as a list of courses that are cherry-picked mainly based on, from what I could tell, their titles,” he said.

McCrory talks degree at WCU

During Friday’s meeting of the UNC Board of Governors at Western Carolina University, Gov. Pat McCrory touted the need for a faster path to a college degree.

“Maybe we shouldn’t take four years to get a degree,” he said, according to the (Raleigh) News & Observer. “Maybe we shouldn’t take two years to get an MBA.”

McCrory also praised the UNC system’s strategic plan and its goal of raising the percentage of bachelor’s degree holders among the state’s population to 32 percent by 2018.

He also spun the conversation to the state’s economy and job creation efforts.

“I will not be successful at recruiting jobs in western North Carolina unless I have the talent to fill them, and Western Carolina University is a major part of finding that talent,” McCrory said.

The meeting coincided with WCU’s 125th anniversary. The school announced Sept. 3 that total enrollment for the fall set a record with 10,382 students.

UNC-P's enrollment increases

Historically minority colleges in North Carolina have experienced declining enrollment, but UNC-Pembroke broke its trend this year for the first time since 2009. 

The university enrolled 1,074 freshmen for the 2014-15 academic year — the third largest freshman class in UNC-P history.

Enrollment at UNC-P declined 6.5 percent from 2009 to 2013, and a statement released Friday said university officials put significant effort into reversing that trend.

“Recruitment strategies were modified, materials and the website were redesigned, articulation agreements and relationships with community colleges were improved,” said Kyle R. Carter, UNC-P chancellor.  

Freshmen retention rate also increased, with a 68.2 percent retention rate from freshman to sophomore year, and the university has seen a record-high number of transfers. 

“Prospective students and parents have gotten the message about all that UNCP has to offer,” said Ken Kitts, the school’s provost.

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