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Friday January 15th

UNC-system happenings for Sept. 8, 2014

WSSU searches for chancellor 

Winston-Salem State University might have a new chancellor in less than a week.

The university’s board of trustees voted in late August during a closed-door meeting to recommend three candidates for the position to UNC-system President Tom Ross, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

As part of the system’s process for selecting chancellors, Ross and UNC General Administration staff consider all candidates for chancellor posts and then make a recommendation to the UNC Board of Governors, which then votes on Ross’ selection.

The board is holding its next meeting Thursday and Friday at Western Carolina University.

Chancellor Donald Julian Reaves announced March 21 that he would retire at the end of 2014 after seven years in the role and return to the school’s political science faculty.

There has been a recent trend of retirements and new chancellors within the UNC system — WSSU will become the sixth school out of the system’s 17 institutions to replace its top-ranking administrator since spring 2013. 

Four out of the five replacements announced so far have been women.

Stacey Franklin Jones was elected chancellor of Elizabeth City State University on Sept. 4, and Mary K. Grant was tapped to lead UNC-Asheville on Aug. 1.

ECU students study retention

A new student mentoring program focused on male freshman retention launched at East Carolina University at the start of the school year, thanks to the efforts of two ECU undergraduate students.

The program works as part of the Pirate Tutoring Center and targets incoming male students — especially those who might have trouble adjusting to college and keeping up with coursework due to learning disabilities or personal situations.

Retention from freshman to sophomore year at ECU is slightly above the national average — 78 percent.

But Jayne Geissler, executive director of academic advising, noted during a recent presentation that retention rates are lowest at ECU among white men.

The two ECU students spent a year studying retention on campus. In fall 2013, student Tiffany Vockerodt found that male freshman students were more likely than female students to be flagged by faculty and put on an academic warning list — known as a Starfish alert. 

But women who received the alert were twice as likely as men to seek academic support and tutoring.

Wigand found that freshman women were more likely to believe that the alert was a legitimate sign that they should seek tutoring — and these women were more likely to be retained into their sophomore year.

NC State online MBA ranked

As online education continues to gain popularity as a less expensive way to earn a college degree, N.C. State University’s online MBA program has vaulted into national prominence.

A new set of online MBA rankings published in an August report, “The Definitive Guide to Online MBAs,” places N.C. State’s Jenkins program 17th among its top online business programs.

UNC-CH’s program MBA@UNC, offered through the Kenan-Flagler School of Business, ranks second on the list, which was compiled by online business community Poets & Quants.

Doug Shackelford, associate dean of the MBA@UNC program, said in the report that online degrees tend to attract professionals already working in the business field.

“They know they are at the right age and it’s time to get an MBA, but frankly, they are doing so well professionally that it would be a foolish move,” Shackelford said. “You are 28 and making $200,000 a year, and your company is saying you are on the way toward the c-suite. You don’t quit that job.”

According to the report, the top-ranked online business programs were nearly identical — both with respect to faculty and content taught — to each school’s corresponding on-campus program.

Tuition for a Jenkins degree costs $37,167 for in-state students and $52,650 for out-of-state students. MBA@UNC costs at least $96,775 for all students. 

NCCU fights hunger in Durham

Hungry kids are a major presence in the Durham area — within the six counties served by Durham’s food bank, 30,000 children on any given day are at risk of hunger.

And North Carolina Central University’s School of Education is hoping to ensure that no students spend their days outside school on an empty stomach.

On Sept. 27, the school will hold its second 5K race to benefit BackPack Buddies, a project of Durham’s Inter-Faith Food Shuttle that sends students home each weekend of the school year with a backpack of food — six meals and two snacks.

“A 5K is different for our campus,” said Cheresa Clemons, a NCCU education professor, in a statement. “We have walks all the time, but this is the first true race for NCCU. It lets us engage a diverse group of people.”

Clemons added that many of her students have first-hand experience with the plight of hunger in the Durham area.

“A lot of our students can remember growing up and sometimes going without a meal; they know the story. They have lived it,” she said.

“The flip side is some students have never had to miss a meal. Field experience and student teaching makes hunger a reality for all of our students, regardless of their background.”

The inaugural race in 2013 included nearly 300 participants and raised more than $5,000 to benefit BackPack Buddies.

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