The UNC-system Board of Governors reconvened for its first meeting of the academic year Friday to welcome new board members, approve upcoming projects and announce some curriculum changes.
UNC-system President Tom Ross praised the nine new appointed members and said their expertise will be needed in the months ahead.
“I’m really delighted that our new class of board members brings such a wealth of knowledge and experience and new ideas to the table, and we welcome them,” Ross said. The new members took oath Thursday and Friday.
The board voted to approve advanced planning on capital improvement projects on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus, including renovations on the William B. Aycock family medicine building and repairs to three pedestrian bridges over Manning Drive.
They also voted to approve the establishment of new projects, such as renovations to Beard Hall, CURE HIV Laboratory and the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
But an N.C. State University project to build a $15 million, 62-bed “boutique” dorm was met with some resistance. The Wolfpack Club, the school’s student athlete aid association, will fund the project as it will house the women’s and men’s basketball teams, among other students, since it is close to the athletic tutoring facility.
Randy Woodson, chancellor of N.C. State, defended it.
“I wouldn’t have approved this if it had anything to do with student fees… it is entirely privately financed by private donors,” Woodson said.
Ross also announced UNC-Chapel Hill will be leading the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence, a five-year, $20 million project funded by the Department of Homeland Security. He emphasized its importance to coastal communities and to UNC-Chapel Hill.
Its purpose is “to address the unique challenges facing communities across the U.S. that are vulnerable to coastal hazards,” Ross said.
During committee reports, Anna Nelson, chairwoman of the Committee on Educational Planning, Policies and Programs announced various degree discontinuations, including the Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill. The board approved.
UNC requested the discontinuation “as the School of Pharmacy will no longer admit students prior to completion of the baccalaureate degree starting Fall 2015,” according to meeting materials.
Wendy Cox, associate dean for Professional Education at the school, said in an email that the school is launching a new doctor of pharmacy program in the fall.
“(It) is very different from the previous curriculum, and we are no longer offering the courses that contributed to the BS program,” she said.
But the board did not address its search for a new president. Ross was forced to resign as system president earlier this year, a decision many criticized. His term is slated to end in January or when a new president is chosen, whichever is later.
Ross said he is eagerly awaiting the finalized state budget, which is supposed to be resolved next week.
He said it will hopefully be the best university budget seen in years, praising the House’s capital bond proposal that will allow for greater investment in advancing STEM-related fields, according to a UNC-system press release.
“The governor and the House leadership clearly understand the pressing need for renewed investment in the university,” Ross said.
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