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Board of Trustees discusses Wainstein committees and campus contextualization

The board gave updates on campus issues, passed a resolution and heard presentations about innovation at UNC.

The board met publicly until just before 11 a.m., when it went into closed session for three hours before adjourning.

Wainstein committees

Chancellor Carol Folt gave an update on UNC’s initiatives following the independent investigator Kenneth Wainstein’s October 2014 report on the academic-athletic scandal.

She said the committees that were formed in reaction to the report ­— the Integrity and Ethics Committee and the Process and Procedures Committee — have each met for the first time.

Both committees will include many voices from campus, Folt said.

“Those are both deeply underway, and upcoming meetings will include participation from the board, the student body, people in the audience and faculty,” she said.

Contextualization

Folt also said people on the history and curation project have researched and talked to many sources to prepare for possible contextualization.

“They are working in particular on signage and what we could do to make good signage about history,” she said.

Student Stores update

Folt said the Federal Perkins Loan Program, which gives UNC about $4 million a year, stopped receiving funding Wednesday.

She said the University is considering privatizing UNC Student Stores because Follett, the company proposing to lease the stores, said the firm might be able to provide as much as $4 million a year to pay for student scholarships.

“As we work on (the Student Stores decision) — and we say we’ll give that a shot, that doesn’t mean that we’re going to do it — we’ll consider all the issues people raise,” she said.

Innovation at UNC

Nancy Allbritton, chairperson of the UNC-N.C. State Department of Biomedical Engineering, said though the program is small, it has greatly improved in the past year.

“We’ve got a whole list of benchmarks that we’ve just been hammering away at,” she said.

John Larson, a student in the program, said the class of 2019 has the highest program enrollment yet.

“It’s the marriage that makes it perfect,” Larson said. “Biomedical engineering is a marriage of medicine, engineering and all sorts of different things, and that’s truly what we’re accomplishing between N.C. State and UNC.”

Shawn Hingtgen, an assistant professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, said his lab is working on a potential treatment for glioblastoma, a form of cancer. Hingtgen said the goal is to have the treatment ready for patients in three years.

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“The work in our lab is actually trying to create an entirely new way to treat cancer. And from an unlikely source: stem cells,” he said.

UNC graduate Shruti Shah gave a presentation about her company, Move Loot, which helps customers buy and sell used furniture.

Shah said she wanted to see if the University could help with the hiring process by working with professors and people with connections.

Folt said innovation and entrepreneurship at UNC is transforming higher education.

“We have this new direction, which is taking what people learned, putting it directly into practice, whether that’s education depth, breadth and practice, or whether it’s our research, this amazing billion-dollar research enterprise,” Folt said.

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