“We have a lot of opportunity and privilege by being here, so if we have to work even harder to try to make ourselves hold to a higher standard, I think we are ready for that,” Folt said.
Folt said the service component of the University is highly important. She said the undergraduates and graduates combined put in almost 2 million hours of service.
“People here, I think, serve not just because they want to but because they feel a responsibility,” Folt said.
The innovative and entrepreneurial spirit at UNC is another characteristic of the University that Folt said she values.
She wants to prepare a future-ready workforce by teaching research skills. Folt said the College of Arts and Sciences recently found students are graduating and getting jobs at rates equal to those at the most elite private institutions.
“The speed and rate of innovation is so fast that when we have you for only four years, we want to make sure that you are learning how to take yourself all the way to the edge of content mastery, synthesis and design,” Folt said.
Folt said she wants to update the curriculum to include more flipped classrooms and online learning opportunities, along with increasing research and internship opportunities to prepare students for the workforce.
Folt said UNC has a history of innovation, progressive change and leadership.
“When I think about Carolina’s greatest assets, it is, of course, and always will be the people. The people that are here right now — but it is also the history of people,” Folt said.
Folt said the research capabilities, accessibility and affordability of UNC, made possible with state funding and around $450 million in private donations, make it a special place.
Members of Student Congress had the opportunity to ask Folt questions after her speech.
Craig Amasya, vice chairperson of the finance committee, asked Folt to address issues of equality and accessibility.
“We absolutely have to keep costs down, but at the same time we have to think about how we can redeploy resources to allow more students to get into the business school, to allow us to hire more faculty in the computer science department and to allow us to hire more faculty in the journalism school,” Amasya said after the event.
First-year Student Congress member Lucky Prachith said he was satisfied with hearing Folt’s perspective and agenda.
“As a member of Student Congress, I feel that coming out to these events where I can engage with University leadership and other fellow representatives is a great way to learn more about the University, talk about issues that I feel are pertinent and hear what other people are wanting to say,” Prachith said.