The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday March 28th

View from the Hill

Gonzales selected to lead UNC system's academic affairs office

Junius J. Gonzales, provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of Texas-El Paso, has been tapped as the new senior vice president of academic affairs for the UNC system.

Gonzales will receive a salary of $320,000 a year. He will assume the post on Jan. 28, replacing the interim vice president, Warwick Arden.

The University of Texas-El Paso features a student body that is majority minority, with a Hispanic undergraduate student population of about 80 percent. Gonzales has spearheaded initiatives to foster this diversity, and he will bring a rich perspective to the 17-campus UNC system based on his background — his parents were Peruvian immigrants, and he was the first in his family to attend college.

Gonzales holds a bachelor’s degree in literature and biology, a medical degree and a master's of business administration. He has worked in the field of psychiatry with the National Institute of Health, serving as the chief of clinical research and clinical epidemiology branch from 1999 through 2005. He then worked in research and policy analysis before launching a career in higher education administration at the University of South Florida.

Gonzales has continued to pursue his research on mental health during his time as an administrator. At South Florida, Gonzales earned a $1.24 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research how to reduce disparities among Latinos who have chronic disease. He brought in nearly $5 million in grants during his tenure at El Paso, and he has used the grants to increase El Paso's first-year retention rate and plan programs to ease the transition to college.

Recent UNC-system issues that have faced the academic affairs staff include a policy to limit campuses' use of tuition revenue for need-based aid and a pilot program that will slightly lower the SAT score admissions standard at three UNC-system schools. The schools will also add more counseling and tutoring resources for students admitted under the program.

Gonzales’s record indicates that creating more social mobility through programs like this will be a priority as he joins the UNC system.

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