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Though not as bad as had been feared, a budget recommendation from N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue will deliver a big hit to the UNC system if the legislature goes along with it.Since her recommendation was made Tuesday morning, UNC-system President Erskine Bowles has outlined the severity of the cuts he would have to make to comply.Her recommended cuts to the UNC-system budget go beyond what Bowles has previously said the system can handle. It will be weeks before the legislature finalizes the 2010-11 budget.
The 2010-11 budget recommendations released Tuesday by N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue were mostly better-than-expected news for the UNC system.Still, the proposal could be difficult to handle.Perdue exempted the education sector from a 5 percent to 7 percent that will be applied to most other sectors. Cuts to education would be less than 4 percent in her plan, according to a press release.
Before becoming UNC-system president, Erskine Bowles came to one of his predecessors for guidance.
And the first man to lead the state’s higher education system wanted to make sure that Bowles had his heart in the right place.
“I said to him, ‘Erskine, this is the biggest job in the state of North Carolina. … It’s a totally consuming commitment. Are you ready to do that?’” Bill Friday, who served as system president from 1956 to 1986, recalled asking Bowles.
DURHAM — The UNC system will have to cut about 1,000 jobs, more than half of those among faculty, if the state legislature approves a 5 percent budget cut now being considered, system President Erskine Bowles warned Friday.Cuts also could lead to fewer course offerings, larger classes, shorter library and lab hours and fewer counselors and advisers, he said.Bowles called on university chancellors and Board of Governors members to help fight against further budget cuts and those outcomes.“It will be a much, much lower quality of education we will offer our students,” Bowles said at Friday’s monthly board meeting, which most chancellors also attend.The plea was a response to a request for government agencies, including the UNC system, to consider how they would handle a potential 5 percent budget cut. So far, the system has only been told to make a 2 percent cut, which would amount to about $52 million. “If we are asked to go beyond that 2 percent cut, I’m going to call for action,” Bowles said. “It will do substantial and unsustainable damage to the quality of education we have to offer our students.”They have been preparing for that cut all year and think it can be focused almost entirely on administrative costs, Bowles said.“You can only take these administrative cuts so far, and if we have to go above that, the vast majority will come out of the academic side,” Bowles said.Last year’s cuts, which totaled almost $300 million, resulted in the loss of 935 jobs, almost 900 of those administrative. The focus on administrators meant a slight impact on students and academic quality, he said.While the administrative budget was cut permanently by 18 percent last year, the academic budget was only reduced about 0.3 percent, he said.The system has now gotten to potential cuts that could drastically affect students.“We’re cutting into the muscle now,” said board chairwoman Hannah Gage.And generations of progress could be undone with just a couple years of cuts, she said.The hope is that the legislature will spare the UNC system when deciding where to apply 5 percent cuts if they are approved, Bowles said.Last year, the UNC system — which makes up about 13 percent of the state’s budget — took 29 percent of the cuts, he said.“We took such a disproportionate amount of the cuts this year. We’ve been good partners and we haven’t complained about it,” Bowles said.Other meeting businessAt the Friday meeting, board members also elected a new chancellor for UNC-Pembroke.Kyle Carter, 62, is currently the senior vice chancellor and provost at Western Carolina University. He will replace interim Chancellor Charles Jenkins.Members also approved the educational planning committee’s contentious decision in favor of a pharmacy school campus at UNC-Asheville, which would be a satellite of the UNC-Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy.Contact the State & National Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNC-system leaders gave initial approval Thursday for a pharmacy program at UNC-Asheville, despite significant opposition.The UNC-A satellite program will be linked to the UNC-Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy, which already has a satellite at Elizabeth City State University.UNC-system President Erskine Bowles, who recommended the approval, cited the success of the program at ECSU and the proposal’s minimal costs to the state as key reasons for his support.The Board of Governors’ educational planning committee approved UNC-A’s program instead of a proposal from UNC-Greensboro to construct its own pharmacy school.An independent study concluded that there isn’t enough of a demand for an entirely new pharmacy school in Greensboro, Bowles said.“Anytime we start a new school, it’s going to have to have a significant positive impact,” he said. “It came to either Asheville or nothing at all.”Some board members and UNC-G representatives said the decision was made too hastily, that it was based on insufficient information, that it failed to take into account a need to increase minority representation in the pharmacy field and that it did UNC-G and the Triad area a disservice.ECSU is a historically black university, but the satellite pharmacy school doesn’t enroll more than a few minority students, said board member Gladys Robinson.UNC-G Chancellor Linda Brady argued that a pharmacy school in the Triad would accomplish several things — create hundreds of jobs, enroll many minority students from surrounding historically black colleges and universities and help transform a regional economy still struggling to overcome a reliance on manufacturing and textiles.Some board members and others in attendance requested that the committee postpone making a decision until the next board meeting. The results of the study were released too close to the meeting to receive adequate consideration, they said.Despite all the concerns vocalized, the strong partnership already in place between UNC-CH and UNC-A, as well as Asheville’s willingness to bankroll almost the entire project, won out.“We can do a quality satellite program in the East. We can do a quality satellite program in the West,” said board member James Deal.“We know we can do that without additional cost to North Carolina.”The UNC-A proposal was approved contingent on local governments and agencies raising more than $3 million to help fund the project, the nearby Mission Hospital matching spending on faculty and residents and tuition costs paralleling those at the UNC-CH pharmacy school.The committee also agreed to re-examine the need for either a satellite campus or separate pharmacy school in Greensboro in two years. Contact the State & National Editor at email@example.com.
A sweeping study of North Carolina’s K-12 teachers concluded that those who come to the classroom from Teach for America consistently outperform the rest of the state’s newer educators.It also reflected a growing number in N.C. classrooms of inexperienced teachers, which study leaders cited as the biggest obstacle to K-12 student success.The state needs to determine how to take TFA’s teacher preparation program and expand it to all the UNC system’s education degree programs, the study leaders said Thursday at a presentation of the study’s findings.“TFA is a boutique operation. We need an industrial model,” said Gary Henry, a UNC-Chapel Hill public policy professor and one of the leaders of the study.TFA teachers make up only 0.3 percent of North Carolina’s K-12 public school teachers, but middle school math students taught by TFA members gained the equivalent of 91 days of learning over their peers, Henry said.Researchers analyzed about 2.3 million test scores, 770,000 students and 18,500 teachers, all in North Carolina, to reach those conclusions.Proposed by the UNC system and directed by system administrators and professors, the study evaluated which teacher preparation programs were most successful, using student performance as the benchmark.“We’re responsible for producing and educating so many teachers across the system,” said UNC-system Board of Governors Chairwoman Hannah Gage.“(The findings) shatter a lot of preconceived ideas.”Results will be used to tailor UNC system schools of education to include “best practices” and improve the performance of UNC-system-educated teachers.The study also found that teachers from outside the state were less successful than those from North Carolina and that the number of teachers who entered the classroom before obtaining a formal teaching license, a process known as lateral entry, is on the rise.About 32 percent of the state’s K-12 teachers come from UNC system undergraduate education schools. The next largest source of teachers is undergraduate out-of-state education schools at 23 percent. Lateral entry teachers make up 15 percent of the group.Half of new teachers leave within five years — but it often takes until a teacher’s fifth year in the classroom to see dramatic improvements, Henry said.The key is to understand how TFA turns its inexperienced teachers into success stories and to figure out how to “scale up” those methods to the UNC system, he said, citing intensive summer programs that immerse TFA members in teaching.“They’re living and breathing teaching,” he said. “It’s hard to reproduce. It’s hard to scale that.”Contact the State & National Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNC-system President Erskine Bowles announced Friday that he had chosen who would replace the system's outgoing chief financial officer.
UNC-system President Erskine Bowles played a key role in balancing the federal budget in 1997. President Barack Obama is asking him to step up once again.Obama signed an executive order Thursday that establishes a bipartisan federal commission responsible for crafting a plan to reduce the federal deficit. Bowles, a Democrat and former White House Chief of Staff during President Bill Clinton’s administration, will lead the commission with former Senate Whip Alan Simpson, a Republican from Wyoming.“I believe that when the president of the United States believes you can help your country in a matter of material importance, you have a moral obligation to say, ‘Yes’,” Bowles said in a statement to the UNC-system Board of Governors.Bowles announced last week that he would retire by the end of 2010. The federal appointment didn’t prompt that decision, Bowles said in the statement.Board Chairwoman Hannah Gage said that Bowles was one of the most qualified people she could think of for the position.“A strong theme of the past few years has been getting our own fiscal house in order,” she wrote in an e-mail. “If the federal deficit continues to grow and the nation’s economic condition is in question, none of our work will matter.”The 18-member National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform must make a set of recommendations to the U.S. Congress by Dec. 1, 2010, for substantially reducing the deficit by 2015, according to a statement released by the White House.The nonpartisan basis of the commission and his ability to finish his work for the UNC system were crucial to his decision to accept the appointment, Bowles said in the statement. “Restoring our nation’s fiscal health is an absolute necessity. You have heard me say many times that if we do not get our national budget under control, our nation is in grave danger of becoming a second-rate power,” he said in the statement.Contact the State & National Editor at email@example.com.
President Barack Obama will appoint UNC-system President Erskine Bowles to lead a federal commission addressing the climbing federal deficit, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
UNC-system President Erskine Bowles announced Friday that he will retire from his post at the end of the year.The search for his successor will be launched in the next couple of weeks, but Bowles said he is prepared to stay until a replacement has been chosen and the transition is complete.His final months will be spent implementing parts of UNC Tomorrow, a plan launched in 2007 under Bowles’ leadership that outlines how the UNC system can use its resources to help North Carolina meet its needs.Priorities include teacher recruitment and development, raising retention and graduation rates at UNC-system schools, increasing college access in underserved areas and populations and expanding programs that train health professionals to address health care shortages in the state.The retirement announcement was expected sometime this academic year.Bowles, who took the job in 2006, repeatedly said he only intended to hold the position for five years.Bowles turns 65 in August, the customary age for the system president to step down.“Five years is about all anyone can stand under Erskine Bowles,” he said at the UNC-system Board of Governors meeting, where he made the announcement.“While I am still as energized and committed to this job, and while I love this university, I want to give this board plenty of time to launch this search and identify the right person to lead this university in the years ahead.”He said he plans to leave by the end of 2010, but that is contingent on the Board of Governors naming his successor and on the transition being completed, he said.Board of Governors Chairwoman Hannah Gage said that a search committee will be organized within the next two to three weeks to find a replacement for Bowles.She also said that many of the board members have already expressed interest in being part of that committee.The board wants someone who can carry on Bowles’ initiatives and his approach to higher education, she said.“In the last four years, we’ve redirected and redesigned the way we do things.” Gage said. “In a perfect world, you would clone Erskine. The mind-set in the system is not something we’re eager to change.”The board has known for awhile that Bowles intended to step down in 2010, Gage said. Bowles opted to make the announcement now so that questions about his resignation wouldn’t get in the way of getting things done.“As long as people were speculating, he couldn’t buckle down,” she said.Bowles said he might pursue projects in the business sector and could get involved with government and politics again, but not anything partisan. He also said he has no intention of running for office again.“What I’m good at is bringing people together to find commonsense solutions to problems,” he said.Prior to coming to the UNC system, Bowles served in the administration of former President Bill Clinton. He was Clinton’s deputy chief of staff from 1994-95 and chief of staff from 1996-98. He also ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2002 and 2004.Contact the State & National Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UNC-system Board of Governors unanimously approved a set of tuition increases Friday, but students shouldn’t start writing their checks just yet.The board and UNC-system President Erskine Bowles have asked legislators to swap their tuition plan, finalized Friday, with the plan approved by the legislature in August.If the legislature denies their request, the campuses simply won’t have enough money, Bowles said.The UNC-system plan, which averages out to a 5.2 percent tuition increase systemwide, requests that tuition revenue come back to the campuses.Fifty percent of revenue would go to financial aid, 25 percent to improving graduation and retention rates and 25 percent to other critical needs.“The approach we’ve made is good sense,” Bowles said Friday.“It provides needed resources for need-based aid and improving retention and graduation. We need some additional support there.”They won’t know the decision until the legislature convenes in May.Administrative costs have been trimmed so much that only two percent more can be cut from there, Bowles said.“I think we can manage through the two percent cut that’s in the current draft of the budget. Beyond that, it will be a lot of pain to the academic side,” he said.“If I were the students, that’s where I would be concerned.”The legislature-initiated plan mandates that tuition revenue remain in the state’s general fund and raises tuition by the lesser of $200 or 8 percent.Board of Governors Chairwoman Hannah Gage also indicated that tuition could also be raised further as a last resort.“No one wants to arbitrarily raise tuition more than we have to unless we are backed into a corner,” Gage said Thursday.“The last thing we would want to do is have (legislators) raise it and have us raise it as well. That’s plan B.”The increases in the plan approved by the Board of Governors align with the increases recommended by individual campuses.Those increases place less financial burden on residents and more on nonresidents, said UNC-system Vice President for Finance Rob Nelson.The system has received no indication from the legislature whether it will consider replacing its own tuition plan with the one put forward by the UNC system, Nelson said. Assistant State & National Editor Tarini Parti contributed reporting.Contact the State & National Editor at email@example.com.
Governors unanimously approved a set of tuition increases Friday, but students shouldn’t start writing their checks just yet.
10 A.M. FRIDAY — UNC-system President Erskine Bowles announced this morning that he will retire from his post at the end of the year.
UNC-system President Erskine Bowles is continuing to promote a lower tuition increase for system schools than the increase proposed by the N.C. General Assembly.
At just a half-inch thick and 1.5 pounds, Apple’s newly unveiled iPad weighs a lot less than the standard biology textbook. With the technology to display and interact with digital textbooks, the iPad could surpass the ranks of other digital textbook readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle.The announcement, which may have trumped the anticipation of President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address, was heralded by Apple CEO Steve Jobs as revolutionary.The iPad launch was coupled with the announcement of Apple’s new online bookstore, known as iBooks. Books sold through iBooks would be accessible on the iPad.All of this could mean a bigger push for the now-fledgling electronic textbook industry.CourseSmart, which produces digital versions of textbooks produced by many of the top textbook publishers in the U.S. and works with UNC, already has an application that allows students to access their electronic textbooks on their iPhone, said CourseSmart spokeswoman Gabrielle Zucker.“They can literally hold their textbooks in their hand,” she said.Because the iPad will operate with the same technology as the iPhone, CourseSmart textbooks should be easily accessible from the iPad, she said.CourseSmart’s sales increased 400 percent in the last year, and it has more than 8,700 textbooks in its digital library, Zucker said.UNC offered several hundred digital textbooks from CourseSmart in Fall 2009, but less than five percent of students bought them, said John Jones, director of UNC Student Stores.Using digital textbooks has regularly been suggested as a way to bring down textbook prices. Digital textbooks cost an average of 50 percent less than standard textbooks, Zucker said. Combined with the cost of the iPad — the least expensive model will sell for $499 — they could be cost-effective.UNC sophomore John Danello said that because he already has an iPhone and laptop, the iPad seems unnecessary for him at this time.“It’s a couple years before I would be interested in using something like that. It’s nice to have the physical pages,” he said.But he acknowledged that for college students, digital textbooks could ultimately draw them to the iPad.“It’s certainly possible that it could become the new textbook of college students.”Contact the State & National Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNC system leaders announced Thursday that they will push for tuition increases lower than the amount mandated by the state legislature.
This article was published in the 2009 Year in Review issue of The Daily Tar Heel.Several months after a scandal at N.C. State University prompted a review of UNC-system policies, some concrete changes could finally come to fruition.The UNC-system Board of Governors has been discussing retreat rights since its first meeting of the 2009-10 academic year in August. “Retreat rights” is the collective term for policies governing university administrators who step down to faculty positions. The policies concern paid leave time for resigning administrators, meant to be used to “retool” for a return to teaching, and the level of compensation awarded.UNC-system President Erskine Bowles said in a memorandum released ahead of the October meeting that the retreat rights policies were excessive and lacked accountability and specificity. “I think that is a bit too generous and more than market,” Bowles said in October about the policy.In November, the personnel and tenure committee approved a revised policy for chancellors and presidents, and in January, the full board will vote on the policy.The complexity of retreat rights and disparate opinions among university leaders and board members stalled the process more than once. At the October board meeting, voting on a proposed policy had to be postponed until the November meeting because too many board members still didn’t understand the policies.The issue of retreat rights policy was brought to light in August 2009, when the (Raleigh) News & Observer uncovered deals made for NCSU administrators, who later resigned. His list of recommended changes — cutting paid leave time from one year to six months and dropping salaries to the same level as faculty in comparable positions — became the framework for the policy approved by the personnel and tenure committee in November.A provision was tacked on to the policy in November that will allow Bowles to extend the six-month leave to a year if he feels it is warranted.“We needed the latitude to make the leave longer,” said board Chairwoman Hannah Gage. “We said all along that we want to make sure the policy is one that enables us to be competitive.”After voting on the policy for chancellors and presidents in January, the board will move on to the policy for lower-level administrators.Contact the State & National Editor at email@example.com.
Starting today, N.C. drivers will need to keep their fingers wrapped around their steering wheels instead of planted on their cell phone buttons.Today is the first day of a statewide ban on text messaging and e-mailing while driving. Violators will be issued $100 fines.Legislators passed the bill instituting the ban this summer in order to help cut down on accidents caused by distracted driving.
Correction (Feb. 28 11:13 p.m.): Due to a reporting error this story misquotes Chancellor Holden Thorp, who actually said the Board of Trustees was likely to support his tuition increase recommendation.
A controversial policy governing salaries and paid leave for administrators took a step forward Thursday after months of stalls.The personnel and tenure committee of the UNC-system Board of Governors passed the “retreat rights” policy for chancellors and presidents, which means the full board can discuss it at its next meeting in January.The policy dictates leave time and pay for chancellors and presidents when they resign from their administrative positions and opt to return to their university’s faculty.Committee Chairwoman Gladys Robinson said it was imperative that the policy pass the committee Thursday because it is likely that N.C. State University and UNC-Pembroke will be hiring new chancellors in the next year, and the policy needs to be in place before then.Board members agreed to pass the policy with UNC-system President Erskine Bowles’ recommended changes: cutting paid leave time from one year to six months and awarding a salary comparable to faculty salary, rather than 60 percent of their administrative salary.Committee members also added a provision that would allow Bowles to negotiate a payback of salary if the administrator goes on paid leave then chooses not to return to a faculty position at the university.New programs approvedThe educational planning, policies and programs committee approved a set of programs at several campuses knowing that they might not have funds to implement them. The board approved bachelor’s degree programs in intelligence studies at Fayetteville State University, genetics at N.C. State University and entrepreneurship at UNC-Greensboro — if the funds are there to support them.Bowles said the best option was to approve the programs contingent on the availability of funds, given the economic climate.“The days of absolutely being sure we’re gonna have the enrollment money are over,” Bowles said. “There is a dollar amount attached to each one of them.”The programs comply with the UNC Tomorrow initiative, which focuses on creating programs that address the demands of the state. The committee also approved a motion to begin planning doctoral programs in physical therapy at Western Carolina University and Winston-Salem State University. Elizabeth McDuffie, director of grants, training, and outreach for the UNC system, reported that the N.C. General Assembly has voted to repeal the Future Teachers of N.C. Scholarship Loan Program due to a lack of student interest.Two students at UNC-Chapel Hill were on the scholarship in 2008-09.The scholarship provides loans to students working to become math, science, special education, or English as a second language teachers.Contact the State & National Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.