BOT hears from new UNC leaders and discusses future plans for undergraduate research

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The UNC board introduced new deans and community leaders at its May 19 meeting.

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz recognized the commencement weekend after the graduation of more than 6,100 students. He said of those, 788 were first-generation college graduates.

“It’s a class that has persevered — they’ve overcome so much throughout the pandemic,” Guskiewicz said.

The BOT also discussed undergraduate research with presentations from the Office of Undergraduate Research.

What’s new?

  • Student Body President Taliajah “Teddy” Vann delivered a speech on her reappointment.
    • “I’m really excited to work in this space,” Vann said. “I think I have the opportunity to meet a lot of really amazing people just on the board already and also just at these different meetings. And so I’m really excited to be able to use those connections for the benefit of our students during the year.
    • Vann said her primary goal right now is to fill UNC student government and she will continue to refine her political platform for the next academic year.
  • According to Guskiewicz, the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative received $65 million for the first three years of the initiative.
    • Guskiewicz said he would support antiviral research to provide insight into future outbreaks.
    • “It’s preparing for this next pandemic or this next serious health crisis that we may face, but it will be led by Dr. Ralph Baric and several colleagues at UNC-Chapel Hill,” Guskiewicz said.
  • Guskiewicz introduced the University’s new deans and senior leaders. He said UNC is assembling an incredible cohort of leaders.
    • Raul Reis will take office as dean of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media on July 1.
    • Valerie Howard will become the next dean of the School of Nursing on August 1.
    • Janet Guthmiller will be the next dean of the Adams School of Dentistry. It will begin on October 15.
    • James WCWhite will begin July 1 as the new Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Troy Blackburn, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research, presented on the importance of undergraduate research at UNC.
    • Blackburn said OUR will launch a new program in the fall called IDEAs in Action that will require all undergraduate students to engage in original research.
    • “In addition to traditional dissertations and volunteer and credited experiences, we have developed an infrastructure that will allow students to earn credits to do research with faculty while studying abroad, through biotechnology companies, through government agencies – so outside of the university and not just inside the university,” Blackburn said.
  • Course-based undergraduate research experiences are courses that emphasize active student research where students are immersed in the research process with a professor.
  • Sabrina Robertson, associate professor of education in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC, offered additional remarks on the CURES program.
    • “These research experiences help students develop skills that are translatable both in the lab, but also outside of the lab,” Robertson said. “This helps students promote positive attitudes towards science in general, and it also increases the likelihood that these students will pursue careers in STEM.”
    • Michael Fisher, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering at UNC, said CURES courses have been implemented in a variety of undergraduate courses, including English, history, political science, public policy, chemistry, biology and biomedical engineering.
  • Malcolm Turner, vice chair of the audit, compliance and risk management committee, said the committee voted to approve the risk assessment and internal audit work plan for fiscal year 2023.
  • John Preyer, chairman of the Budget, Finance and Infrastructure Committee, said the committee voted to approve the ordinance regulating traffic and parking on August 15.

Who is on the BOT?

  • It consists of 13 members, including eight selected by the UNC Board of Governors, four appointed by the NC General Assembly, and the UNC student body president who is an ex-officio member.

And after?

  • The next BOT meeting will be on July 28.

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