Shaking Up the System

Major changes such as expansion into underserved communities and centralization of command are coming to the UNC system.

Deconstructing America by Decree

Assume that a popularly-elected government enacts a law. The law has the backing of an overwhelming majority of the people. Yet government officials decide they don’t like the law and choose to ignore it.

The above describes a clear violation of the single most important foundation of a free society: rule of law. It also describes the actions of many decision makers in our federal and state governments regarding illegal immigration. Federal law clearly states that foreign citizens of any age who enter our country outside of legal channels are to be deported. And yet the powers-that-be find endless logic-defying means to cloud the issue, against the law and the will of the people.

The issue rose to the forefront recently in North Carolina because the community college system decided that illegal aliens should be officially admitted as students, pending a legislative review.

Accountability – What Is It?

“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.
You can send your son to college, but you can’t make him think.”

This little ditty ran through my mind as I was trying to understand the accountability movement of colleges and universities. Under pressure from the federal government, higher education institutions are scrambling to find ways to measure and report “learning outcomes” – that is, to show that students learn something after four years at their institution. This week, at a Washington, D.C., meeting of a Department of Education accreditation advisory group, that pressure will increase.

Fifty years ago, the student was accountable for learning, not the college.

Storming the Academic Fortress

Editor’s Note: Jay Schalin is a writer/researcher for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in Raleigh.

The spirit of the Spanish Inquisition is alive and well in the American university, according to George Mason University law professor Todd Zywicki, in remarks he made at the 2007 Pope Center Conference. Academia has a “new dogma” based on multiculturalism, environmentalism, and feminism, he said. “They will enforce it viciously.”

The higher education establishment can often seem to be a near-monolithic power that ruthlessly crushes any opposition, as Zywicki suggests. Yet it is coming under increasing attack by those who want to perpetuate America’s culture and traditions.

The reform movement was very much in evidence at the conference on October 27th, with both speakers and guests who are active participants in a wide variety of attempts to alter higher education’s current path.

At the Crossroads in Chapel Hill

The resignation of James Moeser, the chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was not unexpected. Seemingly within minutes of his announced retirement during his 2007 State of the University Address, a 19-member search committee for his replacement was formed, and a promise was made to have a successor by the time he leaves at the end of June 2008.

Moeser’s replacement will have big shoes to fill, for the current chancellor left a large footprint on the Chapel Hill landscape. Moeser’s robust leadership was praised by students, officials and the media, yet his years at the helm were not without controversy, and his vision for the future of the university was not shared by all.

Moeser’s resignation gives UNC President Erskine Bowles and the Board of Governors a chance to consider whether the future of UNC-Chapel Hill will be to follow the tone and tenor of Moeser’s administration or to move in a different direction. Moeser’s administration was extremely successful in a number of ways, but some of his policies may not be sustainable, and the critical issue of undergraduate education seemed of secondary importance.

A Writing Program that Works

With the writing abilities (or lack thereof) of today’s college students becoming an issue, the authors describe a writing program at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. that offers hope for the future.

Socket Wrenches in the Book Bag

Since the 1990s, NASCAR has grown from a sport rooted in the Southeast to an American institution with a fan base second only to the National Football League. Throughout NASCAR’s history, North Carolina has always been among its central locations and the sport has done fine here without government assistance.

Today the sport has its home base in the state, with most of the in its three main divisions (Nextel Cup, Busch Series, Craftsman Truck) setting up shop in the Charlotte region. Industry estimates claim that auto racing contributes $5 billion annually to the state’s economy and creates more than 24,000 jobs, most of them related to engineering, design, and fabrication of the stock cars. Those are jobs that, for the most part, require a higher level of training that that of your typical auto mechanic.

Things We Could Do Without in the State Budget

On Monday, legislators gave final approval of a $20.7 billion budget for the 2007-08 Fiscal Year. Less than a day later, Gov. Mike Easley signed and sealed the package.

The budget appropriates $2.6 billion to the University of North Carolina system and $938 million for the community colleges.

“We have put reality behind the vision of an affordable, debt-free education from pre-kindergarten to an undergraduate degree at a state university,” Easley said in a statement. “Out of this budget, North Carolina emerges a leader in education on the national scene. History will note the courage and foresight of those who did not just make easy promises, but did the hard work to keep those promises and stand up for the future of our state.”

Among the items included in the budget are some that Gov. Easley and budget writers should be proud of, in my opinion. The budget spends $1.5 million to allow part-time private college students to participate in the legislative tuition grant program and $177,000 to provide additional funding for the Gateway Technology Center on the campus of North Carolina Wesleyan College. It also makes reductions to follow the recommendations of the President’s Advisory Committee on Efficiency and Effectiveness.

Lloyd Hackley is UNC’s problem solver

Lloyd Hackley is on the job again.

After serving as interim chancellor for a year at N.C. A&T, Hackley was named last week to serve in the same position at Fayetteville State University. This after Chancellor T.J. Bryan resigned under pressure due to concerns about the school’s nursing program and financial condition.

Media reports following Bryan’s resignation indicate that UNC President Erskine Bowles asked for her resignation in a meeting in Chapel Hill.