UNC System

Margaret Spellings on The State of Things
Charlie Shelton for WUNC

 

Four months after her controversial selection, Margaret Spellings takes the helm of the UNC system today. The former U.S. Secretary of Education faces a broad range of competing priorities.

The Board of Governors hired Spellings on the heels of the forced resignation of her predecessor Tom Ross. As the new leader of the system, she will address issues ranging from budget matters to concerns about academic freedom. 

UNC-Chapel Hill senior Jailen Wallis (center) loves the idea of teaching, but the pay and the working conditions loomed too large as drawbacks to the profession.
Courtesy of Jailen Wallis

 UNC-Chapel Hill senior Jailen Wallis has always been tempted to become a high school English teacher.

Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education under George W. Bush, has been tabbed as the next UNC system president.
LBJ Foundation / Flickr Creative Commons

The controversial hiring of Margaret Spellings as the new UNC system president has received national attention for its political implications.

Some professors say her background as Secretary of Education under the George W. Bush administration is a signal of more divestment in higher education.

But some of Spellings' former colleagues say she is just what the UNC system needs to connect with a Republican legislature.

Margaret Spellings
Dave DeWitt

Margaret Spellings has spent her professional life in the eye of the political storm. She served President George W. Bush as Education Secretary and political advisor. And now that she’s the choice of the UNC Board of Governors to be the new UNC system president, it’s not going to get any less windy.

First, let’s start with those who believe they have hired a quote “game-changer.”

UNC Board of Governors
Dave DeWitt

The UNC Board of Governors is deeply divided over how to elect a new leader.

Some board members have called for the resignation of chair John Fennebresque after he called an emergency closed-door meeting to interview a candidate.

Emails reveal several board members accused Fennebresque of botching the hiring process which started after President Tom Ross was forced to resign earlier this year. 

The division represents a split within the Republican members of the board.

Protesters disrupt UNC board debate about poverty center.
https://twitter.com/adv_project

Over the protests of students, the UNC Board of Governors moved forward with tuition and fee increases, as well as the controversial decision to close three academic centers in UNC system.

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with WUNC reporter Dave Dewitt about the decisions and the outcries from faculty and students about the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at UNC Chapel Hill; the Center for Biodiversity at East Carolina; and the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at North Carolina Central.

Tom Ross
https://www.northcarolina.edu/?q=office-president/president

University of North Carolina System President Tom Ross will retire from his position, effective January 2016.  Ross has led the 17-school university system since 2011. 

In a joint statement with Ross, the Board of Governors said it "decided to begin the process of leadership transition."  

Debra Saunders-White
NCCU

Debra Saunders-White was officially installed Friday as the 11th chancellor at North Carolina Central University.  She has been serving as the school's leader since last June.  She is the university's first female chancellor and only the second woman to lead one of the five historically black colleges in the UNC System.

Saunders-White encouraged NCCU students to be fearless in choosing their career paths..and promised the school's best efforts to help them reach their goals.

The 'Old Well' UNC-Chapel HIll
Caroline Culler / Wikipedia

Individuals are enrolling in health care through the federal online marketplace, but thousands of North Carolinians might find themselves with employer-sponsored health plans next year.   

In January, the Affordable Care Act will require businesses to offer health insurance to full-time employees working 30 hours a week or more. This would now include graduate teaching assistants and visiting faculty at the University of North Carolina.

UNC System

The UNC System, made up of 17 educational institutions, has seen a reduction in funding over the last several years. Some universities are eliminating positions to try to make up the difference. And tuition hikes place a greater burden on students.  UNC System President Tom Ross  addressed the budget problems in North Carolina in a conversation with host Frank Stasio on WUNC's The State of Things.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory says he has instructed his staff to write legislation that would revamp how state universities are funded. McCrory told the Bill Bennett radio show Morning in America that universities should be funded not by how many students they enroll, but how many students get jobs after college.

"I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we're offering courses that have no chance at getting people jobs," McCrory said. 

Bill Friday
UNC Chapel Hill

More than a thousand people gathered today in Memorial Hall on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill to remember Bill Friday. The longtime UNC system president and TV show host died last week at the age of 92.

Remembering William Friday

Oct 17, 2012

Bill Friday spent his entire adult life devoted to higher education in North Carolina, including serving as president of the University of North Carolina system for 30 years.

Remembering Bill Friday

Oct 12, 2012
Bill Friday
UNC-Chapel Hill

Former UNC system president Bill Friday has died. Friday passed away in his sleep this morning at his home in Chapel Hill. He was 92 years old. Friday was president of UNC for 30 years, and steered it through desegregation, unprecedented growth, and numerous political battles. He also hosted more than 18-hundred episodes of North Carolina People on UNC-TV.  Dave DeWitt has this remembrance of one of the most important and most visible North Carolinians of his time.

William Friday

Oct 12, 2012

Former UNC System President William Friday died this morning at the age of 92.

He led the system for 30 years through desegregation and expansion, and continued to have a strong influence on North Carolina long after retirement. WUNC education reporter Dave Dewitt joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the legacy of William Friday.

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