Best-selling author Grisham to speak at Commencement

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“We see this as a sunshine measure to get more information out there about grading practices,” said Andrew Perrin, committee chair.

The EPC recommended the resolution as a first step toward grade reform. In tracking grading practices at Carolina since 2000, the EPC found that grade inflation, grade compression and grade inequality have made it difficult to interpret the meaning of grades at UNC.

“Our concern as a committee is that this reform doesn’t go far enough, but given the resources the University is able to commit and the wide range of opinions on grading policy, our thinking is that this is a good beginning to a long-term conversation and strategy about grading,” Perrin said.

A committee will be appointed this fall to work with the offices of the Registrar and Provost in carefully planning and implementing the reporting system process, he said. “We take the view that this is about the next century, not the next year.”

In other updates, Thorp said former Congressman Tom Tancredo would be on campus Monday evening (after the Gazette went to press) to speak. He was invited by the recognized student group Youth for Western Civilization, and the University has worked closely with the YWC on the event. Tancredo was here last spring but was unable to finish his talk because of disruptive protesters.

“We are hopeful that Mr. Tancredo will be able to give his talk and people who disagree with him will be able to make their voices known,” Thorp said. “This is compatible with the approach our campus has taken to free speech over the years.”


Center for Public Service honors service, establishes endowment

Giving urban youth a voice online, helping low-wage employees achieve home ownership and promoting locally grown foods are some of the public service efforts led by University faculty, staff, students and organizations this year.

The Carolina Center for Public Service recognized those and other initiatives at its annual service awards ceremony April 16 when seven individuals and student organizations were honored. The center also announced that it has received an anonymous donation to endow this and future years’ Outward Bound Scholarships through a scholarship fund named for a former education dean.

The center’s highest honor, the eighth annual Ned Brooks Award for Public Service, went to Eugene S. Sandler, professor emeritus in the School of Dentistry. Named for Brooks, a faculty member and administrator at Carolina since 1972, this award recognizes a faculty or staff member who has built a sustained record of community service through individual efforts and promoted the involvement and guidance of others.

Sandler joined the faculty in September 1979 as the dental director of a new ambulatory care dental program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which continues to serve as a national model of collaborative involvement in community health services. He later served as director of the Extramural Programs (renamed Dentistry in Service to Communities or DISC) program and, once again, fashioned that program into a national model. His support helped launch the ENNEAD Society of Dental Volunteers, a student initiative encouraging community service such as free dental clinics in underserved areas.

The center also presented Office of the Provost Public

Service Awards honoring campus units for service to North Carolina. Awards went to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication Carolina Community Media Project and the School of Law Pro Bono Program.

The Carolina Community Media Project was recognized for the implementation of the Northeast Central Durham Community VOICE, a collaborative community-building project of the journalism programs at Carolina and N.C. Central.

The Pro Bono Program received the award for its Wills Project, a partnership of the UNC Center for Civil Rights and Legal Aid of North Carolina. Students, on their fall and spring breaks, assist in preparing wills and advanced directives for poor clients in the state’s rural counties.

The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award – recognizing individual students and faculty for exemplary public service – went to one faculty member and three undergraduates.

Karen Erickson, Yoder Distinguished Professor in Allied Health Sciences and director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, translated reading research into a practical classroom application that allowed school personnel to diagnose students’ needs. Three seniors also were honored:

n Megan Jones was instrumental in working with the University chapter of Habitat for Humanity to develop the concept for Build-a-Block, a student-initiated grassroots movement to build a block of 10 houses for University or UNC Health Care employees in the 2010-11 school year.

n Jordan Treakle was a founding member of Free Local Organic Foods. He helped to direct the organization’s work with Carolina Dining Services and to build new supplier partnerships that promote local food purchasing and consumption.

n Maggie West led the Campus Y’s Project HOPE (Homeless Outreach Poverty Eradication) from a small committee to a group of more than 100 students who have taken innovative approaches to address homelessness and poverty in

Chapel Hill.

During the awards ceremony, the center surprised Thomas James, former dean of the School of Education, by announcing the creation of the Thomas James Scholarship Fund for Outward Bound, funded by an anonymous donor.

For 10 years, the center has sponsored scholarships for Carolina students to attend N.C. Outward Bound courses. James, currently provost and dean of Teachers College of Columbia University, was a longtime member of the N.C. Outward Bound Board.


Eugene Sandler, left, winner of the Ned Brooks Award for Public Service, poses with Ned Brooks, for whom the award is named.

Hodge, McFee cited for outstanding mentoring


he Carolina Women’s Leadership Council honored professors Michael McFee and Clyde Hodge for being great mentors to students and colleagues during an April 26 ceremony at the Campus Y.

McFee, professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the council’s award for mentoring students.

Hodge, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology in the School of Medicine and director of the Skipper Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, received the award for mentoring

faculty colleagues.

The Carolina Women’s Leadership Council, a volunteer committee formed during the recent Carolina First Campaign, sponsors the awards. The council continues to be engaged with the University, and council members have raised close to $300,000 to endow the mentoring awards.

The awards, which each carry a stipend of $5,000, have been awarded since 2006 to recognize outstanding faculty members who make extra efforts to guide, mentor and lead students or junior faculty members as they make career decisions, embark on research challenges and enrich their lives through public service, teaching and educational opportunities.

“Professors McFee and Hodge have contributed so much to their students and colleagues through their mentoring,” said Carol P. Tresolini, associate provost for academic initiatives. “I’m grateful to the Women’s Leadership Council for giving the University a way to honor them for their dedication and effort.”

McFee, a poet, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Carolina.

“Since he arrived as a transfer from N.C. State to earn his B.A. here in 1976, Michael McFee has been at the heart of the literary community at UNC-Chapel Hill in every conceivable way,” one nominator wrote, citing McFee’s 19 years as a professor and 18 years as faculty adviser for the undergraduate literary magazine Cellar Door.

“Professor McFee’s care for and skill in the art of poetry are surpassed only by his personal care for his students and his skill in guiding them in their maturation as writers and
human beings.”

One colleague noted that students line up to hear McFee’s counsel and are appreciative of the time he spends answering each one’s questions and providing feedback.

“I have seen the excitement in their demeanor to have their creative efforts taken so seriously,” this nominator wrote. “Michael’s focused attention has now created generations of word lovers, both for writing and reading.”

Hodge is an expert in animal models of alcoholism and alcohol neuropharmacology who came to Carolina in 2001.

Over and over, Hodge’s nominators called him the consummate mentor for those whom he officially mentors as well as those who seek him out.

“Whenever I ask for advice or counsel he responds,” a nominator wrote. “He has never put me off or delayed responding to e-mails. He has never failed to stop his work if I knocked on his door. Such a person is hard to find.”

Another nominator said Hodge served as a role model, showing that it is possible for a scientist to balance work and family life. “I remember being nervous about telling people at work when I was pregnant with my first child,” she wrote.

“I came into Clyde’s office, sat down and told him the news. I will never forget what he said: ‘You just made my day!’”

Another described Hodge’s mentoring in numbers. “He has had 17 direct, multi-year engagements with in-lab mentoring and/or dissertation committees, eight postdoctoral students, and numerous junior (and not so junior!) faculty,” this nominator wrote, concluding that Hodge is a living, breathing embodiment of the University’s mission to guide faculty members.

“With each year, and each honoree, we elevate mentoring on the Carolina campus,” said Julia Sprunt Grumbles, former council chair who served on the committee that chose

the winners.

“This was our intent when we created the award, and we couldn’t be more pleased to recognize how professors Hodge and McFee share their wisdom and talents with colleagues

and students.”


Michal Grinstein-Weiss, School of Social Work assistant professor, is leading a new initiative to implement child development accounts (CDAs) in Israel. She traveled to Israel in March for three days of meetings with Israeli government officials and U.S. experts on asset building. She and her team presented a proposal for an Israeli national CDA policy, which was subsequently announced to the public by Israeli Minister Isaac Herzog and praised by The Marker, an Israeli newspaper.

The Friday Center held its annual instructor appreciation event on April 14 to honor instructors for their work in continuing education and distance learning. The 2010 Friday Center Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Kimball King, professor emeritus of English and adjunct professor of dramatic art, in recognition of his dedication and commitment to the highest standards in his work with the Friday Center’s programs and students.

Students honored faculty members, teaching assistants and a staff member April 14 in recognition of outstanding undergraduate instruction as part of the 2010 Chancellor’s Awards ceremony.

Recipients of Student Undergraduate Teaching Awards were: Brandon Essary, teaching assistant in Romance languages and literatures; David James Frost, teaching assistant in philosophy; Larry Goldberg, lecturer in English and comparative literature; Kelly Hogan, lecturer in biology; and Andrew Pennock, teaching assistant in political science. Also honored were Jill Peterfeso, teaching assistant in religious studies; Daniel Peterson, teaching assistant in psychology; Della Pollock, professor of communication studies; and Keith Schaefer,

teaching assistant in Romance languages
and literatures.

The recipient of the Student Undergraduate Staff Award was Robert Pleasants, interpersonal violence prevention coordinator with Campus Health Services.

Daniel L. Clarke-Pearson, distinguished professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology, was elected the 42nd president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists at the organization’s 41st annual meeting, held in March in San Francisco.

Barry Popkin, Carla Smith Chamblee Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, addressed the U.N. Commission on Population and Development April 14 on the topic, “Global Economic and Health Change: Problems and Solutions.” Popkin will receive the U.K. Nutrition Society’s highest award, the Rank Prize, and will present the Rank Lecture at the society’s meeting on June 29 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His topic will be “Contemporary Nutritional Transition: Determinants of Diet and its Impact on Body Composition.”


Students use the arts to help patients find bright side of hospital stays

In May, Rebeka Burns will graduate with the rest of Carolina’s senior class, but the seeds she planted will continue to grow.

“In my sophomore year, I was really frustrated with my art classes,” Burns said. “I felt like I was doing things for all the wrong reasons.”

She began reading about art that gave people control and helped them through difficult situations. “Art has always been there for me,” Burns said. “I thought I was so lucky to
have that.”

She wanted to give others that opportunity, so two years ago, Burns founded Artheels, a student volunteer outlet at UNC Hospitals that uses the arts as a holistic approach to healing.

She had volunteered in the pediatric playroom and with Door to Door, a previously established art program at the hospital, but Burns said she saw a need for an organization that used the students’ talents in the hospital. So she did something about it.

“The fact that this program is run purely by the students is amazing,” said Jodie Skoff, student volunteer coordinator at UNC Hospitals. “Rebeka empowers volunteers to do what they do best, bring joy to the patients. I’m really proud of this program and of Rebeka.”

Susan Harbage Page, a lecturer in the art department and Burns’ mentor, commends her student’s initiative.

“It takes a lot of courage to do what she did and talk to people in the hospital and on the bus and everywhere,” Page said. “She’s really committed to Artheels and healing and art. Rebeka is a determined, hard worker who takes risks and asks really great questions.”

The history of Artheels can be traced to a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Burns received a couple of years ago. During her internship with Shands Arts in Medicine, part of Shands Health Care in Gainesville, Fla., Burns saw how the transformative experience of creative art could be integrated into an environment of healing. She wanted to bring that concept back to Carolina.

“I had never volunteered in a hospital,” Burns said. But it wasn’t long before she began working in the pediatric playroom at UNC Hospitals, where she met Joy Javits, the director of Door to Door. From there, the path to Artheels

seemed natural.

“We do visual activities, coloring, painting, collage, book-making and creating dream catchers and paper-plate fish,” Burns said, ticking off some of the Artheels activities “It’s a humanist approach to healing. It’s complementary.”

Because the Artheels’ philosophy is to give patients control, the patients choose whether they want to participate, Burns said. If anything, the program gives them a chance to say no to something.

Although only three volunteers came to the first Artheels meeting two years ago, the group now has 30 volunteers who are at the hospital five days a week.

Katy Heubel, a sophomore psychology major who had visited the Florida hospital with Burns, will take over as director of Artheels next year.

“One of the things I love about Artheels is how what you put into it is given back tenfold,”

Heubel said.

While the responsibility to become director is a little daunting, she said, she also sees Artheels’ potential. “I’m excited to see where fresh ideas and enthusiastic volunteers can take the program,”

she said.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Rebecca Allison Smith, a senior who is majoring in journalism and mass communication.


Walking tour

traces the historic roots of UNC’s
‘noble grove’


ichael Dirr visited campus April 22 to lead a walking tour and to discuss the effort to protect and preserve the rich array of trees that symbolize Carolina. But Dirr – professor emeritus of horticulture at the University of Georgia – was the emcee. The trees – and the rich stories behind them – were the real stars.

As a throng of some 150 tree lovers followed Dirr (at left) across campus, he often turned his microphone over to University Forest Manager Tom Bythell, who knew so many of the stories. And what Bythell didn’t know, Ken Moore, the retired assistant director of the North Carolina Botanical Garden, did.

The first stop was one of the two large, healthy Tilia cordata that shade the right face of Wilson Library, a rare find for the Southeast since it prefers a cooler climate, Dirr said.

After passing the pen and white oaks that frame Polk Place, Dirr stopped under the lone, majestic American Elm between Peabody and Phillips halls. Carolina is lucky to have it, Dirr said, considering a burrowing beetle spread a disease about 80 years ago that nearly wiped elms off the American landscape.

The Catalpa speciosa in front of Kenan Labs on South Road is lucky to be standing, too. Dirr asked the crowd to imagine what the building would look like without the tree. To many, Bythell said, that picture was unimaginable, which led to the protest, and eventually the plan to save it, by people like campus architect Anna Wu.

There is perhaps no better example on campus to explain the lengths the University will go to save a tree – 20 feet, to be exact.

During the last decade of campus construction, the tree was in the way of new utility lines that had to be dug, Bythell said. There was not enough room to navigate the lines around the tree roots, so the workers bored 20 feet down to go under the tree roots.

The tour inevitably got to the historic Davie Poplar on McCorkle Place, where Carolina’s founders stopped more than 200 years ago to plant the seeds for the country’s first public university campus.

Several years before the 1993 Bicentennial Observance, Moore came up with the idea of producing 100 saplings from the Davie Poplar so a little Davie could be planted in a schoolyard in every county in North Carolina.

At the time, Moore said, someone suggested going to a nursery to buy a bunch of tulip poplars since no one would know the difference.

But Moore said he and others would know, so it had to be done right. They called upon Bus Hubbard, who has climbed the University’s trees for the past 58 years, to climb into the branches of Davie Junior (a graft from the Davie Poplar planted March 16, 1918, by the Class of 1918) to shake out the seeds needed to grow the saplings.

It was a beautiful cloudless day in October 1992, Moore said. Hubbard scurried up Davie Junior while volunteers stood below with white bed sheets to collect the seeds.

There was just one problem: wind.

“The tulip poplar seeds are like maples – they are winged and are sort of like little helicopters,” Moore said.

As Hubbard started shaking the tree, all those little helicopters took off in the breeze, and everyone down below ran after them to catch the seeds with their sheets, he said.

People caught enough for the University nursery to propagate more than 300 seedlings. A year before the bicentennial event, the number was culled to 150 of the straightest and tallest.

“And on the day of the celebration we had 100 uniformly sized Davie Poplars that the chancellor was able to give to the students,” Moore said.

Landscape architect Jill Coleman said she was struck not only by the size of the group that joined the tour, but the range of age
and interest.

One alumna told Coleman she returned to campus to find the tree she had studied under when she was a student more than 40 years ago. That tree, the woman said, was one of her strongest and fondest memories of the campus.

“These are the stories that reveal the love we have for our campus trees,” Coleman said. “Beyond any practical benefit of the trees is their beauty, their nobility, their majesty – and our memories of them – that bind us to this beautiful campus. The large crowd the tree tour attracted reminds us of the importance of their legacy.”

Dirr helped craft “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Noble Grove,” an 81-page walking guide of campus trees that is available at the Bull’s Head Bookshop.

After the tour, Dirr delivered the Gladys Hall Coates lecture, scheduled to coordinate with the North Carolina Collection Gallery exhibition, “Noble Trees, Traveled Paths,” on display in Wilson Library through May 31.

Gazebo dedicated to unc employee, community activist

A gazebo at the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery was dedicated April 24 in memory of Rebecca Clark. When she died in 2009 at 93, Archie Ervin, associate provost for diversity and multicultural affairs, said, “She was truly a tour de force in Chapel Hill politics. ... She’s probably the grand dame matriarch for African-American politics.” In addition to her more than 70 years of community service that included urging black residents to vote, Clark worked tirelessly to improve the town’s cemeteries. At the University, Clark worked as a maid at the Carolina Inn in 1937 and later worked in the laundry building. She left and returned to the University in 1953 as a nurse’s aide and eventually became the first African-American licensed practical nurse to work in the campus infirmary. In 1998, the former laundry building that now houses Housekeeping Services was renamed in honor of Clark and Kennon Cheek, both of whom advocated for better conditions for their fellow employees.


Library provides A Commencement glimpse at UNC’s past

In preparation for Commencement weekend, the Wilson Special Collections Library has made plans to welcome visitors on campus May 8 by holding an open house from 9 a.m. to

5 p.m. A selection of photographs, yearbooks and other materials from UNC’s past and items from Wilson Library’s historic collections will be on display. Special archival exhibits in the lobby will include:

n Photographs from the 1959-60 academic year, in honor of the class’s 50th reunion;

n Yearbooks, Daily Tar Heels, Commencement programs and records from the Dialectic and Philanthropic societies;

n Archival items related to Tar Heels of yesteryear, including President Frank Porter Graham, author Walker Percy, bandleader Kay Kyser and students from the early 19th century;

n Treasures from the Rare Book Collection, including early printing and significant literary editions; and

n Rare musical recordings, including Dolly Parton’s first recording, “Puppy Love,” made in 1960 when she was 13 years old.

In addition to the lobby display, visitors are invited to view the following exhibitions:

n “Noble Trees, Traveled Paths: The Carolina Landscape Since 1793” – North Carolina Collection Gallery;

n “Popular Culture in Print” – Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room; and

n “Jimmie Rodgers: The Father of Country Music” – 4th floor (to 1 p.m. only).

For information, call 962-0104.

Apply now for BRIDGES Program

The BRIDGES Academic Leadership Program for Women is accepting applications through May 3 for its fall 2010 program, which will be conducted on four weekends between Sept. 10 and Nov. 13.

BRIDGES is an intensive professional development program for women in higher education who seek to strengthen their academic leadership capabilities. It is designed to help women work on their development as leaders, explore ways to create new relationships with colleagues and learn what actions they can take to create innovative changes at their institutions.

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