We are ascommitted asever to makingthe educationaland co-curricularexperiences atUNC Charlotte thevery best thatthey can be.
Where We Stand: Remaining Mission-Minded
In our last issue I wrote about the challengesconfronting the Governor and members of theGeneral Assembly in assembling a state budget while grappling with a slow economic recovery and uncertain state revenues. For a good partof this summer, it appeared that the outlook for the University budget was extremely poorand that the campus would again have to makelarge reductions in classroom offerings, studentsupport, and administrative services. In thelast weeks of the legislative session, however, aconsensus was reached that tuition increaseslarger than previously planned would have to bepart of the solution. At UNC Charlotte, our Trustees acceptedmy recommendation that annual tuition forresident North Carolina undergraduate studentsbe increased by $708. Trustees also supportedthe allocation of additional campus resources forfinancial aid for needy students, supplementingapproximately $34 million in additional aidallocated by the General Assembly. In all, whilenot a perfect solution, the compromise reached was one that will permit us to continue to serveour students with an adequate array of coursesand supply of instructors. At the same time, werecognize that the increased financial burdenupon some of our students and their families will be challenging. As a result, in addition tosupplementing the financial aid packages of theneediest students, we will debut a new textbook rental program that promises to save studentshundreds of dollars in purchasing costs.Noteworthy among the budget decisions was the very positive news that UNC Charlotte will receive the remaining $3 millon of a $5million request partially funded last year tosupport the hiring of faculty and technical staff for our new $71 million Energy Production andInfrastructure Center. These funds and the new building will help us respond comprehensively to the demand for new engineers to serve thegrowing number of energy-related industries inthe greater Charlotte region. Another important development was finalapproval by the General Assembly and theGovernor of the construction of facilities neededto launch the UNC Charlotte football program;in fact, it’s a done deal — we will field a footballteam in 2013. After more than three years of study and analysis, the Board of Trustees andthe UNC Board of Governors approved plansto move forward with the football programusing a combination of student fees, privatecontributions, and seat license and ticket sales. Among the first signs of forward progress will beconstruction starting next spring on a permanent,15,000-seat stadium, field house, and practicefields on campus. I encourage you to read moreabout this monumental occasion on page 3 of the magazine.In the meantime, while we have been toastingthe final approval of football, a very exciting“first” has taken place. The 15 students selectedas the inaugural class of Levine Scholars havereturned from the journey of a lifetime. Aspart of our premiere, merit-based scholarshipprogram, Levine Scholars take part in a 25-day leadership expedition in Wyoming. The scholarsleft on July 11, and we are ecstatic that all havereturned unscathed, and a little transformed,from what was an arduous and enlighteningtrip. They experienced the beauty of my formerstomping grounds, got to know each other,and participated in activities to enhance theirleadership skills. I wouldn’t be surprised if afew of them returned to Charlotte with a new taste for country music, as did I. While traversing the wilderness, the studentsdocumented the experience using hand-helddigital cameras. You can see the Americanoutback through their eyes on UNCCharlotte’s YouTube channel. With this news, we usher in the 2010-2011academic year. We expect to exceed 25,000students for the first time in our history, withenrollment growth fueled principally by studentsstaying in school longer while waiting for jobs toopen up and increased demand for our graduateprograms. As the federal stimulus money leavesthe state budget next year, there will certainly be challenges ahead. I can assure you, however,that we are as committed as ever to makingthe educational and co-curricular experiencesat UNC Charlotte the very best that they canbe and to fully delivering upon our mission asNorth Carolina’s urban research university.Cordially,
Philip L. DuboisChancellor
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