Sep 282012



September 27, 2012

School Debt, Income Gap Push Med Students Away From Primary Care

By graduation, many turn to more lucrative specialties

THURSDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) — School debt and income expectations are two main reasons many medical students decide to enter a high-paying specialty instead of becoming primary care doctors, according to a new long-term study.

The United States has a shortage of primary care doctors, who are among the lowest paid of all physicians. Primary care doctors are front-line health providers and usually are the first to diagnose illnesses. They also refer patients to specialists and coordinate care.

Primary care includes internal medicine, family practice and pediatrics.

In this study, researchers surveyed more than 2,500 medical students attending either New York Medical College or the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University between 1992 and 2010. The students were surveyed in their first and fourth years about the area of medicine they planned to enter, their expected debt upon graduation, their anticipated annual income five years after completing residency and the importance they placed on income.

Medical students who anticipated high levels of debt and placed a premium on high income were more likely to enter a high-paying medical specialty — such as dermatology, radiology or anesthesiology — than to enter primary care.

By graduation, 30 percent of the students who entered medical school with the intention of becoming a primary care doctor switched their preference to a high-paying specialty.

Those who changed their minds about becoming primary care doctors placed a higher value on income and had an 11 percent higher expected debt load than those who followed through on their goal of become primary care doctors.

The study was published online Sept. 19 in the journal Medical Education.

In 2010, 86 percent of medical students graduated with some education debt, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The average debt was $158,000, but 30 percent of graduates were more than $200,000 in debt.

“While the amount of debt medical students take on is well known, there hasn’t been much research to assess how students respond to this pressure,” study lead author Dr. Martha Grayson, senior associate dean of medical education at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York City, said in a university news release.

These findings suggests that measures such as incentive pay, debt forgiveness, additional scholarships and higher reimbursement for primary care services should be considered in order to meet the growing need for primary care doctors, the researchers said.

via School Debt, Income Gap Push Med Students Away From Primary Care – US News and World Report.

Sep 282012


September 28, 2012

The committee of trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and students will recommend at least two candidates to Tom Ross, who will choose the replacement of Chancellor Holden Thorp, left, here with board chair Wade Hargrove Jr.

By Jane Stancill –

CHAPEL HILL — The search for Holden Thorp’s successor at UNC-Chapel Hill begins at a time of turnover and turbulence for public university leaders.

A committee is scheduled to meet next week with UNC system President Tom Ross to launch its search for the next chancellor at the Chapel Hill campus. That committee, which includes trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and students, will ultimately recommend at least two candidates to Ross, who will make his choice. The UNC system’s Board of Governors will then officially elect the next chancellor.

The national search will take months. The next chancellor should be chosen by the end of the academic year and in place by July 1, said Trustee Chairman Wade Hargrove, who will lead the committee.

“The goal is to find the most qualified person we can find to run this university and build upon the 200-year tradition of academic excellence that is the bedrock value of this university,” Hargrove said.

On Thursday, trustees got a sobering review of the public higher education landscape from Hunter Rawlings, president of the American Association of Universities, a prestigious organization that represents 61 of the leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

Rawlings, who has been asked to lead a conversation about the balance of athletics and academics at UNC-CH, was on campus Thursday to talk about the overall role of research universities. But his talk laid out the particular challenges of public university presidents, who face increasing pressure from many fronts – financial and ideological, plus the dominating influence of intercollegiate athletics, a move toward corporatization in higher education and tension between university systems and flagships.

There is eroding support for public universities, which are increasingly being operated like businesses with students, or consumers, paying tuition for job credentials as opposed to education.

“There are state leaders now in this country who do not believe in public support for public higher education,” he said. “They don’t believe in it fundamentally … and with that lack of support goes, in some cases, open hostility towards university leadership.”

Rawlings said since he started in his role at AAU 18 months ago, 13 presidents of public universities in the association have left the position, most of them prematurely. Some were fired, some resigned under duress, he said, but one thing is clear – early departures impede long-term planning and momentum. Of the 61 universities in the organization, 35 are public.

“We’re seeing unprecedented turnover of public university presidents or chancellors,” Rawlings said. “Meanwhile, private universities are thriving again.”

Public vs. private

The growing gap between public and private universities is a disturbing trend, Rawlings said, and more people value education as a private interest rather than a democratic good.

“On a national basis, we can unfortunately conclude that the old public compact we had in this country is broken,” he said.

But while the job of public university president is brutally tough, Rawlings predicted UNC-CH would attract strong leaders.

“I think you’re going to get a really good chancellor,” he said. “I’m not the least bit pessimistic about it. This place really has a great reputation. Everybody reads about the problems, yeah, those are problems. But underneath it, this is a terrific place.”

No second thoughts

Earlier in the day Thursday at the trustee meeting, the crowd gave a standing ovation to Thorp, who announced last week that he would step down at the end of this academic year. Despite all the efforts to persuade him to stay on the job, Thorp said he is sure that it’s in the best interest of his family and the university if he returns to the faculty. He will be a professor in the chemistry department.

Thorp said he looks forward to working in the next nine months to usher in new policies and reforms to correct the trouble in athletics that plagued the last two years of his tenure. That, he said, will “make sure that the next chancellor doesn’t have to deal with some of the problems that we have been confronting.”

Hargrove said the athletic-related scandals should not overshadow the progress on every traditional performance measure during the five-year Thorp era. “Yes, there have been mistakes, problems,” Hargrove said. “Our goal is to address those problems and make sure they really do not ever, ever happen again and to hold those persons responsible for those accountable.”

Various investigations continue into academic fraud related to athletes, and an audit is under way on improper travel by university fundraisers.

Stancill: 919-829-4559

via UNC seeks new leader during challenging time for public university presidents – UNC scandal –

Sep 282012


Published: September 28, 2012

Debra Stewart of the Council of Graduate Schools.

Enrollment Drops Again in Graduate Programs


Enrollment in college is still climbing, but students are increasingly saying no to graduate school in the United States.

New enrollment in graduate schools fell last year for the second consecutive year, according to a report from the Council of Graduate Schools.

The declines followed surges in enrollment in 2008 and 2009 as many unemployed workers sought a haven during the recession. Financial considerations probably played a role in the shift. Students may be dissuaded from continuing their education in part because of the increasing debt burden from their undergraduate years.

Additionally, state budget cuts are forcing public institutions to reduce aid for graduate students, who in some disciplines have traditionally been paid to attend postgraduate programs.

The number of students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs (excluding law and certain other first professional degrees like M.D.’s) declined by 1.7 percent from the fall of 2010 to fall 2011.

Among American citizens and permanent residents, matriculation fell by 2.3 percent. In contrast, temporary residents increased their enrollment by 7.8 percent.

Temporary residents made up 16.9 percent of all students in American graduate schools, and that figure has been growing as foreign governments pay for more of their citizens to obtain education in the United States, particularly in technical areas. Temporary residents represented 45.5 percent of all students enrolled in engineering graduate programs in the United States, and 42.4 percent of those in American mathematics and computer science graduate programs.

The changes in 2011 varied by discipline, with education having the biggest drop-off in new graduate enrollment at 8.8 percent.

“The states are in financial stress,” said Debra Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. “The school systems especially are in financial stress. Teachers are no longer being provided time off to get graduate degrees, and schools are no longer funding principals to go back and get principal certificates.”

The next sharpest decline was in programs for arts and humanities, where new graduate enrollment fell by 5.4 percent, perhaps reflecting that career prospects for such graduates are becoming more limited as colleges lay off even tenured faculty members in these areas.

Health sciences, on the other hand, experienced a big increase in enrollment. The health care industry has been hiring consistently and robustly during the recession and the weak recovery.

The number of new graduate students studying health care rose by 6.4 percent, which was slightly slower growth than the average in the last decade. The average annual change in new graduate enrollment in health sciences from 2001 to 2011 was 9.8 percent.

Enrollment showed more tepid growth in business, which was up by 2.6 percent, and in mathematics and computer sciences, up by 1.6 percent.

While overall enrollment for graduate school declined, the number of applications rose by 4.3 percent. It was the sixth consecutive increase in application volume.

The Council of Graduate Schools did not have data on how many schools the typical applicant applies to, so it was unclear if there were more people applying in 2011 than in the previous year. But there was an increase in the number of people taking the Graduate Record Examinations (G.R.E.), a test that many graduate schools require as part of student applications.

As the number of grad school applications has risen, the share of those applications leading to offers of admission has been falling. In 2007, the acceptance rate across all master’s and doctoral programs was 44.6 percent, whereas in 2011 it was 40.8 percent.

Women continued to outnumber men in the nation’s postgraduate programs, 58 percent to 42 percent, in the 2011 report.

The Council of Graduate Schools, a membership organization for institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada, based its findings on an annual survey of American graduate schools. The latest report reflected the responses from 655 institutions, which collectively award 81 percent of the master’s degrees and 92 percent of the doctorates each year.

via New Enrollment Drops Again in U.S. Graduate Schools –

Sep 282012



Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Which came first, grandiose “major college” football programs fueled by huge TV contracts or astronomical coaches’ salaries?

To pay coaches what they’re making these days, colleges feel compelled to compete for the conference championships and bowl appearances that mean big revenue streams from television, attendance and brand licensing. But to compete, they tell themselves they need to ante up for the high-dollar, presumably most talented coaches. Thus the cycle escalates, and college football takes on even more of the look of a professional sports industry.

Head football coaches at top-level schools can easily pull down more than $2 million a year. Not surprisingly, that sets the bar for coaches in supporting roles, including the middle managers known as coordinators. There are offensive coordinators and defensive coordinators, not to mention the subordinate coaches who oversee players at various positions. And they’re making a pretty good living.

An Associated Press article carried by The N&O Thursday reported that at Clemson, the defending ACC champs, the crew of coordinators is making a combined $2.1 million this season. Chad Morris, in his second year in charge of the Tigers’ offense, is being paid $1.3 million, which the AP says makes him the best-paid assistant football coach at any school in the country.

The article didn’t touch on the salaries at ACC rivals UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, Duke or Wake Forest. Elsewhere in the conference, however, there were some eye-popping numbers. Florida State pays its defensive and offensive coordinators $550,000 and $440,000, respectively. At Virginia, running the offense is worth $453,000 and the defense $395,000. An expert on defense is worth $471,762 to Virginia Tech, where the guru for offense makes $349,980.

With head coaches earning in the multimillions, one could hardly expect assistants to be stuck with the kind of salaries that most of the folks in the stands or watching on the tube have to settle for. But that’s symptomatic of the larger problem – a college athletics enterprise that has grown out of all proportion to its rightful place in what is supposed to be an academic setting. Somehow, sometime, universities that don’t want to sell their souls will have to stop doing just that.

via Costly ‘coordinators’ – Editorials –

Sep 282012

ECU offensive lineman Chaz Lowery.
ECU offensive lineman Chaz Lowery.


By Nathan Summers

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chaz Lowery is a lifesaver in the truest sense. In the football sense, he hopes to bring new life to the East Carolina Pirates.

Just a redshirt freshman at ECU, Lowery knows pressure on a level that most of his teammates and classmates could not comprehend. Before he came to college, Lowery was witness to some life-changing events as a high school student, a volunteer rescue squad member and a teenager with remarkable motivation.

The Virginia Beach, Va., native — who during his senior season at Ocean Lakes High School organized an annual event in honor of his late father — has a perspective on life that few do.

“My last call before I went back to spring ball, I was able to revive a 28-year-old dad of two with another one on the way,” Lowery said of his work with the Virginia Beach Memorial Hospital’s emergency room and rescue squad. “Right before I walked out of the hospital room he said, ‘Thank you, because I don’t know what my wife would have done.’ That was pretty emotional for me, just taking a second to stop and realize that what I do has that big of an impact.”

According to Lowery, a budding offensive lineman/tight end who has become a part of the Pirates’ jumbo package on close running plays, the patient he saved had flat-lined and been pronounced dead.

If Lowery can handle that, he most certainly can handle making the adjustment to being either a full-time member of the Pirates’ front line or a tight end in big packages.

Lowery loves the fact he’s getting playing time at all outside of special teams.

“It’s a great opportunity, not only to get experience on the field but also to keep making gains in the weight room, and mentally on the field,” the 6-foot-5, 280-pound Lowery said. “It’s a great opportunity to be able to travel with the team and be with the guys, and just play by play to be there on the sidelines with them and get that game experience when I’m called on.”

Getting called on is something Lowery said his father helped him to embrace. He said his dad — a former high school coach and teacher who lost a fight with lymphoma and inspired Lowery to organize the Coach Lowery Cross Country Bash — taught him to be active in every way.

“He was a big proponent in getting involved in your community and making a difference,” Lowery said of his late father, Ed. “I really do enjoy being there for people when they need you. It’s a great feeling to not only represent this team, but also my community back home.”

People have noticed. Lowery was named to the WAVY-TV Hampton Roads Young Achiever List, which recognizes young people who exhibit excellent character, community and school involvement and wise use of leisure time.

It’s likely Lowery will become more visible inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, where the Pirates will host UTEP at 7 o’clock on Saturday night, and in the Greenville community.

One thing he and the ECU coaching staff still must decide is where Lowery can best serve the team.

“It’s something I think I’m still figuring out,” he said. “I’m extremely comfortable in the tight end spot, and I did play that some in high school, and I’m also getting comfortable at tackle. I think my size will play a role in it. I need to figure out whether I need to go up or down (in weight), and that’s just part of your growing in college. We’ll figure that out.”

Contact Nathan Summers at or 252-329-9595.

via The Daily Reflector.

Sep 282012


Published: September 27, 2012

Nuri Vallbona/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST – The University of Texas is one of the most diverse major universities in the country: In the incoming freshmen class, the largest in UT history, 46 percent are white, 24 percent Hispanic, 18 percent Asian American and 5 percent black.

By Robert Barnes

AUSTIN — More than a half-century after the Supreme Court ordered the University of Texas to admit a black man to its law school, the sprawling live-oak-and-limestone campus is again the site of a monumental battle over the use of race in university admissions.

But this time the challenge comes from a white woman. Abigail Fisher says the color of her skin cost her a spot in the 2008 freshman class at the university she had longed to attend since she was a child.

Under the banner of racial diversity, Fisher contends, the UT admissions process — which considers race as a factor in choosing one-quarter of its students — unfairly favors African Americans and Hispanics at the expense of whites and Asian Americans.

“If any state action should respect racial equality, it is university admission,” Fisher said in her brief to the Supreme Court. “Selecting those who will benefit from the limited places available at universities has enormous consequences.”

Enormous, too, could be the consequences of Fisher’s case for the nation’s selective universities, public and private. If the court rules broadly, college administrators could be barred from considering race in admissions.

Arguments in the case are scheduled for next month, and the decision could be one of the most important and revealing of the Supreme Court’s term that begins Monday.

The court since 1978 has recognized that promoting diversity on the nation’s campuses allows a limited consideration of race that normally the Constitution would not countenance.

It has imposed restrictions — no quotas, no racial balancing to match demographics, no automatic boost for an applicant because of minority status. But as recently as 2003, the justices reaffirmed the view that “student body diversity is a compelling state interest that can justify the use of race in university admissions.”

But the court has changed dramatically since then, with a conservative majority now highly skeptical of — even hostile to — racial preferences. The justice most likely to decide the case for the divided court — Anthony M. Kennedy — has agreed in principle that diversity is important but has never voted to approve an affirmative-action plan.

At the same time, the national appeal of “diversity” — the goal of producing a legion of future leaders that matches the nation’s changing complexion — has become so ingrained that more than 70 amicus briefs have been filed on UT’s behalf.

Beyond traditional civil rights organizations, the support comes from military leaders, academics, psychologists, the business community and professional athletes. More than half of the Fortune 100 companies — American Express, Southwest Airlines and Halliburton among them — urge the justices to reaffirm the significance of diversity in higher education.

The Obama administration told the court that nothing less than the country’s future depends on a “well-qualified and diverse pool” of college graduates “who possess the understanding of diversity that is necessary to govern and defend the United States.”

UT President William Powers said that his admissions policies hew carefully to the guidelines of the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision and that applicants of every race may benefit from the individualized treatment.

The only goal, he said in an interview, is to create a university environment where students are “learning and drawing from and sharing their experiences with people from different backgrounds, and that’s diversity writ large — geographic diversity, intellectual diversity, ethnic diversity, religious diversity.”

“We’re trying to prepare them educationally for the world they’re going to live in,” he said.

The ‘Top 10’ law

During class changes on the 52,000-student campus, UT’s diversity is on full display.

The sidewalks and bike paths are filled with students of every ethnic group and hue — hipster plaid and mohawks, Greek-letter T-shirts and Longhorn burnt ­orange, sundresses and cowboy boots.

“That’s the beauty of UT,” said Kristin Thompson, 22, a civil engineering major from a Dallas suburb. “It’s a place that encourages you to find your niche and socialize with people who have similar interests as you, but also challenges you to be amongst people who have different views, different backgrounds, different opinions from your own.”

It is one of the most diverse major universities in the country: In the incoming freshman class, the largest in UT history, 46 percent are white, 24 percent Hispanic, 18 percent Asian American and 5 percent black.

The numbers are the result of UT’s unique hybrid admissions policy. Under a 1997 law, the highest ranked students in every Texas high school are guaranteed admission. Although it is called the “Top 10” law, the cutoff line varies depending on available class size; next year’s freshmen at UT will have to have finished in the top 8 percent of their class to qualify.

Because of the segregated composition of most Texas high schools, that guarantees diversity.

It is the selection process for the rest of the class that has drawn constitutional challenge.

The university said it looks at each application individually and combines an academic score based on class rank, test scores and high school curriculum with a “personal achievement index.” That index derives from two personal essays and a list of six considerations, such as leadership potential, community service, work experience and “special circumstance.” Race is part of the “special circumstance.”

Thus, UT claims its consideration of race is “a factor of a factor of a factor of a factor” in its “holistic” review of each applicant.

Fisher finished outside the top 10 percent of her high school in Sugar Land, Tex. She says black and Hispanic students with lesser qualifications were admitted, while she was offered admission to another Texas institution with a chance to transfer to UT later. Instead, she went to Louisiana State University, from which she graduated with a degree in finance in the spring. She has declined through her attorneys to be interviewed.

UT says that even if Fisher had received a perfect personal achievement score, she would not have made the cut in 2008. It acknowledges some minority students with lesser or equal scores to Fisher’s were admitted, but so were other white students. They say this shows the decisions are based on selecting the best class, not simply on racial diversity.

Thompson said she can imagine Fisher’s disappointment. “A lot of students work their behinds off, from middle school, to attend this university,” she said. But diversity “dictates the climate of our campus and the success of our students and the reputation of the university.”

Thompson is probably the kind of student whom Powers, the UT president, thinks of when he talks about the value of diversity: a minority in a nontraditional major, a former president of the Black Student Alliance, an involved member of student government who said one of her proudest memories of her time at Texas will be being part of the effort to remove the name of a former Ku Klux Klan leader from a campus dorm.

But while Thompson and the Black Student Alliance supports the continued use of racial considerations, she was admitted under the race-neutral Top 10 law.

Fisher’s attorneys would argue that the plan provides so much of the campus’s diversity that the use of race in the remaining admissions cannot be the “last resort” envisioned in the Supreme Court’s previous decisions.

And they are particularly scornful of another of the university’s arguments. UT’s brief says that its holistic approach is important because it also allows “diversity within diversity.” For instance, it says selecting the “African-American or Hispanic child of successful professionals in Dallas” might serve to break down racial stereotypes.

UT, Fisher’s brief replies, apparently believes race-neutral systems “failed to enroll enough of its preferred kind of minorities.”

Powers said that is untrue. “If you look at our overall student population, including non-minorities, we have diversified tremendously on first-generation [college attendees], rural and low-income students.”

The question, he said, is whether the university may be allowed to assemble a class it thinks will benefit all. “For those who think we ought to just fill our class with automatic admission, there is not a university in the country that does that, there is not a business in the country that would select people that way,” Powers said. “I think if there were, you would have people saying they are not being treated as individuals.”


Court itself is a key factor

There is little doubt that, if the court says race may not be considered, the numbers of white and Asian American students on college campuses will increase and the numbers of blacks and Hispanics will fall. The University of California submitted a brief saying it has not been able to “reverse the precipitous decline in minority admission and enrollment” that followed voters’ decision in 1996 to explicitly prohibit affirmative action in higher education.

But the most important factor in the outcome is the court itself. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote the 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, the University of Michigan case that reaffirmed the ability of universities to use race in a limited way.

Her successor, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., has proved to be a staunch opponent of race-based classifications, as has Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. “Racial balancing is not transformed from ‘patently unconstitutional’ to a compelling state interest simply by relabeling it ‘racial diversity,’ ” Roberts wrote in a 2007 decision about K-12 education.

Justice Elena Kagan, President Obama’s former solicitor general, is recused from the case. Kennedy is by all accounts the pivotal justice in the case — the briefs submitted by Fisher and UT mention his opinions a combined 50 times.

In case of a tie vote, UT’s plan would remain in place, although the decision would not serve as a precedent. And if the majority decides against Texas, it could do so narrowly — saying that because the Top 10 plan has diversified the student body, there is no need to consider race in the rest of the admissions — or broadly, by overturning Grutter, as some have urged the court to do.

O’Connor said in her opinion that the court hoped race-based actions would be no longer needed in 25 years. But the current court’s decision to take the Texas case makes others believe that the end is coming much sooner.

“I don’t think anyone thinks that affirmative action is long for this world,” said Pamela Harris, a Supreme Court practitioner who served in the Obama Justice Department and is a visiting law professor at Georgetown.

“Maybe it won’t be this case, maybe it will be the next case, but that’s what happens” when the court’s membership changes, she said.

Sep 282012


September 28, 2012

By David Ranii –

UNC Health Care is expanding its network of hospitals to include High Point Regional Health System, a money-losing hospital that it expects to turn around.

Under the agreement announced Thursday, UNC has committed $150 million over five years for capital improvements at High Point Regional. It’s also allocating $50 million to establish a new community health fund that will award grants supporting health, wellness and prevention.

After the deal closes, which is expected to happen early in 2013, High Point Regional will become part of UNC Health Care but will retain the High Point Regional name and its status as a private nonprofit. High Point Regional has 351 patient beds and a network of 19 physicians’ offices.

David Strong, chief operating officer of system affiliations for UNC as well as president of Rex Healthcare, said that adding High Point Regional will boost UNC’s economies of scale.

A bigger organization can negotiate larger discounts because it’s purchasing more, he said.

UNC also anticipates adding services not currently offered at High Point Regional, which would boost revenue, Strong said.

Today the UNC system includes UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, Rex Healthcare in Raleigh and Chatham Hospital in Siler City. It also manages Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville.

“We think this is a natural step and a step that 100 percent of the board endorsed,” said Jeffrey Miller, president of High Point Regional. “We feel very good about this. … It is exciting to be joining such a fine organization.”

Rising medical costs and the federal government’s overhaul of health care has spurred a wave of consolidation as community hospitals seek to team up with larger partners. Duke LifePoint HealthCare, a joint venture between Duke University Health System and a for-profit hospital corporation, has announced a succession of deals since it was formed at the beginning of 2011.

UNC’s goal is to return High Point Regional to profitability. It lost money the last two years, including an $8 million loss in 2011, said Miller. The hospital’s financial situation triggered its announcement in February that it was seeking a “strategic partner.”

Miller said the hospital fielded eight offers, some of which were more lucrative than UNC’s but which surrendered total control of the hospital.

Still, High Point is ceding substantial control to UNC.

The UNC deal would keep intact the hospital’s local 21-person board of trustees, but UNC would have the authority to approve new board members when the terms of current trustees expire. UNC also would have the final say on budgets and strategic plans submitted by High Point Regional.

“The relationship is very similar to the relationship that Rex has with UNC,” Strong said. “I’ll tell you, with Rex, there has never been anything in my eight years being at Rex that the Rex board approved that the UNC board didn’t.”

UNC plans to retain the current High Point Regional management team and all of its 2,300 employees.

High Point Regional already has $72 million in capital-improvement projects that have been approved by the state.

“We have obviously delayed that (work) because we didn’t have the capital to do the projects without spending down our reserves, which we did not want to do,” Miller said.

Ranii: 919-829-4877

via High Point health system joining UNC Health Care network – Health/Science –

Sep 282012



September 28, 2012

By Donald H. Taylor Jr.

Carolina was the only college to which I applied while a student at Goldsboro High – UNC-Chapel Hill was my dream school.

When I arrived, I was interested mostly in not living with my parents, enjoying newfound freedoms and pretty girls. Four years later, I was passionate about health policy and on my way to graduate school (also at UNC) and a career as a professor.

UNC-Chapel Hill changed my life in ways that were unimaginable the day my parents dropped me off at Winston dorm. That has always been the promise and the reality of Carolina. However, I fear that the difficult budget situation of our state, and the choices that could be made by our General Assembly going forward, could jeopardize the realization of that promise for students in the future.

I have been deeply embarrassed by what I have read about my alma mater over the past two years. Whatever has happened that is wrong needs to be laid bare, and strong plans made to ensure the same mistakes are not made again. I very much affirm Holden Thorp’s commitment to making things right during his remaining time as chancellor and accept his decision to step down at the end of this academic year.

My biggest fear is that these scandals will be front and center in the minds of the people of North Carolina when the General Assembly has to make the truly difficult budgetary decisions facing our state. It is tragic that the headlines of late have not been of the incredible things that UNC does – both for its students and the state as a whole.

I am fearful that we will essentially “eat the seed corn” instead of making the continued investment necessary to maintain a world-class research university that educates our children while also making discoveries that help the people of North Carolina, the United States and the world.

It is an expensive endeavor to maintain a research university like Carolina, but it is worth it. Further, given recent budget cuts, the next few years are particularly crucial in maintaining the school’s excellence, and it would be far more expensive to try and rebuild later if we reduce our short-term investments. Our strong university system (all of the campuses) has figured mightily in helping make North Carolina a leader in the South, and it can lead the way to the future.

I would like to say thank you to all the people of North Carolina who have paid taxes to support our state’s great public university system, especially those who themselves did not attend these schools. I join you in expecting that this season of scandal will end, and that the many stories of the good being done by the students and faculty at Carolina will move back to the fore, where they belong.

Donald H. Taylor, Jr., associate professor of public policy at Duke University, holds three degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. He blogs at

via UNC is still a force for good – Other Views –