Economist: 2016 economy is ‘OK’ | The Daily Reflector

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Feb 052016
 

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By Ginger Livingston
Friday, February 5, 2016

The overall economies of Greenville and North Carolina will continue to be OK, but individuals will experience it in different ways, according to East Carolina University’s vice chancellor of administration and finance.

Rick Niswander, who also is an economist, discussed the factors influencing the national, state and local economies during the 11th annual economic forecast luncheon hosted by the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce. Nearly 200 people attended the event at the Holiday Inn.

“All in all, ’16 in going to look a lot like ’15,” Niswander said.

The United States has a $16 trillion economy, and it takes a lot to move it off course, he said. People have to keep in mind it is a presidential election year and a lot of candidates are painting a darker picture than what’s really happening, he said.

“We got to tune out the noise through November 8, that’s Election Day,” Niswander said.

Niswander said he expects employment in Greenville and Pitt County will rise by 2 percent in 2016. Year-end unemployment will be at 5.4 percent or less, and retail sales should increase by 4 percent, he predicted.

The nationwide factor contributing to continued stability is a national unemployment rate of about 5 percent, low inflation, a stable housing market, low household debt, low oil prices, wages that are adjusted for inflation and consumer spending.

While there are many positive signs in the nation and state, economists cannot ignore that people don’t think the economy is “fine,” Niswander said. In North Carolina, the economic divisions between rural and urban areas contributes to that unease.

While Pitt County remains the exception, the majority of eastern North Carolina counties have annual wages that are 25 percent below the state average. Even so, Pitt County’s average wage is up to 9.9 percent below the state average.

Pitt County’s job growth between June 2012 and June 2015 was below the state average of 6.7 percent. It also was below the state average of 2.9 percent growth experienced between November 2014 and November 2015.

Niswander said Greenville’s business leaders need to encourage state leaders to work on ways to bring economic growth to rural North Carolina. When a third of the state’s population doesn’t have economic opportunities, Niswander said, the state overall suffers.

At the least, he said, state elected leaders need to be encouraged to not put up roadblocks to rural development.

Niswander pointed to legislation the General Assembly enacted that resulted in Vidant Medical Center only receiving 70 percent Medicaid reimbursement to cover the cost of charity medical care. While the legislation was modified so Vidant could claim a larger portion of Medicaid, officials continually must educate legislators about its uniqueness among North Carolina health care systems, Niswander said.

There also are factors that could create problems in the nation’s economy, he said. Low oil prices mean oil companies are not buying equipment which hurts those manufacturers, he said. Corporate profits are flat, there is growing government and corporate debt and there is nervousness surrounding the U.S. presidential election.

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Local doctors speak out on heart health for National Wear Red Day | WNCT

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Feb 052016
 

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By Jessica Jewell
February 5, 2016

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Friday is National Wear Red Day, raising awareness for women’s heart health.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women in America. Local health experts say it’s common here in the East too, as we have high rates of many risk factors like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Yet heart disease can be preventable, and that’s why doctors say spreading awareness Friday is so important.

“Women, just by their nature, take care of the men in their life, their husbands, their children, and they don’t leave any time for themselves to take care of themselves and to address those risk factors,” said Dr. Helene Reilly, ECU Nurse Practitioner

If you want to spread awareness Friday, it’s as easy as wearing red. To find out how you can support research, head to the Go Red For Women website.

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Andrew T. Heath: Connect NC bond is an investment North Carolina can afford | The News & Observer

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Feb 052016
 

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February 4, 2016

Regarding questions about how the state can afford to pay for a $2 billion bond issue without a tax increase: Aggressive debt retirement, strong revenues and a conservative bond proposal well within the state’s credit capacity is why the Connect NC bond will not require a tax increase.

The Connect NC bond allocates $1.3 billion or 66 percent of the $2 billion bond issue to universities and community colleges, reflecting Gov. Pat McCrory’s commitment to education. The bond issue is being proposed because most major capital projects such as new educational buildings, particularly those at our universities and community colleges, cannot be paid out of the annual operating budget without a serious effect on students.

It has been 15 years since the last bond issue was authorized to update our state’s infrastructure, and since then North Carolina’s population has grown by 2 million. This growth has resulted in significant infrastructure needs from the mountains to the coast.

Think of North Carolina as a growing family. Most families take out a mortgage to pay for their houses. As the family grows, it needs a house with more bedrooms and bathrooms. If the family had to pay for a larger house with upfront cash, its ability to pay for other family needs would be severely restricted. So just as growing families would take out mortgages to pay for their houses as they use them, the Connect NC bond issue allows the state to pay over 20 or 25 years for assets that will last 50 years or more.

The Connect NC bond issue proposes taking on only half of the debt we can conservatively afford. A recent report by the state’s Debt Affordability Advisory Committee, a nonpartisan oversight committee, demonstrates that even with the issuance of the $2 billion Connect NC bond, North Carolina could comfortably borrow an additional $2 billion over the next 10 years and still keep its hard-earned AAA rating.

Therefore, North Carolina’s proposed $2 billion bond issue for infrastructure improvements when it has a credit line of over $4 billion is akin to the growing family opting for the modest house that meets its needs even when it could afford the house with the swimming pool.

Debt capacity is just one reason a tax increase won’t be needed. Another is the fast rate the state is paying off its current debt. North Carolina’s debt retirement is so aggressive that if voters approve the Connect NC bond issue, the state will still have less debt five years from now than it does today.

As stewards of the taxpayer purse, we owe it to our growing North Carolina family to invest during a time of historically low interest rates. It literally has never been less expensive to borrow. Our state has a long history of responsibly using bonds to pay for long-term infrastructure investments, and North Carolina is financially well-positioned to make the Connect NC investments without a tax increase.

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Local nutritionists weigh in on hosting a healthy Super Bowl party | WNCT

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Feb 052016
 

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By Jessica Jewell
February 3, 2016

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Many of you may be planning parties ahead of the Super Bowl, and it can be difficult if your guests have special dietary needs. So we have some advice for you on hosting a party everyone can enjoy.

There’s so many different things to consider, like allergies, strict diets, and even just food preferences.

A lot of times, you may not even know some of your guests have special dietary needs. So WNCT sat down with a local nutritionist to get some tips for a food-friendly party.

First, ask your guests before-hand if they have any particular preferences or restrictions. If you’re not comfortable with that, ask each guest to bring one of their own favorite dishes. Provide variety. You can do things like making 2 batches of certain dishes, like chili, one with meat and one without. If you’re putting out a lot of store-bought items, hold on to your labels so people can reference nutritional information if necessary.

ECU dietitian Jill Jennings says it’s best to assume everyone is trying to be healthy.

“The more variety you can provide on the table or as a spread for your guests, the better. The better options they will have, the more comfortable they’ll feel putting together a plate of food,” Jennings said.

You also need to pay attention to beverages. Be sure to include options that are non-alcoholic and sugar-free.

Some people may worry about paying more for healthy food. Jennings says to save on that, only buy fresh fruits and veggies that are in season. Otherwise, buy them frozen.

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Report: cities and states with teams in the Super Bowl see an increase in flu cases after the game | WNCT

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Feb 052016
 

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Zora Stephenson
February 3, 2016

To view news video on WNCT, click here.

GREENIVLLE, NC (WNCT)- Doctors say it’s been a mild flu season so far.

With the Super Bowl just around the corner, professionals want you to be mindful of germs this weekend. Reports show cities and states with teams in the Super Bowl see an increase in flu cases after the game. Doctors advise everyone to practice good hygiene while they’re enjoying a super bowl party with friends. ECU physician, Dr. Keith Ramsey, encourages everyone to wash their hands and take a clean plate every time they get food.

Dr. Keith Ramsey said, “First of all if your sick don’t go stay home, watch it on your own TV, but if you go certainly if you see somebody else coughing or sneezing stay away from them.”

Flu shots are also still available. Ramsey encourages everyone to get one.

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The end of college rankings as we know them | The Washington Post

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Feb 052016
 

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By Jeffrey J. Selingo
February 4, 2016

It’s been nearly 25 years since U.S. News & World Report introduced the annual version of its college rankings. That’s also when the rankings shifted from what had largely been a beauty contest based solely on a survey of college presidents to one that aimed to replicate the quantitative nature of Consumer Reports.

If Consumer Reports could tell you with some specificity the best washer to buy or the most reliable car on the market, the thinking was that U.S. News could do the same with one of the most expensive purchases in life: a college degree.

But unlike Consumer Reports, which ranked products on how well they performed in daily use, U.S. News decided to rank colleges on the types of students they accepted (SAT scores and class rank), how much they spent on faculty (salaries and class size), and how many students stayed in school and graduated. It was as if Consumer Reports judged products based on the quality of their raw ingredients rather than the final product.

The rankings turned into a big business for U.S. News, even outlasting the print magazine that gave birth to them. They also spawned dozens of copycat rankings from other publications and organizations during the past two decades.

While the U.S. News rankings still loom large among colleges that try anything to improve their position — just see the recent controversy at Mount St. Mary’s University — there are signs that the list is beginning to show its age in an era of changing consumer behavior about picking colleges.

For one, according to an annual survey of college freshmen across the country by UCLA researchers, just 18 percent of students said magazine rankings were important in influencing their final college selection. Rankings didn’t even break the top 10 among the factors students said were important.

The second reason the U.S. News rankings are in trouble is that several new tools and sets of rankings have emerged in recent years that are simply better, including Money magazine, the Economist, the federal government’s College Scorecard, and LinkedIn. They all attempt to do what U.S. News has largely failed to do: measure what actually happens to students after graduation — their jobs and salaries and their level of debt. In other words, they are trying to be Consumer Reports for higher education.

The latest addition to this group is Gallup, which on Thursday announced plans to certify colleges on the “well being” of their graduates. In previous research as part of the annual Gallup-Purdue Index, the polling firm surveyed some 30,000 bachelor’s degree recipients and 1,500 associate’s degree holders nationwide to measure their well-being (that is, being happy, comfortable, and satisfied) in five dimensions: social, financial, sense of purpose, connectedness to their community, and physical health. Just 11 percent of college graduates are thriving in all five dimensions. More than one in six aren’t thriving in any.

Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup’s Education and Workforce Development, described the new certification as being similar to the process buildings go through to get LEED-certified for their environmentally friendly designs. Gallup will measure the efforts of universities to improve the well being of their students and faculty, a process that Busteed said might take up to three years and not necessarily lead to certification.

The first school to sign up with Gallup is George Mason University, which made well being a central focus of its recent strategic plan.

“Most of the outcomes people associate with a university now are about employment,” George Mason President Ángel Cabrera told me. “Our goals should be more than that. We claim to engage our students, train our citizens. We need to measure whether we are actually producing such graduates.”

Until recently, colleges were able to get away with telling students and parents to just trust them on the quality of the product. But faith in that assurance is flagging. One major study a few years ago found that one-third of students in a sample of 2,300 undergraduates at 24 colleges and universities made no gains in their writing, complex reasoning, or critical-thinking skills during four years of college.

Part of the problem is that too many students are sleepwalking through college. They don’t engage enough in what researchers call “high-impact practices” — internships, undergraduate research, study abroad, writing-intensive classes, and interactions with professors. Many of these activities come outside the classroom, and as a result, are often not graded or measured as part of the formal degree program for which students are paying tuition.

The Gallup-Purdue Index already is measuring the impact of those outside-the-classroom activities, such as research projects, on the ultimate career success and well-being of graduates. So, too, are the other rankings that are finally looking at what happens to students after they graduate.

Only by measuring what truly matters in a college — the actual outcome of a degree — rather than how many valedictorians a college recruits for its freshman class, will parents and students be better able to value the return of their investment of going to a specific college. And when that happens, the U.S. News rankings based mostly on prestige won’t matter as much to most high-school students who just want to know if they will get a job, contribute to society, and be happy after graduating from college.

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They took the tests. But they got into a selective college without sending scores. | The Washington Post

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Feb 052016
 

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By Nick Anderson
February 5, 2016

Sara Ngo pushed herself in high school. The 18-year-old from Niagara Falls, N.Y., a daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, took Advanced Placement classes in history, economics and calculus. She took dual enrollment classes with a local college. She described herself as an A student, active in student government, with “a lot of extracurriculars,” including helping to spearhead an organization that raised money to distribute school supplies for needy children in nearby Buffalo.

She took the SAT once and the ACT twice. She wasn’t happy with the results. “The scores I got don’t reflect the kind of person I am,” she said. She had been eyeing George Washington University,
among others, and traveled to Washington for a campus visit last July. While there, she learned that GW would no longer require applicants to send test scores.

“I was through the roof, so excited,” Ngo said. She applied to GW, didn’t submit her scores and was admitted through early decision. She aims to study biology and aspires to become a plastic surgeon.

Ngo is one of thousands of applicants who chose not to submit test scores through GW’s new test-optional policy. The private university, the largest in the nation’s capital, is one of dozens of colleges and universities that are now test optional. On Thursday, GW officials said their application total rose 28 percent this year following the announcement of the new policy. The total, 25,431, broke a previous record of 21,789 set there in 2013.

Most selective colleges and universities still require applicants to go through the admissions testing ritual and submit the results. Millions of students each year take the ACT and SAT. The tests are an entrenched part of the annual college admission frenzy, with many students taking both, and multiple times. The College Board will debut a new version of the SAT in March that it says is a better reflection of what high school students learn.

Still, the test-optional movement is gaining traction in some corners of the market. GW is not the only school to witness growth in demand following the switch to test optional. Wesleyan University, another prominent school that recently dropped the testing requirement, reported this year an all-time high in applications — 12,026, up 22 percent from the previous cycle, and surpassing by 10 percent a record set in 2017.

“We’re very pleased by not only the sheer number of students who can see themselves at Wesleyan — amongst the highest of any liberal arts college — but also by the highly talented and diverse nature of the applicant pool,” Wesleyan President Michael Roth said in a statement. “I’d like to believe this is evidence that we’re about to see a resurgence of pragmatic liberal arts education in this country.”

Wesleyan is now in its second test-optional cycle. Twenty-eight percent of its applicants this year chose not to submit test scores; 23 percent did not submit the year before.

At GW, about 20 percent did not submit scores.

Another non-submitter was Jacek Knudson, 17, of La Conner, Wash., north of Seattle. Knudson described himself as a “mostly A” student, who took AP classes in economics and geography, ran
track, played football and was active in other extracurriculars. “I took the ACT and SAT,” he said. “I received mediocre scores for both, but I felt standardized testing didn’t reflect what I achieved academically. It’s hard to sit down and take a six-hour test and look at that number that represents you to colleges.”

So Knudson started his college hunt looking for test-optional schools and hit on GW. Now he’s into the university’s Elliott School of International Affairs through early decision, and he’s excited about coming to the nation’s capital. “You can’t beat the opportunities,” he said.

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What Ivy League students are reading that you aren’t | The Washington Post

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Feb 052016
 

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By Christopher Ingraham
February 3, 2016

If you want an Ivy League education, you could fork over $200 grand or so and go to Cornell or Harvard for four years. Alternatively, you could save a ton of cash by simply reading the same books Ivy League students are assigned.

That became easier recently with the release of the Open Syllabus Explorer, an online database of books assigned in over 1 million college courses over the past decade or so.

As the group behind the project explains: There’s an “intellectual judgment embedded” in the lists of books college students are required to read. The most frequently-assigned books at the nation’s universities are essentially our canon: the body of literature that society’s leaders are expected to be familiar with. So what does that canon look like?

For starters, the Explorer lets us filter by individual schools. I tallied the most frequently assigned books at all U.S. colleges and universities and compared them to the list at seven Ivy League schools — Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, U. Penn and Brown (Dartmouth doesn’t seem to appear in the Explorer’s database — more on that below).

Across all schools, Strunk & White’s classic writing guide “The Elements of Style” is the most common book, assigned in over 3,000 courses in the Explorer’s database. Plato’s “Republic” is the second-most popular, appearing close to 2,500 times. The 1,500-page “Campbell Biology” textbook/doorstop comes in at third place, perhaps a nod to the nation’s pre-med students.

Appearing fourth on the list, Marx and Engels’s “The Communist Manifesto” is sure to raise some eyebrows. Its popularity makes a certain amount of sense, given that it may be the most well-known critique of the capitalist system we all know and love. But that’s not likely to comfort anyone who’s convinced the nation’s universities are breeding grounds for bearded Marxist extremism.

The Ivy League list is considerably different, however. Plato’s “Republic” is the top book there, with Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” coming in a close second. “The Elements of Style” makes an appearance, as do poli-sci classics “Leviathan” and “The Prince.” Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” comes it at No. 8 in the Ivy Leagues.

Overall, the Ivy League list is heavily skewed toward political philosophy and thought — the only book on the list that doesn’t fall under this category is Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style.”

The Explorer lets you filter by subject area, too. Here’s how the Ivies compare with everywhere else in English courses.

There’s a little more agreement here, with five books in common across the two lists. The No. 1 work of fiction taught at American schools is Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” At the Ivies, on the other hand, Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” are No. 1 (raise your hand if you still bear psychological scars for having to memorize Middle English verse during your formative years).

Milton’s “Paradise Lost” is universally assigned, as are Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” But across all schools, works by American authors (T.S. Eliot’s “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” Charlotte Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”) are more commonly assigned than at the Ivies, where British authors are more prominent.

The Explorer also lets you filter only by colleges and universities in a given state. Here, for instance, is a map of the most-frequently assigned college course book in each state. The text is tiny, so click on the image to enlarge it if you need to.

“The Elements of Style” is the No. 1 college book in 13 states. “The Communist Manifesto” is also popular, showing up as No. 1 in six states. But there’s a lot of variety otherwise. In Delaware, for instance, the top college book is a computer programming textbook. In Alabama, physics is king. Alaska appears to be a breeding ground for future petroleum engineers, while students in Nevada get a firm grounding in how numbers can be deceiving.

The folks who built the Open Syllabus Explorer are the first to admit that their data are incomplete and likely contain a fair number of errors. They’ve built their list by scraping publicly-available college websites, as well as submissions from individual professors. So if a college doesn’t put course syllabi on public-facing pages (see the case of Dartmouth College, above), it’s not going to show up in the list.

Still, with more than 1 million syllabi in the database, it’s currently the best approximation we have for what students are actually reading in college — and for the books that are informing the leaders of tomorrow.

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East Carolina football’s 2016 signing class includes 11 from North Carolina | The News & Observer

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Feb 042016
 

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February 3, 2016
By Jessaca Giglio

To view ECU’s 2016 signee roster on The News & Observer, click here.

Scottie Montgomery wanted to add size and weight on both offense and defense in his first recruiting class as East Carolina’s head coach.

The former Duke offensive coordinator, who took over for Ruffin McNeill in December, had only a little more than a month to recruit – but says he struck a balance with his 22-member 2016 signing class that includes 11 from North Carolina. Eleven of the 22 signees are projected to play offense, the other 11 defense.

“We thought it was imperative to offer balance in this first group,” Montgomery said in a press release. “Offensively, we signed to the needs of the unit with program-type players who we expect to develop and are here for the duration, while on defense, our objectives were addressed with the addition of strong defensive backs and front seven personnel.”

ECU expects to have five offensive and six defensive returning starters at the start of spring drills on March 16. The Pirates open their season Sept. 3 at home against Western Carolina.

NOTE: Colby Gore and Cortez Herrin enrolled at ECU in January.

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National Signing Day: Local athletes sign to play college football | WNCT

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Feb 042016
 

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By Patrick Quinn
February 3, 2016

To view news videos on WNCT, click here.

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – On Wednesday, as part of National Signing Day, dozens of local athletes across eastern North Carolina signed to play college football at the Division 1 level.

Headlining this year’s class, a few standouts from the east will stay in-state and play at East Carolina University.

Those future Pirates include South Central’s Kendall Futrell, Riverside’s Jalen Price, and Plymouth’s Raequan Purvis.

Also the duo from Wallace-Rose Hill, Johnnie Glaspie and Keyshawn Canady also signed today to play at East Carolina University.

J.H. Rose wide-receiver Cornell Powell signed with the Clemson Tigers. Keion Joyner, of Havelock, will play at Florida State next year.

Others to make it official include Asa Alexander, J.H. Rose kicker, accepted a preferred-walk-on position at North Carolina State; Michael Baker, Ayden-Grifton, will play at Wingate University.

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UNC gives raises to top administrators | The News & Observer

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Feb 042016
 

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February 3, 2016

CHAPEL HILL

UNC-Chapel Hill’s athletic director, Bubba Cunningham, recently received a 10 percent raise, bringing his annual pay to $642,268.

The $58,388 increase for Cunningham was the largest among those approved for nine high-ranking university administrators, who got raises or bonuses ranging from 1 percent to 10 percent.

The increases were part of the annual raise process, according to a university spokesman who said new salary levels were retroactive to July 1, 2015. Trustees initially approved the increases in a December mail ballot, which was ratified last week. The vote last week was unanimous.

Dwight Stone, trustee chairman, said Wednesday the decisions were made in part by looking at median salaries of similar administrators at peer universities. The board also looked at Atlantic Coast Conference athletic director salaries in the case of Cunningham.

“We think Bubba’s doing a great job,” Stone said. “He’s very well respected across the country and has sort of a universal view of athletics and where we should be. Very well respected within the NCAA. He deserved the raise.”

The nine administrators, at the vice chancellor level, are all paid more than $300,000 a year. Annual increases ranged from $3,183 to Cunningham’s $58,388. Salary levels for the administrators all fall below the maximum range approved for their positions by the UNC system.

“Administratively, our job is to try to keep the best talent,” Stone added. “We have people trying to pick off our people all the time.”

Stone said the board also hopes to make adjustments in faculty pay too.

The sources of money for the UNC raises vary by individual, said Jim Gregory, director of media relations, and typically include a mix of state taxpayer dollars and private funds.

Trustees also approved raises for some professors, mostly tied to promotions.

The increases come in a year when state employees received a $750 bonus – but no raise.

Administrators’ raises were recommended by Chancellor Carol Folt, who recently received a 9.6 percent raise, which brought her annual base pay to $570,000.

Folt and 11 other UNC system chancellors were given raises in December by the UNC Board of Governors. The board’s closed-door vote on the increases was criticized by some faculty groups and legislators.

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Enrollment plunges at UNC teacher prep programs | The News & Observer

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Feb 042016
 

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February 3, 2016

Enrollment at the 15 UNC schools of education has plummeted 30 percent since 2010, a worry for a state where those programs are the biggest source of classroom teachers.

Fewer graduates from schools of education means local districts’ problems finding teachers will continue. Hiring math, science and special education teachers has been a challenge for years in some districts, but superintendents say this was the first year that some of them had trouble hiring elementary school teachers.

“The challenge in hiring teachers is going to increase,” Alisa Chapman, UNC system vice president for academic and university programs, told the State Board of Education on Wednesday. Getting specialty teachers into rural areas and hard-to-staff schools “will be even more challenging,” she said.

The decline in participation in teacher preparation programs mirrors drops in other states. And some of the other states where enrollments have fallen are places where North Carolina also finds teachers, Chapman said.

UNC is trying to recruit more students to its schools of education, Chapman said. She noted that the enrollment decline had slowed in the latest year, to a one-year drop of 3.4 percent.

Over the past two years, the legislature raised pay for beginning teachers to $35,000 to make the starting salary more competitive with surrounding states.

But pay remains an issue, state Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said during a break in the board’s meeting. She named pay, lack of respect and lack of time for professional development among the top reasons for declining enrollment in UNC teacher preparation programs.

Atkinson, a Democrat, last week recommended a 10 percent across-the-board raise for teachers as a foundation for increased compensation. House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican, quickly dismissed the idea, calling it political and unrealistic. He talked about raises closer to 2 percent.

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey said Wednesday that the decline in students’ interest in teaching is a national and cultural trend. Society emphasizes “making a lot of money as opposed to making a difference,” he said.

Increasing interest in teaching means “finding a way to appeal to the better nature of young people,” Cobey said. “I think they do care. Sometimes society gives them the message if you don’t pursue the almighty dollar, you’re not doing what’s best for you.”

Cobey said he also wants raises for teachers and principals, but he did not specify an amount.

The state board is likely to vote next month to remove one irritant from teachers’ professional lives by dropping student growth, as determined by test scores, as a stand-alone component of their evaluations.

The state uses the student-growth component in performance reviews as part of an agreement with the federal government that soon will be invalid.

Teachers have said they viewed that part of the evaluation as punitive rather then helpful.

“I doubt we’ll find anyone who’s opposed to this,” board member Eric Davis said Wednesday.

Student growth still will be calculated, and the information used in evaluations, officials said.

The state Department of Public Instruction is recommending the change because teachers are required to show improvement within 90 days in the components of their evaluations where they’re not proficient, and that’s not possible when student tests are given once a year.

Rather than motivating teachers, the student growth part of evaluations was causing more anxiety for teachers, said Tom Tomberlin, director of district human resources for DPI.

The board discussed the idea Wednesday and probably will vote on the change next month.

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Major public universities ranked on shift toward out-of-state students | The Washington Post

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Feb 042016
 

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By Nick Anderson February 2

A Washington Post analysis published last weekend showed how prominent public universities are recruiting more students from out-of-state than ever before in response to demographic trends and financial pressures.

In 2004, four state flagships drew less than half of freshmen from within the state: the universities of Rhode Island (46 percent); North Dakota (45 percent); Delaware (41 percent) and Vermont (26 percent).

By 2014, that list had grown to 10 flagships. Here they are in descending order by share of freshmen from in-state:

U. of Iowa: 47 percent
U. of Oregon: 47 percent
U of Mississippi: 44 percent
West Virginia U.: 44 percent
U. of Rhode Island: 44 percent
U of New Hampshire: 41 percent
U. of Alabama: 36 percent
U. of Delaware: 36 percent
U. of North Dakota: 35 percent
U of Vermont: 24 percent.

Here’s another way to break down The Post’s data. Following is a list ranking 100 schools by change in the percentage of freshmen who come from within state, from 2004 to 2014. For each school, we also give in-state and total class numbers for 2014. (Percentages and point differentials are rounded.)

U. of Alabama: 2,462 in-state out of 6,824 total, 36 percent. Down 36 points over 10 years.
U. of Arkansas: 2,370 in-state out of 4,571 total, 52 percent. Down 23 points.
U. of California-Los Angeles: 4,185 in-state out of 5,764 total, 73 percent. Down 22 points.
U. of Oregon: 1,854 in-state out of 3,961 total, 47 percent. Down 21 points.
Idaho State: 1,270 in-state out of 1,776 total, 72 percent. Down 21 points.
U. of South Carolina: 2,480 in-state out of 4,980 total, 50 percent. Down 21 points.
U. of California-Berkeley: 3,788 in-state out of 5,466 total, 69 percent. Down 21 points.
U. of Missouri: 3,949 in-state out of 6,515 total, 61 percent. Down 20 points.
U. of Maine: 1,309 in-state out of 2,068 total, 63 percent. Down 19 points.
Colorado School of Mines: 582 in-state out of 999 total, 58 percent. Down 18 points.
U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: 4,936 in-state out of 6,937 total, 71 percent. Down 18 points.
Michigan State: 5,758 in-state out of 8,055 total, 71 percent. Down 18 points.
Ohio State: 4,921 in-state out of 7,079 total, 70 percent. Down 17 points.
U. of Iowa: 2,197 in-state out of 4,666 total, 47 percent. Down 17 points.
U. of Kentucky: 3,145 in-state out of 5,185 total, 61 percent. Down 16 points.
Stony Brook (N.Y.): 2,124 in-state out of 2,855 total, 74 percent. Down 16 points.
U. of Washington: 4,163 in-state out of 6,272 total, 66 percent. Down 15 points.
Purdue (Ind.): 3,458 in-state out of 6,569 total, 53 percent. Down 15 points.
Iowa State: 3,509 in-state out of 6,041 total, 58 percent. Down 14 points.
Montana State: 1,536 in-state out of 2,939 total, 52 percent. Down 14 points.
Oregon State: 2,762 in-state out of 3,751 total, 74 percent. Down 14 points.
U. of Nevada-Reno: 2,298 in-state out of 3,387 total, 68 percent. Down 14 points.
U. of Oklahoma: 2,358 in-state out of 4,176 total, 56 percent. Down 13 points.
U. of Pittsburgh: 2,511 in-state out of 3,847 total, 65 percent. Down 13 points.
Penn State: 4,567 in-state out of 8,183 total, 56 percent. Down 13 points.
Mississippi State: 1,820 in-state out of 2,974 total, 61 percent. Down 12 points.
South Dakota State: 1,286 in-state out of 2,282 total, 56 percent. Down 12 points.
Oklahoma State: 2,662 in-state out of 4,056 total, 66 percent. Down 12 points.
Miami U.-Oxford (Ohio): 2,064 in-state out of 3,644 total, 57 percent. Down 11 points.
U. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: 2,996 in-state out of 3,454 total, 87 percent. Down 11 points.
West Virginia: 2,145 in-state out of 4,868 total, 44 percent. Down 10 points.
Utah State: 2,861 in-state out of 4,071 total, 70 percent. Down 10 points.
Indiana U.-Bloomington: 4,407 in-state out of 7,718 total, 57 percent. Down 10 points.
U. of Wyoming: 815 in-state out of 1,567 total, 52 percent. Down 9 points.
U. of New Hampshire: 1,335 in-state out of 3,227 total, 41 percent. Down 9 points.
U. of Arizona: 4,502 in-state out of 7,742 total, 58 percent. Down 9 points.
U. of North Dakota: 676 in-state out of 1,906 total, 35 percent. Down 9 points.
U. at Buffalo: 2,930 in-state out of 3,517 total, 83 percent. Down 8 points.
U. of Utah: 2,252 in-state out of 3,151 total, 71 percent. Down 8 points.
Arizona State-Tempe: 4,428 in-state out of 7,647 total, 58 percent. Down 8 points.
U. of Mississippi: 1,688 in-state out of 3,809 total, 44 percent. Down 8 points.
U. of South Dakota: 787 in-state out of 1,247 total, 63 percent. Down 8 points.
U. of Kansas: 2,549 in-state out of 4,084 total, 62 percent. Down 7 points.
Kansas State: 2,944 in-state out of 3,757 total, 78 percent. Down 7 points.
North Carolina State at Raleigh: 3,767 in-state out of 4,499 total, 84 percent. Down 7 points.
U. of Memphis (Tenn.): 2,024 in-state out of 2,319 total, 87 percent. Down 6 points.
U. of Connecticut: 2,268 in-state out of 3,588 total, 63 percent. Down 6 points.
U. of Michigan: 3,608 in-state out of 6,505 total, 55 percent. Down 6 points.
North Dakota State: 899 in-state out of 2,469 total, 36 percent. Down 6 points.
U. of Nebraska-Lincoln: 3,367 in-state out of 4,652 total, 72 percent. Down 6 points.
Rutgers-New Brunswick (N.J.): 5,353 in-state out of 6,412 total, 83 percent. Down 5 points.
U. of Louisville (Ky.): 2,367 in-state out of 2,887 total, 82 percent. Down 5 points.
U. of Delaware: 1,631 in-state out of 4,521 total, 36 percent. Down 5 points.
Georgia Tech: 1,491 in-state out of 2,809 total, 53 percent. Down 5 points.
U. of Massachusetts-Lowell: 1,427 in-state out of 1,673 total, 85 percent. Down 5 points.
New Mexico State: 1,382 in-state out of 1,862 total, 74 percent. Down 4 points.
U. of Texas at Austin: 6,480 in-state out of 7,285 total, 89 percent. Down 4 points.
U. of New Mexico-Main Campus: 2,682 in-state out of 3,132 total, 86 percent. Down 4 points.
U. of Maine at Farmington: 329 in-state out of 412 total, 80 percent. Down 4 points.
U. of Illinois at Chicago: 2,836 in-state out of 3,030 total, 94 percent. Down 4 points.
U. of Minnesota-Duluth: 1,817 in-state out of 2,196 total, 83 percent. Down 4 points.
U. of Montana: 1,380 in-state out of 2,027 total, 68 percent. Down 4 points.
Washington State: 3,788 in-state out of 4,457 total, 85 percent. Down 3 points.
Louisiana Tech: 1,564 in-state out of 1,857 total, 84 percent. Down 3 points.
U. of Nebraska at Omaha: 1,639 in-state out of 1,839 total, 89 percent. Down 3 points.
College of William and Mary: 933 in-state out of 1,511 total, 62 percent. Down 3 points.
U. of Rhode Island: 1,372 in-state out of 3,149 total, 44 percent. Down 3 points.
U. of Wisconsin-Madison: 3,749 in-state out of 6,264 total, 60 percent. Down 3 points.
U. of Colorado Boulder: 3,287 in-state out of 5,865 total, 56 percent. Down 2 percentage points.
U. of Minnesota-Twin Cities: 3,521 in-state out of 5,530 total, 64 percent. Down 2 points.
U. of Massachusetts-Amherst: 3,377 in-state out of 4,694 total, 72 percent. Down 2 points.
Marshall U. (W.Va.): 1,424 in-state out of 1,848 total, 77 percent. Down 2 points.
U. of Vermont: 544 in-state out of 2,310 total, 24 percent. Down 2 points.
Arkansas State: 1,466 in-state out of 1,698 total, 86 percent. Down 1 point.
U. of Hawaii at Manoa: 1,180 in-state out of 1,841 total, 64 percent. Down 1 point.
Clemson (S.C.): 2,104 in-state out of 3,475 total, 61 percent in 2014. Down 1 point.
Texas A&M: 10,282 in-state out of 10,835 total, 95 percent. Down 1 point.
U. of Virginia: 2,466 in-state out of 3,724 total, 66 percent. Down 1 point.
Florida State: 5,152 in-state out of 5,994 total, 86 percent. Down 1 point.
Auburn U. (Ala.): 2,757 in-state out of 4,592 total, 60 percent. Down 1 point.
U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: 3,227 in-state out of 3,976 total, 81 percent. Almost unchanged.
Plymouth State (N.H.): 385 in-state out of 751 total, 51 percent. Almost unchanged.
Louisiana State: 4,553 in-state out of 5,655 total, 81 percent. Almost unchanged.
Rutgers-Newark (N.J.): 940 in-state out of 1,017 total, 92 percent. Almost unchanged.
U. of Maryland-Baltimore County: 1,403 in-state out of 1,629 total, 86 percent. Up 1 point.
U. of Alaska Anchorage: 1,783 in-state out of 1,903 total, 94 percent. Up 1 point.
Rhode Island College: 900 in-state out of 1,094 total, 82 percent. Up 1 point.
Central Connecticut State: 1,279 in-state out of 1,369 total, 93 percent. Up 1 point.
U. of Alaska Fairbanks: 849 in-state out of 942 total, 90 percent. Up 2 points.
Castleton State (Vt.): 242 in-state out of 374 total, 65 percent. Up 3 points.
U. of Florida: 5,683 in-state out of 6,504 total, 87 percent. Up 3 points.
U. of Georgia: 4,591 in-state out of 5,261 total, 87 percent. Up 4 points.
Delaware State: 340 in-state out of 894 total, 38 percent. Up 4 points.
U. of Idaho: 1,105 in-state out of 1,590 total, 69 percent. Up 4 points.
Missouri U. of Science and Tech: 1,044 in-state out of 1,288 total, 81 percent. Up 5 points.
U. of Maryland-College Park: 3,002 in-state out of 4,155 total, 72 percent. Up 5 points.
U. of Tennessee: 4,019 in-state out of 4,701 total, 85 percent. Up 6 points.
U. of Nevada-Las Vegas: 3,131 in-state out of 3,865 total, 81 percent. Up 6 points.
U. of Hawaii at Hilo: 318 in-state out of 432 total, 74 percent. Up 16 points.
U. of the District of Columbia: 424 in-state out of 521 total, 81 percent. Up 28 points.

Source is the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or IPEDS. Two colleges were chosen per state for analysis, except for Wyoming, which has one public four-year university. The University of the District of Columbia was also included.

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Chicago professor, formerly of UNC, resigns amid sexual misconduct investigation | The News & Observer

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Feb 042016
 

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February 3, 2016
By Amy Harmon

A prominent molecular biologist at the University of Chicago has resigned after a university recommendation that he be fired for violating the school’s sexual misconduct policy. He previously faced allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct while working at the University of North Carolina.

Jason Lieb’s resignation comes amid calls for universities to be more transparent about sexual harassment in their science departments, where women account for only one-quarter of senior faculty jobs.

Lieb made unwelcome sexual advances to several female graduate students at an off-campus retreat of the molecular biosciences division, according to a university investigation report obtained by The New York Times, and engaged in sexual activity with a student who was “incapacitated due to alcohol and therefore could not consent.”

Lieb, who has received millions of dollars in federal grants over the past decade, did not respond to requests for comment.

“In light of the severity and pervasiveness of Professor Lieb’s conduct, and the broad, negative impact the conduct has had on the educational and work environment of students, faculty and staff, I recommend that the university terminate Professor Lieb’s academic appointment,” reads the report, signed by Sarah Wake, assistant provost and director of the office for equal opportunity programs.

Lieb stepped down last month before any action was taken.

Before he was hired at the University of Chicago, molecular biologists on the faculty there and at other academic institutions received emails from an anonymous address stating that Lieb had faced allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct at previous jobs at Princeton and the University of North Carolina.

“Both U.N.C. and Princeton launched investigations,” the email read.

Yoav Gilad, a molecular biologist at Chicago who was on the committee that advocated hiring Lieb, said he and his fellow faculty members knew that in February 2014 Lieb had abruptly resigned from Princeton, just seven months after having been recruited from UNC to run a high-profile genomics institute.

But Gilad said that when it was contacted, Princeton said there had been no sexual harassment investigation of Lieb while he was there. He said efforts to find out more about what prompted Lieb’s departure proved fruitless. A Princeton spokeswoman said the school does not comment on personnel matters.

Faculty at Chicago said that Lieb had told them during the interview process that Princeton faulted him for not informing them about a complaint of unwanted contact filed against him at UNC, where he had taught for 13 years. But he told them he had seen no reason to do so because the investigation had not found evidence to support the claim.

Subsequently, he gave permission to Princeton to examine his personnel file. Chicago, too, received permission to look at the file, Gilad said, adding that the examination of the records did not raise red flags.

Gilad also acknowledged that during the interviews of Lieb, the college learned that he had had a months-long affair with a graduate student in his laboratory at UNC.

UNC officials would not comment on Lieb on Wednesday, citing personnel privacy, and would not say whether an investigation was conducted at UNC.

But according to his employment record, he was a full-time faculty member from 2002 to 2013. He was promoted several times during that period and was paid $172,000 as a distinguished professor of biology the year he left full-time employment.

A 2012 article posted on the website of UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center described the DNA research of Lieb, who was then the director of the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences. The article said Lieb was a V Foundation scholar and had won a Hettleman Prize for young faculty at UNC. Lieb praised the mentors he had at UNC, UC-Berkeley and Stanford University, where he had been a postdoctoral fellow.

He said he had been drawn back to UNC, where he studied as an undergraduate. “It was one of the few places in the country where I knew that the quality of science was very high and the quality of life was very high,” Lieb was quoted in the article. “It’s a great place for my family and for my career.”

When Lieb left full-time employment at UNC, he was listed as a temporary, unsalaried part-time adjunct professor in UNC’s biology department for one year from 2013 to 2014. Princeton’s website said he was appointed in July 2013 as a faculty member and director of a genomics center there. He would resign from Princeton one year later, in July of 2014, according to a Princeton newsletter.

Both the University of California, Berkeley, and the California Institute of Technology have fielded criticism recently for failing to publicly acknowledge their own conclusion that a prominent male scientist on their faculty had harassed female students until the details were uncovered by news media. A third case was reportedly unearthed only because of a bureaucratic error at the University of Arizona.

“Although institutions proclaim that they have zero tolerance for abuse of the policies that they claim to enforce, too often their primary concern seems to be secrecy and reputation management,” the science journal Nature wrote in a Jan. 20 editorial headlined “Harassment Victims Deserve Better.”

At Chicago, students praised the university for swift and decisive action. But some students and faculty members also raised pointed questions about whether the university had placed female graduate students at risk by hiring Lieb, who brought scientific cachet and a record of winning lucrative grants to a department that had recently lost two of its stars to other institutions.

He was on put on staff despite potential warning signs.

At Chicago, the hiring committee struggled, Gilad said, to balance a desire to protect students with a desire not to convict someone without evidence. He said that because Lieb had not been found guilty of any offense at North Carolina, the department of human genetics voted to hire him.

“It’s hard to say this in retrospect,” Gilad said, “but what’s the value of investigating anything if an unsubstantiated allegation itself invalidates the candidate?”

But Joe Thornton, a faculty member in the department who dissented, said in an interview, “I don’t think that’s the right standard to use.” He added, “It may be a legal standard, but we should be capable of making more nuanced judgments about the environment we’re creating for human beings that are doing and learning science.”

News & Observer staff writer Jane Stancill contributed to this report.

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Va. Tech murder suspects left few clues to possible motives | Associated Press

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Feb 042016
 

ap

By Tom Foreman Jr. And Ben Nuckols
Thursday, February 4, 2016

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Less than a year ago, David Eisenhauer smiled confidently into a television news camera, discussing his athletic and academic aspirations for a weekly feature on high school athletes in the Baltimore area.

“I make my personal goals achievable or just out of reach of achievable,” Eisenhauer said. “That way I’m always constantly striving to better myself.”

Now the subject of sensational murder charges that have shocked those who know him, his university campus and the nation, Eisenhauer — blonde-haired, square-jawed and gangly — remains an enigma, the mystery compounded by his brash statement to police after his arrest: “I believe the truth can set me free.”

According to police, Eisenhauer, an 18-year-old freshman engineering student and a distance runner on the track team at Virginia Tech, kidnapped and fatally stabbed a 13-year-old girl. Another freshman, 19-year-old Natalie Keepers, is charged with being an accessory before and after the crime, and helping to hide Nicole Lovell’s body off a state highway in North Carolina, two hours south of campus.

According to neighbors, Nicole showed off Kik messages from her “boyfriend” along with a photo of the 18-year-old named David, and said she would sneak out that night to meet him.

If Eisenhauer or Keepers had a dark side, they kept it hidden, according to those who knew them, who reacted to the allegations with a uniform sense of shock.

“When I saw her (mug shot) photo I didn’t know who it was. I thought that was the victim, because it didn’t look anything like (when) I knew her,” said Keepers’ high school math teacher, Stan Arnold. “She always came across as being bubbly and happy and excited about her future.”

Some of the most pointed comments came from a Facebook post attributed to Gaige Kern, a friend of Eisenhauer and a fellow distance runner at Virginia Tech.

“The David I knew had his faults, but this is beyond the scope of imagination,” said the note, which was addressed to Eisenhauer. “Did something happen to you that would cause a complete change, or was this newly surfaced personality always there, lurking in the shadows, hiding amidst lies? And if it was, how did you hide it so well?”

The post also mentioned that Eisenhauer had a goal of working for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which develops technology for the military. Kern told The Associated Press he wasn’t ready to discuss the post or his friendship with Eisenhauer.

Eisenhauer and Keepers went to high schools five miles apart in Columbia, Maryland, a planned community between Baltimore and Washington that’s known for highly rated public schools and competitive athletics. It’s not clear when they met.

Eisenhauer, however, spent much of his childhood in Washington state, where he attended a small Christian school. His father was transferred to Maryland after his sophomore year, and his parents bought their $620,000 home in Columbia in 2013, property records show.

He started running competitively in middle school at Riverside Christian School in Yakima, Washington, which has just 320 students in preschool through 12th grade. Excelling in the classroom and on the track, he had an apparently seamless transition to Wilde Lake High School, which has 1,200 students.

His coach at Wilde Lake, Whitty Bass, raved about him in the feature for WMAR-TV, which aired last March.

“These are the ones you take a deep breath when you realize what you’ve got and say, ‘Don’t mess this up,'” Bass said.

The coach was less effusive this week at an indoor track meet in Hyattsville, Maryland, declining to comment on Eisenhauer or the allegations.

Eisenhauer was redshirted for his freshman year in track at Virginia Tech, according to a sophomore teammate, Andrew Eason. In the WMAR feature, Eisenhauer said he hoped to redshirt so he could run in college for five years.

Keepers played junior varsity soccer at Hammond High School, but wasn’t a standout athlete like Eisenhauer. Her interests seemed more diverse as she joined the math team and Model United Nations, and became a member of the National Honor Society and the National Science Honor Society, according to her LinkedIn profile. She acted in plays, helped direct the musical “Seussical,” and taught science at a summer Bible camp.

In 2014, she interned at a NASA facility in Maryland, and planned to double-major in aerospace and ocean engineering and naval engineering.

“My field of study is due to my fascination in the foundations of aircrafts, boats, and submarines. After college, I plan to hopefully get a job with the government or an aerospace or ocean company,” she wrote on LinkedIn.

At Virginia Tech, she joined a program for freshmen called the Hypatia Women in Engineering Learning Community. According to the school’s website, participants live in the same dorm and are required to enroll in a semester-long seminar class where they talk about professional and personal development, academic success strategies and issues related to being women in male-dominated fields.

Those who knew her said she seemed like a normal teenager in every way.

“She was talkative, she had a lot of energy,” said Mindy Niland, a 21-year-old student at Howard Community College. She said they were close in middle school, and that Keepers had slept over at her house. “We went shopping. She was really interested in guys. I don’t remember her having any violent behavior.”

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Why Shark Ate Shark | Slate

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Feb 042016
 

slate

By Rachel Becker
FEBRUARY 4, 2016

Shark was on the menu last week for a large female sand tiger shark in Seoul’s COEX Aquarium.

The creature, more than seven feet long, chowed down on her smaller tank mate, devouring the banded hound shark head-first. The little guy hung out of his killer’s mouth for 21 hours—slowly making his way through her digestive tract until only his tail poked out of her mouth.

Since the shark is female and her hapless prey was male, the “feminist shark” jokes did not take long to appear on Twitter.

Her new fans may be disappointed to learn this wasn’t completely normal behavior—and her sex had nothing to do with it. Chuck Bangley, a Ph.D. candidate at East Carolina University studying shark habitat use, said aquariums actually like sand tiger sharks because they’re big, scary-looking, and docile. They’re “intermittent feeders,” which means they only really eat when hungry—something that would typically keep them from snacking on tankmates.

They do eat other species of sharks, however, and they are known for embryonic cannibalism, a kind of gestational gladiatorial combat where the toughest hatchling devours its siblings while still in the womb.

An aquarium official told Reuters that this meal might have started as a territorial dispute, which Bangley agreed is possible.

“I think in this case the animal’s prey drive might have gotten kicked in somehow,” he said. “I have heard of instances where even a well fed sand tiger can’t help itself if there’s an injured fish or a sick fish in the tank.”

So why did this snack take so long to go down? It could be because the sand tiger shark overcommitted on the mouthful she took.

“Usually their food is a lot smaller in relation to their body size,” Bangley said. And sand tiger sharks are equipped with sharp teeth that curve backward into their heads, hooking their prey so the only direction their food can move is further into the shark’s mouth.

“It might have been the case that it bit this shark and then it couldn’t really spit it out because it was too big for it to work its way around the teeth,” he said. “Fish having eyes bigger than their stomach is pretty common in nature.”

Bangley couldn’t help himself. “It’s a shark-eat-shark world,” he said.

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MATCH turns fitness into fun | The Daily Reflector

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Feb 032016
 

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By Holly West
February 3, 2016

East Carolina University’s MATCH Wellness program is turning fitness into fun.

The program teaches seventh-graders about fitness and nutrition in the hopes that they will develop healthy habits and break the cycle of childhood obesity that plagues eastern North Carolina and much of the rest of the South.

This is the first year all Pitt County middle schools are participating in the program, which ECU alumnus Tim Hardison started in 2007 while teaching middle school science in Martin County.

Through a partnership with East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine, as well as the N.C. Joint Legislative Task Force on Childhood Obesity, the N.C. State Board of Education, Blue Cross Blue Shield and the North Carolina Chapter of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SNAP program, the program is growing rapidly.

Some 35 schools in North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi are using the program — but by 2018, that number will have grown to at least 100.

MATCH stands for Motivating Adolescents with Technology to Choose Health. It uses a combination of class instruction and fitness labs during both physical education and core subject classes.

G.R. Whitfield School teacher Karen Thompson said P.E. teacher Haley Meier sat down with her and the other seventh-grade teachers to discuss how they could integrate the MATCH curriculum into the Common Core curriculum.

“We kind of sat down and mapped out, okay, this is what we’ll do in language arts and this is what they’ll do in science,” she said.

“It’s not like I had to stop teaching my curriculum either.”

Thompson teamed up with a seventh grade science teacher to co-teach during this semester’s first experiment, which was designed to help students understand the differences in sugar content between regular and diet sodas.

Seventh-grader Anyna Whitaker said she and her classmates got to test the sodas first and guess their sugar contents before learning about the effects of sugar on the human body and how to make better choices.

“We tried to see which one was the sweeter one,” she said. “I think because we were used to drinking regular pop sodas, some people thought the diet was sweeter.”

Having a hands-on activity helps students see the meaning of the numbers on nutrition labels rather than just reading them, Meier said.

“One of the biggest challenges I’ve found is teaching kids how to read a nutrition label,” she said. “MATCH has a whole unit on that. They’ll go to the store with their parents and compare the labels on the different boxes. It’s even taught me some new things.”

In addition to cross-curricular materials, students participate in more traditional P.E. activities like calculating their body mass index, or BMI, and fitness testing.

The students use the data they collect to help change their habits for the better.

“I think it was good to see whether they were in the normal or overweight or obese zone so they would know whether they need to exercise more,” seventh-grade student Madison Nay said.

MATCH takes traditional health a step further by teaching kids the factors other than exercise and diet that can affect a person’s health, as Madison’s classmate, Ericka Ruffin, learned during Meier’s lesson on BMI.

“Not all people who are obese are just sitting around eating,” she said. “There can be things like depression that affect them.”

Meier said the program uses technology like pedometers to make even mundane activities fun. Earlier in the semester, the students had a competition to see who would take the most steps during a regular P.E. class.

Meier said she was worried the students wouldn’t care about it, but they immediately got competitive.

“Once they put the pedometers on, they were zipping up and down,” she said. “If you asked them to get some water, they would run back and forth.”

According to data collected by MATCH during the past decade, seven out of 10 MATCH participants who are classified as “overweight” at the beginning of the semester reduce their BMI by the end of the program.

Thompson said she has seen changes in her students and hopes they carry their new, good habits with them after this semester of P.E. ends.

“Now is the time you need to catch it,” she said. “For lunch, we have some kids who all they bring is a bag of chips.”

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ECU to participate in “Wear Red Day” | WITN

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Feb 032016
 

witn

February 02, 2016

To view news video on WITN, click here.

National “Wear Red Day” is Friday, but students and staff at East Carolina University kicked off the heart disease awareness campaign Tuesday.

The heart-healthy extravaganza took place in the student recreation wellness center where students were able to enjoy a stress-free environment with massage chairs and a relaxing movie.

Tips for how to be heart healthy were also handed out.

Assistant Director of wellness promotions, Ainsley Worrell, talked about how you can manage your heart health at home.

Worrell says, “Doing a bout of cardio, lifting weights, eating healthy. But in our department we usually focus on the 8 dimensions of wellness. So, wee talk about stress relievers. We talk about eating correctly.”

Heart-healthy events will continue at ECU everyday this week.

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ECU officials react to departure of Brody’s Dean, ECU Chancellor | WNCT

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Feb 032016
 

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By Josh Birch
February 2, 2016

To view news video on WNCT, click here.

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Two of ECU’s top officials are set to leave the university in 2016.

Chancellor Steve Ballard announced he would be leaving the university this past summer. On Monday, Paul Cunningham, Dean of the Brody School of Medicine, also announced he would be leaving his position later this year.

While the news may come as a shock to the campus community, ECU Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Jones said the university is still in a very good position. He said while Ballard and Cunningham were both instrumental for the university, it has always been, and will continue to be, all about teamwork.

“Our initiatives are supported and carried out by a whole team of people at the university,” Jones said. “We feel like we will have continuity through this transition.”

Both Cunningham and Ballard were very instrumental in getting $16 million appropriated to the Brody School of Medicine by Governor McCrory. Jones said if another critical situation arose like that, he was confident the replacements would handle it just as well.

He doesn’t anticipate any hits to donations to the university because of the departures. He said whoever is chosen will be entering an environment where they can succeed.

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University of Missouri Struggles to Bridge Its Racial Divide | The New York Times

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Feb 032016
 

SMALLnewyorktimes

By JOHN ELIGON
FEBRUARY 3, 2016

Scott N. Brooks, draped in a dapper shawl-collar sweater, looked out on the auditorium of mostly white students in puffy coats and sweats as they silently squirmed at his question. Why, he had asked, does Maria Sharapova, a white Russian tennis player, earn nearly twice as much in endorsements as Serena Williams, an African-American with a much better win-loss record?

“We like to think it’s all about merit,” said Dr. Brooks, a sociology professor at the University of Missouri, speaking in the casual cadence of his days as a nightclub D.J. “It’s sport. Simply, the best should earn the most money.”

Maybe tennis is not as popular here as overseas, one student offered. Dr. Brooks countered: Ms. Williams is a global figure. As the room fell silent, the elephant settled in. Most sat still, eyes transfixed on the stage. None of the participants — roughly 70 students new to the University of Missouri — dared to offer the reason for the disparity that seemed most obvious. Race.

The new frontier in the university’s eternal struggle with race starts here, with blunt conversations that seek to bridge a stark campus divide. Yet what was evident in this pregnant moment during a new diversity session that the university is requiring of all new students was this: People just don’t want to discuss it.

The racist episodes that rocked the Missouri campus last fall, leading to resignations by its president and chancellor, set administrators here and around the country on frantic course correction efforts. They have held town halls to hear students’ complaints, convened task forces to study campus climates, adjusted recruiting strategies and put in place new sessions on implicit bias and diversity, like the one Dr. Brooks spoke at, held in mid-January.

More an introduction to the diversity on campus than an instruction manual for navigating it, the session featured eight professors who spoke about their teaching and research that related to race and culture. One presented a campus survey showing how Missouri students’ attitudes broke down based on their race (for instance, about 63 percent of black students identified as liberal, while only 38 percent of whites did). Another discussed myths about Islam and offered a few surprising facts (the country’s oldest mosque is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa). Yet another talked about cultural appropriation (Mexican-themed costume parties can be offensive).

And then there was Dr. Brooks, a 43-year-old African-American who teaches “Race and Ethnic Relations” and challenged the students to think about race through the prism of sports. He offered a gentle explanation of the Williams/Sharapova discrepancy: “Maria is considered a beauty queen, but by what standards of beauty? Some people might just say, ‘Oh, well, she’s just prettier.’ Well, according to whom? This spells out how we see beauty in terms of race, this idea of femininity. Serena is often spoofed for her big butt. She’s seen as too muscular.”

After the session, Dr. Brooks told me: “There’s still a reluctance to want to use the explanation of race, racism. I think that becomes part of what we try to do.”

The professors hoped the session would get students interested in exploring and embracing different cultures — to “stretch,” as Antonio Castro, an education professor, called it. “You have to be willing to take on opportunities to do something you haven’t considered before,” he advised students.

Such is the ideal, a campus where diversity is embedded in the everyday routine.

College officials have spent decades rolling out one initiative after the next, from scholarships to summer bridge programs to race-conscious admissions, to attract students from underrepresented populations. Since 1980, the percentage of blacks and Hispanics attending higher education institutions has more than doubled, from 13 percent to 28 percent in 2014, while the white population has dipped to about 52 percent from 84.

Yet administrators might have been missing a trickier truth: Diversity is one thing, inclusion is another.

Yes, colleges have brought more minorities to campus. But that has not necessarily meant success. The four-year graduation rate for black students who started college in 2007 was 21 percent, a mere 1 percentage point higher than for the 1996 cohort. (At the same time, the rate for white students went up 7 percentage points, to 43 percent.) According to the latest data from the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange, a quarter of black students left their campus after freshman year, compared with 16 percent of white students.

All too often, administrators and students say, universities have allowed, and in some ways fostered, siloed existences in which different races barely interact with one another. Academic support services and social events bring together students of the same race; thematic freshman interest groups and housing cluster like-minded classmates. Students — black and white — self-segregate in Greek life and even campus cafeterias. “Rather than integrating these students into the fabric of the institutions, they created separate and distinct systems for them,” said E. Andre Thorn, who worked in academic retention services at Missouri before directing the multicultural center at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

When she set off to write her doctoral dissertation for the University of Maryland about eight years ago, Leah K. Cox sought to find out what colleges could do to increase interaction between races. She surveyed about 20 liberal arts institutions and concluded in her thesis, “Interactional Diversity and the Role of a Supportive Racial Climate,” that “when students feel comfortable, their desire to interact with other students, faculty and staff is greater.”

Dr. Cox, now special assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., remembers the days when conversations about creating diverse and inclusive campuses were confined to whispers among a small community that cared. “Now,” she said, “people are asking to talk about it.” In her 30 years in academia, she’s never seen anything like it.

Inclusion starts with ensuring that minority students are “not on campus in token amounts,” said Linda S. Greene, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who has served in various administrative roles that included diversity work. While some universities, particularly wealthy elites and flagships, conduct outreach to minority high school students, Ms. Greene challenges them to be as committed to building diverse and thriving student bodies as they are to recruiting top-flight athletes. She advocates identifying, developing and nurturing minorities as early as kindergarten, and investing in research on initiatives that drive success. “The big picture for me is this: You can determine an institution’s priorities by its dollar commitments,” she said. “We know what it takes for stem cell advancements and transplantation breakthroughs. When diversity becomes important enough, those commitments will be made.”

The terms “campus climate” and “inclusion” have taken off as diversity buzzwords. The University of Minnesota has established the Campus Climate Workgroup to study the problem and announced in January that it was creating a bias response team on the Twin Cities campus. At the University of Texas, Austin, the Campus Climate Response Team has been busy: In its second year, 2013-14, students reported 69 distinct incidents, 75 the following year and 53 this fall alone. Experts say bias complaints tend to be underreported, so increases indicate that the online resource has made students more comfortable reporting problems.

Since the campus uprisings last fall, students have been emboldened to complain about racial slurs yelled across campus as well as subtle but offensive messages from white students and professors, who look to them in class to answer questions about minorities and signal low expectations. Reuben Faloughi, a doctoral psychology student and member of the black protest group Concerned Student 1950, told me people often assume he’s on a sports team. Is being an athlete or an entertainer “the only thing I can be successful at?” he asked.

Benjamin D. Reese Jr., vice president for institutional equity at Duke University and chairman of the national association for college diversity officers, is in high demand these days, getting more requests to deliver lectures about bias than he can fulfill. “I think where we’re at now is a recognition on the part, primarily of students, that there’s a lot of work that’s been left undone,” he said.

One call came from Chuck Henson, named Missouri’s interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity last November, a day after Timothy M. Wolfe, the university system’s president, resigned. Mr. Henson invited Dr. Reese to campus to give faculty and staff members a lecture on implicit bias. To illustrate the attitudes and beliefs lurking below the surface, Dr. Reese flashed photographs of people on a projection screen and asked the audience to shout the first thing that came to mind. A picture of a heavyset black man, sitting with his leg propped up and wearing a suit, elicited “heavy,” “musician,” “bookie” and “savvy.” He was Tyrone B. Hayes, a biologist who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.

The lecture was just one step Mr. Henson has taken as he faces the daunting task of turning around a race problem that has haunted the university for decades. At about 7 percent of the student body and 3 percent of the faculty, African-Americans remain underrepresented in a state that is nearly 12 percent black. Calls for diversity have ebbed and flowed over the years along with black enrollment. Like other public universities in the Midwest, Missouri draws large numbers of rural and urban students, two cohorts that tend to be opposites in terms of race, culture and experience, which officials say makes nurturing understanding between them that much harder.

On paper, the university has done plenty to address diversity. An initiative that began more than a decade ago included a two-day summit, a campus climate study and a program called Difficult Dialogues, in which faculty members learned techniques in conversing on controversial topics and conflict resolution. But faculty, students and administrators say such efforts never seemed central to life on campus.

Reaching students where they live starts with administrators simply listening, said Mr. Henson, a Yale and Georgetown Law graduate who carefully weighs every word he speaks. He remembers the reaction of students at Mizzou Hillel after sitting with them for about two hours last November to hear about their experiences on campus. Weeks earlier, a swastika had been found smeared on a bathroom wall with feces.

“What kind of overwhelmed me, and still does as I reflect on it, is how happy they were that we just sat there and listened,” Mr. Henson said. “If you are interested in a relationship, particularly in a circumstance where one is in a position of authority, my personal belief is you don’t wait for someone to reach out to you. The right thing is to take the first step. Not to pretend that something didn’t happen or that whatever happened didn’t have a sufficient magnitude to cause you to react to it.”

Since taking on the new role, Mr. Henson has met with many student leaders, protesters, faculty members and administrators. He tapped the head of the black studies department and of women’s and gender studies to organize diversity sessions for incoming students. With the help of the Missouri historical society, he has organized a lecture series about the history of African-Americans in the state. But really, Mr. Henson said, creating the nurturing environment the university wants will take more than a series of programs.

A little more than a year ago, Craig Roberts, a plant scientist and chairman of Missouri’s Faculty Council, was sitting in on a session organized by R. Bowen Loftin, the flagship’s chancellor at the time, to allow black students to air their concerns after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson. A white Mississippi native with a twang and a frothy smile, Dr. Roberts is as conservative as they come. He had never seen race as a problem in more than a quarter century on campus. But that night he heard the testimony of black students.

He was convinced. “They weren’t just telling how they’ve been treated,” he said. “They were giving each other tips on how to cope with this when it happens.” (One student pulls into the nearest gas station when he sees the police behind him.)

Dr. Roberts had an idea: a race relations committee. He tapped Berkley Hudson, a fellow Mississippian who teaches journalism, to lead it. They recruited people who had experienced racism as well as those who were skeptical that the campus actually had a problem. The hope was to have honest conversations about their differences and come to understand and respect one another. They would then figure out ways to replicate their methods campuswide.

The committee ended up with four women and eight men — five white, five black and two Hispanic. Two members were students, including Jonathan Butler, a graduate student whose hunger strike in November grabbed headlines.

A meeting last fall serves to illustrate how the experiment works.

Raymond Massey, a white, Bible-quoting professor of agricultural and applied economics who is skeptical of claims of racism on campus, described how he had asked his students what they thought of the university’s latest episode, a slur hurled at a black student group. But instead of addressing that incident, a white student interjected that she had been terrified when demonstrators staged a die-in, lying silently on the floor of the student union in protest of police violence against blacks. She was afraid to get up from her seat. She couldn’t get around them, she said. And she feared if she left, they’d call her racist.

As Dr. Massey spoke, Corie Wilkins fumed. Mr. Wilkins, an African-American in his senior year studying journalism, was unmoved and, in fact, offended. The die-in was peaceful, he argued, and white people didn’t have to worry about facing violence on campus. “Now if this was a black person coming out of work late at night and there’s three, four white guys standing around their car, that, to me, that’s real fear,” he said.

Dr. Massey shot back: How could Mr. Wilkins validate his own fears but not the woman’s? Mr. Wilkins countered: Because there was no history of racist attacks against whites on campus. Back and forth they went, until Michael A. Middleton, a committee member who is now interim president of the four-campus university system, intervened. “We have to understand each other if we hope to be understood,” Mr. Middleton, who is black, told them. “So we need to think through why she felt unsafe and understand that she did feel unsafe and deal with that. Just as we’re asking the white population to deal with the fear a black student has walking across campus.”

Voices eventually came back down. Tempers simmered. This was precisely the type of emotional untangling the committee was working toward.

“If we commit to a better understanding of why we as individuals act, speak, think, behave the way we do,” Mr. Henson said, “we are in a much better position as individuals to have a culture that we can share. I’m not asking you to change your beliefs. I’m asking you to think about what your beliefs are and why you have them.”

Dr. Massey said that what resonated for him was how quick he had been to embrace the white student’s fear but he had not done the same with black students. “I saw it as a pervasive problem that everybody was looking at their own side and understood their perspective,” he said. “They didn’t understand the other person’s perspective.”

Mr. Wilkins said he learned that tone matters. He cannot get too excited every time he hears something he doesn’t like. “I can admit that that wasn’t the time to assert my point the way I did,” he said.

Now the committee is wrestling with how to export what they are doing. They have released video confessionals of members talking about race and they plan to shoot more. They hope to go to like-minded cohorts to help them grapple with the issues they themselves have struggled with in committee meetings.

“We realize,” Mr. Hudson said, “we are writing a script to how to have these conversations about race.”

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An Emerson College student rented his dorm room on Airbnb, and now faces misconduct hearing | The Washington Post

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Feb 032016
 

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By Yanan Wang
February 3, 2016

College students have always come up with creative ways to pay tuition. They’ve been known to live off of ramen noodles, and more recently, the loan-burdened but intrepid have tried crowdfunding their education.

No wonder, then, that a sophomore at Emerson College recently attempted to get back a slice of the price he’s paid by listing his Boston dorm room on Airbnb last month. According to the Boston Globe, 19-year-old Jack Worth’s ad offered “a private, single-bedroom unit with sweeping views of Boston Common, right in the heart of downtown.”

This stellar location was right inside the Little Building, a 12-story dormitory that houses around 750 students.

Three people took advantage of Worth’s accommodations on three separate occasions.

“Really, the idea just came from the combination of understanding where Emerson is located in the city, and it being in such a heavily-desired neighborhood,” Worth told the Globe. “And the thought of how I could make a little bit of extra money.”

But this business venture went against school regulations. Emerson spokesman Andy Tiedemann explained in an email to Reuters that the residence hall policy prohibits students from renting out their housing units “to protect residents and the community from exposure to safety and security risks.

Worth has since taken down the listing at the school’s behest, and he faces a disciplinary hearing on “several charges of misconduct,” according to a Change.org petition that has taken up his cause.

As of early Wednesday, 375 people had signed in support of Jack’s “honest, entrepreneurial endeavor.”

“There is nothing criminal with providing cheap housing to travelers,” fellow Emerson sophomore Ari Howorth wrote in a testimonial. “…he wanted to help those who wouldn’t be able to afford to stay in the downtown area. If the Emerson community is as inclusive as it claims to be, it should act it.”

(Worth has not said how much he was charging for the room.)

Another supporter wrote: “He’s the hero Emerson deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So they’ll hunt him. Because he can take it.”

Twitters users have also rallied around the hashtag #FreeJackWorth, but with differing opinions about whether Worth’s actions were wise.

One University of California, Berkeley sophomore took the opportunity to weigh in on the cost of higher education, which continues to rise across the country.

Others pointed out that Worth is by no means alone. A search through Airbnb yielded postings of dorms at Columbia University, Brooklyn College and UC Berkeley. The Huffington Post found others at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Temple University and the University of Chicago — all schools in tourist destination cities where cheap housing is in high demand.

Airbnb Christopher Nulty spokesman told Reuters that hosts must follow their local rules and regulations. After Worth took his posting down, he was fined $150.

Undeterred, the student is still actively campaigning for his right to Airbnb. His current Facebook profile picture shows him and two friends wearing T-shirts that read “Life. Liberty. Airbnb.” and “We came. We saw. We stayed. (At Jack’s).”

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Brody School of Medicine dean to retire | The Daily Reflector

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Feb 022016
 

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Monday, February 1, 2016

The dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University announced Monday that he will retire from his post in September but remain on faculty at the medical school.

Dr. Paul R.G. Cunningham, named Brody dean in September 2008, has led the school in its mission of producing primary care physicians for the state, increasing opportunities for underrepresented minorities in medical education and improving the health status of residents in eastern North Carolina, a news release said.

“I passionately support the immediately relevant and critical mission of the Brody School of Medicine,” Cunningham said. “Our school represents and embodies the culture of service and leadership that is clearly at the core of East Carolina. The professionals I have worked with have been inspiring in their capabilities and commitment.

“I will choose not to chronicle all of the very positive developments I have witnessed and participated in over the years. Suffice it to say, it has all been incredibly satisfying.”

Cunningham said he intends to take some time away to prepare for teaching and research responsibilities before returning to work as a faculty member in the medical school’s Department of Surgery, with interests in trauma and bariatric surgery.

The search for a new dean is expected to begin immediately.

Prior to joining the Brody School of Medicine, Cunningham was a professor and the chairman of the Department of Surgery at the State University of New York, Upstate Medical University. He is board-certified in general surgery and has held a number of roles throughout his career, including surgeon, professor and hospital chief of staff.

Cunningham served for many years as an educator and a surgeon at East Carolina, Pitt County Memorial Hospital (now Vidant Medical Center) and Bertie County Memorial Hospital.

“Dr. Cunningham has served ECU with distinction, characterized by superb collegiality and a dedication to teamwork,” Chancellor Steve Ballard said. “He will be missed.”

“Dr. Cunningham has served as a thoughtful and inspiring leader for the Brody School of Medicine,” Dr. Phyllis Horns, vice chancellor for ECU’s Division of Health Sciences, said. “Since 2008, the school has excelled in meeting its mission of improving health care in eastern N.C. by educating outstanding physicians, especially in primary care, and many of whom continue to live and work in North Carolina. He is a respected citizen of Greenville and Pitt County and his dedication to excellence abides in everything he does.”

Cunningham continues to hold several local, regional and national leadership positions, including a recent naming as president-elect of the North Carolina Medical Society. Cunningham was president of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma in 2000 and has been a governor of the American College of Surgeons. He also is a member of the executive board of the National Board of Medical Examiners; a representative to the Group on Diversity and Inclusion at the Association of American Medical Colleges; member and chair of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine; and one of two physicians appointed to the board of the North Carolina State Health Plan.

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Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center gets three-year accreditation | WITN

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Feb 022016
 

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Feburary 01, 2016
Gina DiPietro

To view news video on WITN, click here.

A local cancer center has just been granted a three-year, full accreditation designation.

The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers gave the accreditation to the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center, which is a joint venture between Vidant Medical Center and the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

“This accreditation demonstrates LWJCC’s commitment to providing state of the art comprehensive breast cancer care at the highest standards,” said Dr. Jan Wong, professor of surgical oncology at Brody and LWJCC breast program leader. “Our multidisciplinary team works with breast patients to provide high-quality, patient-centered care that is close to home.”

This type of accreditation is only given to centers that have voluntarily committed to provide the highest level of quality breast care and give patients every advantage to fight the disease.

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ECU Police Urging Students to Remain Vigilant After Two Assaults | Time Warner Cable News

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Feb 022016
 

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By Dennis Biviano
Friday, January 29, 2016

To view news video on Time Warner Cable News, click here.

GREENVILLE–After two assaults reported on campus over the last two weeks, ECU police says it’s important that officers stay mobile and aware of what’s happening in and around campus.

Additionally, officers are asking students not to put themselves in harm’s way.

“You’re not able to control a criminal’s intent, or their knowledge to commit a crime. But you can control the opportunity, by making sure that you do your best and that you’re very diligent in being aware of your surroundings, making good choices, avoiding bad company,” said ECU Police LT. Chris Sutton.

Police say a female student reported being sexually assaulted at a residence hall in the first incident.

One week later, a male student said he was assaulted and robbed in the area of College Hill Drive.

ECU students we spoke to Friday say, if they are going out at night, they usually travel with friends. And, they would welcome an increased police presence on campus.

“I like the fact that they send out emails and you know, text messages so everyone gets it, and everybody’s aware of what happened in the situation, but you just always have to be careful,” said ECU student Salyma Gbamele.

“Lack of police presence on campus makes me feel a little shaky,” said ECU student Bryant Wilkins-Robinson.

While police continue to considering increasing their presence on and off campus, ECU is focused on its emergency call and camera stations across campus.

Campus officials say although crime rates have decreased over the past 10 years, students, faculty and staff should always be aware of their surroundings.

“At this point, we’re continuing our education programs and making sure students are aware of the incidents that occurred, and how best to keep themselves safe,” said William Koch with ECU’s Environmental Health & Campus Safety department.

ECU officials also say they hope to implement the “LiveSafe” smartphone app in the fall semester. LiveSafe immediately contacts police in case of emergency.

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UNCW names provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs | Star News Online

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Feb 022016
 

StarNews

By Hannah DelaCourt
February 1, 2016

WILMINGTON – The University of North Carolina Wilmington has filled another top position.

According to a news release, Marilyn Sheerer was named provost and vice chancellor of the Office of Academic Affairs as of Feb. 1. She has served as interim provost since June.

Sheerer has more than 25 years of experience in higher education administration. Prior to coming to UNCW, she was the provost of East Carolina University from 2007 until 2014.

The release stated that while interim provost, Sheerer worked with the Planning, Budget and Accountability Task Force to advise on the alignment of academic budgeting with institutional budgeting practices, developed an action plan for academic affairs and has been involved in the development of UNCW’s strategic plan alongside Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli.

Sheerer will oversee all academic units of the university and serve as chief operating officer of the university.

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