Advisories and Releases

May 3, 2022 - 13th class of Levine Scholars to join UNC Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - May 3, 2022 - UNC Charlotte’s Levine Scholars Program has selected 22 young leaders from across the United States who will be the members of the 13th class of the University’s prestigious and academically competitive scholarship program. The scholars will join UNC Charlotte in fall 2022.

Valued at approximately $105,000 for each Levine Scholar from North Carolina and $155,000 each for those from other states, the scholarship fully covers tuition, housing, meals, books, mandatory fees and summer experiences. Scholars receive additional funding to support civic engagement opportunities and professional development.  

"The Levine Scholars Program is a premier merit scholarship that continues to serve as a model for other programs at UNC Charlotte and beyond," said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. "The students joining us this fall as the 13th class of Levine Scholars show a tremendous level of accomplishment and promise, and they continue to raise the profile of this extraordinary program. We are excited to welcome them to Niner Nation and look forward to supporting them as they begin their undergraduate journey."

Diane Zablotsky, faculty director of the Levine Scholars Program, echoed the chancellor’s sentiments. “It is always exciting to welcome the incoming class of Levine Scholars, and we look forward to the Class of 2026 taking its place in the UNC Charlotte community,” she said. “We anticipate this energized and engaged group of first-year scholars will quickly make their mark on the scholarship program, University and city of Charlotte. We look forward to helping them explore international locations, create impactful civic engagement projects, and join other students in engaged research and scholarship.”

This year’s Levine Scholars from North Carolina are: 

Arielle Brown, Raleigh, Needham B. Broughton High School; Abigail Cameron, Apex, Thales Academy; Kennedy Carpenter, Winston-Salem, Mount Tabor High School; Jairus Cook, Raleigh, Ravenscroft School; Eli Elk, Chapel Hill, Woods Charter School; Madison File, Lincolnton, North Lincoln High School; Allie Grice, Mount Holly, East Gaston High School; Brian Loza-Gomez, Robbins, North Moore High School; Emily Marlowe, Gastonia, Gaston Christian School; Marayna Maxwell, Mooresboro, Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy; Shashank Pb, Apex, Apex High School; Eden Ramos, Cary, Triangle Math And Science Academy; Jaiden Ramseur, Newton, Discovery High School; Tara Solomon, Rolesville, Thales Academy; and Tashawna Wilkins, Raleigh, Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy.

Out-of-state recipients are: 

Grace Bricker, St. Louis, Missouri, Cor Jesu Academy; Noorkaran Chima, Streetsboro, Ohio, Streetsboro High School; Chapel Forte, Brentwood, Tennessee, Ravenwood High School; Christian Fuselier, Lafayette, Louisiana, Lafayette High School; Annabelle Hill, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chattanooga School for Arts and Sciences; Madison Lewis, Floral Park, New York, Floral Park Memorial High School; and Owen Mitchell, Bowie, Maryland, Bowie High School. 

Levine Scholars are selected through a lengthy nomination and interview process.

“The program continues to grow the geographic representation of nominations and completed applications,” said Abey T. Dessie, associate director of the Levine Scholars Program.  

Established in 2009 through a $9.3 million gift from Leon and Sandra Levine through their foundation, the Levine Scholars Program was created to recruit extraordinary high school students based on scholarship, ethical leadership and civic engagement. To date, the Levines have committed a total of $33.8 million to develop, expand and sustain the scholarship program. Leon Levine is the founder of Family Dollar Stores; he retired as chairman and CEO in 2003. The Levines are involved in a number of civic and charitable causes in the Charlotte region and throughout the Carolinas through The Leon Levine Foundation.

“We are impressed by the impact the Levine Scholars Program has made at the University, in our community and beyond,” said Leon Levine, chairman and CEO of The Leon Levine Foundation. “We look forward to seeing this fine group of incoming scholars expand the high traditions of leadership, innovation and community engagement set by the scholars who came before them.”

March 3, 2022 - Amazon selects UNC Charlotte as university partner in Career Choice program to help upskill local workforce

Amazon selects UNC Charlotte as university partner in Career Choice program to help upskill local workforce

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - March 3, 2022 - UNC Charlotte has been selected as a university partner in Amazon’s Career Choice program. This program provides Amazon’s hourly employees access to fully funded tuition for any of UNC Charlotte’s 171 bachelor’s degree programs in 77 areas of study, including degree completion programs designed specifically for working adults in the School of Professional Studies.

“As Amazon’s select university partner in this region, we provide accessible, affordable, quality higher education to help upskill the local workforce and meet North Carolina's evolving employment needs,” said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “Charlotte is uniquely positioned to provide flexible higher education options that meet the demands of today’s working adults and drive even more economic growth, opportunity and success.”

This partnership also helps strengthen a growing, vibrant city, according to Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. 

UNC Charlotte and Amazon both contribute significantly to the economic vitality of our city,” said Lyles. “We are fortunate that these two powerhouses are partnering together in efforts to train, educate and expand the workforce in the Charlotte region and North Carolina.”  

Students transferring to UNC Charlotte from Amazon’s community college partners – including Central Piedmont, Rowan Cabarrus Community College and Wake Technical Community College – have the opportunity to continue to receive Amazon’s employee tuition benefit. This applies to students in the 49erNext co-admission program for students earning an associate degree and to the 49er Finish program for former UNC Charlotte students who have not completed a degree. Amazon employees who are currently enrolled at UNC Charlotte also may apply to receive free tuition through this program.

Career Choice is part of Amazon’s Upskilling 2025 pledge – a $1.2 billion commitment to upskill more than 300,000 Amazon employees by 2025.

“We’re looking forward to UNC Charlotte coming on board as an education partner for Career Choice, adding to the hundreds of best-in-class offerings available to our employees,” said Tammy Thieman, Global Program Lead of Amazon’s Career Choice program. “We’re committed to empowering our employees by providing them access to the education and training they need to grow their careers, whether that’s with us or elsewhere. We have intentionally cultivated a partner network of third-party educators and employers committed to providing excellent education, job placement resources, and continuous improvements to the experience. Today, over 50,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice and we’ve seen first-hand how it can transform their lives.”

 

About UNC Charlotte:

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. With an enrollment of nearly 30,500 students, the University leverages its location in the state’s largest city to offer internationally competitive programs of research and creative activity, exemplary undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, and a focused set of community engagement initiatives.

 

About Amazon:

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

 

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Feb. 22, 2022 - Charlotte to launch online, tech-focused MBA

Charlotte to launch online, tech-focused MBA
New program will be offered in three high-tech concentrations

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Feb. 22, 2022 – To meet the growing demand from working professionals looking to advance their skills, UNC Charlotte will launch a fully online MBA starting in August. 

The new program — developed by the same faculty who teach in Charlotte’s nationally ranked Professional MBA —  will be offered in three high-tech concentrations: business analytics, digital marketing and financial technology. 

“Charlotte’s new online MBA is designed to help business professionals advance their careers by harnessing the power of technology,” said Belk College of Business Dean Jennifer Troyer. “Through meetings with our industry partners and an analysis of employment data, we know that the skills offered through this unique program are in high demand in the Charlotte region and beyond. As this program offers maximum flexibility, we expect strong interest, not only in Charlotte but across the Southeast.”

 

According to Janaki Gooty, director of the MBA program, recent data from The Wall Street Journal found the Charlotte Professional MBA offered the best income-to-debt ratio among public universities in the Carolinas. 

 

“The online Master of Business Administration is ideal for working professionals who are seeking to advance or shift their careers into exciting new tech-focused concentrations,” said Janaki Gooty, who is also an internationally recognized scholar in leadership, inclusion and the power of emotions in the workplace. “As with Charlotte’s Professional MBA, the online program will offer high quality at a competitive price, as our faculty are internationally recognized in their domains.” 

 

The program, supported by the School of Professional Studies, is part of the University’s expanded commitment to online education. In January, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University’s online bachelor’s degrees No. 10 in the nation. 

The tech-focused online concentrations pull from areas of strength for UNC Charlotte, which launched the first School of Data Science in the Carolinas in 2020, with the Belk College as one of five University academic and research partners.

The 36-credit hour program will include core business courses and concentration courses that focus on many emerging areas, including: 

 

  • Business analytics: Decision modeling; recency, frequency, monetary value (RFM) analysis and data mining (SAS and Python).
  • Fintech: Cryptocurrency, block chain and fintech regulation.
  • Digital marketing: Social media analytics, search engine optimization (SEO) and product strategy. 

 

The Belk College has offered blended courses since 2016, with MBA students in select courses meeting face-to-face and online. However, this will be the first time the college will offer a fully online MBA program. 

Online MBA courses will be seven and a half weeks long. Typical part-time students will earn an MBA in two to three years. The courses will be offered through the Canvas learning management system, which includes discussion forums, on-demand lecture presentations, streaming video and group collaboration software. 

Core business courses for the online program will begin in August with the concentration in business analytics available in January 2023. Digital marketing and fintech concentrations will begin as early as fall 2023. 

UNC Charlotte has the largest and oldest MBA program in the Charlotte region, with more than 500 students enrolled last fall, an increase of 57% over the past five years and 14% since fall 2020. 

There are more than 4,000 Charlotte MBA alumni, with the majority of them living and working in the Charlotte region. 

The Belk College set an enrollment record last fall as working business professionals looked to advance their skills during the pandemic. 

The online MBA is one of several new programs the Belk College has planned in high-demand areas. In August, the college will begin offering an undergraduate certificate in entrepreneurship, which will be available to students regardless of major. A new fintech concentration in the Master of Science in Mathematical Finance also is in development.  

Learn more at onlinemba.charlotte.edu.

 

Feb. 9, 2022 - New UNC Charlotte research center to drive pandemic preparedness and prevention

New UNC Charlotte research center to drive pandemic preparedness and prevention

The interdisciplinary Center for Computational Intelligence to Predict Health and Environmental Risks  — CIPHER — will expand the University’s study of emergent viruses, infectious diseases and other public health dangers

 

The key to preventing another global pandemic may be found at UNC Charlotte. Expanding upon the University’s award-winning development of a novel COVID-19 wastewater surveillance program and rapidly growing success in bioinformatics, the University is bringing together experts in public health, viral discovery, genomic sequencing and artificial intelligence to explore ways to combat threats to human health. 

 

The Center for Computational Intelligence to Predict Health and Environmental Risks (CIPHER)  focuses on computational and empirical research to counter the spread of current and emerging infectious diseases and addresses some of the most vexing societal challenges, including antibiotic resistance, food safety and ecosystem health. 

 

CIPHER will incorporate and elevate the University’s Bioinformatics Research Center (BRC), which was awarded $9 million in September 2020  by the North Carolina General Assembly — the largest state appropriation for research in Charlotte’s history — to support COVID-19 research and testing. The funding was instrumental for Cynthia Gibas, professor of bioinformatics and genomics and founder of the North Carolina Urban Microbiome Project, and Jessica Schlueter, associate professor of bioinformatics, to develop a protocol to detect and monitor the presence of the virus in wastewater. At the same time, center researchers analyzed viral and epidemiological data to address viral spread, assess treatments and therapeutics, and combat SARS-CoV-2 and future viruses. The University has rapidly expanded its wastewater surveillance and variant sequencing capabilities to include the local community through partnerships with Mecklenburg County and the state. 

 

“The innovative and cross-disciplinary work of our researchers has shown our campus and the greater Charlotte region the immediate impacts a center like CIPHER has on public health,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “We know that further investment will lead to additional positive outcomes for our University and our community as a whole.”

 

CIPHER is led by Dan Janies, the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Bioinformatics and Genomics, and Adam Reitzel, professor of biological sciences. They are joined by more than 20 Charlotte faculty colleagues with expertise in computer science, bioinformatics, software and information systems, biological sciences, chemistry, mathematics and statistics, geographical information systems, public health, data science, education and communication. 

 

“As we have seen in other viruses, like the influenza A virus that can also cause pandemics, SARS-CoV-2 and associated variants like omicron will remain a global concern for some time,'' said Janies, who led groundbreaking research to determine that the original SARS-CoV originated in bats and is now leading research on how SARS-CoV-2 emerged and evolved to evade immunity. "This is why the support of research focused on all aspects of viral emergence and evolution is critically important, now more than ever.”

 

To support CIPHER, new physical space is being created to allow additional collaborations. The center is located on the fourth floor of the Bioinformatics Building, where 24,000 square feet is being upfitted through a $10.5 million expansion to provide a state-of-the-art facility that includes 14 computational laboratories for researchers, 10 wet labs, faculty offices, several conference and seminar rooms, and collaborative space for students and visiting scientists. 

 

“Our work can be like searching for specific drops of water in an ocean, sifting through enormous sets of variables to understand biological processes, and ultimately, finding solutions,” Reitzel said. “The investment in new equipment, labs, shared spaces and people is critical to improving the speed, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness of our research, allowing us to use computer models to simulate biological processes and make predictions we can test and validate.”

 

Additionally, the University is undertaking a new cluster of faculty hires in four research areas to strengthen the center’s areas of expertise: viral discovery and plasticity, whole genome phylogenetics, microbes and environmental health, and epidemiology. The new center corresponds with the University’s launch of its 10-year strategic plan, “Shaping What’s Next,” which includes a focus on accelerating the University to top-tier research status. 

 

“CIPHER demonstrates the power of collaboration and creativity that exists among our talented faculty in many diverse fields,” said Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Rick Tankersley. “These successful interdisciplinary partnerships are instrumental in elevating UNC Charlotte’s research profile nationally and internationally."

The cluster of faculty hires is underway, and construction on the new center is expected to be completed in early spring.


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Nov. 22, 2021 - N.C.'s budget includes historic investment in UNC Charlotte

N.C.'s budget includes historic investment in UNC Charlotte
More than $134 million will drive economic growth in Charlotte region and beyond

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Nov. 22, 2021 – The North Carolina General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper approved the state budget that provides a historic $134 million investment in UNC Charlotte to fund STEM education growth and capital renovations. The budget also includes raises and bonus pay for eligible faculty and staff. 

“We are grateful to the North Carolina General Assembly and Gov. Cooper for their recognition of the unique role our University plays as a driving force in the Charlotte region’s economy as a top producer of job-ready graduates for the state of North Carolina and beyond,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “We are also grateful to the UNC System for their advocacy for pay increases and bonuses for our dedicated employees.”

The legislation’s Engineering N.C.’s Future will provide $10 million to grow programs in The William States Lee College of Engineering. An additional $30 million will support expansions to engineering and STEM facilities on campus. In fall 2021, 48% of incoming students at UNC Charlotte chose STEM-related majors.

The legislation also includes a $600,000 investment in data science, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence programs. Charlotte is home of the first School of Data Science in the Carolinas and one of only three schools in the United States. The University also leads the state in awarding computer science degrees.

Cameron BuildingAn additional $87 million will fund improved efficiencies and enhanced facilities through repairs and renovations of campus buildings. Approximately $45 million will be used to renovate the Cameron Building to house STEM research and to transform the Burson Building to house the University’s computer science and data science programs and systems engineering. Other renovations to campus buildings include updates to HVAC and electrical systems and repairs to roofing and exteriors. 

The University, which again reported a record enrollment in fall 2021, will receive more than $7 million in enrollment growth funding. In addition to the bonuses and pay increases for eligible employees, the UNC System Faculty Recruitment and Retention Fund received $10 million to support system institutions. 

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Nov. 17, 2021 - 'Unprecedented' housing price increases in Charlotte are creating challenges for affordability, according to new UNC Charlotte report

'Unprecedented' housing price increases in Charlotte are creating challenges for affordability, according to new UNC Charlotte report
Median housing prices in the region jumped 16.3% in just a year, according to research from UNC Charlotte’s Childress Klein Center for Real Estate

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Nov. 17, 2021 –  As the pandemic rages on, so does the acceleration of increasing housing prices in the Charlotte region. 

Home buyers throughout the eight-county Charlotte region are facing towering prices and a lack of affordable housing, according to the “2021 State of Housing in Charlotte Report,” which was released by UNC Charlotte’s Childress Klein Center for Real Estate (CKCRE) on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

2021.11.08_StateOfHousingReportPages (1).jpgAccording to the report, median home prices in the Charlotte market increased at an annual rate of 16.3% from September 2020 to September 2021. The report also found a dramatic increase in rental prices. In 2021, the average effective rent in the region increased by $198 or 16.6% per unit. 

The region was already attracting newcomers prior to the pandemic. However, the pandemic has further accelerated the growth, said Yongqiang Chu, CKCRE director and the primary author of the housing report.

“A persistent and strong demand for housing combined with the struggles from the supply side during the pandemic caused an unprecedented increase in house prices,” Chu said. “The region is also experiencing a rapid shift in the distribution of house prices. Should the trend continue, the Charlotte region may soon face significant challenges regarding housing affordability.”

Key takeaways from the report

  • The supply of owner-occupied housing is extremely tight. Of all the houses sold in January 2020, about 16% of them sold above the listing prices. Compare that to June and July 2021, when the percentage reached a historic high of 59%. 
  • Affordable houses are becoming extremely difficult to find. Only 4.4% of the houses sold were under $150,000, and only about 35% of the houses sold were under $300,000.
  • Middle-income housing affordability is becoming a significant challenge for the region. While the situation is alleviated by the low interest rate, the problem will become more severe when monetary policy tightens post-pandemic.
  • The pandemic has affected African Americans and Hispanics disproportionately. At the end of September, nearly 10% of African American households statewide were behind on mortgage payments. African American and Hispanic renters also faced much higher eviction rates during the pandemic.

CKCRE’s 2021 research report also includes an in-depth review of housing in the Charlotte region over the last 20 years. 

The main findings from the long-term analysis are:

  • House price growth rates are accelerating. The average annual growth rate of median houses was 4.98% from 2010 to 2015, and 7.8% from 2015 to 2020.
  • House price growth rates are much higher at the lower end than at the higher end in recent years. The 25th percentile of house prices increased at an annual rate of 8.37% from 2010-20, while the 75th percentile increased at a 4.31% annual rate. 

The report, which pulls from seven primary data sources, focuses on Mecklenburg County and the seven counties that surround it: Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, and Union counties, as well as Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina. 

The report was released at the virtual 2021 State of Housing in Charlotte Summit. The summit, which opened with a welcome from UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber, also included an industry panel discussion that focused on affordable housing

Since it was first released in 2019, the annual report has become a go-to resource for reporters and governmental officials looking for accurate data on the state of housing in the region. The report is part of a multi-year project, led by Belk College of Business faculty, that aims to serve as a critical piece of research and starting point for discussion regarding housing policy in the Charlotte region.

CKCRE’s State of Housing in Charlotte is supported by these industry partners:

  • Canopy Realtor® Association 
  • Crosland Southeast
  • Evergreen Strategies
  • INLIVIAN
  • Piedmont Public Policy Institute
  • True Homes Inc.
     

About the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate
The Childress Klein Center for Real Estate at UNC Charlotte was established in 2005 to further the knowledge of real estate, public policy and urban economics in the professional community through teaching, research and community outreach activities. The center administers the M.S. in Real Estate program, the MBA concentration and certificate programs in real estate finance and development. For more information, visit realestate.charlotte.edu. The center is part of the Belk College of Business.

Nov. 12, 2021 - UNC Charlotte’s Childress Klein Center for Real Estate to release 2021 Charlotte housing report Wednesday

MEDIA ADVISORY 

UNC Charlotte’s Childress Klein Center for Real Estate to release 2021 Charlotte housing report Wednesday
Research report examines the pandemic’s impact on owner-occupied and rental housing in the Charlotte region over the past year

What: UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business and the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate (CKCRE) will release the “2021 State of Housing in Charlotte Report” during a virtual housing summit at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17. 

About: Now in its third year, the “2021 State of Housing Charlotte” research report will provide an in-depth, comprehensive look at the housing market in the Charlotte region. The report, part of a multi-year project led by Belk College real estate faculty, aims to serve as a critical piece of research and starting point for discussion regarding housing policy in the Charlotte region.

The cost of housing in the region increased at an unprecedented rate during the pandemic. This year’s report will provide an overview of what happened in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic, from January 2020 through September 2021. 

The report also will:

  • Provide a long-term view of the dynamics of the housing market over the last two decades, from 2000 to 2020.
  • Compare growth in Charlotte vs. growth in eight regional competitor cities in the Carolinas and Virginia: Asheville, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington in North Carolina; Charleston, Columbia, and Spartanburg in South Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia. 

The report, part of a multi-year CKCRE research project first announced in 2019, provides a comprehensive look at owner-occupied, rental and subsidized housing in the eight-county Charlotte region: Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln and Union counties in North Carolina, and Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina. 

About the Summit: The summit will open with a presentation by Yongqiang Chu, director of CKCRE and Childress Klein Distinguished Professor of Real Estate and Urban Economics, with findings from the report and a Q&A moderated by Belk College Dean Jennifer Troyer. 

An industry panel discussion and Q&A will follow the presentation with a discussion of topics raised by the report featuring: 

  • Kris J. Fountain, vice president of family services, Habitat Charlotte Region
  • David Kennedy, 2021 president, Canopy Realtor® Association and Canopy MLS
  • Todd R. Williams, chief investment officer, Grubb Properties
  • Moderator: Kip Womack, associate professor of real estate, Belk College of Business

Summit Agenda:

  • 1-2:10 p.m.: Presentation on the report and Q&A
  • 2:15-3:15 p.m.: Industry panel discussion 

The summit is free and open to the public. Registration is available at realestate.charlotte.edu/stateofhousing.

CKCRE’s State of Housing in Charlotte research is funded by:

  • Canopy Realtor® Association 
  • Crosland Southeast
  • Evergreen Strategies
  • INLIVIAN
  • Piedmont Public Policy Institute
  • True Homes Inc.

Media Information: Yongqiang Chu, director of the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate, will be available for media interviews following his presentation. The report will be posted at realestate.charlotte.edu at the start of the summit.

About the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate
The Childress Klein Center for Real Estate at UNC Charlotte was established in 2005 to further the knowledge of real estate, public policy and urban economics in the professional community through teaching, research and community outreach activities. The center administers the M.S. in Real Estate program, the MBA concentration and certificate programs in real estate finance and development. For more information, visit realestate.charlotte.edu. The center is part of the Belk College of Business. start of the summit.

Sept. 22, 2021 - UNC Charlotte Appoints Inaugural Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion

UNC Charlotte Appoints Inaugural Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion
Brandon
 Wolfe, Ph.D., will serve on the Chancellor’s Cabinet and direct Charlotte’s efforts to create an accessible, inclusive and equitable climate

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Sept. 22, 2021 - The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has appointed Brandon L. Wolfe, Ph.D., as associate vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, effective Nov. 1. In his role, Wolfe will serve on the Chancellor’s Cabinet and will oversee the University’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, a significant pillar in Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber’s vision for the growing campus.

“To be a leader in our region, Charlotte must also be a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion. Brandon is a distinguished and passionate leader and scholar whose demonstrated expertise and cogent knowledge of DEI strategies will enable him to lead the important work of sustaining a climate of transparency, inclusive excellence and equity across all dimensions of our University,” said Gaber, who created the Office of Diversity and Inclusion shortly after her arrival in 2020. “His role will be pivotal as we launch our new strategic plan, “Shaping What’s Next,” and our related diversity and inclusion plan.”

brandon-wolfe.jpgWolfe joins Charlotte’s staff with a breadth of experience in diversity in higher education, most recently serving as the assistant vice president of campus and community engagement in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In his position, Wolfe was tasked with creating a divisional unit to leverage the university's mission and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as a resource to foster greater academic discourse and community engagement.

At Charlotte, Wolfe will coordinate with staff, faculty and students to build on the University’s diversity and inclusion efforts to create an accessible, inclusive and equitable climate, as well as identify and address potential barriers and institutional systems that may foster systemic inequalities. He will report directly to Gaber and work closely with leaders to develop and align strategic goals across the University.

“What I love about UNC Charlotte is that this work is already happening throughout campus,” said Wolfe. “There is a lot of amazing energy across the University. There is also a demonstrated commitment from leadership to use our diversity to leverage equity and inclusion to shape strategies and tactics that prioritize and pursue institutional excellence in ways that are both transformational and sustainable. Together, I believe we can seize the opportunity not only to conduct exceptional DEI work, but also to evolve in such a way to position us as a national and international leader.”

Wolfe holds a doctorate in administration of higher education, a master’s in adult education and a bachelor’s in psychology from Auburn University. He has additional postgraduate training experiences in various leadership programs, including the Young American Leaders Program at the Harvard Business School. In addition to his leadership experience, Wolfe conducts research on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education. His current research is focused on better conceptualizing the relationship between organizational culture and power dynamics upon minoritized groups.

Prior to serving in his role at UAB, Wolfe held higher education leadership positions at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, the North Alabama Center for Educational Excellence, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University and Auburn University. 

Currently, UNC Charlotte enrolls and graduates one of the most diverse student bodies in the UNC System. The percentage of Charlotte’s undergraduate students who identify as an underrepresented minority rose to 36% in the most recent enrollment period. Enrollment among Black/African American freshmen (18%) and Hispanic new undergraduates (12%) has increased since last year. Over half of the University’s student population (52%) identify as female. 

Wolfe succeeds Cheryl Waites Spellman, Ph.D., who has served as the interim special assistant to the chancellor for diversity and inclusion since Sept. 16, 2020. 

For more information on diversity at UNC Charlotte, visit diversity.charlotte.edu.

About UNC Charlotte
UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. With an enrollment of nearly 30,500 students, the University leverages its location in the state’s largest city to offer internationally competitive programs of research and creative activity, exemplary undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, and a focused set of community engagement initiatives.

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Sept. 16, 2021 - Forecast: Delta variant slowing economic growth in North Carolina

Forecast: Delta variant slowing economic growth in North Carolina
Belk College Economist John Connaughton says the state’s hospitality and leisure sector continues to struggle. 

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Sept. 15, 2021 – COVID-related restrictions are likely to slow economic growth in North Carolina for the remainder of the year, according to John Connaughton, director of the North Carolina Economic Forecast. 

“This experience provides a cautionary note for economists looking forward,” said Connaughton, professor of financial economics at UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business. “While we like to think that driving components of the economy will dictate future growth, we have to realize that the COVID virus will do what it will do, which will have an overriding impact on future economic activity.” 

Connaughton said restrictions due to the Delta variant and a spike in COVID-19 cases are likely to be less drastic than earlier restrictions, and the effect on the economy will not be as serious. He released the “Third Quarter North Carolina Economic Forecast Report” on Wednesday, Sept. 15. 

Gross State Product Analysis

For 2021, real (inflation-adjusted) Gross State Product (GSP) is expected to increase by 9.1% over the 2020 level, according to the report.

For the fourth quarter, GSP is expected to increase by an annualized real rate of 3.6%.

This year, Connaughton forecasts an output increase for all of the state’s 15 economic sectors. 

These sectors will see the strongest inflation-adjusted output increases this year: 

  • Agriculture: 17.5%

  • Hospitality and Leisure Services: 15.7% 

  • Durable Goods Manufacturing: 11.75 

  • Information: 9.3%

  • Professional Services: 8.5%

  • Retail Trade: 6.8%

  • Construction: 6.7% 

Several sectors are expected to experience growth rates well below the GSP real growth rate, including: Warehousing and Utilities, 2.8%, and Government, .9%.  

Employment

The jobs recovery is not evenly distributed among the state’s economic sectors, Connaughton said.

“The real impact of the COVID recession has been on employment,” he added. “As of July 2021, the state’s level of establishment employment is still almost 50,000 lower than February 2019.” 

All 14 of the state’s nonagricultural economic sectors are expected to experience employment increases in 2021. 

North Carolina employment is expected to reach 4,647,600 by December, an increase of 4.8% over December 2020. The state is expected to add 211,800 net jobs in 2021. 

These sectors are expected to have the strongest employment increases for the year: 

  • Government: 10.4% 

  • Information: 9.2%

  • Construction: 7.9%

Connaughton said the hospitality and leisure sector continues to lag behind, accounting for all of the overall lower North Carolina jobs levels as of July, 155,000 fewer jobs than in February 2019. 

The North Carolina unemployment rate, which peaked at 12.9% at the height of the pandemic shutdown in April 2020, is expected to decline through the rest of the year and reach 5.2% by December. 

2022 Outlook 

According to the report, a second year of economic growth is forecast for North Carolina in 2022. The North Carolina economy is expected to add 126,800 jobs in 2022, reducing the unemployment rate to 4.0% by December 2022.

All 15 of the state’s economic sectors also are expected to experience output increases during 2022. The strongest expected growth rates are: 

  • Hospitality and Leisure Services:  8.0%

  • Educational and Health Services:  4.3% 

  • Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities (TWU): 4.3% 

North Carolina’s GSP for 2022 is expected to increase by an annualized real rate of 2.6%. 

The North Carolina Economic Forecast, which debuted in 1982, is published quarterly by UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business. The full report and a recording of the presentation will be available at belkcollege.charlotte.edu/forecast

The fourth-quarter North Carolina Economic Forecast report will be released on Dec. 9. 

Sept. 14, 2021 - UNC Charlotte Sets Historic Enrollment Record

UNC Charlotte Sets Historic Enrollment Record

Charlotte sees a continued rise in enrollment throughout the ongoing pandemic

CHARLOTTE, N.C., - Sept. 14, 2021 - The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has enrolled 30,448 students for the fall 2021 semester, setting a University enrollment record for the third consecutive year. Throughout the ongoing pandemic, Charlotte experienced historic growth in graduate student enrollment, first-year students and students who identify as underrepresented minorities. 

“As we enter our 75th year, the University’s mission to provide quality educational opportunities, strengthen the Charlotte region through research and creative discovery, and lead in equity and engagement is clearly evident in our incoming class of students,” said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon Gaber. “We are proud to welcome our newest group of 49ers as we continue to shape what’s next at Charlotte.”

The University’s graduate student population increased to 6,332 students - the highest number in school history and the third consecutive year of growth. The enrollment increase in master’s programs in computer science, public health, social work and data science and business analytics positions the University to stay on the leading edge of producing top talent in growing industries across the Charlotte region. 

Charlotte welcomed the largest freshman class in University history with 4,256 students, a 6.4% increase from 2020. The impressive class of first-year students arrived with an average weighted GPA of 3.95. The University Honors Program incoming class grew by more than 21%, and nearly one-third of all new undergraduate students have selected a STEM major. Additionally, UNC Charlotte remains a leader among UNC System schools in transfer student enrollment, welcoming 2,605 transfer students to campus.

“Enrollment at UNC Charlotte continues to grow along with the academic profile of our incoming students, who join us from every part of the state and beyond, as we enrolled 22% more out-of-state undergraduates than last year,” said Claire Kirby, associate provost for enrollment management and director of admissions. “As our state’s urban research university, Charlotte has the unique ability to provide students from across North Carolina with access to a quality educational experience and all the benefits of being located in a major city.”

UNC Charlotte’s efforts to provide quality and accessible higher education continue as 30% of new first-year students and 42% of new transfer students are first-generation college students. The percentage of Charlotte’s undergraduate students who identify as an underrepresented minority rose to 36%. Female students comprised 52% of all incoming freshmen. 

In an effort to combat the ongoing pandemic, Charlotte’s undergraduate admissions office shifted its efforts to a hybrid model of in-person and online engagements to best serve future students. The University offered 435 virtual visits with high schools throughout the year — a 70% increase over typical years — in addition to countless virtual fairs. On-campus visits and tours were safely offered throughout the fall and spring semesters so students and families could physically experience campus. 

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Aug. 11, 2021 - Phi Beta Kappa Approves Chapter for UNC Charlotte

Phi Beta Kappa Approves Chapter for UNC Charlotte

University joins elite group of U.S. colleges and universities in the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Aug. 11, 2021 - Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society, has approved a chapter for UNC Charlotte. The University joins an elite group of just 10% of U.S. colleges and universities approved to shelter a chapter.

Phi Beta Kappa status is one of the highest distinctions a university can achieve,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “This honor acknowledges the dedication shown by our faculty and staff to student success, particularly through the enduring experiences that the liberal arts and sciences provide as students pursue their educational, career and life choices. I extend my gratitude to the faculty leaders who have dedicated countless hours to making our Phi Beta Kappa chapter a reality for our students.”

The 46th Triennial Council of The Phi Beta Kappa Society on Aug. 5 approved UNC Charlotte, Rollins College in Florida, and Providence College in Rhode Island to join Phi Beta Kappa’s existing 290 chapters.The council convenes every three years to carry out its business, including granting new chapters.The honor society awards the chapters to Phi Beta Kappa faculty at each approved campus.

The founding members of the UNC Charlotte chapter will organize the official chapter installation and the first induction ceremonies for new members in the coming months. More than 65 faculty, staff and administrators at UNC Charlotte are members of Phi Beta Kappa.

"I remember how excited I was to be elected to Phi Beta Kappa," said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Joan F. Lorden. "I am delighted that we will be able to share the opportunity for this honor with our students."

The approval follows an intensive review process that started in 2018 and included submission of voluminous reports. During a campus visit in March 2020, reviewers met with students, faculty, staff and leadership from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and from across the university. The team delved into academics, athletics, facilities, research, financial aid, faculty accomplishments, student achievements and other aspects of campus life.

“Our best students are as accomplished as any in the United States,” said Gregory Starrett, chair of the UNC Charlotte Phi Beta Kappa Steering Committee and professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology. “So it’s fitting that they have this chance to be recognized for their academic excellence. Sheltering a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is a way to honor great students, and is an affirmation of the University’s commitment to teaching and research in the humanities and sciences.”

Nationwide, chapters invite just 10% of liberal arts and sciences students to join Phi Beta Kappa. At UNC Charlotte, seniors - and some juniors - in the liberal arts and sciences who meet qualifications will be invited as candidates for Phi Beta Kappa membership. 

In addition to class standing, qualifications include grade point averages (GPA), foreign language and math courses requirements, breadth and depth of coursework in the liberal arts and sciences disciplines, and other credentials. More information on qualifications for induction to the UNC Charlotte chapter will be available soon.

Those who accept the invitation will join a network of over 500,000 members. Phi Beta Kappa members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 42 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 150 Nobel Laureates.

“Campuses that shelter Phi Beta Kappa chapters reflect their deep and abiding commitment to the liberal arts and sciences, for today and on into the future,” said Phi Beta Kappa Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Frederick M. Lawrence. “These institutions provide a challenging liberal arts and sciences curriculum for the enrichment of their students, and we look forward to recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of these students.”

Founded on Dec. 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society’s mission is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought and recognize academic excellence.

Aug. 17, 2021 - UNC Charlotte’s Pandemic Response Receives 2021 AASCU Excellence and Innovation Award

UNC Charlotte’s Pandemic Response Receives 2021 AASCU Excellence and Innovation Award

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Aug. 17, 2021 - The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has named UNC Charlotte among its 2021 winners of its Excellence and Innovation Awards in recognition of the University’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The University was selected for a special, one-time award that recognizes model work in achieving student success despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“UNC Charlotte’s selection as the 2021 AASCU Excellence and Innovation Award for Campus Pandemic Response in the Urban Category is a testament to the talent and dedication of our employees and the support and hard work of our students,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “Through our collective efforts, we were able to deliver the highest quality education to our students — whether remotely or in person — while achieving record-breaking enrollment and fundraising goals. All of Niner Nation has ownership and pride in this award.”

The University’s entry, “Learning in the Time of COVID,” was selected by the AASCU awards committee for its outstanding results and potential to influence and serve as a model for other institutions.

AASCU President Mildred García, in announcing the award recipients, noted, “I am honored to recognize these Excellence and Innovation Award winners, who demonstrated immense creativity, resilience and dedication during an incredibly difficult year. These institutions are paving the way in prioritizing equity, student success and moving their diverse communities and regions forward as Stewards of Place.”

Highlights of UNC Charlotte’s innovative campus response to the global COVID-19 pandemic that were honored in the award include:

Wastewater testing and quarantine procedures: Faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral researchers from several academic disciplines came together to implement wastewater testing that serves as an early-warning system to locate the presence of COVID-19 and signal the emergence of potential clusters of people with coronavirus. The University’s efforts were among those mentioned in an article published by the New York Times in August 2020.

Remote learning and student life: The University’s Center for Teaching and Learning and Audiovisual Integration and Support for Learning Environments teams worked especially hard to give faculty the tools needed to ensure instructional continuity.  

Mitigation to vaccination: For the 2020-21 academic year, the University started semesters online and delayed limited student move-in, which allowed time to implement, in collaboration with the Mecklenburg County Health Department, a plan of action that was coordinated predominantly by the University’s Office of Safety and Security. The daily Niner Health Check, a survey tool developed by UNC Charlotte’s Office of OneIT, enabled students, faculty and staff to report COVID-19 symptoms/exposure, resulting in a team of University contact tracers, specially trained graduate students in public health sciences, to determine who had been in close proximity of those infected. In the spring, the University partnered with Atrium Health to host vaccination clinics on campus for faculty, staff and students. 

Constant communication: An online dashboard provides information to the wider community about the institution’s COVID-19 status. Updated daily, the dashboard gives real-time health trends. Niner Nation Cares, a comprehensive website with information about COVID-19 safety efforts and academic and administrative protocols was launched, and the Office of University Communications spearheaded the creation of “The New Norm,” an educational campaign with safety information to protect the campus community.

The University will be recognized formally at the AASCU 2021 Annual Meeting, held in-person in Clearwater Beach, Florida, and virtually from Nov. 7–9.

Aug. 4, 2021 - UNC Charlotte Launches School of Professional Studies for Adult Learners

UNC Charlotte Launches School of Professional Studies for Adult Learners

New school addresses the region’s needs for a highly trained professional workforce

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Aug. 4, 2021 - UNC Charlotte’s new School of Professional Studies will harness the University’s expertise in delivering high-quality and flexible online learning to become the premier choice for working professionals seeking further education to advance or transition careers or complete their undergraduate education. 

Housed at The Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City, the new school connects professionals to over 90 degrees and graduate certificates with more than 50 available online and 40 available in the evenings and weekends so busy adults can continue their education while working. The school also offers more than 30 professional development certificates and certifications plus many more short-form learning opportunities to help professionals advance their careers. Additional programs are in the works to help more adults complete their undergraduate degrees. 

"The School of Professional Studies unites two of the University's commitments to our city and region's workforce. We are streamlining the student experience for working professionals to access our large portfolio of programs designed for busy adults through one school that collaborates with each of our academic colleges," said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. "Additionally, through reimagining and developing online undergraduate degree completion programs, we will further live up to our commitment to accessibility for the nearly one million North Carolinians who hold some college credits but no degree."

In addition to serving the needs of the individual learner, the school will also provide a resource for businesses and organizations seeking employee development solutions such as customized training, executive education and higher education pathways for employees.

“Just as UNC Charlotte was founded in response to the higher education needs of returning veterans of World War II, today we are meeting the growing demand for professional and continuing education options for working professionals,” said Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “The Charlotte region’s adult population is one of the fastest growing in the nation and we are uniquely qualified to meet the diverse education needs of working adults.”

Through its collaboration with each of the University’s academic colleges, the school will provide programs designed for the varied motivations, preferences and needs of adult learners such as online, weekend and evening programs. The school will support an array of programs including undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees and certificates, skills-based boot camps, noncredit certificates and certifications, and short-form professional development courses. Additionally, through the school’s easy access along the LYNX light rail line, working professionals will be connected to UNC Charlotte’s main campus for access to its 3.8 million volume library, student labs and other resources. 

“For today’s working professionals, education has shifted to ‘just in time’ rather than ‘just one time,’” said Asher Haines, executive director of the School of Professional Studies. “A foundational college experience is the starting platform for a successful career, and adults will need to step on and off this platform multiple times for continuing education and training as they advance in their jobs or switch careers. The School of Professional Studies is here to connect people to the right UNC Charlotte programs at the right time for their personal and professional growth and transformation.”

The school is powered by UNC Charlotte’s award-winning Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and Audiovisual Integration and Support for Learning Environments group (AISLE) to develop high-quality online and blended learning experiences, enabling adult learners to successfully continue their education while balancing work and personal commitments.

Aug. 3, 2021 - $11.5 Million Gift from The Leon Levine Foundation Extends UNC Charlotte's Transformative Levine Scholars Program

$11.5 Million Gift from The Leon Levine Foundation Extends UNC Charlotte's Transformative Levine Scholars Program

Leon and Sandra Levine’s latest gift to the selective merit-based scholarship program makes the Levine Foundation the largest cumulative donor in University history

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Aug. 3, 2021 - The Levine Scholars Program at UNC Charlotte will continue to recruit exceptional high school students from around the nation with support from a new gift of $11.5 million from philanthropists Leon and Sandra Levine through their foundation.

"Even before attending college, these accomplished students have shown their dedication to improving their local communities,” said Leon Levine, founder and chairman emeritus of Matthews, North Carolina-based Family Dollar Stores Inc. “We look forward to watching as the program continues to develop the interests of talented UNC Charlotte students.”

The Levines’ latest gift extends the University’s most prestigious merit-based scholarship program through 2029. The Leon Levine Foundation's support of the Levine Scholars Program makes the Foundation the largest cumulative donor in UNC Charlotte's history. To date, the Levines have donated nearly $30 million through their philanthropic entities to support life-changing scholarships at the University.

“Leon and Sandra Levine’s generous and continued support of the Levine Scholars Program has brought the best and brightest minds to UNC Charlotte,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “This latest gift magnifies their remarkable impact on our University and the Charlotte community. It will further enhance the program’s ability to equip the next generation of leaders with the tools, resources and environment needed to engage with the world around them in a significant way.”

Established in 2009 through a gift from The Leon Levine Foundation, the Levine Scholars Program offers standout high school students committed to community service a four-year scholarship to UNC Charlotte valued at approximately $105,000 for in-state students and $155,000 for out-of-state students. The scholarship covers tuition, housing, meals, books and mandatory fees. Beyond the financial award, Levine Scholars benefit from study abroad opportunities, professional networking, personalized mentorship, priority course registration and professional development resources. 

“Our scholars possess the inherent desire to make a difference and that has become a unifying characteristic among all 12 classes,” said Diane Zablotsky, faculty director for the Levine Scholars Program. “The generous support from the Levine family has given our students the ability to use their visionary leadership skills to enrich every community they touch.”

Civic engagement remains at the core of the Levine Scholars Program. Recipients have access to an $8,000 grant to implement a service project of their own design and participate in four summer experiences that develop their leadership skills, social awareness and international perspective. Among the Levine Scholars’ community contributions are developing life-skills training classes, college readiness workshops and tutoring programs for young students in Charlotte, building gardening and outdoor spaces for adults in assisted living facilities, and performing post-hurricane clean-up in Puerto Rico. Additionally, scholars have participated in an active archeological dig in Jerusalem, researched HIV transmission and social conflict in South Africa, and taught elementary school students in Shanghai. Students also have interned with Apple, Bosch, British Parliament, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ernst & Young, Google, Honda and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“We are so impressed with the exceptional backgrounds of the Levine Scholars, and we enjoy watching them develop into leaders in Charlotte and beyond,” said Sandra Levine, who serves in key leadership positions for several charitable organizations benefiting education, arts and religious causes throughout the community.

The Levine Scholars Program has seen the members of its diverse graduating classes go on to explore and achieve at high levels. The program has more than 100 alumni, several of whom have received U.S. Fulbright grants to study in Ecuador, India, Nepal and Sweden. 

“Simply put, the Levine Scholarship freed me from the many practical challenges of being a student and enabled me to focus on becoming a better scholar, a better community member and a better person,” said Megan Bird, a Class of 2021 Levine Scholar who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in political science and public administration and Spanish. “As grandiose as it might sound, being a Levine Scholar changed my life trajectory, allowed me to pursue my passions and gave me the invaluable opportunity to unlock doors I didn’t know existed when I began this journey.” 

Since graduating, Bird has been awarded the esteemed Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship, which she will apply toward her studies at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. Other alumni of the Levine Scholars Program have entered graduate and professional programs at Princeton University, Harvard Law School, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Oxford.

“The Levines’ commitment to student success echoes our University’s central mission,” said Gaber. “The Levine family has gifted our students with an amazing opportunity to reach their fullest potential.”

To honor the couple, UNC Charlotte named Levine Hall, a 425-bed residence hall prominently located near the University’s main entrance, after the Levines in 2016. The hall houses the administrative offices for the Levine Scholars Program and the Honors College.

July 1, 2021 - UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees Announces Three New Leaders and Three Reappointments

UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees Announces Three New Leaders and Three Reappointments 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - July 1, 2021 - The UNC Board of Governors appointed three new leaders to UNC Charlotte’s Board of Trustees, effective July 1. Alumna Wendy Grubbs ’83, consultant and former Citigroup managing director and former special assistant to President George W. Bush; Alexander J. (Sasha) Weintraub, Duke Energy’s senior vice president and chief commercial officer of natural gas; and alumnus Dontá Wilson ’98, Truist Financial’s chief digital and client experience officer, will serve four-year terms.

In addition, three current trustees were reappointed to serve a second term. Alumni J. Brett Keeter ’99 was confirmed by the Board of Governors and Dennis Bunker ’81 and Teross Young ’98 were approved by the North Carolina General Assembly.

“UNC Charlotte is fortunate to have a long history of a strong, talented Board of Trustees, including industry leaders committed to leading our state’s urban research University,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “This class of trustees continues this tradition, and we welcome Wendy, Sasha and Dontá, and are pleased that Dennis, Brett and Teross will continue their service.”

The UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees is composed of 13 members, including eight elected by the UNC Board of Governors, four appointed by the General Assembly and the University’s Student Government Association president.

About Wendy Grubbs 83

Wendy Grubbs currently serves as an independent consultant after a distinguished career in legal, governmental and corporate positions, including serving as special assistant to the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, and as managing director of Citigroup.

After graduating from UNC Charlotte with a bachelor's degree in political science, Grubbs completed a law degree at Wake Forest University. She spent time as a law clerk, adjunct professor and practiced law in the private sector before starting her longtime career in Washington, D.C. and New York.

She is a member of the Florida, North Carolina, District of Columbia and New York bar associations. Grubbs is the founder of the Wendy B Ranch Rescue Foundation, which promotes the adoption of senior dogs, and the spaying and neutering of all pets.

About Alexander (Sasha) Weintraub

As senior vice president of Duke Energy’s natural gas business, one of America’s largest energy holding companies, Sasha Weintraub is responsible for the company’s regulated natural gas operations in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. In addition, he leads the gas commercial operations, which includes supply, wholesale marketing, transportation and pipeline services, field customer service, sales and delivery, and business development. Previously, Weintraub served as Duke Energy’s senior vice president of customer solutions. He joined Progress Energy in 1999 and held a variety of leadership positions before being named vice president of fuel & systems optimization following the merger of Progress/Duke Energy in 2012. 

Weintraub earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a master’s degree in engineering from Columbia University and a doctoral degree in engineering from North Carolina State University. 

Weintraub currently sits on the Dean’s Advisory Board for UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics. Weintraub also serves on the boards of directors of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America and the American Gas Association. He is a board member of Envision Charlotte and Charlotte Hearing and Speech Center. 

About Dontá Wilson 98 

Dontá Wilson is chief digital and client experience officer and a member of the executive leadership team for Truist Financial Corporation. Wilson oversees digital banking, digital sales, digital transformation, digital strategy and innovation, intelligent automation, client experience strategy, client insights and analytics, omnichannel strategy, experience design and research, marketing, sales optimization, corporate communications, culture alignment and activation, the Truist Foundation, and fintech investments through Truist Ventures.

Wilson has served in various leadership roles during his more than 20-year career at Truist and BB&T. He was named chief digital and client experience officer at BB&T in 2018 and remained in that role after the merger of equals between BB&T Corporation and SunTrust Banks, Inc. that created Truist Financial Corporation in December 2019. He was appointed to the BB&T executive management team and named chief client experience officer in 2016. Prior to that, he was named group/state president of the Atlanta-based Georgia Region in 2014, group/state president of the Alabama region in 2009, and regional president for the Battlefield Northern Virginia Region in 2005. He began his career at BB&T in Bank Operations in October 1995 while in college.

Wilson serves on the board of directors of Signet Jewelers (NYSE:SIG). Passionate about being active in his community, Wilson also has served on many nonprofit, education, and community service boards. Currently, he is founder and board member of I Am My Brother’s Keeper inner city mentor program, serves on the board of advisors for the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte and is on the board of Samaritan’s Feet. Wilson is a member of World 50/Executive 50, Executive Leadership Council, Sigma Pi Phi (Boule) and Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc.

Wilson earned his bachelor’s degree in management from UNC Charlotte and an MBA from the University of Maryland. He is also a graduate of the Tuck Executive Program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and the BB&T Banking School at Wake Forest University.

About Dennis Bunker III ’81

Dennis Bunker III was first appointed to the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees in 2017 and was elected to serve as secretary in June 2019.

A Salisbury, North Carolina, native, Bunker began his commercial real estate career in 1981. His early work in the industry consisted of self-investing in real estate, general brokerage and construction. Since 1991, his company, Bunker Land Group, has actively engaged in the development and investment of commercial real estate and provided site selection services for development and investment partners and clients. 

Bunker received a bachelor’s degree in economics from UNC Charlotte and a master’s in real estate development from Columbia University. 

Bunker served on the executive committee for EXPONENTIAL: The Campaign for UNC Charlotte. He has served on the UNC Charlotte Foundation Board, was president of the Alumni Association Board, served as an advisor to the Chi Phi fraternity and is a member of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Hall of Fame. 

About J. Brett Keeter 99

J. Brett Keeter serves as district director for United States Congressman Patrick McHenry, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services. In his official capacity, he serves as the chief district staff member, overseeing the Congressman’s offices and managing outreach, constituent casework, and community and constituent relations in the eight counties of North Carolina’s Tenth Congressional District. He also serves as primary liaison to city, county and state officials, agencies, chambers of commerce, community boards and task forces for the Congressman. 

Keeter is a 1999 graduate of UNC Charlotte with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in history. He was the 2012–13 president of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association and served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors for 10 years.

From 2013–17, Keeter served as a member of the Gaston College Board of Trustees. He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Gaston County Public Library, a member of the Board of Advisors for the Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Governmental Relations Committees for the Gaston, Lincoln, and Cleveland County Chambers of Commerce. 

He is a 2016 recipient of the William Gaston Award, the highest recognition given by the Gaston County Board of Commissioners for dedication and community service.

About Teross Young ’93

Teross Young was first appointed to the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees in 2017.

As vice president of government relations for Retail Business Services, a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize U.S., Young is the chief government affairs officer for the Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. banners, including Food Lion, Hannaford, Giant, Giant/Martin’s, Stop & Shop and Peapod. Young monitors, analyzes, and communicates current and emerging public policy issues at the federal, state and local government levels that impact the operations, business performance, competitive position and business strategy of Ahold Delhaize U.S. brands. He also collaborates with administrative officials at all levels on regulatory matters that impact the business. 

Young represents Ahold Delhaize U.S. banners on many national and state-level business, retail and food industry trade associations. He is a former chair of the Food Marketing Institute’s government relations committee, serves on the Retail Industry Leaders Association’s government relations committee, is the past chair of the Virginia Retail Merchants Association, is a founder and former chairman of the South Carolina Retail Association and serves as the board treasurer of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association.

Young received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UNC Charlotte and previously served on the UNC Charlotte Foundation Board and on the Alumni Association Board. 

Additionally, Young continues to serve on numerous other boards including the Public Affairs Council (Executive Committee), Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, the Children’s Hope Alliance, Iredell Health Systems and the Lion’s Share Credit Union. He is an active Rotarian and a Rotary Foundation, Paul Harris Fellow. Young also serves as the mayor of Troutman, North Carolina.

June 9, 2021 - Inaugural Social Justice Scholarship Recipients Use Architecture, Dance to Advocate for Diversity and Inclusivity

Inaugural Social Justice Scholarship Recipients Use Architecture, Dance to Advocate for Diversity and Inclusivity

First recipients of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association Scholarship for Social Justice named

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - June 9, 2021Two UNC Charlotte students, Abena Atiemo and Melinda Erickson, have been named the inaugural recipients of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association Scholarship for Social Justice. Each student will receive $1,500 to assist with their tuition and fees. This funding recognizes their dedication to the pursuit of social action on campus and in their communities.

“Our University is committed to aiding students as they work to help others and create inclusive spaces that benefit UNC Charlotte, their fellow students, their hometowns and the greater Charlotte region,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “This scholarship will empower Abena, Melinda and future students to use their talents to advocate for causes that impact us all.”

Established by the Alumni Association in 2020, the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association Scholarship for Social Justice provides support to returning undergraduate students with a demonstrated financial need who show potential for academic success and have a record of service and advocacy. While not automatically renewable, the scholarship may be awarded to the same recipient more than once. 

“We want this scholarship to be representative of those who have gone forth to pave the way for our future leaders,” said Frenchie Brown ’91, who serves as president of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Board of Directors. “As alumni, we have a responsibility to speak up about injustices and inequalities and ensure that we are representing our University’s mission and purpose of equality for all.”

Atiemo, who is a junior, chose to major in architecture because her dream is to create structures that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also improve the world. Through her role as a student aide in UNC Charlotte’s Sustainability Office, Atiemo is able to explore her interest in the intersection of architecture, sustainability and accessibility. 

“If the work I do doesn’t help my neighbor, my classmate or my friend, there is no use in doing it,” said Atiemo, who is from Portland, Oregon. “Black women compose less than .03% of the architectural field, so I am a part of a community that is not well represented. I want to use my voice, no matter how small it is, to make this field more inclusive and build opportunities for members of marginalized groups.” 

This fall, Atiemo was selected as the 2021 recipient of the School of Architecture and American Institute of Architects Traveling Fellowship. She’ll travel to Ghana in July to study how colonialism shaped the architecture of the Gold Coast. As the child of Ghanaian immigrants, Atiemo is looking forward to exploring how architects are bringing the country’s cultural identity back to the region. After graduating, she would like to focus on architectural projects that are accessible to all individuals and empower her community.

Erickson began to explore her love for dance as an adult. She surprised her friends and family when she returned to college to major in the subject. Her work with migrant and indigenous populations as a research associate with the United States Environmental Protection Agency led her to enroll as an early-entry graduate student in Latin American Studies. She combines these two passions when teaching capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that incorporates dance, as an instructor for Upstate Capoeira. 

“Educating others about capoeira, which is resistance in motion by brown and Black bodies, allows me to change hearts and minds one class at a time,” said Erickson, who is a mother of two and originally from Lake Vermilion, Minnesota. “Thanks to this scholarship, I am able to continue offering free classes and provide kids with a way to connect to a rich culture and history that empowers them to live as conscious and global citizens.” 

After graduating from UNC Charlotte, Erickson wants to study Latin American studies and dance at the doctoral level. She hopes to work with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to expand her teaching of capoeira — and other cultural demonstrations — to refugee populations in Charlotte and abroad.

"I am impressed with the quality of our first class of scholarship recipients and their passion for making a difference on our campus and beyond," said Sallie Sistare, executive director of Alumni Affairs at UNC Charlotte. "I look forward to seeing the many ways that Abena and Melinda will enact change and inspire others to make a difference in their own fields, workplaces, communities and our world."

To support the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association Scholarship for Social Justice, visit crowdfund.uncc.edu/socialjustice.

Photo: Melinda Erickson and Abena Atiemo are the inaugural recipients of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association Scholarship for Social Justice. (high-resolution images are available here)

About UNC Charlotte
UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. With an enrollment of more than 30,000 students, the University leverages its location in the state’s largest city to offer internationally competitive programs of research and creative activity, exemplary undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, and a focused set of community engagement initiatives.

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May 26, 2021 - N.C. Forecast: Economy at Critical Point

N.C. Forecast: Economy at Critical Point
Belk College Economist John Connaughton says economic growth should continue through 2022.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – May 26, 2021 – North Carolina’s economy continues to rebound, but recent data show it may be some time before the economy is back to where it was prior to last year’s COVID-19 shutdowns, according to John Connaughton, director of the UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast. 

“We’re at a critical point right now,” said Connaughton, professor of financial economics in the Belk College of Business. “The economy has been coming back for four straight quarters, but we have some more to go before we erase the damage done by the shutdown last year. While the shutdown is behind us, we’re not back yet. We still have a couple of quarters to go before we get back to the employment level we had before this all began.” 

Connaughton, who released his second-quarter UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast Report on Wednesday, May 26, said among the factors he is watching are:

  • Work disincentives and employment.

  • Creeping inflation caused by stimulus spending, and what it’s doing to the sum of the national debt.

  • How the Federal Reserve will respond to hefty price increases. 

Gross State Product Analysis

Real (inflation-adjusted) Gross State Product (GSP) is expected to increase by 5.3% over the 2020 level, according to the report. This growth in 2021 will represent the first full year of growth since COVID-19.

For 2021, Connaughton forecasts an output increase for 14 of the state’s 15 economic sectors. 

These sectors will see the strongest inflation-adjusted output increases in 2021: 

  • Agriculture: 19.6%

  • Hospitality and Leisure Services: 15.5%  

  • Educational and Health Services: 7.8% 

  • Durable Goods (Manufacturing): 6.6%

  • Wholesale Trades: 6.1% 

  •  Information: 5.9% 

  • Business and Professional Services: 5.8%

  • Retail Trade: 5.7%

  • Construction: 5.5% 

Mining is the only sector forecast to decline with an expected decrease of 0.1%. 

Employment

All 14 of the state’s nonagricultural economic sectors are expected to experience employment increases during 2021. 

North Carolina employment is expected to reach 4,635,500 by December, an increase of 4.5% over December 2020. The state is expected to add 199,700 net jobs in 2021. 

These sectors are expected to have the strongest increases for the year: 

  • Hospitality and Leisure Services: 12.1% 

  • Information: 11.6%

  • Construction: 7.2%

The North Carolina unemployment rate, which peaked at 12.9% at the height of the pandemic shutdown in April 2020, should decline through the rest of the year and reach 5% by December. 

2022 Outlook 

According to the report, a second year of economic growth for North Carolina’s economy is expected in 2022. The North Carolina economy is expected to add 126,800 jobs in 2022, reducing the unemployment rate to around 4.5% by December 2022.

The full report and a recording of the presentation will be available at belkcollege.uncc.edu/forecast. Connaughton will release the third-quarter UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast report on Sept. 15. 

May 11, 2020 - UNC Charlotte Awards Prestigious Levine Scholarships to 20 Young Leaders

UNC Charlotte Awards Prestigious Levine Scholarships to 20 Young Leaders

12th Class to join the competitive scholarship program in fall 2021

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – May 11, 2021 - UNC Charlotte’s Levine Scholars Program has selected 20 young leaders from across the United States who will be members of the 12th class of the prestigious and academically competitive scholarship program. The scholars will join the University beginning with the fall 2021 semester.

The University’s premier merit-based scholarship is valued at approximately $105,000 per North Carolina student and $155,000 for each out-of-state student. It covers full tuition, housing, meals, books, mandatory fees and summer experiences. Scholars are provided additional funding to support civic engagement opportunities and professional development.   

“The profile of the Levine Scholars Program as a premier merit scholarship continues to rise,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “As with the program’s first 11 classes, the students who join us this fall show tremendous accomplishment and potential. We are excited to welcome them as 49ers and look forward to supporting them in their undergraduate journey.”

Levine Scholars are selected through a lengthy nomination and interview process. In addition to being highly successful academically, a distinctive characteristic of a Levine Scholar is the dedication to service that students demonstrate during high school. This, along with the various ways they have shown leadership, particularly in the wake of a global pandemic, was essential to their selection.

A complete list of the class of 2025 scholars can be found on the Levine Scholars Program website.  

“The Class of 2025 is an impressive group of individuals who will collectively make their mark on the scholarship program and our University,” said Diane Zablotsky, faculty director of the Levine Scholars Program. “They will study in various majors across campus with a breadth of interests and talents. We are energized by their achievements and contributions and look forward to welcoming them as Levine Scholars to UNC Charlotte.”

Established in 2009 with a $9.3 million gift from Leon and Sandra Levine through their foundation, the Levine Scholars Program was created to recruit extraordinary high school students based on scholarship, ethical leadership and civic engagement. In 2014, the Levines made an additional $13 million gift, which increased the scholarship from 15 recipients to approximately 20 each year beginning with the class of 2016. Leon Levine is the founder of Family Dollar Stores and retired as chairman and CEO in 2003. The Levines are involved in a number of civic and charitable causes in the Charlotte region and throughout the Carolinas through the Leon Levine Foundation. 

“We are impressed by the impact the Levine Scholars Program has made at the University, in our community and beyond,” said Leon Levine, chairman and CEO of The Leon Levine Foundation. “We look forward to seeing this fine group of incoming scholars expand the high traditions of leadership, innovation and community engagement set by the scholars who came before them.”

May 5, 2021 - $2.5 Million Gift from Alumnus will Establish UNC Charlotte's Niblock Scholars Program

$2.5 Million Gift from Alumnus will Establish UNC Charlotte's Niblock Scholars Program

 The donation from Robert Niblock ’84, former CEO of Lowe’s, will provide four years of scholarship support to Niblock Scholars in the Belk College of Business

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - May 5, 2021 — A $2.5 million gift from Robert A. Niblock ’84 will establish the Niblock Scholars Program to directly support students in his alma mater’s Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte. 

“As a graduate, I know UNC Charlotte provides a quality education, and I believe the Niblock Scholars Program will provide the opportunity to enhance that education by empowering students to focus their time and energy on their academics,” said Niblock, who is the former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Lowe’s. “It’s a privilege to be a part of the campus community in such a meaningful way.” 

Niblock’s gift, which brings his total support to the Belk College to $5 million, will provide scholarships for up to five incoming Belk College freshmen or transfer students who demonstrate financial need. The $5,000 annual scholarship will pay toward the cost of attending UNC Charlotte, covering the majority of tuition and fees. Scholarships are renewable for up to four years, totaling $20,000 in funding for each student. 

“Robert's history demonstrates that UNC Charlotte students who work hard and pursue their goals can achieve incredible success,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “The Niblock Scholars Program will provide students, especially those who are first-generation college students like Robert, the resources they need to become successful. He is an inspiration to our students and to our University.” 

The first cohort of five Niblock Scholars will begin classes this fall. In addition to financial support, the students will receive enhanced professional development opportunities, including mentoring and leadership training.

The latest gift was announced at a virtual recognition ceremony hosted by Gaber on May 5, 2021. Niblock and his wife Melanie ’84, also a Belk College alumna, attended.

“We’re so thankful for Robert and Melanie Niblock and their continued support of UNC Charlotte and the Belk College,” said Jennifer Troyer, dean of the Belk College. “This is the first scholarship program in the Belk College that is available for all students who intend to enroll in majors within the college. We see this program creating new student leaders who are involved and committed to their professional development.” 

Nationally ranked, the Belk College is one of the largest and most diverse business schools in the Carolinas, offering nine undergraduate majors along with master’s and doctoral programs and executive education. The college ranks among the top producers nationally for bachelor’s degrees for Black and Hispanic students in finance, marketing and accounting.

This gift is Niblock’s second significant donation to the Belk College. In 2015, he provided $2.5 million to create the Niblock Student Center, which provides one-on-one academic coaching, workshops and networking opportunities to support nearly 4,000 undergraduate business students. The center’s skilled approach has led to success among the college’s 2020 graduates; even during a global pandemic, 62% reported completing at least one internship, and 81% were employed or enrolled in continuing education within six months of graduating from UNC Charlotte. 

“The Niblock Student Center benefits Belk College undergraduate students. They’re able to have a one-stop experience for academic and professional support,” said Pat Mynatt, associate dean for Belk College’s undergraduate programs. “In turn, we know that our new Niblock Scholars will be able to use our center’s resources to build on their strong academic foundation and intellectual curiosity.” 

Niblock credits UNC Charlotte for his professional success and has been a steadfast supporter since his time as a student on campus. He graduated in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Belk College. After joining Lowe’s in 1993, Niblock worked his way up through the ranks to ultimately lead the company as chairman and chief executive officer from 2005 to 2018 and as president from 2011 to 2018, after having also served in that role from 2003 to 2006. Under his leadership, Lowe’s was ranked 47 on the Fortune 500 and the second largest home improvement retailer in the world.

“Robert has made a tremendous impact on our University through his service and generosity,” Gaber said. “This gift, in addition to Robert’s continued support, will provide crucial funding to keep our students on track and help them succeed in their chosen fields after graduating.”

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April 30, 2021 - TEN X TEN Landscape Architecture and Urbanism Selected to Create Conceptual Design for the UNC Charlotte Remembrance Memorial

 TEN X TEN Landscape Architecture and Urbanism Selected to Create Conceptual Design for the UNC Charlotte Remembrance Memorial

 Hypersonic Collaborative and Susan Hatchell Landscape Architecture to work with TEN X TEN on the commemorative space at Belk Plaza

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - April 30, 2021 — A “constellation garden” that follows the orientation of the stars above the Kennedy Building on April 30, 2019, is the basis of the conceptual design for the UNC Charlotte Remembrance Memorial. The memorial will honor and forever remember Riley Howell and Reed Parlier, who lost their lives, and pay tribute to Rami Alramadhan, Sean DeHart, Emily Houpt and Drew Pescaro, who suffered physical injuries, and everyone who was present in Kennedy 236. 

Brook Muller, dean of UNC Charlotte’s College of Arts + Architecture and chair of the Memorial Jury, announced the decision for the permanent memorial on April 30 during this year’s Virtual Day of Remembrance commemoration, two years after the shooting. The design, submitted by TEN x TEN Landscape Architecture and Urbanism, Hypersonic Collaborative and Susan Hatchell Landscape Architecture, was selected from four finalists and a total of 36 submissions from locally and nationally known design teams. 

“All the finalists’ designs were incredibly creative,” said Muller. “The presentation led by TEN X TEN Landscape Architecture and Urbanism, however, was moving and emotional. Every element is active, engaging and powerfully connected to the UNC Charlotte community. The depiction of the stars, portrayed by lights that are activated when people touch the memorial’s arched structure; the adjacent gathering spaces that feature plants imbued with deep symbolism represent emotions such as sorrow, divine sacrifice, strength, hope, love and peace; and stone benches etched with the names of Reed and Riley create an atmosphere of contemplation and reflection, with textured earthbound elements complementing those that are high-tech.”

TEN X TEN will begin meeting with University stakeholders including students, faculty and staff to present the conceptual design illustrating how the commemorative space will be developed. Groundbreaking for the memorial is expected in April 2022.

In my time as chancellor, I have watched and learned from a community that has been united and fortified by the challenges it has endured,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “I fully endorse the commission’s recommendations. It is a beautiful memorial that unites Riley’s love of nature with Reed’s passion for technology — and captures the strength and resilience of our survivors and Niner Nation. It is a memorial that will stand the test of time.”

The University’s 2021 Day of Remembrance events began with an early-morning ceremonial wreath laying led by UNC Charlotte’s Department of Police and Public Safety (PPS) in front of the Kennedy Building. Throughout the day, the University hosted several virtual and in-person events to bring together faculty, staff and students.

The day culminated with a Virtual Remembrance Program from 5:15 to 5:40 p.m., concluding with the ringing of the UNC Charlotte ceremonial bell at the time of the 2019 shooting. The program was offered online and broadcast at Jerry Richardson Stadium. At sundown, PPS led the removal of the wreaths from their daylong positions at Kennedy. 

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April 6, 2021 - Lowe's $1.5 Million Gift Will Advance AI and Machine Learning at UNC Charlotte's College of Computing and Informatics

Lowe's $1.5 Million Gift Will Advance AI and Machine Learning at UNC Charlotte's College of Computing and Informatics

Donation will establish Lowe’s Endowed Chair in Computer Science and fund innovative research within North Carolina’s largest computing college

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - April 6, 2021 - Today, Lowe’s and UNC Charlotte announced that Lowe’s has donated $1.5 million to the College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) to strengthen UNC Charlotte’s position as a leading technology hub and talent provider for Lowe’s, the Charlotte region and beyond.

The gift will establish the Lowe’s Endowed Chair in Computer Science and the Lowe’s Technology Innovation Fund. The chair endowment will enable UNC Charlotte to recruit a nationally recognized teacher, scholar and computer science leader whose research focuses on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Lowe’s Technology Innovation Fund will provide $50,000 annually in support of innovative research in these areas.
 
“We are actively hiring to build the best tech team in retail, and artificial intelligence and machine learning play increasingly important roles in how we serve customers and our associates,” said Seemantini Godbole, executive vice president and chief information officer at Lowe’s. “We are excited to extend our partnership with UNC Charlotte with this donation, which highlights our mutual dedication to developing skilled technology professionals and improving the economic health of our hometown Charlotte region.”
 
Lowe’s donation also will help remove financial hurdles for students, faculty and staff through the support of the UNC Charlotte College of Computing and Informatics Fund. As the number one producer of African American, Hispanic and female computer science graduates in North Carolina, CCI will use the fund to increase equity, diversity and inclusion in the technology field, including bolstering representation from women and those from underrepresented communities.
 
“We are so thankful to Lowe’s for their continued commitment to strengthening research and creative expression across our University,” said Fatma Mili, dean of the College of Computing and Informatics. “This partnership is aligned with the shared commitment between UNC Charlotte and Lowe’s to make a significant impact through the continued innovation of our faculty and students and the education of the next generation of computer scientists."
 
The second-floor atrium in Woodward Hall – home to CCI – will be named in Lowe’s honor. As the largest computing college in North Carolina, CCI leads transformational research through its undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in computer science, bioinformatics and genomics, cybersecurity, data science and business analytics, health informatics and software and information systems.
 
Lowe’s has a long-standing partnership with UNC Charlotte, and CCI’s broad expertise and large talent pool were among the reasons Lowe’s selected the Charlotte region for the 
Lowe’s Tech Hub and its expanded technology presence.

On April 9, CCI will host its inaugural Technology Day in partnership with Lowe’s. During the virtual event, a panel of senior Lowe’s executives will discuss technology trends in a post-COVID environment, and Mili and Godbole will explore the latest advances being developed by CCI and Lowe’s respectively. Register to tune in.

Additional photo assets can be downloaded here.

 

About Lowe's

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company serving approximately 20 million customers a week in the United States and Canada. With fiscal year 2020 sales of nearly $90 billion, Lowe’s and its related businesses operate or service more than 2,200 home improvement and hardware stores and employ over 300,000 associates. Based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s supports its hometown Charlotte region and all communities it serves through programs focused on creating safe, affordable housing and helping to develop the next generation of skilled trade experts.

About the College of Computing and Informatics

Established in 1999, the UNC Charlotte College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) is the largest computing college in North Carolina and one of the largest in the nation. It has approximately 100 faculty members and more than 130 Ph.D. students. CCI is the number one producer of computer science graduates in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, and it is the number one producer of African American, Hispanic and female computer science graduates in North Carolina.

About UNC Charlotte

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. With an enrollment of more than 30,000 students, the University leverages its location in the state’s largest city to offer internationally competitive programs of research and creative activity, exemplary undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, and a focused set of community engagement initiatives. 

 

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March 5, 2021 - N.C. Forecast: COVID-19 is No Longer Driving the Economy

N.C. Forecast: COVID-19 is No Longer Driving the Economy

Belk College Economist John Connaughton sees the state’s economy bouncing back as vaccines become more readily available. 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - March 5, 2021 - After a year of uncertainty due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolina’s economy will continue to rebound in 2021, according to John Connaughton, director of the UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast

“The good news is the fourth quarter COVID virus spike seems to be subsiding,” said John Connaughton, professor of financial economics at the Belk College of Business. “As vaccination rates rise and the weather starts to warm, it is likely that for a while the COVID-19 virus will not be a driving force in the economy.”

Connaughton, who released his first quarter UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast Report on Friday, March 5, said among the factors he is watching are the new stimulus package and the impact vaccinations will have on the economy during the second and third quarters. 

Gross State Product Analysis
North Carolina’s real, adjusted Gross State Product (GSP) should recover to pre-pandemic levels by the second quarter of 2021, according to the report. 

For 2021, Connaughton forecasts an output increase for 14 of the state’s 15 economic sectors. 

These sectors will see the largest inflation-adjusted output increases in 2021: 

  • Hospitality and Leisure Services: 15.2%  
  • Agriculture: 9.2%
  • Educational and Health Services: 7.2% 
  • Retail Trade: 6.7%
  • Durable Goods: 6.0%
  • Information: 5.9%

Mining is the only sector forecast to decline with an expected decrease of 2.5%. 

Employment
Employment levels and the unemployment rate will take much longer to recover than the GDP, Connaughton said. North Carolina nonagricultural employment should return to pre-pandemic levels by December

North Carolina employment is expected to reach 4,602,500 by December, an increase of 4.5% over December 2020. The state is expected to add 199,300 net jobs in 2021. 

All 14 of the state’s nonagricultural sectors of the economy are expected to experience employment increases during 2021. These sectors are expected to have the strongest increases for the year: 

  • Information: 16.0%
  • Hospitality and Leisure Services: 14.9% 

The North Carolina unemployment rate, which peaked at 12.9% at the height of the pandemic shutdown in April 2020, should decline through the rest of the year and reach 5.2% by December. The state’s unemployment rate will not again return to full employment (4.0%) until late 2022.  

The full report and a recording of the presentation will be available at belkcollege.uncc.edu/forecast. Connaughton will release the next UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast report on May 26. 

Feb. 24, 2021 - UNC Charlotte Nationally Ranked as a Top Employer by Forbes Magazine

UNC Charlotte Nationally Ranked as a Top Employer by Forbes Magazine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Feb. 24, 2021 - UNC Charlotte has been named to “America’s Best Mid-Sized Employers 2021” list by Forbes, which released its rankings on Feb. 9. 

The University ranked 95 out of the top 500 employers with between 1,000 and 5,000 employees. UNC Charlotte is the only top mid-sized education employer in North Carolina and the only public higher education institution named in the state for both mid-sized or large-sized employers. 

"This recognition is a testament to what we know to be true: Our faculty and staff at UNC Charlotte are among the best in the nation,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “I am proud to work alongside them. This past year, in particular, has shown the dedication, resilience and creativity of our employees as they have worked tirelessly to ensure a quality academic experience for our students."

Working with market research firm Statista, Forbes surveyed 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees in the United States. Survey respondents were asked to respond to questions about their working conditions, salary, potential for development and company image regarding their current employer. Additionally, they were asked to rate how likely they’d be to recommend their employers to others. They were also given the opportunity to name other organizations they would recommend. The final list ranks the employers that received the most recommendations.

“We want UNC Charlotte to be known as an organization where you can always learn, grow and make a meaningful impact on students’ lives and the broader community, ” said Gary Stinnett, associate vice chancellor for human resources. “Our employees are our most important asset in shaping the UNC Charlotte culture, brand and student experience. We not only want to recruit top talent to our University but also give them a rewarding experience so they choose to stay.” 

The full list of top employers can be found on Forbes’ website.

Feb. 17, 2021 - UNC Charlotte, Wake Tech Partner to Support State’s Workforce Needs

UNC Charlotte, Wake Tech Partner to Support State’s Workforce Needs

49erNext and a data science transfer program provide a seamless bachelor’s degree completion process for students from North Carolina’s largest community college

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Feb. 17, 2021 - UNC Charlotte and Wake Technical Community College have entered into two academic agreements, 49erNext and a 2+2 Transfer Program in Data Science, that are aimed to educate and develop the region’s most robust talent pipeline. These partnerships with Wake Tech, North Carolina’s largest community college, allow UNC Charlotte to meet Triangle-area students’ academic, financial aid and career planning needs by creating a seamless pathway for individuals who want to start their degree at Wake Tech and complete their degree at UNC Charlotte. 

“UNC Charlotte is proud to partner with Wake Tech to provide accessible, affordable, quality higher education to meet North Carolina's evolving employment needs,” said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “The unique partnerships with Wake Tech are designed to produce a greater number of qualified, work-force ready graduates at a significant cost savings to them.”

Wake Tech is the newest community college partner to enroll a 49erNext cohort, expanding the pipeline of opportunity to five community colleges throughout the state, joining Central Piedmont Community College, Gaston College, Mitchell Community College and Catawba Valley Community College, which will launch in the fall 2021 semester. 

Introduced in October 2019 in partnership with Central Piedmont Community College, the state’s second-largest community college, 49erNext is a co-admission program that maximizes transfer credit through the use of degree plans and regular data exchange, ensuring students’ progress toward timely completion of a baccalaureate degree. All participating institutions commit to creating academic success by putting students first by enabling them to earn a quality degree in a timely manner, fostering student potential and ensuring equity among all students. As participants in the 49erNext program, students are eligible to transfer into more than 75 undergraduate degree programs (130+ majors) at UNC Charlotte, as long as they earn an associate degree and meet minimum GPA requirements. 

For spring 2021, more than 275 students are enrolled in the 49erNext program, including 30 in the inaugural cohort from Wake Tech

"Wake Tech students who are accepted into the 49erNext program will feel like they are already part of the UNC Charlotte community,” said Anthony Almanzar, Wake Tech academic advisor. “They will have access to several services at the university and can even participate in student events. The partnership will ensure that Wake Tech students have a smooth transition after they graduate and transfer to UNC Charlotte.”

Discussions of the 49erNext partnership led directly to an agreement of a new 2+2 Transfer Program with the UNC Charlotte School of Data Science. This agreement allows graduates of Wake Tech’s Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming, Data Science and Programming and Business Analytics to earn a Bachelor of Science in Data Science from UNC Charlotte. Through the partnership, students may transfer up to 64 semester credit hours toward a Bachelor of Science in Data Science – the only such degree offered in North Carolina.

This past year, roughly 3,500 transfer students enrolled at UNC Charlotte, the most in all of the UNC System. Of all UNC Charlotte transfer students, 64% came from a North Carolina community college. For the 2020-21 academic year, UNC Charlotte welcomed more than 200 transfer students from Wake Tech.
 

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Feb. 10, 2021 - UNC Charlotte to Host Former FEMA Administrator Brock Long at Annual Public Policy Program

UNC Charlotte to Host Former FEMA Administrator Brock Long at Annual Public Policy Program

Symposium will focus on how individuals and organizations can improve emergency preparedness, management of crises
 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Feb. 10, 2021 - Former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long will headline UNC Charlotte's third annual “Talking Policy in the Queen City” symposium Wednesday, Feb. 24, from noon to 1:15 p.m. EST via livestream.

The event, hosted by the UNC Charlotte Public Policy Ph.D. Program and the Gerald G. Fox Master of Public Administration Program, in partnership with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, calls attention to national, state and local policy insights and perspectives and how they affect citizens and organizations in Charlotte and beyond. This year’s discussion with Long focuses on how organizations can improve their cultural preparedness and emergency management systems.

“Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all had to learn how to better prepare for unexpected emergencies,” said Stephanie Moller, director of UNC Charlotte’s Public Policy Ph.D. Program. “This year’s subject is relevant and challenging to every level of our society, and we are fortunate to be able to combine the insights of our interdisciplinary faculty with Brock’s subject matter expertise.” 

Long served as FEMA administrator from 2017 to 2019, overseeing 144 presidentially declared disasters, including three of the nation’s most devastating hurricanes, and 112 wildfires. During his tenure at FEMA, Long helped transform the agency’s business enterprise, creating the community lifeline and FEMA Integration Teams, and he implemented pre-disaster mitigation efforts, a priority under the Disaster Recovery Reform Act.  

Long will share insights on successful emergency management and strategies for both natural and man-made disasters, including pandemics, highlighting that an effective response to a disaster requires collaboration and cooperation at all levels of society. Long will also touch on what state and local government, private companies, nonprofit organizations, and the general public should be doing today to prepare for tomorrow’s emergencies.

“The UNC Charlotte MPA program prides itself on the integration of theory and practice, so it is especially fitting that we are hosting a practitioner the stature of Brock Long, who has executed emergency management policy at every level of government,” said Thomas Barth, director of the UNC Charlotte MPA Program.

Kevin Staley, retired deputy director of Mecklenburg EMS Agency (MEDIC), will moderate the discussion. Staley serves on the North Carolina Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council and is a commissioner on the state’s Emergency Response Commission. He also brings his expertise to UNC Charlotte students as an adjunct faculty member.

The Pam Fawcett-Brandon and William P. Brandon Endowment for the Graduate Public Policy Program also provides support for the event. 

The event is free and open to the public. For more information and to register, visit publicpolicy.uncc.edu/talkingpolicy
 

UNC Charlotte Public Policy Doctoral Program

The interdisciplinary Public Policy Ph.D. Program prepares students to become researchers, decision makers and policy analysts in local, state or federal governments, not-for-profit agencies, for-profit institutions and academia. Students learn the foundations of policy development, implementation and evaluation, gaining the expertise to pursue varied policy domains, adapt to changing policy environments and clearly communicate research results to shape policy outcomes.  

 

UNC Charlotte Gerald G. Fox Master of Public Administration Program

The Gerald G. Fox Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program has a three-part mission of preparing students for leadership careers in the public and nonprofit sectors, conducting research to advance the field of public administration, and serving the community through applied research projects and internships. The program was listed in the top 21% of U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 rankings of public affairs programs nationwide. 

 

UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

The Urban Institute is a nonpartisan, applied research and community outreach center at UNC Charlotte. Founded in 1969, it provides services including technical assistance and training in operations and data management; public opinion surveys; and research and analysis around economic, environmental, and social issues affecting the Charlotte region. The institute is part of UNC Charlotte's Office of Urban Research and Community Engagement (formerly known as Metropolitan Studies), which is a unit of Academic Affairs.

 

 

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Feb. 3, 2021 - Men with failing grades in high school have the same leadership opportunities as women with straight A’s

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Feb. 3, 2021 - New research on gender inequality indicates that fewer leadership prospects in the workplace apply even to women who show the most promise early on in their academic careers. 

Jill Yavorsky, an assistant professor of sociology at UNC Charlotte, co-led the study, “The Under-Utilization of Women’s Talent: Academic Achievement and Future Leadership Positions,” with Yue Qian, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia.

In their paper, published in a leading social science journal, Social Forces, the social scientists discovered that men supervise more individuals in the workplace than women, regardless of their grade point averages (GPAs) in high school. This leadership gap observed during individuals' early to mid-careers was particularly pronounced for those who became parents. 

For those who earned a 4.0 GPA in high school, fathers manage more than four times the number of supervisees as mothers (19 for men versus four for women).  

Additionally, having a higher GPA is strongly associated with managing more people later in their careers, but this is largely true only for fathers. As high school GPA increases from 0.0 to 4.0, the average number of supervisees increases from 4 to 19 for fathers but barely changes for mothers (increasing from 3 to 4).

Perhaps even more striking is that fathers with very low academic achievement (1.0 GPAs), on average, have similar leadership prospects to women who completed high school with 4.0 GPAs.

“Our research clearly illustrates the barriers that exist for women, especially mothers, in the workplace,” said Yavorsky. “At the same time, given that even men with low grades go on to attain higher leadership roles than women, this study highlights perhaps the lack of barriers that men face in securing greater leadership opportunities.”

The researchers also examined why this large disparity emerged between mothers and fathers.  They discovered that part of the leadership gap by GPA is due to the fact that high-achieving fathers benefit significantly from having a college or advanced degree, whereas comparable mothers do not. Indeed, the leadership opportunities of mothers who have a college degree or higher are similar to those of mothers who do not have a college degree. 

The authors explain in their article that men may benefit more from having a college degree than women because men select into or are steered into majors that may offer more leadership opportunities, like those in finance or STEM.

Yavorsky also notes, “Based on other research, we know that even when men and women are in the same field, including female-dominated jobs, men still tend to have higher leadership prospects than women. This suggests that the disparity isn’t just due to men and women selecting different career paths. Rather, men benefit in terms of their leadership opportunities regardless of the path they choose.”

Additionally, the study found that among top achievers, men had higher leadership prospects than women because they tended to work longer hours in their jobs and had accumulated more work experience than women, particularly after they became parents.

Yavorsky explained that mothers are more likely to have a disproportionate share of household duties than men, take parental leave and disrupt their careers to care for children or others in their family. As a result, men are often able to devote more time to their employers and attain critical job experience that may improve their chances for managerial promotions. 

Importantly, even after these explanations, leadership disparities remain between high-achieving mothers and fathers, suggesting that bias and discrimination are also likely at play. 

This study focused on a sample of about 5,000 people born between 1957 and 1964. The researchers had access to these individuals’ high school transcript data and their responses to how many people they managed over a decade, from 1988 to 1998.  According to Yavorsky, the survey used is the most current survey that includes GPA transcript data, tracks adolescents through their early- to mid-careers and captures the number of people they manage in their jobs. 

“It is likely that these general patterns hold for younger cohorts, as recent research indicates that progress on many key measures for workplace gender equality has stalled or slowed since the mid-1990s,” explained Yavorsky. “Additionally, contemporary research in the field indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic is more negatively affecting women’s employment and productivity than men’s, in large part because mothers are absorbing more of the responsibilities associated with school and child care closures. This pattern could further exacerbate gender disparities in job experience and therefore future advancement opportunities in the workplace.”

Yavorsky noted two key governmental policy changes that could result in greater utilization of women’s talent: 1.) subsidized child care to make it more affordable and reliable for all families, and; 2.) paid maternity and paternity leave that encourages fathers to contribute more equitably to household responsibilities from the start of parenthood. She also stated that organizations need to review and better standardize promotion practices to eliminate bias and discrimination, and they should create more pathways to management from female-dominated jobs.

A nationally recognized researcher on workplace inequality and household divisions of labor, Yavorsky holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from The Ohio State University. Her work has been published in numerous top academic journals, resulting in her being interviewed by a number of media outlets, including The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Slate and the Chicago Tribune.

About UNC Charlotte

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. With an enrollment of more than 30,000 students, the University leverages its location in the state’s largest city to offer internationally competitive programs of research and creative activity, exemplary undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, and a focused set of community engagement initiatives.

 

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Jan. 13, 2021 - New UNC Charlotte Academic Programs Respond to Job Market and Region’s Needs

New UNC Charlotte Academic Programs Respond to Job Market and Region’s Needs

Interdisciplinary Programs in Data Science and Digital Studies First in State

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Jan. 13, 2021 - UNC Charlotte is responding to the greater Charlotte region’s employment needs with three new degree programs and five new graduate certificate programs that are relevant to the current and future job market. Several will be available this spring and all programs will be open for new and current students by fall 2021.

As part of the new School of Data Science, UNC Charlotte will now offer a Bachelor of Science in Data Science. This is the first undergraduate degree of its kind in North Carolina and results from direct collaboration between the University and business leaders. In addition, the University now offers a Master of Science in Computer Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in WritingRhetoric and Digital Studies.

New online graduate certificate programs include Advanced Literacy Instruction and InterventionApplied Nursing InformaticsRespiratory Care Clinical Concepts, and Respiratory Care Leadership. A novel certificate in Workplace Competencies complements graduate degrees and enhances skills of working professionals in all areas.

“UNC Charlotte has a long history of being nimble in adapting to the evolving needs of our students and our community with relevant and future-oriented academic programs,” said Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “These new programs are designed to respond to industry needs, provide excellent opportunities for current and prospective students, and help strengthen our region’s workforce.”


About UNC Charlotte’s New Academic Programs:
B.S. in Data Science
The Bachelor of Science in Data Science program marks the latest expansion of the interdisciplinary partnership among the College of Computing and Informatics, the Belk College of Business, the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. To meet employer demand, the program teaches skills in machine learning, data analysis, statistics, data visualization and the ethics surrounding the field of data science. The degree is designed to accommodate both new and transfer students. An extended college transfer partnership with Wake Technical Community College provides a seamless transition for students interested in this degree. The Bachelor of Science in Data Science is available starting in the spring 2021 semester.

B.A. in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies
Another first in the Carolinas and part of the University’s goal to increase its interdisciplinary offerings, UNC Charlotte now offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies. With interactive courses from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and a partnership with the College of Computing and Informatics, the program widens students’ understanding of human computing, communication and analytics. Along with developing advanced writing, information literacy and problem-solving skills, students gain the ability to adapt emerging print and digital technologies in new contexts as they become adept in writing as a concept and practice. The Bachelor of Arts in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies is available starting in the spring 2021 semester.

Master of Science in Computer Engineering
As one of the fastest-growing regions for technology in the nation, Charlotte demands an increasing number of hardware engineers, software developers, application developers, systems developers and networking engineers. The needs in this area align with the emergence of new application domains including artificial intelligence and machine learning systems and high-speed communication networks.

The Computer Engineering master’s program will emphasize integrated hardware-software systems. This unique focus area is designed to more effectively serve the industry’s growing workforce demands in computer systems sub-disciplines. The program’s curriculum specializations in these sub-disciplines include computer architecture and hardware design, computer systems and applications software and distributed and real-time computer systems. The Master of Science in Computer Engineering is available starting in the spring 2021 semester.

Advanced Literacy Instruction and Intervention, Graduate Certificate
Literacy and reading instruction have always required the use of data to inform instruction.  Today, more than ever, teachers and other educational professionals need to gather and analyze data to target instruction to individuals and diverse groups of students. The Advanced Literacy Instruction and Intervention Certificate reflects these changes by providing K-12 classroom teachers and other professionals with more advanced skills in using data to create instruction and interventions. The 12-hour program is delivered entirely online and all coursework can apply toward the M.Ed. in Reading Education at UNC Charlotte for students who wish to earn a master’s degree. The Advanced Literacy Instruction and Intervention Graduate Certificate will be available starting in the fall 2021 semester.

Applied Nursing Informatics Graduate Certificate
The Applied Nursing Informatics Graduate Certificate is a 12-hour program aimed at improving practicing registered nurses’ skills in incorporating technology and informatics into their practice and clinical agencies. Collecting, analyzing and using aggregate patient outcome information to improve safety and the care of patients has become an essential part of practice for all nurses, but especially for nurse administrators, clinical nurse educators, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse leaders. In addition, the pandemic has re-focused attention on the many ways tele-health can be used to provide care and improve patients' access to care. The online certificate program will teach competencies in applying information analytics to nursing practice and administration, implementing information systems in a practice setting, managing tele-health practices, and using informatics in planning resource use and distribution. The Applied Nursing Informatics Graduate Certificate will be available starting in the fall 2021 semester.

Respiratory Care Leadership Graduate Certificate
There is an industry need for more respiratory care department directors, supervisors and college faculty over the next 10 years as individuals transition into retirement. The Respiratory Care Leadership Graduate Certificate is a fully online program designed for those who want to advance in leadership and management roles in clinical and educational settings. The certificate’s 12 credit hours provide a career jump start and are transferable to the fully online M.S. in Respiratory Care program offered at UNC Charlotte. The program prepares professionals to apply leadership and evidence-based practice principles to plan and make collaborative and effective decisions relevant to respiratory care services or education. The Respiratory Care Leadership Graduate Certificate will be available starting in the fall 2021 semester.
 
Respiratory Care Clinical Concepts Graduate Certificate
The Respiratory Care Clinical Concepts Graduate Certificate will provide current respiratory therapists with additional knowledge and skills for advanced clinical practice to further their careers as clinical specialists, pulmonary disease educators and navigators, research coordinators and industry sales representatives. The online program prepares professionals to apply clinical reasoning skills and evidence-based practice concepts to examine, evaluate and manage patients with cardiopulmonary diseases. Fewer than 45% of current respiratory therapists hold a baccalaureate degree or higher (AARC, 2017), however the need is growing for those with advanced skills. The 12 credit hours will transfer to the fully online M.S. in Respiratory Care program. The Respiratory Care Clinical Concepts Graduate Certificate will be available starting in the fall 2021 semester.    
 
Graduate Certificate in Workplace Competencies  
Numerous studies have shown that employers want new hires with graduate and professional degrees to be well-versed in essential professional skills in written and verbal communication, presentation-building, managing new initiatives and working on diverse teams. The Graduate Certificate in Workplace Competencies will build these skills to promote professional success through on-campus coursework. The certificate program is designed for doctoral and master's students in all disciplines as well as working professionals with bachelor's degrees. The Graduate Certificate in Workplace Competencies is available starting in the spring 2021 semester.

Jan. 14, 2021 - UNC Charlotte’s Energy Production and Infrastructure Center is One of 10 Selected Nationwide for U.S. Department of Energy Award

UNC Charlotte’s Energy Production and Infrastructure Center is One of 10 Selected Nationwide for U.S. Department of Energy Award

$3.6 million grant will support effort to lower solar electricity costs, increase the competitiveness of American solar manufacturing and improve grid reliability

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Jan. 14, 2021 - UNC Charlotte's Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) has been selected for a $3.6 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) to improve the resilience and reliability of the regional grid. Badrul Chowdhury, professor of electrical and computer engineering, is the principal investigator for the project.

The EPIC project, one of 10 chosen nationwide for support and the only one in North Carolina, is part of a collaborative effort among the North Carolina state government, utility companies, industry and universities to develop an advanced microgrid control architecture. It will be able to coordinate seamlessly with the bulk power grid at multiple points of common coupling, automatically balance load and generation, provide critical services at a minimum, detect faulty conditions on a continuous basis, communicate with distributed energy resources, form networked microgrids with neighboring communities when needed and maintain safe operating conditions at all times.

“Federal support at this level recognizes the ascendance of energy as an area of research excellence for UNC Charlotte,” said Rick Tankersley, vice chancellor for research and economic development. “EPIC’s role in the ongoing public-private partnership that is driving novel solutions to critical energy challenges is making a sustained impact in North Carolina, with implications for influence nationally and globally.”

The proposed control architecture will be tested utilizing a unique digital-twin approach to which laboratories will have direct, real-time connections to microgrids operated by the major utilities in North Carolina. A field demonstration at Duke Energy's Hot Springs microgrid is also planned.

"This selection was the culmination of a strategic objective of EPIC that began in 2018, in partnership with federal, state and local government agencies and Duke Energy," said Michael Mazzola, executive director, EPIC. "I look forward to moving our previous work in community resilience to the full demonstration phase. With the active support and partnership of State Energy Director Sushma Masemore, this project will be a national model for organizing a resilient grid in a state with climate challenges like North Carolina."

EPIC was selected as a part of the SETO Fiscal Year 2020 funding program, which is an effort to advance research and development projects to lower solar electricity costs, increase the competitiveness of American solar manufacturing and businesses, improve the reliability and resilience of the grid, and expand solar to new applications. 

This EPIC award is one of several systems integration projects that will enhance solar energy's contribution to grid resilience and reliability by enabling communities to consistently maintain and restore power, improving cybersecurity for photovoltaic systems, and developing advanced hybrid plants.

Visit UNC Charlotte's media assets page for downloadable photos and videos for this story.

Jan. 19, 2021 - Harris Teeter Supports UNC Charlotte’s Jamil Niner Student Pantry with $100,000 Gift

Harris Teeter Supports UNC Charlotte’s Jamil Niner Student Pantry with $100,000 Gift

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Jan. 19, 2021 - Building on a commitment to fight hunger and raise awareness for food insecurity throughout the communities it serves, Harris Teeter has partnered with UNC Charlotte to support the Jamil Niner Student Pantry with a $100,000 gift.

Harris Teeter will provide gift cards over a 10-year period to stock and replenish the pantry’s shelves. Some of the Jamil Niner Student Pantry’s most needed items are canned chicken, canned fruit, healthy cereal, oatmeal, peanut butter, salad dressing, jelly and pasta sauce.

“We appreciate the partnership with Harris Teeter to enhance the Jamil Niner Student Pantry’s services,” said Mindy Sides-Walsh, director of leadership and community engagement at UNC Charlotte. “Seventy-five percent of our students receive financial aid and this generous gift by Harris Teeter helps support UNC Charlotte’s commitment to ensure all our students have access to nutritious food.”

Food insecurity, experienced by one in three college students, is a significant issue on U.S. college campuses. During the 2020 fall semester alone, more than 1,440 student orders were fulfilled through the Jamil Niner Student Pantry.

The Jamil Niner Student Pantry provides assistance to UNC Charlotte students who struggle with food insecurity so that every student has access to nutritious food. The Jamil Niner Student Pantry has remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic and is serving more students than ever before. Pre-pandemic, the Jamil Niner Student Pantry assisted 80 to 90 students a week. Since March 2020 that weekly number has increased to nearly 200 students a week and the Jamil Niner Student Pantry is receiving more food requests from nontraditional students with families, who are using the campus resource for the first time. 

Thanks to the generosity of the UNC Charlotte community during the 2020 #GivingTuesday Campaign held in December, the Jamil Niner Student Pantry is fully stocked for the first time since it opened in 2014. More than $56,000 in monetary gifts and food donations was raised, ensuring that 49er students have the resources they need for the spring semester and beyond.

"Many campus food pantries have either closed or been forced to limit their support over the past 10 months. Due to the generosity of so many, we'll be able to fulfill the food needs of our students over the next year," said Sides-Walsh.

“At Harris Teeter, we’re proud to feed our communities,” said Danna Robinson, communication manager for Harris Teeter. “We know that people come together around food and that food is essential to living a healthy life. We also know that many people in our communities struggle with food insecurity. That’s why our partnership with Jamil Niner Student Food Pantry is so important. We want to ensure students at UNC Charlotte have access to fresh, nutritious and culturally appropriate food, so they can concentrate on their education and well-being.”

Efforts to open a pantry at UNC Charlotte began in 2012, when representatives from UNC Charlotte returned from the first N.C. Campuses Against Hunger conference. The rising cost of higher education combined with lingering effects of the economic recession, the increase of nontraditional students and the ever-rising interest rates in student loans had resulted in a growing number of college and university students across the country facing food insecurity. A steering committee of faculty, staff, and students was formed in fall 2014 to direct the operation of the pantry and a grand opening was held in October 2014.

A selection of photos of the Jamil Niner Student Pantry can be found on the UNC Charlotte media assets website.

Nov. 12. 2020 - UNC Charlotte Study Finds Success in Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Efforts to End Homelessness

 
UNC Charlotte Study Finds Success in Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Efforts to End Homelessness

Comprehensive research findings indicate expanding Housing First, an effective program aimed to eradicate chronic homelessness, may impact other U.S. cities

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - NOV. 12, 2020 - A new comprehensive study from UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute, College of Health and Human Services and School of Social Work shows an effective approach to ending chronic homelessness that helps those in need and benefits communities. 

The Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg initiative, an innovative multi-sector collaboration that’s been working to end chronic homelessness in Charlotte for five years, has placed more than 1,000 people in the Charlotte community in stable housing. This is the largest and most comprehensive local effort to address chronic homelessness. Nationwide, on any given night, more than 550,000 Americans are experiencing homelessness, and this research could offer guidance to cities around the U.S. struggling with this issue. 

“The Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg effort led to major housing wins during a time of increasing housing scarcity, and the vast majority of those who were able to access housing through the effort did not return to emergency shelters,” said Lori Thomas, associate professor at UNC Charlotte’s School of Social Work and Director of Research and Faculty Engagement at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. 

Thomas has completed an evaluation of the first phase of the program, the most rigorous and in-depth study to date in Charlotte and one of the few reports in the country that examines a community’s overall response to chronic homelessness. Findings highlighted in Thomas’ research may have a significant impact throughout the country in other cities working to expand Housing First programs such as Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Key findings from the first phase of the Housing First program include:

  • Housing First works. Almost three-quarters of study participants housed through the Housing First program either retained their housing or moved into other housing during the study period. That means a large majority of people who get housed, stay housed. 

  • Housing First impacts participants. Clients who gained housing showed reductions in trauma, mental illness and substance use. Additionally, housed participants scored significantly higher on standardized overall quality of life indicators.

  • Housing First impacts the community. People who were housed were less likely to be arrested or visit the emergency department. Additionally, the average number of visits to the Mecklenburg County Health Departments and the average number of nights spent in emergency shelters all decreased.

  • Costs of housing are partially offset through other community services. Based on the changes in service utilization, there is a $2.54 reduction in community services for every $10 invested in housing first permanent supportive housing. This savings reduces the average annual cost of housing first permanent supportive housing from $17,256 to $12,688.

There were also lessons learned that can improve the initiative. Among those:

  • Housing First participants experienced persistent and worsening food insecurity. Rates of food insecurity remained high for clients who gained housing. Research suggests people might have more difficulty accessing food once they gain housing, perhaps because they do not have transportation to free resources where they previously got food, or because they now live in a “food desert.”

  • Housing First participants continued to report poor perceptions of physical health. The impact of years without housing and access to preventative care, as well as the fact that the majority of study participants have two or more disabilities, may account for this finding.

  • Housing First and the focus on homelessness highlighted the need for better coordination, representation and communication among stakeholders across various sectors (government, nonprofit, academic and business). Additionally, the initiative drove home the need to connect homelessness to the community-wide affordable housing challenges facing Charlotte and Mecklenburg. 

“With the release of the Housing First Evaluation report, we are able to share information with the community about the results and impact of a public-private, community initiative to end chronic homelessness,” said Stacy Lowry, director of community support services for Mecklenburg County. “In addition to outcomes, this report also provides an in-depth analysis of the initiative, itself. By looking at the relationship between outcomes and process, Charlotte-Mecklenburg can use this report to expand and strengthen existing efforts to prevent and end homelessness as well as inform new, systemic solutions to address complex problems comprehensively and effectively.”

The executive summary, full outcomes evaluation, process evaluation reports and an FAQ can be found at www.ui.uncc.edu.

Dec. 10, 2020 - North Carolina’s Economic Forecast: Steady Growth for 2021

North Carolina’s Economic Forecast: Steady Growth for 2021

Belk College Economist John Connaughton says 2021 represents the first year of an economic comeback.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Dec. 10, 2020 - North Carolina’s economy – which experienced its biggest decline since the Great Depression – will bounce back in 2021, according to John Connaughton, director of the Barings/UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast.  

"As a devastating 2020 comes to an end, all factors are indicating a steady expansion is ahead,” said John Connaughton, Barings Professor of Financial Economics at the Belk College of Business. “2021 represents the first full year of an economic comeback."

Connaughton – who released his quarterly Barings/UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast on Thursday, Dec. 10 – said among the factors he is watching in 2021 are how quickly a vaccine will be available and the willingness of Americans to take the vaccine. 

“At the end of the day, it is ultimately people who will decide their risk to re-engage in the economy,” Connaughton said. “That remains to be seen.”  

For 2021, Connaughton forecasts an output increase for all 15 of the state’s economic sectors. 

These sectors will see the largest inflation adjusted output increases in 2021: 

  • Agriculture: 21.7%
  • Hospitality and Leisure Services: 7.3%  
  • Educational and Health Services: 6.8% 
  • Information: 6.0%
  • Other Services: 5.6%

Looking back at 2020, 12 of 15 economic sectors in North Carolina are forecast to experience Gross Domestic Product (GDP) output decreases, Connaughton said. 

Hospitality and Leisure Services, particularly devastated by the government-mandated shutdown this spring, will experience the largest decline, a projected real decrease of 33.9%, followed by: 

  • Other Services: 10.7% decrease
  • Durable Goods Manufacturing: 9.3% decrease
  • Educational and Health Services: 6.9% decrease 
  • Retail Trade: 3.75% decrease

For 2020, only three sectors – Finance, Insurance and Real Estate; Agriculture; and Mining – are expected to experience growth.

Employment
North Carolina started 2020 with a 3.6% unemployment rate. Both the U.S. and North Carolina unemployment rates jumped dramatically in April to 14.7 and 12.9 percent respectively. 

Since April, the U.S. and North Carolina unemployment rates have fallen dramatically. The North Carolina rate, at 6.3% by October, is expected to decline to 6.0% by December, Connaughton said. 

For 2020, Connaughton expects the state will lose 224,100 net jobs, and 12 of the state’s 14 nonagricultural sectors of the economy are expected to experience employment decreases. 

The sectors with the largest expected employment decreases are:

  • Hospitality and Leisure Services: 17.3% decrease
  • Durable Manufacturing: 7.6% decrease
  • Information: 5.3% decrease

Looking ahead to 2021: 

  • North Carolina’s unemployment rate is expected to decline to 5.1% by December 2021, still higher than the pre-COVID rate of 3.6%.
  • North Carolina’s employment is expected to reach 4,614,900 persons by December 2021, an increase of 5.4% over the employment level in December 2020. 
  • The state is expected to add 245,100 net jobs. 
  • 12 of the state’s 14 nonagricultural sectors in 2021 are expected to experience employment increases, with Hospitality and Leisure Services, and Information both at 16.0%. 

Gross State Product
For the fourth quarter of 2020, Gross State Product (GSP) is expected to increase by an annualized inflation adjusted rate of 5.6%. For 2020, inflation adjusted GSP is expected to decrease by 3.4% as compared to the 2019 level. 

Looking ahead to 2021:

  • GSP is forecast to reach $589,755.5 million, an inflation adjusted increase of 4.5% over the 2020 level. 
  • The quarterly GSP is expected to increase each quarter of 2021, starting with a 4.8% annualized real rate increase in the first quarter. 

COVID-19 in North Carolina 
Connaughton is partnering with Craig Depken, Belk College professor of economics, on a collaborative research project that measures the county-level economic impact in North Carolina caused by the mandatory stay-at-home orders enacted earlier this year. 

Connaughton and Depken discussed preliminary data during the question-and-answer portion of the Economic Forecast

Among the findings: 

  • In April, the North Carolina economy was less severely impacted by the mandatory shutdowns than the average state, ranking 25th among states based on unemployment. 
  • By October, North Carolina had the 29th lowest unemployment rate, indicating that the recovery from the shutdowns has not been as strong as the average state. 
  • In April, North Carolina county unemployment rates ranged from 19.3% in Dare and Swain counties to 8.1% in Bertie, Chowan and Duplin counties. 

The research, funded through the North Carolina General Assembly, aims to provide new data and information to state lawmakers and policymakers to help guide the state’s response.

Barings: A Decade of Support
During the virtual event, Belk College Dean Jennifer Troyer recognized Barings for a decade of support of the Economic Forecast. Barings’ title sponsorship, which began in 2010, concludes at the end of this year. 

The full report and a recording of the presentation will be available at belkcollege.uncc.edu/forecast. Connaughton will release the next UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast report on March 5. 

For information on sponsorship opportunities, email belkrsvp@uncc.edu

Oct. 28. 2020 - Largest Grant in UNC Charlotte History Expands National Center for Youth with Disabilities

Largest Grant in UNC Charlotte History Expands National Center for Youth with Disabilities

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Oct. 27, 2020 - Through the largest grant in the University’s history, a pair of researchers from the UNC Charlotte Cato College of Education are expanding their national effort to improve employment, education and community integration for students and youth with disabilities. 

With a five-year award of more than $20 million, the U.S. Department of Education is ramping up its investment in the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition for Students and Youth with Disabilities (NTACT) at UNC Charlotte. NTACT was created in 2015 through an initial $13 million grant directed by emeritus special education professor David Test.

NTACT assists state and local education agencies, vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and service providers in implementing practices to help students with disabilities graduate prepared for success in postsecondary education and employment.

Catherine Fowler and Val Mazzotti from the Department and Special Education and Child Development along with center staff, including Bettie Ray Butler of the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education are joined by a team of researchers from six universities across the country on the project. 

“Disparities between in- and post-school achievement for individuals with disabilities and individuals without disabilities persist,” Mazzotti said. “A major barrier to developing more effective secondary practices is the fragmentation of existing services for students with disabilities.”

To address this, NTACT works with partners to build capacity, align systems and develop infrastructure.

“In practice, we help overcome barriers by providing resources and tools for state agencies to use with their local providers (educators, counselors, therapists),  and families and students.” Fowler added. “We also provide in-person and virtual professional development on quality practices, as well as shifts in policies and procedures that can improve student outcomes.”

NTACT’s website hosts nearly 1,500 individual resources and is visited by more than 50,000 unique users annually.

“One thing that is very helpful is all of the resources that NTACT provides. Knowing that research is the basis for everything they have and they continue to develop resources and update them and make them all available online. They [also] connect us with others who are doing similar work," said one beneficiary.

Data on the first five years of NTACT programming indicated that states that worked closely with the center:

  • Improved graduation rates for students with disabilities

  • Increased students obtaining jobs while in high school

  • Increased students participating in work-based learning experiences and other pre-employment transition services while in high school

  • Increased students with disabilities enrolling in and completing a three course sequence of Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses 

"Projects like NTACT are evidence of the expanding impact researchers at UNC Charlotte are making on people's lives across the country,” said Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Rick Tankersley. “We also see this award as a reaffirmation of our Department of Special Education and Child Development as a national leader in the field."

While grounded in research, NTACT also aims to be “nimble and creative” in responding to the needs and opportunities agencies and stakeholders working to improve practice and services.

“We have assembled an amazing team that will work diligently over the next five years to improve secondary services and outcomes for students and youth with disabilities,” Mazzotti said. 

 NTACT is a partnership between UNC Charlotte, East Tennessee State University, George Washington University, Portland State University, the University of Kansas, the University of Maryland and the University of Oregon.

Sept. 21, 2020 - UNC Charlotte Sets Enrollment Record with More Than 30,000 Students

 
UNC Charlotte Sets Enrollment Record with More Than 30,000 Students

North Carolina’s urban research university is now the second-largest institution in the UNC System

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 21, 2020 – The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is larger and more diverse than ever, according to enrollment figures announced today. The University welcomed approximately 4,000 new first-year students, 2,600 transfer students and 2,400 new graduate students this fall, pushing total enrollment over 30,000 for the first time in UNC Charlotte’s nearly 75-year history. 

“We are now the second-largest institution in the UNC System with 30,146 enrolled students,” announced Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “This record-breaking enrollment is a testament to UNC Charlotte’s long-standing focus on affordability, accessibility and opportunity for deserving students. Chosen for its high academic achievement, the freshman class brings an average weighted GPA of 3.9. In fact, a greater percentage of all new undergraduates earned institutional merit-based and external scholarships compared to last year’s incoming students.”

The newest undergraduate Niners, selected from more than 26,000 freshman and transfer applications, represent 91 of 100 North Carolina counties, 49 states and 25 countries. More than 2,100 are first-generation college students.  

“Niner Nation continues to grow not only in numbers but also in terms of opportunity, diversity and outcomes,” said Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Our outstanding faculty, academic programs, research capabilities and incredible campus experience make UNC Charlotte the first choice for many students from across the state, region and country.” 

Enrollment highlights include:

  • Of the nearly 6,600 new undergraduates, more than 6,200 are from North Carolina.

  • This year’s freshman class is the largest in University history, 10% larger than that of 2019.

  • Enrollment among Black/African American freshmen grew by 30% over last year. 

  • Students who identify with more than one race or ethnicity jumped by 19% since last year. 

  • Hispanic freshman enrollment is up 43% since last year.

  • Nearly 33% of the incoming class are first-generation college students.

  • The average weighted GPA of the 4,000 new freshmen is 3.9.

  • A greater percentage of new undergraduates received institutional merit-based scholarships for fall 2020, and more students also earned external scholarships when compared to last year. Honors College enrollment increased by 6%.

  • Incoming freshmen in STEM majors represent 34% of the class.

  • Total graduate student enrollment is nearly 6,000, the highest number in UNC Charlotte history.

  • Significant graduate school growth is attributed to in-state students with 712 more enrolling than fall 2019.

  • Noteworthy graduate enrollment increases include the MBA program and the Graduate Certificate in Teaching.

The University attributes the enrollment boost in part to its quick implementation of both live and pre-recorded virtual admissions events and individual attention to students’ needs. The admissions staff reached out via text, phone and email to admitted students to make sure they had all the information they needed to register for summer orientation, enroll in fall courses and join the UNC Charlotte community.   

“The significance of the role our students, faculty and staff in recalibrating our enrollment efforts as a result of the coronavirus cannot be overstated,” said Claire Kirby, director of undergraduate admissions. “Individuals from all areas of campus life helped us to meet prospective new students where they are in this new virtual environment, leading eventually to today’s celebratory milestone.”

After COVID-19 restricted on-campus visitors, the University undergraduate admissions office transitioned its campus visit options to one-on-one Zoom sessions with admissions counselors, professors and current students. Faculty and staff recorded nearly 70 presentations on their respective departments and programs as a substitute for the canceled Spring Open House events. Also, campus tour guides created informal videos around campus and posted them on UNC Charlotte social media, garnering more than 8,000 views, while other students served as social media and digital ambassadors for the University, writing blogs and testimonials for admissions collateral and website content.

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Sept. 8, 2020 - UNC Charlotte Appoints Diversity and Inclusion Leader

 
UNC Charlotte Appoints Diversity and Inclusion Leader 
Professor Cheryl Waites Spellman to Lead Efforts

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 8, 2020 – UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber announced today the appointment of UNC Charlotte Professor Cheryl Waites Spellman, Ed.D., to the role of interim special assistant to the chancellor for diversity and inclusion, effective Sept. 16. Waites Spellman will remain a professor in UNC Charlotte’s School of Social Work. A search will be undertaken in the spring for a permanent leader. 

A proven leader in higher education administration and leading expert in social work policy and research, Waites Spellman will coordinate with staff, faculty and students to build on the University’s diversity and inclusion efforts to create an accessible, inclusive and equitable climate. She will report directly to Gaber and work closely with leaders to develop and align strategic goals across the University.    

“UNC Charlotte’s dedication to academic excellence is inseparable from our commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure all students, faculty and staff feel welcomed, valued and can reach their full potential, and is aligned with the UNC System’s strategic goals to make access, equity, student success, and excellent and diverse institutions a top priority,” said Gaber.

“We are proud of the work already being done to build an equitable, accessible and inclusive campus community, but we know there’s more to do, and I’m confident that Waites Spellman’s years of outstanding leadership in higher education and her extensive experience in leading collaborative and strategic programmatic and organizational initiatives will enable her to provide the necessary leadership to oversee this important work.”

Waites Spellman has served as a professor in UNC Charlotte’s School of Social Work since 2018. Prior to her current role, she was a dean and professor at Wayne State University's School of Social Work. She also served as a tenured associate professor at NC State University.  

She holds a doctorate in counselor education from NC State University, a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University and a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College. She also is a graduate of the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education’s Management and Leadership in Higher Education and Management Development programs. 

“I am excited to join Chancellor Gaber, the Cabinet and the many faculty, staff and student leaders who are passionate about furthering UNC Charlotte’s diversity, equity and inclusion work,” said Waites Spellman. “I look forward to working with the outstanding team of professionals at UNC Charlotte who have been actively engaged in this effort. I hope to strengthen and expand these initiatives to help make this a place where all students, faculty and staff know they belong.” 

This is the first senior appointment for Gaber since she started in July 2020 and reinforces diversity as a key priority in her vision for UNC Charlotte. Currently, UNC Charlotte enrolls and graduates one of the most diverse student bodies in the UNC System. Approximately one-third (33%) of UNC Charlotte students identify as a racial or ethnic minority, 37% are first-generation college students, nearly half (49%) are women and more than 1,800 students come from nearly 100 countries.  

In 2016, UNC Charlotte updated its Plan for Diversity, Access and Inclusion, which outlines steps toward building a diverse and inclusive environment, and formed a cross-functional team to increase the visibility and impact of the plan. Recently, the Board of Governors created the UNC System Racial Equity Task Force to develop an actionable plan to build a culture of inclusion across its institutions and prioritize equity as part of its strategic plan.  

For more information on diversity at UNC Charlotte, visit uncc.edu/landing/diversity

July 23, 2020 - UNC Charlotte's Childress Klein Center for Real Estate Issues State of Housing in Charlotte Update

UNC Charlotte's Childress Klein Center for Real Estate Issues State of Housing in Charlotte Update

Demand for housing in Charlotte region remains strong despite COVID-19 pandemic

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (July 23, 2020)  – After seeing a drop in April and May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, single-family home sales in the Charlotte region are surging back, according to an update from UNC Charlotte’s Childress Klein Center for Real Estate (CKCRE), part of the Belk College of Business.  

"The bottom line is that despite the pandemic, the demand for single-family housing throughout the Charlotte region remains strong,” said Yongqiang Chu, CKCRE director. “However, supply is extremely limited." 

Chu – who is also the Childress Klein Distinguished Professor of Real Estate and Urban Economics and professor of finance for the Belk College – presented the data during the State of Housing in Charlotte Virtual Update on Thursday, July 23. 

Earlier this year, the supply of single-family housing had loosened up across the region, Chu said. However, this changed starting in April and continued through June. For June, housing inventory in the region dropped to 2.91 months. For Mecklenburg County, inventory was even lower, at 2.79 months.

For June, monthly single-family housing sales rebounded across the region with 3,833 sales, a .04% increase over June 2019. 

The update, based on Canopy MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Data, also found for June: 

  • Pending single-family home sales for the region increased 19% over June 2019 at 4,394. 

  • The region’s median housing price was $309,000, the highest since May 2019. For Mecklenburg County, the median price increased to $319,490. 

  • The quality adjusted price continued to trend upward. 

The update is part of CKCRE’s Housing Summit Series, which is based on the award-winning “State of Housing in Charlotte” research report. The report, first presented in February 2019 as part of a five-year research project, provides a comprehensive, data-driven analysis of the current state of the housing markets in the Charlotte region and an overview of the recent trends. 

The report focuses on the eight-county Charlotte region: Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln and Union counties in North Carolina, and Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina. 

“The State of Housing in Charlotte” report aims to enable more informed decision-making in the marketplace. A full annual report will be released this fall, examining not only the single-family market but the rental and public/subsidized housing sectors. 

In April, CKCRE’s report was recognized by AACSB International through its 2020 Innovations That Inspire Challenge. The Belk College is one of only 25 business schools worldwide to receive recognition this year.  

CKRE’s State of Housing in Charlotte is funded by:

  • Canopy Realtor® Association 

  • Center City Partners

  • Crosland Southeast

  • Evergreen Strategies

  • Foundation for the Carolinas

  • INLIVIAN

  • Moore & Van Allen

  • National Association of Realtors

  • Piedmont Public Policy Institute

  • True Homes Inc.

The report and a video of the presentation will be available Friday on the CKCRE website. 

The Childress Klein Center for Real Estate was established in 2005 to advance knowledge in real estate, public policy and urban economics through graduate education, applied research, and industry/community collaboration.

About the Belk College of Business

Accredited by AACSB International, the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte offers outstanding business education programs at the undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and executive levels. The Belk College is committed to building strong partnerships in the greater Charlotte region and beyond as a vital part of our mission as North Carolina's urban research business school. Find the Belk College of Business online at belkcollege.uncc.edu

June 29, 2020 - UNC Charlotte Receives External Review of April 30, 2019, Campus Shooting

UNC Charlotte Receives External Review of April 30, 2019, Campus Shooting

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - June 29, 2020 - The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has received the external review it commissioned of the April 30, 2019, shootings that took the lives of Reed Parlier and Riley Howell and injured four other students in the Kennedy Building. The review was completed by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and the National Police Foundation (NPF). 

"The National Police Foundation commends UNC Charlotte leadership for commissioning this independent review to identify opportunities to enhance campus safety and resiliency," said Jim Burch, president of the National Police Foundation. 

The report focuses on four primary areas: leadership, relationships and preparedness; crisis communication; threat assessment; and mental health, resilience and recovery. The full report document is confidential because of safety and security planning and preparedness; a summary has been made available to the community. 

Among the areas of strength identified in the report were the initial law enforcement response; actions taken to secure the campus; campus leadership’s preparations for ongoing campus needs; and communication with the University community that focused on compassion and respect, according to Sue Riseling, now-retired executive director of IACLEA, who oversaw the review process. 

“UNC Charlotte did many things right on April 30, 2019, and in the days and months that followed,” said Riseling. “We made several recommendations for ways in which UNC Charlotte can strengthen their readiness for emergencies and crises, including the refinement and additional practice of existing plans and procedures. However, even with these recommendations, it was clear in our review that there was no information available to UNC Charlotte prior to the incident that would have identified the shooter as a threat or prevented the tragedy that unfolded.” 

Based on the recommendations, Chancellor Philip L. Dubois, in consultation with Chancellor-elect Sharon L. Gaber, has outlined the University’s immediate next steps:

  • A review and revision of the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) and the configuration and location of its Emergency Operations Center (EOC), focusing on the development of specific procedures to govern the lifting of a campus lockdown order.
  • A review and revision of the crisis communications plan, focusing on the further specification of staff roles and responsibilities and coordination of public communications with external agencies involved in responding to a campus emergency.
  • Additional research related to strengthening the ability of the University to identify, assess and manage campus behavioral and threat-related concerns.
  • A review of training programs for dealing with campus emergencies, particularly those necessary for the onboarding of new senior administrators, and continuing attention to active shooter training for employees and students.
  • A senior-level dialogue surrounding community resilience planning, focusing on supporting the ongoing mental health services needed to address the psychological trauma experienced by many members of the campus community as a result of the shootings and the lockdown.

“I appreciate the thoroughness and professionalism of IACLEA and NPF in completing this review,” said Dubois. “Nothing can take away the grief of April 30 or the pain of losing Reed and Riley, but we hope to show our commitment to honoring their memory through our actions going forward. We take this report’s recommendations seriously, and we hope other universities and colleges around the nation will also benefit from the findings.” 

In total, the external review produced 31 findings and 79 recommendations for consideration by UNC Charlotte. As acknowledged in the review, many of the recommendations have already been addressed through the University's own after-action review that occurred shortly after the shootings.

About UNC Charlotte
UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. With an enrollment of nearly 30,000 students, the University leverages its location in the state’s largest city to offer internationally competitive programs of research and creative activity, exemplary undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, and a focused set of community engagement initiatives.

About IACLEA
The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) is the leading authority for campus public safety. Since our founding in 1958, the Association has grown to more than 4,000 members in 11 countries. IACLEA is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors of police chiefs and public safety directors, with international representation. More information is available on iaclea.org and Twitter @IACLEA_Members.

About NFP
The National Police Foundation (NPF) is a non-partisan and non-membership 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing the impact and delivery of police services through reforms and enhancements guided by innovation and science. For the last 50 years, the Foundation has led the development of research on all aspects of policing and leads the way in promoting and sharing evidence-based practices and innovation among law enforcement. The Foundation works with communities across the U.S. and internationally to provide research, training, and technical assistance relating to community engagement and problem solving, promoting safety and healthy organizations and officers, the reduction and prevention of violence, and equitable and fair justice for all. For more information, please visit the National Police Foundation website at www.policefoundation.org.

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May 28, 2020 - NC Economic Forecast: Recovery Could Take Years

N.C. Economic Forecast: Recovery could take years
The North Carolina economy experienced its biggest decline since the Great Depression due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - May 28, 2020 ­– Just three months ago, the United States was seeing its longest economic expansion on record, a period of growth that started in 2010 and continued through February 2020. 

“Just three months ago, our major worries were whether a looming trade war with China was going to slow the economy down in 2020,” said John Connaughton, Barings Professor of Financial Economics at UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business. “For the second quarter of the year, the North Carolina economy, like the U.S. economy, experienced its biggest decline in Gross State Product (GSP) since the Great Depression of the 1930s.” 

Connaughton, presenting the quarterly Barings/UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast on Thursday, May 28, offered a few scenarios for the remainder of 2020. 

“Going forward from the middle of 2020, the No. 1 question is how long before the economy gets back to its 2019 level and when does the unemployment rate again approach full employment,” Connaughton said. 
 
Given the hit the economy took during the second quarter of 2020, it is likely to take until mid-2022 before Gross Domestic Product (GDP) recovers, he said. The unemployment rate will take even longer, another six to nine months, before it drops below 5%, Connaughton added.  

North Carolina GSP 
Inflation-adjusted real GSP is expected to decrease by 4.4% over the 2019 level, according to the report. Twelve of North Carolina’s 15 economic sectors are expected to experience output decreases during 2020, with the hospitality and leisure services sector seeing the largest decline, at 34.8%. 

Other sectors projected to decrease by over 5% are: 

  • Other services: -13.4% 
  • Construction: -8.8% 
  • Durable goods manufacturing: -7.0% 
  • Wholesale trade: -6.1% 
  • Educational and health services: -5.5% 

Only the agriculture and mining sector is expected to experience growth in 2020.  

State Employment Numbers
By December, seasonally adjusted nonagricultural employment in North Carolina is expected to decrease by 6.5% over the employment level in December 2019, a loss of 300,000 net jobs during the year, according to Connaughton.

Twelve of the state’s 14 nonagricultural sectors of the economy are expected to experience employment decreases during 2020.  The sectors with the largest expected employment decreases in 2020 are: 

  • Hospitality and leisure services: -25.8% 
  • Other services: -7.8% 
  • Retail trade: -7.0%
  • Transportation and warehousing: -7.3%
  • Manufacturing: -6.0%

According to the report, the North Carolina unemployment rate is expected to peak at 17.0% in May and be around 9.9% by December.

“Going forward, the one takeaway from this 10-year expansion is that the North Carolina growth rate over the period has trailed the U.S. 10-year average growth rate of 2.3%,” Connaughton said. “This is a consideration as we emerge from the COVID-19 shutdown. So, the big question is whether the North Carolina recovery will again be weaker than the U.S. recovery. This year and 2021 will be very interesting and very uncertain years.”

A Look Back 
2019 represented the 10th and final year of the economic expansion following the Great Recession, the longest expansion on record since 1854.  

“It is very likely that this expansion would have continued through at least 2020 and probably well into 2021,” Connaughton said. “However, we will never know. We will look back on this 10-year expansion as a positive and interesting decade.”   

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic forecast was presented in a virtual format for the first time in its nearly 40-year history. The full report is available at belkcollege.uncc.edu/forecast. Connaughton will release the next Barings/UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast report on Sept. 23. 

Connaughton is considered one of the top economists in North Carolina. He joined the UNC Charlotte faculty in 1978 and has served as director of the quarterly Barings/UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast since 1981. 


About the Belk College of Business
Accredited by AACSB International, the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte offers outstanding business education programs at the undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and executive levels. The Belk College is committed to building strong partnerships in the greater Charlotte region and beyond as a vital part of our mission as North Carolina's urban research business school. Find the Belk College of Business online at belkcollege.uncc.edu

About Barings
Barings is a global financial services firm with more than $227 billion in assets under management and over 2,000 associates who are dedicated to meeting the evolving investment and capital needs of the firm’s clients and customers. Through active asset management and direct origination, Barings provides innovative solutions and access to differentiated opportunities across public and private capital markets. The firm’s global headquarters is located at 300 South Tryon in Charlotte, and it maintains a strong international presence with business and investment professionals in offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

May 11, 2020 - UNC Charlotte Welcomes 11th Class of Prestigious Levine Scholarship Program

UNC Charlotte Welcomes 11th Class of Prestigious Levine Scholarship Program
Twenty-one Levine Scholars awarded merit-based scholarships 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - May 11, 2020 - Twenty-one young leaders from across the United States have been selected as the 11th class of UNC Charlotte’s Levine Scholars Program, the University’s most prestigious merit-based scholarship. 

Valued at approximately $105,000 per North Carolina student and $155,000 for each student from other states, it covers full tuition, housing, meals, books, summer experiences and other expenses. Additional funding for the Levine Scholarship Program supports civic engagement opportunities and professional development during the scholars’ academic years.

Levine Scholars are selected through a robust nomination and interview process conducted by select faculty, senior University leaders, program alumni and distinguished members of the Charlotte community. This year, the program saw the highest number of completed applications in its 11-year history.

“The response of top students from North Carolina and across the country continues to be outstanding,” said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. “As with the program’s first 10 classes, the students who join us this fall as Levine Scholars are among the very best. We are very pleased that they have chosen UNC Charlotte.”

Established in 2009 with a $9.3 million gift from Leon and Sandra Levine through their foundation, the Levine Scholars Program was created to recruit outstanding high school students based on scholarship, ethical leadership and civic engagement. In 2014, the Levines made an additional $13 million gift, which increased the scholarship from 15 recipients to approximately 20 each year beginning with the class of 2016.

“We continue to be impressed by the outstanding potential of the students who join the Levine Scholars Program,” said Leon Levine. “We look forward to watching them grow through their University experiences and see their ongoing impact in our community, region and nation.

This year’s class of 21 Levine Scholars includes 16 students from North Carolina and five students from outside North Carolina. 

North Carolina recipients are:

David Scott Buckner, Lowell, Ashbrook Senior High School; Bryant De Luna-Peralta, La Grange, North Lenoir High School; Patrick Thomas Deegan, Pittsboro, Woods Charter School; Kaitlyn Frances Gosline, Holly Springs, Wake STEM Early College High School; Karsyn Frances Koon, Harrisburg, Concord High School; Lucas Le, Wake Forest, Wake STEM Early College High School; Malachi Isaiah McMillan, High Point, Southwest Guilford High School; Galen Lucas Miller, Boone, Watauga High School; Brenda Lizeth Morales Flores, Thomasville, Ledford High School; Mia Alexander Nguyen, Matthews, Marvin Ridge High School; Ifeoluwa Joshua Onasanya, Waxhaw, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics; Joysan Jolene Osteen, Hendersonville, Brevard Senior High School; Roshna Ragunathan, Mooresville, South Iredell High School; Jamari Levon Tyson, Raleigh, Wake Early College of Health and Sciences; Jordane Hugh Martin Williams, Fayetteville, Terry Sanford Senior High School; Braelin Alexander Yarborough, Wendell, East Wake High School.

Out-of-state recipients are: 

Natalie Claire Bates, Kingsport, Tennessee, Dobyns-Bennett High School; Mary Catherine Messina, Saint Louis, Missouri, Cor Jesu Academy; Jesse Avery Smith, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Albuquerque Academy; Audrey Noel Whisnant, Tucker, Georgia, DeKalb School Of The Arts; Zoe Margaret Ziegler, Boise, Idaho, Boise High School.

Individual headshots of the Levine Scholars can be downloaded here.

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May 4, 2020 - UNC Charlotte Center City Named in Honor of Philip L. and Lisa Lewis Dubois

UNC Charlotte Center City Named in Honor of Philip L. and Lisa Lewis Dubois
The Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City honors the legacy of retiring Chancellor and First Lady

CHARLOTTE, N. C. – May 4, 2020 -  UNC Charlotte is recognizing the legacy of retiring Chancellor Philip L. Dubois and First Lady Lisa Lewis Dubois by renaming the University’s uptown Charlotte Center City Building in their honor. Regarded as a centerpiece to Dubois’ 15-year term as chancellor, the 11-story glass structure on the corner of 9th and Brevard Streets will now be known as The Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City (The Dubois Center). 

The $50.4 million facility, which opened in fall 2011, is the only University of North Carolina classroom building conceived and designed specifically to serve the business, organizations and people in an urban center. The Uptown campus building is part of the 1.2 billion facility construction and renovation program Dubois completed during his tenure as chancellor. The space, which accommodates more than 1,300 students annually who are earning bachelor’s or master’s degrees plus almost 2,600 more participating in continuing education options, includes 25 state -of-the-art classrooms and design studios, meeting and performance spaces. The Projective Eye Gallery, located near the lobby, regularly exhibits the work of artists known locally, nationally and internationally.

“Phil came to me with this audacious idea of starting a new campus right in the middle of uptown Charlotte,” said Erskine Bowles, president of the UNC System when the concept was first proposed. “Over time, we were able to convince the legislature this building could make an enormous difference, that it could drive business and opportunities for Charlotte and the region for decades to come.”

Proximity to the University’s highly ranked part-time MBA evening program and continuing education programs for those who live and work uptown, as well as to more than 1,800 University, corporate and community events every year fulfill Dubois’ original vision to elevate the University’s profile in the Charlotte region and beyond.

“We knew we needed to have a more substantial and visible presence,” Dubois said. “That led to the decision to make our No. 1 campus construction priority a new building in Center City.”

Dubois’ foresight has been confirmed by the subsequent development of the surrounding neighborhood, which includes installation of popular First Ward Park, positioned between The Dubois Center and the city’s thriving business district, and a new light rail station, which provides more than 100 daily stops to the University’s main campus in University City.

Throughout the city, including on the main campus, are evidence of the civic contributions of Lisa Lewis Dubois, efforts that extend far beyond the traditional role of a university first lady. A passion for providing a platform for women led to serving as co-chair of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Women’s Summit, whose outcomes guided the implementation of the Women+Girls Research Alliance, which collaborates as a University entity with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. Her imprint is evident on numerous education and cultural efforts that have made a difference in the lives of countless Charlotteans. 

“The legacy of Chancellor Phil Dubois and First Lady Lisa Lewis Dubois is not limited to their leadership within the walls of the UNC Charlotte campus,” said Michael L. Wilson ‘93, chair of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees. “They have worked diligently to connect UNC Charlotte to the greater Charlotte community; as the city grew, UNC Charlotte grew with it.”

The Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City is more than just a building; it’s a tangible example of the University serving the needs of a growing urban region, consistent with the institution’s mission.

“The change in the University’s visibility has paid real dividends,” Dubois said. “I feel good about leaving UNC Charlotte in a strong position as an integral partner in this great city.”

To read more about the Dubois’ leadership at UNC Charlotte, visit the Dubois Legacy Series. Visit the UNC Charlotte media assets website for a collection of photos and videos of The Dubois Center.

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April 29, 2020 - Campus Coverage for April 30, 2020

MEDIA ADVISORY 
April 30, 2020 Campus Coverage

Thursday, April 30 marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic events that took place on UNC Charlotte's campus. As the day approaches, we are focused on the remembrance of Reed Parlier and Riley Howell and honoring Drew Pescaro, Emily Houpt, Rami Alramadhan, Sean DeHart, and all the students in the classroom that day. Remembrance, safety and security, and the support of students, faculty and staff are among our most important priorities. 

Media on Campus: Media is welcome to visit campus for b-roll and live shots throughout the day. Please let UNC Charlotte media relations know when you plan to be on campus. Campus buildings are not currently open to the public. If you approach people on campus for interviews, please adhere to social distancing protocols and interview from a safe distance.

Campus Leadership Interviews: Please contact UNC Charlotte media relations to schedule all interviews. Campus leaders can be made available throughout the week for virtual or phone interviews. 

Chancellor Philip Dubois will be briefly available on the morning of April 30. Please call UNC Charlotte media relations to schedule a short interview.

United: A Remembrance Program: A virtual remembrance event will stream from UNC Charlotte's live stream websiteFacebook page and Twitter account beginning at 5:10 p.m. Please feel free to stream or record segments of the program for use on your channels.

Resources and Information: An informational document is attached to this email that may be helpful for your reporting efforts. Additionally, a new media assets website has been created and features useful visual campus assets and specific content related to April 30, 2019.

Parking: Media trucks can park on University Road (beside the Rowe Arts Building and next to Hechenbleikner Lake) or on Library Lane. Please do not park in accessible parking spaces or block the flow of traffic.

April 28, 2020 - UNC Charlotte Chancellor-elect Information

MEDIA ADVISORY 
UNC Charlotte Chancellor-elect Information

Today, UNC System Interim President William L. Roper named Dr. Sharon L. Gaber as UNC Charlotte’s fifth Chancellor. UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees Chair, Michael L. Wilson, who led the search committee, shared this message with the campus community.

Information about the Chancellor-elect can be found on the Chancellor-elect website, including the UNC System news release, a message from Michael Wilson, the Chancellor-elect’s biography and curriculum vitae, and additional media resources.

Interview Requests: All future media interview requests for the Chancellor-elect will be coordinated through a digital request form.

Resources: Photos of the Chancellor-elect can be found on the new media assets website under the collection “Chancellor-elect.” An introduction video from the Chancellor-elect will be posted later this afternoon on the Chancellor-elect website, UNC Charlotte's official Facebook page and Twitter account, and will be made available on the media assets website.

Media contact: Media inquiries related to today’s announcement should be directed to UNC System Director of Media Relations Jason Tyson at jtyson@northcarolina.edu or 919-962-7296.

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April 22, 2020 - School of Data Science Now Enrolling Students for Fall

UNC Charlotte News

UNC Charlotte School of Data Science Now Enrolling Students for Fall
Data science will create an estimated 11.5 million jobs nationally by 2026

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – April 22, 2020 - UNC Charlotte’s School of Data Science, North Carolina’s first undergraduate program in data science, is now enrolling undergraduate students for the fall semester. The program, the first of its kind to incorporate the liberal arts and sciences with technical data skills, allows the School of Data Science to expand its efforts in helping to meet the soaring demand for qualified, dynamic data science professionals throughout the region and the nation. 

Bioinformatics.jpgCurrent students are able to register for the program’s first two introductory courses available this fall, where they will learn to apply statistical methods, tools and script programming languages to explore the ethical implications of collecting and using tabular data. Incoming freshmen and transfer students will have the opportunity to learn more about the bachelor’s degree program during Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) sessions this summer in preparation for fall 2020 registration. 

“This new program will give organizations that recruit large numbers of data science professionals insight into that talent pipeline much earlier in the hiring cycle,” said Ned Carroll, senior managing director and chief data officer for TIAA. “Today, we identify data science talent through computer science, statistics, applied mathematics and similar degree programs. While we likely will continue to find talent in those disciplines, this degree will provide a more targeted view into early talent, in particular, potential data science interns and employees who possess the combination of skills we seek for building a meaningful future pipeline of qualified data experts.”

Career options for graduates of the new data science undergraduate program include data science engineer, data analyst, research engineer, data science developer, among others. To meet employer demand, the program offers courses in machine learning, data analysis, statistics, data visualization and--key to the overall nature of SDS bachelor’s and master’s degree programs --the ethics surrounding the field of data science

“Building on the success of our master’s programs, our goal is to provide students of all backgrounds with the educational opportunities to apply data science to the fields they’re passionate about,” said Doug Hague, executive director of UNC Charlotte’s School of Data Science. “As we continue down the path toward a more digitalized world, I’m confident that SDS graduates will lead the way in solving some of the world’s largest problems.” 

The Bachelor of Science in Data Science program marks the latest expansion of the interdisciplinary partnership among the College of Computing and Informatics, the Belk College of Business, the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The program will begin this fall, pending approval from the U.S. Department of Education.

To learn more about the School of Data Science’s bachelor's degree, visit the Data Science website

April 14, 2020 - April 30 Day of Remembrance to be Observed Virtually

April 30 Day of Remembrance to be Observed Virtually
UNC Charlotte will live stream ‘United - A Remembrance Program

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – April 14, 2020 - Today, UNC Charlotte shared alternative plans for the remembrance events scheduled for April 30, 2020, due to the current stay-at-home environment. To observe the one-year anniversary of the events on April 30, 2019, a tragic day in campus history, UNC Charlotte will recognize the day with a virtual event, “United - A Remembrance Program,” on April 30, 2020, at 5:10 p.m. 
 

4.30 SOC Collage Logo.jpgThe event will pay tribute to Reed Parlier and Riley Howell, and honor the four injured students and all the students in the classroom that day. It will broadcast from UNC Charlotte’s live stream website (livestream.uncc.edu) and made available on the UNC Charlotte Facebook and Twitter channels. 

“Even though we will not be able to conduct planned remembrance ceremonies in person, it doesn’t mean the day will have any less significance,” Chancellor Philip L. Dubois said. “Perseverance is a trademark of Niner Nation, and we are committed to finding meaningful ways to honor the lives lost and all those affected.”

The program will feature messages from Chancellor Dubois, Student Body President Chandler Crean, Student Body Vice President Adela Mann, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Kevin Bailey, and a special appearance from CBS News correspondent and alumnus, Don Dahler (’91). 

In addition, the event will share an artistic video created by faculty member Jeff Murphy and accompanied by an original composition written by faculty member John Allemeier, as well as musical performances by “Water From Fire” featuring alumni John Woodall (’13) and Kevin Brawley (’13). All participant biographies and program details can be found on the Niner Nation Remembers website.  

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March 11, 2020 - Baring/UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast

North Carolina's Economic Forecast: 'Sluggish Growth' for Remainder of 2020

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - March 11, 2020 - John Connaughton, Barings Professor of Financial Economics at UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business, is forecasting an extended period of “sluggish growth” for the state’s economy in 2020. 

“The bump up to a 3% annual GSP [Gross State Product] growth rate that was promised as part of the 2018 tax cut appears to be over,” Connaughton said. “The benefit that the January 2018 tax cuts provided are substantially offset by the ongoing trade dispute with China. At this time, there does not seem to be a resolution to this dispute in the foreseeable future, and the forecast for the remainder of 2019 and all of 2020 reflects this fact. In addition, the recent outbreak of coronavirus in China and other nations is beginning to have a real impact on U.S. growth prospects during the first half of 2020.”

Connaughton forecasts 13 of the state’s 14 non-agricultural economic sectors are expected to experience employment increases in 2020. Sectors with the strongest growth include:

  • Construction: 6.4%
  • Utilities: 5%
  • Durable goods manufacturing: 4.3%

The North Carolina unemployment rate is expected to decline slightly throughout 2020 to 3.5% by December, he said. GSP for 2020 is expected to reach $612,844.5 million in 2020.

Connaughton presented his quarterly economic forecast report to members of the Charlotte business community and the media Wednesday, March 11, at UNC Charlotte Center City. The event is sponsored by Barings.

State’s Annual Growth Rate Trails National Average

On paper, North Carolina’s 10 consecutive years of economic growth are impressive, Connaughton said. However, taking a closer look, the size of that economic growth–averaging less than 2% per year–trails the U.S. 10-year average annual growth rate of 2.3%.

“While the U.S. productivity growth has been slow by historical standards, North Carolina’s productivity growth has been even more sluggish over this expansion,” he said.  

For 2019, the forecast found: 

  • The state added 93,900 net jobs.
  • Twelve of the state’s 14 nonagricultural sectors of the economy experienced employment increases.  
  • The sectors with the strongest employment increases were hospitality and leisure services at 5.9% and information at 5%.

The full report is available at belkcollege.uncc.edu/forecast. A new forecast video will be posted on the website by Friday, March 13. Connaughton will release the next Barings/UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast report on May 28.

Connaughton is considered one of the top economists in North Carolina. He joined the UNC Charlotte faculty in 1978 and has served as director of the quarterly Barings/UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast since 1981. 

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Downloadable media assets

March 2020 Economic Forecast Presentation

 

About Barings
Barings is a global financial services firm with more than $335 billion in assets under management and over 2,000 associates who are dedicated to meeting the evolving investment and capital needs of the firm’s clients and customers. Through active asset management and direct origination, Barings provides innovative solutions and access to differentiated opportunities across public and private capital markets. The firm’s global headquarters is located at 300 South Tryon, and it maintains a strong international presence with business and investment professionals in offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

 
About the Belk College of Business

Accredited by AACSB International, the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte offers outstanding business education programs at the undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and executive levels. The Belk College is committed to building strong partnerships in the greater Charlotte region and beyond as a vital part of our mission as North Carolina's urban research business school. Find the Belk College of Business online at belkcollege.uncc.edu.

March 9, 2020 - Barings/UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast Set for March 11

What: UNC Charlotte economist John Connaughton will present his quarterly forecast on the North Carolina economy during the Barings/UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast on Wednesday, March 11. 

When: Networking/lunch begins at 11:30 a.m.; the presentation begins at noon

Where: UNC Charlotte Center City, 320 E. 9th Street, Charlotte, NC 28202 

About: In addition to his regular quarterly update, Connaughton will focus on:

  • His new research on North Carolina's productivity in the 21st century. Is the state’s economic development policy stifling expansion? 
  • The economic impact of the coronavirus, which has slowly spread to the United States.

Connaughton is considered one of the top regional economists in North Carolina. The Barings/UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast, sponsored by Barings, covers the state’s industrial sectors and measures the health of the state economy. Connaughton, Barings professor of financial economics at UNC Charlotte's Belk College of Business, also will cover national and international economic issues, including employment, energy, trade and government spending.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested at belkcollege.uncc.edu/forecast.

Media Information: Dr. Connaughton will be available on-site for follow-up questions until 1:15 p.m. and will be available by phone after 1:30 p.m. on March 11. The Belk College of Business will live tweet from the Forecast through its Twitter page (@UNCCBelkCollege) with  #NCForecast

Parking/Transportation: Due to construction and other activity surrounding UNC Charlotte Center City, parking is extremely limited. The parking lots adjacent to Center Center are reserved only for faculty, staff and students with university-issued parking permits and are no longer available for event guest parking. 

Parking is not guaranteed and may be limited at these locations. Media and guests are encouraged to use light rail or alternative transportation.

Parking for those with a valid handicap placard is available in the paved lot across from Center City (no additional permit needed).