At his first Employee Forum meeting as interim chancellor, Kevin M. Guskiewicz told delegates on May 1 that what has surprised him most during his three months in the office is how often he’s been thanked for stepping into the interim role.
“That meant a lot to me,” he said, “but I am here today to thank you for all you do for us because we would not function as a leading global public research university if it were not for the passion and dedication that you have for this University.”
Guskiewicz said he values the vital role the forum plays as a communication link between University administrators and employees.
“I am proud to be here today,” Guskiewicz said. “I am excited and energized by the opportunity to be your chancellor. Regardless of what you do, I want to hear from you. Your ideas and opinions are important to us.”
Guskiewicz said he came to Carolina 24 years ago as a junior faculty member whose biggest worry was getting tenure. But over the years, his responsibilities expanded as he moved from being a department chair to a center director, and much later, from dean of the College of Arts & Sciences to interim chancellor. He also sees Carolina through the eyes of a parent, with two children now attending as students.
Carolina is faced with many challenges and opportunities, which is what makes it such an exciting time to be here to try to make a difference, Guskiewicz said. “I wouldn’t have accepted this job if I thought every day would be easy. In fact, my new motto is ‘easy is boring,’ and I know you probably feel the same way.”
In his listening and learning tours on campus, Guskiewicz said, he has talked repeatedly about being strategic, bold and student-focused. “No matter what role we play here, we are really here to ensure that our students are prepared as they leave here to go out into the world and make it a better place.”
The new general education curriculum, which was approved last month, “sets the next generation of Carolina students on a wonderful path to become the leaders of tomorrow.”
“I tell people we are not only the first of the public universities, we are the most public of the publics and there is something really special about that,” he said.
Everywhere he has gone, Guskiewicz said, he has shared two themes. The first is diversity, inclusion and equity. “We must do everything possible to make sure this is a place where everyone feels welcome.”
The second theme is building on Carolina’s existing culture of collaboration. One way the University is doing that is the creation of the UNC Institute for Convergent Science, he said.
Later in the meeting, Tricia Mahoney of GuidanceResources reviewed services available through the Employee Assistance Program. EAP is a confidential counseling and resource program designed to help University employees and their families deal with personal and work-related concerns. To learn more, go to https://www.guidanceresources.com/groWeb/login/login.xhtml.
In other action, the forum thanked delegates who are ending their terms and welcomed new delegates.
— Gary Moss, University Gazette