Campus News

Chancellor shares end-of-year highlights and other updates

At the May 18 trustees meeting, Commencement, improvements in rankings and a new $70 million grant led chancellor’s remarks.

Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz
During his remarks, Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz mentioned progress on building out programs for public discourse at Carolina. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz celebrated the graduation of the “Jordan Year” Class of 2023 (23 was Michael Jordan’s jersey number) at the May 14 Spring Commencement and other recent achievements in his remarks to the University Board of Trustees at the May 18 meeting.

Highlights he mentioned included:

  • 21 programs in the top 10 in U.S. News & World Report’s graduate school rankings, with the Gillings School of Global Public Health maintaining its No. 1 spot among public schools.
  • $70 million National Institutes of Health grant to the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute in the School of Medicine.
  • Implementation of the IDEAs in Action curriculum.

During his remarks, the chancellor mentioned progress on building out programs for public discourse at Carolina.

He gave this timeline:

  • May 2023: Approval of personnel policies for fixed-term faculty in the Program for Public Discourse; meeting of faculty committee to guide the planning of the proposed School of Civic Life and Leadership, its curriculum and staffing.
  • Summer 2023: Faculty committee report to be submitted to chancellor and provost.
  • Fall 2023: Committee report to be presented to Faculty Council and Board of Trustees; interim director to be appointed.
  • Spring 2024: First courses may be taught; permanent director to be identified.

“As the nation’s first public university, we have a responsibility to be a place that brings together people of diverse backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints to debate the issues of our time. That’s what this school, to be housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, will do,” Guskiewicz said. “I’m pleased that collectively we are embracing this as an important responsibility that we will uphold in preparing the next generation of leaders.”

He also mentioned the recent joint hiring of a faculty member appointed to both the Program for Public Discourse and the philosophy department, the first since the new school was proposed. Rory Hanlon is a teaching fellow in the humanities at the University of Chicago. “If we can find 15 more like Rory, I think we’re going to be in great shape,” he said.

Benjamin Storey

Benjamin Storey leads a project on the future of the American university as a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Continuing the theme of citizenship, guest speaker Benjamin Storey, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told the trustees about his current project there on the future of the American university.

“What we seek to do with that project is to persuade a skeptical rising generation and people on both sides of the political aisle of the value of the kind of liberal education I got here at UNC,” said Storey ’97, mentioning classes and faculty members by name.

“The ambition to govern oneself is breathtaking,” he said. “A liberal education can help.”

To be self-governing, U.S. citizens need two kinds of competence, Storey said. The first is the ability to make good decisions by weighing many different viewpoints. The second is understanding how our government works.

That means studying not only basic documents like the U.S. Constitution but also a broad range of writings about governance, Storey said. “You have to study the long and checkered history of humankind’s efforts at self-government in authors from Thucydides to Confucius to Karl Marx — yes, Karl Marx — and Edmund Burke.”

Christopher Everett

Flanked by his parents, Student Body President Christopher Everett, is sworn in as the newest member of the University’s Board of Trustees. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

In other action, the trustees:

  • Swore in their newest member, Student Body President Christopher Everett.
  • Passed resolutions of appreciation for the service of departing board members Teresa Artis Neal, Gene Davis Jr. and Allie Ray McCullen.
  • Approved the removal of the Naval Armory from the proposed demolition list in the 2019 Campus Master Plan. The vote followed a presentation to the Strategic Initiatives Committee about the armory’s role in the World War II-era U.S. Navy pre-flight training school on campus.

Watch a recording of the May 18 meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees.