A little blurb about Charlotte and nursing, other then that a very interesting read…
Could not post the link however…
Copyright 2006 News & Record (Greensboro, NC)
All Rights Reserved
News & Record (Greensboro, NC)
October 01, 2006 Sunday
News & Record Edition
CLASSIFIEDSDEAS; Pg. H1
An interview with;
Q. If you could describe your first few months on the job in one adjective, what would that adjective be and why?
A. Fulfilling. I love complexity. I thrive in a complex environment. I enjoy being challenged. I cannot imagine another place I could be where I could wake up and really feel every day - I know it sounds corny - that I’m really doing something that’s good.
Q. How does it compare to your experience in Washington?
A. I’m very lucky to have had the experience in Washington. … It’s very different than managing in the private sector, and that job gave me a chance to learn how to manage in a public environment. That job also was complex. … I remember Molly [Molly Broad, former president of the UNC system] told me that this job has a lot of complexity to it and I remember laughing to myself, "Well, I have this job where I wake up each morning and I deal with Bosnia or North Korea, Northern Ireland, the Mideast, health care and taxation and budget and welfare reform and then I have lunch. …"
But that job taught me how to … get things through a legislature, which is also a key part of this job. … That job required me working in a nonpartisan manner, which this job clearly does. … I had to learn to work with the press and in the public spotlight. … In many ways, it prepared me for what I’m doing today.
Q. You came in very excited about the pilot program with Guilford County Schools. Can you tell us a little about your views on it? How did this come to be?
A. We have a crisis in our public schools. … We are not competitive. In Singapore, 44 percent of the eighth-graders this year scored at the most advanced level in math and science. In the U.S., less than 7 percent of our kids do. … If we don’t get more of our own people better educated, we won’t be able to compete …
If you look at the thing that’s hampered our growth and our ability to produce people with the right kind of skills, it’s that we can’t attract the right kind of people to go in the teaching profession. We can’t attract enough teachers and we can’t attract enough teachers with math and science skills. …
We’re doing [a seven-point program] in combination with the Guilford County school system, with Action Greensboro, and with N.C. A&T and UNCG. We’re all coming together to try to see what we can do to provide more teachers, better teachers, more math teachers in Guilford County.
People ask me why do we have a 9,000-teacher shortage, why do we have 50 percent turnover in math teachers in [some] high schools. The answer is simple. We don’t pay them anything.
We’re still living in Mama’s generation when women didn’t have the opportunity, when if you wanted to have a career you became either a teacher or a nurse. We had a free shot at 50 percent of the best and the brightest. We could pay them nothing. They had pretty good work conditions and they had no other options.
But today they’ve got lots of other options. … We still pay them nothing and they’ve got pretty tough work conditions. We are setting out to change that.
We want to value the teaching profession. We want to recruit and retain the best math teachers anywhere in the country at these eight high schools: Smith, Dudley, High Point Andrews, High Point Central, the middle colleges at A&T and Bennett and at Eastern and Southern. Those are all below-performing schools in this county. We are going to give the math teachers, all 70 of them, a $10,000 market-based compensation increase today. They are also going to get a $4,000 performance base incentive pay if their students advance by 1.5 years for every one year they are in the classroom. That means that a young teacher who was making $31,000 can now make $45,000. But we’re not just going to have differential pay. We’re also going to recruit like crazy to bring in the best teachers nationally and locally. … We’re going to provide them with professional development help and the mentoring they need not so just that they come here, but that they stay. …
We think this program can be the model for the rest of the nation. … I want to see this expanded to the science programs, and I want to see it expanded to other communities. I think this gives us the chance to compete for those new jobs that will be created in the future.
Q. Do we know where our best teachers are coming from?
A. No. That drove me crazy because I’m a business guy. The data is available, but you can’t get to it. But we’re going to.
I can’t tell you where our best teachers are coming from … so my recruiting for them is more scattered than it should be. … I can’t tell you where they are going, whether they are going to urban or rural communities … Are they going and teaching in the subject areas where we have the greatest need, like math and science, special ed and middle schools? … I can’t tell you if they stay … and most importantly, I can’t tell you how their kids are performing. … I will be able to tell you soon. …
SAS [a software company based in Cary] is going to take our three separate databases where all this information is in, and we’re going to bring it together. The first project is to answer those questions. … I will then be able to take limited resources from the taxpayer and use them better.
Q. What will you do with [university] programs that aren’t doing as well?
A. We’ll either try to fix them and make them better … [or] redirect them to higher need areas. I’m not afraid of closing some of them down and reallocating to other programs. We are in a period of limited resources.
Q. There are three schools of nursing in the system that have been having some problems: UNC-Charlotte, N.,C. Central and N.C. A&T. Would shutting down the school of nursing at A&T be something that you’d consider?
A. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but the scores that came out are much, much better than they were. … They know that what’s going on now is totally unacceptable. They’ve got to improve it. We can’t fail to meet the standards. … The right thing to do is to fix it because we’ve got a chronic shortage of nurses.
Q. Would the same thing apply to teaching? If the teachers of a certain school weren’t performing …
A. I can’t do it without any data. … Once I have the data, I will know why we aren’t doing well. If the problem is money, then my job is to get the money.
I’ve got to make sure that these universities have the resources they need to offer quality education. Where I want to get those resources is, first, from operating as efficiently and as effectively as possible. … We will reallocate resources from the administrative side to the education side.
Q. Will there be a UNC Rocky Mount? Given those financial pressures, does it make sense to add another campus to the system by turning N.C Wesleyan into a UNC school?
A. It’s hard to make the math work. … In addition, I’m not excited about any fixed assets. I want to utilize the fixed assets we have better. We ought to be using these building in the nights, on weekends, for summer school. … I also believe in distance education. …
We have a constitutional mandate to provide an education to the people of that area. The legislature has told us to do a study. If the study comes back and says that the best way to provide the education to the people of that community is through our acquisition of Wesleyan, then I’ll be for it. But if it doesn’t, then I’ll be against it.
Q. You say you’re not good at waiting forever. You seem to be practicing that at A&T. You have an interim chancellor at A&T who doesn’t seem to be interim.
A. He’s not the interim chancellor. He’s the chancellor on an interim basis. There’s a big difference. He is the chancellor of that university. He is in charge. I am proud to have Vic (Lloyd “Vic” Hackley) heading up that university. Having Vic there is a luxury that allows taking the time it needs to find the best person to stay there for the long term. Vic doesn’t want to be a candidate, but he is willing to stay there 'til we get the right person. …
Q. What is your assessment of Jim Renick’s tenure?
A. I think Jim did a lot of really, really good things for A&T He helped take it to a research intensive university.
I think A&T can be a gem in our university crown. … I think it takes a leader who really cares for and is involved in his community and raises money in the private sector and brings in the faculty we need to take it to another level. … A&T ought to have its engineering program and its nanotechnology program as signature programs.
Q. There were some issues about the academic rigor of the engineering program.
A. It’s got to improve. A&T’s engineering program was great. It’s going to be great again. It’s got to get the resources. Look at A&T’s budget. A&T gets $8,070 a year [in state revenue per student] and it’s a research-intensive university. UNCG gets $9,280 a year … Central gets $10,154 a year … A&T is underfunded if we want it to be a great university. I’m going to fight for A&T.
Q. You all are planning on doing a mission study looking at the mission statements for all the universities in the system. Could you explain what its impact might be for A&T and UNCG?
A. We are going to try and understand what the future needs of North Carolina are … and what the university’s role is in meeting those needs.
The president of Cal State … went to the six largest industries in the state and he said, “What do you need from the university?” What are we not doing? What do you think you’ll need in the future? …We can also do this by region … Let’s go meet with Action Greensboro. … We want to do some listening … That will help me understand where the university should grow and where it shouldn’t.
Q. Going back to the issue of tuition increases. There are a number of people who are arguing that it’s getting out of hand and that UNC is in danger of violating its core mission to the taxpayers of North Carolina. What are your views on tuition and how far is enough and how far is too far?
A. We’ll still in the process of getting input from the board of governors and from others as to what the tuition policy of the university should be. I strongly believe that tuition has to be a secondary source of revenue. I believe to my core that we not only have a constitutional responsibility to keep tuition … down but a moral responsibility.
I want to keep tuition as low as possible. At the same time … [we have] the responsibility to offer these kids a quality education. … I think if you look at where our tuitions are compared to other, similar universities … you would see that we do pretty well. Are we where we want to be? No.
And it’s not just the tuition. It’s the tuition and fees.
Q. There’s been an effort at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State to have greater autonomy in setting their tuitions. … How are you leaning in terms of whether or not they should have more autonomy to set tuition or whether they should be regulated by the Board of Governors as the other universities in the system are?
A. That autonomy question … is over. … The board of trustees in Chapel Hill values being part of the university system. They want to stay part of the university system, and any discussion of leaving the university system is a dead issue.
Q. There are some aggressive enrollment goals for some schools such as A&T and UNCG. Is there a point where you get into some danger - where students start and don’t finish?.. That’s particularly a problem at A&T. Where do you get to the point of diminishing returns?
A. I think we’ve given a lot of students a really bad deal. We get them into our schools, they take a bunch of remedial courses, they drop out after two years, they drop out with a bunch of debt. I think that’s wrong. We’re going to change that. How we’re going to change that I can’t tell you.
Let me give you one example of what we might do. I went down to Jacksonville to Onslow County to the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune. … All those who tested at less than 11th-and-a-half grade are required to go through an intensive eight-week program in the summer taught by teachers at Coastal Carolina in the basics: reading, writing, arithmetic. On average, those students gained 2.7 years. …
I thought to myself: What if we required every student who comes to the university who scored less than an 850 or 900 on their college board … or in a particular area is weak … and we required them to go to a summer program and … gave them conditional admittance. We do that at our best schools. … At the Kenan-Flagler Business School … all those folks who weren’t undergraduate business majors or … who were English majors who never had accounting or statistics … have to go through a summer program … so they can catch up. …
So what if we required these kids to go to these programs conditional admittance and … it works as good as it appears to with the Marines? … It would be just like … what we do to get kids ready to learn to go into the first grade, like Smart Start and More at Four. We’d have kids going to college ready to learn. …
There are lots of ways to do it. … I know we can’t just do nothing. … We’re in a crisis. We’ve got to give these kids a chance to get a good college education so they have a chance to compete for those jobs.
For Erskine Bowles, losing two bids for the U.S. Senate might have been two blessings in disguise. Bowles, a White House chief of staff during the Clinton administration, says his current job as president of the UNC system is “the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”
“I am thrilled to be in this job. I am completely done, for ever and ever, with politics,” said Greensboro’s native son in a recent interview with the News & Record editorial board.
In the interview, Bowles talked about many subjects, such as the pilot program UNC is involved in to recruit and retain math teachers in Guilford County public schools, his vision for N.C. A&T, and a possible “boot camp” style program to boost the basic skills of some entering college students.
The bottom line? Bowles wants UNC to focus its resources on helping North Carolina - and North Carolinians - remain strong players in a competitive global economy.
Jerry Wolford / News & Record Erskine Bowles, president of the UNC system, meets with News & Record reporters and members of the editorial board."We’re still living in Mama’s generation when women didn’t have the opportunity, when if you wanted to have a career you became either a teacher or a nurse."
October 1, 2006