In the first decade of his tenure as Chancellor of UNC Charlotte, Chancellor Dubois has been very deliberate and strategic in leading the University in the development of several key initiatives. The following list, while far from comprehensive, provides a glimpse into the broad and varied priorities that have risen to the level of a Chancellor-led university initiative. Each is carefully designed to enhance a particular aspect of the Forty-Niner experience for our students, faculty, staff, and community.
The safety and security of our campus and the faculty, staff, and students who live and work here, is of paramount importance. Considerable resources have been committed and deployed to ensure that our campus is as safe as possible. In 2008, Chancellor Dubois commissioned a Campus Safety and Security Committee and charged the group with implementation of a comprehensive plan to address the physical safety and security of UNC Charlotte's main campus. This Committee monitors the plan's progress, advises university leadership concerning safety issues and concerns, and makes additional recommendations to address those concerns in order to ensure a secure environment for all members of the university community.
The decision to implement a football program at UNC Charlotte was not entered into lightly. A feasibility committee comprised of community leaders and chaired by Mac Everett issued a report encouraging the University to proceed with adding football. After careful study and financial analysis, Chancellor Dubois recommended that the University proceed. In September of 2008, a decision was made by the Board of Trustees to apply for entry into the Football Championship Subdivision of the NCAA, with the goal of playing our first full season of football competition in the fall of 2013. Fast forward to the present day, and we couldn't be more proud of how the process has unfolded. In the fall of 2015, we began our third season of competition--and our first in the Football Bowl Subdivision as a member of Conference USA--with a tremendous team, a top-notch coaching staff, and a state-of-the-university, zero-waste stadium that would make any university GREEN with envy.
As evidence of UNC Charlotte's focus on engaged and applied learning, the UPIP program provides our students with a unique internship opportunity tailored to their specific majors and career interests. UPIP interns receive valuable mentoring from university faculty and administrators, and they have the opportunity to gain essential knowledge and experience while also contributing in a meaningful way to the inner workings of the university.
49er Finish is a program that is near and dear to the Chancellor's heart. Several years ago, university officials became aware of a large number of students who, for one reason or another, left UNC Charlotte in good academic standing without completing their undergraduate degrees, even though they were more than 75% through. In 2005, the 49er Finish program was created within the Office of Adult Students & Evening Services (OASES) to reach out to these students and make it possible and convenient for them to come back and finish their degrees. At last count, 679 students have returned and completed their degrees through 49er Finish! The program was recognized by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in 2013 as an "important innovation in public higher education.”
When the Board of Governors of the UNC System issued a call to university campuses for “game-changing research” in areas of strategic importance to the state, UNC Charlotte was ready to respond. Our Data Science Initiative was one of six “game-changing” proposals to be funded. The workforce challenges of today and tomorrow demand collaborations and partnerships centered around “big data.” As a hub for economic activity in banking, energy, retail, and healthcare, Charlotte provides the perfect backdrop for big data research, not to mention countless partnership opportunities with local industry leaders who recognize the value and potential of our Data Science Initiative.
The Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte was conceived in response to an energy industry “boom” in Charlotte in recent years. Through collaborative partnerships with industry leaders such as Duke Energy, Siemens, AREVA, Westinghouse, EPRI, and others, UNC Charlotte is making great strides in addressing the energy industry’s imminent workforce crisis and in performing critical fundamental and applied research to improve security and continuity of energy. The facility and the program are remarkable and a source of great pride for the University and for Charlotte.
With the exponential growth we’ve experienced both on our main campus and in our Center City location, one of the most important long-term initiatives undertaken by the Chancellor is the extension of the light rail system in Charlotte. In 2017, light rail will finally arrive to connect the main campus to Center City, providing convenient and much-needed access for our students, faculty and staff members. Additionally, light rail will make it much easier for people to make the trek from uptown to take in cultural or athletic events on campus, including home appearances by the Forty-Niners football team. Shortly after the Chancellor joined UNC Charlotte, he was approached by then Mayor of Charlotte, now Governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, who wanted the University’s support in the City’s quest to add a light rail extension to the University. Immediately recognizing the positive transformative effect this would have for both the main and Center City campuses, Chancellor Dubois committed University land and resources to allow light rail to come onto campus and have a terminal stop behind the University’s Student Union. We can’t wait to hop aboard!