As I began flipping through my calendar and thinking about what to include in the next “Fast Five” update, it occurred to me that this week includes Groundhog Day. So I got up early, poked my head out of Bissell House, and didn't see my shadow. I'm told the real Punxsutawney Phil had just the opposite experience. So we have a toss-up: six more weeks of winter for Pennsylvania and spring around the corner for all 49ers.
The next couple of weeks are plenty busy and challenging for the folks in my office, so good weather would be welcome.
- For starters, the issue on everyone's mind, especially within the realm of higher education, is the presidential executive order signed last week which impacts immigration and travel outside of the U.S. I issued a statement to the campus community earlier this week, and we continue to monitor the situation very closely.
- I've been engaged in multiple conversations about new facilities in the planning/design phase, specifically the new Science Building, the new Health and Wellness Center, and a new Undergraduate Admissions Center. It's always exciting to watch new buildings go from concept to paper, and then to see the actual product rising up from the ground. First out of the box will be the Health and Wellness Center, starting after commencement this year.
- I received a progress report from consultants who were brought in to analyze our crisis communications efforts and to help us put processes in place to make them more effective. We always strive for transparency and accuracy in our communications to the campus community, but I think you will see some improvements in the way we do that in the coming months. We don't go looking for crises; they seem to find us!
- Next week I will be traveling to Greensboro for an annual Campus Compact Presidents Forum. If you're not familiar with this group, the North Carolina Campus Compact is a network of 37 public and private colleges and universities in NC with a "shared commitment to educating engaged citizens and strengthening communities." NC is the 26th of 34 states in the U.S. to have established a state Compact.
- And finally, everybody's talking about the Charlotte Law School and what our response may or may not be in light of their recent problems. I’m getting questions and unsolicited advice from just about every direction. I have no news to share, but our Board of Trustees will be taking a hard look at options and possibilities at the Board's next meeting on February 9, always keeping the best interest of UNC Charlotte at the forefront of every discussion.
Enjoy your weekend. And remember, you owe your thanks for good weather to the local Phil and not that northern imposter.
Philip L. Dubois, Chancellor