Chancellor Folt: Breaking Down The Silos At UNC

By Ran Northam Posted November 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm

CHAPEL HILL – UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said she wants to break down the silos at Carolina to allow the different schools and departments to better work together. These comments were made in a WCHL News Special with Jim Heavner.

“Within departments, you no longer have people that were necessarily just of that field,” Chancellor Folt said. “So we organize around curricular fronts, but we work across those disciplines: biologists work with chemists work with social scientists. So whatever we can do that can make it easier for faculty to share in the teaching of courses, easier for students to work with faculty from more than one department.”

***Listen to Part II of WCHL’s News Special with the Chancellor***

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

She said, in some cases, the breaking down of silos even allows for teachers and students to work across school borders.

“The biomedical engineering degree that has been created with State and with Carolina is one of the best examples in the nation that I can already see where people have de-silo-ed and tried to look for a new convergence,” Chancellor Folt says. “But it can happen in any department, and in any division of the institution.”

And, Chancellor Folt said this is something in which the department heads have already expressed interest.

“And there’s a lot of excitement about it, because faculty have known that some of the most exciting work comes when you’re in between things” Chancellor Folt says. “That’s where the energy arises. So, I think there’s a lot of will. It doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy; sometimes you have to give up authority around certain functions that can then be shared. You know, there are decisions that have to come, but there’s certainly an appetite here.”

As budget cuts continue and the economy struggles to recover, added pressure is put on the finances of the University. The chancellor has a plane at her disposal, but this chancellor said when she gets the chance she’d rather take a car.

“We really try to minimize the use of the planes—at least for my travel,” Chancellor Folt says. “If it’s really necessary, I can use that.”

“Have you been cautioned about the use of planes?” Heavner asked. “There was a lot of criticism, a lot of attention to the previous chancellor’s use of the planes.

“I think we’re just very aware that we’re trying to keep our expenses down and do what we can to really run the institution with the dollars that we have in a very strategic way.”

Tune in to the WCHL Morning and Afternoon and Evening News to hear the interview with Chancellor Folt in four parts Monday through Thursday this week.

To read the other articles in this WCHL News Special series with the Chancellor, navigate below.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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