UNC Board of Governors Approves Pay Raises for Chancellors

Several chancellors in the UNC System are getting pay bumps from the UNC Board of Governors.

The increases go beyond the 1.5 percent raise given to all state employees as part of the North Carolina budget passed by the General Assembly.

The adjustments include a 3.14 percent jump for UNC – Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt, above the 1.5 percent state-mandated increase. That brings Folt’s annual salary to $596,448. North Carolina State Chancellor Randy Woodson received an identical 3.14 bump over the 1.5 percent from the state to bring his salary to $617,376.

Chancellors at Appalachian State University, Elizabeth City State University, North Carolina Central University, UNC – Charlotte and Western Carolina also received bumps ranging from .81 percent to 14.63 percent for Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois. System President Margaret Spellings said his increase was due to “a pay equity issue that arose from the hiring of the new Chancellor at ECU.”

Spellings said these increases were an attempt to bring all of the chancellors across the system into the market range for their positions.

“This board has, for a couple of years now, been working to get competitive market salary ranges for each of the chancellors,” Spellings said after the meeting. “And this was the next step in that journey. And we are nearly there.”

The raises came after the Board of Governors approved pay raises for chancellors in November 2015 – a move that was criticized because of the secrecy that surrounded the increases.

Board chair Lou Bissette said the board “learned a lot of lessons last year.”

“We’ve determined that we didn’t do it correctly last year, but we think we did this year.”

Bissette added the board is moving toward more transparency in general, pointing to the public comment sessions now being held and that the board meetings are now streamed online.

Bissette said the board thought there were benefits from splitting the pay increases up, rather than just allocating the full increases last November.

“Nobody felt like that was a good thing to do in one bite,” Bissette said. “And so we made those increases. And then this pretty much completes that process that was begun two years ago when we had a market survey.”

Even with the increases, the two highest-paid chancellors – Woodson and Folt – are still below the market rate for their positions, according to the system’s figures, but every other chancellor is at least at the floor of the salary range.

“Here forward, we’re going to be looking at performance-oriented increases,” Bissette said. “But we needed to get everybody at least to the bottom part of their ranges.”

Woodson does have an incentive package that allows him to reach the market salary range for his position, but Folt does not. Spellings said the possibility exists that could change.

“There are, obviously, discussions at the [UNC – Chapel Hill] Board of Trustees about vehicles for Chancellor Folt that might be akin to Chancellor Woodson’s.”

As far as the performance metrics that will be used to decide future increases, those are still to be determined. Bissette said it is hard to find one umbrella that will cover all of the system’s institutions.

“The uniqueness of our system and the different campuses, that’s what makes this system great to me,” Bissette said. “But they are all different and unique, and there are not many times you can apply an across-the-board policy.”


NC State Grad Named Senior Vice President of External Affairs of UNC System

A North Carolina State University grad has been named Senior Vice President of External Affairs for the UNC System, in a move announced on Monday.

Kevin Howell was appointed by UNC President Margaret Spellings to the newly created position to lead a new UNC Division of External Affairs. Howell is charged with serving as a spokesperson for the UNC system.

Howell’s role is to develop key advocacy and branding strategies and forge partnerships with policy-makers, business leaders, community members and alumni, according to a release.

Spellings issued a statement calling Howell the perfect candidate with his track record within UNC and the state government.

“Since graduating from NC State nearly three decades ago, he has devoted most of his professional career to serving the state of North Carolina in one capacity or another,” Spellings said.

Prior to this position, Howell worked as the assistant to the chancellor for external affairs at NC State. In that role, he worked closely with the UNC General Administration and he worked with legislators in the NC General Assembly.

Prior to joining NC State, he worked as a legislative liaison for two North Carolina governors – Mike Easley and Jim Hunt – where he was responsible for analyzing and tracking legislative proposals.

A native to North Carolina, Howell graduated from NC State in 1988 with a degree in political science. He is also a graduate from UNC Law School in 1992.


UNC Study: Overusing Social Media May Negatively Impact Adolescents

With social media rapidly becoming the main source of communication between teens, some concerns of developing key interpersonal skills have arisen.

Researchers at UNC and NC State University collaborated in a new study on the potential for negative effects when overusing social media as an adolescent.

“With electronic communications, there are fewer interpersonal cues,” Jacqueline Nesi, the lead author of the study said, adding, “You’re not seeing facial expressions or using nonverbal communications. So, the predominant use of social media may limit the opportunity to practice in-person conversations that are crucial for adolescents, particularly boys, to develop important skills.” 

This study consisted of analyzing 487 adolescents at two separate time periods, one year apart, to determine the amount of time spent communicating via texting and social media outlets versus communicating in person or over the phone with their partner.

Nesi and her colleagues focused on assessing two main relationship skills, the ability to manage conflict and asserting their needs within their relationship. They found that teens who spent more time communicating with their partner using texting and social media outlets, struggled portraying those relationship skills, more prominently shown to effect the boys in the study.

“Social media allows adolescents to be in touch with their peers 24/7. It’s a great vehicle to allow adolescents to feel like they’re connected to those who are most important to them in ways that people who grew up before the social media age can’t imagine,” said study co-author Mitch Prinstein, adding, “But in the area of handling some of the tricky parts of relationships, it looks like the more adolescents are using these electronic forms of communication, the worse they’re doing over time in some of these traditional skills.”


Chansky’s Notebook: Game Bigger for State or Carolina?

Is tonight’s game bigger for State or Carolina?

When the Tar Heels visit PNC Arena to take on NC State at 8 PM, the game is almost a must-win for them, especially after losing to Duke last week. Nothing can make up for that gut-punch, not even winning at Cameron on March 5, but losing to the lowly Wolfpack would severely damage Carolina’s chances of holding on to first place and winning the ACC regular season.

The Heels go to third-ranked Virginia Saturday night, and many people already have that one down as an “L” after having lost their two visits to ranked ACC teams, Louisville and Notre Dame, a couple of weeks ago. At the very least, they are trying to finish in the top four and capture a double-bye to Thursday in the ACC Tournament, which will position them to earn a high NCAA seed that could lead back to Raleigh for the first two rounds of the Big Dance.

State has a better club than its 4-10 and 14-13 records indicate, and the Pack will need a serious late-season run to reach the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight year. Their guards are very dangerous with Cat Barber, the ACC’s leading scorer, and sharp-shooting freshman Maverick Rowan. But the game will likely be decided in the paint, where State’s Abu and Anya are bigger and stronger, if not better, than any of Carolina’s three bigs.

State has already lost to Duke twice and Carolina and Wake Forest once each, so a win over the Tar Heels will allow Mark Gottfried to spin things his way during the offseason. He gets injured forward Terry Henderson back in 2017 and has a couple of big-time recruits coming in to bridge the gap this summer.

Of course, the hatred for Carolina runs so deep that a loss will be devastating. State wants so little to do with the light blue that its official profile on 6-5 forward Torin Dorn, Jr., who is sitting out after transferring from UNC-Charlotte, says his father was in the NFL for seven seasons without mentioning, by the way, that he played collegiately for UNC. Don’t expect Dorn’s profile next year to include that his younger brother, 3-star safety Myles Dorn, is a freshman on the Tar Heel football team. It’s a pity they are so petty, which makes tonight’s game bigger than life for them.

The Tar Heels have no choice but to match that emotion, if they want to win.


What Will They Talk About?

By E.B. Phillips:

As our pal Bob ‘Palindrome’ Lee chews his cud over at the Cow College hoping the mush in his craw might actually become something other than the fertilizer he’s dropped so far, anxiety mounts among the Canine Crowd that the unbiased and thorough investigation they howled for might just send their dreams packing. Poor things. Still clinging to the 80’s when the blind pig found an acorn, what in the world will they talk about?

Here are some suggestions to get them off their haunches:

The 2015 U.S. News & World Report Top Universities issue might offer a good topic. They can scroll down past Carolina’s Top Five ranking in Top Public Schools to find their beloved moo-niversity tied for 43rd with FSU (Felony State University).

Forbes magazine’s 2015 look at the Top Colleges offers another choice, if they don’t tire of searching for NC State at #180, right behind Juniata College and just ahead of Calvin College.

Kiplinger’s 2015 Best College Values rankings will provide Our Pal Lee (aka The Red Whine) a bumper sticker for his red Dodge Dart: “NCSU. We’re Number 12!” Alas, poor B-O-B. Carolina has been ranked #1 every year since 1998.

But, “Oh,” says The Red Whine. “This is about athletics!” If Our Pal Lee will remove his rosacea-colored glasses from his rump roast, he need research no further than the Capital One Cup that “recognizes the best in college sports” nationally. In 2011, when UNC ranked 11th in the nation, NCSU didn’t make the top 75-Team cut-off. In 2012, Carolina ranked 5th. State?  Another no show. 2013 saw The Woofs achieve their highest ranking ever (44th) while the Tar Heels dropped to 9th. 2014 saw another no-show for State. While the 2015 Cup standings saw Carolina drop to 26th – their lowest ranking since the inaugural award – the Wolfslack finally made the field, but only after the rankings expanded to 85 teams, where The Slack tied for 84th with Miami (Ohio) and New Mexico.

Perhaps a review of the 2015 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings will provide Ol’ Whine with some relief? Well, unsnap those overalls, Bob, and breathe. While North Carolina ranked in the Top Five (along with Stanford, UCLA, Michigan and UCLA), the sports-challenged Slack didn’t make the field.

Another topic for The Red Whine faithful might be Cheated. But they had better hurry. Mary and Jay are sure to wrap-up their book signing at Wolfpack Outfitters for the twenty-three Woofers who actually purchase one, proving again that no one really cares to listen very long to howling at the moon. Poor things. Where in the world will they find work after this?

Of course, Wolfslack Nation will howl about academic integrity and student academic performance, but why shouldn’t they? They have some experience in that area. Led by Jim ‘They Gave Me A Lifetime Contract And Then They Declared Me Dead’ Valvano, the academic standards at State became the talk of the athletic community nationwide.

While a Wolfslack student athlete and under oath at his felony trial, Chris ‘Lifetime NBA Ban’ Washburn testified about those stringent standards when questioned about his SAT scores, which were below 500 (out of 1600, with 400 being the starting score).

“The coaches over there told me, ‘You already signed, you’re already in school, you just have to take the test just to get into college,’” Washburn said. When they told me it didn’t matter what score I was getting, I went in for about 22 minutes. I just marked down [answers] … mark, mark, mark.”

Rounding out Chris ‘Marky Mark’ Washburn’s funky bunch at State was another scholar, Charles ‘I Am Amphibious’ Shackleford.  The Webbed Wonder’s path toward a career in biology was cut short when he was inexplicably suspended in the fall of 1986 because of poor grades, being reinstated for the spring semester after an appeal and a contractual agreement to attend all classes, following the ‘unusual involvement’ of chancellor Bruce ‘The Ruse’ Poulton.

Former head of the NC State physical education department Richard Lauffer described Shackleford as a poor student, without “any interest in trying to get an education” and who “should never have been in school”.

None other than University of North Carolina System President C.D. Spangler went on record stating “academic processes & standards of NCSU have been misused a number of times to benefit basketball players,” while the NCAA stated that NCSU “academic improprieties ranged from attempts at grade changes to players not attending classes.”

When reminded of this example of their stellar academic commitment, Wolfslack Nation ties a leash around it by saying, “the only thing they charged N.C. State with was our players gave shoes and tickets. We took responsibility for our actions.” Well, e-i-e-i-Oh!  They weren’t in it for academic reasons. They were in it for the money. Shazam! Guess you got us there.


Clemson Tabbed to Win ACC

UNC has been picked to finish fifth in the always up-in-the-air Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference at the Football Kickoff at Pinehurst Resort.

The voting media members selected the Clemson Tigers as the favorites to claim the conference championship.

Clemson was picked to finish above three-time defending champion Florida State in the Atlantic Division ahead of Louisville, NC State, Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest.

In the Coastal Division, the media members tabbed Georgia Tech as the favorites followed, in order, by Virginia Tech, Miami, Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Virginia.

Clemson Quarterback Deshawn Watson was voted the ACC Preseason Player of the Year. Tar Heel Quarterback Marquise Williams finished in a tie for third in player of the year voting.

The media preview wraps up Tuesday in Pinehurst.


Chansky’s Notebook: Taking Their ‘Licks’

This is today’s Art Chansky’s Sports Notebook as heard on 97.9 WCHL. You can listen to previous Sports Notebooks here.

N.C. State wants royalties on the Rolling Stones tongue-in-mouth logo.

Didn’t N.C. State make enough money on its share of the gate for the Stones concert Wednesday night? After all, the ticket prices ranged from a face value of $115 to $813, depending how close you sat to Mick and the Septuagenarians.

So even if the average ticket price was 400 bucks and 50,000 ducats were sold, the usual 50-50 gate split netted State out a tidy 10 million on the concert one-off. And now the school wants a share of the parodied Wolfpack logo that the Stones put on their merchandise sold at the show.

First Amendment rights allow anyone to parody any logo without paying a royalty, but State is seeking some share of the merchandising. With fans outraged by the price of tickets for the Stones’ 50 and Counting tour, why would State want to turn some of the bad publicity on itself? For, what, maybe another half-million-dollars?

That’s called biting the tongue that feeds you. After all, the Stones could have played at Duke like they did 10 years ago and probably would have if Wallace Wade Stadium wasn’t under renovation. Or they might have come to Kenan Stadium if the field wasn’t being resurfaced. So they went back to Raleigh, as they did in 1990 when the sound wasn’t very good and, I guess, still wasn’t that good Wednesday night.

Whatever, you can bet this will be the Stones’ last visit to Carter-Finley, or North Carolina, unless Jagger wants to keep touring into his 80’s. Give the bloke his due for leading the greatest rock and roll band in the world for the last half century. No one forced you to pay the ticket prices, yet the concrete carcass in the fairgrounds was full.

State’s self-righteousness is a little absurd. Why not get a one-night permit to serve beer inside the stadium and make another million, instead of letting fans get sloppy drunk in the pasture and come into the stadium sloshed free of charge.

As for the doctored logo, the school’s lame marketing staffers couldn’t see the humor in it – or a great publicity opportunity of it licked them right in the face.


NC State Creates Scholarship for Three Students Killed

A scholarship has been created at NC State University to honor the lives of three Muslim college students that were shot and killed earlier this month, in Chapel Hill.

NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson announced the scholarship endowment, on Friday.

A statement from the chancellor says that the endowment was created with insights and advice from family members. And it will provide annual support to students in NC State’s Poole College of Management, College of Sciences, and College of Design.

The three students – 23-year-old Deah Barakat, his 21-year-old wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her 19-year-old sister Razan Abu-Salha – all had ties to NC State. The eldest two were graduates while Razan was a sophomore.

NC State is contributing institutional funds to launch the endowment and actively seeks donations from the Wolfpack and larger community to grow the fund.

Gifts to the “Our Three Winners” Scholarship Fund can be made through the NC State website or by check with “Our Three Winners” in the memo line c/o Our Three Winners, Campus Box 7474, Raleigh, N.C. 27695-7474.


Thousands Gather at UNC to Pay Tribute to 3 Shooting Victims

Thousands filled the Pit at UNC on a chilly Wednesday evening to pay tribute to three young Muslim college students who were gunned down the day before in Chapel Hill – allegedly, over a parking dispute.

Many, however, say they believe 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks committed a hate crime.

The vigil began with UNC dental students, in their white coats, standing together in the center of The Pit, and holding candles in remembrance of their classmate Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

There were several speakers, including town and university leaders, and friends and family of the three shooting victims.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt thanked everyone for coming out, including busloads of students from N.C. State and N.C. Central universities.

“As is often the case at a time of tragedy,” said Folt, “when you think you’re going to reach out to try to help people, you find that the people you’re trying to help are the ones that, in fact, help you.

“That has been my experience today, as I’ve talked with groups of students, with faculty, with Imam Abdullah, sitting in and watching the prayer ceremony, and even coming here tonight.”

N.C State Chancellor Randy Woodson said it was a day to remember the three young students for all they were, all they wanted to be, and what they could have been.

“Tonight, we remember Razan,” said Woodson, “an amazing design student at NC State, an amazing breath of fresh air for the college, and for that school; Yusor, an outstanding biology student at N.C. State, that was so excited, having only been married for six weeks, to begin her journey in the dental school at Carolina; and Deah.

“If you’ve met Deah, you know that this is a man that possessed the most amazing bear hug that you could ever experience.”

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt told the crowd that he appeared before them with “a broken heart.” The mayor paid an emotional tribute to the victims, and to the town he said they exemplified.

“This community, this university, this town is a welcoming town,” said Kleinschmidt. “It’s a compassionate town. It’s a peace-loving town. I know this for at least three important reasons. The three souls we lost helped not only create, but sustain that truth about who we are, as a community.”

Imam Adbdullah Antepli, the chief representative for Muslim Affairs at Duke University, said that in his 25 years of studying theology and philosophy, he’s never read the passage in any book that could make sense of a tragedy like this.

Still, he offered words of hope in troubled times.

“Three cruel, hateful bullets snuffed out lives that were just coming to fruition,” said Antepli. “We cannot undo the hatred. We cannot undo the hate crime. We cannot undo the bullet…I hope we’re able to leave here with the faith that, at the end of the day, knowledge is somehow more luminous than ignorance; that justice is more beautiful than tyranny.

“And that most important lesson of all: that love is more divine than hatred.”

Deah Barakat’s brother Farris said he’s comforted by his belief that the victims have gone to paradise, where they are elated and happy. He echoed the Imam’s call for peace and tolerance, here on earth.

“If, and it is quite possible, that this was an act based off of evil and a scared, ignorant man, do not let ignorance propagate in your life,” said Barakat. “Do not reply to ignorance with ignorance.”

Chapel Hill couple Chris and Abby Fulton told WCHL that they came out to show support for the families of the victims.

“Three people being brutally murdered so close to home…” said Chris Fulton.

“Yeah, it’s just so sad,” Abby Fulton continued that thought. “it’s like, the least you can do is come out and say this is horrifying, I’m here to say this is horrifying, and to show you that I’m one among many who want to surround you with love from your community, as much as possible.”


President Obama To Announce Innovation Institute At NCSU Wed

RALEIGH – President Barack Obama will announce a new manufacturing innovation institute and address the economy in front of students and others at N.C.State’s Reynolds Coliseum Wednesday afternoon.

According to an Obama administration release, the President will announce N.C.State as the leader of six universities and 18 private-sector companies that will be a part of the “Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute”. The institute will invest in manufacturing technology that can make chips and devices smaller and more efficient.

The Triangle’s economy continues to show positive signs as outlined in the unemployment rate of Orange, Durham, and Wake counties. All three were in the top seven in the state of lowest unemployment rates in November.

Five hundred tickets were handed out to NCSU students who will likely also hear President Obama speak in favor of U.S. Senator Kay Hagan. The North Carolina democrat says she will not make the trip to Raleigh because the senate is currently in session.

Tune in to WCHL in the 1:00 p.m. hour Wednesday to hear the President’s speech live from N.C.State’s campus. Carolina Connection’s Zach Mayo will be in attendance and will provide a report.