UNC ‘Focused On Student-Athletes’, All Students’ Success’

Story by Zach Mayo

UNC Provost Jim Dean gave a detailed report on athletics at the University to the Board of Trustees Wednesday afternoon.

The Provost offered a broad look at how student athletes are performing in the classroom, saying the University is on par with other ACC schools in terms of graduation rate and grade point average. Still, efforts are being made to bridge the gap between GPAs of athletes and non-athletes.

“We’re doing a number of things to try and make sure we’re providing as much help as we can to student athletes in terms of being successful, but at the same time we’re providing additional help to students who are not athletes,” Provost Dean said. “So, I’m not sure if that’s going to bring them together or not, because we may be raising the bar for everybody.”

Dean’s report comes as Kenneth Wainstein’s independent investigation on academic irregularities on campus is expected later in the Fall. Dean does not have a more specific timetable for its release.

STORY: Wainstein: ‘Don’t Have Findings Yet’

Athletes had a 2.95 GPA in Spring 2014 compared with the 3.2 GPA of all undergraduates.


Willingham Blasts NCAA For Academic Improprieties

CHAPEL HILL – UNC clinical instructor and academic advisor, Mary Willingham said the academic problems at Carolina and at colleges and universities across the country start with the NCAA. 

“This NCAA cartel machine is doing us wrong in this country and doing our young people some damage,” Willingham said. “Meanwhile, these folks are in Indiannoplis—and around the country, coaches and administrators—are making tons of money off the backs of these young people, and it’s got to stop.”

Those comments were made during an interview Friday on the WCHL Morning News.

***Watch the Full Interview***

***Correction from the interview: The IRB is the Institutional Review Board, not the Internal Review Board.

She said the admission of guilt by the university, and namely UNC Provost Jim Dean, that there were holes in the academic system is not enough.

“I really encourage (Provost Dean) to talk to us about what we know—Jay and I and others in the Athletic Reform Group—and open the door and have a real open conversation, because that has yet to happen at our university,” Willingham said. “It’s a university for crying out loud. We should all be able to sit around the room and have honest conversation and debate about what we know.”

Provost Dean was quoted in a Bloomberg Business Week article saying “We made mistakes. Horrible things happened that I’m ashamed of. Student-athletes and other students, too, were hurt. The integrity of our university was badly damaged.”

History professor Jay Smith was in the interview as well and announced that he—in collaboration with Willingham—is writing a book that talks about the history of the academic scandal at UNC in the African and Afro-American studies department and the illiteracy problems at UNC and at colleges and universities across the nation.

Smith said he, too, wants to see something more than just words come from the recent allegations of UNC’s academic improprieties.

“There’s nothing qualitatively different from any number of statements Holden Thorp made over the past several years before he left,” Smith said. “Holden, too, was willing to acknowledge mistakes had been made and that we had to be held accountable for them. Though, at least it does, on their part, signal a new willingness to look at the past and consider which lessons need to be derived from the past. So that’s…that is somewhat heartening.”

Willingham has been seen by many as an enemy to the university when she shared her research. She received death threats and was even called a liar by Provost Dean when he said in a Business Week article “she’s said that our students can’t read, our athletes can’t read, and that’s a lie.” Later in the interview for the article with Business Week’s Paul Barrett, the Provost said he had misspoken and doesn’t think that she’s a liar.

Willingham said she didn’t release the information with the intention of taking down the university.

“I really am a Tar Heel,” Willingham said. “I know what’s heard to believe, but I love this place.”

She said she wants to see a change in the way student-athletes are taken care of at the university and how they are viewed within the system.

“We had a countless number of athletes that I worked with during my tenure—nearly seven years—in the program that left without a real degree,” Willingham said. “We still don’t talk about those guys. They took all these bogus paper classes, and they left the university still woefully underprepared for probably even a high school. That’s wrong, and we owe them. We need to bring them back, and we need to offer them the possibility of a real, legitimate education. That’s what we promised them in the first place.”

She said that she’s not even saying that students who can’t read at a college level don’t have a place at UNC, but that those who are at a disadvantage need to be protected.

“I’ve never said that athletes or any students at Carolina don’t belong at Carolina,” Willingham said. “It’s a public university; it’s a university of the people. But I think if we’re going to take students in, then we need to meet them where they’re at academically and bring them along. That’s all students.”

“I think we still have this, some sort of arrogance or some level of problem—I don’t know exactly where it comes from—because in 1795 we had an academy at the University of North Carolina for young men from the state who weren’t able to read in Greek and Latin,” Willingham said. “That academy lasted for a decade or a little bit more. Why don’t we just reopen the academy, and we could have the best football team and the best basketball team in the country. We could recruit whoever we wanted, and we could provide a real education.”

Thursday evening the News and Observer shared a letter that former interim dean of UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and current Kenan Professor Emerita of Slavic Literatures, Madeline Levine wrote to Chancellor Carol Folt and Provost Jim Dean expressing her disappointment in the attack of the information shared by Willingham.

In the letter, she said she, too, saw evidence of students that’s were just pushed through the system and weren’t given a proper education.

Willingham said she expects this is just the first of many to follow in her push for academic reform.

“I have more than 2,000 emails,” Willingham said. “I’m hearing from people all over the country. They’re embarrassed; they feel some shame, because they don’t want to speak publically, and I’m certainly not going to bring anyone under the bus with me, because it’s not too pretty under here. But, nevertheless, I think that coming out and talking openly has given some people permission, and I think you’re going to hear from more people. I don’t think Dr. Levine’s going to be the only one stepping forward.”


Kenan-Flagler Dean Search Committee Recommends Hire From Within

CHAPEL HILL – The associate dean of the MBA@UNC program and Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation, Douglas A. Shackelford has been recommended as the Kenan-Flagler Business School’s next dean.

By presenting the recommendation to the Board of Trustees this week, Chancellor Carol Folt and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jim Dean approve the selection made by the search committee led by J-School dean, Susan King.

Listen to Shackelford’s conversation with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.

Information provided by the Kenan-Flagler Business School

Information provided by the Kenan-Flagler Business School

With the confirmation by the BoT, Shackelford will replace Jack Evans who has been serving as interim dean since Jim Dean was chosen as UNC’s Provost last year. Although the search was international, the internal hire marks the second in a row for Kenan-Flagler as Jim Dean was promoted from senior associate dean.

Shackelford graduated from UNC in 1980 with a business degree. In the mid to late 80s he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He’s served on the faculty since 1990. His research and teaching focuses on taxes and business strategy. He’s held the position of associate dean on the MBA@UNC since 2010.

He spent some time off campus in the private sector before returning to teach. From 1981 to 1985 he worked as a senior tax consultant for Arthur Anderson & Co. in Boston and Greensboro.


James W. Dean, Jr. Selected As UNC Provost

CHAPEL HILL – The UNC Board of Trustees approved the joint recommendation of Chancellor Holden Thorp and Chancellor-elect Carol Folt to select James “Jim” W. Dean, Jr. as UNC’s next Provost, effective July 1.

Dean is the dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School as well as a Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Organizational Behavior.

In an email to his colleagues, he announced that a formal announcement would be made later in the day and that he was honored to take the role.

UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp made the announcement official through an email to the campus community just before 2:00 p.m. on Thursday. In his message he stated, “Jim has performed with distinction since joining the faculty in 1997.”

He also included a quote from Dr. Folt that stated, “Jim is an accomplished scholar and outstanding educator. He is respected widely for his visionary leadership of Kenan-FlaglerBusinessSchool and for the innovative and interdisciplinary approaches he takes to ensure excellence in research, education and public service.


***Read the Official Announcement from UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp***

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

Chancellor-Elect Carol Folt and I have exciting news to share about the University’s leadership transition. James (Jim) W. Dean, Jr., dean of Kenan-Flagler Business School and a longtime faculty member, will serve as the next executive vice chancellor and provost starting July 1. The University’s Board of Trustees approved our joint recommendation earlier today.

The excellent work of the campus search committee led by Kristen Swanson, dean of the School of Nursing and Alumni Distinguished Professor, was a critical factor in bringing the selection process to a successful conclusion on schedule. The committee conducted a thorough national search that attracted a strong candidate pool.

Jim will succeed Bruce Carney, who has been provost since 2009 and is preparing for a well-deserved return to the faculty and his research.

The executive vice chancellor and provost is the University’s chief academic officer and oversees the professional schools, the College of Arts and Sciences, the University Library, and a number of other academic-related units.

Chancellor-Elect Folt asked me to share this statement about Jim’s

“Jim is an accomplished scholar and outstanding educator. He is respected widely for his visionary leadership of Kenan-Flagler Business School and for the innovative and interdisciplinary approaches he takes to ensure excellence in research, education and public service. As the chief academic officer, his deep knowledge of the University’s strengths across schools and commitment to providing an outstanding education for our undergraduate, graduate and professional students will assist me in engaging the entire community in building a bright future.”

Jim has performed with distinction since joining the faculty in 1997. He was appointed dean in 2008, and he has successfully positioned Kenan-Flagler as a leading global business school that is a valued member of our campus community and a major contributor to the welfare of North Carolina, the nation and the world. He previously served in Kenan-Flagler’s top academic position, senior associate dean for academic affairs, for a year. He was associate dean of Executive Development from 2002 to 2007 and associate dean of the MBA Program from
1998 to 2002.

Jim is a professor of organizational behavior and a Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Scholar. His other experience included serving as program director of the National Science Foundation research program, Transformations to Quality Organizations, jointly sponsored by the government and the private sector. He was an examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for six years. Leadership, organizational change, strategic decision making, international management, and organizational performance improvement are the focus of his research, teaching and consulting. He has published in many of the top academic and business journals. Jim lives in Chapel Hill with his wife Janet Babilon Dean.

An interim dean will be announced in the near future, along with plans for a search committee to identify Jim’s successor. We are working together toward a seamless leadership transition in South Building and the start of the Folt administration in July.

Please join me in congratulating Jim on his appointment.

Holden Thorp


***Read the Letter from Jim Dean to Kenan-Flagler Faculty and Staff***

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I want you to be among the first to know that I was nominated for the role of Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at UNC. Today the Board of Trustees approved a joint recommendation by Chancellor Holden Thorp and Chancellor-Elect Carol Folt to appoint me to that position, effective July 1.

I am honored to take on this important leadership role at UNC, and I am excited about the contributions that I believe I can make to our great university. A public announcement will be made later today, but I want to share the news with you now.

Collaborating with you has been a true privilege, and I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together. I especially want to thank you for your partnership in helping me achieve my vision for UNC Kenan-Flagler as a top global business school whose graduates are known for their effective and principled leadership as well as their technical and managerial skills and that produces research with impact, serves as a valued member of the UNC community, and contributes to the welfare of North Carolina and the world beyond its borders.

After 16 years at UNC Kenan-Flagler, I remain deeply committed to and passionate about our School. This new opportunity is bittersweet in that my new role will mean that I will work with you less directly and less frequently in the future. Please know that my commitment to you and UNC Kenan-Flagler remains unchanged. As provost, I will remain involved with UNC Kenan-Flagler – including the selection of our next dean.

In terms of a transition, we will move quickly to:

Name an interim dean

Form a search committee to identify our next dean

Develop a transition plan for both the interim dean and our new dean

I will share more information in the days to come. For now, I want to thank you for your continued dedication to our students, our programs and our School. It has been a joy to work with you.



James W. Dean, Jr.

Dean, Kenan-Flagler Business School

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Shaping Leaders & Driving Results®




Carolina Community Hopeful For The Future Led By Carol Folt

CHAPEL HILL – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s future rests in the hands of its first female chancellor and brings a storied career to a storied program.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” Faculty Council chair Jan Boxill said.


“I think everyone in the community’s been on pins and needles now for the last six or seven months,” Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said.


“I am exceptionally proud of the person that we found,” General Alumni Association Board of Directors Chair Eric Montross said.


“I’m just incredibly excited to be working with Carol,” Student Body President Christy Lambden said.


“I’m really happy for Carolina and I’m happy for Carol Folt,” UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp said.

Those members of the Carolina Community joined with numerous people who told Chapel Hill-Carrboro through WCHL on Friday just how excited they were to have Dr. Folt joining the Carolina Family. Hundreds of people were seen with smiles on their faces at the events on campus that ushered in the new chancellor.

The last of those voices was that of current UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp who remains in office until July 1 when he takes his new position as provost at the University of Washington in St. Louis.

Chancellor Thorp said he’s also very happy for himself in the culmination of this process as it shows how his hard work throughout the five years in office has paid off.

“I feel that if we were doing a good job boosting the faculty productivity, the student demand, and the sense of community at Carolina, then whenever I left—it turned out to be this year—great people would want to come do it,” Chancellor Thorp said. “And for someone like her to be attracted to come to Chapel Hill and do this job makes me feel absolutely great, and it should make everybody who loves this university feel great.”

He said the result of the search process finding as many strong candidates as it did is evidence enough to support that. However, he said the choice of President Tom Ross capped that result.

As Chancellor Thorp mentioned, the relationship between faculty and administration has been a major focus and is key for any university’s success. The chair of the Faculty Council at UNC, Jan Boxill was grinning ear-to-ear Friday when she said just how excited she was to be working with Chancellor-elect Folt.

“I think for faculty, it’s the best choice we possibly could have had,” Boxill said. “I think Carol’s got so much dynamite. When she interviewed, you could just feel the connection, and I think with all of us on the committee. She asked really interesting questions and got the answers that she didn’t expect, and she didn’t know what to expect.”

UNC is a public institution with more than 29,000 students; Dartmouth is a private college with just more than 6,000.

While some may wonder if the jump in size would have any effect on her ability to serve, Chancellor Thorp said Chancellor-elect Folt’s resume speaks for itself.

“I think that Carol Folt, with her record of scholarship and coming from a great place like Dartmouth College where she’s been a long-time administrator and even had nine months as president, I think she is the most qualified chancellor that we could possibly imagine,” Chancellor Thorp said.

Dr. Folt has been at Dartmouth for 30 years and began her career there as a professor. Over the years, she worked through the hierarchy of administrative roles, a quality Boxill said was a major selling point to the search committee, on which she served.

“She had been every administrative position as well as faculty position, so the credentials were just perfect for us, I think,” Boxill said.

Associate Professor of Sociology Denise Anthony served as chair of the Faculty Planning Committee that helped to draft Dartmouth’s latest strategic plan. As a colleague of Chancellor-elect Folt, she said even in just nine months at the helm, she has served a major role in planning for the future of Dartmouth and, in a way, like few others have done it.

“Carol really wanted to do something different here to have the community develop the plan,” Anthony said. “She was instrumental in creating a variety of committees who then worked with people from all across campus—having conversations, working groups—to develop the plan through this sort of wide-spread engagement of the community.”

Friday’s announcement also sets in motion another very important process: the search for UNC’s Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor.

Last summer, Bruce Carney announced that he would be stepping down from the position to go back to the classroom. A search committee was then formed and the beginning stages of the process were set in motion—like posting the job description and creating a website at which people can submit for it. A 21-member panel was created—just as one was for the chancellor search. However, when Chancellor Thorp announced he would not be returning, that process was put on hold because the University’s second-in-command ultimately has to be able to work with its new leader.

UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said Friday’s events were just the start of a roughly 18-month window of major administrative projects for the University.

“You’re going to see a lot of the University initiatives become more public,” Cunningham said.” A lot of the strategic planning, thinking, and a capital campaign that we’re thinking about launching here shortly—to really talk about the future of North Carolina, where do we fit in higher education throughout the country, where are out priorities going to be within the institution, and then her entire leadership team with have to pull together to garner the resources to achieve the results of the plan that we’re going to lay out.”

While “Big Time College Athletics” is a major point of focus in the nation’s top universities, and with the recent NCAA investigation into the University’s football program, how Chancellor-elect Folt handles athletics along with overseeing the academics and other areas of UNC will be something the public likely keeps its eyes on. Cunningham said he’s confident she’ll be able to hit the ground running on day one.

“Carol’s a great leader, and she will fit into the ACC governance structure exceptionally well,” Cunningham said. “I’m looking forward to her leadership campus-wide and assisting her as best we can from an athletics standpoint. The ACC’s an incredibly strong conference; it has great rivalries, great tradition, and we’re doing everything we can to make it better.”

Another member of UNC’s administration that’s just getting started is Student Body President Christy Lambden. He took office on April 2.

President Lambden said few people get to be in office at the start of an administration like he will.

“It’s absolutely a challenge for the student body and for the whole University to be taking on, but I think more than anything it’s just incredibly exciting,” President Lambden said. “I think that as student body president, you get the opportunity to sit down and think for and plan for more than a year in advance, and I think with a brand new chancellor who’ll be planning out her vision for the University, I think I’ll have that unique opportunity. So, I’m very excited.”

You can hear all of these reactions and much more including full interviews from Friday’s announcement by visiting our website, Chapelboro.com.

Chancellor Thorp said there’s still a lot to accomplish in his time remaining at UNC. Chancellor-elect Folt has returned to Dartmouth College to finish out her duties as interim president. She will take office at UNC on July 1.


UNC Provost Still To Step Down This Summer Amidst Admin Restructuring

CHAPEL HILL – It was rumored that UNC Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney might delay his stepping down due to the impending administrative changeover, but he says the plan to go back to teaching as of this summer is still in the works.

Carney has served as the University’s second in command since July 1, 2009. From that date until March 26, 2010 he held the position on an interim role until taking it on as a permanent role. During his time in that position, the University has been at the center of investigations including the academic scandal of the African and Afro-American Studies Department, an NCAA investigation that resulted in the firing of UNC’s head football coach and multiple athletic department resignations, and eventually the resignation of Chancellor Holden Thorp.

Carney says he’s confident that the University is at a place now where it can start to move on.

“Once we have the new chancellor in place…I don’t think they’ll completely go silent, but I think we can move past them and move on,” Carney says.

While scandal has been at the center of attention, that’s not all that University officials have to keep track of. The provost is also the chair of the budget committee and is responsible for leading the academic mission and overseeing academic administration.

One hire that Carney recently played a major role in was that of the director for the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes. After a national search, he says Florida Atlantic University’s Michelle Brown was by far the best fit.

“We had three excellent candidates show up for interviews,” Carney says. “She won the competition. She’s going to be an outstanding director.”

Brown will report to Carney’s successor when she takes the position May 6. Previously that role was a part of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The search for UNC’s next provost is underway just as the search is for its next chancellor. Dean of the School of Nursing and Alumni Distinguished Professor at UNC, Dr. Kristen Swanson is chairing the search committee for the provost position. She and 20 other members began the search in February.

Just as the Chancellor Search Committee submits a list of finalists to System President Tom Ross, the Provost Search Committee will submit finalists to the new chancellor. The appointment of the new provost is expected to occur some time this spring.

To see the provost search announcement, click here.

To see the provost search committee leadership statement, click here.