News Items from UNC Greensboro

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UNC Greensboro Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Debbie Storrs announced two provost fellows will join the UNCG academic leadership team. Professor Regina McCoy will serve as Provost Fellow for Student Success, and Professor Tracy Nichols will serve as Provost Fellow for Faculty Development.  During this academic year and summer of 2022, the fellows will ensure UNCG makes progress on two important areas of priority: 

  • increasing student retention and student success, and 
  • supporting and advancing faculty development.

Both McCoy and Nichols will devote 50 percent of their time as provost fellows while focusing the other 50 percent on their home department, research, and teaching. McCoy will work with Provost Storrs, academic deans, department heads, directors, and chairs, Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Andrew Hamilton and others to heighten and support faculty engagement in our student retention efforts. Nichols will collaborate with Provost Storrs, Chancellor Fellow for Campus Climate Andrea Hunter, Senior Vice Provost Alan Boyette academic deans, department chairs, heads, directors, and others to advance faculty development initiatives.

“Our success in advancing these priorities will depend on everyone’s engagement in these two important areas of campus life,” said Provost Storrs. “Each of us brings expertise and experience that can further our shared goals and enhance UNCG.  I invite, encourage, and ask that the provost fellows – and each of us – engage as fully as possible towards these efforts. Everyone’s voice, ideas, experience, and commitment matter. Individual and collective contributions will create a more inclusive, stronger culture at UNCG where our students and faculty can thrive. I’m so pleased to work alongside two faculty leaders who bring extensive expertise, ideas, and success to important priorities for UNCG. Faculty are critically important in retaining students. Provost Fellow McCoy and Nichols will work closely with faculty and staff to identify ways they can enhance their contributions in the key University initiatives.” 

“I am excited to focus my energy on creating robust, proactive services that enable students to receive a richer level of care across all of their transitional periods. As we help students build on their strengths and find the skills, knowledge, and support they need to be successful in their college journey and next steps in life, I see this as the mantra: No academic distress, just academic success! I have an incredible amount of respect for the Integrated Student Success Initiative Team and hope they are ready for the passion and energy I bring to all that I do.”  – Provost Fellow McCoy

Provost Fellow Nichols will help lead efforts regarding faculty development including advancing the work that emerged from faculty senate on best practices to recognize equity, diversity, and inclusion in annual, promotion, and tenure processes; and how to equitably recognize the work and contributions of our professional faculty. 

“I am excited for this opportunity to work alongside the Provost and others across campus to enhance and extend our current efforts on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Faculty development has long been a passion of mine and I believe it is a critical leverage point for change.” – Provost Fellow Nichols

Both provost fellows have extensive experience with advancing equity and inclusion. Their efforts in student retention and faculty development will be infused with a diversity and inclusion lens. 

Story and photography provided by the Office of the Provost

UNCG power forward Mo Abdulsalam started all 30 games last season and averaged 6.6 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds to help the Spartans advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Season tickets for the upcoming 2021-22 UNCG men’s and women’s basketball seasons are available now.

Both teams will play 15 home games this winter, and both open their seasons at home on Tuesday, Nov. 9. The women’s team starts against UNC-Asheville at Fleming Gym, and the men’s team plays crosstown rival N.C. A&T at the Greensboro Coliseum.

The men’s home schedule also features non-conference games against Vermont, Elon and Coppin State as well as the full slate of Southern Conference opponents. The Spartans are in their first season under head coach Mike Jones, and the roster includes six key players who logged significant minutes for the team during last season’s run to the NCAA Tournament. 

That group includes point guard Keyshaun Langley and swingman Kaleb Hunter, last season’s second- and third-leading scorers, and top rebounder Mo Abdulsalam. 

The women’s home schedule includes intriguing non-conference matchups against Winthrop, Elon, UNC-Wilmington and College of Charleston along with all SoCon opponents. Coach Trina Patterson’s team returns an experienced core led by All-SoCon point guard CeCe Crudup and SoCon All-Freshman power forward Khalis Cain.

Men’s basketball season tickets are $129 for faculty and staff, and the price includes a parking pass at the Coliseum. Faculty and staff receive free admission to all women’s basketball regular-season home regular games.

Faculty and staff can buy additional season tickets for $50.  

UNCG Athletics is transitioning to mobile-only ticketing. Click here to purchase tickets for the upcoming season.

Story by Jeff Mills, University Communications
Photography by Carlos Morales, UNCG Athletics

theatrical performers in a woods setting

UNC Greensboro School of Theatre students will perform a musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” opening on Sept. 24 at Taylor Theatre. Faculty members Randall McMullen, Dominick Amendum, Eric Speer, John Gully, and Chip Haas have worked alongside MFA candidates to create this Shakespearean comedy that explores love. 

The show will have five evening performances at Taylor on Sept 24, 25, 29, Oct. 1 and 2 at 7:30, and one afternoon performance Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. The show will be available streaming online Oct. 14-16. A Frame/Works discussion will take place via Zoom on Oct. 18 at 7:30.

For tickets, call the UNCG Theatre Box Office at 336-334-4392 or click here to purchase tickets online. 

MFA candidate and director Karen Sabo spoke about the production of “As You Like It” in an interview with University Communications. Read the interview below: 

Why do you think this production particularly works at UNCG, for these students at this time?

This musical adaptation is about inclusiveness, embracing healing and joy, and being brave enough to love and to be loved for who we really are. It’s been such a difficult and divisive time in the world for the past few years, and many college students have struggled because of the lack of an in-person community during the pandemic and because of tribalism that can divide even families into factions. I think it’s a perfect time for a show about love, inclusion, acceptance, and joy, and about the struggle to be brave enough to pursue all those wonderful things.

What do you think “As You Like It” gains in being adapted into a musical?

I love Shakespeare and I love musicals, so while the season selection committee of the School of Theatre chose this, I’m thrilled to be directing it.  This production was created originally for the Public Works wing of The Public Theatre of New York City, and they create productions that feature a few professionals, and then many dozens of people from every walk of life. The power of music and dance, and the joy of singing and dancing (and witnessing singing and dancing) is powerful and supports the whimsy and fun in the story of “As You Like It.” Shakespeare would often write songs into his shows for characters to sing, and many of his comedies would end with a big group dance from the cast, so to take those elements a step further seems to make a lot of sense. And the show’s adapters embraced an “anything goes” attitude, so we have a boy band number, another song that features choreography that looks like a Grateful Dead concert, and some beautiful ballads as well. 

Tell us about how you have worked with the Shakespearean language.

Some of the original text remains, and some of it is updated into modern language.  We have just a few cast members who have taken classes in how to approach Shakespeare as actors, and it is a particular skill. The rest of the cast has jumped in with both feet regarding the guidelines of using the language to play their characters’ actions, and it’s not an easy skill!  It makes this 90-minute musical more complicated than it seems, especially for students still getting their training. I hope that the show will be entertaining for audiences, and also a good learning experience for all of us involved who are students.

What have been the most challenging and the most gratifying parts of this production?

Balancing the COVID protocols hasn’t been easy. Everyone involved in the production must be vaccinated, and then also have a negative COVID test each week, and submit those results online to the School of Theatre COVID coordinator. Students are really busy, and have occasionally missed getting the on-campus tests when they’re available, and have to scramble to get the home tests, and figure out how to submit online.  Also, musicals are normally quite time-consuming to rehearse, as learning music and choreography take a lot longer than most people think. But handling the Shakespeare text on top of that has given us an extra challenge.  

I feel lucky to work with a lovely group of people. Dom Amendum, who is one of the coordinators of the Musical Theatre Program here at UNCG is our amazing musical director for the show, and School of Dance MFA student Allison McCarthy has been delightful to work with as choreographer. My advisors, John Gulley and Erin Speer have been very helpful in making the show stronger, and the students in the show are delightful! We’ve made a community while creating this production about the importance of creating a loving, conscious community that values difference and forgiveness.   

Are there some aspects of this production you’d especially like to highlight?

I’m grateful that I got to work with professor Randall McMullen, who designed our totally cool set. We have one big set change that takes us from the cold, austere setting of the court to the lush, green forest of Arden and the contrast is so cool. My fellow MFA students Karsen Green (costumes) and Rachel Lake (lights) are doing such beautiful work! I think we all feel lucky that the MFA programs here at UNCG are so strong and that we can enjoy collaborating on projects.  

Is there anything you’d like to mention about working on this production that really represents UNCG’s theater program and focus as a whole?

The theater programs here at UNCG are hidden gems. I knew about the MFA tracks, but hadn’t realized that the undergraduate programs are so strong, from musical theater to stage management to theater education. The sheer size of the program is an asset, too, as it allows us to put on large-cast productions with substantial design and great tech support. I hope audiences will realize that enjoying the show means they’re enjoying the work of so many behind-the-scenes people here in the School of Theatre. 

Story and interview by Susan Kirby-Smith and Dana Broadus, University Communications
Photography by Tiffany Gilley-Forrer

The well-used Alumni House is getting a well-needed refurbishment.

The house will remain closed through the end of this semester and is scheduled to reopen in the spring semester. The renovation and reopening timelines may be affected by University protocols regarding the COVID pandemic. A separate announcement will appear in Campus Weekly regarding the date in which reservations books will open for the Alumni House.

One of the most heavily utilized locations for meetings and seminars on campus, it hosts several hundred events each year. This year’s refurbishment represents the first substantial updates at Alumni House since its 2008 renovation.

Among the most notable work:

  • The interior design project includes updates to painting, window treatments, lighting fixtures, furnishings, and rugs.
  • The hardwood floors have been refinished on the entire first floor.
  • All of the event spaces and meeting rooms are being updated including the Oakley Family Reception Room, Byrd Parlor, Parrish Library, Pecky Cypress Room and the Horseshoe Room.

Questions? Contact Alumni House Manager John Comer at 256-1466 or jfcomer@uncg.edu.

Clocktower and Curry Building at dusk

Whether researchers with timely insights or students with outstanding stories, members of the UNCG community appear in print, web and broadcast media every day. Here is a sampling of UNCG-related stories in the news and media over the week.

  • Dr. Michaeline Jensen, psychologist and assistant professor at UNCG, is highlighted in an article about “Kids Are More Depressed Than Ever. Is Social Media to Blame?” Dr. Jenson gives a quote disarming the belief that smartphones affect adolescents’ mental health. The article. 
  • Dr. Maria Lim serves as the moderator for a panel confronting anti-Asain racism during The Art Education 2021-22 Guest Speaker Series hosted by Fresno State university. The article. 
  • Dr. Channelle D. James is mentioned in an article mentioning her leadership of a new program for minority entrepreneurship. Scale to Exel was created to provide curriculum to racially diverse entrepreneurs. The mention. 
  • Duane Cyrus, Bessie Award nominated performer and a professor at UNCG, is featured in an article by The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) for his success in being selected as a guest curator for their Main Gallery exhibit: Black@Intersection: Contemporary Black Voices in Art. The article. 
  • Dr. Aron Allen will be featured as a roundtable discussant during the Responses in Music to Climate change conference on the topic of Confronting Climate Change Amid Covid-19. The feature. 
  • Mary Lauders is interviewed in an article about changes to UNCG homecoming, particularly how UNCG alumni will not be able to attend. She responds that she hopes homecoming will still feel the same. The article.
  • Dr. Edna Tan is named the recipient of the Jennifer Smith Hooks ’76 and Jacob T. Hooks Distinguished Professorship in STEM Education. The award.
  • Audrey Synder is featured in an article about “Rural hospitals losing hundreds of staff to high-paid traveling nurse jobs” and gives a quote on the impact this has on small hospitals. The feature.
  • Detective Shahzad is featured in an article about dangerous driving in Greensboro and gives a quote about the police effort to stop it. The article.
  • Dr. Nir Kshetri writes an article about how cybercriminals are using the pandemic to attack schools and colleges. Kshetri gives statistics and examples of how cybercriminals do this and how it impacts all of us. The article.
Students sitting on benches around Minerva statue

For the fourth consecutive year, UNC Greensboro has received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. 

The national honor recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. UNCG is among 101 institutions across the nation, and is one of just two UNC System institutions to receive the award. 

UNCG is a minority-serving institution, and approximately 50% of students are people of color. In addition, the University has made a concerted effort to diversify its faculty. From 2015 to 2020, the number of Black faculty members has nearly doubled, the number of Hispanic faculty members rose about 50%, and the number of Asian faculty members increased by about 25%. 

The University has focused its equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts in three primary areas: social justice, campus climate, and student success.  

Social justice 

To intentionally address racism and the need for social justice, UNCG has created a racial equity website, which serves as a launching pad for Spartans, community members, and prospective students and families to learn more about the University’s commitment to racial equity. The website features resources for learning, upcoming events, and news.

Students, faculty, and campus partners continue to lead their peers and community in anti-racism and anti-bias action and education through research, projects, and scholarship.

UNCG’s University Libraries launched the Triad Black Lives Matter Protest Collection last year, which works to document the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality protests, and race relations in the Triad region of North Carolina. The department also recently launched  “Unsung Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement Project” featuring video interviews with activists whose work, while not always recognized, had profound impacts on the civil rights movement and helped set the stage for today’s Black Lives Matter movement.

A five-year, $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration will further UNCG’s clinical psychology program’s work helping the underserved. The grant aims to recruit, retain, and support the training of clinical psychologists from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds to enter primary care settings and medically underserved communities.

Students and faculty like Dr. Jocelyn R. Smith Lee of the human development and family studies department are addressing social justice through scholarship and research. Smith Lee’s Centering Black Voices lab explores the unequal burdens of trauma and grief in the lives of young Black men.

This year, numerous iBelong student grant recipients will be spearheading anti-racism and anti-bias discussions and research, building a deeper sense of community and connection on campus.

The Weatherspoon Art Museum continues to take huge strides in its equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts. Recently, the museum received a grant to partner with university, civic, museum, and other community entities in a meaningful effort to reconsider, reinterpret, and re-present its  forthcoming three-year project, Leading with Objects: Engaging the Community in Institutional Change. The museum will also collaborate on anti-racist project models and practices as part of the Museum Partnerships for Social Justice Project, a recently announced initiative of the Henry Luce Foundation’s American Art Program. 

Campus climate

The Chancellor’s Fellows for Campus Climate have developed an equity, diversity, and inclusion action framework and actionable goals for UNCG’s campus to address racial inequality and promote equity, diversity, and inclusion for all individuals and groups that are marginalized. 

Additionally, faculty have launched a series of mentorship, success, and leadership development processes to further the University’s commitment to diversity education and training as well as to recruit more diverse faculty.

UNCG Cares, a Division of Student Affairs initiative, promotes a Culture of Care in the UNCG community by instilling care and support. UNCG Cares includes a network of campus resources, from diversity initiatives like Safe Zone and Trans Zone to health and wellness programs such as the Spartans in Recovery ProgramIn fall of 2019, UNCG launched its “Spartan Essentials” initiative, part of UNCG Cares, to address food insecurity, as well as housing insecurity, among students. 

The Office of Intercultural Engagement also offers a variety of resources, workshops, and training, including Bystander Intervention Training and a series of community dialogues for students to build relationships across different cultures and discuss topics related to diversity and inclusion affecting the campus community.

UNCG’s Spartan Open Pantry (SOP), an on-campus food pantry for students and staff with food insecurity, has continued to meet the increased need this spring and summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the SOP, the Dean of Students Office provides emergency meals for students. 

Student success

UNCG has a long history of providing access and opportunity to students from disadvantaged backgrounds and continues to stand out as a leader in student success. Not only is UNCG one of the most diverse institutions in the state, over 36% of students are first-generation college students, and nearly half of its students are Pell Grant eligible. 

UNCG’s Division of Student Success offers a variety of programs and initiatives aimed at helping students from all backgrounds realize their fullest academic and professional potential. 

The Student Support Services TRiO program is designed to maximize academic performance for UNCG students who are first-generation students from modest income backgrounds, or who have a documented disability and demonstrate an academic need for services. Services include individual instruction in the development of academic skills; personalized academic counseling, financial aid literacy counseling, graduate/professional school guidance, and career coaching; and one-on-one tutoring in up to two courses each semester. Recently, the TRiO program was awarded multiple million-dollar grants to support students from low-income, first-generation, or under-represented minority backgrounds, as well as students with disabilities.

UNCG’s McNair Scholars Program prepares undergraduate first-generation students from low-income backgrounds and students who are members of groups that are traditionally underrepresented in graduate studies for the pursuit of doctoral degrees. 

As UNCG’s flagship student success program, the Guarantee Scholars Program provides its participants a financial aid package that minimizes student debt, community learning experiences outside of the classroom, and personalized support though mentorship. This program works alongside its students to identify barriers to student success and develop innovative community-focused solutions.

UNCG also continues to excel in recruiting Latinx students, many of whom are first-generation college students, through its CHANCE program. The college-immersion experience encourages Latinx students to pursue higher education by demonstrating that it is accessible to them. More than 10% of the student population is Latinx.

Photography by Grant Evan Gilliard, University Communications, taken in 2019

Brenda Louise Craig, who worked at UNCG in security, died in July.

She was a UNCG alumna who earned a degree in physical education and excelled in sports and academically.

After graduating, Brenda became a teacher and instructor. She returned to UNCG to work in security. Her interest in law enforcement also led her to security positions at N.C. A&T State University and Wake Forest University.

Craig was well known among students, faculty, and staff at UNCG, where she volunteered daily at the Smith Campus Ministries Center and with Wesley-Luther at the Spartan Open Pantry. A generation of students came to know and appreciate Brenda for the way she listened to them, helped them, and encouraged them.

A celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 25, at College Place United Methodist Church, 509 Tate St. Memorials may be made to the Spartan Athletics Scholarship Fund or the Spartan Open Pantry.

UNCG students at the Art on Paper exhibition in the Weatherspoon Art Museum

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC Greensboro continues to take huge strides in its equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts.

The museum will collaborate on anti-racist project models and practices as part of the Museum Partnerships for Social Justice Project, a recently announced initiative of the Henry Luce Foundation’s American Art Program. 

The foundation granted the Weatherspoon $125,000 to support the partnership and to ultimately promote the pressing need for cultural conversations across the field.

Throughout an 18-month grant period, the leaders of four museums – the Weatherspoon, the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, and Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – will be in communication. In pairs, the grantees will work more closely together.

Each pairing includes one museum that has distinguished itself in anti-racist practices, specifically in the execution of prior Luce-funded projects, and another that will partner to expand anti-racist practices and frameworks at their own museum. 

The Weatherspoon will partner with the Mississippi Museum of Art (MMA), in Jackson, Mississippi.

Together they will examine MMA’s new programs, including their Center for Art and Public Exchange and their Arts and Civil Rights Initiative, which are touted for promoting civil discourse, understanding, and compassion in both internal and public-facing works. The Weatherspoon will also be privy to an in-action case study through MMA and its work as the co-organizer of the nationally touring exhibition A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration. The evolving dialogue of that case study will support the Weatherspoon in engaging UNCG and its local partners in conversations that reinterpret the museum’s art collection and expand connections in the community.

“Our engagement with the Mississippi Museum of Art’s foundational programs and Great Migration exhibition will help us learn how the Weatherspoon can invite diverse stakeholders to reassess both our holding of American art and the ways in which we share them,” said Juliette Bianco, the Anne and Ben Cone Memorial Endowed Director of the Weatherspoon.

“We hope to use community-generated dialogue to better promote access, inclusion, and transformation and inspire investment in our shared future.”

The Weatherspoon’s latest news comes just months after their announcing a grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art, which will support inclusivity efforts at the museum through the project Leading with Objects: Engaging the Community in Institutional Change. The grant will help the Weatherspoon fund a coordinating curator of community engagement, a position new to the museum, for two years. The curator will connect key project partners to develop a collaborative and inquiry-based reconsideration of its art collection, culminating in a reinstallation of the collection in 2023.

“The initiatives at the Weatherspoon speak to the efforts of the University as a whole,” said Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “We are committed to being a model for equity, diversity, and inclusion – and bringing outstanding visual arts to our students, the campus community, and the communities in our region.” 

Both initiatives – Leading with Objects and the Museum Partnership for Social Justice Project – extend upon the Weatherspoon’s racial equity plan, Leading Together, which is guiding the museum’s broader work towards equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Members of CoWam, the new UNCG student group that works to amplify the student voice in the arts through student-activated programming and involvement with the Weatherspoon Art Museum, its staff, and its collection.

Story by Brittany Cameron, with information provided by the Henry Luce Foundation
Photography by Martin W. Kane