The shared Downtown University Campus planned site was announced recently. It will be on Lee Street and Elm. Chancellor, why is this collaborative initiative important for UNCG and our mission?
We are very excited about the progress that we’ve made over the last three years in our collaboration with other colleges and universities in Greensboro and also with the private sector, through Opportunity Greensboro.
The first phase of the Downtown University Campus is designed around health science programs. We plan on locating our doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program there. This is an advanced degree with a heavy clinical focus which has become the new standard for advanced nursing education. The DNP was approved by the UNC Board of Governors and is expected to begin by enrolling the first class of students in fall 2015.
As you know, we have significant space challenges on the campus. We have had for some time on our capital projects list a replacement for the McIver Building which is designed to house nursing, science labs, and related programming. It is unlikely UNCG will receive state funding for new major capital projects for some time. The collaboration around the downtown facility will enable us to address the needs of one our most outstanding academic programs, nursing, in the absence of a new capital project funded by the state.
Beyond this specific project, the collaboration itself is important and will be more and more common in higher education as we all try to accomplish our goals and fulfill our missions in the absence of new state resources.
Also on Lee Street, the Greensboro Coliseum is the home court for Spartan men’s basketball. A record attendance for a home opener was announced at the first game – a win over High Point University. The student sections were even louder in the game against ECU. Your thoughts on the value of Div. 1 Basketball and athletics on campus life at UNCG?
UNCG made the decision to move to Division I in 1991. We are proud of our membership in the Southern Conference. We believe that the values of that conference are consistent with our university values, particularly the focus on academic success for student athletes. Our student athletes graduate at a higher rate than the overall student population.
Athletics is important at UNCG. We’re a large public university, committed to enhancing student life on campus. Athletics will continue to play an important role.
We are excited about our partnership with the Coliseum. We do believe – as I hear from many students – that athletics is one of the ways that a university can enhance its visibility and build pride not only in athletics but in the academic reputation of the institution.
Can you give a brief update on Spartan Village, including the fourth residence hall, the Police Station, the Pedestrian Underpass and the planned Recreation Center?
We have received very positive feedback from the students who are now living in Spartan Village. The fourth residence hall will open in January and we are excited to bring that part of the project to completion. The pedestrian underpass will open in January as well. It will make it a bit easier for students, faculty and staff to move between Spartan Village and the main campus. The campus police station will open in summer or fall of 2014 and will bring our police force together in one place. The project has been welcomed by the City of Greensboro and – certainly from the perspective of having so many students and so much new activity now on Lee Street – will be an important assurance to the students living there and their families.
We expect to break ground on a new campus recreation center in March of 2014. That center is designed to replace our existing rec center which was built when we enrolled about 10,000 students. We have worked for a number of years in planning that project, in doing an assessment of need, in surveying students about the kinds of recreation opportunities they would like to see in that center. We are excited about that project as it will also provide an important anchor for the students who are living in Spartan Village. It will provide spaces that can also be used by student groups to host meetings and larger events that currently cannot be accommodated in Elliott University Center.
Spartan Village will enable us to move closer to our goal of housing 40 percent of our undergraduate students on campus. The addition of Jefferson Suites and renovation of the Quad and now the addition of Spartan Village already have made a significant difference in student life in the evenings and on weekends.
I am very pleased at the progress that we have made on every aspect of this project.
Visual: Chancellor Brady, from an earlier interview for CW. Photographer Chris English.