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UNC System

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Monday numbers: Fewer babies portends a decline in future college enrollment — and money for UNC System schools

Last week, Policy Watch examined the UNC System's $16.8 million 2023 budget request of the General Assembly -- money that would be sued to incentivize professors at five universities to retire. Among the drivers of that request is a drop in enrollment, due in part to years of lower birth rates. That impact is about to grow.

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Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC System asks legislature for $24.3 million to expedite professors’ retirement, improve on-time graduation rates

As the North Carolina General Assembly begins its legislative session in earnest this week, the UNC System is requesting additional money to reduce salary costs at universities and help students graduate on time. The UNC Board of Governors is asking for a one-time appropriation of $16.8 million to incentivize eligible professors to retire, and a recurring $7.5 million to assist students at five campuses that need to shore up their on-time graduation rates.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

UNC Board of Governors courts more controversy with new proposed rule on hiring and enrollment

Proponents say their objective is to protect freedom of speech and thought, but critics see other motives and many potential landmines Discussions about political debates, beliefs, affiliations, ideals or principles could be banned in employment and enrollment processes at UNC System schools, if the UNC Board of Governors approves a proposed rule change.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

LGBTQ rights, the UNC System and Christian nationalism: Three stories we’ll be watching closely in 2023

“It is difficult to make predictions,” Dutch politician Karl Kristian Steincke once wrote. “Especially about the future.” But if you’re a reporter who carefully follows a few issues, you don’t need a crystal ball to have a fairly good idea of what to look for in the new year. Here are some stories we're certain we’ll be following and reporting on in 2023: 1. Renewed legislative assaults on LGBTQ people

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News Top Story

Year in review: stories of abandoned norms in politics and governance

As we look back on 2022 this week, a few themes emerge in Policy Watch stories across a spectrum of topics, from state ...
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Environment Higher Ed News Top Story

Supreme Court admissions case from NC could help upend nation’s environmental justice laws

In recent years, more states have crafted environmental justice policies to help communities of color plagued by polluted air and water, poor health outcomes and limited access to green space. But now they fear that work could be upended by a pair of pending U.S. Supreme Court cases examining affirmative action admissions policies at universities. If the court strikes down affirmative action, many state lawmakers believe, the ruling could open legal challenges to “race-conscious” laws that seek to help marginalized communities.

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Higher Ed Top Story

Monday numbers: The cost of higher education and economic value of community colleges

Worried about the economy and rattled by a global pandemic that upended the traditional university experience, a growing percentage of university students worry higher education is no longer worth the cost. That anxiety is one factor in falling admissions at some UNC campuses, leading system leaders to scramble for solution: Raising the cap on admissions from out-of-state students, simplifying the transfer of credits between institutions, and launching new investments in online education, and renewing an emphasis on the value of the state’s community college system.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Chancellors discuss challenges of their roles as UNC Board of Governors eyes searches

As the UNC System’s Board of Governors mulls further changes to its chancellor search process, the board heard this week from some of the longest serving chancellors in the 17 campus system. During a day of committee meetings at East Carolina University, board members hosted a panel discussion with N.C. A&T University Chancellor Harold Martin, N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson, Appalachian State Chancellor Sheri Everts and UNC Pembroke Chancellor Robin Cummings.

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Higher Ed Top Story

Gov. Cooper’s new commission will study how the UNC System is governed, but change is unlikely

After years of conflict and controversy within the UNC System, a bipartisan commission will study its governance, but without the power to implement changes, it’s unclear what impact the commission’s work will have. On Tuesday Gov. Roy Cooper announced the Governor’s Commission on the Governance of Public Universities in North Carolina, created by executive order. It will be headed by former UNC System presidents Tom Ross and Margaret Spellings, a prominent Democrat and Republican, respectively.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Weathering political controversies, UNC System president reaps incentive bonus

The UNC Board of Governors approved a bonus of $451,200 for UNC System President Peter Hans Wednesday, which board members said reflects the “exceptional job” Hans continues to do for the UNC System. The one-time payment to Hans’s Senior Administrative Officer Retirement Account is in line with an incentive scheme under which he was hired in June of 2020.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

NC Republican lawmakers: Running government “like a business” alright

One supposes that it’s at least conceivable there could be merit to the idea of moving the headquarters of the 17-campus UNC System from the place it’s always been – Chapel Hill – to the state capital in Raleigh. Maybe. But here’s another obvious fact about such an ambitious plan: ramming it through without debate and without consulting the system’s Board of Governors would be a brazen and indefensible act.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

UNC Board of Governors undermined in UNC System move to Raleigh, conservative members say

After six years on the UNC Board of Governors, Leo Daughtry is being moved to the North Carolina State Board of Transportation. It wasn’t a move he requested, Daughtry told Policy Watch last week. But the change, part of a political appointments bill passed at the end of the legislative session, was probably inevitable after Daughtry said aloud something a number of board members privately say they also believe: the plan to move the UNC System offices to downtown Raleigh is expensive, ill-considered and motivated primarily by politics.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Report on UNC System campus free speech provides insights into climate, student experiences

Some conservative students say they feel stifled, but generally not by faculty members When Policy Watch reported on conservative writer and podcaster Ben Shapiro’s visit to UNCG in April, it had all the hallmarks of the current debate over free speech on campuses. A highly partisan figure drawing huge crowds with divisive -- in this case, transphobic and homophobic -- language. Students protesting, holding a competing event and verbally sparring with the speaker.

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Education News Top Story

UNC Press initiative aims to tame the soaring and burdensome cost of textbooks

This month the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics released a new edition of Contemporary Precalculus Through Applications, the popular book that is the only text in the school’s precalculus courses. But this new edition is available digitally, for free, to not just students at the elite residential high school but high school and college students all over the state.

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