Stop complaining about how bad your college, financial aid, and classes can be and have a voice in the choice of the next UNC system president! Right now, a petition drafted by college students, alumni, and faculty is circulating and it commands the UNC Board of Governors to remember, “The New President of UNC Should Stand for Teaching & Learning,” (Link to sign petition is at the end of article). Also, the BOG will host four forums between May 26-June 1 for the public input in Asheville, Greenville, Durham, and Charlotte on these dates (click for schedule). I highly suggest anyone to attend.
As a college student attending Winston-Salem State University in N.C. (GO RAMS!) I know that finding the next president of the UNC school system is a vital process and will ultimately affect all UNC students in progressing years. Tom Ross is in the process of being replaced as UNC President. There were speculations of the reason of his departure, but all that was confirmed was a joint statement between the board and Ross that praised him for his performance but said the “timeline for transition was different” between Ross and the board. In other words, Ross had to go. Ross’ four-year history has shown an increase in the number of graduates and revenue for some universities, but has also brought budget cuts and a 55 percent increase in tuition according to Diverse Education. He will officially leave his post in January 2016.
Overall, the UNC system enrollment has improved from 2011-2014, however some schools are dramatically lacking more than others. Do we need someone just as good as Ross or do we need someone better? Either way, the new president needs to have an abundance of relatable qualifications and knowledge for the position and understand the tasks it will demand. This is not an easy job as there are so many different personalities and preferences and the goal is to please the mass. From my experience as an undergrad in the UNC system this is what he/she must have:
- Knowledge of the UNC system history: How are we supposed to know what to do and what not to do if we do not know what has and has not worked for us in the past? This candidate should have a full understanding of the history of the UNC system to better judge how to advance the future of college education.
- Past experience and goal setter: The work and tenure of the candidate should reveal the success of his or her work and implemented plans. If one is going to take over the role of being the decision maker for an entire school system, they need evidence of themselves with duties of similar work to prove that it is possible for them to achieve goals.
- Passion for education: This is a no-brainer. How can we expect the future of colleges to evolve if the candidate lacks passion for education? That is the sole duty of the president (in my opinion). The future of the nation will be in the hands of the younger generation and that statement alone should send a red alert to tighten up on the way the younger generation is educated. If this candidate has children, a good question for them to ponder is whether they would push for their child to be educated by the UNC system. Surely, that will reveal their honest mindset and opinions! All parents want the best for their child and essentially the best school so if a UNC college is not it…then something is wrong, I am right?
- Culturally competent: With the triumphs that minorities have faced recently such as the closing of some colleges and HBCUs and scandals of grade inflations/infringements, the UNC system desperately needs someone who will keep that category in mind. HBCUs (once again, in my opinion) have never been able to surpass many PWIs in academics, sports, and revenue. Because of this, it is common to see a lack in resources, aid, and consecutively a lack in enrollment. Five out of the 17 UNC schools are HBCUs and are just as important. From 2011 to 2014, all five schools have decreased in enrollment, with Elizabeth City State University decreasing the highest at 36 percent, according to the website for the UNC system. ECSU was also one of the schools that was in the crossfire of possibly being shut down. So will this candidate strive to bring those universities out of deep water or will he/she completely sink their tank?
- Innovative thinker and great personality: The person for this job has to have talent. Formulating plans that are more likely to be implemented and successful is a skill. Many people can come up with a plan (and sometimes without much thought) but it takes a creative and determined individual to not let the plan fall through. The candidate should also be personable and able to speak with students and administrators and collaborate smoothly. The new president should hear most of the concerns in the UNC system from those that deal in it each day.
It is possible for the UNC system to hire a qualified person that meets and possibly exceeds our expectations so the hiring staff should not be lazy in searching for the new President of the UNC system.
So, give me some names (I am interested to hear), who would you elect as President of the UNC system?