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SPRING • 2013


China’s Gilded Age T H E


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A L S O I N S I D E : Women’s Studies Trailbla zer N O R T H


‘Good’ Investment A T



F R O M T HE DE AN Carolina Arts & Sciences

Spring 2013

Liberal Arts Lessons

College of Arts and Sciences

It’s almost graduation time again, and we are

Donn Young

excited for all of our seniors. I’d like to tell you the story of two Rachels, who are shining examples of the value of a Carolina liberal arts education. Rachel Myrick ‘13, a political science and global studies major (and creative writing minor), has explored the subject of ethnic conflict from interdisciplinary perspectives in her UNC classes. “My experiences in college have shaped not only my desire to be able to explore one subject in depth, but to also bring in different lenses from different disciplines,” Karen M. Gil she says. “I think it makes you a much better critical thinker.” As a new Rhodes Scholar, Rachel will be heading to Oxford after graduation. Consider also Rachel Burton, a women’s studies graduate, now a major player in the biodiesel industry. She is co-founder of Piedmont Biofuels in Pittsboro, the first commercialscale biodiesel plant of its kind in the United States. You can read more about the two Rachels, along with other amazing alumni, faculty and students in this issue. Dennis Whittle, a religious studies alum, is the Richards Donohoe Social Entrepreneur in Residence. He co-founded GlobalGiving, a pioneering website that encourages worldwide philanthropy. He says he learned entrepreneurial thinking from his religious studies professors at Carolina. We also spotlight Tom Jensen, a political science and history graduate, who now heads the top-rated political polling firm in the nation. Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling has become a magnet for sharp Carolina liberal arts grads and interns. In a series of stories called “Learning 2.0,” we look at how College faculty employ teaching methods that are engaging, experiential and entrepreneurial. One example is a new introductory entrepreneurship course that was co-taught by Chancellor Holden Thorp and a string of distinguished professors and entrepreneurs. Chancellor Thorp is leaving Carolina at the end of June to become the next provost at Washington University in St. Louis. We pay tribute to Holden and Patti Thorp in this issue to thank them for the many ways in which they have strengthened Carolina and the College during their two decades in Chapel Hill. We also honor biologist Pat Pukkila, founding director of the Office for Undergraduate Research, who retires in June. She has transformed the Carolina academic experience by advancing opportunities for undergraduates to work closely with faculty and graduate students on exciting research. Under her 14 years of leadership, the College’s approach to undergraduate research has become a national model. Colleagues across the College are addressing big problems facing North Carolina and the world. Chemist Matt Redinbo is helping to stop the spread of killer staph infections caused by resistance to antibiotics. Urban Planning Expert Yan Song has been advising China on the long-term consequences of unbridled growth. Public Policy Professor Maryann Feldman has won global recognition for research on where and how innovative industries cluster. And Professor Daniel Gitterman has received one of North Carolina’s highest honors for his work as a senior adviser to former Gov. Beverly Perdue. This issue is brimming with examples of learning, discovery and engagement made possible by a combination of public and private support. As always, we are grateful to alumni and friends who recognize that a Carolina liberal arts and sciences education is more important than ever. — Karen M. Gil, Dean

• Karen M. Gil, Dean • Michael Crimmins Senior Associate Dean, Natural Sciences • Jonathan Hartlyn Senior Associate Dean, Social Sciences and Global Programs • Shannon Kennedy Senior Associate Dean, Development, and Executive Director, Arts & Sciences Foundation • James W. May Director of Campaign Planning for the College • Tammy McHale Senior Associate Dean, Finance and Planning • Bobbi Owen Senior Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education • Terry Rhodes Senior Associate Dean, Fine Arts and Humanities

Arts & Sciences Foundation Board of Directors • Vicki Underwood Craver ’92, Riverside, CT, Chair • Karen M. Gil, Chapel Hill, NC, President • Jonathan Hartlyn, Chapel Hill, NC, Vice President • Tammy J. McHale, Chapel Hill, NC, Treasurer • Shannon Kennedy, Chapel Hill, NC, Executive Director and Secretary • James L. Alexandre ’79, Haverford, PA • R. Frank Andrews ’90, ’95 MBA, Washington, DC • Amy Berry Barry ’91, Naples, FL • Constance Y. Battle ’77, Raleigh, NC • Laura Hobby Beckworth ’80, Houston, TX • Paul Bitler ’86, New York, NY • R. Duke Buchan III ’85, Palm Beach, FL • Sunny H. Burrows ’84, Atlanta, GA • Courtney Miller Cavatoni ’93, Atlanta, GA • Mark P. Clein ’81, Chevy Chase, MD • G. Munroe Cobey ’74, Chapel Hill, NC • Sheila Ann Corcoran ’92, ’98 MBA, Los Angeles, CA • Jaroslav T. Folda III, Chapel Hill, NC • Emmett Boney Haywood ’77, ’82 JD, Raleigh, NC • Heavenly Johnson ’05, Chicago, IL • Joseph M. Kampf ’66, Potomac, MD • M. Steven Langman ’83, New York, NY • Wendell A. McCain ’92, Chapel Hill, NC • Aurelia Stafford Monk ’85, Greenville, NC • Edwin A. Poston ’89, Chapel Hill, NC • Betsy Shiverick, New York, NY • H. Martin Sprock III ’87, Charlotte, NC • Karen L. Stevenson ’79, Los Angeles, CA • Thomas M. Uhlman ’71 MS, ’75 PhD, Madison, NJ • Eric P. Vick ’90, Oxford, UK • Loyal W. Wilson ’70, Chagrin Falls, OH

TAB L E OF CON TEN TS Carolina Arts & Sciences

Spring 2013

DE P A R T ME N T S inside front cover FROM THE DEAN Liberal Arts Lessons



Yan Song

Liberal arts leader, Making waves,


thank you to Holden and Patti Thorp, Stopping killer infections, Bell tower ringer, Investing in social entrepreneurs,


and more

N.C. Collection

11 & 12 • Jewish Studies Rapid growth leads to more faculty, new major, private support


32 PROFILES Rhodes Scholar Rachel Myrick ’13, GlobalGiving Co-Founder Dennis Whittle ’83, and top pollster Tom Jensen ’06

16 • Learning 2.0 We highlight creative teaching and learning in a series of stories in this issue: 18 20 21 22 24 25 26

Middle school star-gazers, A special

35 COLLEGE BOOKSHELF World War II music; the science of love;

• Intro to entrepreneurship (super course) • Interactive psychology instruction • Physics inside out • When literature and history leap off the page • What’s your dilemma? • Learning about Lumbees • Champion of undergraduate research

the 2012 Presidential election; Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King Jr.; Birmingham jazz; a tale of two sisters; Southern writers and artists; productivity and procrastination; and more

UNC’s Yan Song helps a giant rethink its urban upheaval

Steve Exum

28 • China’s Gilded Age 26

inside back cover FINAL POINT Chapel Hill is his canvas: Michael Brown (art ’77) discusses

COVER PHOTO: Heidi Kim, an assistant professor of English and comparative literature, in the stacks of

the popularity of his downtown murals.

Wilson Library where artifacts and archives inspire students’ research and public events that connect literature and history. Photo by Steve Exum.


Spring 2013

Director of Communications Dee Reid


Editor Kim Weaver Spurr ’88 Associate Director of Communications

Explore the magazine online with extra content at magazine.college.unc.edu.

Editorial Assistants • Kristen Chavez ’13 • Beth Lawrence ’12 Graphic Designer • Linda Noble Contributing Writers • Pamela Babcock • Rah Bickley ’86 • Kristen Chavez ’13 • Brittany Darst ’14 • Mark Derewicz, Endeavors magazine • Don Evans ’80 • Del Helton • Michele Lynn • Nancy E. Oates • Lisa H. Towle • Eleanor Lee Yates ’78 Contributing Photographers • Jeff Chappell • Kristen Chavez ’13 • Thomas H. Cox • Steve Exum ’92 • Beth Lawrence ’12 • Mary Lide Parker ’10, Endeavors magazine • Dan Sears ’74, UNC News Services Photographer • Yan Song • Angela Wu • Donn Young • Zoe Wolszon ’14 Carolina Arts & Sciences is published semiannually by the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and made possible with the support of private funds. Copyright 2013. We would like to say a special thank you to senior Kristen Chavez, our editorial assistant for four years. She will be leaving us after graduation to participate in the UNC Hollywood Media Internship program this summer. If you wish to receive Carolina Arts & Sciences News, our periodic e-mail bulletin, please send us a note with your name, mailing address and e-mail address to: artsandsciences@ unc.edu. More News/Events: college.unc.edu Facebook: www.facebook.com/UNC.College Twitter: twitter.com/unccollege YouTube: youtube.com/user/UNCCollege

For more videos, visit our YouTube channel at youtube. com/user/UNCCollege.


Mary Lide Parker

10 • Hark the sound Patrick VanderJeugdt is the UNC master bell tower ringer

18 • Intro to entrepreneurship New super course spreads seeds of creative thinking, risk-taking


Dan Sears

Carolina Arts & Sciences


35 • Love 2.0 A new book by psychologist Barbara Fredrickson explains the science of love

Plus a video on Spanish for the Professions, an academic minor that prepares students for bilingual careers in the business, communications and healthcare fields.


Stories on Creative Teaching Online


Jeff Chappell


• Classroom is community for Professor Della Pollock • Biology Lecturer Kelly Hogan inspires a ‘spirit of inquiry’ in her students

College of Arts and Sciences The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Campus Box 3100 Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599-3100 (919) 962-1165 2 • COLLEGE.UNC.EDU • SPRING 2013 • CAROLINA ARTS & SCIENCES


Dan Sears


L I B E R A L A R T S L E A D E R • Claim to Fame: Partner/Co-Founder, Former Research Director, Piedmont Biofuels, Pittsboro. In 2010, the company commissioned the first commercial-scale enzymatic biodiesel plant of its kind in the United States. • Acclaim: 2011 Biodiesel Researcher of the Year, National Biodiesel Board. • Nickname: Wrench Wench • Rachel Burton Says: “You can do anything you want with a women’s studies major. It’s just a matter of how you apply yourself … there is definitely a connection between the fact I was a women’s studies major and I went on to pursue a nontraditional career, and to understand and further my experience of being a woman in the workplace.”


Beth Lawrence

That’s when she learned she could lower her carbon footprint by using fossil-free fuel made from recycled vegetable oil. She began teaching others how to produce biofuel and went on to co-found a groundbreaking Biofuels Program at the community college, where she also studied sustainable agriculture. Lyle Estill, one of Burton’s first students in the biofuels program, later became a business partner. Estill, Burton and Leif Forer, another biofuels instructor, co-founded Piedmont Biofuels, first as a cooperative. Then in 2005, they developed Piedmont Biofuels Industrial at an abandoned factory on the edge of Pittsboro. Burton created and designed the laboratory and oversaw its research program through last year. Over the past two years she led a United States Department of Energy research project investigating ABOVE: Rachel Burton at the Piedmont Biofuels plant in Pittsboro. the use of enzymes in biodiesel production. Burton combined her interests in sustainable agriculture and achel Burton didn’t just land a great job; she invented one. sustainable fuels with an amazing collection of allies at Piedmont After earning her women’s studies degree at Carolina, she blazed a Biofuels’ eco-industrial complex, located on whimsically named circuitous career path to become a nationally recognized, pioneering Lorax Lane. Today the site features Piedmont Biofarm (a successful, leader in the alternative fuel industry. Piedmont Biofuels Industrial community-supported agricultural venture), Screech Owl Greenhouses LLC produces clean renewable energy from recycled vegetable oil, (year-round hydroponically produced vegetables), the Abundance waste fats and grease. The company’s biodiesel fuels trucks, cars and Foundation (supporting sustainable food and energy) and other school buses all over North Carolina. independent enterprises committed to economic and environmental After UNC, Burton traveled overseas and became interested sustainability. • in sustainable agriculture. She decided it would be handy if she learned how to repair and maintain farm vehicles and equipment. — We learned about Rachel Burton’s career path in the book, So when she settled back in rural North Carolina, she took a class on Transforming Scholarship: Why Women’s and Gender Studies small-engine repair, which led to a two-year degree in automotive Students Are Changing Themselves and the World (Routledge, 2011), technology via the Perkins Sex Equity Vocational program. She co-authored by Michele Tracy Berger, associate professor of women’s later worked as a mechanic at the local car dealership and taught and gender studies at UNC. Burton is one of six change agents profiled automotive mechanics at Central Carolina Community College’s in the book. campus in Pittsboro.




Making Waves New generator allows researchers to study rogue waves, tsunamis B y

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Dan Sears


o one makes waves like Leandra Vicci. An engineer, Vicci is designing a device to create gravity waves in the wave tank in Chapman Hall using blowers and vacuums. The pneumatic wave generator will allow the multidisciplinary team of researchers she is part of to conduct experiments that test theories on such phenomena as rogue waves, tsunamis and internal waves that affect the ecological health of estuaries. “It’s a wacky idea that I hope we can make work,” Vicci said. If all goes as planned, “UNC will have research capability that is groundbreaking in its field.” The National Science Foundation has awarded a $655,401 Major Research Instrumentation Grant over three years to the team, composed of principal investigator Roberto Camassa, Kenan Distinguished Professor of applied mathematics; and co-PIs Vicci, lecturer and director of the computer science department’s applied engineering lab; mathematics professor Rich McLaughlin; and Brian White, assistant professor of marine sciences. The grant covers construction and installation of the pneumatic wave generator and costs associated with doing the various experiments. The wave tank, able to stratify layers of saltwater and freshwater, is coming into its own thanks to a number of competitive grants. The three-chamber tank, which holds up to 13,500 gallons of water and is 27 feet deep, 2 feet wide and 120 feet long, was completed in 2010. A saltwater filtration system was added to the tank so its water could be reused. Toward the end of 2012, a computerized bobber-type wavemaker that moves up and down to make controlled

ABOVE: UNC scientists say the installation of a new wave tank generator in Chapman Hall will help them to do groundbreaking research.

internal and surface waves was installed. Internal waves are one of the the most common types of wave motion in the ocean; they are responsible for driving currents, dissipating tidal energy and distributing biomatter or pollutants. Few completely optically accessible wave tanks this large exist around the world, and Vicci’s generator will propel UNC’s fluids lab to rock star status by enabling researchers to use an exquisite degree of finesse in controlling wave-making parameters in both time and space. The fluids lab team will be able to replicate real-world phenomena in a controlled laboratory environment and precisely measure energy transfer. Vicci’s device will enable the creation of a much more complex wave in space and time than could be created by the computerized bobber. “It’s transformational,” Camassa said. “It’s never been attempted before.” The experiments they will be able to do could be used to understand when and where damaging rogue waves might appear, study the feasibility of harvesting energy from waves, understand the effects of dispersants used in cleaning up an oil slick, and understand the vortices created when water rushes from a narrow channel into a


wide space (think of the ship spinning in the Japanese harbor after the tsunami). The pneumatic wave generator can either blow air into a tank to move water from one tank to another or use suction to move water back in the opposite direction. Stacking an array of the devices enables separate layers of water to move at different speeds or even in the opposite direction. “We will be able to [create or] excite waves that would be impossible to excite if we didn’t have this capability of distributing the flow rate over space,” Vicci said. Elaine Monbureau is a graduate student who studies the flow around individual blades of sea grass that sprout in estuaries and inter-coastal areas and prevent erosion. The wave tank was a factor in her decision to study at UNC. The gravity currents she examines can’t be replicated on a small scale. Having a large system was crucial to observing the fluid dynamics. She presented her results at a conference last winter and drew tremendous interest from other researchers. “I don’t know anyone else doing these types of experiments in this size tank,” she said. “I get fascinating images that allow people to see how cool fluid science is.” •


“I think this serves to remind us that water isn’t just a resource necessary to keep humans going; it serves to cleanse, nourish and house thousands of other creatures and bring communities together.”

Morning Bath This photo by applied sciences major Zoe Wolszon ’14

see the morning ritual of bathing the elephants. Her photo was the

was taken in Kerala, India, during the summer of 2012 while she

water theme winner for this year’s Carolina Global Photography

was conducting an independent research project on traditional

Competition. Wolszon says, “I think this serves to remind us that

medicines in the healthcare systems of different Asian countries.

water isn’t just a resource necessary to keep humans going; it serves

On a weekend trip to the Kodanad Elephant Training Center

to cleanse, nourish and house thousands of other creatures and bring

(where elephants are trained for agroforestry work), she got to

communities together.” •



Middle school STAR-GAZERS ABOVE: UNC’s Skynet system includes these robotic telescopes in Chile.


bout 1,400 middle school students will be able to explore the universe with hightech robotic telescopes in Chile and Chapel Hill through UNC’s global Skynet system. It’s part of a new $1.6 million National Science Foundation grant to encourage interest in the sciences at an early age. Partners include: The University of Chicago; the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, W.Va.; the Astronomical Society of the Pacific; and 4-H. Called Skynet Junior Scholars, the program will train 180 4-H leaders and informal educators in Wisconsin, North Carolina and West Virginia to engage youth in telescopic observations of planets, asteroids, galaxies and other cosmic targets during summer camps or weekly club meetings. Skynet will build upon existing 4-H science programs. Skynet Junior Scholars will have at their disposal a global network of telescopes that Dan Reichart, UNC Bowman and Gordon

Gray Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and his associates have assembled to detect gamma-ray bursts, the most powerful explosions in the universe. “We have users all across the United States and the world, and they all do different science, not gamma-ray bursts,” Reichart said. Skynet has become the leading discoverer of supernovae in the Southern Hemisphere, and also the world’s leading tracker of nearEarth objects (Earth-approaching comets and asteroids). In fact, Skynet observers study a full range of fleeting phenomena of varying brightness that can be seen with a small telescope. Skynet includes six telescopes in Chile, with six more under construction there and in Australia. The network also includes a 20-meter radio telescope at Green Bank, the 24-inch telescope at UNC’s Morehead Observatory and the 41-inch telescope at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wis. Reichart’s outreach work has evolved


into a four-credit course at UNC that enrolls 1,000 or more students annually. That Skynet-based curriculum now is attracting interest from a variety of other institutions in the region, including Wake Technical Community College, Guilford College and North Carolina A&T State University. “So far we’ve had about 30,000 elementary school students use the system,” Reichart said, through a curriculum developed in partnership with the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Using a web page on a kiosk in the planetarium, students pick the object they want to capture and type in an email address. Skynet then takes the image and sends it back. Thousands of high school students also have made observations, using the same web-based interface that professionals use to operate Skynet. With the addition of the Junior Scholars program, Skynet will have served every age group from elementary school to the professional ranks. •


award for her work on “the geography of innovation” — where industries cluster and why. Feldman is the Heninger Distinguished Professor in the College and a senior fellow at UNC’s Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. The award is given by the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum and the Research Institute of Industrial Economics. It is the leading international honor in entrepreneurship research, with a prize of 100,000 euros. Feldman has studied a variety of industries such as the pharmaceutical and biotech sector — researching academic entrepreneurship, university-industry relations, intellectual property rights and technology entrepreneurship. She is currently consulting with the U.S. Department of Commerce. Howard Aldrich, Kenan Professor and chair of UNC’s department of sociology, won the award in 2000. RIGHT: Heninger Distinguished Professor of Public Policy Maryann Feldman

Under his leadership, Carolina rose to national top-10 status for federal research and development funding and set new records in private fundraising and admissions.

Dan Sears

GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP Public Policy Professor Maryann Feldman has been honored with a global entrepreneurship research

Thank you, Holden and Patti

Dan Sears


fter spending much of their adult lives in Chapel Hill, Holden and Patti Thorp are heading to St. Louis this summer. Effective July 1, Chancellor Thorp will be provost of Washington University there, where he also will hold an endowed professorship with appointments in chemistry and medicine. “Holden has strengthened Carolina and the College in many ways over the past two decades,” said Karen M. Gil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “He has been an inspiring teacher, scientist and leader. Patti has been a tremendous asset to all aspects of the University’s mission and her support for the arts has made a visible difference. I value their friendship and am grateful for their outstanding service to our entire community.” Thorp graduated from Carolina with a B.S. in chemistry in 1986. After earning his doctorate at California Institute of Technology, doing post-doc work at Yale and teaching at N.C. State University, he returned to Carolina in 1993 to join the chemistry faculty. An entrepreneurial scientist with a dozen patents and many publications, he served as chair of the chemistry department and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, before moving up to the Chancellor’s post in 2008. Under his leadership, Carolina rose to national top-10 status for federal research and development funding and set new records in private fundraising and admissions. He launched Innovate@Carolina, inspiring innovative teaching, research and engagement across the College and the entire campus. Patti Thorp met her future husband through community theater in Fayetteville and has been a supporter of dramatic arts throughout her life. At Carolina, she has chaired the Friends of PlayMakers Advisory Council, inspiring new support for the College’s nationally recognized repertory theater. As Carolina’s official co-host-in-chief, she has been an instrumental partner in strengthening many academic and community initiatives. She’s also a famously passionate Tar Heels fan. The Dean Smith Center won’t be quite the same without Patti. “We will miss Holden and Patti, but we wish them the very best for the next exciting chapter in their lives,” Gil said. •



Stopping killer infections

Isaac Sandlin


any kinds of staph infections are now resistant to all but one antibiotic. Chemist Matt Redinbo’s team has identified a mechanism by which such killer infections spread, and they have suggested ways to stop them before it’s too late. Worldwide, many strains of the bacterium Staphyloccocus aureus, commonly known as staph infections, are already resistant to all antibiotics except vancomycin. But as bacteria are becoming resistant to this once powerful antidote, S. aureus has moved one step closer to becoming an unstoppable killer. The UNC team’s work addresses the looming threat of incurable staph infections — a global public health problem that has mobilized scientists across disciplines to work together to identify the Achilles heel of these antibiotic-resistant bacteria. “We used to live in a world where antibiotics could readily cure bacterial disease,” said Redinbo. “But this is clearly no longer the case. We need to understand how bacteria obtain resistance to drugs like vancomycin, which served for decades as the ‘antibiotic of last resort.’” “This is really exciting for us,” added Redinbo, a chemistry professor who also holds appointments in UNC’s School of Medicine and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. “It opens the door for potentially stopping the spread of antibiotic resistance — and that’s exactly what we need in this post-antibiotic era.” The work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. •

ABOVE: Chemist Matt Redinbo is addressing the looming threat of incurable staph infections — a global health problem.



TWO LUCE SCHOLARS Seniors Will Leimenstoll and Henry Laurence Ross have won Luce Scholarships for study in Asia. The program funds a year of living and learning in Asia for recent college graduates with limited prior experience of the continent. Scholars are selected for outstanding academic achievement and leadership ability. Carolina leads the nation in Luce Scholars with 35 winners since the program began in 1974. Leimenstoll of Greensboro is an environmental studies major and city planning minor. He serves as UNC’s student body president. He has participated in the North

ABOVE: Daniel Gitterman, recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Dan Sears

Carolina Outward Board leadership Town, South Africa, through Honors Carolina. He is an active participant in the


program and has studied abroad in Cape

Buckley Public Service Scholars program and has completed more than 300 hours of community service. Leimenstoll also volunteers as a campus tour guide in the

aniel Gitterman, associate professor of public policy, was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the state’s highest honors. University of North Carolina President Tom Ross, a recipient of the award in 1999, presented the award to Gitterman on behalf of former Gov. Beverly Perdue. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine was created in the mid-1960s and is given to North Carolina citizens in recognition of a proven record of service to the state. Past recipients include such Tar Heels as Maya Angelou, Billy Graham, Michael Jordan and Bob Timberlake. Gitterman, who came to Carolina in 2000, served as a senior adviser to Gov. Perdue from 2009 to 2010, under a dual employment relationship between UNC and the Office of the Governor. “When President Obama was pushing for health-care reform, he chose five regions to hold regional White House forums, and North Carolina was one of those,” said Gitterman, who was the point person for a forum held at N.C. A&T State University in March 2009. Gitterman focused on innovative programs for improving children’s health, such as one that would extend low-cost health-care coverage to the parents of uninsured children and another one, Healthy and Ready to Learn, to expand health coverage to all students entering public kindergarten. His projects helped to bring $40 million in federal stimulus money to North Carolina. •

Carolina Ambassadors program. Ross of Lakeville, Conn., is a classics major, biology minor and Morehead-Cain Scholar. He has served as a counsel in UNC’s student-run honor system and currently serves as the deputy student attorney general and solicitor general for the student body. He has pursued international research in Cape Town, South Africa, and taught school in Zimbabwe. On campus, Ross has taken graduate-level studies in Latin and received the 2012 Preston H. and Miriam L. Epps Prize in Greek Studies, the top undergraduate classics award. •



HARK THE SOUND chemistry major and sustainability minor from Waxhaw, has secret access to all the charms of Carolina’s RIGHT: Patrick VanderJeugdt on the ledge iconic Morehead-Patterson Bell of the clock face inside UNC’s Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower. Tower. Funded by John Motley Morehead, who graduated in 1891, and Rufus Lenoir Patterson II, the the bells are housed. It was neat to see most of our awesome bell tower was dedicated by the University in 1931. VanderJeugdt campus and the surrounding area, and I enjoyed getting to is among a long line of master bell ringers who helps keep alive experience reading all of the Morehead’s and Patterson’s names traditions like seniors’ pre-graduation trek to the tune of the bell inscribed on the bells. tower’s chimes.

Q: Are there any myths or stories associated with the bell

Q: How did you become the bell tower ringer? A: The job has been passed down the lineage in my fraternity,

tower that you find interesting?

A: There aren’t any myths, but my favorite story to tell is the

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, for the past six to seven years. The duty is undertaken by a senior each year.

Q: What do your duties consist of? How often to you go to the bell tower itself?

A: I get asked to do anything from helping with marriage proposals

to ringing the bells for special events, like Bill Friday’s memorial service. During football season, I am responsible for ringing the bells during the Old Well Walk and after the game, when I always play “Hark the Sound.” And if we win I’ll even throw in “Carolina Victory.” I’m usually only in the tower once every week or two.

history of the original bell ringing method. On the balcony level of the tower, there is a wooden structure that looks like an old loom, and it was the old practice console that was used for the team of bell ringers to get accustomed to ringing the bells. There is a spring on each lever that mimics the tension of having to pull the rope of a bell four stories above you. The actual console isn’t in the tower anymore, but you can see the 12 holes in the floor of each level that used to house the ropes with which the bells were rung.

Q: Do many people know about what you do? Q: Do you have any experience in music or audio programming/ A: I think a large number of my friends and coworkers know production?

A: I do not have any previous experience with the technical side of

music, but the system is not particularly difficult to learn. Although, I have been in a variety of musical ensembles as both a cellist and a vocalist since the fifth grade, so I do have a good amount of experience in the musical performance realm.

Q: What sort of special requests have you done? A: I have helped with a marriage proposal, I’ve given tours for

anniversary surprises, and I even spent two hours climbing around the scaffolding in the motor room getting the lights set up to turn the clock faces blue for Week of Welcome earlier this year.

Q: What’s your favorite tune or memory

associated with the bell tower? My favorite memory is probably the first time I got to go up in the cupola where


what I do, but it doesn’t really change my life at all. I kind of consider myself a secret celebrity; everybody knows that somebody does the job, but not everybody knows that it’s me.

Q: What does being the bell ringer mean to you? A: This university has given a lot to me in the form of education

and opportunity, and I sort of see this as a way to give back the gift of music and school spirit. Whenever I’m up ringing the bells during football game days, it is always nice to see people’s faces light up when they hear our school songs coming from the tower.

Q: What do you plan to do after graduation? A: My personal plans after

ONLINE EXTRAS: Watch a video at magazine.college.unc.edu.


graduation are to attend law school, hopefully at UNC, and go on to work as a patent attorney. — Interview by Kristen Chavez ’13

Mary Lide Parker

Patrick VanderJeugdt, a senior


New Era for Jewish Studies A new major, more faculty, private support B y

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interdisciplinary Jewish studies program at Carolina, complete with an undergraduate major, seemed a truly audacious goal,” said Jonathan M. Hess, director of the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies and the Moses M. and Hannah L. Malkin Distinguished Professor. The center celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. “Our goal now is to lay out our LEFT: Jewish studies major vision for the future — a future Hayley Wright in Berlin. that offers even more courses and opportunities for student research and the creation of graduate ayley Wright ’13 first heard about fellowships that will help Carolina recruit the the possibility of a new Jewish studies major very best doctoral candidates.” during her sophomore year at UNC. The Alumna Carrie Duncan was one of New York City native was already taking those doctoral students; she got her Ph.D. Modern Hebrew and pursuing a Jewish in religious studies in 2012. Twice she studies minor. She also was active in the Hillel worked with the Yotvata archaeological student organization. project in southern Israel, led by her adviser “The Jewish studies professors have a Jodi Magness, an internationally known real passion for their work, and they care archaeologist and UNC Kenan Distinguished about their students,” said Wright, who is the Professor. Duncan is now an assistant first student to pursue a new major in Jewish professor at the University of Missouri in studies. Upon graduation, she plans to return Columbia. to New York to pursue a master’s degree in “Jewish studies provided an opportunity education. “I will carry these classes with me for interdisciplinary conversations that were forever. They have shaped how I feel about different in interesting ways from those I had my heritage.” within religious studies,” Duncan said. The new undergraduate degree Since 2003, the center has raised program in Jewish studies, offered through more than $15 million in private support. the department of religious studies, is the [See related story, pg. 12.] This generosity only official Jewish studies degree offered by has created faculty positions and supported an educational institution in North Carolina. faculty and student research as well as a It is also just one component of a rapidly vibrant community outreach program. growing academic program which boasts a According to Hess, Carolina has the fastestnew certificate in Jewish studies for graduate growing Jewish studies program in the students and a capstone course in Jewish country in terms of faculty growth, which studies for upper-level undergraduates. was made possible due to the number of “In 2003, creating a thriving, endowed faculty chairs.


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The center is global, broad-ranging and inclusive, said Hal Levinson ’78. He is a partner with the Charlotte law firm of Moore & Van Allen and serves as chair of the center’s advisory board. “There was nothing like this when I attended UNC. I would have loved to have taken these classes,” added Levinson. “I saw this as a way to reconnect with Carolina in a focused and meaningful way. We have supporters who care about what we are doing and know that it is important for UNC, the state of North Carolina and the field of Jewish studies.” The money raised benefits the campus and the community, not just Jewish studies, Hess added. “The programs we offer, the grants that are available and the faculty who are hired all have a profound impact on the entire College and the academic culture at Carolina.” • ONLINE EXTRAS: Learn more about the Center at www.unc.edu/ccjs.

JEWISH STUDIES: The first 10 years • B.A. degree and two minors: Jewish studies and Modern Hebrew • 15 faculty members in seven departments across the humanities and social sciences • More than 1,000 students enroll in Jewish studies courses each year • Nearly 40 Jewish studies courses offered • Eight endowed faculty chairs established, five of which are filled • More than 80 special events hosted for the campus community and the public • Speaker’s Bureau brings faculty expertise to groups throughout North Carolina



Leaving a Legacy Couple’s planned gift supports Jewish studies B r i t t a n y


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n Sept. 22, 1951, Carolina junior Saralyn Bonowitz attended a dinner party at the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity house after the first football game of the season. That day, Carolina beat N.C. State — and Saralyn met ZBT brother Gene Oberdorfer, who shared her class year and Southern Jewish heritage. The rest, as they say, was history. In 2012, as Gene and Saralyn Oberdorfer celebrated 59 years of marriage, they committed to contribute a planned gift to the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies. This gift will provide a versatile source of funding for the growing program and give Carolina students opportunities unavailable to the Oberdorfers in the 1950s. [See related story, pg. 11.] Jonathan Hess, director of the center, says this fund will provide crucial support to Jewish studies at Carolina. “The Oberdorfers’ generous planned gift will have a major impact on Carolina students for generations to come,” said Hess, the Moses M. and Hannah L. Malkin Distinguished Professor of Jewish History and Culture. “As an unrestricted gift, the Oberdorfer endowment will give us tremendous flexibility in addressing the center’s most pressing needs on a yearto-year basis — whether this means funding student research and travel, enabling faculty to develop new courses or supporting graduate students working in the field of Jewish studies.” Gene was also inspired by his parents’ commitment to Jewish causes. During World War II, the family hosted meals in their Atlanta home for many Jewish soldiers. His father Donald, a Jewish community leader in Atlanta, traveled the U.S. after the war raising money as chairman of the Joint Defense Appeal for the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. His mother Dorothy was president of the Southeast Region for the National Council of Jewish Women and was

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active in the American Red Cross. Gene and Saralyn were motivated to give not only by the examples of their friends and family but also by their unique experiences as out-of-state Jewish students at Carolina. Gene, born and raised in Atlanta, chose Carolina in 1949 for its location in the South and business school faculty and curriculum. Saralyn, originally from California, transferred to Carolina in 1951 after two years at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., for the outstanding programs and faculty in the English department. Little to no community existed for Jewish women. “Since UNC enrolled most female students in their junior year, with the exception of a few majors, there were not very many girls on campus and very few were Jewish,” Saralyn said. “I was something of a rarity.” However, Gene and Saralyn took advantage of the opportunities available. Both served on the cabinet of the Hillel Society, the Jewish student activity center, and Saralyn became its president during their senior year. Though there was no academic program for Jewish studies then, Gene and Saralyn took an Old Testament course with Bernard Boyd, first professor and chair of the brand-new department of religious studies. In 1953, Gene graduated with a major in business administration and a concentration in insurance, and Saralyn with a major in English and minor in education. Then, as Gene said, “[Saralyn] did a good thing for me: we got married.” Gene enjoyed a long career at his family’s firm, Oberdorfer Insurance Agency in Atlanta, and eventually became its owner


TOP: Gene and Saralyn Oberdorfer appear with the cabinet of the Hillel Society in the 1952 Yackety Yack. First row, left to right: Rabbi Perlman, Saralyn Bonowitz, Linda Smith, Theodore Frankel. Second row: Leon Eplan, Mel Schwartz, Harry Lerner, Eugene Oberdorfer, Lewis Ripps, John Cronson, Hilbert Levitz. BOTTOM: Gene and Saralyn Oberdorfer

and CEO. Saralyn worked as an elementary school teacher and professional model. Both have served on the boards of multiple civic organizations in Georgia and at Carolina. They also raised three children, Michael, Julie and Robin (business administration ’81). Now, looking back on long careers of service and giving to education and the Jewish community, the Oberdorfers consider this gift to be a fitting continuation of their legacy. “This is a way for non-Jewish people to gain knowledge in Jewish studies,” Gene said. “I think it’s a great thing, because years ago there wasn’t this kind of program. We hope we’ll get a chance to continue with Jewish studies and see that program grow.” •


Launching Bold Ventures Alumna invests in social entrepreneurship B y

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promotes literacy and girls’ education and has helped more than 6.5 million children across Asia and Africa. In April 2012, Donohoe launched her latest venture, this one for the benefit of students at Carolina. The Richards Donohoe Social Entrepreneur in Residence TOP: Student entrepreneur Tara Seshan. Fund underwrites a new BOTTOM: Robin Donohoe. member of the faculty whose job is to share obin Richards Donohoe ’87 practical insights from his or her career embraced her Carolina undergraduate career with students interested in charitable with gusto. She counseled new students at organizations. This faculty member teaches freshman camp. She was an officer of the in the introductory course in the minor in Delta Delta Delta sorority for three years. She entrepreneurship, as well as in the social belonged to the Campus Y, Campus Crusade entrepreneurship concentration. Donohoe’s for Christ and Phi Beta Kappa. startup funding for the position has already She displayed the same spirit a decade brought Dennis Whittle, co-founder of later as a San Francisco venture capitalist. She GlobalGiving, to campus. [See related story, co-founded two venture capital firms and pg. 33.] made early investments in companies that Donohoe’s fund will increase the turned out to be household names such as number of Carolina graduates who go on Hotmail and OpenTable. She was a pioneer to change the world with their ideas, said in the field of venture investing in India, based John Stewart, professor of economics and on her findings as a Stanford M.B.A. student director of the minor in entrepreneurship that Bangalore was a major producer of in the College. The interdisciplinary minor software and a prime target for investors. accepts about 100 students each year. They These days, Donohoe has turned her focus on one of five tracks: commercial, energies toward “venture philanthropy.” Her social, scientific, artistic or sports-related. Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation picks Tara Seshan ’13, an environmental nonprofits with high growth potential, then health science major, is one of the gives them money and expertise to grow big students who has benefited from Whittle’s and produce a major payoff for society. advice and the social entrepreneurship Among the causes this former concentration. She is working to launch international studies major has backed are Chek.Up, a venture that makes a smart Kiva and Room to Read, two of the fastestphone application for doctors in developing growing nonprofits in the world. Kiva helps countries. She won a $100,000 Thiel individuals lend small sums to tradespeople Fellowship, awarded to 20 entrepreneurs in the developing world. Room to Read under 20 years old, to form the company.


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“We have a climate of social justice here, and the Campus Y, the School of Public Health, the minor in entrepreneurship and the social entrepreneur in residence are all part of that special sauce,” Seshan said. Donohoe is no stranger to Carolina philanthropy. In 1999, she and her siblings created the Alice H. Richards Carolina Scholars Fund, which brings academically talented students from Georgia to UNC on a merit scholarship. The fund honors her late mother. Donohoe is also a former member of the Arts and Sciences Foundation’s board of directors. “I saw UNC was focusing on social entrepreneurship, and I wanted to put some wind in those sails,” Donohoe said. “I’d love to see people who say, ‘I’m a UNC grad and I’m applying to the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation because I want to be a social entrepreneur.’” She inherited a passion for starting and growing businesses from her late father. Roy Richards, Sr. was running his father’s sawmill when he was just 14. When electricity came to rural America in the 1930s, he seized the opportunity to mill the telephone poles that held up the wires. When World War II created a wire shortage, he started manufacturing it. Today Donohoe and her siblings still own and run the company, Southwire, now the nation’s largest producer of wire and cable. Her mother instilled in her a commitment to philanthropy. Alice Huffard Richards ’52 attended Carolina, majored in journalism and started several nonprofits in Georgia, serving on the boards of many others. “Both my parents influenced me tremendously,” Donohoe said. “Business from my father and philanthropy from my mother: I have both things loud and clear in my life.” •



For the Love of History Clein gift benefits faculty, students R a h

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or serial entrepreneur Mark Clein ’81, crafting his strategy for supporting Carolina’s history department was a bit like running a startup company. “As with any enterprise, you want to make an impact with limited resources,” he said. “How can we be smart about deploying whatever capital we’re talking about?” Clein, who majored in history, decided to deploy his capital for the cause of graduate and faculty research in his old department. The Clein Family Fund for Faculty and Graduate Student Support in the department of history has helped almost 70 professors and doctoral candidates pursue their research since it was started in 2008.

“As with any enterprise, you want to make an impact with limited resources. How can we be smart about deploying whatever capital we’re talking about?” — Mark Clein Each year, the Clein Fund helps 12 to 15 graduate students support their work over the summer while researching full time in special archives or in the field. This support often frees them from having to work a summer job and speeds completion of their degree. It also helps attract the best and brightest Ph.D. candidates, who in turn draw talented faculty and inspire the undergraduates they teach. History faculty also use Clein monies to travel to conferences to present research, exchange ideas and interview candidates for UNC teaching positions. It is also a rare source of funds for the kind of special projects that every academic wants to do, such as a 2012 conference on global citizenship for which three faculty traveled to Japan and seven Japanese historians came to UNC the year before.

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RIGHT: Mark Clein. ABOVE: Ph.D. student Joshua Lynn.

“The Clein Fund is a prime example of the kinds of things that private funding helps us to do,” said history chairman Lloyd Kramer. The history department has no state funds to support graduate students doing summer research, bring speakers to campus or organize special conferences and events. Clein set up both an expendable fund to pay for needs in the here and now, and a permanent endowment fund that will produce payouts in the future. After starting on Wall Street, Clein caught the entrepreneurial bug. He is now working on building the third life sciences company that he has started. Precision Health Holdings, based in Bethesda, Md., is a medical research company that helps other firms develop targeted or “personalized” medications. Before that, he co-founded another company that was sold to Medco Health seven years later. All in all, Clein has had 20 years in the life science business. It’s all a far cry from his days at Carolina, a kid from Winston-Salem sitting in James Leutze’s military history class. An inspirational AP history teacher sparked his interest in history when he was a teenager at Reynolds High School. Today his favorite historical subject is ancient Rome.

“The Clein Fund is a prime example of the kinds of things that private funding helps us to do.” — Lloyd Kramer He learns from all the students who use Clein funds for research. One is Dasa Mortensen, who spent summer 2012 in


China’s Yunnan Province doing research for her dissertation on the Cultural Revolution. Scott Krause went to Germany for his work on postwar West Berlin. Anndal Narayanan spent two months in Paris studying French veterans of the Algerian War. Stateside, students crisscross the country as well. Doctoral candidate Joshua Lynn used his Clein fellowship to go Chicago, Indianapolis and Ann Arbor to research his dissertation on the early days of the Democratic Party. With itineraries like this, Clein cracks, “We should call it the Southwest Airlines Fund.” Clein serves on the board of directors for the Arts and Sciences Foundation, which raises private support for the College and its faculty and students. Kramer says Clein is always thinking about ways to support the department’s new ideas. Clein’s latest twist is support for three graduate students to work summer internships in public institutions such as history museums, national parks or historic preservation groups, where they would interact directly with the public. “Mark understands the full range of our programs and aspirations,” Kramer said, “from advanced research to outstanding teaching to public history.” •


Global Inspiration McCain gift provides critical support for African and Afro-American studies B y

ABOVE: Wendell McCain


endell McCain had dreamed of attending Princeton, or maybe even Georgetown, since he was in the fifth grade. But when the North Mecklenburg High School graduate earned a Morehead Scholarship to Carolina, he never looked back. “I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of students here, and got just as great of an education as I would have at an Ivy League school,” said McCain, who earned his economics degree in 1992. Living in an international student community at Carmichael dorm played a big role in his experience at UNC and later as an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Twenty years after graduating, McCain is committed to a global education more than ever. He recently established the McCain Family Fund for Excellence in the department of African and Afro-American studies, the department’s single largest gift. It will provide faculty and students with critical funds for travel, research materials, technology and other resources needed for their work as scholars and educators. “The economics department was a huge

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influence on my career,” said McCain, who mentioned professor emeritus Sandy Darity as a mentor. “But a gift to African and AfroAmerican studies makes a bigger impact and supports this important discipline. Africa is the world’s most resource-rich continent. As a student of world markets, I know that the study of Africa is especially relevant in understanding our international markets. I also hope the gift inspires others to give back to the department.” The gift is welcome news to its chair and 21 faculty members. “Income from the fund will enable us to establish our first fellowships for faculty and majors, who will be selected through a competitive process,” said Eunice Sahle, department chair. Reginald Hildebrand, the faculty member who will coordinate the awards, notes that the McCains are among the “first families of freedom in North Carolina.” “Wendell has been a pathbreaker in the world of global finance, and the fund that he established will further his family’s commitment to learning and expanding opportunity for our students and faculty to conduct research, especially in North Carolina.” McCain’s inspiration for the greater good is a family tradition. Wendell’s father Franklin, now retired from a distinguished career as a chemist at Celanese Corp. in Charlotte, was only 17 when he entered the national spotlight as a civil rights activist. A member of the Greensboro Four, Franklin and three classmates from N.C. A&T University staged a two-day sit-in at the downtown Woolworth lunch counter in February 1960 after they were refused service because of the color of their skin. The sit-in launched similar protests nationwide, re-energizing the civil rights movement and forever ensuring

Franklin’s role in American history. Wendell, the middle son of Franklin and Bettye McCain, traveled widely abroad as a child. “I have always been interested in traveling and learning about different cultures,” he said. “It makes you appreciate home that much more. It also allows us to understand how other economies operate.” A family trip to Cape Verde, the island country and his wife’s childhood home, in the coming months will include the couple’s two young sons, both avid Tar Heel fans and already seasoned world travelers. After graduating from Carolina, McCain put in long hours with BankBoston, Lazard Frères and J.P. Morgan in Boston and New York as an investment banker. While the work led to a great lifestyle, it wasn’t satisfying intellectually, he said. For that, McCain enrolled in Northwestern University’s Kellogg School where he earned an M.B.A. and thrived in its entrepreneurial and collegial environment. It was ideal preparation for his work as a founding partner with Parish Capital, and more recently, Onset Capital Partners, another private equity firm he created in 2011 based in Chapel Hill. As McCain’s career flourished, he created the Financial Futures Foundation with his brother Franklin Jr. and Parish Capital to introduce careers in the financial services industry to minority and female high school students, two groups vastly underrepresented in leadership positions in finance. UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School is among the foundation’s partners. “The measure of a great life is the number of people you’ve brought with you,” said McCain. “Our abilities give voice to those who need to be heard and understood, people who have not had the same opportunities.” •




Hands-on research, interactive technology and community engagement Remember those classes where

you were lectured to for more than an hour without a break, where you could have

downed a whole pot of coffee just to stay awake? Faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences are experimenting with new ways of keeping students active and interested, whether in large lecture classes or smaller seminars.

Instructors are moving beyond a one-dimensional format and using interactive

tools and technology, redesigned classroom spaces, and guest speakers. And plenty of learning takes place outside of the classroom

through hands-on research and community

engagement. We profile some of those

efforts in the following pages.

Visit magazine.college.unc.edu for more stories, including a video on the Spanish for the Professions minor, which prepares students for bilingual careers in the

business, communications

and healthcare professions. •


Thomas H. Cox


to entrepreneurship

New class spreads seeds of creative thinking to 300-plus students B Y




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BELOW: Buck Goldstein, center, talks to the “final four” project teams prior to the selection of the winner, RecomPence. TOP RIGHT: Chancellor Holden Thorp (far left) shares with students his own hits and misses as an entrepreneurial chemist.

t was a couple of weeks into the fall semester, and some 300 undergraduates — half of them first-year students — filed into a large lecture hall in the new Genome Sciences Building as Elvis Presley crooned over the loudspeakers. Everything about the course they were taking was unusual and maybe even unsettling. It was an introductory entrepreneurship class that focused on the importance of making a difference in the world. Professors and guest speakers kept telling the students it was actually acceptable to make mistakes. The class was co-taught by Holden Thorp, a chemist-turnedchancellor, along with University Entrepreneur in Residence Buck Goldstein and former Economics Chair John Akin. The class was one of a series of new “super courses” in the College, large classes designed to be more engaging and interactive. It used instructional technology to engage students in and out of class and featured an array of guest lectures from leading scholars, scientists and entrepreneurs. And each class began with a song from a digitized playlist of monumental music selected by Thorp and former Chancellor James Moeser, an accomplished organist and distinguished professor of music. Today’s tune was Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” selected for its importance to rock and culture. But it also reflected the mood in Chapel Hill after Thorp had announced he would step down as chancellor at the end of the academic year. That day Thorp shared with students his own hits and misses as an entrepreneurial chemist. It was just another teachable moment in Econ 125, “Introduction to Entrepreneurship.” The professors, after all, wrote this on the syllabus: “Our goal is to move you outside your comfort zone and introduce you to a different way of looking at the world.” “We have had lots of students in the class who are starting businesses already and coming to talk to us about that,” Thorp said later. “But students who end up not doing those things will hopefully have an appreciation for how hard it is to do something with your idea.” Senior Leah Downey, who is pursuing double majors in math and economics and a minor in entrepreneurship, served as a teaching assistant for the course. She said students really grasped an important lesson from the class — that in order to succeed, sometimes you have to fail. “Entrepreneurship is about risk and uncertainty and figuring things out,” she said. “It’s a good lesson, and it’s cool to 18 • COLLEGE.UNC.EDU • SPRING 2013 • CAROLINA ARTS & SCIENCES

Photos by Dan Sears

BOTTOM RIGHT: Thorp, flanked by teaching assistants Taylor Anderson, left, and Leah Downey, right.

see freshmen come to the realization that maybe this class and Carolina is about more than just maintaining a 4.0.” Using tools to make a big class seem small In addition to Spotify, an online music site and app that Goldstein likes to call “a jukebox in the sky,” students used other technological tools to help break up the large class and make it more interactive. The professor trio even took an entrepreneurial approach in designing the course. (It was created in part due to high demand for the limited number of spots in the College’s minor in entrepreneurship, which is housed in the economics department and features five different “tracks” or paths of study— commercial, social, scientific, sports and artistic.) Guest speakers and professors held “Google Hangouts” — sort of like virtual office hours — with students. Using Poll Everywhere software, students answered a question at the beginning of class that assessed their knowledge of course readings and at the end of class to test their comprehension of the lectures. The software also allowed students to post anonymous questions on a large screen. Students could sign up for limited-space lunches with some of the guest speakers. They could follow Thorp and Goldstein on Twitter. They used YouTube and Dropbox to complete class projects involving videos and digital documents. The class instructors received a grant from the Center for Faculty Excellence to work with communications studies

It’s OK to fail Dennis Whittle (religious studies ’83) is UNC’s Richards Donohoe Social Entrepreneur in Residence. [See alumni profile, pg. 33. ] The co-founder of the online marketplace GlobalGiving.org, where donors can fund do-good projects around the world, Whittle echoed the sentiment of teaching students to embrace failure. He worked at the World Bank for 14 years before starting GlobalGiving, and he said at that time, to admit failure was considered a major career setback. “A recent study said it takes 58 new ideas to get to one successful product launch,” added Whittle in his guest lecture. He shared with students the surprising number of strikeouts made by some of history’s top baseball players. “What defines a successful entrepreneur is how many times he gets back up to the plate again after striking out.”

professor Francesca Talenti to film the lectures and to help design the look and feel of the class. The list of guest speakers — some of whom appeared in person and others via videoconference — was a “who’s who” of the entrepreneurial world. Students got to hear from such diverse UNC lecturers as Joe DeSimone, an entrepreneurial chemist, and Ken Weiss, artistic entrepreneur in residence and a former producer for Crosby, Stills and Nash. They heard from outside innovators such as Wendy Kopp, Teach for America founder, and Michael Porter, a Harvard strategist. Former AOL Co-Founder Steve Case took a picture of class members using their laptops during his lecture, then tweeted about the event. The fact that about half the course seats were reserved for first-year students was intentional, Akin said. “Everybody doesn’t have to become an entrepreneur, but the notion that this is an entrepreneurial place, that people may have an idea and go out and turn it into something — we want that to be [the culture] of UNC. And the best time for students to learn what that’s all about is when they first arrive.”

What’s your big idea? For their final class project, students were grouped into teams, where they had to come up with 3-minute projects around the theme, “What’s Your Big Idea?” Instead of March Madness, it was December Madness, as students voted on and narrowed down the list of projects to a “final four.” The overall winner was an idea called RecomPence, which would allow students to donate to charities every time they make a purchase on campus with their UNC “OneCard.” Goldstein said the class was really about the intersection between science and the liberal arts, and the exciting things that can happen in that space. “On the first day of class, we showed a wonderful slide of [Apple Co-Founder] Steve Jobs standing underneath a street sign. One sign said ‘technology,’ and the other said ‘liberal arts,’” Goldstein said. “So whether it’s bringing in guest speakers in music, history or philosophy — it was clear to us that we are right about the importance of liberal arts to entrepreneurship.” Sophomore Sagar Shukla, who is pursuing an economics major and an entrepreneurship minor, said a key takeaway of the class was how creative thinking can be used to solve problems. “One week we had the directors of the musical Jersey Boys come and speak about innovation in the arts,” he said. “That theme was propagated throughout the [semester] — that innovation is a process, and that’s one thing the class has shown us through unique lenses.” • ONLINE EXTRAS: Visit magazine.college.unc.edu for a video feature on the class and some clips of class lectures, also found on iTunesU. Listen to the “Econ 125” music playlist on Spotify. More at www.unceminor.org.


Psychology 101 blends online work, discussion, games to spark interactivity



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ABOVE: Jeannie Loeb (left) and Elizabeth Jordan use a blend of online work, discussion and games to engage students in Psychology 101.

ichael Davis admits that he was “skeptical.” On the first day of classes this spring, the sophomore from Fayetteville entered an auditorium in Carroll Hall and, along with 299 others, waited for the introductory class, Psychology 101, to begin. The business administration major was unsure about the course for many reasons, including, in all honesty, how much it would engage his interest. Fifty minutes later, he had a qualified answer: “Quite a bit, I think.” Davis’ thumbs-up was in tribute to the faculty member who leads the class, Jeannie Loeb, a senior lecturer in UNC’s department of psychology. Davis had anticipated the traditional passive role of students listening to a monologue-style lecture — especially those in high enrollment sections of undergraduate survey courses. Instead, he was drawn in by something new: a high energy combination of note taking, frank discussion,­­­lots of humor and the use of technology. Welcome to the blended classroom, where class time and space are allotted to a mixture of teachable moments and exercises, rather than one extended lecture. “Research has shown that moving from the strict, lecture format to active learning helps with retention of information because this is consistent with the brain’s design. Thinking isn’t a passive activity,” said Loeb. Elizabeth Jordan concurs. An Abbey Fellow as well as a senior lecturer in the psychology department, Jordan also teaches Psychology 101 as a blended classroom. “Students can learn a great deal from listening but they also need to engage,” she said. “Our knowledge about how to get students to that place has evolved. Among other things, engaging means talking to others and answering tough questions.” Both Jordan and Loeb have received campus teaching awards for their accomplishments in the classroom; both worked with UNC’s Center for Faculty Excellence to pilot and evaluate a blended section of Psychology 101. Both now teach Psychology 101 courses on Mondays and Wednesdays with Fridays left open for students to spend time online with homework, class reviews and quizzes. Jordan said data indicate that compared to traditional lecture sections, students participating in blended sections spend three to four more hours a week on task — that is: reading, studying, reviewing. Certainly, for a tech-savvy generation of students, the 20 • COLLEGE.UNC.EDU • SPRING 2013 • CAROLINA ARTS & SCIENCES

opportunities to use the power and flexibility of digital technology in their own ways and at their own pace has enormous appeal. Their instructors, however, point out that technology is but one part of the hybrid, a means to an end, and will never replace the human element in producing better learning outcomes. For example, Jordan’s ­­­ 400-seat classroom is divided into zones: laptop computers allowed and laptop free. It’s not unusual, though, for those who opt to take notes with pen and paper to have downloaded her current PowerPoint presentation. The printout is then used in their note-taking, serving as a reinforcement for what’s being said at the front of the room. To encourage class participation, Loeb uses interactive games involving dozens of students physically moving from their seats, talking to each other and responding to questions about the subject du jour. Online polling, where students with smart phones or laptops text responses to a short series of questions, is used in both sections. The numbers of correct and incorrect responses, which appear on video screens in the lecture halls in real time, are then used to gauge how many people understand the day’s subject and what needs further clarification. Incorporated into the blending is the idea that the classroom can be anywhere if the necessary elements are in place. Two of those elements are Sakai, an online course management system offering forums, class calendars and meeting sign-ups, and VoiceThread, a web-based application that allows for the uploading, sharing and discussing of documents, presentations, images, audio files and videos. Jordan and Loeb stress it’s not about technology for technology’s sake — but leveraging technology to make the best use of limited face-to-face time. A month into Psychology 101, Davis had dropped any qualifiers from his opinion about the blended learning environment. “It’s Dr. Loeb’s personality and passion for teaching that make her effective. But the use of things such as VoiceThread and games during the class have helped make the information ‘stick’ as opposed to being hardcore-lectured for 50 consecutive minutes.” • Abbey Fellows serve as leaders, mentors and advocates to link academic advising to the overall teaching and learning experience. The program was made possible by a gift from Nancy ’74 and Douglas Abbey of San Francisco.

Photos by Kristen Chavez

LEFT: SCALE-UP classrooms are structured with students clustered at small round tables to enable discussion.




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Redesigning the traditional classroom space here’s a place on campus where you can actually hear learning happening. That place is in Phillips Hall 206 and 208, where students in introductory physics classes sit at round tables instead of in rows of desks. They listen to an instructor who circulates around the room instead of standing behind a lectern, and they work with each other to solve the latest problem. “It’s the classroom of the future,” said Duane Deardorff, instructor and project manager for the Student Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs (SCALEUP). “It’s a very different teaching and learning environment. An auditorium is a listening space, and education research studies have shown that the traditional lecture format is not effective. With SCALE-UP, students perform better, and we get better educational outcomes.” Gone are the long tables and stools and cramped space of the old physics lab. Each classroom has five round tables that allow for three groups of three students at each table. Students sit in comfortable rolling chairs. They are encouraged to talk to one another, learn from one another and ask for help from one another. The typical Physics 116 and Physics 117 classroom includes 45 students, an instructor, a graduate teaching assistant and an undergraduate TA. A session is likely to start with a quick review of the topics to be covered for a day, then shift to some whiteboard-based problem-solving in which each group at each table works on one of three problems, a presentation by each group, and an experiment with varying degrees of lab report writing. That learning environment was perfect for Zoe Wolszon ’14, whose first encounter with physics was in high school in a traditional setting where students were discouraged from asking questions. “I can’t learn that way,” said Wolszon, who took Physics 116 in spring 2011 and Physics 117 in fall 2012. “I do best and learn best in classrooms that are open and allow discussion, questions, feedback and problem-solving. I knew that that is exactly what I would get from this SCALE-UP classroom.” Deardorff said test scores for students in SCALE-UP classes are higher than test scores from more traditional classroom settings. Though the primary use of the rooms was for the

introductory, calculus-based physics course, they are now general-purpose classrooms that can be used by any department on campus. Support for the project came from the College, the Center for Faculty Excellence, and Information Technology Services. Professor Laurie McNeil, a former physics department chair who pushed for reform of introductory physics courses, and Alice Churukian, the project developer, took the lead in designing the first course. That traditional classroom setting was an obstacle to learning, according to McNeil, because teaching by telling doesn’t work. In order to learn, students have to engage with the material. In traditional teaching, that engagement happens outside the classroom when students wrestle with homework. SCALE-UP brings that into the classroom, as the students wrestle with the ideas and help each other. SCALE-UP instructors must be fast on their feet in the new classroom and more responsive to what students are thinking. To some extent, instructors become coaches, said Stefan Jeglinski, an instructor and veteran of five semesters of teaching in the SCALE-UP model. “The old style of the student walking into a classroom and having someone speak knowledge to them and hoping they do well on their exams is very difficult to make happen,” Jeglinski said. “SCALE-UP is a more effective way of teaching.” Wolszon said she and her fellow students clicked with the different way of learning pretty quickly. “It’s far more natural,” she said. “Any hands-on, participatory, collaborative, provocative environment brings out the curiosity in all of us.” The rooms have been in demand by instructors in other physics and astronomy classes, including optics, numerical methods and astrophysics, McNeil said. The department hopes to expand the SCALE-UP concept to teach all the introductory calculus classes as well as algebra. The math department also is interested in the concept. McNeil believes SCALE-UP can work with any curriculum. “In any subject the students learn by engaging intellectually with the material. Whether that involves sliding blocks down planes or discussing historical events, creative instructors should be able to do this with any discipline,” she said. • CAROLINA ARTS & SCIENCES • SPRING 2013 • COLLEGE.UNC.EDU • 21


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Exploring the real stories of Siamese twins and Japanese-American internees TOP: From left, student Hetali Lodaya, Heidi Kim and Emily Jack, digital projects and outreach librarian, in the N.C. Collection Gallery in Wilson Library. BOTTOM LEFT: Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker have a strong North Carolina connection. BOTTOM RIGHT: Heidi Kim encourages students to use archival materials to connect literature and history.

eidi Kim believes in having her students create projects that connect literature and history and stretch beyond the walls of the University. They have held public events with Wilson Special Collections Library on the famous conjoined Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker, and on World War II Japanese-American internees. They have created websites and provided research on those topics for University of California at Berkeley playwright Philip Kan Gotanda, who has visited UNC on multiple occasions. “I think sometimes students don’t know how to be engaged with literature themselves other than just reading it and writing a paper for my consumption,” said Kim, an assistant professor in the department of English and comparative literature. “It’s been my goal to show them they can make a real contribution and also to show them how the University contributes to and is a real steward for the community.” In fall 2011, her Honors course on literature and history delved into the lives of the Bunker twins, who have a strong North Carolina connection. They were born in Siam (now Thailand) in 1811 and were connected at the chest by a five-inch band of flesh. The twins spent many years traveling around the world, but later tired of living in the public eye, and in 1839, settled in Wilkes County, N.C. They married sisters Sarah and Adelaide Yates, eventually moved to Mt. Airy in Surry County, and fathered 21 children between them. UNC Libraries have assembled the largest known collection of documents and memorabilia related to the Bunker twins. Students researched the lives of the Bunkers for Berkeley’s Gotanda, who was writing a play about the twins. The class then invited Gotanda to a December 2011 public event with the help of the Friends of the Library. About 200 people listened to the playwright read and discuss his work, and students shared their research. Kim continued her students’ work on the Bunkers and Gotanda’s play in fall 2012 for an Asian-American theater class. Wilson Library had received new items donated by Bunker descendants, including a hunting rifle, four pieces of silverware, and maps of Canada and Europe. Gotanda returned to read his 22 • COLLEGE.UNC.EDU • SPRING 2013 • CAROLINA ARTS & SCIENCES

play-in-progress, with feedback from students, as part of UNC’s Process Series, which features creative works in development. Students were divided into groups and assigned an artifact to research. Senior English and sociology major Domonique Baldwin’s group examined the hunting rifle. They played detective, discovering information on the gun maker and about how the conjoined twins might have fired it. “It brought history to life,” Baldwin said. “I’m used to examining and dissecting texts. I’ve never been given an object and told, ‘You tell me something about it.’” Students posted their projects online at changandeng.web.unc.edu, which Kim is hoping to turn into a larger digital humanities project. The students’ research provided new information about the donated artifacts, said Linda Jacobson, who is curator of the N.C. Collection Gallery. “A lot of times these students have not worked with primary sources before,” she said. “It connects them so much more to history when you have an actual artifact to hold.” Kim once again developed a public event that showcased students’ research on a different topic — the Japanese-American incarceration during World War II. Through spring and fall 2012 First Year Seminars, they researched life in the Arizona incarceration camp Poston and created a website, poston.web.unc.edu. In May 2012, they presented their findings at Wilson Library and invited a camp survivor, Joanne Iritani, to speak. They also continued their research partnership with Gotanda, whose parents were incarcerated at the Rohwer camp in Arkansas. He is considering writing a new play on the topic. Sophomore Laura Hanson, a business and journalism major, discussed infant care in the incarceration camps at the Poston event. She also went to dinner with Iritani and learned more about her experiences. Hanson said Kim emphasizes exploring history through people’s personal lives. “She was such a vivacious and engaging professor, my favorite at UNC so far,” Hanson said. “People who have lived through [incarceration] can tell you things a textbook can never tell you.” •

Photos by Steve Exum


what’s your New course trains students as coaches for national ethics bowl




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ABOVE: Students discuss ethical cases at the North Carolina High School Ethics Bowl.

t’s a different kind of after-school club. In a small room in Caldwell Hall, home to the Parr Center for Ethics, a group of high school students pored over ethical cases, preparing arguments for the dilemma at hand. A UNC philosophy graduate teaching assistant, Jen Kling, moderated and acted as judge. It was all in preparation for the North Carolina High School Ethics Bowl at UNC last fall, the third year Carolina has hosted a statewide competition. Recently, there has been a rising interest in the formation of high school ethics bowl teams across the country. In ethics bowl competitions, small teams of students debate real-world situations, such as a lifeguard leaving his post to save someone outside of his zone or using Facebook to determine job applicants or giving first aid training to Taliban fighters. UNC is taking the lead in creating a national bowl for high schools this spring. Carolina’s outreach has led to the creation of Philosophy 592: “Pre-College Philosophy,” a new course that trains undergraduates as coaches for high school ethics bowl teams. Under Michael D. Burroughs, visiting lecturer and outreach coordinator for the Parr Center, undergrads learn the rules of competitions and various ethical theories while developing teaching and coaching skills. Months prior to the competition, the teams analyze 15 cases that could be used in the ethics bowl. The home-schooled team, made up of five students from around the Triangle, tackled two of those issues in their practice with Kling. When a round was finished, Kling gave each team her critique of their arguments — from tips for addressing the judges to passing the argument to a colleague. Respect is key for the ethics bowl: It’s not about polarizing, but promoting civil discourse. “It’s not a debate,” said Adam Schaefer, assistant director of the Parr Center. “They’re judged on philosophical and critical analysis.” Applying lessons learned in class Students in Burroughs’ class spent the first half of the semester learning major ethical theories, which they applied in coaching sessions with their teams in the second half. 24 • COLLEGE.UNC.EDU • SPRING 2013 • CAROLINA ARTS & SCIENCES

Burroughs’ students were assigned in pairs to coach six local high school teams. Although many of the schools were in the Triangle, the Charlotte team corresponded with their undergraduate coaches via Skype and email. “The class was easily one of my favorites here at UNC, not only because of its innovative endeavors, but because working with such a marvelous set of younger minds proved to be continually moving and meaningful,” said Kelsey Kaul, a senior philosophy major and chemistry minor who helped coach the Carrboro High School team. The response from the high school students and community has likewise been positive, said Jan Boxill, director of the Parr Center and a philosophy master lecturer. When it came time for Kling to question the presenting team again, she was pleased with how they handled it. “You are never going to get questions that hard,” she said. Laughing, she added, “That was mean.” But they stuck to their argument, all the while tackling complex moral situations and applying philosophical reasoning, discussing consequential wrongs and if ethical theories can be applied to things like war. Kiran Bhardwaj, graduate student and Royster Fellow, noted the same things with her team. “I was lucky to have a philosophy course in high school; most students don’t take philosophy until college, if even then. Yet my students in ethics bowl have the opportunity to engage with practical ethics in a really meaningful way,” she said. Bhardwaj has coached the East Chapel Hill High School team for the past three years, taking home the win in the highest level of competition for two years. “They debate what would be right or wrong to do in cases that run the full spectrum: environmental ethics, the way that technology changes the way we interact with the world, the criminal justice system, reproductive issues and so on,” she said. The East Chapel Hill High School team will go on to compete in the first National High School Ethics Bowl at UNC April 19-20. The bowl will feature regional champions from at least 12 different states. • The Parr Center for Ethics was established in 2004-2005 with a gift from the Gary W. Parr Family Foundation.

Historian uses research to connect students to Robeson County

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Dan Sears

RIGHT: Malinda Maynor Lowery

he past and the present are interwoven in the classroom of Malinda Maynor Lowery, associate professor of history. Lowery is intent on conveying to her students the message that history matters because it helps teach people how to live in the present. “The root of this kind of teaching is that history fundamentally teaches us how to think about the cultural assumptions we have as human beings,” she said. “Those assumptions inform our actions, the ways we treat other people and the decisions that we make today.” This spring, students in Lowery’s “Native American Tribal Studies: Lumbee History” class are exploring those cultural assumptions, as well as the history and stories of the Lumbee and Tuscarora people in their Robeson County homeland. A Lumbee Indian with a special interest in Native American history, Lowery said it is not enough to read texts: it’s crucial that her students also interact with the Lumbee community. “Talking with people about their past brings history into a living, breathing conversation that changes students’ attitudes about history and about native people as well,” said Lowery. She says that her experience as a Faculty Engaged Scholar through the Carolina Center for Public Service helps her articulate to her students the importance of engaged scholarship. “This method of research is a two-way street,” said Lowery. “It means going to the people whose ancestors you are studying and saying to them, ‘I want to work with you to answer a question about your ancestors that you feel is valuable. And I can share knowledge and resources with you that you may not have access to.’” Lowery’s students take at least one field trip to Robeson County to do a service project, talk with tribal members and tour historical sites. “It’s important to get a real feel for Lumbee people: how they talk and what they talk about,” she said. “And students learn the role that the land plays in forming our community and our history and get to understand the idea of place as an actor in history.” Another major focus of the class is original research conducted by the students.

“One of the benefits and drawbacks of teaching Lumbee history is that there isn’t a lot of secondary literature about it,” said Lowery. “This leaves students with little direction by other scholars. But on the other hand, it opens a lot of exciting opportunities for undergraduates to do research that is self-directed.” Lowery says that the efforts of students conducting research about Lumbees in concert with members of the tribe enable conversations and partnerships. “Engaged scholarship is about producing knowledge in collaboration with a community that is affected by that knowledge,” she said. “It’s exciting to watch my students get excited about doing this.” Lowery is also energized about using her own research to benefit the Lumbee community. “It would be silly to do research about Lumbees without involving the Lumbee people,” she said. “Although I grew up in Durham and live in Durham now, we had strong and constant connections to Robeson County when I was a child. I have lived there off and on for the last 10 years and have my own questions about our past.” Those questions deeply inform her work. Her first book, Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation (2010), examines how the Lumbee people challenged the boundaries of Indian, Southern and American identities. The book she is currently working on — with the working title The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle — results from conversations with the community that she had after the publication of her first book. “Many Lumbee and Tuscarora people were glad that I had written about them but asked whether I could make the narrative more understandable. I wrote my first book to speak to other academics, but this book is designed to speak to my own people, who the book is about,” she said. • ONLINE EXTRAS: Learn more about Faculty Engaged Scholars at ccps.unc.edu/faculty-engaged-scholars.


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Pat Pukkila has transformed the Carolina experience RIGHT: Pat Pukkila (left) with student Esita Patel, who is currently a fellow in the HHMI-UNC-Chapel Hill Future Scientists and Clinicians program.

n a cold winter night in 1979, Pat Pukkila woke up at 3 a.m., turned to her husband and said, “Honey, I have to go into the lab.” A biology postdoc at Harvard, Pukkila knew that after many months, the results of her experiments, designed to show how bacteria correct mistakes made when DNA is copied, would be readable. As she recalls seeing the results, she is nearly moved to tears 34 years later. “I can still feel the hairs rise on the back of my neck,” Pukkila said. “A problem is so simple once you understand it. It’s such a thrill to know something that no one else yet knows.” Ensuring that undergraduates at Carolina have the opportunity for that same thrill of discovery has been the focus for the past 14 years for Pukkila, professor of biology and director of Carolina’s Office for Undergraduate Research (OUR). As the office’s founding director, Pukkila has transformed the Carolina undergraduate academic experience. She has been at UNC for 34 years. “Pat’s leadership has helped build on campus a culture that supports discovery-based learning,” said Donna Bickford, associate director of OUR. “Students who have participated in an undergraduate research program see themselves as knowledge producers not just knowledge consumers. This experience transforms not just their education but how they think of themselves.” That transformation was what Pukkila hoped to achieve. “My goal was to change the culture surrounding undergraduate involvement in creative original work,” she said. “I am proud to say that we have achieved that, and that we are the first public university to bring undergraduate research to scale in the curriculum.” In fact, 65 percent of graduating seniors received academic credit for undergraduate research in 2011-2012. Colleagues say that Pukkila’s passion, creativity and commitment have led to the success of undergraduate research at Carolina. “Pat’s personal commitment to undergraduate research has been parlayed into an institutional commitment to doing this,” said Bobbi Owen, senior associate dean for undergraduate education. “Pat is a pretty self-effacing person, so the work she does is never about her; it’s always about the students.” • • • • • 26 • COLLEGE.UNC.EDU • SPRING 2013 • CAROLINA ARTS & SCIENCES

Throughout Pukkila’s tenure as director — which will end this June upon her retirement — her innovations have extended the depth and breadth of undergraduate research opportunities. The Graduate Research Consultant (GRC) program, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last December, is just one example. GRCs are graduate students who provide support to faculty by guiding undergraduates through their research projects from beginning to end. Ginnie Hench, a postdoc who works in Pukkila’s lab, says that her experience as a graduate research consultant enabled her to be more effective in teaching her own seminar this semester. “Being a GRC gave me the opportunity to see how someone else runs a seminar in the biology department,” said Hench. “The program gives graduate students the ability to mentor undergraduates and, at the same time, learn from the professors they assist.” Bickford says that one mark of the success of the GRC program is that in the last 10 years, more than 750 GRCs have helped faculty in at least 700 courses provide research experiences to more than 21,000 undergraduate students. “Students who don’t even know they are interested in research have this opportunity because of Pat’s innovation,” she said. Mallory Melton ‘14 is just one student who is grateful for the opportunities presented by the OUR. Last summer, Melton received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, a competitive grant which enables students to complete summer research projects developed with a faculty mentor. Melton’s fellowship allowed her to collect and study sandstone samples in Mississippi and then travel to Washington, D.C., where she compared them to samples in the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of Natural History. “I knew that I was able to memorize facts and think about archaeological sites in a lower level way,” she said. “But this challenged me and made me realize how much I enjoy the process of higher level thinking.” Melton said that the experience solidified her interest in anthropology and cemented her desire to pursue entrance into a Ph.D. program in her field immediately after graduation.

Steve Exum

Pukkila’s impact also extends to faculty. Donald Oehler, a professor of music at Carolina, said that Pukkila helped him redefine what research is. “My main role on campus is as a studio teacher, so I was perplexed when Pat asked me to get involved with this initiative,” he said. “She said, ‘Au contraire; everything you do is research.’” Oehler said that Pukkila has inspired him to be creative in how he has students approach projects and conduct research. He also said that she has helped create a more cohesive academic community. “We’re up in the northwest corner of campus and are not always that involved in the rest of the campus,” he said. “Pat has been able to pull some of us out of that and bring us into the campus at large. I can’t emphasize enough how important that is because it broadens our experience on campus and makes us better teachers and performers.” Oehler also knows Pukkila as a musician and says that her strengths serve her as both a flutist and an administrator. “She is a fine flutist who is a loyal and strong member of the Philharmonia, the orchestra I conduct,” he said. “She is flexible, easy to work with and welcomes criticism so that she can improve.” In addition to being an accomplished musician and administrator, Pukkila is a highly regarded scientist. Her lab has pioneered the use of the mushroom Coprinus cinereus (recently renamed Coprinopsis cinerea) as a model system for investigating chromosome dynamics during meiosis, the cell division process necessary for sexual reproduction. Pukkila’s reputation extends well beyond the perimeter of campus. “This experience made me feel like an independent scholar who “Pat is seen as someone who has done some of the most has a future in research,” she said. important and exciting work in our field,” said Janice DeCosmo, Wanting to encourage other undergrads to get involved associate dean, undergraduate academic affairs and director of the in research, Melton serves as an OUR Ambassador, a program undergraduate program at the University of Washington. “What I Pukkila helped to create. think is unique about Pat is that she is a biologist as well as a really “We make presentations in classrooms and residence halls, inspired and inspiring administrator. She values being a faculty places where students feel comfortable,” Melton said. “We help make students feel that undergraduate research isn’t frightening but member and also has the ability as an administrator to effect change for more than just her immediate colleagues and students.” instead, something they can embrace and excel at.” Bickford added: “Pat is the most articulate and passionate • • • • • person I have ever heard speak about the power of inquiry. She believes that inquiry is not only a linchpin to the development of Wanting to ensure that first-generation college students and individual students but also in the development of an educated and other potentially underserved students have access to research curious citizenry.” opportunities, Pukkila successfully applied for a grant from the After helping shape so many lives, Pukkila isn’t sure what Howard Hughes Medical Institute. her retirement will look like. “I’m not somebody who has a “I wanted to put into place a program that could be woven whole list of unfulfilled ambitions,” she said. “I have many into the fabric of Carolina and serve the students who weren’t interests so I’m looking forward to the time and space to see what applying for summer fellowships at rates that one would have will happen next.” • expected,” said Pukkila. CAROLINA ARTS & SCIENCES • SPRING 2013 • COLLEGE.UNC.EDU • 27



UNC’s Yan Song helps a giant rethink its urban upheaval B Y



Imagine if Myrtle Beach morphed into a megacity double the size of New York City in just three decades. Impossible? Not in China. o








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In the early 1970s, the sleepy fishing village of Shenzhen was home to 30,000 residents who traveled dirt roads to farm rice and fish the sea. Today, Shenzhen is a metropolis of more than 15 million people who commute to work on superhighways and live in skyscrapers. That’s just one example of China’s lightspeed transformation. The nation scrapped a Soviet-style economy for a market-based and city-based strategy that resulted in 390 million people moving from rural areas into cities during an economic boom unprecedented in human history. Since the 1980s, China has built more skyscrapers, malls, hotels, highways, bridges, tunnels, houses and apartments than all the other countries combined. As the economic tsunami was cresting, some leaders turned to Western planners for advice. In 2003, Shenzhen hired a young, U.S.-trained academic named Yan Song as a consultant. Song, who grew up in Shenzhen and was a faculty fellow at UNC, studied how Chinese cities were developing. And she saw trouble. Song decided to invite a group of experts from the American Planning Association to meet with Chinese leaders. The U.S. contingent held nothing back, warning the Chinese to not make the same mistakes that U.S. cities made during the 19th and 20th centuries. “We told them not to tear out Beijing’s bike lanes,” remembers Song, today an associate professor of city and regional planning. They told the Chinese that more cars would cause major problems and that different kinds of development projects — transportation, industrial, commercial, residential, and educational — needed to be better integrated. “But they didn’t listen,” Song says. It was cheaper and quicker to ignore such approaches, which would’ve required overhauling the way China’s planning agencies operated. China stayed the course. Shenzhen turned into a manufacturing supercity, as did dozens of former small cities. And Beijing became one of the most congested and polluted cities in the world. In January, the level of pollution in the capital city was 25 times higher than what’s considered safe, and 29 other Chinese cities were enshrouded in a gray haze of smog so dense that it stung the eyes.

That’s just the air. “Rivers are open cesspools,” Song says. And some lakes are so polluted that algae blooms have turned the water into a green, toxic sludge that’s [endangering] drinking water for millions of people. ★★★★★★ These are some of the unintended consequences of China’s urbanization, which shows no sign of slowing. In 1980, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, about 20 percent of China’s population lived in cities. In 2007, it was 42 percent. In 2012, it was 51 percent. The bureau projects that by 2020, 60 percent of China’s population will live in cities. As this transformation was taking place, Song joined UNC in 2003 as an assistant professor and continued to consult with Chinese planners. In 2009, she started UNC’s Program on Chinese Cities to provide research, training and education to Chinese planners and leaders who are open to better planning practices. She formed a consortium between UNC and Beijing University to bring Carolina scholars to China, apply for grants and work on urban planning projects together. Song also wrote research papers and books, including Smart Urban Growth for China (2009), in which she documents how China’s urban planning process laid the foundation for economic growth. She also notes China’s curious development patterns, including highways and coal plants built in environmentally sensitive areas, a lack of mixed-use development, and inefficient


Mary Lide Parker

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land-use practices such as sprawling educational campuses and cramped residential complexes. One cause of such problems, according to Song, is China’s planning bureaucracy. Several planning agencies at various levels of government are responsible for developing different parts of cities, and Song found that those plans are often poorly coordinated. In Beijing, development plans resulted

China expert Yan Song on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. in a sprawling city with wide roads, encouraging more car use. In Shenzhen, a new subway station was put in a wealthy, low-density residential area because that’s where influential planners and rich residents wanted it. “That station should’ve been built in a medium-to-low-income area,” Song says, where a lot of people live and use trains. Those sorts of local development shenanigans still plague China, as they do many other countries including the United States, even as planners try to back China out of the uber-urbanization corner. Still, Song sees positive signs in China, partly because its communist party is starting to change the way it does business.

Today, Shenzhen is a metropolis of more than 15 million people who commute to work on superhighways and live in skyscrapers.

★★★★★★ When China began modernizing, Song says, local and provincial political leaders knew they could rise through the ranks of China’s lone political party based largely on how well they adhered to mandates from the central government. The most important mandate was to urbanize as quickly as possible. As a result, provincial leaders gave little forethought to the environment or sustainable planning practices, such as integrated development of highways, subways, residential areas, commercial hubs, industrial zones and educational centers. “But that’s gradually changing,” Song says. The central government is now issuing new mandates. “One of them is sustainability,” she says. Another is harmony between rural and urban areas, between poor farmers and wealthier city residents. Those are two reasons why a dozen Chinese mayors came to North Carolina in 2012 to get a firsthand look at better development practices. Led by Song and UNC colleagues, they toured Research Triangle Park, met with corporate and city leaders, and visited Hillsborough to get a feel for how a small town can be vibrant and sustainable.

“Although most Chinese cities are still urbanizing fast, leaders know that such dense and sprawling development might not be what people want,” Song says. “In the United States, there’s a good range of densities [available] to people.” Song knows that large cities in need of redevelopment have their work cut out for them, but there are many smaller towns — the Shenzhens of the future — that can avoid the mistakes of the recent past. They’re already looking to Song’s program for help. For instance, she’s linked UNC’s Jack Kasarda with Chinese planners who are now using his concept of building aerotropolises: cities planned around airports to allow for integrated urban development geared toward efficient global trade. “There’s now a huge demand in China for best practices,” Song says. “Where to grow and how to grow. There’s a cry for knowledge.” That’s good, because there’s a cry from beyond its borders for China to turn its current pollution nightmare into a distant memory . . . as fast as possible. • Song directs the Program on Chinese Cities in the Center for Urban and Regional Studies. Derewicz is a writer at Endeavors magazine online.

C H I N A B Y T H E N U M B E R S : ★ China’s population is 1.3 billion, about a billion more than the United States. ★ Between 1981 and 2001, China built 70 billion square feet of housing — a third of the total amount of housing in the United States. ★ Between 1990 and 2011, in the city of Shanghai alone, new construction totaled more than 24 billion square feet of floor space — that’s about 9,000 Empire State Buildings. ★ Since the 1980s, about 390 million people have moved from China’s rural areas to the cities during what Song accurately calls the greatest human migration in history. A T

A G L A N C E : ★ No country has ever urbanized as fast as China, which is in the middle of an economic boom and environmental calamity. ★ Urban planning expert Yan Song began UNC’s Program on Chinese Cities to research China’s urbanization and help solve the problem of haphazard city planning.


Mary Lide Parker


Myrick’s interest in ethnic clashes started early, after a high school trip to Rwanda. UNC Associate Professor of Political Science Mark Crescenzi, an expert in international conflict, was instrumental in her decision to explore this issue through a political science major. “He spoke at my C-TOPS orientation my freshman year, and I remember writing his name down and being like, ‘Wow, I had never thought about studying conflict.’” She ended up taking classes with Crescenzi (including a graduate-level seminar), and he became her thesis adviser. Crescenzi wrote in her Rhodes application that Myrick “learns like a scholar, diving into readings like a competitive swimmer dives into a pool.” Her list of classes, accomplishments and her thesis topic —“Simulating Ethnic Fluidity in Electoral Systems” — might make your head spin. Thanks to the Morehead-Cain Scholarship Program, Myrick spent summers in Belize and Cambodia doing volunteer work. She studied in London for a semester through the Honors Program. She’s currently serving as Carolina’s Student Body Vice President. She chairs the Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor (a committee she has served on since her freshman year). And she expects to graduate as both a Carolina Research Scholar those skills into practice when she designed, and a Carolina Public Service Scholar. developed and co-taught a course on But one of the most fun events she has “Genocide Reconciliation through the brought to campus has been the successful Narrative.” The Honors Program allows TEDx (www.ted.com/tedx) conferences — a a select few students to teach a seminarseries of inspiring talks organized through style course with the help of a seasoned TED, a nonprofit devoted to “ideas worth faculty mentor. In Myrick’s case, that was spreading.” She applied for and received a Pam Durban, the Doris Betts Distinguished license to organize UNC’s first conference in Professor of Creative Writing. spring 2012. Online tickets for that event sold “I’m interested in the political out in 34 seconds, and the February 2013 reconstruction aspects of ethnic conflict, but TEDxUNC was a huge success. I’m a creative writing minor, so I was looking When the Rhodes interviewers first for a topic that combined those two,” she said. called her name and told her she had won a “In each class, we studied a different ethnic scholarship, Myrick said she was shocked. conflict, and then we would read narratives “There are so many qualified students from that conflict.” at this university who deserve it more than Thanks to the prestigious Rhodes I do,” she said. “I think part of what they’re Scholarship, Myrick will pursue a master’s in looking for in addition to academic chops is a international relations at Oxford University, well-rounded, genuine person, and I think a with a focus on the causes and consequences lot of Carolina students have those qualities. of ethnic conflict in world politics. She was Academic excellence, good character and among 32 Americans selected for the award public service go hand in hand at Carolina.” • out of a pool of 838 candidates.

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The road for Carolina senior Rachel Myrick leads to Oxford B Y





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ven senior Rachel Myrick admits that if you look at a list of some of the classes she’s taken during her four years at Carolina — Swahili, econometrics, international relations, fiction writing, political feminist theory — you might think, “What?” But that diverse list of classes for UNC’s newest Rhodes Scholar — who is pursuing majors in political science and global studies and a minor in creative writing — is exactly what a liberal arts education is all about, the Charlotte native argues. “My experiences in college have shaped not only my desire to be able to explore one subject in depth, but to also bring in different lenses from different disciplines,” she said. “I love looking at ethnic conflict, but I don’t have to necessarily pursue that through political science or mathematics or economics. I can bring in literature and art. … I think it makes you a much better critical thinker.” As a junior, she had a chance to put





A World of Good

Social entrepreneur encourages students, faculty to make a difference K I M




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osted high on the walls of GlobalGiving’s downtown Washington, D.C. office are these core values: • Always Open. • Listen, Act, Learn, Repeat. • Never Settle. • Committed to WOW. “This means think about what the world needs and then act,” said Dennis Whittle (religious studies ’83), who co-founded the online marketplace where donors can fund grassroots, earth-changing projects around the world. “And when you act, you’ll learn about whether it worked or not. And then you do it over again. When I meet students at UNC, I encourage them to go to class, listen and reflect on what could make the world a better place. What speaks to you?” Whittle, UNC’s Richards Donohoe Social Entrepreneur in Residence, has followed many of those same principles in his own life. [See related story, pg. 13.] He has always been a bit of a maverick, from the moment he left New Hampshire to come to Carolina on a Morehead Scholarship. At age 25 with a master’s degree from Princeton, he landed a job at the World Bank, where he was told that many folks who were hired needed Ph.Ds. About 14 years later, he left a successful career there to cofound GlobalGiving, which was named by Forbes magazine in May 2012 as one of “10 startups changing the world.” Whittle likes to call GlobalGiving’s approach “crowd-sourcing good.” In 10 years, the organization has helped more than 7,000 projects around the globe secure more than $100 million in funding from about 300,000 donors. Whittle is a firm believer in taking risks and trying new things. He ran his first marathon and became a first-time father — both after age 40. “I have a huge respect for people who say ‘what the heck’ and just go for it,” he said from his campus office in Gardner

Hall. “Developing the resilience to persist is one of the most important things you can do, and you can’t learn that from a book.” Whittle says he learned a lot about being an entrepreneur from, of all things, his UNC religious studies professors. This was long before a formal effort existed in the College to nurture entrepreneurs. “Religious studies had a fantastic group of professors with very eclectic interests — Peter Kaufman, Jim Peacock, Ruel Tyson,” he said. “None of them used the words ‘entrepreneurial’ ABOVE: Dennis Whittle (pictured in GlobalGiving’s D.C. or ‘innovation,’ but all of those office) says he learned about innovation from his UNC [teachers] helped me to see the world in new ways, and that’s the religious studies professors. first step toward becoming an entrepreneur.” marginalized young women in Ghana by As entrepreneur in residence, Whittle providing them with a trade, shelter and comes to UNC for several days each month education. Her group recently landed a to teach and meet with students, faculty, permanent spot on GlobalGiving, exposing administrators and local government leaders. the organization to donors everywhere. He sees his role as “trying to identify the A good place to start doing a world of most effective levers where I can help push good? Whittle says don’t forget about your along new ideas. Who can I provide support own backyard. to that will enable them to take their ideas “I tell students they can make a real and further and faster?” fundamental difference in the lives of people In 2011, Whittle stepped down from around them … their family, the kids in the day-to-day operations at GlobalGiving to community. One of the greatest pleasures found The Whittle Group, an advisory I’ve had in the last few years is just spending practice that helps organizations and time in my inner-city neighborhood and companies “invent the future.” Today, hanging out with the kids there. Is that going GlobalGiving is headed by the other to change the world? No. co-founder, Mari Kuraishi (to whom he has “Is it going to have a positive impact on been married for the last eight years.) their lives? I think so.” • Whittle knows it can be pretty overwhelming to try to make a difference ONLINE EXTRAS: in the world. Still, he is amazed at UNC More of our interview with Dennis Whittle students’ magic combination of “enthusiasm, at magazine.college.unc.edu. intelligence and guts.” Callie Brauel, a Visit www.globalgiving.org 2009 business and economics major, and www.denniswhittle.com. founded ABAN, a nonprofit that empowers


Angela Wu


Donn Young


ABOVE: Tom Jensen (holding the office’s pink Christmas tree) is pictured with UNC alums and PPP staff, from left, Dustin Ingalls ’07, Lauren Hovis ’13 and Jim Williams ’03.

No. 1 Pollster

Alum’s firm named most prolific, accurate in the U.S. B Y




hen not fielding media interviews or tweeting to a growing cadre of poll junkies, Tom Jensen can usually be found crafting questions for the newest poll or slicing and dicing data for often spot-on accurate results. Public Policy Polling (PPP), a Democraticleaning polling operation based in Raleigh, is considered one of the top and most accurate polling organizations in the U.S. Jensen (political science and history ’06), an Ann Arbor, Mich., native and UNC Honors graduate, is the director of PPP and oversees daily operations. “Our goal is really to be the most accurate polling company in the country but also to be the most fun polling company in the country,” said Jensen, 29, of Chapel Hill. PPP was founded in 2001 by entrepreneur Dean Debnam, who’s now president and CEO. Jensen joined the group in 2008 and has helped build the once-small startup into a successful business with a national profile. A March 2012 NPR report called PPP “one of the most prolific polling outfits in the country.” A report by Fordham University found that, of 28 firms studied, PPP had the most accurate poll on the 2012 national presidential popular vote. And The Wall Street Journal ranked PPP as one of the top swing

state pollsters in the U.S. during the 2008 election. “The post election polling analyses found that there was nobody better than us,” Jensen said. The firm fields about 800 polls annually for public and private clients that include the League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood, the San Francisco Giants and Daily Kos. The company is often spotlighted on national television and radio, and its polls have become popular fodder for “The Rachel Maddow Show” and comedian Stephen Colbert’s “The Colbert Report.” Jensen said what sets PPP apart is its sense of humor and propensity to sometimes ask unexpected and quirky questions. A January 2013 poll during divisive fiscal cliff negotiations asked respondents who they liked better — cockroaches or Congress. Cockroaches beat Congress, 45 to 43. “We really just try every now and then to do some polls that both Democrats and Republicans can just laugh at,” Jensen said. In addition to a lifelong love of politics, Jensen has long excelled at math. That’s important because polls are more accurate when data is “weighted” to better reflect the general population. For example, women


P R O F I L E are more likely to answer polls than men, and older people and Caucasians are more likely than racial minorities. It’s not always perfect, and Jensen said he prefers learning from mistakes rather than making excuses. In 2008, PPP incorrectly projected that President Barack Obama would win the Pennsylvania Democratic primary by three points. Hillary Clinton ended up winning by nine. “If we really mess up a poll, I’ll write an apology on our website,” Jensen said. “I hate telling people that something is going to happen, and then it doesn’t happen. That just kills me.” Jensen boosts PPP’s profile by managing its Twitter account, which boasts more than 58,000 followers. He also oversees the company blog, which has responded to “hate mail” and expletive-filled voicemails from people unhappy with poll results. “It’s just amazing the level of interest and how emotional people can get about the stuff pollsters are doing,” Jensen said. Outside the office, Jensen is the unofficial head cheerleader for the Carolina baseball team. He goes to about 50 games a year and can often be found starting the Tar Heel chant from the stands. PPP’s office features a garish fake pink Christmas tree that stays up year-round and is often used as a backdrop for television interviews. Jensen recently took the staff to Chuck E. Cheese’s for lunch, then quickly tweeted photos of an intern who won the skee-ball game. The company is run by about 20 people who help with IT and business development, but the core group of four full-time employees and two interns is composed of Carolina alums or alums-to-be. Jensen said it’s a strong testament to the strength of the University’s political science department. “We have a really great staff,” Jensen said. “This is very much an entity run by Carolina political science majors. We take the polling very seriously, but we try not to take ourselves too seriously.” • ONLINE EXTRAS: Learn more at www.publicpolicypolling.com.



• The Kings and Queens of Roam (Touchstone) by Daniel Wallace, J. Ross Macdonald Distinguished Professor of English. From the celebrated author of Big Fish comes a tale of two sisters who live in a town called Roam: Helen, older, bitter and conniving; and Rachel, beautiful, naïve — and blind. Rachel relies on Helen for everything, but makes a surprising choice that turns both their worlds upside down. • The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election (Princeton University Press) by John Sides (political science ’96) and Lynn Vavreck. The book uses a “Moneyball” approach to tell the story of the 2012 election, drawing on data about the economy, public opinion, news coverage and political advertising to determine the factors that really made a difference. The authors also talked to voters about what mattered most. • Sounds of War: Music in the United States during World War II (Oxford University Press) by Annegret Fauser, professor of music. Fauser provides the first in-depth study of American concert music during the war. While Duke Ellington and the Andrews Sisters entertained civilians at home and GIs abroad with swing and boogie-woogie, Fauser shows it was classical music that truly distinguished musical life in the wartime United States, receiving both financial and ideological support from the U.S. government.

• Democracy and the Left: Social Policy and Inequality in Latin America (University of Chicago Press) by Evelyne Huber and John Stephens. Although inequality in Latin America ranks among the worst in the world, it has declined over the last decade, offset by improvements in health care and education, enhanced programs for social assistance and increases in the minimum wage. UNC political scientists Huber and Stephens argue that the resurgence of democracy in the region is key to this change. • Love 2.0: How our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become (Hudson Street Press) by Barbara Fredrickson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology. We know love matters, but in her groundbreaking new book Fredrickson shows us how much. Using research from her UNC Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab, she demonstrates that our capacity for experiencing love daily in diverse ways can improve our health and longevity. Video story at magazine.college.unc.edu. • Good Busy: Productivity, Procrastination and the Endless Pursuit of Balance (RCWMS Press) by Julia Scatliff O’Grady (doctoral candidate in communication studies). As a young college graduate, O’Grady traveled to campuses throughout the United States, recruiting volunteers who would become the catalysts for AmeriCorps. She heard

as much enthusiasm as she heard this: “I’m not sure I have the time.” Now the graduate student and mother of two is on a quest to discover the source of our busyness and understand what it might mean to be “good busy.” • The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists (UNC Press) by William Ferris, Joel Williamson Eminent Professor of History. Drawn from folklorist Ferris’ documentary records, the book includes interviews with artists and thinkers from Eudora Welty, Pete Seeger and Alice Walker to William Eggleston, Bobby Rush and C. Vann Woodward. This new volume includes a companion CD of original interviews and a DVD of original film. • The Dynamic Decade: Creating the Sustainable Campus for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001-2011 (UNC Press) by David R. Godschalk and Jonathan B. Howes. The story of the sweeping makeover of the 200-year-old Chapel Hill campus is told, with 6 million square feet of buildings constructed and a million square feet of historic buildings renovated during one vibrant decade. Illustrated with 37 color photographs and 28 maps. Godschalk is Stephen Baxter Professor Emeritus of city and regional planning, and Howes is a former director of the UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies. c o n t i n u e d




• Truth’s Ragged Edge: The Rise of the American Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Philip F. Gura. This has been called perhaps the first comprehensive study of the early American novel since Richard Chase’s 1957 classic, The American Novel and its Tradition. Gura, the William S. Newman Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture, opens with the first truly homegrown genre of fiction: religious tracts, short Christian parables. He then turns to city novels of the 1830s and concludes with fresh interpretations of the novels that appeared before the Civil War, such as those by Hawthorne and Melville.

• Doc: The Story of A Birmingham Jazz Man (University of Alabama Press) by Dr. Frank Adams and Burgin Mathews, who studied folklore at UNC. This autobiography of jazz elder statesman Frank “Doc” Adams features, among other things, his time touring with Sun Ra and Duke Ellington. It highlights Adams’ role in Birmingham, Ala.’s historic jazz scene and traces his personal adventure that parallels, in many ways, the story and spirit of jazz itself.

• The Moon and More (Viking Juvenile) by Sarah Dessen (English ’93). Luke is the perfect boyfriend; he and Emaline have been together all through high school in the beach town of Colby. Then Theo comes to town, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. And Theo thinks Emaline should dream of a bigger life. Dessen is the author of 10 previous novels.

• A Short Time to Stay Here (Ingalls Publishing Group) by Terry Roberts (Ph.D. English ’91). North Carolina native Roberts’ first novel highlights a little-known chapter in the state’s history: the detention of German prisoners of war during World War I. The novel is set at the Hot Springs, Mountain Park Hotel which served as the internment site for more than 2,000 German nationals.

• Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Long Civil Rights Movement (University of Georgia Press) by Minrose Gwin. In a compelling study, the Kenan Eminent Professor of English examines the powerful body of work that has emerged in response to the Civil Rights leader’s life and death — including news, fiction, poetry, memoir, drama and songs from

• Leaving Tuscaloosa (Fuze Publishing) by Walter Bennett (M.A. English ’69). Set in the deep South in 1962, this novel by a former Civil Rights attorney, judge and law professor focuses on the converging stories of two estranged childhood friends, one black and one white. For Richeboux Branscomb, the journey begins one Alabama night when

James Baldwin, Margaret Walker, Eudora Welty, Lucille Clifton, Bob Dylan and Willie Morris.


a raw egg is hurled at a revered leader of the black community. For Acee Waites, it begins with a missing brother and a sheriff’s ruthless search for him. Through 36 hours of racial turmoil, two young men’s lives collide in a riveting climax. The book was a finalist for the Bellwether Prize for Fiction. • Brave Dragons: A Chinese basketball team, an American coach and two cultures clashing. (Knopf ) (paperback) by Jim Yardley (history ’86). This is the story of the Shanxi Brave Dragons, one of China’s worst professional basketball teams, and the resulting culture clash when the team hires former NBA coach Bob Weiss to turn things around. Readers will follow the team on a fascinating road trip through modern China. Yardley is the Pulitzer Prize-winning former Beijing bureau chief of The New York Times. • The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (Simon & Schuster) by Taylor Branch (political science, history ’68). This compact volume by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author brings to life 18 pivotal dramas, beginning with the impromptu speech that turned an untested, 26-year-old Martin Luther King forever into a public figure on the first night of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. Five years later, minority students filled the jails in a 1960 sit-in movement, and, in 1961, the Freedom Riders seized national attention.

F I N A L P O I NT Painting the Town

wandering around the museum until he got to know me after a few visits. He realized I wasn’t going to draw all over the displays with crayons or knock them over. I love all art. I feel like most people, if you make art available to them, can appreciate the wonder of good art. One of the reasons I enjoy doing the murals so much is that I’m sharing something I really care about and have cared about since I was 8 years old.

Interview by Don Evans ’80 Photos by D onn Young


hapel Hill artist Michael Brown (bachelor of fine arts ’77) is at work on another mural, this time on the exterior of the Mellow Mushroom pizza restaurant in downtown Chapel Hill. Brown said he is having a blast mixing the styles of Roy Lichtenstein and Peter Max, with a bit of late 1960s-early ’70s thrown in. Brown, who is also a landscape artist, recently answered questions about his career and efforts to restore his iconic murals.

Q: What appeals the most to you about working on the murals? A: There’s something macho about doing a thing that’s very difficult, doing it much bigger and in a much more dangerous place and still doing it very well and doing it in 104-degree weather or 38-degree weather. To a large extent it’s a huge performance, not like a staged performance — it’s very real. I’m working, and I’m getting the job done, and I’m mixing the colors and climbing the ladders and hosing down the building. It’s a slowly evolving performance piece.

Q: Why renovate the murals? A: The older ones have been around for more than 20 years and, let’s face it, they are not displayed in museum conditions. Some have faded, and a few are in direct sunlight all day and are showing some wear and tear. So the Preservation Society contacted me about five years ago and suggested raising money for some facelifts. The feeling was that they have become a much-appreciated part of Chapel Hill and are worth preserving.

ABOVE: Michael Brown clowns around for the camera in front of the Porthole Alley parade mural, located on the west wall of Carolina Coffee Shop on Franklin Street.

Q: Why are the murals popular? A: Each one is unique. And there’s sort of a critical mass of them. You can walk around a corner and see another one and another one, and each is quite different from the next in theme and color. That really contributes to a sort of greater feeling of community.

Q: Do you like any one mural over another? A: The Porthole Alley one is a favorite because it was a lot of fun — I got a lot of input from people walking through there. Then when we restored it a few years ago, I made further additions and changes on the suggestions of passersby.

Q: What have the murals

taught you? A: Murals have taught me about paint, equipment, politics, planning departments, sign regulations. If you go into a book store to the self-help section, you’ll find a book called Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow, and I’m not sure that’s true. But in my case, if it isn’t true, I lucked out. • ONLINE EXTRAS: For a walking tour of Chapel Hill’s murals, visit www.chapelhillrecorder.com/murals. Brown’s show, “The Far and the Near,” a solo exhibition of new landscape paintings,

Q: When did art grab you? A: I’ve always loved art. As an 8-year-old I would take myself to the Ackland and hang out. It really freaked out the guard to see this kid

opens at the ENO Gallery in Hillsborough March 29 and runs through May 26. Visit www.enogallery.net.



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Profile for UNC College of Arts and Sciences

Carolina Arts & Sciences spring 2013  

The magazine is the alumni publication of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Carolina Arts & Sciences spring 2013  

The magazine is the alumni publication of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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