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UNC Charlotte The magazine of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte for Alumni and Friends • v15 n3 q3 • 2008

Virtual Visions

uNC Charlotte Researchers Explore New Realities


c h a n c e l l o r ’s l e t te r

Research in Full Bloom at UNC Charlotte

Research may involve scientific inquiry, cultural and economic discovery or artistic creativity. Yet the goal of all our research efforts is the same — to make lives better.


When Miss Bonnie Cone founded what would become UNC Charlotte, she had a practical and compelling vision: establish in Charlotte a university that would provide a quality undergraduate education to the young people of this region. Her vision became reality under the leadership of Dean Colvard and E. K. Fretwell, the University’s first two chancellors. Through the years, UNC Charlotte has delivered a very enriching undergraduate experience marked by great teaching, a nurturing campus community, and very talented and dedicated faculty and staff. Chancellor Colvard also established the first graduate programs, and both he and Chancellor Fretwell understood the educational value of research. Under our third chancellor, Jim Woodward, UNC Charlotte became a doctoral-granting research institution and vastly expanded its array of graduate programs. My predecessors’ vision is in full bloom today at UNC Charlotte. Every day, our faculty and students engage in phenomenal and practical learning through research. This edition of UNC Charlotte magazine peeks behind the scenes at some of the research emerging from our campus. For example, in the College of Computing and Informatics Future Computing Lab, students and faculty work side-by-side to develop virtual reality applications, including virtual environments and virtual humans. You have likely interacted with a virtual human, either through a telephone “conversation” or on the World Wide Web. Virtual humans increase efficiency for private industry and other organizations by performing tasks such as fielding common questions or providing directions. Researchers at UNC Charlotte are studying ways to improve this technology and extend its application to areas including education, nursing, and community policing. Already, virtual environments are being used to improve medical care in the treatment of burn patients. UNC Charlotte psychology faculty and students have tested this technology as a means to provide relief to individuals suffering from chronic pain. Read the feature “Virtual Visions: UNC Charlotte researchers explore new realities” to learn more about this exciting technology and its many applications.

Research is by no means a static pursuit – sometimes we must meet challenges where they live (or work), so to speak. Our newest interdisciplinary Ph.D. program does just that and is the first program of its kind in the country to draw from the expertise of faculty in organizational sociology, management, industrial/organizational psychology and organizational communication. Organizational scientists help organizations address problems that can lead to a dissatisfying work environment for employees, as well as decreased efficiency and productivity. The article “Doctoring Organizations: Organizational science Ph.D. program on the leading edge nationally,” describes the mission of this exciting program to “return functionality to the dysfunctional.” Despite these rather intensive research programs, UNC Charlotte has not deviated from its grounding in liberal studies and the thoughtful, critical thinking that is essential to our success. Sometimes inquiry requires a quiet space, without scientific equipment and away from intensive work teams. That space exists on the 10th floor of the Atkins Library, where a treasure trove of historic documents, manuscripts, rare books and memorabilia spanning several centuries, is available to the community. If you would like to conduct your own historical investigation of the Civil Rights movement in Charlotte or read early editions of the works of some of the greatest authors of our time, take this as a standing invitation next time you visit campus. The impressive breadth of our special collections is highlighted in the article “A Room with a View on History.” Research may involve scientific inquiry, cultural and economic discovery or artistic creativity. Yet the goal of all our research efforts is the same – to make lives better. We will continue to celebrate these efforts, which make every space on our beautiful campus a laboratory of learning and an incubator of ideas, on the pages of this magazine. Cordially,

Philip L. Dubois Chancellor

c o n t e n t s | UNC CHARLOTTE


you are seeing things — a new University logo

columns 4 news briefs 14 49ers Notebook


38 alumni news 40 alumni notes alumni profiles 12 Richard Hudson



Mutation Tips Biochemistry to cause Alzheimer’s

26 Mark de Castrique 34 Sarah Batista 34 Danielle Trotta


6 virtual visions

UNC Charlotte researchers explore new realities

giving 36 Remembering a special teacher with a scholarship

39 Giving Report


A Room with a view on History

UNC Charlotte’s Atkins Library Special Collection has grown exponentially in the past three decades



Doctoring organizations

Organizational science Ph.D. program on the leading edge nationally

On the cover: A student experiences how natural motion can be encouraged in a virtual environment in the College of Computing and Informatics Future Computing Lab. Photo by Wade Bruton, Photo illustration by SPARK Publications.

28 UNC CHARLOTTE magazine



| e d i to r ’s d e s k

A New Look. A Renewed Commitment. What you hold before you is the new UNC Charlotte magazine. It has been redesigned and slightly expanded. The redesign was long overdue. The previous look, feel and organization of the magazine had been largely the same since 1998. And beyond the way it looked, the magazine has had a hard life in recent years, lapsing in some years from quarterly publication to three times per year. Why? To some extent, budget constraints affected our ability to publish four editions. Perhaps even more so, changes in staffing in the Office of Public Relations caused interruptions of continuity. When I became editor of this magazine, one of my foremost priorities was to build this magazine into a more substantial publication that is attractive, entertaining and informative of the incredible activities of the UNC Charlotte family. Our team at UNC Charlotte magazine still has a long way to go in building and maintaining a magazine that does justice to the energy and achievements that pour forth from this University. But we are finally moving forward with this redesign. Here are some of the changes that we’re introducing with this edition: Notice that the masthead page and back cover are emblazoned with UNC Charlotte’s refreshed logo. You can read about the new logo and our forthcoming brand campaign on page 3. This edition is heftier than the last several. We’re building page count in order to bring you more news, stories and artwork. And with new staff resources, we expect to continue publishing approximately 44 pages through 2009, as compared to 28 pages during the last several editions. We’re digging a little deeper into the stories we develop. In some cases this will mean longer features, yet we are trying to strike a balance of news briefs, quick profiles and more in-depth features to produce an easy and enjoyable read. We have added a new feature called Perspective. It will appear on the inside back cover and will showcase a faculty or staff member writing about a timely topic related to their expertise. A refreshed design for your University magazine is long over due. We will continue to make adjustments to the inside layout and the cover, utilizing new types of graphics and photographic treatments. We hope the new look – and the content as well – appeals to you. I’d love to hear from you. Regards,

John D. Bland, Editor Director of Public Relations

We’re digging a little deeper into the stories we develop. In some cases this will mean longer features, yet we are trying to strike a balance of news briefs, quick profiles and more in-depth features to produce an easy and enjoyable read. 2


The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Volume 15, Number 3 Philip L. Dubois Chancellor Ruth Shaw Chair of the Board of Trustees Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Community Affairs David Dunn Editor Director of Public Relations John D. Bland Creative Director Fabi Preslar Contributing Writers Phillip Brown James Hathaway Lisa Lambert Fred Tannenbaum Class Notes Katie Suggs Photographer Wade Bruton Circulation Manager Cathy Brown Design & Production SPARK Publications

UNC Charlotte is published four times a year by The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28223-0001 ISSN 10771913 Editorial offices: Reese Building, 2nd floor The University of North Carolina at Charlotte 9201 University City Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28223 704.687.4385; Fax: 704.687.6379 The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is open to people of all races and is committed to equality of educational opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants, students or employees based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability. Printed on recycled paper

Y ou are seeing things — a new university logo By Richard McDevitt and Ashley oster

Take a look at the UNC Charlotte logo on this page. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? Look again. Something has changed, but what? More than meets the eye at first glance. The University has introduced a refreshed, updated logo; the changes are subtle but they symbolize some major distinctions. The new logo is the University’s first step in rolling out an updated brand. You may have been expecting greater change in the logo and university mark. But you should know that an important rule of marketing and brand identity is “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!” Research showed us very clearly that there is substantial brand equity and value in the crown mark. But a brand is more than a logo or a tagline on an ad. A brand is a promise – it is the feeling that people get when they encounter UNC Charlotte, however they may encounter the University in print or in person. The brand is what we stand for in the minds of people the University serves or wishes to serve. Take a look at the new logo as it appears in green. Then look at the faint gray impression of the old logo. The first thing you may notice is that UNC and Charlotte have been separated and that the letters are all the same size. The changes serve two purposes: First, your eye no longer sees UNCC in the logo. The University wants to retire the use of UNCC in all references because the consensus belief is that UNCC harkens back to a time when the University was much less mature than it is today. The UNCC era was a magical one in many ways – one need only cite the 1977 Final Four basketball team that proudly wore UNCC across their chests all the way to Atlanta. But the UNCC era was also one in which the University offered no doctoral degrees and few masters’. It had very little capability in applied research partnerships with business. We are a different university now. Second, the new logo gives equal emphasis to UNC and Charlotte. That’s to emphasize two major brand influences of the University: 1) the UNC system is one of the very highest regarded public university systems in the nation – and the world; we must

leverage that brand power when attracting faculty, researchers and graduate students; 2) The City of Charlotte is a magnet for all sorts of people from across the United States and throughout the world. Charlotte is one of the most successful cities in the New South and we are the flagship university of the Charlotte region. We have grown tremendously in every way and should acknowledge that in the identity we present to the public. The new logo features a new customized font and, perhaps less noticeably, a revised crown. Who’s responsible for this new logo? A lot of people, actually. It was developed based on the participation of a wide range of UNC Charlotte staff and faculty, working with a national organization doing research and a local design firm. This logo, and a few intentionally familial sub-brands related to colleges and university institutes, have been reviewed and approved at the highest level of UNC Charlotte. Last fall the Chancellor’s Letter focused on the University’s branding initiative; rolling out the new logo is part of that initiative. The next major branding move is development of a creative campaign that will introduce the University’s “brand position,” and provide the look, feel and content for brand advertising and marketing. The work will begin rollout in the coming months. The evolving brand look and feel will also be integrated into the University’s Web site. Eventually, almost all advertising and marketing materials that you may see from the University will bear a consistent, familial, brand look and feel. Over time this consistent brand will improve comprehension of UNC Charlotte as a university of discovery and collaboration, driven by innovative people deeply immersed in the community and actively working to improve our quality of life. So, you are seeing things; a new logo, and eventually, a whole lot more to be proud of. Ashley Oster is UNC Charlotte’s director of community affairs. Richard McDevitt is UNC Charlotte’s director of marketing. UNC CHARLOTTE magazine




news briefs Can You Be Born a Couch Potato? Mouse Model Studies Point to Genetic Influence in Active and Sedentary Behavior By James Hathaway The key to good health is to be physically active. The key to being active is… to be born that way? The well-documented importance of exercise in maintaining fitness has created the idea that individuals can manage their health by increasing their activity. But what if the inclination to engage in physical activity is itself significantly affected by factors that are predetermined? Two new studies suggest that the inclination to exercise may be strongly affected by genetics. Controlled experiments into the effects of genetics on human activity have yet to be attempted, but recent studies on mice – the standard test species for mammalian genetics – have found genetic influences. In a paper recently published in the journal Physiological Genomics, a team of researchers led by University of North Carolina at Charlotte kinesiologist J. Timothy Lightfoot announced that they had found six specific chromosomal locations that significantly correlate to the inheritance of a trait of high physical activity in mice, indicating that at least six genetic locations were affecting activity. Now, in a study forthcoming in The Journal of Heredity, the same team has identified 17 other genetic locations that also appear to control the level of physical activity in mice through interaction with each other, a genetic effect known as epistasis. Together, the located genes account for approximately 84% of the behavioral differences between mice that exhibit low activity levels and mice that show high activity traits. “Can you be born a couch potato? In exercise physiology, we didn’t used to think so, but now I would say most definitely you can,” said Lightfoot.



The question of whether genetic influences can significantly affect activity in humans has never been rigorously studied, Lightfoot notes, but experiments with mice are indicating that the effect can be strong. “The problem with the human literature in activity is that, up until recently, research has ignored the possibility that activity is regulated by biological as much as by environmental Timothy Lightfoot factors. What’s interesting is that there is a disconnect between the animal and the human literature in this – researchers haven’t been paying attention to the animal studies which, for example, have shown that that hormones affect activity.” Lightfoot’s interest in the issue drew him to work with strains of mice that had markedly different behaviors when given an exercise wheel. A “high-active” strain scored notably higher than other strains in speed,

duration and distance achieved in running than other strains, including one that was labeled as “aggressively sedentary” because of its consistent avoidance of activity. At first, Lightfoot suspected that the difference was due to genetic factors affecting the way energy is used by muscle tissue because early genetic studies of the strains indicated that variation was present in genes known to affect metabolism. However, studies the team conducted on muscle tissue in the different mice failed to show a genetic effect that could cause a difference in muscle performance. “We have done some gene chips on muscle tissue and we don’t see any differential expression between high-active and low-active animals in peripheral (muscle) tissue,” Lightfoot said. “So the suggestion that by over-expressing a glucose transporter we can increase activity doesn’t seem to be the explanatory factor.” Subsequent studies have led the team to suspect that genetic differences are having a

n ew s b r i e f s profound affect on mouse activity levels by causing significant differences in their brains. “More and more what we are seeing is differences in brain chemistry. We are really convinced now that the difference is in the brain,” Lightfoot said. “There is a drive to be more active.” The current studies interbred active and inactive strains of mice to re-sort the genes. The researchers tested the second generation (f2) of offspring for activity using three measurements – speed, endurance and distance – and found a range of significant differences among the new hybrid mice in their overall activity levels. The team then performed genetic tests on the mice and found significant correlations between differences in their genomes and the behavioral variations. The team identified six locations on the mouse chromosome where differences had a strong relationship to activity, indicating at least six genes that individually can affect activity. A second genetic study found seventeen other genetic locations that were also having an effect on activity levels by interacting with each other. While differences in activity could not be exclusively connected to genetics, a surprisingly large amount of the activity difference in the hybrids – about half – had

a strong relationship to the specific genetic variations identified. “We don’t know yet what the genes involved in activity are doing, but there is some strong suggestion that many of them may be involved in regulating dopamine,” Lightfoot noted. “In one sense it is very similar to a model for genetic influences on ADD.” Lightfoot is Professor in the department of kinesiology in UNC Charlotte’s College of Health and Human Services. Lightfoot’s co-authors for “An Epistatic Genetic Basis for Physical Activity Traits in Mice,” forthcoming in The Journal of Heredity, are UNC Charlotte biologist Larry J. Leamy and geneticist Daniel Pomp from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The article is currently available online at: . Also cited in this release is “Quantitative Trait Loci for Physical Activity Traits in Mice,” which appeared in the February issue of Physiological Genomics and was co-authored by Lightfoot, Leamy, Pomp, M.J. Turner from UNC Charlotte, and S.R. Kleeberger from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. James Hathaway manages research communications in UNC Charlotte’s Academic Affairs division.


RuBiRu Returning to Campus The second annual RuBiRu event, UNC Charlotte’s run-bike-run athletic event for the community, will be held Saturday, Oct. 25, on the University campus. All proceeds will go to benefit local brain cancer research with event partner Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas (BTFC).  The inaugural RuRiRU event held last fall was a rousing success with more than 210 participants, and it raised more than $70,000. All proceeds raised remain in the Charlotte region.  RuBiRu is part of an effort to create a multimillion dollar, nationally competitive brain cancer research program at UNC Charlotte that will partner with cancer physicians in the region’s major healthcare systems. Presented by Hearst Service Center and co-hosted by BTFC and UNC Charlotte, RuBiRu is a 20K event that consists of an exhilarating 5K run, and 10K time trial bike ride around the perimeter loop of the campus, followed by a 5K cross country trail run on the University’s wooded trails. For children, there will be a RuBiRu Kid Zone sponsored by University YMCA. Family friendly activities and a fun walk also will take place on the Irwin Belk Track. Health screenings, food, beverages and entertainment will be provided. Individuals and teams of all ages are welcome. 

Lace up 10.25.2008 9am

RuBiRu is a unique race opportunity to participate in either a 5K run/walk around the perimeter of UNC Charlotte’s campus or compete in a duathlon consisting of a 5K run around campus followed by a 10K bike loop and a 5K cross country trail run on UNC Charlotte’s wooded trails. Please join us in supporting cancer research efforts taking place right here in Charlotte. Register online today!





news briefs Physicist’s Model Shows How Mutation Tips Biochemistry to Cause Alzheimer’s A UNC Charlotte physicist has found a “design problem” in a common human protein that may be a root cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a terrifying brain-destroying disease whose causes have proven very difficult to pin down. In recent years, science has been closing in on solving the puzzle, particularly regarding some of the hereditary, “early onset” forms of the illness. Unusual by-products of cell metabolism, clumps of protein aggregates, have been shown to have a toxic effect on brain cells. Certain gene mutations seem to be connected an increase in these toxic protein



products, but exactly how this happens has remained hidden. Now, using sophisticated computer simulations, a team of physical chemists have shown precisely how a minor, seemingly inconsequential mutation results in unexpected changes in a very delicate chemical balance, causing a chain of events that leads to brain disease. The mutation, the substitution of a single base among the 3 billion found in human DNA, seems to have the greatest effect on a fragment of a specific protein that is abundantly present in living cells. The difference causes a subtle change in the shape of the fragment at a critical point, which can slightly shift the odds towards an inappropriate biochemical reaction that sidetracks the metabolic path. The increase in the reaction simply tips the balance of chemical processes, causing the build-up of a substance that kills brain cells, leading to the early deterioration of mental capacity and, eventually, death. “It is a really tiny change but it has tremendous consequences,” said Andrij Baumketner, lead author on the study and a faculty

member in the department of physics and optical science at the UNC Charlotte. The finding, published in the April 7 issue of the Publication of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), was co-authored by Mary Griffin Krone and Joan-Emma Shea, both from the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The group studied the effects caused by the Dutch Mutation, a mutation associated with a specific, hereditary form of Alzheimer’s disease. The mutation is small -the simple substitution of one letter of DNA for another, resulting in a slight modification Andrij Baumketner of only one amino acid among hundreds that form a protein known as the amyloid precursor protein (APP). The greatest effect of the Dutch-type mutation on APP seems to be not on the protein itself, but on a fragment of it known as “amyloid-beta peptide” that is created when cells break down the protein. Studies have shown that mutated forms of the fragment have greater tendency to stick to bond together and form protein clumps or “aggregates.” Some specific forms of the aggregates have been shown to be toxic to brain cells. Why the change in one amino acid would cause this peptide to form clumps more readily has, until now, been unclear. Amyloid-beta peptide, unlike most other proteins present in the cell, is largely lacking in specific shape (“conformation”), the characteristic that usually controls how proteins interact with each other. However the fragment does have two places in its sequence of amino acids – a section known as the “bend” and an area known as the “central hydrophobic cluster” where the polypeptide chain does conform to a moreor-less fixed shape. These areas are the parts of the fragments that are involved when they bond together into clumps. The researchers created complex computer models of the two structured

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“An experiment never gives you atomic resolution — you always have to guess what is actually going on with the molecules. But with a computer simulation you start with atoms and how they interact and you end with atoms, so there is no question with missing any details.” areas of the fragment and found that the single amino acid change caused by the mutation had a subtle effect on their properties. In order for fragments to bond together, the structured areas must first undergo a “conformational change” (a change in structural shape) from the conformations they normally have as single, water-soluble amyloidbeta peptides into a “transition state” conformation that leads up to forming clumps. The researchers found that mutation increased the likelihood that the structures would be in a form similar to the transition state before the reaction occurred. When the structured areas were already in the required transition state, bonding was encouraged because less energy was required for the bonding reaction to take place. “We knew quite a bit about what

these peptides are from experimental studies, but we didn’t know the microscopic details,” noted Baumketner. “An experiment never gives you atomic resolution – you always have to guess what is actually going on with the molecules. But with a computer simulation you start with atoms and how they interact and you end with atoms, so there is no question with missing any details.” The detail of the simulations showed that, because the mutation made the protein fragments more likely to be in a transition state for bonding, bonds between fragments were more likely to be formed than broken (which also happens continuously in the reverse reaction), so clumps of fragments accumulated. The end result of the subtle, mutation-driven change in the protein fragment’s shape was the tipping the reaction’s balance enough to allow clumps composed of multiple fragments to occur and to build up --with a disastrous effect on brain tissue. The ultimate problem responsible for Alzheimer’s Disease, Baumketner notes, is that the design of the protein affected is so “close to the edge” in the reactions it must undergo that extremely small changes can cause problems, like the formation of toxic by-products. “It looks like whoever designed the proteins in our bodies only made the beta peptides to be right on the edge of where they have to be for us to be alive,” Baumketner said facetiously. “You make a small push and you push it over the edge and then there is no return. If you were farther from the edge, that would be fine, and you could tolerate one mutation. “There is lots of discussion about why this happens – is it the failure of evolution? Maybe evolution never has had a chance to optimize us against this. Humans now live to be much older, but evolution never has had a chance before to detect and avoid these problems through natural selection. When the lifespan was 35 years, you didn’t have a large problem with Alzheimer’s. Now you do.”


Charlotte Research Institute to Host Clean Rail Energy Event in 2009 Joining in the global effort to advance the transition of the world’s railways from diesel to hydrogen fuel cell power, the Charlotte Research Institute is preparing to host the Fifth International Hydrail Conference in 2009. CRI is the arm of UNC Charlotte that fosters university-industry partnerships, including both collaborative research projects and commercialization of university developed technologies. Hydrail is an emerging technology using hydrogen fuel cells instead of traditional diesel-electric generators to power rail equipment traction motors.  The earliest hydrail applications will be streetcars and commuter rail equipment, although Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the largest railroad, recently announced it expects to test a hydrail switch engine later this year.  Japan now has two hydrail commuter trains in on-track testing. Railways suffer the same adverse economic impact as airlines and automobile users when oil prices rise. And just like cars and planes, trains contribute to pollution and carbon dioxide emissions.  For energy security and to reduce environmental impacts, the Hydrail Conferences foster the international collaboration and shared technical knowledge needed to speed the diesel-to-hydrail transition. The Fifth Annual International Hydrail Conference at UNC Charlotte in 2009 will bring together representatives from academics, government agencies and the business sector to share news of technical progress aimed at facilitating transition of the world’s railways from diesel electric to hydrogen fuel cell traction power. CRI will co-host the Conference with the Energy Center at Appalachian State University (ASU) and the volunteer Hydrogen Economy Advancement Team (HEAT) organization at the MooresvilleSouth Iredell Chamber of Commerce.





news briefs CAMPUS Campus Master Planning/ Includes University Neighbors The University is in the process of creating a new campus master plan that will incorporate all aspects of campus life in an integrated approach to include research, teaching, recreation, student housing, student life and improved connectivity to the surrounding community. The completed master plan will entail: parameters for future land use, buildings, density, landscaping, space planning, transportation, circulation, utilities, campus design and sustainable development. The facilities planning team at UNC Charlotte has hosted Neighbors Open Forums which were open to homeowners and businesses adjacent to the University as well as the campus community to elicit input. Find information about the planning process at The master plan is scheduled to be completed in 2009.

A New Name: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences UNC Charlotte’s largest and oldest college, the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS), changed its name to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) effective July 1. The name change — approved by the University’s Board of Trustees June 5 —reflects the college’s new identity now that the fine arts programs have moved to the College of Arts and Architecture. Earlier this year, the trustees approved transferring the departments of art and art history, music and dance and theatre to create the College of Arts and Architecture, which also was effective July 1. Nancy Gutierrez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, discussed the identity and name change with faculty, students and friends of the college prior to settling on the new moniker, which is widely used across the country for colleges that include the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, the natural sciences and mathematics. “Our new identity is better reflected in the name of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” said Gutierrez. “Our faculty

are national and international thought leaders, and the education and research that has defined the college during its history will continue to infuse all aspects of the Nancy Gutierrez University’s life.” The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences serves approximately half the undergraduate majors at UNC Charlotte offering eight Ph.D. programs, 28 master’s programs and graduate certificates, and nearly 30 undergraduate degrees. Belk College of Business Partnering with Global Honor Society The Belk College of Business is partnering with the Golden Key International Honour Society to offer one $10,000 scholarship to a Golden Key member who is accepted into the UNC Charlotte MBA program. The UNC Charlotte MBA program is offered in two formats: a full-time, fast-track cohort program with courses offered during


Decision on Football May Come in September Chancellor Philip L. Dubois briefed the Board of Trustees in June on the issue of whether the University should play football. In his second of three briefings to the board, Dubois offered no personal recommendation. The board is expected to vote on the football question in September, after Dubois makes his own proposal. Speaking for more than an hour with the help of detailed slides, Dubois outlined what he considered to be the chief pros and cons of a football program. On the plus side, he said, many members of the campus community 8


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the day and a flexible program with evening courses in which students may attend full or part time. The Golden Key scholarship will be available for students enrolling in either MBA program. Golden Key International Honour Society was founded in 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. The global nonprofit organization provides not only academic recognition to students in the top 15 percent of their class, but also leadership opportunities, community service, career networking and scholarships. The society has more than 360 chapters at colleges and universities in Australia, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. Membership into the society is by invitation only to students in all fields of study.

AWARDS Army ROTC 49er Battalion Wins National Award The U.S. Army Cadet Command recently announced that UNC Charlotte’s Army ROTC is the Fourth Brigade’s most improved battalion among all 19 colleges and universities with Army ROTC programs in North Carolina and Virginia. Cadet Command recognized the top and most improved battalion in each brigade nationally. The University of Virginia received the best medium battalion award and the University of Richmond won for the best large battalion. Each brigade received an incentive award of $2,500 for the honor. There are 270 colleges in the United States with Army ROTC programs. UNC Charlotte’s 49er Battalion was one of only 14 battalions in the United States that received a most improved award. UNC Charlotte’s ROTC programs provide approximately $2 million for scholarships.

agree football can enrich the student experience and enhance the school’s image. The biggest challenges are financial, said Dubois, who has been studying the issue in great detail for several months. He concluded most of the costs would be borne by students and private donors. In February, the Football Feasibility Committee recommended the University should begin playing football in 2012 on the Division I-AA level before moving up to Division 1-A in 2016. On Thursday, the chancellor said he wanted the board to understand both the benefits and the costs of adding big-time football. On the latter, he said it was vital that everyone knows the funding can only come from certain sources. Student fees and private donations would finance the bulk of a football program because state law prohibits the use of public money for building athletic facilities. The trustees are not obligated to follow the chancellor’s recommendation, which is expected to come during the board’s September meeting. Trustees can endorse his recommendation, modify it or seek more data, or reject it. In its report, the Football Feasibility Committee estimated the annual costs of a lower-tier program in 2012 at $7.7 million. That would increase to $11.5 million when the school moves into the


top college division. Most of the funds would come from higher student fees, which would increase $60 each year, beginning in 2009. Students would each pay $300 toward football by the time play began in 2012. Those costs don’t include the costs of building training and practice facilities and either renovating the University’s track and field complex or building a new stadium. Dubois told the trustees that estimates to renovate the existing track and field facility for football ranged from $40 million to refit the complex to seat 12,000 fans to $52 million for a 20,000-seat stadium. The latest estimates on a new on-campus stadium with 30,000 seats were between $60 million and $75 million. During a question-and-answer session, Dubois said one alternative is to wait until UNC Charlotte’s enrollment reaches 30,000 to 35,000 students, projected to occur by 2020. That would reduce the per capita student funding commitment, he said. Dubois acknowledged the decision will not be an easy one for board members to make because of the compelling arguments for and against football at UNC Charlotte. “This is a new challenge and we need to be very thoughtful about it,” he said. UNC CHARLOTTE magazine




news briefs WBTV Archives Housed at Atkins Library The J. Murrey Atkins Library’s Special Collections houses the radio and television news archives of WBT radio and WBTV television, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte. WBTV is the oldest broadcasting station in the Carolinas and one of the oldest in the South. Special Collections has a large assortment of television news film from WBTV, dating from 1959 to 1981. The content includes all of the news-worthy issues WBTV reported during that time-span, including the Civil Rights movement, school desegregation and the growth of NASCAR. Special Collections was recently awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities preservation grant to help plan for the future use and digitization of this important archive. The archived records complement the film collection and provide a valuable resource for research on the historical, commercial, social and technological aspects of radio and television broadcasting.

UNC Charlotte alumnus David Miller sifts through the WBTV archives. 10 UNC CHARLOTTE magazine

NEW FACES McDevitt Hired to Direct Marketing Services Marketing Services Director Richard McDevitt joined the University May 26. He reports directly to Vice Chancellor David Dunn. McDevitt has more than 20 years of experience in the marketing field. He has worked in the corporate setting with Bank of America, in the field of education with Central Piedmont Community College, and he has managed his own agency. He will design, coordinate and evaluate the effectiveness of university-wide marketing initiatives to expand and enhance UNC Charlotte’s Richard McDevitt awareness and reputation. McDevitt will work closely with the public relations, community affairs and materials management departments to oversee relationships with printing and production vendors and also connect with other external partners to carry out marketing assignments. He completed a bachelor’s degree in communications from Appalachian State University and has taken post-baccalaureate classes at UNC Charlotte. Raja Named Senior Associate Provost Jayaraman “Jay” Raja, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science, has been named senior associate provost in the UNC Charlotte Office of Academic Affairs. He succeeded Wayne Walcott who retired after 38 years of service to the University (Spring 2008 edition, page 18). Raja joined the University in 1989 as an associate professor in the William States Lee College of Engineering and advanced through the ranks to become department chair in 2000. He earned Jay Raja a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Madras. Raja is an international expert in the area of surface and form metrology with applications to manufacturing process control and functional performance of engineering components. His work on surface and form metrology has been used in the automotive, film and microelectronics industry. Government agencies, such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and companies, such as Cummins, Caterpillar, Ford, Kodak, Vecco and Mhar-Federal, have funded his research programs. He officially assumed his new duties July 1. Bust of Chancellor Colvard unveiled A bust of UNC Charlotte’s first chancellor, the late Dean Colvard, was unveiled Friday, June 6. The sculpture, commissioned by University benefactor Irwin Belk, is on permanent display in the lobby of Atkins Library. Belk also has commissioned busts of the University’s other three chancellors. Members of the Colvard family, along with Chancellor Emeriti E.K. Fretwell and Jim Woodward and their wives as well as bust sculptor John Hebenstreit, attended the event.

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Construction Projects Support Growing Campus Population UNC Charlotte, with a student population of more than 22,300 and growing, continues to make the need for additional facilities and infrastructure a priority. To try to keep pace with space needs, there are a variety of facilities that have been completed or are under construction. Dickson Gate, the new front entrance to UNC Charlotte, is finished. With the University’s tremendous growth, safe traffic flow and pedestrian safety became a priority. The former entrance is closed, and a new traffic light was installed 750 feet south of the University’s stately new ingress. An attractive, landscaped two-lane divided road with bicycle lanes leads to a traffic circle on Broadrick Boulevard. Eight 20-foot tall brick pylons were installed along Highway 49 to mark visitors’ arrival to UNC Charlotte. The first phase of the project was funded in part by a generous donation from the Dickson Foundation Inc. and Harris Teeter. Brick work has started on the exterior of the $65 million, 200,000-square-foot Student Union under construction. The new union will include dining hall services, the campus bookstore, a movie theatre, ballroom and other student–friendly amenities. Two hundred and fifty student organizations will occupy the facility, which is still on schedule to open in the summer of 2009. A new 400-bed residence hall is planned for the area adjacent to Laurel and Lynch halls along Cameron Boulevard near the



Student Union

new Student Union. The hall is scheduled to be open for the 2011 fall semester. A 1,000-space parking deck is slated to open at the same time as the new residence. Across campus there are a number of new academic facilities in various stages of completion. Near the Duke Centennial and William H. Grigg buildings, the new $35 million Bioinformatics Building is being built on the Charlotte Research Institute (CRI) campus, which is adjacent to Highway 29. Completion of this building is expected in summer 2009. Planning has commenced for the fifth major building at CRI. The Partnership, Outreach and Research for Accelerated Learning (PORTAL) Building will support research, technology transfer and economic development initiatives. The Ben Craig Center, the University’s business incubator, will relocate from University Research Park to PORTAL. A second motorsports building also is in the planning process; it will be built

adjacent to Duke Centennial Hall. The motorsports program continues to grow rapidly with increasing interest from growing numbers of prospective students. Six additional faculty members are in the process of being hired to accommodate the demand of motorsports – an area that contributes $6 billion annually to the North Carolina economy. The Center City Classroom Building that will give the University an uptown Charlotte presence is currently in the design process. Gantt Huberman, a Charlottebased firm, and Kieran-Timberlake of Philadelphia are the design developers. Rodgers Builders of Charlotte will be the construction manager. Construction is anticipated to begin in November 2009 on the facility, which will be located at Ninth Street and Brevard. These current construction projects will enable the University to serve the growing population of students. UNC Charlotte is projected to have an enrollment of 35,000 students by the year 2020.

Dickson Gate UNC CHARLOTTE magazine


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Richard Hudson Uses D.C. Experience to Run McCrory Campaign By Paul Nowell During the 12 years since his graduation, UNC Charlotte alumnus Richard Hudson managed several high-profile political campaigns and worked for some of the nation’s top Congressional leaders. Now he’s returned home to North Carolina to take on what could be the biggest challenge of his career. Hudson, who graduated from UNC Charlotte in 1996 with a double major in political science and history, is managing the campaign of Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, who is vying to become North Carolina’s first Republican governor since 1993. Before Jim Martin was elected to two terms in 1985-93, the only Republican nominee to capture the governor’s job in the Tar Heel State was James E. Holhouser in 1973. Before that, one needs to go back 1897, when Republican Daniel Lindsay Russell was elected governor. While those odds are steep enough, another daunting challenge is McCrory’s Charlotte connection, which historically has been more of a liability than an advantage in the North Carolina governor’s race. Hudson recently returned home from Washington D.C., where he was chief of staff to U.S. Rep. John Carter of Texas. Carter is secretary of the Republican Conference, which is the primary forum for communicating the party’s message to GOP House members. Hudson said his time at UNC Charlotte helped prepare him for his current career in politics. He believes UNC Charlotte was the

right choice instead of going to school in Raleigh or Chapel Hill. “There were distinct advantages to going to college in Charlotte,” he said. “If I had gone to school in Raleigh I would have been closer to the state capitol, but I think it would have been harder for me to catch the right peoples’ attention.” While at UNC Charlotte, he got the chance to rub elbows with some of the city’s top political leaders. “Charlotte is a dynamic place and it never stops growing,” he said. “There are many advantages to working here.” Hudson left school early to work for

Richard Vinroot’s gubernatorial bid and came back to finish his degree. After getting a taste of statewide political campaigns, he kept working for Republican candidates in a state where Democrats traditionally have had a lot of control over state government. “I entered school with the intention of preparing to go to law school and become an attorney,” he said. “I found out quickly that I did not enjoy going to class that much and I knew law school would have been a lot of work.” Hudson’s self-deprecating humor might

Richard Hudson with a familiar backdrop in Washington, D.C.

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suggest he was not serious about his studies, but his record proves otherwise. He was Student Government Association President in 1993 and later served as president of his senior class. He also was captain of the rugby team and was active in other student organizations. “I still maintain a close relationship with a lot of people I met for the first time while I was still in college,” he said. He also had some inspirational professors, notably former Political Science Professor Mark Stier. “Mark was probably my favorite professor while I was at UNC Charlotte,” he said. “I learned a lot from him and he was a very cerebral guy. I remember really enjoying his Politics and Film class.” “While my classes were very important and educational, perhaps the best things were the internships I was able to get and all the contacts I made,” Hudson said. “I know UNC Charlotte always encouraged students to pursue internships and it is still that way.” Hudson was able to gain some real-world political experience when he testified before a statehouse committee that was looking at the issue of using higher student fees to erect a new Student Activity Center. Hudson served as communications director of the state Republican Party in the late 1990s, before moving on to manage the campaigns and serve on the congressional staff of U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes. Jack Hawke, McCrory’s chief political consultant, recently described Hudson as “someone who had campaign experience — someone who has statewide knowledge and who can manage the day-to-day campaign.”

“I wanted to come back home because it was an opportunity to do something to improve the lives of 8 million North Carolinians.”

Hudson credits all his experience with preparing him for the rough-and-tumble world of election campaigns in an age of blogs and YouTube. And getting the chance to work for McCrory’s election campaign was simply too enticing to pass up. “I wanted to come back home because it was an opportunity to do something to improve the lives of 8 million North Carolinians,” he said. “I’ve known Pat for 12 years and truly feel he’s the right candidate at the right time in the right place.” Hudson advises UNC Charlotte students who are interested in politics to pay close attention to current events, saying there will

top: Hudson duck hunting with his former boss U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes, R-N.C. bottom: Hudson quail hunting with U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Texas.

be plenty of opportunities to gain valuable experience by volunteering for candidates from the greater Charlotte region. Not surprisingly, his top suggestions are all Republicans. Paul Nowell is UNC Charlotte’s media relations manager. UNC CHARLOTTE magazine 13


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“Let Me Play”

Event Focuses on Women’s Athletics Five years ago, Charlotte 49ers Director of Athletics Judy Rose had a brainstorm. A product of the opportunities that became available to women in athletics in the 1970s, Rose wanted to extend that support with the 49ers. With a wide array of influential female community and business leaders from which to pull, Rose sought a means to mobilize that talent in support of women’s athletics and at the same time begin sharing the 49ers’ many success stories. Intent on bringing people together for personal, first-hand interaction, Rose created the “Let Me Play” Luncheon, an annual fundraiser held in downtown Charlotte that today attracts more than 400 of the most powerful women in the Charlotte area. The 5th Annual “Let Me Play” Luncheon will be held Nov. 12 at The Westin in uptown Charlotte. The attendees have included the late Mariam Cannon Hayes, Dale Halton, Pat Rodgers, Lisa Lewis Dubois and Martha Woodward. Event chairs have included Halton, Rodgers, Mary Lou Babb and Betty Chafin Rash. The luncheon has regularly featured former 49ers’ studentathletes as featured speakers. In 2006, former women’s basketball player Karen Shugart (Class of ‘83), an Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge of Presidential Protection Division of the U.S. Secret Service, spoke via video. Last year, it was former volleyball star Krista Long (Class of ‘90), Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Ryland Homes. In 2005, women’s basketball’s Karen Popp (Class of ‘80), partner in the Washington D.C. firm of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP addressed the audience. Surprisingly, the basis of Shugart’s speech was not on her experiences in leading the detail that protects the First Lady. Long did not speak at length about her rapid rise up the corporate ladder 14 UNC CHARLOTTE magazine

and Popp did not recount her experiences working alongside Attorney General Janet Reno. Instead, the keynotes spoke of their school and their collegiate experience. They spoke of the fun they had and the long-standing relationships born as 49ers’ student-athletes. And they spoke of the tools that participation in athletics provides: time management, teamwork, dedication, perseverance, selfconfidence, determination — tools that played a key role in both charting and powering their futures. The luncheon also includes comments from current 49er student-athletes such as track and field athletic and academic all-America Sharonda Johnson, who recently received a National Science Foundation Fellowship for her work with nanoparticles; academic all-America distance runner Cassie Ficken; and two-time Athletic Director’s Association Scholar-Athlete women’s basketball team selection Sabrina Gregory. The current athletes tend to speak with gratitude of the opportunities athletics has afforded them and how they, out of respect, work to take full advantage of those opportunities. The 49ers have raised nearly $350,000 in the first four years of the event, with a record single-day total of over $101,000 in 2007. Just as important, however, is that current student-athletes are exposed to high-level professional women and, in turn, that high-level professional women are exposed to the type of bright, skilled, young women that are produced, in part, by participation in the Charlotte 49ers athletic program. For more information about this year’s event, please contact the Charlotte 49ers Athletic Foundation at (704) 687-6024. Registrations can be made online at There is no cost to attend this fundraising event but a donation is greatly appreciated.

49er Notes: MEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDuLE INCLuDES 12 PoST-SEASoN TEAMS Although all dates for the Atlantic 10 schedule were not finalized at press time, the 49ers men’s basketball schedule is stocked with post-season opponents, in and out of conference play. With four returning starters, including seniors Lamont Mack and Charlie Coley, Charlotte will face a competitive slate that will put it in position for an NCAA Tournament bid. The schedule is highlighted by seven contests with 2008 NCAA Tournament teams and an appearance in ESPN’s Anaheim Classic, which includes three NCAA and two NIT teams among its eight-team field. In all, the 49ers slate will include at least 12 games against 2008 post-season teams — six of which will be played at Halton Arena. Charlotte advanced to the 2008 NIT, the eighth post-season trip in head coach Bobby Lutz’s 10 seasons. The 49ers finished tied for fourth in the Atlantic 10 and reached the A-10 semifinals, while posting a 20-14

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record — the fifth 20-win season under Lutz. “We have assembled another challenging schedule for 08-09,” said Lutz. “Our nonconference schedule is rigorous both at home, on the road and at the ESPN Classic in Anaheim.” Charlotte’s home slate includes six games against 2008 post-season opponents: three games against NCAA Tournament teams: Clemson, Winthrop and Xavier and three more against 2008 NIT teams: Dayton, 2008 NIT Finalist Massachusetts and Rhode Island. “The non-conference home schedule is highlighted by (NCAA teams) Clemson and Winthrop, but also includes Tulsa, UNC Greensboro and Old Dominion. Playing at Davidson, Maryland, Southern Illinois and Appalachian State speaks for itself and will undoubtedly prepare us for league play.” Charlotte’s non-conference road schedule includes Davidson, which advanced to the 2008 NCAA Elite Eight and both Maryland and Southern Illinois, who made the NIT field. The 49ers have three Atlantic 10 road games against 2008 NCAA participants: Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Xavier. For updated schedule information, log on to and to secure your tickets for the upcoming season, call 704/687-4949 or log on to Charlotte 49ers All Access Video Niner Network All-Access, the Charlotte 49ers internet multimedia platform featuring live game broadcasts, player and coach interviews, exclusive behind-the-scenes video, “Classic” game broadcasts, highlights and additional original programming, will offer three levels of content packages so 49ers fans can keep up with all the action on-line. The Niner Network All-Access will provide live video coverage of nine of the 49ers men’s and women’s sports with highlight and feature content from all 16 sports. Fans can purchase a monthly subscription for $9.95, an Annual package for $79.95 or the CBS College Sports Network XXL Annual package for 119.95. The Annual package includes all the great audio and video content from the Monthly package as well as streaming video of select CBS College Sports broadcasts of Charlotte 49ers athletic

events. Monthly subscribers can only receive those games on a pay-per-view basis. The XXL Annual package includes all of the 49ers audio and video content plus every


pay-per-view game (49ers and otherwise) that the CBS College Sports Network offers. To subscribe to Niner Network All-Access, log on to

The 49ers Insider TV Show, Available On-Line Did you know that there is a television show dedicated to Charlotte 49ers Athletics? “The 49ers Insider” airs every Thursday-Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Time Warner Cable’s Channel 22 in Mecklenburg, Iredell and parts of Union County. The show, hosted by 49ers’ student-athletes and produced by Mark Nunn of the university’s Broadcast Communications Department, includes highlights, coaches’ interviews and player features. For those outside of broadcast area, an on-line version of the show can be accessed at Academic Excellence The Charlotte 49ers Athletic Academic Center announced that the 49ers cumulative GPA for the 2007-08 academic year was 3.043, the second straight year the 49ers athletic department has produced a cumulative GPA of over 3.0. In addition, with a spring semester GPA of 3.052, the athletic department’s GPA eclipsed that of the overall student body for the 24th consecutive semester. In 2007-08, the 49ers also boasted three ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic all-Americans, the Atlantic 10 Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a league-best five Atlantic 10 sport specific Student-Athletes of the Year. Women’s soccer star Lindsey Ozimek, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA and was the A-10’s Midfielder of the Year, was named the A-10’s Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year giving the 49ers one of the two Male or Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards in each of the 49ers three years in the A-10. In addition, in each of their three years in the A-10, the 49ers have produced more sport specific Student-Athletes of the Year than any other A-10 institution. The 49ers had five A-10 Student-Athletes of the Year in 2006-07 and four in 2005-06.

2007-08 Academic All-Americans

 amarra Currie, women’s L track and field (1st team) Jonas Enander Hedin, golf (2nd team, at-large) Lindsey Ozimek, women’s soccer (1st team)

2007-08 I-AAA Athletic Director’s Association Scholar- Athlete Team

Sabrina Gregory, women’s basketball

2007-08 A-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year  emale: Lindsey Ozimek F (women’s soccer)

2007-08 A-10 Sport Student-Athletes of the Year  lma Arroyo, volleyball A Lamarra Currie, women’s outdoor track and field Jonas Enander Hedin, golf Ryan Jank, men’s indoor track and field Lindsey Ozimek, women’s soccer

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Virtual Visions

uNC Charlotte researchers explore new realities by Lisa A. Lambert

Mom lounges on the beach, sun beating down, sound of the surf crashing on the sand; daughter sits in a French café; son hikes through a South American jungle; and dad gleefully swings his clubs on a verdant golf course in Scotland. But they are all in the same room, enjoying their respective vacations. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when virtual reality (VR) was heralded as the wave of the future. The entertainment industry jumped on the bandwagon, exploiting our deepest fantasies with the prospect of using VR to loose the shackles of reality. Television shows and movies incorporated VR into their plotlines, prompting some of us to dream of escape into a netherworld of endless possibility. But the reality of commercially available VR hardware has been, well, unrealistic for the average consumer. It’s cost-prohibitive, unless you are willing to invest thousands of dollars, and it’s pretty clunky – the most widely available VR systems include massive goggles and an enormous glove that you use to control the virtual world. These systems don’t provide for what most would consider an immersive experience (envision sitting in a chair, looking stylish in your goggles, while waving your arm around…). Wait a minute – are these truisms still true? It is the 21st Century, after all.

Not just fun and games

Though VR hasn’t quite come through for those of us looking for a new, totally immersive leisure time activity, it has been serving a multitude of practical purposes for decades. Perhaps the most well-known, sophisticated application of the technology is flight simulation. In a flight simulator, the pilot is subjected to situations that would become harrowing for pilot and passengers if faced in reality. Only after extensive simulator training are pilots considered ready to take their first flights. Likewise, the benefits of VR have been recognized and studied

Reality check

UNC Charlotte doctoral student Evan Suma concedes that VR has been slow to find its footing. “For a while, VR was considered to be a complete flop because there was a societal expectation that it would be in every home,” Suma said. In fact, the techie vernacular has even been altered in recent years to substitute the phrase “virtual reality” with “virtual environment,” because the former has taken on a negative connotation. However, Suma said, a technology that historically has slowly marched from concept to reality has hit its stride. “The technology has advanced largely due to progress with video game technology. The leaps and bounds with which that field has improved have spilled over into VR,” Suma said. While Suma acknowledges that the technology remains expensive (every head-mounted display used in Suma’s research is custom ordered and produced), he is optimistic about the future, thanks to advancements such as Nintendo’s Wii, which has renewed interest in interactive gaming.

UNC Charlotte faculty and students are taking an inter-disciplinary approach to experimenting with virtual reality, by creating virtual environments and even virtual humans to address needs ranging from pain distraction to teaching computer literacy.



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by the medical community. For instance, the treatment for a burn can cause far more pain than the actual injury – nurses have utilized VR therapy to distract young burn victims while they change their bandages. Before the treatments begin, the children don a virtual reality helmet and are immersed in a computer-generated virtual world. So how does it work? The anxiety the patient feels correlates directly to the amount of pain they experience. As the patient enters the virtual world, the attentional resources of the brain are distracted and the patient’s anxiety level decreases to the point where they experience far less pain than they would if their attention was focused on the procedure. Because human beings have a limited conscious attention span, it is possible to lure attention away from pain signals toward the virtual environment. Gate Theory purports that pain manifests itself through co-mingled psychological/physiological processes; simply put, because of the nature of pain, we are able to use thought to influence the amount of pain allowed to enter our brains. For this reason, virtual reality has been used successfully to treat phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder, lending credence to the maxim mind over matter. In order to better understand the effect of VR on pain, particularly chronic pain, researchers at UNC Charlotte launched a study to compare the results of VR pain distraction with traditional distraction techniques. “Pain is a subjective experience,” said Dr. Nakia Gordon, assistant professor of psychology and lead investigator. “We were interested in understanding the degrees to which different cognitive manipulation techniques influence the experience of pain.” The study measured the effects of cognitive manipulations,

including mindfulness meditation, a virtual reality game, math distraction tasks (count backwards by 3 from 2,000), and emotional induction (think about a time in your life when you were really happy). The 55 participants received electrical stimuli intermittently, which they rated on a scale from 0 – 6 (unpleasant to painful) while they engaged in the various distraction activities. None of the participants had ever meditated before and all attended three 20-minute meditation training sessions prior to the experiment. The VR portion of the experiment required no training – participants were immersed in a 3-D aquatic environment and were tasked to maneuver through the environment, eating worms and attempting to avoid being eaten by sharks. While mindful meditation proved to be the most effective technique, VR also worked as a means of dampening the pain signal. Gordon said the findings are exciting because the researchers identified multiple effective methods of distraction that might work on diverse types of patients (children vs. adults, for example).

I’m only human…or am I

Avari looks at me as if she wants to ask a question. Smoky black liner emphasizes her blue eyes, which stand out on her lightly freckled face. Her hair is styled in a smooth shoulder length bob. She politely attempts to start a conversation, but I’m not ready to interview her just yet. Avari doesn’t take offense at my lack of attention – she is a virtual human. Virtual humans look like, act like and interact with humans but exist in virtual environments. Through the use of software, they can be programmed to recognize your voice, hold conversations and more. Morris LeBlanc, a UNC Charlotte doctoral student in computer

There are a cadre of researchers looking into ways to make the virtual reality experience as immersive as possible. Students are researching how natural motion can be encouraged in a virtual environment in the College of Computing and Informatics Future Computing Lab. 18 UNC CHARLOTTE magazine

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Avari is a virtual receptionist who can answer questions about the computer science department faculty. CHESTR the game show host

science, helped create Avari and currently is working on voice recognition applications for virtual humans along with his advisor, Dr. Dale Marie Wilson, assistant professor of computer science. Avari’s face appears on a flat panel computer monitor; students have given her a smartly dressed torso to make her look like the quintessential college co-ed. LeBlanc explained her function – she is a virtual receptionist and can answer questions about computer science faculty.

“Infusing personality is important; we consult sociology and psychology to map how people depict certain emotions.” I ask Avari a question into the microphone by her monitor – she doesn’t quite understand my question, but that is because I’ve failed to follow directions. In the top left-hand corner of the monitor, the prompt “Listen” flashes – I realize I’m talking out of turn. Once I get the hang of it, I’m able to ask her about specific professors on topics including their hobbies and interests, background and birthplace, and how they would describe their ideal student. “These are questions perhaps a secretary would be too busy to answer, so Avari can alleviate some of that issue,” LeBlanc said. Avari also serves a greater purpose; she is being used to assess the nature of human/virtual human interaction. While virtual humans at one time seemed the stuff of science fiction, they have become a fairly common presence on the World Wide Web. One notable example is the U.S. Army’s Sgt. Star. Star (Strong, Trained And Ready), an artificial intelligence agent that provides visitors to the Web site information about Army life. Star can process natural language and was designed to dialogue with his intended audience – teenage boys. When you call for technical support for your personal computer, the “person” on the other end of the line might just be a virtual

human, said Wilson. “They also are being used with advanced learning technology,” she explained. Wilson is working with undergraduate and graduate students to create a virtual game show host named CHESTR. The game show is designed to help reinforce the material students learn in a basic computer science course. CHESTR’s appearance and mannerisms are one part Alex Trebec, one part George Hamilton and two parts sheer originality. The sun-tanned, tailored-suit-wearing CHESTR points six-shooter style and winks at you through the screen – his arrogance is endearing. “Infusing personality is important,” Wilson said. “We consult sociology and psychology to map how people depict certain emotions.” Increasingly, virtual humans are being employed in sensitive situations. At UNC Charlotte, researchers have developed a virtual police officer to help victims of or witnesses to crimes identify perpetrators in a police line-up. The virtual officer cannot ask leading questions, which improves the probability that the identification will be accurate. These human-like agents also are ideal for teaching social skills. For instance, Wilson and faculty in the School of Nursing are seeking funding to develop a virtual human to improve cultural competency among nursing students. The virtual human would be programmed to have characteristics of a person of a particular ethnicity or age, thereby exposing students to a variety of potential patient behaviors. Whatever their application, virtual humans are more than a trend – as our technology becomes more complex, we will need them to facilitate our interaction with new technologies as well as to fill in gaps caused by scarcity of human resources. Researchers at UNC Charlotte will continue to explore the enormous potential of virtual worlds and their inhabitants so that we may improve our world. Lisa Lambert is senior writer in UNC Charlotte’s public relations department. UNC CHARLOTTE magazine 19

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A Room with a View on History By Lisa A. Lambert

When we turn over the past in our hands, breathe it in, feast on it with our eyes, we develop a better understanding of the present, and quite possibly, a more profound appreciation for the forces that shape our future. There are places where we can touch documents and artifacts that clue us in to how our communities have evolved socially, culturally, and economically – university library special collections departments. UNC Charlotte’s Atkins Library Special Collection has grown exponentially in the past three decades, from holdings

The Wasteland

APRIL IS THE CRuELEST MoNTH… So begins T.S. Eliot’s infamous poem, “The Waste Land.” Published in 1922, the poem set off a critical firestorm in the literary world. Though traditional in form, the content mixes seemingly unrelated and often obscure references to religion, mythology, history and music, and intermingles verse written in English and foreign languages, including Hindu. The 433-line poem (the original ran 800 lines in length) is considered one of the most influential works of modernist literature.

including Miss Bonnie Cone’s offi cial fi les, a few manuscript collections, and a rare book collection of about 500 volumes (featuring around 100 books known euphemistically on campus as the “erotica collection”) to more than 5 million items as of 2008. All of the materials donated to special collections are carefully documented, preserved, and cataloged. Curious about what exactly you might fi nd should you dare to venture away from your computer screen and up to the 10th fl oor of the Atkins Library, aside from an unadulterated view of campus? Then read on. The Special Collections Department preserves and makes available to the public and scholars original research material in categories such as rare books, manuscripts, university archives, oral history, and local documents. More information about the various holdings is available on the department’s Web site, along with transcripts of oral history interviews and other interesting tid-bits:

Professor Emeritus Julian Mason and his wife, Elsie, donated a rare edition of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” to the Atkins Library. Their donation marks the library’s millionth volume. Most recently, the library’s impressive body of literature has grown to include the generous donation of 100 rare books by Charlotte resident Ellen Chason. UNC CHARLOTTE magazine



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PoRTABLE PADDLE, WIDESPREAD LITERACy At a time when compulsory education and easy access to literature did not exist, when paper was a commodity for the wealthy, a simple yet effective method to teach literacy was introduced in the form of the “hornbook.” With origins in the 15th Century, the hornbook, a small wooden paddle (and it doubled as precisely that at times) bore a piece of paper with letters and sayings on it. The artifact got its name from the thin layer of material made from a cow’s horn that was stretched over the paper to protect it from the elements. Children wore the portable paddles around their necks, consulting them as they endeavored to learn to read. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, when paper was more affordable, the hornbook was replaced by the battledoor, an early reading primer printed on thin cardboard. The next iteration of the device was the New England Primer, brought to America by the Puritans. In the year of America’s independence from Britain, the primer was altered so the letters K and Q were no longer accompanied by illustrations of the King and Queen of England.

and Life magazines, as well as in wire service stories. The unit grew to include more than 600 personnel and 750 beds, but it maintained a reputation for excellence. “I watched the doctors and nurses and staff work tirelessly sometimes for two or three days nonstop performing operations under the most adverse conditions. I continue to be amazed at the talent, dedication and ingenuity of these young men and women struggling to repair unbelievably damaged bodies under circumstances never dreamed of in the halls of their medical schools,” wrote Clarence Kuester, a sergeant with the 38th Evac.

Members of the U.S. Army 38th Evacuation Hospital provided medical care to front line troops during WWII in North Africa and Europe. The 38th Evac collection contains official reports, a unit history, photographs, correspondence from members to their families, and maps of encampments.

Robert Scoggin

Once children learned to read, using hornbooks (pictured here) and later primers, a substantial variety of high quality literature was available to them through children’s magazines. Some of the most influential authors of the 19th Century published their work in serial form in the children’s magazines of the time. UNC Charlotte’s Special Collections houses among the nation’s best collections of 19th Century children’s magazines, including complete runs of the influential “St. Nicholas.”

38th Evac unit

SAvING LIvES IN HARRoWING CIRCuMSTANCES A group of Charlotte-area doctors, nurses and businessmen with no medical training banded together more than a year before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor to form the U.S. Army 38th Evacuation Hospital. The medical unit, activated in 1942, supported front line aid stations and mobile surgical units, treated disease, and transferred patients to general hospitals in England, North Africa and Italy from August 1942 to July 1945. Hailed as the original MASH unit, the 38th Evac was featured in Time 22 UNC CHARLOTTE magazine

INSIGHT oN THE INNER-SANCTuM “We had an old lady singing ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ that could not sing, it sound like a cat in a bag. It was horrible. A lot of music. They had their little concession stand going on with hotdogs and hamburgers…” Sounds like a description of a religious revival, or community picnic, but Peggy Scoggin Holland is describing a Ku Klux Klan rally. Holland’s father, Robert E. Scoggin, served as Grand Dragon of the South Carolina Klan during one of the most turbulent decades in United States history. After Scoggin died, his children donated his papers to UNC Charlotte. The papers were collected from a large room on the second floor of Scoggins’ home. In the room was a portable, lighted cross; a printing press; several signs conveying the Klan’s position on integration; and a couple of filing cabinets containing publications, letters, and memorabilia; this was the room where the Klan’s executive committee met and the table in the middle of the room had been used as their altar. What was life like for the only daughter of a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan? Peggy Scoggin Holland’s oral history interview is available on the library’s “New South Voices” Web site, http://newsouthvoices. The library’s extensive oral history collection documents the past and deals with contemporary issues. Pictured here: A Klan hymnal.

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Harry Golden

GoLDEN Boy: NEWSPAPERMAN, HuMoRIST, ACTIvIST, PRoPHET “In present-day America it’s very difficult, when commenting on events of the day, to invent something so bizarre that it might not actually come to pass while your piece is still on the presses.” — The Harry Golden Rule, coined by journalist Calvin Trillin Best-selling author, newspaper publisher and all-round colorful character Harry Golden made Charlotte his home in 1941. A New York native and former stock broker, Golden settled in North Carolina after a four-year stint in jail for mail fraud; he quickly became known as an outspoken opponent of racial segregation and Jim Crow laws. Golden shared his political views and reminiscences of his boyhood in his publication, the Carolina Israelite. Golden rubbed shoulders with some of the most influential people in American life and is credited with using keen observation and wry wit to give voice to some of the most divisive social issues of the time. In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. cited Golden as being one of four white people who had “written about our struggle in eloquent, prophetic, and understanding terms.”

Harry Golden, pictured here with Senator Robert Kennedy, was an influential figure in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. A collection of his newspaper, the Carolina Israelite, as well as his letters and other memorabilia can be found in the UNC Charlotte Atkins Library Special Collections. The inscription on the above photo reads: To Harry Golden, Who was a friend when I needed one. —Bob Kennedy

Fred Alexander Sr. BREAKING RACIAL BARRIERS IN THE SEGREGATED SouTH A trip to Africa inspired Charlotte-born Frederick Douglas Alexander Sr. to become a trail-blazer in American politics. The journey led Alexander to believe that if he could affect change a continent away, he could affect change at home. In 1965, Alexander became the first African American elected to the Charlotte City Council and the first to hold elected public office in Mecklenburg County since the 1890s. He served for nine years. “Constantly working for increased political awareness of blacks, Alexander lobbied for the appointment of black police officers and mail carriers, for business courses in the black high schools, and for improved health care,” writes historian Randy Penninger.

The Charlotte region became a hot-bed of activity at the height of the Civil Rights movement. The Library’s Special Collections contain not only the Fred Alexander Sr. papers, but also the Reginald Hawkins collection and other documents and memorabilia chronicling the progression of the national movement to abolish Jim Crow laws and extend civil rights to African Americans. UNC CHARLOTTE magazine


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Martin Luther King Jr. Telegram A TWIST oF FATE On April 2, 1968, Dr. Reginald Hawkins received a Western Union telegram that would from that day forward prompt those who read it to wonder whether a different outcome to a painful chapter in American history was possible. The telegram announced that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be postponing his tour of the Charlotte region and would remain in Memphis, Tenn., to lend support to striking sanitation workers. On April 4, the day after he delivered the speech titled, “I’ve been to the mountaintop,” King was assassinated by a sniper while standing on his hotel room balcony.

The infamous telegram announcing Martin Luther King Jr.’s plans to remain in Tennessee rather than travel to Charlotte just days before he was assassinated is pictured here. The telegram is part of the Reginald A. Hawkins collection, which documents Hawkins’ professional, political, and civil rights activities, and is on display at the Levine Museum of the New South.

NASCAR A GooD SPoRT One of the most recent additions to the Library’s Special Collections comes from Mr. T. Taylor Warren, who has been involved in motor sports for more than 50 years as a photographer. Warren hoped to ensure that all of the memorabilia he’d collected, as well as his photographs, would be preserved and made available for people to access with ease. It seemed only fitting that the collection should find a home at UNC Charlotte, in complement to the university’s motor sports engineering program and master’s program in sports management. Thus far, Warren has delivered in excess of 100 boxes of stock car racing and NASCAR memorabilia, dating back to the 1950s. The Charlotte region has become known as the racing capital of the United States. The Warren collection chronicles the evolution of the sport through memorabilia and documents dating back several decades. The collection was donated by Mr. T. Taylor Warren, photographer and avid racing fan.

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International Festival 2008: Year 33

In 1975, UNC Charlotte’s Office of International Programs created an event to emphasize international education and enhance global awareness. The International Festival tradition has continued every year since. The 33rd International Festival will take place Saturday, Sept. 27 with more than 10,000 people expected to attend. The festival is a celebration of international culture and is committed to be free of politics. IFest 2008 kicks off at 10 a.m. in the Barnhardt Student Activity Center’s Dale F. Halton Arena. The festival continues until 6 p.m. featuring open-air marketplaces from around the world, adults and children in traditional dress, international food samplings for sale, ethnic and traditional music and dance performances on stages and strolling, cultural crafts, face painting for children and the spectacular Earth Balloon - 22 feet in diameter. International guides will be on hand to facilitate tours through the Earth Balloon where visitors enter through the Pacific Ocean and learn about rain forests, the “ring of fire,” time zones, population clusters, migration and man’s impact on earth. IFest officials will visit two Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools with the Earth Balloon prior to the festival. The schools will be announced at the end of August. Performances are still being finalized. Several returning popular performances include The Loch Norman Pipe Band, African storytelling by Obakunle Akinlana and Bill Wilusz, the traveling accordion player. The Parade of Nations begins at 2 p.m. with a variety of ethnic costumes representing more than 50 nationalities. IFest is a fun and educational family event and a great reason to come to campus. Admission and parking are free. For more information, visit

Speaker series to bring leading minds to campus Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Tim Weiner will be the inaugural speaker for UNC Charlotte’s new International Affairs Speaker Series. His talk is Tuesday, Sept. 30. For this new series, the Office of International Programs and the World Affairs Council of Charlotte, in conjunction with the International Studies Program, are collaborating to bring internationally known authors and speakers to campus. Weiner, a New York Times reporter, also is the author of “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.” He has covered the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the past 20 years, reporting from 18 nations. He won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for articles that exposed the secret spending of the Pentagon and the CIA. Throughout the 2008-09 academic year, the International Affairs Speaker Series will offer a variety of presentations. Other speakers include: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) who visits the University Thursday, Oct. 30. Hagel serves on four Senate committees including the Foreign Relations Committee and is the author of “America: Our Next Chapter.” Internationally recognized authority on Russian history, politics and economics, Marshall Goldman will speak Tuesday, Nov. 18. Goldman served as an adviser to two presidents and is the author of “Petrostate: Putin, Power and the New Russia.” Sergei Khrushchev, son of former Soviet Prime Minister

Nikita Khrushchev will speak Jan. 22. Currently serving as a senior fellow at the Watson Institute, Khrushchev is a regular contributor and commentator for the U.S. media in addition to being an author of more than 250 books and articles. His books include His books include Khrushchev on Khrushchev (1990), Nikita Khrushchev: Crisis and Missiles (1994), The Political Economy of Russian Fragmentation (1993), Three Circles of Russian Market Reforms (1995), and Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Super Power (2000). He is currently working on his new book, Nikita Khrushchev’s Reforms. Ambassador Linda Tarr-Whelan will visit campus Thursday, Feb. 26. Tarr-Whelan was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the U.S. Representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Dr. Kelechi Ohiri, global health specialist at the World Bank, will speak in April. His work focuses on health systems development and public health in East Asia and Pacific, South Asia, Middle East and North Africa regions of World Bank. The time and location of the International Affairs Speakers Series lectures will be announced Sept. 8. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University are welcome to attend. Admission is free. For more information regarding the lecture series, contact Rebecca Vincent at 704.687.7305 or e-mail UNC CHARLOTTE magazine 25

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Success is no mystery Mark de Castrique serves up whodunnits, southern-style By Lisa A. Lambert

What does a good mystery make? On this question, readers and writers alike have reached consensus; a variety of the usual and unusual suspects, red herrings, evidence and resolution are among the elements of some of the most celebrated mystery novels of our time. Despite agreement upon the ingredients of the genre, every author brings to the craft unique experiences that result in wholly original works of fiction. Longtime Charlotte resident and author Mark de Castrique drew heavily upon his youth in the small mountain town of Hendersonville, North Carolina, to create

the popular Barry Clayton mystery series. After pondering a question many adult children ask, de Castrique conceived of his protagonist, Barry Clayton, former Charlotte police officer and mountain funeral director. “I went straight from the hospital to the funeral home, where my father was the undertaker and our family lived upstairs,” de Castrique explained. “Part of the genesis for the character in the Barry Clayton mystery series is that I thought, ‘what if my dad had stayed in that job, what if I’d stayed in Hendersonville and followed in his footsteps?’” de Castrique said.

As a storyteller, de Castrique was intrigued by the small town funeral home because it is an institution that offers the community the chance to reflect upon the stories of its citizens – a place and time to take stock of what is important and meaningful about living in community. It also serves a practical purpose as a venue for bodies to be introduced into the flow of events, allowing Barry to become involved in criminal investigations. Little Did He Know Before de Castrique entertained the “what ifs,” he left his hometown to earn

“My family put on a Sherlock Holmes birthday party once a year where we would dress up, mom would cook a Victorian dinner, and we’d act out a mystery,” Mark de Castrique in Hendersonville, North Carolina 26 UNC CHARLOTTE magazine

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bachelor’s degrees in English Literature and Radio, Television & Motion Pictures at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In Washington, D.C., he directed numerous news and public affairs programs, and received an Emmy Award for his documentary film work, as well as Clio and Telly awards. He continues to produce for film and video clients and said his work in the medium of television has informed his writing. “In crafting the novel, not only do you have to write a thousand words for every picture, but you also have to focus the attention of the reader on that description. The author becomes the camera,” he said. “I tend to write thinking, ‘if I were shooting this, what would the audience want to see?’” In de Castrique’s latest endeavor, his lens focuses on the physical splendor and rich history of Asheville, North Carolina. Blackman’s Coffin, the first installment of a new mystery series, is described by publisher Poisoned Pen Press as “a treasure hunt, a social document, a literary investigation, and a love story.” The modern-day murder mystery featuring a new character, Iraq war veteran Sam Blackman, links back to the heyday of the Vanderbilt family and the literary legacy of Thomas Wolfe. He also has written two books for young adults. One, Death on a Southern Breeze, to be released by Bella Rosa this fall, is a historical mystery that unfolds on a train traveling from Charlotte to Charleston in the summer of 1860. The book holds special significance as a project that began as an academic pursuit, de Castrique said. Considering Motives Inspired by his eldest daughter’s college opportunities and the desire to hone his skills as a writer, de Castrique enrolled in graduate school at UNC Charlotte. He sought out a course of study that would provide him with a stronger foundation in critical studies and the analysis of, in de Castrique’s words, “what makes a story work.” “I studied narrative fiction and took a variety of courses and loved them all,” he said. A children’s literature course taught by Dr. Mark West, professor of English, shaped de Castrique’s thinking. “I realized that if

you can tell a story that captivates a child or teenager, you’re probably doing a pretty good job as a storyteller.” West, who was de Castrique’s academic advisor, encouraged the aspiring author to do a creative thesis geared toward young adults. The end product was Death on a Southern Breeze. Since earning his Master of Arts degree in English, de Castrique has discovered a new passion – teaching. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at UNC Charlotte, teaching classes on the history of the American mystery, as well as the fundamentals of film production. Through his teaching and creative works, de Castrique hopes to help readers of all stripes develop an appreciation for the


imaginary world. After all, he said, “Creative expression and stories make us human.” Mystery Solved Looking back, de Castrique admits he had plenty of home-grown inspiration for his future career – not only did the family’s living situation serve as fertile ground, but the celebration of mystery was, and is, a family tradition. “My family put on a Sherlock Holmes birthday party once a year where we would dress up, mom would cook a Victorian dinner, and we’d act out a mystery,” de Castrique said. The venue has since changed, but the tradition, though somewhat more elaborate, remains the same.

“I studied narrative fiction and took a variety of courses and loved them all.” UNC CHARLOTTE magazine 27

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Doctoring Organizations Organizational science Ph.D. program on the leading edge nationally By Fred Tannenbaum

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Pressures on corporations continue swelling — foreign competition, skyrocketing costs for fuel and raw materials. Surviving these and future challenges not only takes hard work but a tough look inward. Any problems in the organization’s culture, communications and employee satisfaction only will magnify those other pressures. UNC Charlotte’s newest Ph.D. program aims, along with its ambitious educational and research goals, to return functionality to the dysfunctional.

Rogelberg said. It answers skeptics that looked at each of the separately operating fields of study and questioned: How can academicians in the four subjects truly improve the world of work when they don’t communicate with each other? “These are four sets of folks, who at most universities never talk with one another,” he said. “For 100 years … they’ve been talking about how the world of work is inherently interdisciplinary but the organizational sciences, in practice, are not.”

The innovative doctoral program in organizational science is groundbreaking and silo-demolishing. It’s the first in the country weaving together four traditionally separate disciplines: organizational sociology, management, industrial/ organizational psychology and organizational communication, said Professor Steven Rogelberg an IO psychologist and program director. Its 13 faculty members are drawn from each of these fields. The Ph.D. program features a unique, integrated curriculum,

This cross-pollination of the subjects within organizational science is vital for two reasons, said Professor Orlando Taylor, vice provost for research and dean of the graduate school at Howard University. First, the body of knowledge in the universe is so great that it’s difficult for any one person to master that discipline, Taylor said. Second, “most topics of interest to most people, whether its politics or global warming, they require a convergence of theory, research, professional experiences from many disciplines to fully


“If an organization is going to be competitive on a global scale, economics, public relations, the law, are critical for these organizations to work.”

Organizational Science students combine their knowledge of organizations and human behavior with advanced statistics to improve organizational and individual performance, well-being, and effectiveness. OPPOSITE PAGE: left, Marisa Adelman; middle, Ben Baran; right, Joseph Allen

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“The same way a doctor diagnoses problems in a body, we diagnose problems in an organization but we don’t do it from one perspective. We take the tool from whatever discipline will

most effectively answer the question or help solve the problem.” 30 UNC CHARLOTTE magazine

understand the nature of those issues. “If an organization is going to be competitive on a global scale, economics, public relations, the law, are critical for these organizations to work,” he said. Without an interdisciplinary approach, “We don’t understand organizations well and we don’t prepare people … to help their organizations to be competitive,” Taylor said. The program is giving its doctoral students a breadth of resources to achieve whatever they want to do and go where they wish. “It’s interdisciplinary but it’s also new research that hasn’t been done,” says Brett Agypt of Barrington, Ill., near Chicago. “It hasn’t typically been looked into. It speaks volumes of what we’re going to be able to do later.”


Organizational science focuses on examining and improving the health, well being and effectiveness of organizations and the individuals working in them. The program focuses on the study of a wide range of topics, including but not limited to: Team dynamics and effectiveness, Organizational culture and climate,

Measurement and testing, recruitment, selection and promotion, Training and development, Communication systems and processes, Diversity, Workplace stress and health, Employee attitudes, satisfaction and morale, Communication effectiveness, Employee motivation and job design, Organizational effectiveness, development and change, and Work-life programs. “The best way to describe it to people who aren’t familiar is that ‘I want to become a doctor of organization,’” said candidate Joe Allen of Ladoga, Ind. “The same way a doctor diagnoses problems in a body, we diagnose problems in an organization but we don’t do it from one perspective. We take the tool from whatever discipline will most effectively answer the question or help solve the problem.” While the organizational science program is breaking down silos between fields of study, it’s demolishing walls between instructors and students. They are working together in ongoing research projects, application projects, and co-authoring scholarly papers and journal articles. Faculty members are encouraging the doctoral candidates to really stretch themselves, launch research projects on their own, and engage in meaningful supervised consulting opportunities. In other words, the faculty treats the students as peers not subordinates. “Some of them call us ‘colleagues in training,’ said candidate Marla Boughton of Oklahoma City. “It encompasses a lot of mutual respect and makes you feel like you belong here and are contributing as an equal or someone who will become an equal soon.” Allen believes the students serve as the bridge between faculty who’ve spent their careers focusing on their chosen fields. “We’re the ones that

fe a t u re don’t have the disciplinary biases coming into it,” he said. “We’re able to approach things like a research problem and use the different disciplines to solve that problem.”


Organizational science is about understanding and working to improve the world of work, Rogelberg says. UNC Charlotte hired Rogelberg in 2003 to create the program. The university provided him and the graduate students with an entire wing of the Colvard Building, providing everyone with offices and computers. “We’re doing it right,” he said. The program now boasts 13 faculty members who also support their home departments in communication studies, management, sociology, and psychology. Over time, parochialism and silos began crumbling away. Faculty across disciplines understand each other, value each other, and want to work together. “That’s pretty unprecedented,” Rogelberg said. “Scholarship usually stays within the discipline.” We have incredible training and scholarship that’s interdisciplinary. Meanwhile, around 2005, the program sought its first students. It received 60 applicants for five positions, their grade-point averages and Graduate Records Examination (GRE) scores would compete in the top 10 of the nation, he said. “For UNC Charlotte, it’s pretty neat.” Students have chosen to come here instead of places such as UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, Cornell, Columbia, Clemson, and Texas A&M to name a few. Rogelberg recruits candidates from other universities through their graduate schools. Taylor, the Howard University graduate dean, already has made a mental note of the UNC Charlotte program. “Students are always asking about a good place to study,” Taylor said. “We like to recommend schools that are on the cutting edge and this is on the cutting edge of the discipline.” The candidates hail from as far


Meetings research shows you don’t really hate them Pity the poor folks in Dunder Mifflin Paper Co.’s Scranton Branch on the NBC sitcom “The Office.” With hapless boss Michael Scott in front of the room, meetings can be the bane of employees’ existence and make viewers cringe. Think of sitting through some particularly excruciating gatherings you’ve experienced: Checking out your BlackBerry, imagining you’re anywhere but stuck in this room with people you’d rather not be. Wishing there was a trap door beneath your chair. Love them or hate them, meetings can be important to the proper functioning of any corporation or group. UNC Charlotte’s innovative Ph.D. program in organizational science is taking an interdisciplinary look at these business gatherings. The two-year-old doctoral program has a research group of 10 people studying meetings from the perspectives of organizational communication, management, organizational sociology, and industrial/organizational psychology, Each discipline has something valuable to add, said UNC Charlotte Professor Steven Rogelberg, who directs the organizational science doctoral program. An organizational sociologist might say: “Meetings are windows of insight into the greater culture of an organization” and an organizational communication scholar might add: “Meetings may be particularly meaningful because in addition to operating as vehicles of activity coordination and information sharing, they also provide opportunities for members to demonstrate and make sense of their roles in relation to the roles that others are playing”. “As an industrial organizational psychologist, I’ve been interested in meetings and their impact on employee health and well being,” Rogelberg said. The group meets every week or two. Faculty members Steven Rogelberg, Beth Rubin, Cliff Scott and Linda Shanock are involved, said Joe Allen, an organizational science Ph.D. candidate. Employees may moan about how much they loath meetings but research shows they don’t. “There’s a norm to say, “I hate meetings. I haven’t gotten anything done all day because I’ve been in meetings.’ But inwardly, as social creatures, we like to have some meetings each day,” Allen said. The meeting study group will launch four or five projects studying these gatherings from different angles and how meetings may be used — or misused. One project will study supervisor actions in meetings. Another will examine how power is projected during such gatherings. A third project examines together meetings, organizational structure, and temporality. “Most prior research has looked at meetings as a tool for analysis,” said candidate Ben Baran. “They’ve looked at it as something to study group process. They haven’t looked at it as this activity that happens within organizations.” In fact, improving the quality of meetings can improve the quality of an organization. Most quality initiatives are taken care of in meetings, Allen said. “If your meetings don’t include an agenda and aren’t effective, you need to talk about the various things you can do right now to improve your meetings,” said Allen. —Fred Tannenbaum UNC CHARLOTTE magazine 31

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away as Colorado and Malaysia. Some ultimately want to be consultants while others want to teach. Some also are concurrently getting masters degrees in some of the sub-disciplines. During an interview in a Colvard conference room, they were asked if they felt like trailblazers, Laughter. Heads nod. “Yeah,” is the mutual response. “The good and the bad.” “One of the appealing things to me is that we have control over the destiny of the program,” said Agypt, the candidate from suburban Chicago. “We can set the bar as high as we’d like. And I think we’re setting it relatively high. “The bad (part) is that there’s not really a template for how the program is working,” he said. “We’re kind of establishing that ourselves.”

“There’s a huge disconnect between what we know in research and what is out there in practice.” — Adrian Goh

Comparisons to being guinea pigs are unavoidable, the candidates said, but in a positive way. “It’s evolving in the process,” said Allen the candidate hailing from Indiana. “There’s no other program like it. So building it, we’re all learning things such as “How do you do interdisciplinary research? How do you make these different silos communicate with each other?’ … Our experience has been a learning process the whole time.” 32 UNC CHARLOTTE magazine

Consulting and Outreach

Along with its curriculum, UNC Charlotte’s program has built a consulting and outreach center, generating research on recruiting employees, motivation, leadership, organizational structure and organizational change. Student and faculty teams are engaged in a consulting practice assisting private, public, small and large organizations. It provides a variety of services to locally based and national corporations, including Bank of America Corp., Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) and Carolina Tractor, also known as Carolina CAT. Faculty members lead the projects. Sometimes, the suggestions are simple, such as updating a client’s Web site. Other recommendations may require some changes to an organization’s culture. Ben Baran, a candidate from Steubenville, Ohio, worked on a project with Carolina Tractor to identify the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors making people successful there. In other words, what separates the top performers from the bottom performers? The effort created eight core competencies that Carolina Cat now uses in its training and recruiting. “It’s really an example of how we can reach out into the community,” he said. Boughton, the candidate who hails from Oklahoma City, says the experienced gained through consulting is invaluable. “Each project I learn a new skill set,” she said. “I’ve done process improvement. I’m doing communication analysis. It’s nice to practice what the research has shown and to help organizations.” Corporations and organizations need to take a serious look at the fruits of the doctoral program to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive economy where a competitor is as likely to come from across an ocean as across the street. “There’s a huge disconnect between what we know in research and what is

“What is being done in research doesn’t get translated into practice without consulting.” out there in practice,” said Adrian Goh, a candidate from Malaysia. “What is being done in research doesn’t get translated into practice without consulting. What we’ve learned in the last 10 years won’t be applied for the next 10 years. There’s a huge lag there.” And in an ironic twist, companies need this kind of organizational examination when the economy sours, which is now. But as graduate student Marisa Adelman points out, “In times like this, it’s the people development, the talent management, that’s the first to go.” Taylor said it’s crucial to understand how institutions and people functions. As a professor of communications, he has studied how language can differ across locations, races and genders, including in organizations as large as the U.S. Army. The army recruits people from around the country but they’ve got to work with a single mind, Taylor said. “If you have people miscommunicating or being hostile to one another, it erodes efficiency. Kurt Kraiger, a psychology professor at Colorado State University and president-elect of the Society of Industrial Organizational Psychology, a professional trade group, sees the UNC Charlotte program as an example other universities will follow. Two years ago, his organization studied the problems of pay and identity for people in the field and what to do about it. “To me,” Kraiger said, “The organizational science unit is probably the best solution.”

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Boosting Minority Presence in Graduate Programs UNC Charlotte’s organizational science doctoral program is reaching deep to create the next generation of specialists trained to create healthy companies and groups. In 2009, the program launches an organizational summer institute targeting high-potential AfricanAmerican and Latino undergraduate students. Plans call for 10 rising undergraduate seniors to be invited to Charlotte and spend a week being exposed to the organizational science program and graduate school in general. “This is a really special opportunity for underrepresented students and provides them with an extremely unique opportunity to experience what graduate education is all about,” says Shawn Long, Ph.D., coordinator of the institute. The goal is energizing students about the opportunities provided in graduate school and providing them with the tools to realize those opportunities, Rogelberg said. During the institute, the students will: Experience a research project using data already collected, working with a doctoral student mentor and a faculty member. They will work with those two people to study that research question. Unlike research that usually takes a year, this is research that’s going to be completed in a week. “They get to enjoy the experience and excitement of discovery,” Rogelberg said. At the end of the week, they will give a presentation of what they found, Learn how to apply to graduate school and the qualities and achievements graduate admissions officers look for, Build a sense of community among themselves and with the doctoral candidates and faculty, and

Be given some Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) preparation. UNC Charlotte’s graduate school is funding much of the program but Applied Psychological Techniques Inc., a management and human-resources consulting firm in Darien, Conn.; Kenexa Corp., a Wayne, Pa.-based employee recruiting and retention-consulting company; and Development Dimensions International Inc. of Pittsburgh are donating money. To prepare, the organizational science program is hosting a think-tank for the honors-program directors from minority-serving colleges and universities to discuss and promote the institute. Rogelberg says it’s a cutting-edge approach to diversity. Orlando Taylor, vice provost at Washington, D.C.’s Howard University and head of its graduate school, says the summer institute is a tried and tested approach to increasing a minority presence in graduate education. Minority students have little understanding of graduate school and how to prepare for it, he said. As a result, they are underrepresented in masters and Ph.D. programs and in the upper echelons of corporate America. “It’s good that we increase the professional opportunities for all our students but at the same time,” Taylor said, “it’s good for the country and will allow us to remain competitive.” –Fred Tannenbaum

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TV duo fulfilling childhood dreams By Phillip Brown

WBTV on-air personalities and UNC Charlotte alumni Sarah Batista and Danielle Trotta are fulfilling childhood dreams. Communication studies majors, Batista ’03 and Trotta ’05 said they are thrilled to be working in the “magical” world of television, but admit it’s not all glitz and glamour. “There is a lot of work we do behind the scenes,” said Trotta, who has combined her enthusiasm for broadcasting and sports into a career. Viewers who watch her five minute segment each night are witness to the culmination of a day that starts at 10 a.m. Trotta spends time perusing video footage on five TVs to capture each day’s sports highlights and then writes a script to cover the events. Some days it involves going on location and conducting interviews, which means carrying the camera equipment and filming the story. As a general assignment reporter, Batista’s day starts at 9:30 a.m. with the morning

“Sometimes when it’s just me and the camera, I forget there are thousands and thousands of people watching at home.” —Danielle Trotta 34 UNC CHARLOTTE magazine

production meeting. WBTV producers start with a list of story ideas, but Batista and her colleagues are expected to offer their own ideas, too. In the end, the producers’ goals are to give each reporter the story that is the best fit for his or her strengths, said Batista.

it’s just me and the camera, I forget there are thousands and thousands of people watching at home.” Batista agreed. As a field reporter, she meets lots of interesting people from all over the region.

Sarah Batista

Danielle Trotta

Of course, breaking news can disrupt this entire process, she added. The unpredictability of the work adds to the job’s stresses. “We’re constantly being judged, from our appearance and what we say to how well we handle crises,” said Batista. While they expect reactions from the viewing public, Batista joked her family is her toughest critic. “It’s a huge responsibility to work in television,” Trotta stated. “Sometimes when

“People recognize me and come up to me. I’ve even had someone kiss my hand, but every situation is different,” said Batista. “You don’t realize the power of TV, and you have no idea how many living rooms you’re going into.” As on-air talent for one of the top stations in one of the country’s largest television markets, Batista and Trotta have achieved tremendous success in a relatively short time following graduation. They

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“We’re constantly being judged, from our appearance and what we say to how well we handle crises.” ­—Sarah


credit their 49er experience and UNC Charlotte education as part of the reason. Beyond the strong academic preparation received through the Communication Studies Department, Batista and Trotta extolled the virtues of the department’s internship program. “Internships are integral,” exclaimed Trotta. “They help transition from the classroom to the real world. Whenever anyone asks me how to get started in the business, I tell them – intern, intern, intern, intern. That’s how you get a foot in the door.” Trotta interned for WBTV and was “fortunate” to land a position after

graduation. Batista wrote for the University Times as well as interned at two local stations. After finishing her degree, she worked for a new ABC/CBS affiliate in Virginia before returning home to the Queen City. “It was a great training ground,” Batista stated. “I may not operate a camera like I did then, but I have the knowledge and experience.” The daughter of a coach, Trotta said growing up she was always in the gym. As a result, she’s a huge sports fan and remembers watching Hannah Storm, who worked briefly in Charlotte, move onto the national stage as one of the first female sports reporters. During her burgeoning career, she’s had the opportunity to interview several famous sports figures including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith. “It’s definitely cool to get to meet some of these stars, but they are such normal people. It’s the power of TV that elevates them,” Trotta noted. Given their success and the size of the Charlotte market, both women have thought about the prospect of going national. “Sometimes I think yes, sometimes I


think no,” said Batista. “However, whether people like to admit it or not, to do so you have to make sacrifices – children, relationships. It would require a lot more time and travel. At some point you have to decide whether to go national or try to maintain some balance.” And yet, the two TV stars are both excited to hit the airwaves each day. They admit some aspects of the job aren’t glamorous, but the thrill is in the finished product and their ability to tell a story – their way. Phillip Brown is UNC Charlotte’s internal communications manager.

“You don’t realize the power of TV, and you have no idea how many living rooms you’re going into.” ­—Sarah


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36 UNC CHARLOTTE magazine



Remembering a special teacher with a scholarship By Joe Marcucci ‘85 For most people, college was an enriching experience. There were easy classes and hard ones, interesting classes and boring prerequisite classes, there were friends, parties and social events. For some of us, there were also professors who have had a long lasting impact on our lives. These professors were the ones who pushed us, encouraged us, and made us work harder. They knew that we had what it took to succeed in our education at UNC Charlotte and to ultimately be successful in our careers. For me, one of those professors was Dr. Judith Suther. I took every French class I could under Dr. Suther not only because she was an articulate, knowledgeable, demanding teacher but because I was obsessed with getting an A. No matter how hard I worked, no matter how hard I tried, I never managed to finish one of her courses with an A; the best I ever got was a B. In 1984, Dr. Suther put forth my name as a scholarship candidate for a summer program at the Institut Catholique. I won one of the scholarships and spent that summer in Paris, where I grew to love France, its culture and people. One spring evening in 1985 after I graduated, I met with Dr. Suther. I finally had the chance to express to her my frustration that I did not get A’s in her classes. She responded that I was always an A student. She explained that I received B’s in order to keep me working, motivated and striving to do better. I remember telling her that those B’s did not help my GPA. Her

response was that in the future grades would matter less than what I had actually learned. Five years later in 1990, I realized one of my life’s dreams when I move to Paris. The day I moved into my flat in the 15th Arrondissement, my first telephone call was to Dr. Suther. I ended up staying in France for five years as the marketing director for a Canadian company and experienced as much of French culture and day-to-day life as I could. I have fallen out of contact with Dr. Suther, but over the years I have always wondered where she was and how she was doing. I think back to those days at UNC Charlotte and wonder if there aren’t other former students who remember her as fondly as I do and who would like to help other students, who may not have the financial means, to learn French and experience France; her culture and people. I’d like to start a scholarship founded in her name. If there are any former students who are interested in working with me to honor Professor Suther, I urge

them to contact Mary C. Gaertner in the development office at UNC Charlotte at 704.687.3207 or Joe Marcucci lives in St. Louis, Mo.

left: Judith Suther 1989 right: Joe Marcucci Editors note: Dr. Judith D. Suther is currently living in Seattle where she is enjoying many activities such as travel, cooking and gardening.

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alumni news Alumni Association forms Young Alumni Chapter The UNC Charlotte Alumni Association has formed its first chapter - the Young Alumni Chapter. Chartered by the Association on July 1, it is guided by a 24member board of directors. According to Chip Rossi, director of alumni affairs, the Young Alumni Chapter was created to engage young alumni with the association and the University. “Half of our alumni base graduated from UNC Charlotte in the last 15 years,” Rossi observed. “The Young Alumni Chapter is a fantastic way to engage them early on and will hopefully keep them connected to the University throughout their lives.” The chapter board will meet periodically at the Harris Alumni Center. Board officers are Adam Bridgers (’06) president, Keisa Hines (’06) vice president and Tongreia Norman (’00) secretary. The other members are Jamal Briggs (’05), Russell Brown (’06), Anissa Burton (’98), Stephen Collie (’02), Joseph Franco (’06), Lisa Gaskin (’07), Mandeep Gill (’08), Kevin Harward (’01), Kim Hodges (’00), Jason Keath (’05), Ryan McDaniels (’01), Beau Memory (’02), Adam Montgomery, Lewis Morgan (’08), Sarah Peifer (’07), Justin Ritchie (’07), Tara Sekayi Robinson (’04), Aisha Thomas (’03),

Stephanie Steiger (’05), Steve Steiger (’04) and Daphne Williams (’84). The board already has scheduled several events. On Monday, Sept. 15, the chapter will host a networking reception at Ri Ra Irish Pub in uptown Charlotte, and on Sunday, Sept. 28, it will host a tailgate party prior to the Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons game. For more information on the Young Alumni Chapter or upcoming events, visit the Web site or call the Alumni Association at (704) 687-7799. Young Alumni to host networking reception The UNC Charlotte Young Alumni Chapter will host a networking reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 15, at Ri Ra Irish Pub on Tryon Street in uptown Charlotte. All young alumni are invited to attend this event. Prospective attendees should complete the registration form on the Alumni Association Web site ( Registered individuals will be contacted by a representative from the Alumni Association. The cost is $10 per person and may be paid by check or credit card. Food and one drink ticket are included.

For more information on the event, contact the Alumni Association at (704) 687-7799 or (800) 745-8622. For more information on Ri Ra Irish pub, visit its Web site Alumni invited to attend Carolina Panthers game The UNC Charlotte Alumni Association and the Young Alumni Chapter offer alumni the chance to watch the Carolina Panthers take on the Atlanta Falcons at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 28. The game kicks off at 1 p.m., and there will be a tailgate party starting at 11 a.m. Two ticket packages are available for alumni to purchase. Ticket Package A is $60 and includes one game ticket, one parking pass per group and admission to the tailgate party. Ticket Package B is $15 and includes admission to the tailgate party only (It does not include parking or game ticket). The tailgate for both packages includes barbeque and beverages. Payment must accompany registration. Passes for parking will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Game tickets will be distributed at the tailgate. Parking passes and tailgate directions will be mailed in early September. To purchase tickets, contact Jen Thomas

October reception planned for Childress Vineyards UNC Charlotte alumni will gather at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 8, at Childress Vineyards in Lexington. Chancellor Philip L. Dubois and head men’s basketball coach Bobby Lutz will be at the event, where the coach will share information about the upcoming season. Alumni who would like to attend this October reception should fill out the registration form on the

Alumni Association’s Web site (www. Registered participants will be contacted by a representative from the Alumni Association. Registration is $15 per person and may be paid by check or credit card. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served. The UNC Charlotte Alumni Association will host a number of regional receptions during the 2008-09 academic

year. Receptions are planned for Atlanta, New York City, Raleigh-Durham and Washington, D.C. For more details about the vineyards reception, contact the Alumni Association at (704) 687-7799 or (800) 745-8622. Information about Childress Vineyards can be obtained by calling (336) 2369463 or visiting the Web site www. far left: Richard Childress and Director of Alumni Affairs Chip Rossi left: Childress Vineyards

38 UNC CHARLOTTE magazine

a l u m n i n ew s at (704) 687-7799 or e-mail jlthomas@ For more information, contact the Alumni Association at (704) 687-7799. Second young alumni etiquette dinner planned The UNC Charlotte Alumni Association will host its second Young Alumni Etiquette Dinner at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 15, at the Harris Alumni Center. Etiquette and protocol consultant Savannah Shaw will conduct the lesson. “We held our first etiquette dinner in

March of this year, and the request to have another one has been overwhelming,” said Chip Rossi, director of alumni affairs. “Clearly, this is something in which our alumni are interested, and we are thrilled that we can provide this service to them.” The dinner will include a multicourse dinner with instruction by Shaw. Attendees will receive a take-home guide for future reference. Registration is $20 per person; space is limited. “Eating with people you have known forever or just met can be an intimidating


experience. The etiquette dinner not only allows our alumni to gain crucial knowledge of appropriate etiquette, but it will also teach them appropriate toast and introduction techniques. Attending the last etiquette dinner at the Harris Alumni Center boosted my confidence level going into any dining experience,” said Scott Plunkett (’05), assistant director of alumni affairs. For more information, contact the Alumni Association at (704) 687-7799. Learn more about Savannah Shaw on the web at

GIVING Belk College of Business Merrifield Partners and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) have each committed $25,000 to the Center for Real Estate Campaign. NAIOP is the nation’s leading trade association for developers, owners, investors, asset managers and other professionals in industrial, office and mixed-use commercial real estate. College of Education Alumni and the Department of Counseling have established the Bob Barret Distinguished Lecture Series on Multiculturalism to honor Professor Barret, ’84, who retired this year after 29 years of service on the UNC Charlotte faculty. This will be an annual event featuring a presentation on a topic related to multicultural counseling and social justice. The lecture series will be open to the public and is affiliated with the Counseling Department’s annual multicultural workshop. Alumni are invited to contribute gifts to support the fund. The College of Education’s Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education will use a $25,000 grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation to support its “Science Club” program, designed to increase the number of historically underserved students pursuing careers in science, mathematics, technology, engineering and teaching. The center was among 21 inaugural Ribbon of Hope grant recipients announced by the foundation. The Science Club Program is a community-based outreach initiative that promotes the exploration of science and technology among more than 600 at-risk children and youth ages 4 to 18. “This funding will allow us to offer a rich hands-on opportunity to our pre-college students in a research science laboratory here on the university campus,” said David Royster, director of the center. The Cato Corporation has established the Cato Scholars Endowment to provide scholarship assistance to students studying to become elementary and middle school teachers in the College of Education. Robert, ’85, and Jacqueline Hull have established the Lateral Entry Teachers Endowment to provide scholarship assistance to students studying to become K-12 teachers. Dr. Jane K. Testerman, ’73, emeritus faculty member of the College of Education, has established the Legacy for Leadership

Award which recognizes outstanding academic performance for a doctoral dissertation successfully defended during the previous academic year in the Department of Educational Leadership. Gray’s Bookstore established the Excellence in Research Faculty Award in the College of Education and the Faculty Award for Sustained Service to Public Schools. College of Liberal Arts and Sciences The Department of Criminal Justice received a contribution from VeriSign/I-Defense to support research being conducted by Dr. Tom Holt in the area of computer crime and computer-based attacks around the world. Elsevier Limited made a donation to support Dr. Jean-Claude Thill, who is serving as the Knight Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences. William and Harriet Barnhardt continued their support of the Barnhardt Annual Seminar on Ethics and the World of Business. This is the signature program of UNC Charlotte’s Center for Professional and Applied Ethics. The fall 2008 seminar’s keynote speaker will be Michael Tarwater, chief executive officer of Carolinas Healthcare System. Mark, ’84, and Pamela Fiechtner made an additional contribution to the Fiechtner Scholarship, which supports an outstanding undergraduate student pursuing a math, mechanical engineering, computer science, electrical or computer engineering major at UNC Charlotte. The North Highland Company made a contribution to the North Highland Scholarship, which supports international study for UNC Charlotte students who are majoring in Art. North Highland Company also featured a UNC Charlotte student exhibit and reception in their Uptown office. The Graduate School The Wayland H. Cato Jr. First-Year Fellowship completed its final pledge payment to the UNC Charlotte Graduate School. For the first time, the school awarded two annual fellowships in the amount of $18,000 each. During the past year, the UNC Charlotte Foundation awarded a total of $350,000 from both endowed and non-endowed funds for graduate student fellowships. UNC CHARLOTTE magazine 39


a l u m n i n o te s

1970’s Dianne Ellis (72,’85) retired on May 31 after 21 years in the Operations, Technology, and E-Commerce Division of the Wachovia Corporation in Charlotte. Catherine Anthony Harvey (’70)

accepted the position of executive vice president community programs and publications for the American Diabetes Association in Alexandria, Va.

1980’s Tom Goins (’89) and his wife, Amy,

welcomed daughter Audrey Grace on April 25.

David Hefferon (’80) practices law in Charlotte with his brother Tom (’78). Several other members of David’s family have graduated from UNC Charlotte including brother, Michael (’83), nephew Ben Hefferon (’05) and niece Amy Hefferon (’06). Diane Lollar-Hernandez (’89)

welcomed her second daughter, Keira, in November 2007. Keira joins big sister Kaila.

Mark Isaacs (’80) accepted a position as North American sales manager for Nuroz LLC, which is a subsidiary of Newport Industries. It specializes in products for the chemical and adhesives industries.

UNC Charlotte and works part time for Ferguson Enterprises. He and wife Rebecca reside in Charlotte with their three children Sarah, Alycia and Jonathon.

Paul Pustinger (’99) earned a Doctor

of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in June 2008. He is currently doing his residency in emergency medicine at Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich.

Hubert Setzler III (’99) recently

published the article “EMS Call Volume Predictions: A Comparative Study” in the international journal Computer & Operations Research. Setzler is an associate professor of management at Francis Marion University.

Jonathon Scott (’95) was named the associate registrar for Wake Technical Community College. Ramona Stone (’93) completed the self-published book “A Year in the Sun,” a first-person narrative of travel and personal journey after the death of her son, Chris, also a UNC Charlotte graduate. The book chronicles a period from 1985 to 1987 and includes many references to UNC Charlotte. Stone retired from UNC Charlotte in 1993.  Laura Dean Train (’98) married James William Train (’03) on April 19 in Burlington. The couple resides in Columbus, Ohio. Carrie Turner (’94) welcomed her

1990’s Naresh Bharadwaj (’97) joined Fujitsu

Consulting in February 2008 as a senior consultant in their SAP Practice. He is currently on assignment at Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Theodore “Clip” Clippinger (’90) was named an associate with JDavis Architects in Raleigh. Clippinger has been with the firm for two years and works as a project manager. He and his wife Lynn (Daniel) (’93) live in Durham and are expecting their fourth child in December. The baby will join siblings Andrew (5), Caroline (4) and Carmen (3). Jay Daughtry (’96) has joined Real Magnet LLC, in Bethesda, Md., as a national account executive.

Andrew Pfeiffer (’91) is pursuing certification in education through

40 UNC CHARLOTTE magazine

first child, daughter Katie Ashlyn, in February.

Maureen Wilson (’90) graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan in May with a Master of Business Administration.

2000’s Robert Baysden (’02) has been named director of engineering at Cole, Jenest and Stone P.A. Adam Boyd (’05) is in the United States Air Force. He also is pursuing an online master’s in geosciences through Mississippi State University. Ashley Buckles (’07) and Ryan Hefner (’07) were married on May 24. Buckles is a dental lab technician at Drake Dental Lab, and Ryan is a software developer at Vanguard. The couple resides in Charlotte. Darwin Hanna (’04) received a master’s degree in tourism administration from George Washington University in May. Tamar Robinson (’04) became a board certified behavior analyst in November 2007. She received her master’s degree in special education with a specialization in autism intervention and applied behavior analysis from the University of North Texas in December 2006.

James Robson (’04) passed both the CCRN (adult critical care nursing) and CMC (adult cardiac medicine nursing) certification exams from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). He is a staff nurse in the surgical-trauma intensive care unit at Carolinas Medical Center.

What are you doing? Do your old classmates know?

Do you have a new job? Did you land a board position? Is your family growing?

It is time to share what you’ve been up to lately and let other Alumns help you toot your horn or spread the word on small or large achievements. Where do you volunteer your time? Did you land your dream job or start a new business or career? Whether you’ve become CEO or a new parent... We want to hear from you. Visit Alumni Affairs Web site at and tell us what you’ve been doing. Or write Alumni Affairs, UNC Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28223-0001


The Heft of the Humanities

Deborah S. Bosley, Co-Director UNC Charlotte Center for Humanities, Technology, and Science We live in a culture that worships technology and is awed by science. Both have transformed the way we live, how we think about our bodies, how we move through time and space, how we communicate, and both have produced innovations that have made this country highly ranked in the world. Because of this power, we have become a culture dominated by, and under the dominance of, science and technology. No one would quarrel with the importance of the technological professions: we need bridges, cell phones, computer applications, stop lights, roads, medicine and medical equipment – we need most of the products created by scientists and engineers. But it can be a dangerous thing to focus less attention, both in universities and among the public, on the humanities. The baseline of our cultural and democratic triangle is the humanities, for they teach us what it means to be human. First, the humanities teach us how to stake our ground, how to argue our point of view, and how to verbally and aesthetically


defend our democratic way of life. We need to be reminded that we want a country in which people think and quarrel about the universal human questions of good and evil, imagination and change, compassion and hope, rights and responsibilities Secondly, science and technology need the humanities to foster ethical discussions about the consequences of scientific advancement and technological innovation. Science knows much about the body, but little of the soul. Technology gives us tools, but does not teach us how to use them to understand good from evil. We believe both science and technology will save us from our enemies and give us better, healthier lives. But the humanities may, in fact, be the best weapon we have to protect our culture. The humanities, the force us to challenge the status quo; fire our creativity; make us ponder ethical situations; and then help us make hard, personal, professional, and political decisions. Third, the humanities, science, and technology inevitably should stream into one another. As Alan Lightman, professor of physics at MIT and novelist (Einstein’s Dream) states: “You cannot understand the sciences without first understanding the humanities.” We have created a false dichotomy as if an ability in one area precludes the importance of the other: instead, both need to know much more about the other. Creativity and innovation, two words frequently associated with technology, are, after all, at the heart of the humanities. Ira Flatow, from NPR’s Science Friday, gave a talk at UNC Charlotte in April in which he showed how many innovations and inventions came from musicians, actors, and others whom you would not expect. Hedy Lamar, an actress in the 1940s, was an engineer. She and a musician invented a device that allowed submarines to communicate in code on the same frequencies; this device became the precursor to what allows cell phones to communicate with one another. Scientific insight and technological innovation do not come only from scientists and technologists. Finally, the humanities teach a facility with language. On a practical level, corporations, governments, and non-profits are all concerned about the lack of communication skills among college graduates. Several national studies rank the abilities to write and speak among the top hiring characteristics required of recent graduates. A recent article in Newsweek indicated that 50% of those applicants accepted into medical school are majors in the humanities and, in particular, English majors because of their ability to communicate clearly. In spring 2008, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UNC Charlotte launched its new Center for Humanities, Technology, and Science (HTAS). One of the goals of HTAS is to help scientists and technologists learn to communicate their research so that the general public can understand what they are doing and thinking: to de-mystify science, to bring understanding to the public. If our citizenry is going to participate in the debates of global warming, energy alternatives, internet voting, stem cells, etc., then scientific knowledge must be made clear to the non-scientific public. That’s communication. That’s democracy. That’s nothing to be overlooked. An earlier version of this article was first published in the CHARLOTTE VIEWPOINT, July 2008.



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Q3, 2008 - UNC Charlotte magazine  

Virtual Visions, a feature about UNC Charlotte researchers exploring new realities, is among the offerings in this issue. Also, learn about...

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