Academic Affairs

Text: Provost's Perspectives, An Update from Provost Sheerer

November 16, 2017                                       NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE

Dear Colleagues,

As we approach the Thanksgiving season, let’s remember to take stock of all that we have to be thankful for by being members of the UNCW community.  I just returned from the APLU meeting in Washington, DC.  As I listened to numerous presentations and discussions, I couldn't help but think that we are doing so many things well here at our institution.  Thanks for all that you individually do to make our environment collaborative and productive.

Delay in State Funding

Originally, UNC General Administration announced that enrollment funding allocations were to be approved at the November BOG meeting.  But after a review of the data, UNCGA staff identified campus reporting anomalies that required revision or follow up questions prior to distribution of a draft allocation.  Thus, the enrollment allocation was postponed to the December Board meeting to allow additional time for campus review.

All of this means that UNCW will most likely not be able to distribute growth resources until sometime in January.  It is most unfortunate that this delay has occurred because it prevents some of the hiring from moving forward as planned.  The deans are working hard to use the resources available to them to keep things on track.

Community Engagement

Noted in the right hand column is data relating to the community engagement work in which our faculty and staff are involved.  As stated in our Strategic Plan, we are committed to engage in strong academic-community partnerships.  Three specific goals are noted:

  • Connect UNCW’s knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sector to contribute to economic growth and the quality of life across our region.
  • Organize and capitalize on key partnerships, campus strengths, and employee interests to increase community, regional and global impact and enrich the student experience.
  • Incentivize, support, recognize, and reward community/scholarly engagement activities by students, faculty and staff.

UNCW was granted the status of a Carnegie Community Engaged University in 2008.  The designation acknowledged that our institution is fully committed to achieving its mission to be a leader in University partnerships and community engagement. Since that time, we have identified and held these five Community Engagement values:

  • Committing ourselves as an institution to community engagement and effective communication of such through leadership and collaboration;
  • Reciprocal mentoring of students, faculty, staff, and community members and leaders in an environment of applied and lifelong learning;
  • Maintaining a regional focus in research and creative activity along with a global impact;
  • Developing, preserving, and expanding sustainable partnerships with community members and organizations for the mutual benefit of UNCW community (faculty, staff, and students) and regional community;
  • Contributing to meeting regional economic and societal needs by sharing in the development of an educated, skilled, and civically engaged workforce.

Within the Provost’s Office is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement.  At the present time, Kristen Brogdon is serving as the Interim AVC as she continues to direct the Office of the Arts at UNCW.  This position was moved from the Chancellor’s Office in 2015 and now underscores the need to work closely with faculty and their departments in the design and delivery of community engagement relationships and projects. The Office of Community Engagement encourages engaged work throughout campus via grants, assessment, and convening, and manages the offices listed in the right column that engage with campus & community partners across disciplines and colleges.

We will continue to place emphasis on this strategic priority of the University as we continually seek to understand and address community interests and areas of opportunity and to measure and share the impact of our work in the region.

Department Chair Survey

Earlier, we sent out an announcement about a department chair survey being conducted at UNCGA.  The link to the survey is noted below:

We would appreciate if all department chairs would take a few minutes to fill out the survey.  UNCGA is keeping track of the response rate from each system.  So, we’d like UNCW to look good!  Thank you.

Laboratory School

The Watson College of Education is moving forward with its planning efforts to design and implement a laboratory school at D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy.  For those of you who have not heard much about this legislative mandate, I have included four frequently asked questions and responses below for your information.

Q. Why is UNCW considering creating a Lab School?
A. The planned laboratory school is the result of a N.C. General Assembly law passed in 2016 requiring the UNC Board of Governors to establish eight lab schools aimed at improving student performance in low-performing schools. UNCW was identified as one of the eight by UNC President Margaret Spellings in November 2016. The legislation was modified in 2017 to require the creation of nine lab schools rather than eight. The system has 15 institutions that offer educator-preparation programs.

Q. What are the goals for the lab school?
A. The lab school initiative aims to provide enhanced educational programming to students in low-performing schools and to plan model sites for the preparation of future teachers and school administrators.

UNCW and New Hanover County Schools are partnering to create a lab school that will enrich the lives of the young people who attend D.C. Virgo. The lab school will also provide field experience and training for teachers and principals to address challenges in high-needs schools and be used to determine best practices, provide educational research, and foster professional development.

UNCW and New Hanover County Schools welcome community participation as we work to define the vision, mission, design, and offerings of the proposed school.

Q. Why was D.C. Virgo Academy selected as the location for the proposed Lab School?
A. D.C. Virgo has struggled with low enrollment for several years. Creating a more formalized partnership between UNCW and the school with an enhanced academic program may attract more students and families to the school.

Q. When will the lab school open?
A. If approved, the lab school is expected to open at the start of the 2018-19 academic year.

A special thanks goes to Dean Van Dempsey and Associate Dean Donyell Roseboro for their leadership in relation to the lab school. 

It is and will remain a very complex, challenging project, but the assembled team is very optimistic and committed to making it a model program.

Prioritizing Facility Renovation and Repairs

The Provost’s Advisory Council asked me an important question about the renovation and repair of our facilities.  Specifically, how do we prioritize which ones to focus on in any given year?

General statutes define twelve categories for use of R&R funds. The UNC system determines the entire UNC system’s R&R allocation and submits a budget request to the Legislature for consideration in the State’s budget.  Ultimately, a  budget is approved and UNC GA distributes an allocation to each campus based on a specific formulae.  UNCW reviews our R&R needs based on the twelve categories in the following order:

    1. We review any directives from regulatory agencies such as the Department of Insurance for life safety related needs. 
    2. Life safety items are always first priority; these include fire alarms, lab exhaust, handrails, egress, etc. 
    3. We consider system failures such as boilers, chillers, roofs, etc. 
    4. We review the State Construction Office’s FCAP review (Facilities Condition Assessment Program). 

We prioritize the items above and determine priorities with the available funding.  This recommendation is reviewed and approved with various Cabinet members and the Chancellor prior to submission to GA for consideration.

Enjoy the break as we end our fall semester and prepare for the December Commencement, and I hope that you will be able to join us for the second annual Alderman Hall pie social this Monday, November 20th!


Marilyn Sheerer signature

Marilyn Sheerer
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

The content of this publication was created by the Office of the Provost, Academic Affairs Division. Questions? Contact Paula Cameron at