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UNC System Names Vice President For Academic Programs, Faculty, And Research PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 12:28

University of North Carolina System Interim President Bill Roper has announced that Dr. David English has been named as vice president for Academic Programs, Faculty, and Research for the UNC System. His first day in this new role will be May 1. 

English has served as the executive vice chancellor and provost of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) since 2016.  In that role, he reports directly to the chancellor and is the senior executive responsible for day-to-day campus operations. English is also the chief academic officer and is responsible for providing academic and administrative leadership in all areas related to teaching and student learning. He previously served as UNCSA’s vice provost and dean of Academic Affairs from 2013 – 2016 and as associate provost from 2010 – 2013. 

He worked previously at the UNC System Office from 2006 – 2010, most recently as director of the statewide college access program College Foundation of North Carolina. During that time, he also served as a member of the North Carolina Transfer Advisory Committee and the North Carolina ACT state representative. He began his career as an assistant director of Admissions at Appalachian State University.

“We are absolutely thrilled that David will be re-joining the System Office after nine successful years at UNC School of the Arts,” said Kimberly van Noort, UNC System senior vice president for Academic Affairs and chief academic officer. “David has been a strong leader at UNCSA and will bring a unique set of skills to our academic programs upon his return.”

English is a professor in the Division of Liberal Arts at UNCSA, teaching courses in sociology and education policy. He also holds an adjunct faculty appointment at North Carolina State University in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development, where he teaches courses in the Higher Education program. His scholarship focuses on the role of higher education in American society, particularly on issues of policy and management of higher education and on college access and success.

English was a member of Leadership North Carolina Class XXI and was selected as the Appalachian State University Young Alumni Award Recipient in 2018. Previously, he was selected as a fellow of the Association for Institutional Research National Data Policy Institute, funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Education Statistics.

English earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from North Carolina State University, his MA in Higher Education Administration, his BS in Industrial Technology, and his BSBA in Management and Computer Information Systems from Appalachian State University.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2019 12:32
Duke Will Repay Federal Government $112 Million To Settle Faulty Research Case PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 10:04
Duke University will pay $112.5 million to the United States Government to settle Thomas v. Duke, a lawsuit alleging that a research technician improperly falsified and fabricated data from 2006 to 2013 to obtain research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies, the university announced Monday.
Duke discovered the possible research misconduct in 2013 after the technician was fired for embezzling money from the university, which also occurred over the same period.  The payment to the government includes both reimbursement for grants received as a result of the falsified and fabricated data and associated penalties.
The Thomas v. Duke suit was filed by a former Duke employee under the False Claims Act, a federal law that allows people not affiliated with the government to file actions on behalf of the government against persons and companies that defraud the government.  Persons filing under the act can receive a portion of damages.
“We expect Duke researchers to adhere always to the highest standards of integrity, and virtually all of them do that with great dedication,” said President Vincent E. Price. “When individuals fail to uphold those standards, and those who are aware of possible wrongdoing fail to report it, as happened in this case, we must accept responsibility, acknowledge that our processes for identifying and preventing misconduct did not work, and take steps to improve.” 
Thomas v. Duke was filed under seal in federal court in 2014 -- after the research technician was discovered to have embezzled federal grant funds that had been awarded to the university, but before Duke understood the extent of her research misconduct.  Duke reported this to the appropriate agencies and repaid the embezzled funds along with all grant-funded compensation and benefits that had been paid to the technician. The technician eventually pled guilty to two counts of forgery and paid restitution to Duke. 
The university then launched a formal scientific misconduct investigation of the technician’s experiments. Those experiments involved measuring the lung function of laboratory mice using highly specialized equipment and were not connected to human subject or clinical research.  
Following a detailed, three-year review of more than 50 potentially compromised research grants, Duke concluded that the technician had falsified or fabricated data that had been included in grant and payment requests submitted to the NIH and other agencies over the period of her employment.  Duke also retracted scientific publications that relied on the data.
In response to the settlement, Duke immediately will implement a series of key steps to build on the university’s already wide-ranging efforts to improve the quality and integrity of research conducted on campus, including:
The appointment of a new Advisory Panel on Research Integrity and Excellence chaired by Ann M. Arvin, professor of pediatrics and microbiology and former vice provost and dean of research at Stanford University, and including Edward M. Stolper, William E. Leonhard Professor of Geology and former provost of Caltech, and Barry S. Coller, David Rockefeller Professor, physician in chief and vice president for medical affairs at Rockefeller University.  The advisory panel will provide recommendations to President Price and university leadership for improving the structure and function of research administration, with a focus on promoting research integrity, by June 30, 2019;
The establishment of a new, integrated leadership structure for research to provide clear and consistent policy guidance, oversight and accountability for all research at Duke University and Duke Health;
A new initiative to promote values and a culture of excellence and accountability at Duke;
The creation of an Executive Oversight Committee, chaired by Chancellor for Health Affairs A. Eugene Washington and including senior leadership and faculty, and a related Faculty Advisory Committee to oversee the ongoing implementation of Duke’s research excellence initiative.
These steps build on significant work already completed to improve research integrity at Duke over the past decade.
Even before the Thomas v. Duke case came to light, the university significantly expanded its research education, training, oversight and accountability efforts. These improvements, including, some informed by this case, include:
Required science and accountability plans for all School of Medicine units;
Mandatory Responsible Conduct of Research training for all School of Medicine faculty and staff involved in research, with campus-wide implementation underway, as well as town hall meetings on relevant research integrity topics;
The appointment of Geeta Swamy as associate vice provost and vice dean for scientific integrity.  Swamy leads the Office of Scientific Integrity, which includes the Advancing Scientific Integrity, Services and Training (ASIST) initiative, and oversees conflicts of interest, research misconduct, a new institutional research incident response team and the Clinical Quality Management Program;
Significant improvements in clinical research oversight, including the establishment of clinical research units, and creation of the Duke Office of Clinical Research and the Duke Translational Medicine Quality Framework;
Continued implementation of the Research Administration Continuous Improvement initiative.
“Through these efforts, many of which have been underway for several years, we aim to promote and adhere to the highest standards of research excellence and integrity,” Price added.  “We continue to have great confidence in the high quality of Duke faculty and their research. This settlement, which results primarily from willful misconduct that took place in one laboratory, but which affected the work of many more researchers, should not diminish the life-changing and life-saving work that takes place at every day at Duke. Our difficulties in ferreting out and ending such misconduct remind us that important work remains to be done.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2019 10:08
Gaston College President Will Retire In 2020 PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 10:01

DALLAS, N.C. – Gaston College President Dr. Patricia Skinner has announced her plans to retire in March 2020. The announcement marks a milestone in her more than 50-year career in higher education in Michigan, Ohio, and North Carolina. In August of this year, she will have served as President of Gaston College for 25 years. She is the first woman and fourth president to lead the 2-year community college that serves Gaston and Lincoln counties.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as president of Gaston College. I came at a time when the College was poised for growth and expansion,” said Dr. Patricia Skinner. “This college has become an integral part of Gaston and Lincoln counties, and I am grateful for the tremendous support the College has received over the years from our many talented students, dedicated faculty and staff, community, county and state-wide partners, members of our Foundation and Textile Technology Boards, and the College’s Board of Trustees. Together, we have built an institution focused on quality education and student success, and I am proud that we have become one of the top community colleges of the 58 in North Carolina,” said President Skinner. 

“We reluctantly accept her decision and are forever grateful for all she’s done for the College and will continue to do in this next year,” said Dr. Jim Watson, Chair of the Gaston College Board of Trustees. “Thanks to Dr. Skinner’s vision and leadership, the College has experienced unprecedented growth since she became president more than 24 years ago. She and her dedicated team of faculty and staff have prepared this institution to serve the students, businesses, and industries in our counties for many years to come.”                                                                                                               

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are grateful to Dr. Skinner for her commitment to our students, our great college, and the citizens of Gaston and Lincoln counties and the state,” said Watson.

Dr. Jim Watson has worked with President Skinner since he joined the Gaston College Board of Trustees in 2008 and has served as its Chair since 2016. He will be instrumental in leading the search process to find a successor to President Skinner and indicated that information regarding the search will be announced at a later time.

During her presidency, Dr. Skinner has always been committed to student success and excellence. Some of her major accomplishments include:

  • Focus on the quality of the learning environment for students through the expansion of program opportunities and new and renovated facilities;
  • Obtaining financial support from the community, state, and federal government through donations and grants;
  • Hiring and retaining the best-qualified faculty and staff who have been committed to student success and have developed creative and innovative programs and services;
  • Support to business and industry through customized training, apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities—Gaston College is #2 in North Carolina in terms of customized training funds for new and expanding industries;
  • Evidence of quality through specialized voluntary accreditations and student success through student completions, graduations, and awards such as the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, which our students have received;
  • Partnerships with Gaston and Lincoln County Schools through dual enrollment programs and the establishment of the Gaston Early College High School; 
  • National and state recognition for excellence for faculty and staff as well as the College becoming an Achieving the Dream Leader College, and receiving the prestigious Bellwether and Bellwether Legacy Awards.

Since becoming president in August 1994, Dr. Skinner has led Gaston College through significant growth. When she started, the College was comprised of only its main campus in Dallas, N.C., but has since added the W. Duke Kimbrell Campus & Textile Technology Center in Belmont, N.C., and its Lincoln Campus in Lincolnton, N.C. During her tenure, the College has expanded its instructional and administrative space from 371,294 to 793,264 square feet with the addition of 11 buildings. The newest building—the Veterinary Medical Technology Facility—is scheduled to open on the Dallas Campus in 2020. 

In 1965, Gaston College’s first graduating class consisted of six students. The first graduating class during Dr. Skinner’s tenure consisted of 347 students. In 2018, the College had its highest number of graduates with 1,455 students.

Gaston College is regionally accredited by The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. During Dr. Skinner’s presidency, the College expanded to over 170 programs of study, 60 degrees, 26 diplomas, and 87 certificates. In addition to the College’s regional accreditation, 12 programs of study have received specific program level national accreditation.

President Skinner holds a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Ohio State University, a Master’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, and Specialist of Arts Degree from Western Michigan University. Her career began in the classroom as an instructor of business, office administration, and management at colleges and universities in Michigan, Massachusetts, and Ohio.

Before coming to North Carolina, Dr. Skinner was an administrator for the Ohio Board of Regents and served as vice president of academic and student affairs at Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio.

Dr. Skinner has served on many professional boards in various capacities including President of the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents, and Chair of the Charlotte Area Education Consortium, Gaston Together, and the North Carolina Student Success Center Advisory Board.

She is also the recipient of numerous distinguished awards, including the NC Student Success Center Champion Award; Gastonia Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Recognition; Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award, given by the North Carolina Community College System; Wells Fargo President of the Year Award, also given by the North Carolina Community College System; Wisdom of Solomon Award, given by Temple Emanuel in Gastonia, N.C.; Southern Regional CEO of the Year Award, given by the Association of Community College Trustees; Women’s Heritage Award, given by the Community Spirit USA, International Ministries; Woman of the Year Award, given by the Gaston County Women’s Commission; Athena Award, given by Citizens South Bank and the Gaston Chamber of Commerce; Gaston County Hall of Fame for Women in Business; and Women Administrators in North Carolina Higher Education Leadership Award.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2019 10:03
State Awards Nearly $1.5 In Job Training Grants PDF Print E-mail
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 12 March 2019 15:01
KANNAPOLIS: Six local partnerships across North Carolina have won grants totaling almost $1.5 million to support efforts to connect people with the skills they need to get good-paying jobs. Governor Roy Cooper made the announcement at the North Carolina Research Campus location of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, lead partner for one of the innovative programs awarded a grant. 
The grants come from the NCWorks Local Innovation Fund, which Governor Cooper established last year as part of his NC Job Ready initiative to prepare North Carolina’s workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
“Building a job ready North Carolina requires creativity and collaboration among employers, educators, and communities across our state,” Governor Cooper said. “These grants will enable innovative partnerships to help workers improve their job skills through opportunities like customized training, apprenticeships and work-based learning so they can be ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
Three programs received two-year implementation grants, which are designed to assist communities that already have a collaborative team in place, an innovative idea ready to go, and the local support needed to be successful.
* Pathways to Purpose (Brunswick County): A $400,000 grant will support a program to train construction and repair workers to fix damage from Hurricane Florence. The project overhauls the traditional approach to delivering instruction, managing retention and awarding workforce credentials in order to keep pace with the demand on the area’s construction industry. Partners include Brunswick Community College (project lead), Cape Fear Workforce Development Board, Brunswick Transit System, Countywide Community Development Corporation, Brunswick County Sheriff’s Department/Detention Center, Brunswick County Career Center, Waccamaw Volunteer Fire Department and Sunset Beach Fire Department. 
* RE-Build your Future (Rowan and Cabarrus counties): A $400,000 grant will support a project to provide post-secondary training to formerly incarcerated individuals to work in the light construction industry. The program will also develop an employer education campaign to increase the number of “second-chance” employers in the region willing to hire people who have served their time and are ready to work. Partners include Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (project lead), Centralina Workforce Development Board, the NCWorks Career Center in Cabarrus County, the North Carolina Department of Commerce Reentry Initiative, Cooperative Christian Ministries, Rowan Helping Ministries and the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office. 
* WNC Early Childhood Workforce Development Program (Buncombe, Madison, Henderson and Transylvania counties): A $400,000 grant will expand a program started in Buncombe County to train more early childhood educators. The program will address the shortage of early childhood teachers by recruiting candidates in under-resourced communities and providing them with training, substitute placement and coaching. The program seeks to increase the number of teachers from diverse backgrounds entering the profession and increase the availability of quality child care for working families. Partners include the Buncombe County Partnership for Children, Inc. (project lead), Mountain Area Workforce Development Board, Smart Start of Transylvania County, Children & Family Resource Center of Henderson County, Smart Start Partnership for Children of Henderson County, Madison County Partnership for Children and Families, and Community Action Opportunities, Inc. 
Three programs received one-year capacity grants to help build additional ability to strengthen partnerships, identify community needs and resources, and build local support. 
* Rural Transportation (Wilkes County): A $98,013 grant will support the development of an action plan for workforce transportation in the area. Partners include Wilkes Community College (project lead), High Country Workforce Development Board, North Carolina Division of Workforce Solutions, the NCWorks Career Center in Wilkes County, North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Goodwill Industries, Wilkes Economic Development Corporation, Wilkes County Department of Social Services and the North Wilkesboro Housing Authority. 
* Region Q Unified Communications Plan (Beaufort, Bertie, Hertford, Martin and Pitt counties): A $100,000 grant will support their efforts to work with both the business community and job seekers. Partners include the Region Q Workforce Development Board (project lead), Mid-East Commission, Beaufort, Bertie, Hertford, Martin and Pitt County governments, Beaufort County Economic Development, Bertie County Economic and Industrial Planning and Development Commission, Martin County Economic Development, Pitt County Development Commission, NCEast Alliance, Beaufort County Community College, Martin Community College, Pitt Community College and Roanoke‚ÄźChowan Community College. 
* Comprehensive Workforce and Education Data Project (Mecklenburg County): A $100,000 grant will better use data from multiple sources to understand the region’s workforce needs, education and training resources, and challenges. The goals are to identify areas of opportunity, target underserved and under-resourced populations, and develop a plan to increase access to and completion of training. Partners include Central Piedmont Community College (project lead), Charlotte Works, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 
The six grants will be funded by the Division of Workforce Solutions within the NC Department of Commerce. Applications submitted were reviewed by teams of workforce and innovation experts with six out of 34 applications selected to receive funds. 
Gov. Cooper’s NC Job Readyworkforce initiative is built on three core principles: helping North Carolinians get the skills and education they need to be ready for jobs available now and in the future, using employer leadership to keep training relevant to evolving industry needs, and taking great local innovations and applying them statewide. 
The NCWorks Local Innovation Fund supports projects that do one or more of the following: address an underserved community or population currently disconnected from the education and workforce system; bring together diverse community organizations; help workers increase their education and skills; and develop talent pipelines for in-demand, high-wage occupations. 
The Local Innovation Fund is an initiative of the NCWorks Commission. The 33-member Commission includes representatives from the business community, heads of state workforce agencies, educators and community leaders. The Commission, which is designated as the state’s Workforce Development Board under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, recommends policies and strategies to enable the state’s workforce and businesses to compete in the global economy. All members are appointed by the Governor, other than certain members who serve ex-officio. 

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