Tar Heel Bus Tour highlights Carolina's commitment to the state
Three dozen of Carolina's newest faculty members just completed a weeklong
introduction to the state, its history and people as the Tar Heel Bus Tour made
its ninth journey across the state.
Since 1997, Carolina's chancellor has sponsored the bus tour. More than 250
new faculty and administrators have experienced this guided tour across North
Carolina, visiting the people and sites that make each area unique. This year,
36 new faculty members and administrators participated along with Chancellor
James Moeser and Dr. Joseph Templeton, chemistry professor and newly elected
"Our goals for the bus tour have not changed: We aim to help faculty gain
a better understanding of North Carolina and the people we serve," Moeser
said. "As we aspire to be the leading public university in the country,
we must serve the people and communities that surround us."
The tour highlights the university's public service commitment by promoting
scholarship and service that are responsive to the concerns of the state and
contribute to the common good. The goals of the privately funded tour are to:
- Gain a rich understanding of the state and its people;
- Visit the places most of our students call home;
- Bond with faculty across disciplines;
- Learn how Carolina is connected to the entire state; and
- See a side of North Carolina that faculty may otherwise never see.
The tour crisscrosses the state from the coast to the Piedmont to the mountains,
connecting participants to North Carolina's rich diversity. In past years, participants
have visited with farmers, factory workers, high-tech and financial firms and
soldiers at Fort Bragg, as well as seeing historical and cultural landmarks.
The itinerary this year included stops at:
- Halifax County, to visit the home of William Richardson Davie, who wrote
the bill that created the university and is one of the university's founders.
UNC-Chapel Hill is celebrating the 250th anniversary of Davie's birth this
year, which falls on June 22. The stop included discussion of Davie's role
in founding the university and work during the Revolutionary War era. Participants
saw both the house and the historic area in Halifax.
- Beaufort, to visit the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute for Marine Sciences. Faculty
and students at the institute led a boat excursion to Shackleford Banks. The
trip included demonstrations on water quality testing techniques and explanations
of the many issues being addressed at the institute, including erosion and
beach nourishment, nutrient cycling and general water-quality issues in the
- Lexington, to learn about the Citizen-Soldier Support Program. A collaborative
program based at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Citizen-Soldier Support Program is designed
to extend existing National Guard and National Reserve programs, while bringing
employers, schools, child-care providers, health professionals and other organizations
into a broad network of family support.
- Charlotte, where a joint meeting with colleagues from UNC-Charlotte focused
on higher education in North Carolina. UNC-Charlotte Chancellor Phillip L.
Dubois hosted a breakfast meeting, which gave participants the opportunity
both to learn about a sister UNC institution, as well as network with faculty
members and seek out possible areas of collaboration and partnership.
- Three Sisters Farm in Shannon, run by the American Indian Mothers Inc.,
civic group, to talk with leaders in the Lumbee Indian community. Besides
learning about the agricultural practices at the farm, participants heard
from representatives of several community organizations, including the Tribal
Council, the Healing Lodge (a faith-based public health center), the Indian
Cultural Center and the Indian Resource Center, and a UNC-Pembroke nurse who
has worked with a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member to do
public health research on the Lumbee community.
- B.F. Grady Elementary School in Albertson, to learn how the UNC-Chapel Hill
School of Education is helping schools such as Grady Elementary are working
to address the needs of Hispanic immigrants, who now comprise half of the
school's students. Local school officials, the president of the N.C. Mexican
Association, and UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and graduate students discussed a
wide range of issues related to immigration and education.
- Rocky Mount, to visit the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC).
The OIC has partnered with ECHO (the UNC Program on Ethnicity, Culture and
Health Outcomes) and Carolina's Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services
Research to provide HIV/AIDS awareness education, cancer screenings and health
clinics. Tour participants met with community leaders to learn how the university's
health affairs schools work with OIC to provide health services to people
in a five-county area, including a mobile health center.
- Moore County's unincorporated black communities near Pinehurst. The UNC-Chapel
Hill School of Law's Center for Civil Rights has worked to help leaders in
several unincorporated areas in Moore County to become incorporated and thus
obtain basic municipal services such as garbage pickup and water and sewer
service. Bus tour participants met with community leaders at St. Paul Missionary
Baptist Church and then take a walking and driving tour of the area.
- The Carolina Living and Learning Center in Pittsboro, where participants
learned about the center's integrated vocational and residential program for
autistic adults run by UNC-Chapel Hill's Division TEACCH (Treatment and Education
of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children). In addition to
meeting with the center's leaders and residents, the stop included a walking
tour of the residences, Center vegetable garden and other farming facilities.
- Chimney Rock, to learn about the Small Towns Initiative, which seeks to
leverage local assets to revitalize small town economies. Government officials,
community leaders and faculty from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government
discussed the effort with participants. The UNC group also toured Chimney
Rock Village and visited Chimney Rock Park.
- The DeFeet manufacturing plant in Hildebran. This state-of-the-art textile
factory specializes in high-performing athletic socks. Shane Cooper, founder
and president of DeFeet, talked about how the textile industry is adapting
to a changing economic environment through advanced technologies and better
service of niche markets. Faculty from UNC-Chapel Hill and the Hosiery Technology
Center at Catawba Valley Community College discussed preparing workers for
jobs in this fast-changing industry.
The Tar Heel Bus Tour is just one way in which UNC-Chapel Hill engages with
North Carolina. The Carolina Center for Public Service, created in 1997, leads
Carolina's engagement efforts and service to North Carolina and beyond by linking
the expertise and energy of faculty, staff and students to people's needs. More
information about the center is available at http://www.unc.edu/cps/.