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210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Wrapping up 100-county tour June 13, 1997

Hooker to address Camden schools panel, meet with Gates teaching fellow, speak to area alumni in Ahoskie

Monday, June 16

11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Camden Schools Futures Committee meeting K.E. White Graduate Center, Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City
2:30 p.m., Joanna Moore, UNC sophomore, teaching fellow and Gates graduate Gates County High School, off U.S.158, between Gatesville and Sunbury
5:45 - 7:30 p.m., Speech to Roanoke-Chowan Area Carolina Club St. Thomas Episcopal Church Parish House, 424 W. Church St., Ahoskie

As part of his 100-county tour of North Carolina, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Michael Hooker will address the Camden Schools Futures Committee in Elizabeth City, meet with a current student and teaching fellow who graduated from Gates County High School and speak to a four-county alumni group in Ahoskie on Monday (June 16). A Virginia native, Hooker is scheduled to wrap up a statewide tour later in the week. On Tuesday, his stops will include Perquimans, Chowan and Bertie counties. The tour concludes in western North Carolina on Friday (June 20).

The issue-oriented tour has taken Hooker to speak with civic, business and education groups in dozens of N.C. towns and cities. He has visited classrooms, teachers, principals and superintendents as well as community colleges. Among the stops have been Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina Motor Speedway, and high- and low-tech manufacturing facilities. The goals: to reconnect the university with the people and learn first-hand about the economy and educational system. Hooker says the visits give him a chance to ask for feedback on how UNC-CH can best serve the state. For reporters who can't come to events, phone interviews are possible by calling Mike McFarland, (919) 962-2091.

Camden Schools Futures Committee

Reporters may sit in on part of a meeting of the Camden Schools Futures Committee beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the K.E. White Graduate Center at Elizabeth City State University. Hooker will address the group during the lunch portion of the meeting and perhaps ask and respond to questions. He likely will not stay for the entire session since the panel has regular business. The futures panel, comprised of education, community and business leaders, meets monthly to map plans for the Camden school system to meet the next century's challenges. Coordinating Hooker's visit is Dr. Carole C. Smith, a 1984 UNC-CH graduate of the School of Education's doctoral program and Camden County Superintendent of Schools. Gauging public schools' needs and how UNC-CH can help has been a focus of the tour.

Gates County High School Visit

Reporters are invited to attend a session at Gates County High School, where Hooker will meet with Joanna Moore of Sunbury. She is a Gates graduate, a UNC-CH sophomore and a participant in the N.C. Teaching Fellows Program, which aims to attract the best and brightest to teaching by paying for college costs in exchange for five years of service as an N.C. teacher. Moore plans to return to eastern North Carolina to teach. Hooker initiatives at UNC-CH to combat the state's rising teacher attrition rate have tapped teaching fellows like Moore. (See Lighthouse Project below.) He also has met with several current UNC-CH students in their hometowns.

Roanoke-Chowan Area Alumni Club Remarks

Reporters are invited to hear Hooker discuss his vision for the university and respond to questions during a Roanoke-Chowan Area Carolina Club meeting in Ahoskie. Alumni from Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Northampton counties were invited. Meeting with alumni groups has been an important part of Hooker's efforts to listen to state residents' share their views about the university during the tour.

General background

Hooker, who has led Carolina since 1995, is a 1969 UNC-CH graduate who grew up in the coalfields of southwestern Virginia near Richlands and was the first in his family to graduate from college. The former president of the University of Massachusetts system has strong views about the role public education and technology will play in shaping the state's economic future. UNC began offering on-line undergraduate courses for credit last spring through a pilot project and will launch a statewide master's degree in public health next fall that will use the Internet, e-mail and interactive teleconferencing. Elizabeth City is one of seven pilot sites statewide for that degree program. Hooker has emphasized using the Internet to make UNC accessible to working people who can't pull up stakes and move to Chapel Hill in an era when lifetime learning and continuous retooling will be critical to career success.

Public education also has been a top priority for Hooker, who has visited elementary and high schools in several counties. Those stops have included discussions with teachers, principals and superintendents. Hooker plans to re-engineer the UNC School of Education's curriculum to better prepare new teachers for the practical problems they face in classrooms across the state.

The Lighthouse Project, provided laptop computers and Internet access to about a dozen new UNC-CH graduates -- including participants from the N.C. Teaching Fellows Program -- in their first year on the job. That allows them to communicate with their peers around the state, as well as master teachers from the public schools and faculty members at UNC. Having such an on-line support community is crucial to combat attrition among new N.C. teachers, Hooker says. Initial reviews from project participants have been highly positive, and plans already are under way to expand the program next fall.

That project draws from the electronic backbone of LEARN North Carolina (Learners' and Educators' Assistance and Resource Network of North Carolina), a unique effort to help teachers integrate technology into the classroom. Partners include public schools, sister UNC campuses, community colleges and private industry. With teacher input, the university is building a data base that eventually will provide lesson plans for every course taught in every grade in every public school in North Carolina. Any teacher in the state can prepare for the next day by downloading a model lesson pegged to the state's Standard Course of Study, considered “the Bible” by teachers.

Contact News Services for more about the 100-county tour. Mike McFarland can be reached at (919) 962-2091; e-mail, or on the road at (919) 614-5436 (cell phone).

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