carolina.gif (1377 bytes)

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


Not for publication
June 13, 1997

Wrapping up 100-county tour this week

UNC's Hooker to speak to Wayne County alumni group

Tuesday, June 17

6:30 - 8 p.m., Speech to Wayne County Carolina Club The Goldsboro Country Club, 1500 S. Slocumb St., Goldsboro

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Michael Hooker will discuss his vision for the university and respond to questions during a session Tuesday (June 17) with the Wayne County Carolina Club in Goldsboro. Hooker's appearance in Goldsboro occurs the same week he is scheduled to wrap up a yearlong 100-county tour of North Carolina. He will be visiting several northeastern counties on Monday and Tuesday. The chancellor is scheduled to be in his 100th N.C. county later this week.

The issue-oriented tour took Hooker to speak with civic, business and education groups in dozens of Tar Heel towns and cities. He visited classrooms, teachers, principals and superintendents as well as community and private colleges. Also among the stops were Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (several months ago), the North Carolina Motor Speedway, small businesses and high- and low-tech manufacturing facilities. The goals of the tour: to reconnect the university with the people it serves and learn first-hand about the state's economy and educational system. Hooker says the visits stress Carolina's role in the daily lives of residents and gives them a chance to share how the university can best serve the state.

Hooker will be available for interviews, including by phone for those who can't make the alumni event.

General background

Hooker, who has led Carolina since July 1995, is a 1969 graduate of the university who grew up in the coalfields of western Virginia 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 education at all levels will play in shaping North Carolina's economic future and why technology will dramatically change how educators teach students.

UNC began offering on-line undergraduate courses for credit during spring 1997 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. Hooker has emphasized making UNC accessible to working people who can't pull up stakes and move to Chapel Hill.

Public education also has been a major focus for Hooker, who has visited elementary and high schools in several counties across the state. 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. He expresses alarm about the growing teacher attrition rate and often describes the experiences of his stepdaughter, Jennifer Buell, and her colleagues during their first months as teachers in Charlotte..

The Lighthouse Project, provided laptop computers and Internet access to about a dozen new UNC-CH graduates in their first year of teaching. 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.

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 additional information about Hooker, the 100-county tour and UNC. Mike McFarland can be reached at (919) 962-2091; e-mail, or on the road at (919) 614-5436 (cell phone) or by leaving a message at News Services.

- 30 -