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


Not for publication
June 14, 1997

Hooker to stop in Perquimans, Chowan, Bertie on Tuesday

Tuesday, June 17

8:30 - 9:30 a.m., Perquimans County stop. Details to follow by separate phone call. 10:45 - 11 a.m., Edenton Visitors' Center
11 a.m. - 11:45 a.m., The Edenton Institute and a tour of Edenton Cotton Mill (Group will meet at the Chowan Arts Council, 200 E. Church St., Edenton
Noon - 1 p.m., Lunch with invited local leaders, site TBA, Edenton 2:30 - 3:30 p.m., Session with Bertie County Smart Start board and community leaders

(Group will convene in the county courthouse annex), Windsor

As part of his 100-county tour of North Carolina, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Michael Hooker will stop in Perquimmans County, at the Edenton Visitors' Center and the Edenton Institute and tour the Edenton Cotton Mill in Chowan County. He will also have lunch with a group of invited local leaders at a site to be determined in Edenton. Those events are scheduled Tuesday (June 17). Later in Bertie County, Hooker will meet from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. with members of the local Smart Start board and community leaders in the Bertie County Courthouse annex in Windsor.

Hooker is scheduled to wrap up his statewide tour 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) 614-5436.

Perquimans County

News Services staff should be able to provide confirmed details on Monday. Tentative plans call for visiting a county site that would reflect significant demographic and economic development trends between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.

Chowan County

UNC-CH trustee Annette Wood will host the chancellor's visit, which will include an escort to the Edenton Visitors' Center at 10:45 a.m., a walk to the Chowan Arts Council for a brief introduction to the Edenton Institute and a tour of the Edenton Cotton Mill. The group, including Ann Perry, executive director of the council, will walk to the old Edenton Cotton Mill to hear about the council's plans to convert the 100,000-square-foot mill into an institute that will draw on the region's strengths in art, history and the environment. Preservation North Carolina, which buys historic properties across the state to preserve them, is involved in the project. Also planned is a lunch with local leaders from noon to 1 p.m. at a site to be determined. Reporters are invited at any of these stops.

Bertie County

Reporters are invited to sit in on the chancellor's discussion with Patricia Ferguson, chair of the Bertie County Smart Start board, board members and community leaders in the Bertie County Courthouse annex in Windsor. The 41-member Bertie County Partnership for Children is hosting his visit. He hopes to hear about the local plans for Smart Start and the needs of children in the community. Other community leaders also have been invited. According to Ferguson, Bertie ranks 100th in teen pregnancy rates and 95th in premature births statewide.

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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