Inside UNC Charlotte -- May 2012

Uploaded by unccharlottevideo on 07.05.2012

Narrator: The following program is a UNC Charlotte production.
>>Welcome Inside UNC Charlotte from UNC Charlotte Center City.
We'll take a look at how this stunning new presence
in uptown has taken hold in this, its first academic year.
And have you heard?
A certain Presidential Nominating Convention is coming to town.
The University's already playing a big role in helping Charlotte focus
on this experience in our democracy.
We profile a University researcher who is the recipient of one of
UNC Charlotte's top honors, The First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal Award.
And we visit a program that's on the fast track
to leadership in an exciting worldwide industry.
It's UNC Charlotte's motorsports program.
This and more inside UNC Charlotte.
UNC Charlotte has enjoyed an Uptown presence for years,
but the start of 2011-12 academic year brought
a major milestone with the opening of this
addition to the cityscape.
As UNC Charlotte Center City marks its first year,
we look at the impact this place has made on
our students, our city, and the Charlotte region.
>>Yeah, this is not actually the first time
for UNC Charlotte in Center City.
Many people know that we had the leased facility
over in the old Mint Museum space.
But as the Chancellor likes to point out,
we actually started, the University started here
in 1946 when Bonnie Cone started classes for veterans
returning from World War II in the old Central High School,
which is just a couple blocks from here, where Central Piedmont is now.
Chancellor Woodward and the current Chancellor,
Philip Dubois, was Provost in those days and had a vision
to return to Center City with a full presence.
And starting all the way back in 2005 was when
Chancellor Woodward was able to make a deal to get the property here
and then subsequent to that, when Erskine Bowles was
President of the UNC system was able to do the financing
to get the money to build the building.
I think everyone in those days right through the current time
recognizes the need for us to be fully engaged in the city,
to be here to be a part of Charlotte and for Charlotte
to be a part of the University and that's essentially
that's our mission at UNC Charlotte Center City.
You're here in Center City so you can get folks
from the big businesses, from the banks, from the energy companies,
but also from the architecture firms, from the cultural organizations,
and the civic groups to come.
It's just so much easier for them to come here,
they can walk over.
So it's an opportunity for students to see those
people in class, but then also to get the chance
to be an intern someplace, or to even just work for a day,
to volunteer with one of the civic groups here
in the community and here and First Ward.
>>I am currently enrolled in the Paralegal Certification Program
that's part of the Extended Ed that is offered here at UNC Charlotte.
I think the reason it's important to have
it in this building is because it is in the center of Charlotte.
You get to see the city as you come in.
I'm coming from Hickory twice a week so it's very convenient.
It's off of Highway 16 and 77.
All the technology is here.
Everything is new, the computer labs are there for you
with computers already ready to go.
You don't have to worry about bringing a laptop
and everything that you need for taking notes because it's there.
One of my concerns coming to a larger city from somewhere
like Hickory was the fact that I was gonna be walking
to my car late at night by myself and we have plenty
of security guards downstairs, they're willing
to walk with us and watch out for us, and plus, I just really like the
community feeling that comes with my peers.
>>Right now I'm in the Masters of Business Administration Program
concentrating in Applied Investment Management.
I'm scheduled to graduate in June of this year
and my involvement has been basically doing whatever I can
to promote the school and the program.
The convenience of being able to either walk or drive
to the location is excellent, and plus it gives me
the feeling that UNC Charlotte has committed themselves
to the business community.
They're not just renting the space and providing
a location for students to come take a class,
they've actually set a foundation for something
that we can call our own.
I have made or forged many networking friendships here,
both with classmates and professors, and through
various events that I've attended at the
Center City building.
I was proud when they initially made the announcement
that it was going to constructed and I was even prouder
to be able to be the first class or one of the first classes
to attend here.
>>Just coming from Clemson, I entertained the idea of doing
City Planning there, but there's not really
an urban context for that, so the idea that I could come here
and literally be ingrained in the fabric of the city
while I'm studying it was really appealing.
As the city starts to grow out and as the University area comes
more into the city, it really has the ability to establish itself
as a place in the city, a place of dominance
and so that's a really neat thing.
I think that it's been the best move
that I could possibly make and studying at this location,
in this building gets me first-hand access to everything
that's going on in the city, everything's literally in our backyard.
And I think that a cool thing about it is that we've already
made the Center City building a place, we're kind of making
a splash in Uptown, we're announcing
that Urban Design is here.
It's a fairly new program, and so this building even the
way it looks from the outside, helps us do that and it give us
somewhere cool to utilize to draw attention to ideas
that are important to us.
>>From the very minute we opened,
we actually, when we moved in, we start having events before
we started having classes.
There was so much demand, people like coming here.
But once they're here, they see the value of it,
they see these connections.
It's a tangible thing that makes it all happen.
Back last spring, we had a community day event,
we just invited people to come in and experience things.
We had a brass band, we had dancers,
we had other musicians, painters, where all the artists,
whatever type of artist they were had some connection to the University,
they were on the faculty, they were part time,
they were graduates, and we had several hundred people
from the community come in, almost everybody just walking,
so they truly were local folks coming in and experiencing
the University for the first time.
At least once a week, something is open to the public
where people come to see a movie, hear a talk, and we're only
going to do more of that.
And then the other thing is to really demonstrate the
University's urban awareness, to be this urban research university,
to do that in the urban setting.
That's part of the the initial mission statement
that was written back in 2007 talked about gateway
environmental sustainability and urban awareness in context.
That's still our mission, we live that every day
and we see the fruits of it everyday, as more people come in,
more people are exposed to things that we do UNC Charlotte.
>>As Charlotte prepares to host its first ever
presidential nominating convention, UNC Charlotte has already
staked it's claim to what promises to be the largest event
in our region's history.
An extensive series of public activites combined with an array of classroom
content and internships for students is all aimed at making the most
of this once-in-a-lifetime experience in democracy.
Start with the web to get a feel of the scope of how the University
has set its sights on getting the most out of what's coming Charlotte's way.
>>I see this as a great opportunity to help students and the community
learn about what we do to select presidents; what it takes to have
a city manage an event like this.
Professor Eric Heberlig is one of the organizers of the
49er Democracy Experience.
That's the packaging for this series of campus and community events,
additions to the curriculum, a host of internship opportunities,
and even the use of university facilities, all in the name of capitalizing on
the nominating convention.
>>We as a University, we're well-positioned to help communicate, interprete to
the public what's going on, why, what this means for the city
both in the short-term and the long-term.
That we have expertise across a variety of fields that could really
expand the community's understanding of what was going on in Charlotte.
Classes across the disciplines have added democracy related events
to their curricula, many well outside Heberlig's field of political science.
>>My favorite example is this being a green convention.
Well what exactly does it mean to have a green convention?
What are the engineering aspects, the architectural aspects?
That certainly shapes our understanding beyond just
what it means to select the president.
Community and business leaders, working to make the convention
a success, appear to be looking beyond partisan politics
to the benefits of Charlotte's appearance to its biggest stage.
>>That event is going to bring the eyes of the world upon us.
There's still a lot of people that don't know Charlotte.
There are a lot of people that know of Charlotte but don't have
a clear perception, not having been here perhaps.
That's going to change for lots of people.
>>Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte.
>>2012 national political news coverage began the day after the president's
State of the Union address, when Charlotte was examined
as a microcosm of the American economy.
The university's chief academic officer was a part of it, discussing the role of
higher education in our region's recovery.
>>But I think what we're seeing now is a different kind of manufacturing,
we're looking at advanced manufacturing.
>>Joan Lorden says the 49er democracy experience is
strengthening the ties between the university and Charlotte.
>>For the student it's an opportunity of a lifetime to see democracy in action
and to see it with a front row seat.
It's wonderful to have an opportunity for the community to see both
our students and our faculty and to begin to appreciate the intellectual
energy that they bring to the city.
49ers students have already been working hands-on behind the scenes,
interns in places like the Democratic National Convention Committee's
Housing office.
>>The people who I am working with in this internship are doing the
best job they can to make everything fallout as good as it can be,
and so because of that everything just has... every job has so many details to it,
so detailed oriented that you wouldn't think would exist
but it's definitely something for everybody to do.
In the internship there's never a moment where you're like
'What do I do now?' because it's always busy.
It's getting hectic especially as time goes on closer to the convention."
Law school is next, Ana says, and the experience this year will give
her an edge throughout her career.
>>I've met a lot of amazing people who have had amazing opportunities
through their lifetime.
And it all started from an internship like the Democratic National Convention Committee internship
or an internship in the White House.
They've moved up and that's something that I look up to, I admire.
And I want to follow those footsteps, move up the same way they did.
UNC Charlotte communication studies students posted a YouTube account
of a lecture by renowned political scientist George Edwards.
The university has partnered with the prestigious Washington Center in
educational opportunities, along with fellow colleges and universities in the
region in many aspects of convention related programming.
The speaker series, for instance, hosted on several campuses,
aimed at broad exposure to the thoughts and ideas that
have never been more important.
>>But I think it's also something about Charlotte that this has always
been a kind of a can-do city where, when there are opportunities,
people get together and focus on making the most of them.
And I think this is a good example of Higher Ed embodying that characteristic
of the city of Charlotte.
>>When it's all over organizers hope that the 49er democracy experience
will have left its mark on the Charlotte region for years to come.
>>The students who are here now and who had at least a passing interest
in the convention would say, "Oh yeah, I had the opportunity to do some things
along with the convention and the University helped make that happen."
I think for the Charlotte community, I would want than to say, "The University
had some speakers, they had some forums, and they did things to help us understand
what was happening and why.
They gave us some access to the convention that we wouldn't have had just
sitting at home watching it happen on our television."
That in both senses we would be seen as as active contributors to the process,
of not helping the convention happen per se, but helping the community engage
with the convention.
>>One of UNC Charlotte's top honors is the First Citizens Bank
Scholars Medal Award given each year to a faculty member
at the top of his or her field, leaders in scholarship and intellectual inquiry.
Inside UNC Charlotte's Lisa Patterson profiles this year's recipient,
anthropology professor Jonathan Marks.
>>Narrator: Meet Professor of Anthropology and recipient of the First Citizens Bank
Scholars Medal, Jonathon Marks.
>>So, as a Biological Anthropoligist, the questions that we ask
are questions about who we are and where we came from,
which are very highly culturaly inflected, very political issues.
Why? Because who we are
and where we came from is something that everybody's
interested in; all cultures are interested in that.
And so we face some very interesting challenges.
My book, "what it means to be 98% chimpanzee,"
is basically about how we understand genetic knowledge
in the context of where we fit in in the great panoply of nature.
And of course, it's a widely known factoid that we are 98%
genetically identical to chimpanzees.
The bad news about that is that genetics isn't particularly
good at showing how different we are from chimpanzees.
For example, you know, we walk upright, chimpanzees
walk on their knuckles.
We have big brains, we speak.
Genetics as it turns out, especially DNA sequence,
is not really transparent in its meaning, and its meaning
is actually very esoteric.
If you were to compare the DNA sequences of a human
and a daffodil, you would find that they match at least
one out of every four places.
Except we're obviously not one quarter daffodil,
so the take-home lesson is that we don't really know exactly
what DNA comparisons mean, and their meaning has to be
forcibly extracted from their data.
>>John's really an interesting scholar because he looks,
not just at the science of anthropology, but he looks
at anthropology as science.
He's looking at the field of anthropology and how
it constructed itself, its biases and its achievements.
He also looks at science as an anthropological discipline.
John with his background in science, after all he has a degree in genetics
and two degrees in anthropology, has credibility with the scientists.
He can talk the talk with cleverness, with wit in an engaging way,
very self-effacing, yet powerful and focused.
John asks tough questions.
He can succeed at doing this because he has such
a wonderfully rich self-effacing sense of humor, wonderful personality.
>>He has certainly been accused of being controversial.
I think part of that is that he's willing to critique
any scholar at any level.
He is willing to critique people in quite a bold and perhaps,
one might say, impolite way, but he pushes back.
He pushes back against what he feels are mistaken over emphases
on biology and genetics to explain the human experience, for example.
>>Narrator: Marks tackles the history and social impacts
of scientific enterprise in his book titled,
"why I am NOT a scientist."
>>Obviously human groups are different from one another,
that's a trivial observation.
The question is, how do human groups differ from
one another, and anthropologists have been
studying that for 150 years.
And we've discovered that the commonsensical idea of race,
namely that humans come naturally packaged into a fairly
small number of fairly discrete kinds of people is simply false.
That's not the way the human species comes.
The natural packages of the human species are local,
bio-cultural groups and human groups integrate
into one another and there's also far more variation within
any group than there is between groups.
So the picture that we're getting is that the idea of race,
again that humans come in relatively few flavors,
is a false theory.
So race isn't a question of human difference.
Race is a theory of meaningful difference.
You have to decide what kinds of differences matter
and how much of them to take into consideration as you build
a taxonomy of the human species.
There are this number of subspecies of humans,
there are these categories of people and based on these criteria,
I'm gonna put these two people into different categories as opposed
to being simply slight variants of one category.
That decision, to make two people two categories
instead of one category, is very much a cultural decision,
and that's why we say human diversity is bio-cultural.
>>I would say that one of the things that most
distinguishes John is his commitment to understanding
the social consequences and the societal consequences
of science and the historical processes of discovery.
>>Narrator: With his ability to bridge the humanities
and the sciences, Marks illuminates some
of the most central debates of our time.
>>I think anthropology is relevant to the modern world
in many obvious ways.
I mean, the big issues in the world today are cultural.
How do we as a world, face 8 billion people,
increasing consumption, decrease in natural resources,
how do we make that work as, not just a civilization,
but as a cluster of civilizations.
Those are cultural issues, and those are fundamentally
anthropological issues.
>>When it comes to University endeavors
that are woven into the life and culture
of our region, UNC Charlotte's Motorsports Program
is a given.
As motorsports programs grow at many universities,
UNC Charlotte's holds the special combination
of outstanding facilities, particularly bright students
and faculty, and a growing reach.
>>At UNC Charlotte, although the program said it is
Motorsports and Automotive Engineering, we try to
emphasize on the motorsports aspect of this program.
And our program is distinct in a way that we try to give
our students a very hands-on approach.
Like say for example, our students start
in their sophomore year with Motorsports Clinic One
where we make the students familiar with different traits
of the tool, like welding, crafting sheet-metal,
inseam milling and all those types of things.
In addition to that, I think, our biggest strength is
we are able to attract high school graduates
who are high school students who have an intent knack
for racing themselves.
A number of our students are racers,
and we encourage them in participating
in different race competitions.
>>My name's Joey Coulter, I drive the number 22 truck
in the NASCAR Champion World Truck Series
for Richard Childress Racing and I'm a junior at UNC Charlotte,
Mechanical Engineering Motorsports Program.
When I got out of high school, I was already racing full time
and knew that if I couldn't drive, I wanted to work on race cars,
or you know, do something in racing, and there's a lot
of good engineering colleges out there obviously,
but UNC Charlotte had a Motorsports program,
and I said, if I can go to college and get a degree to work
on race cars, then that's where I'm headed.
One of the coolest things that I've run into here is how helpful
the professors are when it comes to anything really.
Just understanding the material, you know,
there is no dumb question.
I haven't been in a single class where I've been afraid
to raise my hand and ask a question,
even if I knew it wasn't the best question ever.
>>I've met several people that have studied elsewhere
around the world where they say, Oh yeah, we have such
a large school and they have so many students.
But here really, the graduate school is still relatively a low amount
of students, but that's great, I find it great because
the professors know you on a first name basis.
Not that you have to try to stand in line to visit them
on a Tuesday at 3:00.
So, in particular, we meet several times a week
for half an hour or more, what we're working on,
goals that we're trying to achieve.
So it's not that any of the graduate students are numbers,
or the faculty are off distant and you never see them,
we're all around, we're all interacting everyday.
>>We do have excellent faculty, we've got guys like David George
who's been a powertrains guy, designing engines
for Top Fuel drag racing, NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One,
I mean he really knows his stuff.
We've got Dr. Uddin, who's Computational Fluid Dynamics,
has been hired by race teams all over the world.
The bottom line is that Charlotte is the center
of racing in North America, so that the Governor
of the state of North Carolina decided that we should fund
a motorsports program at the University of North Carolina
at Charlotte and the reason is because this is where all the jobs are.
There's a $6 billion industry around here.
Within an hour and a half, you've got 90 NASCAR teams.
So this is where the industry is,
this is where the suppliers are, this is where the teams are,
this is where the jobs are.
And the jobs are for mechanical engineers.
>>Growing up, I was always interested in motorsports.
I watch NASCAR with my family and was a big fan.
I'm actually from New Jersey, and I found out
about UNC Charlotte when me and my family
would come down here for the races, down
at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Coca-Cola 600,
and I realized, you know, early on that I was
interested in math, and I like to figure out
how things worked.
So I wanted to be in mechanical engineering,
and since I'm interested in motorsports, I decided
Motorsports Engineering and so Charlotte was the
perfect place to go for that.
The students get a really good idea of what it's like
out in the real world, even if you don't have any experience
working on a race team.
Through the Formula SAE programs, and the Baja Program,
you're allowed to get involved with them and actually design
the car from the bottom up, using the classes, like the information
and knowledge you learn in the classes, and you're able
to apply it to them and you're able to work
with other students doing different sections of the car.
So for example, I'm doing the drivetrain system
for our Senior Design Project.
I have to work with the students who are on the aero team
and the students that are on the engine team to ensure
that all of our stuff is gonna integrate correctly
when we build the car.
So that's analogous to what it's like in the real world
because whatever I work on has to make sure it fits with what
everyone else is working on.
>>As of today, we have graduated about 20 masters students
and about three PhD's, and we are hoping to grow
the program even further in the years to come.
>>Thanks for joining us.
You can see more on the University website
and all of our segments are on YouTube.
In the meantime, we'll see you next time
Inside UNC Charlotte