Chancellor Kyle R. Carter’s regional listening tour made a stop at home on October 18.
The 9-stop listening tour is gathering information for UNC Pembroke’s strategic vision for the future. As Chancellor Carter has said at each stop: “One broad theme is regional engagement and service to our region.
“We want to impact the quality of life in the region we serve,” he said. “How can this University better serve the region?”
With that statement, Pembroke and other county residents stepped up to offer their ideas.
Jason Lowry, a 1948 UNCP graduate, asked that the University remember its historic mission of teacher education. Lowry said crime and drop-outs are two problems in the community that UNCP could study.
“I think you’re doing great, but hardly scratching the surface of what you can do,” Lowry said. “I want to spread the good news of this University around the world. And it’s a big world, as I learned during World War II.”
Amy Cox, an alumna who works for the Robeson Partnership for Children, said UNCP needs a speech and language pathology program.
“I had to send my daughter out of state to study in a program,” Cox said. “As an advocate for young children, the need for speech pathology is great. Getting to children at a young age is critical.”
Renae Hester, director of critical care nursing at Southeastern Regional Medical Center (SRMC), said UNCP needs more allied health programs and a master’s program in nursing.
“It seems that a nurse with a bachelor’s degree is needed at the bedside in healthcare today, and you’ve done a good job with your BSN program,” Hester said. “An online master’s program is very expensive. I really think a master’s program is doable here.”
Cox also identified pharmacy, engineering and internships as areas of critical need.
“Internships are important to us because when we hire an intern, they already are familiar with our systems,” she said.
Thomas Johnson, vice president and chief financial officer for SRMC, said health care reform will expand health coverage to more people, but it will reduce fees to hospitals.
“The delivery system of the future will see more mid-level professionals – physician assistants and nurse practitioners – seeing patients,” Johnson said. “I would like to see UNCP train these professionals.”
At the Monday afternoon session were Dr. Eric Dent of the School of Business, Dr. Warren Eller of the Public Administration Department, Dr. Patricia Sellers of the Biology Department, Dr. Angela Holman of the School of Education and Dr. Mark Canada of the English Department.
Mary Alice Teets, a retired educator and alumna, would like to see more programs on aging and an elder hostel. She was joined in that thought in a separate request to allow senior citizens to audit courses without charge.
Channing Jones, an alumnus and assistant manager for the Town of Pembroke, thanked Chancellor Carter for listening.
“There has been increased dialogue between the town and University, and it will pay dividends,” Jones said. “At the town, we would like to continue pooling our resources to solve problems.
“We would like more information about University construction and planning,” Jones said. “In this way, we can all move in the same direction.”
Jones said more student internships would be a win-win for the town and students. He said technical assistance with grant writing and economic and business development are also important.
Maxine Locklear Amos, a friend of the University whose family has deep historic ties, said she would like to see more school pride.
“This school is dear to me,” Amos said. “I support this school, and I’m not even a graduate.”
For more information, contact the Office for University and Community Relations at 910.521.6249.