UNCP’s Listening Tour stops in Lumberton


Chancellor Kyle R. Carter’s Listening Tour moved on to Lumberton on October 15 at Robeson Community College’s Workforce Development Building.

UNC Pembroke’s new chancellor said he would “find out as much as I can about the communities we serve. So far, it’s been gratifying and we have received some really good information.”

Improving communications between UNCP and the community was one theme.

Eva Meekins, director of Robeson Community College’s nursing program, said she would like to see faculty engagement between university and community college.

“I would like to see a bridge program for our nursing graduates into UNCP’s BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program,” Meekins said. “More faculty involvement would better prepare our students to take the next step.”

Sammy Cox Jr., a UNCP graduate, RCC board member and business owner, said UNCP should market itself better.

“We don’t hear enough about the opportunities at UNCP,” Cox said. “I have a son who is interested in an MBA (Master of Business Administration).”

Angela Carter, a UNCP student, said UNCP needs improved communications with non-traditional and commuter students about opportunities on campus.

Sheila Regan, a UNCP graduate and department chair at RCC, said the beginning of a dialogue has started between UNCP and RCC faculty in the math and science areas – “please don let that relationship fail.”

Roy Raby, a faculty member at RCC, also asked for more faculty-to-faculty dialogue.

“In the four years that I’ve been at RCC, I’ve not had one contact with UNCP faculty,” Raby said.

RCC President Charles Chrestman said UNCP’s resources are underutilized in academics and economic development.

“The University has great resources that are untapped for economic development,” Dr. Chrestman said. “Reviewing grants is just one small area of assistance.

“Opening a dialogue with UNCP faculty, particularly in academic areas, could be very beneficial to our students,” he said.

After hearing several proposals for new academic programs, Chancellor Carter opened the floor to ideas about undergraduate and graduate programs. A flood of suggestions followed.

Dr. Chrestman asked for more online and hybrid (online and classroom) graduate programs.

Carolyn Watson, chair of RCC’s Business Deparment, said her faculty needs more hours in business marketing to satisfy new accreditation requirements.

Sheila Regan asked for an update on UNCP’s plan for a physical therapy program.

Sammy Cox proposed doctoral level programs and a master’s degree in criminal justice to train community college instructors.

Donald Minor, a United Food and Commercial Workers Union representative, said an English as a Second Language program is needed at Smithfield Foods, a nearby pork processor with several hundred Spanish-speaking workers.

Other suggestions included master’s degrees in speech pathology, media and library science and nursing.

A question about a pre-engineering program brought comments from Chancellor Carter and discussion. He heard a similar question about workforce development through training in technology and engineering during the Scotland County stop on the Listening Tour.

“Why stop at pre-engineering,” Chancellor Carter said. “Let’s not set the bar too low because this seems to be a recurring theme and a need in the region.

“This has been an extremely helpful discussion today,” he concluded. “It will take this kind of creativity to improve the quality of life here.”

For more information, contact the Office for University and Community Relations at 910.521.6249.