Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New N.C. State chief jabs a few stakes in the ground

New N.C. State chief jabs a few stakes in the ground

Randy Woodson, incoming chancellor at N.C. State University, was in town this week to make the rounds, including spending the day with legislative leaders Tuesday, breakfasting with former Gov. Jim Hunt (and and N.C. State grad) and dropping by the News & Observer to chat with reporters and editors. Woodson showed right off the bat a willingness to talk candidly about academic matters at N.C. State, the largest public university in North Carolina. In his words, he stuck a few stakes in the ground to make points about the university. Among them:

-- He thinks N.C. State has become "a bit risk averse" in academic matters and that it should take more risks that make an impact upon the state and the nation -- for example, declaring a goal for the university's program to become the best anywhere in chemical engineering, say, or other disciplines. "Academic risk is where you … put a stake in the ground" and say you're going to the next level. That includes budget choices, and some departments clearly need to grow to meet challenges. "It's time to decide where you're going to expand" -- and N.C. State needs a clearly articulated strategic plan that includes targets and measurements.

-- N.C. State's endowment, he says, is far too small and ought to be three times as large. N.C. State, he said, "has one of the smallest endowments of a research university… that I've ever seen." On paper, he noted, the endowment is $400 million, but $100 million of that is land. So the investment endowment that produces income is about $300 million. It ought to be, he said, $1 billion. He also sounds unconvinced that N.C. State's model of school-based foundations raising money is the best way to proceed. "It's very unusual," he said and added, "It doesn't appear to have been very effective."

-- And the university's faculty, he thinks, is too small. North Carolina's high schools are graduating more students, creating demand for space in higher education, and a larger endowment will help attract the best faculty and keep them to serve the students.

-- The N.C. State freshman class generally has about 9 or 10 percent out-of-state students, considerably less than the 18 percent allowed by state policy. He'd like to see N.C. State's freshman class proportion of out-of-state students rise because of the mix of intellect and experience a broader mix of students brings to the class and to the state.

16 comments:

Ryan said...

I hope he is able to achieve his goals.

Anonymous said...

First step should be to Fire the AD Lee Fowler

Anonymous said...

Show him the money, and they will come.....

Anonymous said...

The first item on Woodson's agenda should be to fire Lee Fowler, like was said earlier.

Other than that, I like the sound of his ideas. NC State needs someone who is going to challenge everyone involved at the university to make it the best. Oblinger, on top of being a lackey for his friends in high places, was all about the status quo. Nice to see someone with a little ambition. Hopefully the faculty won't try to run him out like they did to Fox.

Anonymous said...

first step to getting more out of state students - close the gap between tuition for out of state and in-state students. It's probably 4 or 5 times more expensive to be an out of state undergrad, don't think it's that high at most universities

Anonymous said...

Jack,

Thank-you for this story.

Anonymous said...

I believe attracting more out of state students is off the mark. State is a public university founded to educate the students of North Carolina.

Bob said...

Do not fire Lee Fowler. He is a great ambassador to this university. Just look at the last three weekends.

Anonymous said...

We have a nice clean athletics program now, thanks to Lee Fowler. It would be better not to go back to the sleazy days. The academic mission is what is crucial for NCSU; athletics should be in third place behind everything else.

Anonymous said...

^^^above comment^^^

in Lee Fowler's tenure at NC State, we have not won a single championship in a revenue sport. Not a single one. We need to hold our leaders accountable. In the business world, when you do not produce results, you get canned. Plain and simple. Fowler may be the nicest man in the world and he may have done a good job with facilities. However, these are all secondary issue. As AD his main objective is to have athletic success or at least some shred of improvement. NC State was number 74 (11th out of 12th in the acc) in the director's cup results last year. That is horrible. Even Yale and Harvard did better than that, and they do not even care about sports. Fire this man please.

Anonymous said...

Agree that academics comes first.
However, keep in mind that a strong athletics program is one of the best advertisements a university can have. Name recognition means everything today.
There's absolutely no reason to think that having a clean program means you have to compromise excellence.

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