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birky

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Posts posted by birky


  1. On 11/2/2017 at 3:22 PM, Rufus said:

    There's a couple of factors playing into this that others have responded with, but I feel the need to repeat and add on to them.

    1. UNC Charlotte is a large school, and it serves an extremely large population base. It's one of the more isolated schools in the system, and it's supposed to serve a region of 3+ million people. This also goes into this idea that universities should be more vocational, serving as a means to educate a future workforce rather than future thinkers. I'd rather not wade into that debate, if possible, but it is clear with the current BoG, that more and more universities in the UNC system will become less research focused and more vocational focused, which is a damn shame.

    2. UNC Charlotte is surprisingly well reputed outside of NC, particularly in engineering, computer science, and the social sciences. The school has one of the largest percentages of international students because a lot of them are coming here to learn just these specialties. There is some amazingly world-renowned work happening at UNC Charlotte, that is going unnoticed...which leads to point #3.

    3. With regards to "reputation," i.e. USNWR, et. al, Chancellor DuBois has been vocal about not sending in the data that is used to rank these schools. The university has had a historic practice in his term of not paying attention rankings, which is why the university is ranked as a National University, but with the rank of 198. Compare this to the reputation rankings that are done by high school counselors and others, and you will find they rank the school in the top 150 of the country.

    4. There is a lot of good coming out of the university in terms of research. Our research expenditures still rank in the top 250 nationally, which lists medical programs separately from the main university, so that is pretty incredible. We have also seen an increase in the number of major scholarships. It was only a few years ago that we had our first Goldwater Scholar, and we have had numerous Fullbright and Marshall scholars. Also the university ranks high in terms of the number of leaders in the business world holding degrees. The CEO of Lowe's and Premier, as well as numerous CFOs and F500 leaders have graduated from the university.

     

    Now, to answer your question in comparing the university to UCLA. California funds their universities so much more than we can imagine, and even when they are having to reduce funding, they are still well-endowed. There's a reason why UC Irvine, UCSD, and UCSB all rank in the top 50 universities in the country, and produce Nobel winners and have major research programs: STATE FUNDING. North Carolina in the last decade has ripped its crown jewel of a university system apart. Democrats and Republicans have decimated a system that was once regarded as the paradigm of public education. And it is a damn shame. The only way the university is ever going to reach the expected heights is to find funding, both public and private.

    I'm going to dispute some of what you mentioned in part 2.

    There are certainly some graduate programs which rank somewhat well at the national level. And there are some faculty are well established in their fields.  But the reason why international students make up more than a fifth of all graduate enrollment isn't because of the school's reputation abroad.

    First, there is limited interest in computing and engineering disciplines among domestic students in the US, especially when it comes to computer science, information technology, and certain engineering fields (electrical and mechanical being the primary ones). Schools like UNC Charlotte have to rely on international enrollment in order to keep these programs alive for domestic students and to attract and keep quality researchers.  Every single one of the programs mentioned above would prefer to decrease international enrollment if it meant greater representation by domestic students. And that's not speculation on my part.

    That's not to say, in any terms, that international students aren't great students (they are) or that they don't do great work (they do). But they aren't coming here because of UNC Charlotte's reputation. They often come here because they know someone else, either through family or through school, that also came here. It's still largely word of mouth.  But take Indian students, who make up the majority of the international students at UNCC - they are not coming from IITs or NITs, which are considered the top public institutions in India. Those students to go Carnegie Mellon or other high-ranking schools. Instead, they are coming from second-tier institutions, which often lack the resources of US schools. I can also say that for many international students, UNCC was not their first choice.  So make of that what you will.

    A big part of what drives university prestige is both the quality and volume of research. While UNCC does produce some quality research, it's not at the same volume of NCSU or UNC. That's probably the bigger difference between the schools at this point. UNCC is classified as a Tier II research institution based on the number of doctoral research degrees it awards annually. They just recently jumped from III to II.  UNC and NCSU are classified as Tier I.  And there are some big hurdles in closing that gap. First, schools tend to be very territorial about who can offer what programs. If you want to be classified as Tier I, you have to graduate more PhDs and that means offering more programs. UNC, NCSU, ECU, and UNCG will all fight UNCC if they already offer a competing program in the same discipline. Second is that you have to be able to adequately fund these research programs.  UNCC's small endowment is a major issue in this regard. The gap between UNC and NCSU is massive, but the gap between NCSU and UNCC or ECU is equally as massive (roughly $1 billion). That's such an advantage in terms of what you can offer faculty and graduate students (some schools can afford to fund master's students similar to PhD students; UNCC can't).

    As a research institution, UNC Charlotte fills a space ahead of non-research schools like App State or Asheville. It's roughly on par with ECU and UNCG. But the likelihood of it closing the research gap on UNC or NCSU in our lifetimes is, frankly, remote.

    • Thanks 1

  2. The CO article once again mentioned CATS' plan for a $6 billion splurge on additional light rail lines.  Given extremely low interest rates, and that bonds are typically fairly easy to pay off over time due to inflation (not to mention expected future tax revenue as the city grows), would a bond referendum make sense as opposed to another tax hike? I'm sure the annual debt service would be significant, but could the city afford that in order to fund the full build-out?


  3. 3 hours ago, ricky_davis_fan_21 said:

    There were apartments proposed there... I didn't think they were happening though. The elevator cores on the adjacent corner is for a super ugly PoMo, City Fair looking storage facility.

    I believe the original plan called for development from McNinch to Cedar, but the lot next to Cedar is currently being used as parking space for the storage building construction next to Steve's Motorsports.

    On 2/14/2017 at 2:44 PM, ricky_davis_fan_21 said:

    Its a resign of 1213 West Morehead from a new firm. Originally it was CitiSculpt, here is the higher res image. 

    16593581_10208190450504295_496552811_o.jpg

    Quick question: after completing the demo of the previous building, why did the developers lay down grass?  Why not just leave it as a dirt lot?


  4. On 1/25/2017 at 8:10 PM, ah59396 said:

    I'm a huge soccer fan and want nothing more than an MLS team in Charlotte.  But I'm against this.  It's totally a personal thing for me, but I'm sick and tired of watching billionaires get pushed huge sums of tax payer dollars for vanity projects like a soccer team.  If we got a privately funded stadium, I'd be the first in line to buy PSL's or whatever else they came up with.  But I have no interest in giving millions of tax dollars to a billionaire.  This city needs quality of life investments.  Better walkability, more parks and recreation, greenways and improved transit.  Schools, better access to healthcare, the list goes on.  Talk about fund allocation all you want, but it makes me sick to see something like this pushed right to the front of the line while other projects sit dormant and underfunded.  That's all I got folks.  #rant

    And I'll say the same thing when it comes time for the Panthers stadium.

    Agree with all of this.  I'm not in any way against public investment, but an MLS team in Charlotte would be a luxury. There are so many more pressing quality of life issues for residents in this city than another publicly-subsidized pro sports team. Pro leagues will continue to extract public money from local and state governments until those groups stand up to them.

    As an aside, the next big issue for me was the artificial urgency of this decision.  I mean, clearly by design to squeeze the city & county into making a decision without a full vetting process.

    While the total cost to the city & county were not staggering sums, how many impact studies were performed before the street car was approved?  [I have no idea, but I'm guessing more than zero].  I was sort of disgusted with Center City Partners, who were pushing approval of the deal really hard on social media.  Their press release included a throw away comment about $500 million in expected economic development around a new stadium, but were completely silent about releasing their supposed economic impact study to the public.  Although entirely unsurprising, for a group like CCP to push the general public on this, yet refuse to release their study (if it even exists), remains a joke.

    • Like 4

  5. I don't think it's possible for UNCC to absorb CSL. That is generally not how public institutions operate.  If UNCC were to open a law school, it would have to be approved through the UNC Board of Governors, there'd need to be adequate funding, a hiring process for faculty and staff, any students would need to go through the admission process, etc, etc.  There's a ton that has to happen behind the scenes for this sort of addition.

    It's far more likely that CSL goes in bankruptcy and closes, and then a university like Wake (with an existing law program), hires some faculty for a cohort program in Charlotte.

    • Like 1

  6. 5 minutes ago, cltbwimob said:

    ^^^I am hoping that as the school crumbles, which I fully expect it to given the Gainful Employment rules and now this, that UNCC is able to take over the school.  

    CSOL and The other Infilaw schools are among the biggest scams in education, offering their students a fourth tier legal education at Duke prices. While UNCC may never be able to bring the school to the first or second tier, at least they could make it affordable.  As a comparison NCCUs law school's tuition is somewhere  in the range of $6,000 per year and I'm sure UNCC could make tuition similarly affordable vs the $40,000+/year costs of CSOL.

    Honestly, I wouldn't expect anything like this from UNCC in the near future. It's more likely that Wake expands their existing options in Charlotte to include an option for their JD.

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