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The State of Higher Education in Charlotte

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3 hours ago, J-Rob said:

https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2017/08/31/carolinas-healthcare-unc-health-to-merge.html

 

hmmmm....  Seems like this could be big for Charlotte... Possible medical school location in Charlotte?

Only if it is under the UNC Charlotte name. If it is just an extension of UNC Chapel Hill, you can bet money that it's not going to be great. Their current operation at CMS is only for third and fourth year students, and lacks the research component. Also, it would be a major slap in the face to one of the regions biggest assets. You can be sure UNC Charlotte students and alumni will be pissed if that happens.

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27 minutes ago, Rufus said:

Only if it is under the UNC Charlotte name. If it is just an extension of UNC Chapel Hill, you can bet money that it's not going to be great. Their current operation at CMS is only for third and fourth year students, and lacks the research component. Also, it would be a major slap in the face to one of the regions biggest assets. You can be sure UNC Charlotte students and alumni will be pissed if that happens.

I think that ship sailed once CHS formally entered into a partnership with the UNC school of medicine. A stand alone medical school in Charlotte was only feasible if CHS backed the effort since they are already a teaching hospital. Either way any 4 yr school was likely to be  2 yrs on Charlotte's campus & 2 yrs on CMC's main campus either way& that's the route most likely now. 

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For UNCC alumni, and general observers, does the number associate with the size of the student body affect your perception of a college? More importantly, are there other factors that play more of a role in what makes a good or bad college in your mind? I ask because I wonder if the size of the university affects people's perception of what goes on there.

As a total sidebar - at what point will UNCC become to North Carolina what UCLA is to California (major public university on par with the original public university)?

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^^^ I don't have a complete answer and I have a tidbit first. This is something I just recently found out as my cousin who lives in California just started college earlier in the fall  California actually has three college systems, opposed to the two in NC (4 year Universities and community colleges).  

I'm not completely sure of the divisions for California, but "essentially" they are broken into three levels, 1. Research Universities such as Cal Berkley, UCLA and so on, the State universities which focus on teaching and then finally the community college system.  

Not really an answer but an interesting fact. 

As far as, perception and academic credibility of a university, for UNCC to be at the level of Carolina or State they would need to be upgraded to "flagship" university for the NC system, which would result in greater funding. Which will created more masters and more importantly PhD programs.

As far as this happening, I honestly think it will happen anytime soon. I don't think NC is pumping out enough college bound students to merit another flagship university. California is so large, when I compare universities between them and our area, I have to include, UVA, Maryland, UGA, Georgia Tech, and VA Tech. Just due to the size of the state. And in that regard, our area has the same or more likely, better public universities in the same area. 

Additionally, the research that comes out of universities is a primary driver in the success/perception of universities. 

And the creditionals of the faculty, Fields Medals, Toyko Prizes, Noble Laureates, and the like. 

Number of grads doesn't accurately reflect the capability of an institution alas, Cal Tech has less than 1000 undergrads currently enrolled and if you're a STEM major and get into Cal Tech....You go to Cal Tech!

 

Edited by Popsickle
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11 hours ago, Spartan said:

For UNCC alumni, and general observers, does the number associate with the size of the student body affect your perception of a college? More importantly, are there other factors that play more of a role in what makes a good or bad college in your mind? I ask because I wonder if the size of the university affects people's perception of what goes on there.

As a total sidebar - at what point will UNCC become to North Carolina what UCLA is to California (major public university on par with the original public university)?

I remember when I was comparing NC universities to attend, the fact that UNCC had so many dang students in attendance made me not want to attend; it made me feel like it was the dumping ground and/or safety net school for students.

This was, of course, before I transferred there. I don't know if that metric is fair or accurate.

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11 hours ago, Spartan said:

As a total sidebar - at what point will UNCC become to North Carolina what UCLA is to California (major public university on par with the original public university)?

I think UNCC is too new for that to happen anytime soon; seems like another, older campus would have already been on track for that to happen if the UNC system was intending on going that direction. Plus the UC system is so massive and well-funded that in addition to Berkeley and UCLA, there are four other UC campuses ranked in the top 50 according to USNWR (not the end-all, be-all when it comes to college/university rankings but worth noting):  Santa Barbara, Irvine, San Diego, and Davis.

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12 hours ago, Popsickle said:

... California actually has three college systems, opposed to the two in NC (4 year Universities and community colleges).  

I'm not completely sure of the divisions for California, but "essentially" they are broken into three levels, 1. Research Universities such as Cal Berkley, UCLA and so on, the State universities which focus on teaching and then finally the community college system. 

We have the same sort of system, the only difference being we don't have an explicit label for the teaching schools in the UNC system. Chapel Hill and NCSU are the big research schools, ECU, UNCC and UNCG are research posers (and their status as research or teaching institutions changes frequently depending on the political winds) and then everybody else falls into the "Cal State" category.

I do think the operation of UNC System schools would be more efficient if we had separate funding pools and policies for the two groups of schools (and if the system could decide about the three middle universities and what they want them to be). Policies and rules for the research schools don't often fit the needs of the teaching schools.

Edited by kermit

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13 hours ago, Spartan said:

For UNCC alumni, and general observers, does the number associate with the size of the student body affect your perception of a college? More importantly, are there other factors that play more of a role in what makes a good or bad college in your mind? I ask because I wonder if the size of the university affects people's perception of what goes on there.

As a total sidebar - at what point will UNCC become to North Carolina what UCLA is to California (major public university on par with the original public university)?

For your first question, selectivity is more prestigious than total students.  UNCC's goal to hit 35K students has to be balanced with its selectivity goals, which leads to the answer to your sidebar question:  decades, if ever.  UNCC is the only UNC school to serve the Charlotte CSA and as such must serve the needs of about 3 million people.  It wouldn't make sense for it to be highly-selective when it is so isolated from other UNC schools:

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 12.13.58 PM.png

Edited by SentioVenia

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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.

Edited by birky
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1 hour ago, KJHburg said:

Is it normal for a university to build a hotel?

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1 hour ago, SgtCampsalot said:

Is it normal for a university to build a hotel?

yup,  Nearly every research university has them.  Chapel Hill's has been around for 100 years.

Its a pretty strong market these days. In addition to conferences (which are frequent), football and basketball continuing ed is a huge market for on campus hotels. This also provides a much needed upmarket option for the UC area (the Hilton is tattered) and, given the location,  can even pull folks in off the interstate. 

Edited by kermit
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NC State and UNC-CH both have on campus hotels.  It sounds like the University foundation will lease the land to the developer.  I think it is great for the campus. 

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This is indeed remarkable about the endowment at Davidson College.   From Twitter this morning 

Business N.C. Retweeted John D. Burns

Beloved Davidson College prof Clark Ross is donating $3.6M to the college. Part of $425M campaign. School with less than 2,000 students has endowment of more than $650 million.

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An interesting comparison chart from a new Brookings report on the economic health of 'middleweight' cities. We all already knew that basic research and R&D are our Achilles:

image.png.bff77dc5dbb6a96d5af5b0b8bb1c69de.png

UNCC's history as a teaching institution is really tough to overcome. I knew the situation was bad, but I had really thought that some of the cities ahead of us (Kansas City, Detroit, Indianpolis) would have done worse. KC has 9 times our output -- Gezzz.

Charlotte performs pretty well in some other metrics (exports among them).  https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/sacramentoregioneconomicprosperity_fullreport.pdf

 

Edited by kermit
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15 minutes ago, kermit said:

An interesting comparison chart from a new Brookings report on the economic health of 'middleweight' cities. We all already knew that basic research and R&D are our Achilles:

image.png.bff77dc5dbb6a96d5af5b0b8bb1c69de.png

UNCC's history as a teaching institution is really tough to overcome. I knew the situation was bad, but I had really thought that some of the cities ahead of us (Kansas City, Detroit, Indianpolis) would have done worse. KC has 9 times our output -- Gezzz.

Charlotte performs pretty well in some other metrics (exports among them).  https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/sacramentoregioneconomicprosperity_fullreport.pdf

 

But wait, didn't the Agenda tell us a few weeks ago that we should essentially shut up about research universities.  

Here's another interesting comparison, VCU, a sister institution to UNCC, eclipsed $270 mil in research dollars in 2016.

https://www.news.vcu.edu/article/VCU_sponsored_research_reaches_new_alltime_high

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