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Moeser: Growth to Challenge Next UNC Chancellor

Posted December 18, 2007

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— Chancellor James Moeser said growth will be the top challenge for his successor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Moeser, who has led the UNC system's flagship campus for the past seven years, plans to step down on June 30 to take a faculty position. A university committee is searching for his successor.

"I think we have to be careful here because we have something that's important to preserve," he said.

Enrollment projections call for about 30,000 students at UNC by 2015. Some lawmakers are pushing for a bigger bump in numbers, but Moeser said it's important to maintain the current faculty-student ration of 20 to 1 – about half of the classes on campus have fewer than 20 students.

"We will not become an Ohio State. We will not become a Michigan State," he said. "(I'm not) denigrating those great institutions, but they have a very different culture."

The UNC culture includes always giving academics a priority over athletics, Moeser said.

Athletic expenditures have held steady at 4 percent of the school's total budget over the past 20 years, he said. He also defended the nearly $300,000 annual raise for football coach Butch Davis.

"People say he only had four wins. I say yes, four wins and five sellouts," he said. "We're on an upward trajectory of filling Kenan Stadium, which is the fuel that operates the entire program."

Moeser said he plans to press lawmakers during his final weeks on the job for more funding for the planned Carolina North complex on the other side of Chapel Hill. He calls the 50-year campus expansion plan the future of the university.

"We're talking seriously about moving the law school to Carolina North. We'll build a couple of research buildings. We'll probably start a fresh generation of housing for faculty and graduate students," he said.

The project has drawn criticism, but he said Carolina North should increase Chapel Hill's tax base and improve the town's quality of life.

"We're really committed, strongly committed, to sustainability," he said.

9 Comments

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  • rlewis Dec 19, 2007

    I used to be one of Moeser's critics. I didn't have a good first impression of him and the news updates put out about him didn't do anything to change that first impression.

    BUT, I've got to say that my opinion of him has changed. I saw him at the airport.. around last Christmas.. and I figured "why not" and I approached him and said hello. He much more "with it" than I expected. Firm handshake and very approachable.

    It'll be interesting to see who UNC hires for their next chancellor. Lots of big decisions in the near future.

    And I agree with the earlier comment about how the construction and traffic around the UNC hospital has gotten to the ridiculous point. Is that area ever going to be complete? I don't think so.

  • wildervb Dec 19, 2007

    Why make UNC any larger? 30,000 students in one University is just a ridiculus size.

    The State should open some new campuses. Maybe use some of that cheap land down east, it could be a big boost to the local economy of some of the smaller Eastern cities.

  • Demented Dec 19, 2007

    Growth is surely needed somewhere. The UNC system better start planning for one or two Michigan State- or Ohio State-sized facilities somewhere. To get in the better schools of the UNC system now, it seems the minimum requirements are 4.5 GPA, 1400 SAT, and class president for 3 years. That bar denies far too many great NC students access to a good state school education.

  • jackadoo Dec 19, 2007

    I do not understand the pressure to grow. Why not cap the growth at a low rate each year. Growth means more tax dollars each year, and a further deteriation of the Chapel Hill quality of life. It has already reached the point that only the elite can afford to live in CH. The kids are getting hammered by tuition increases. Three are, I believe 15 other NC campuses scattered all over the State. Many would welcome the growth and the economic impact it would serve to the community. Bigger is not always better.

  • inventor61 Dec 18, 2007

    Every great University has an airport, but this joker wants to close the one they have, which is not all that much younger than aviation itself.

    Bad move. Beyond shortsighted, approaching foolhardy.

    The guy above that said "spread it around" is right on. Oxford, Rocky Mount, Kannapolis, all great places to expand. Cool it in Chapel Hill, you'll kill the goose. Hope the new guy "gets it."

  • thewayitis Dec 18, 2007

    The UNC system should expand to other cities, instead of the continual growth in Chapel Hill. I think it was a stupid decision to deny the potential campus in Rocky Mount, for instance. UNC-CH can't grow much more and still maintain its current culture. Spread the growth to other cities -- more people will benefit with more satellite universities.

    Chapel Hill is awful to drive through right now. They've been building up around the hospital for almost a decade now, and it's a mess. You can't even see the sun around there anymore, because of all of the tall buildings. UNC is not nearly as nice as it used to be, because it's growing too much. It's time to slow the growth, not expand it!

  • bob d Dec 18, 2007

    mike, i think you are confused. moeser is the one who got his PhD in Organ playing...while he excels in Cello playing too (and probably every other classical instrument). Anyways, the feeble acadamian will return to the univserity once his multimillion dollar building (funded by the state) containing an organ hall is complete, and he will be a professor earning about $128,000 a year. he'll probably even collect retirement on top of that. what a little sucker, nursing at the teat of the tax payers.

  • whatelseisnew Dec 18, 2007

    They could save some expense and eliminate the position, but seeing as how they get a lot of money from the government trough and have plenty of students at their mercy it won't happen.

  • mike275132 Dec 18, 2007

    Ah Yes Chancellor Moeser,

    He was the UNC Chancellor who approved of reading of the Koran propaganda "Approaching the Qur'án" in 2002, and guess what. A UNC-CH graduate Islamic terrorist tries to run over and kill innocent students. Great job! He got his PhD in Cello playing right? Have fun living off the taxpayers in your retirement. You wil not be forgotten.