Unparalleled mosaics discovered by UNC-Chapel Hill archaeologist and team provide new clues on life in an ancient Galilean Jewish village

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The Spies Panel

 

Unparalleled mosaics discovered by UNC-Chapel Hill archaeologist and team provide new clues on life in an ancient Galilean Jewish village

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C.— July 9, 2018) — Recent discoveries by a team of specialists and students at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee, led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor Jodi Magness, shed new light on the life and culture of an ancient Jewish village. The discoveries indicate villagers flourished under early fifth century Christian rule, contradicting a widespread view that Jewish settlement in the region declined during that period. The large size and elaborate interior decoration of the Huqoq synagogue point to an unexpected level of prosperity.

 

“The mosaics decorating the floor of the Huqoq synagogue revolutionize our understanding of Judaism in this period,” said Magness. “Ancient Jewish art is often thought to be aniconic, or lacking images. But these mosaics, colorful and filled with figured scenes, attest to a rich visual culture as well as to the dynamism and diversity of Judaism in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods.”

 

The first mosaics in the Huqoq synagogue were discovered by Magness’ team in 2012. Since then, Magness, director of the Huqoq excavations and Kenan Distinguished Professor of Early Judaism in the department of religious studies in Carolina’s College of Arts & Sciences, assisted by Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University have uncovered additional mosaics every summer. This year, the team’s specialists and students focused their efforts on a series of mosaic panels in the north aisle. Magness said this series is part of the richest, most diverse collection of mosaics ever found in an ancient synagogue.

 

Along the north aisle, mosaics are divided into two rows of panels containing figures and objects with Hebrew inscriptions. One panel labeled “a pole between two” depicts a biblical scene from Numbers 13:23. The images show two spies sent by Moses to explore Canaan carrying a pole with a cluster of grapes. Another panel referencing Isaiah 11:6 includes the inscription “a small child shall lead them.” The panel shows a youth leading an animal on a rope. A fragmentary Hebrew inscription concluding with the phrase “Amen selah,” meaning “Amen forever,” was uncovered at the north end of the east aisle.

 

During this eighth dig, the team also continued to expose a rare discovery in ancient synagogues: columns covered in colorful, painted plaster still intact after nearly 1,600 years.

 

The mosaics have been removed from the site for conservation and the excavated areas have been backfilled. Excavations are scheduled to continue in the summer of 2019. Additional information and updates can be found at the project’s website: www.huqoq.org.

 

Mosaics uncovered by this project include:

  • 2012: Samson and the foxes
  • 2013: Samson carrying the gate of Gaza on his shoulders
  • 2013, 2014 and 2015: a Hebrew inscription surrounded by human figures, animals and mythological creatures including cupids; and the first non-biblical story ever found decorating an ancient synagogue — perhaps the legendary meeting between Alexander the Great and the Jewish high priest
  • 2016: Noah’s Ark; the parting of the Red Sea showing Pharaoh’s soldiers being swallowed by giant fish
  • 2017: a Helios-zodiac cycle; Jonah being swallowed by three successive fish; the building of the Tower of Babel

 

An image of the most recent discovery, images from past digs and video from this summer’s excavation may be downloaded here using password huqoq.

 

Photo/Video credit: Jim Haberman.

 

Sponsors of the project include UNC-Chapel Hill, Baylor University, Brigham Young University and the University of Toronto. Students and staff from Carolina and the consortium schools participated in the dig. Financial support for the 2018 season was also provided by the Friends of Heritage Preservation, the National Geographic Society, the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust and the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies.

 

-Carolina-

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 323,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 149 countries. More than 169,000 live in North Carolina.

 

University Communications: Carly Miller, (919) 445-8555, mediarelations@unc.edu

College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Spurr, (919) 962-4093, spurrk@email.unc.edu

 

UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law receives a $1.53 million gift for new entrepreneurship program

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UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law receives a $1.53 million gift for new entrepreneurship program

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. — June 18, 2018) – What does it take to be an entrepreneur? It takes drive, ambition, patience and persistence to identify a need and create a business to fill that need. It also takes access to legal resources.

 

The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust recognizes that early-stage legal counsel is critical to the success of new for-profit and nonprofit ventures. To ensure that these ventures have access to legal counsel, the Kenan Trust has made a $1.53 million gift to support the establishment of a clinical entrepreneurship program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Law. The program will provide rigorous, hands-on training for the next generation of public-spirited lawyers while also filling gaps in North Carolina’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. In addition to the Kenan Trust, the North Carolina General Assembly has appropriated $465,000 in recurring funds to support the program.

 

“We are thrilled and inspired by the investment in the education of Carolina students that the Kenan Trust and the people of North Carolina, through their representatives, are making,” said Martin H. Brinkley, dean and Arch T. Allen Distinguished Professor at UNC School of Law.  “Clinical education geared toward organizational clients, and the business and social entrepreneurs who establish them, is important to large numbers of our students. The new entrepreneurship program will help Carolina Law embrace its mission by fulfilling dual goals of teaching and service. With this generous gift from the Kenan Trust and additional support from the state, we will be able to provide an invaluable experiential learning opportunity for approximately 30 students a year while serving several times that number of for-profit and nonprofit entrepreneurial ventures each year.”

 

The new program will serve business and social enterprise entrepreneurs on the campuses of UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, in partnership with UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, NC State University’s Poole College of Management, as well as the innovation and entrepreneurship infrastructures on both campuses. The UNC School of Law also intends to identify one or more economic incubators in underserved parts of North Carolina that the entrepreneurship program can support.

 

In addition to providing educational opportunities for law students, the program will fill the one consistent gap across all startup settings: a lack of access to legal counsel. Legal advice for early-stage businesses and nonprofits, which typically have limited resources, is hard to find. In an effort to control costs, too many entrepreneurs never consult a lawyer and come to regret it. Failing to consult competent counsel exposes a new business or nonprofit organization to a variety of risks. For clients of the program these risks will be lowered, giving them a greater chance of thriving and expanding. In the end, students, startup businesses, communities and the state’s economy will end up benefiting.

 

The state recognized the benefits of the proposed program, appreciated the Kenan Trust gift and chose to show its support through a $465,000 appropriation.  “Connecting the world-class legal community at Carolina with business professionals in the startup economy is a win-win approach to higher education that will prepare law students to succeed and provide valuable legal resources for emerging companies in our state’s rapidly growing economy,” said House Speaker Tim Moore.

 

The program is expected to kick off in the 2019-2020 academic year. An official name will be determined during the planning process with input from current students.

 

“The Kenan Trust has always focused on the needs of the communities it serves and education is the foundation,” said Douglas Zinn, executive director of the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust. “We recognize that student education doesn’t just happen in the classroom and we are excited to support the entrepreneurship program that will train law students while strengthening North Carolina communities and the state’s economy.”

 

Funding will support three interwoven legal clinics at UNC School of Law: a for-profit ventures clinic, an intellectual property clinic and Carolina Law’s existing Community Development Law Clinic, which is a longstanding, highly successful nonprofit social entrepreneurship clinic. Each clinic, supervised by a full-time member of the law school faculty, will train eight to 10 law students per semester. Students will counsel business founders on the advantages and disadvantages of various business entity structures, form appropriate entities, draft organizational documents, capture and license intellectual property assets, and seek tax-exempt status for community based nonprofit organizations.

North Carolina is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top five places to start a new business. Because of the rich and thriving entrepreneurial culture of the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina and the business schools and entrepreneurial initiatives at local universities, the institute will serve a pipeline of clients from potential partners across the state.

 

“This gift and challenge from the Kenan Charitable Trust will catapult UNC School of Law onto the cutting edge of legal education. From my own experience representing clients in mergers and acquisitions and startups, there is a great need for legal advice at the earliest stages,” said Larry Robbins, partner at Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP. “My hat is off to the Kenan Trust and the North Carolina General Assembly for recognizing this need for an entrepreneurship institute and for funding it.”

 

The gift from the Kenan Trust supports For All Kind: The Campaign for Carolina, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the University’s history. The gift also reinforces UNC School of Law’s commitment to train lawyer-leaders to address the issues and questions of today’s dynamic, ever-evolving industries, particularly in areas of growth and influence in North Carolina and beyond.

 

-Carolina-

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 323,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 149 countries. More than 169,00 live in North Carolina.

 

University Communications: Media Relations, (919) 445-8555, mediarelations@unc.edu

 

UNC School of Law Contact: Amy Barefoot Graedon, (919) 843-7148, abarefoot@unc.edu

Two UNC-Chapel Hill graduates selected as Pickering Fellows

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Two UNC-Chapel Hill graduates selected as Pickering Fellows

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C.— June 11, 2018) – Valli (Sindhu) Chidambaram and Hannah Clager, two University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alumni, were selected as 2018 Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellows. Recipients of the Pickering Fellowship receive two years of financial support and professional development to prepare them for a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Fellows also complete a domestic internship at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., and an overseas internship at a U.S. embassy.

 

Managed and funded by the U.S. Department of State, consideration is given to qualified applicants who have displayed outstanding leadership skills and academic achievement. The fellowship aims to support those historically underrepresented in the U.S. Foreign Service, including women, minority groups and students with financial need.

 

Chidambaram, from Rockville, Maryland, graduated in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in global studies concentrating in global health and environment and double minors in Spanish for the professions and medical anthropology. With a grant from the Carolina Asia Center, she studied abroad in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. Then, as part of the Honors Semester in Cape Town program, she conducted burns research at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. Sindhu has interned with both U.S. Agency for International Development Indonesia and the U.N. Foundation’s Global Alliance For Clean Cookstoves.

 

At UNC-Chapel Hill, she has worked as the arts and culture senior writer for the student newspaper The Daily Tar Heel, volunteered at the Compass Center for Women and Families and mentored Latinx high school students through the Scholars’ Latino Initiative. Chidambaram will pursue her master’s degree in international development studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University this fall. She ultimately hopes to work as a management or public diplomacy officer.

 

Hannah Clager, from Lake Worth, Florida, will attend Harvard University this fall to pursue her master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies. Her studies will focus on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa; human rights and refugee affairs; and cultural diplomacy in the region. Clager earned her bachelor’s degree in 2013 with a major in art history and a minor in African studies. At UNC-Chapel Hill, she completed her art history honors thesis on the 2012 Dakar Biennale after seven months of fieldwork in Dakar, Senegal. She worked as a full-time paralegal for close to three years and then spent 14 months in Morocco as a Fulbright Student Researcher beginning in 2016, where she studied Arabic and completed a case study of the new Mohammed VI Modern and Contemporary Art Museum in Rabat.

 

“Both Hannah and Sindhu have worked very hard for these opportunities, are eminently qualified, and will increase the diversity of the U.S. Department of State. Receiving the Pickering is a great honor. UNC-Chapel Hill is proud to have these representatives working in U.S. foreign affairs,” said Professor Inger Brodey, director of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships.

 

 

-Carolina-

 

  

Photo of Chidambaram: https://bit.ly/2x5hfK5

Photo of Clager: https://bit.ly/2xgjV7Z

 

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 322,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 165 countries. More than 175,000 live in North Carolina.

 

Office of Distinguished Scholarships contacts: Inger Brodey, (919) 843-0965, brodey@email.unc.edu and Maggie Douglas, (919) 843-7757, mdouglas@unc.edu

 

University Communications: Media Relations, (919) 445-8555, mediarelations@unc.edu

 

 

Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill hosts “The Outwin: American Portraiture Today”     

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Amy Sherald, American, born 1973: Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance), 2013. Oil on canvas, 54 x 43-1/8 in., 2013. Frances and Burton Reifler © Amy Sherald.

Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill hosts
“The Outwin: American Portraiture Today”   

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C.— May 31, 2018) – The Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will host “The Outwin: American Portraiture Today” on view from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery from June 1 through Aug. 26. The Ackland is the fourth and final stop and is the only Southeast location chosen to host the exhibition. A preview of the exhibition can be seen here.The selected finalists for the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition finalists included in “The Outwin: American Portraiture Today” present a turning point in the advancement of American contemporary portraiture.

 

First-prize winner of the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition Amy Sherald became the first woman to win the competition for her oil on canvas titled “Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance)” (2013). Former first lady Michelle Obama selected Sherald to create her official portrait for the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection, revealed in February 2018. Sherald and Moss will also participate in a public discussion on June 1 at 6:30 p.m. about modern portraiture in the age of the selfie and digitized personhood.

 

“We are thrilled to welcome “The Outwin” as the Museum’s major summer exhibition,” said Katie Ziglar, director of the Ackland Art Museum. “From the breadth of artistic medium to the diverse representations of participants and their subjects, this show reflects the Ackland’s commitment to providing experiences that spark insight into ourselves, each other, and the world.”

 

“The Outwin” is the latest art experience offered by the Ackland, a partner in the university’s Arts Everywhere initiative, which strives to make art accessible to the campus and wider community. Arts Everywhere is a signature initiative of the University’s $4.25 billion fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Carolina. Since January 2017 the Ackland has secured gifts valued at $69.2 million, including several Rembrandt drawings, paintings and prints by Joan Mitchell and a 1971 oil and charcoal on paper by Willem de Kooning. These gifts, among others, increased the Ackland’s growth by more than 500 percent over the prior four years, bolstering the museum’s position as the preeminent public university art museum in the country.

 

The Outwin: American Portraiture Today

Open June 1 – August 26, 2018

Ackland Art Museum

101 South Columbia St.

Chapel Hill, N.C.

 

Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sundays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. More information is available at ackland.org.

 

Discussion with artist Amy Sherald

Friday, June 1, 6:30 p.m.

Artist Amy Sherald and curator Dorothy Moss will host a public discussion

Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

150 South Road

Chapel Hill, N.C.

 

This exhibition has been organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. The competition and exhibition have been made possible by generous support from the Virginia Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition Endowment.

 

The Ackland presentation of this exhibition has been made possible by generous support from The Caldwell Family Fund for the Ackland Art Museum, The Seymour and Carol Levin Foundation, and Cathy and Hunter Allen.

 

-Carolina-

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 323,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 149 countries. More than 169,000 live in North Carolina.

 

About the Ackland Art Museum

Featuring a year-round calendar of special exhibitions and dynamic public programs, the Ackland Art Museum on UNC-Chapel Hill’s historic campus is a local museum with a global outlook that bridges campus and community. Admission to the Ackland is free and accessible to all. The Ackland’s holdings include more than 18,000 works of art. The collection spans all cultures and time periods, showcasing the breadth of human creativity. A vital teaching resource, the museum’s mission is the art of understanding. Visitors can connect with the complexity and beauty of the wider world by getting close to art – the familiar, the unexpected, the challenging. The Ackland Art Museum is located at 101 South Columbia St. on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sundays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. The museum is open until 9 p.m. for Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s 2nd Friday ArtWalk. More information is available at ackland.org.

 

University Communications: Carly Miller, (919) 445-8555, mediarelations@unc.edu

Ackland Art Museum: Audrey Shore, (919) 843-3676, audrey.shore@unc.edu

 

Image: Amy Sherald, American, born 1973: Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance), 2013. Oil on canvas, 54 x 43-1/8 in., 2013. Frances and Burton Reifler © Amy Sherald.

 

UNC Health Care CEO, Medical School Dean Bill Roper Plans to Step Down in 2019

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UNC Health Care CEO, Medical School Dean Bill Roper Plans to Step Down in 2019


Dr. Roper led expansion efforts in education, research, and clinical care that improved health for all North Carolinians

 

 

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.  – May 31, 2018 ­– Dr. William L. Roper, who has helped transform UNC Health Care and the UNC School of Medicine into one of the nation’s top academic medical institutions, plans to step down as CEO and dean in May 2019.

 

“It has been a high honor to serve with so many talented and committed people. I know that our team is well equipped to continue taking on the challenges of a rapidly evolving medical and health care landscape,” Roper said. “Our mission, our patients and our providers are in good hands.”

 

Roper joined UNC-Chapel Hill as dean of the School of Public Health in 1997. In 2004, he became CEO of UNC Health Care, dean of the School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs. In those roles, he has expanded the reach of the health care system and medical school and helped improve the health of all North Carolinians. He’s also been a passionate advocate for health issues that affect residents of North Carolina at the state and federal levels.

 

“Dr. Roper has championed a broad range of innovative teaching, treatment and patient-care initiatives that have expanded and rippled across our state to provide patients with quality, accessible and affordable health care,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “Bill has provided a remarkable record of leadership, always with the people of North Carolina in his heart and on his mind.”

 

Under Roper’s leadership, UNC Health Care has expanded into a statewide system with more than a dozen hospitals, more than 30,000 employees and nearly $5 billion in annual revenue. His commitment to teaching and training the next generation of physicians has improved access across the state, especially in rural areas.

 

“Without question, Dr. Roper has a proven track record of service to our state, our people and to our future health,” said Dale Jenkins, chair of the UNC Health Care Board of Directors. “Throughout a long career of public service, he has made an impact on health care nationally, but most importantly, he has elevated health care to new levels here in North Carolina.”

 

At the UNC School of Medicine, total research funding has increased more than 50 percent since 2004 to $441 million last year, making it one of the preeminent medical research programs in the country. Roper has spearheaded efforts to expand its footprint across the state. He has cultivated relationships with other medical leaders and opened doors for medical students to train in Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington. Today, the medical school trains more than 2,400 inter-professional health care providers and medical students annually, including many who choose to practice in our state after their education. Roper also has helped expand and add numerous medical, teaching and research facilities at UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC Health Care.

 

“Since Dr. Roper arrived at UNC, he has leveraged his expertise, experience and political acumen to guide this institution’s medical program and the state’s health care system into the 21st century,” said UNC System President Margaret Spellings. “His robust vision has ensured that we will be ready to meet the needs of our state’s aging and growing population.”

 

Roper, who turns 70 this summer, plans to step down on May 15, 2019. The University and UNC Health Care soon will begin a national search for his successor.

 

Photo of Roper: https://tinyurl.com/roper-william

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 323,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 149 countries. More than 169,000 live in North Carolina.

 

About UNC Health Care

UNC Health Care is an integrated health care system comprised of UNC Hospitals and its provider network, UNC Faculty Physicians, UNC Physicians Network, the clinical patient care programs of the UNC School of Medicine. Additional hospital entities and health care systems include UNC REX Healthcare, Chatham Hospital, Johnston Health, Pardee Hospital, High Point Regional Health, Caldwell Memorial, Nash Health Care, Wayne Memorial, UNC Lenoir Health Care and UNC Rockingham Health Care.

 

University Communications contact: Audrey Smith, (919) 445-8555, audrey.smith@unc.edu

UNC Health Care contact: Alan Wolf, (919) 218-7103, alan.wolf@unchealth.unc.edu

 

UNC-Chapel Hill experts available to discuss hurricane season, which begins on June 1

UNC-Chapel Hill experts available to discuss hurricane season, which begins on June 1

 

Hurricane season officially begins on June 1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers and faculty are available to provide insight on storm surge and flooding, water quality, beach erosion and other storm-related issues, which can help communities prepare for the upcoming season.

 

Carolina experts are also available to discuss recovery-related research in the wake of hurricanes, especially Hurricane Matthew, which caused torrential rains, set a new storm tide record and killed at least 28 people in North Carolina in 2016.

 

 

If you’d like to speak with an expert, call (919) 445-8555 or email mediarelations@unc.edu.

 

Norma Houston is a lecturer in public law and government at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government. Houston is an expert on the laws and authorities related to emergency management, including state of emergency declarations, and is often on the front lines with North Carolina public officials during hurricanes. She works closely with the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management year-round to help local governments prepare for natural disasters and she curates an emergency management website for North Carolina public officials. Houston is also an expert in local government law and procurement and, in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, has been helping local governments navigate federal procurement regulations around FEMA reimbursements. She can discuss what local governments are authorized to do during disasters, how they should prepare for scenarios like evacuations and debris removal, and federal regulations like FEMA contract requirements.

 

 

Rick Luettich is the director of UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City, North Carolina and the lead investigator of the Department of Homeland Security’s Coastal Resilience Center. He is a leading global expert on storm surge and is on the front lines when it comes to predicting a storm’s potential impact, as co-developer of ADCIRC, a system of computer programs used to predict storm surge and flooding. These prediction models are updated every few hours – the most recent model can be found here. Agencies and organizations including Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and the emergency operations centers in several coastal states use Luettich’s model to assess risk, for design protection and to make decisions during storm events. He can discuss coastal risk, protection and forecasting storms.

 

Luettich’s research and ADCIRC model has also been used to design protection systems around New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and around New York and New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy. Most recently ADCIRC provided extensive storm surge and flooding predictions for the major landfalling hurricanes during the 2017 hurricane season.

 

 

Rachel Noble is a distinguished professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences. Her research focuses on public health issues surrounding water quality, including stormwater, drinking water and extreme conditions like those following a tropical storm or hurricane event. Her current work highlights the use of rapid tests to protect public health from waterborne diseases. She can discuss how to protect human health by better understanding pathogens and the risk they pose to the public, particularly after storm events.

 

Noble’s research and rapid method tests have been used on both coasts and the Great Lakes to protect public health. She is currently working with the Environmental Protection Agency on the implementation of methods to rapidly test E. coli at beaches. She is actively working with municipal wastewater agencies in California, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland on improved approaches to protect the public from contamination events in a more timely manner.

 

 

Hans Paerl is a distinguished professor of marine and environmental sciences at the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences. He is a water quality expert, focused on the harmful effects of toxic algae for both people and aquatic ecosystems. He can discuss the long-term impact of these blooms, including excessive nutrient inputs leading to algal blooms and their detrimental effects, including low oxygen (hypoxia), fish kills and toxicity of blooms, including digestive, liver and neurological impacts on human health.

 

Paerl’s recent study demonstrates that over the past 2 decades, tropical cyclones around the globe are increasing in both frequency and intensity. This has led to greater impacts to coastal watersheds including more fish kills, larger algal blooms, and larger low oxygen “dead zones.”

 

 

Carter Smith is a doctoral student at the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences. She studies the benefits of living shorelines, an alternative to seawalls, as a solution to combat erosion and property loss during storms. Living shorelines are both more cost effective than seawalls in the long-term and are ecologically more sustainable. She can discuss how homeowners and property managers can better protect coastal properties from hurricanes.

 

 

 

 

Gavin Smith is director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Coastal Resilience Center and a research professor in the department of city and regional planning at UNC-Chapel Hill. He leads the Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative, working with federal, state and local leaders on addressing community needs after the 2016 storm. Following Hurricane Katrina, he worked in the Mississippi Office of the Governor and provided policy change recommendations to improve the delivery of post-disaster recovery and reconstruction activities. He also previously served as the assistant director for hazard mitigation for the state of North Carolina. He can discuss the disaster recovery and hazard mitigation process, particularly the role of states.

 

 

P: (919) 445-8555  |  E: mediarelations@unc.edu

 

 

UNC-Chapel Hill experts available to discuss mosquito and tick-borne diseases

UNC-Chapel Hill experts available to discuss mosquito and tick-borne diseases

 

Diseases transmitted by ticks, mosquitoes and fleas – which include Lyme disease, Zika and West Nile virus – have tripled in the U.S., according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As warmer temperatures lead Americans to spend more time outdoors, it is important that people understand the risks and how to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes and ticks. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers and physicians are available to discuss the rise in vector-borne diseases, prevention recommendations and treatment options for these diseases, and meat allergies resulting from tick bites.

 

If you’d like to speak with an expert, call (919) 445-8555 or email mediarelations@unc.edu.

 

Dr. Ross Boyce is an infectious diseases fellow with the division of infectious diseases in the UNC School of Medicine. He studies malaria and dengue in East Africa. He can discuss prevention, diagnostics and treatment of vector-borne diseases as well as how climate change is impacting where these illnesses are found. He is currently studying tick-borne diseases in North Carolina.

 

 

 

Dr. Scott Commins is a professor of allergy and immunology in the UNC School of Medicine. He is a leading expert on alpha-gal meat allergy, which is believed to result from tick bites. He sees patients with this condition in the UNC Allergy and Immunology Clinic and he is one of a few experts in the U.S. who are conducting clinical research regarding this poorly understood yet often serious allergy. He is available to discuss alpha-gal.

 

 

 

Dr. Steve Meshnick is a professor of epidemiology in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and a professor of microbiology and immunology in the UNC School of Medicine. He has spent the last 30 years researching tropical infectious diseases. He can discuss malaria, including drug resistance, prevention and pregnancy. He also studies tick-borne diseases and was part of a research team that showed that treating clothing with the long-lasting tick repellent permethrin can protect outdoor workers in North Carolina from ticks.

 

 

Dr. David Weber is a professor of epidemiology in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and a professor of pediatrics and medicine in the UNC School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Pediatrics. He is also a member of UNC Hospitals’ Zika Response Working Group. He can discuss the increase in tick, mosquito and flea-borne diseases in the U.S. and share a clinical perspective on Lyme disease, Zika and other vector-borne diseases, and recommendations for how to protect against insect bites.

 

 

 

P: (919) 445-8555  |  E: mediarelations@unc.edu

 

 

New study finds climate change threatens marine protected areas

For immediate release

 

New study finds climate change threatens marine protected areas

 

Expected levels of ocean warming will transform marine ecosystems worldwide, beginning as early as 2050

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C.— May 7, 2018) – New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and collaborators found that most marine life in marine protected areas will not be able to tolerate warming ocean temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Marine protected areas have been established as a haven to protect threatened marine life, like polar bears, penguins and coral reefs, from the effects of fishing and other activities like mineral and oil extraction. The study found that with continued “business-as-usual” emissions, the protections currently in place won’t matter, because by 2100, warming and reduced oxygen concentration will make marine protected areas uninhabitable by most species currently residing in those areas.

 

The study, published today in Nature Climate Change, predicts that under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 emissions scenario, better known as the “business as usual scenario,” marine protected areas will warm by 2.8 degrees Celsius (or 5 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100.

 

The study concludes that such rapid and extreme warming would devastate the species and ecosystems currently located in marine protected areas. This could lead to extinctions of some of the world’s most unique animals, loss of biodiversity, and changes in ocean food-webs. It could also have considerable negative impacts on the productivity of fisheries and on tourism revenue. Many of these marine species exist as small populations with low genetic diversity that are vulnerable to environmental change and unlikely to adapt to ocean warming.

 

The study also estimated the year in which marine protected areas in different ecoregions would cross critical thresholds beyond which most species wouldn’t be able to tolerate the change. For many areas in the tropics, this will happen as soon as the mid-21st century.

 

“With warming of this magnitude, we expect to lose many, if not most, animal species from marine protected areas by the turn of the century,” said John Bruno, lead author, marine ecologist, and biology professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill. “To avoid the worst outcomes, we need to immediately adopt an emission reduction scenario in which emissions peak within the next two decades and then decrease very significantly, replacing fossil fuels with cleaner energy sources like solar and wind.”

 

Key takeaways include:

 

  • There are 8,236 marine protected areas around the world, although they only cover about 4 percent of the surface of the ocean.
  • The projected warming of 2.8 degrees Celsius (or 5 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 would fundamentally disrupt the ecosystems currently located in marine protected areas.
  • Mean sea-surface temperatures within marine protected areas are projected to increase 0.034 degrees Celsius (or 0.061 degrees Fahrenheit) per year.
  • Marine protected areas in the Arctic and Antarctic are projected to warm especially quickly, threatening numerous marine mammals like polar bears and penguins.
  • The marine protected areas at the greatest risk include those in the Arctic and Antarctic, in the northwest Atlantic, and the newly designated no-take reserves off the northern Galápagos islands Darwin and Wolf.

 

“There has been a lot of talk about establishing marine reserves to buy time while we figure out how to confront climate change,” said Rich Aronson, ocean scientist at Florida Institute of Technology and a researcher on the study. “We’re out of time, and the fact is we already know what to do: We have to control greenhouse gas emissions.”

 

The research was conducted in collaboration with researchers at Florida Institute of Technology, Polar Bears International, University of Southampton, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Marine Conservation Institute, NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, University of Miami and the National Oceanography Centre.

 

Bruno is available for interviews. Please let us know if you’d like to arrange a time to learn more.

 

The photo below shows the projected warming per year (indicated by the color-coded bar on the right) of the world’s marine protected areas (indicated by the black dots).

 

 

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About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 322,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 165 countries. More than 175,000 live in North Carolina.

 

University Communications Contact: Audrey Smith, (919) 445-8555, audrey.smith@unc.edu

University releases documents related to faculty grievance

Today Chancellor Carol L. Folt released the following memo. The documents referenced in the memo are included below.

 

 

 

  1. The letter of Provost Robert Blouin to Christopher B. McLaughlin, Chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee, dated November 30, 2017.
  2. The letter of Chancellor Carol L. Folt to Professor Jay Smith dated February 26, 2018.
  3. The letter of Chancellor Carol L. Folt to Board of Trustees Chair Haywood Cochrane dated March 20, 2018.
  4. The decision of the Board of Trustees denying Professor Smith’s appeal dated April 2, 2018.

 

Published May 4, 2018

 

 

North Carolina Policy Collaboratory grants will support GenX research and other emerging environmental contaminants in North Carolina

For immediate use

North Carolina Policy Collaboratory grants will support GenX research and other emerging environmental contaminants in North Carolina

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – April 9, 2018) — The North Carolina Policy Collaboratory today announced $430,000 in grants for three research projects to address emerging contaminants in North Carolina, including GenX, a potentially toxic industrial compound that has been detected in the Cape Fear River.

 

“GenX was identified last summer as a potential dangerous contaminant in our state’s drinking water, and these projects will help us to better understand the scope of this issue and how it might be addressed,” said Al Segars, chair of the NC Policy Collaboratory Advisory Board and PNC Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and faculty director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. “By funding research that addresses these kinds of timely environmental quality concerns, the Collaboratory is fulfilling its mission of connecting university research to policy in service to North Carolina citizens.”

 

The grants will support the following projects:

  • $300,000 to evaluate emerging contaminants in private wells in North Carolina. The grant will build on an existing study funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and led by Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson, associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering at UNC Gillings School of Public Health. Researchers will test the performance of household water filters in removing lead, microbial contaminants, GenX and other perfluoroalkyl compounds. Gibson’s team will also conduct a cost-benefit analysis of interventions for private wells contaminated with lead, GenX and other contaminants.
  • $50,000 for a project led by Matthew Lockett, assistant professor of chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Marcey Waters, Glen H. Elder Jr. Distinguished Professor, to develop an easy-to-read, qualitative paper test that would indicate if GenX might be present in the water and if additional analysis is necessary. This project is a partnership between the Collaboratory and the UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility.
  • $80,000 to prioritize research and identify ways to address data and monitoring needs for detection of contaminants across the state. The work will be carried out by a state-wide consortium of university researchers organized by the Collaboratory who are working to identify completed, ongoing and planned research projects on emerging contaminants, including GenX, in North Carolina. The Collaboratory research team will be co-led by Gibson and Detlef Knappe, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at North Carolina State University, and is comprised of faculty members from East Carolina University, North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Wilmington and Duke University.

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About the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory

The Collaboratory was established in the summer of 2016 by the North Carolina General Assembly for the purposes of facilitating the dissemination of the policy and research expertise of the University of North Carolina for practical use by state and local government. The Collaboratory facilitates and funds research related to the environmental and economic components of the management of the natural resources within North Carolina and of new technologies for habitat, environmental, and water quality improvement. To date the Collaboratory has brought nearly $4 million in research dollars to the UNC System. More information about the Collaboratory can be found at:  https://collaboratory.unc.edu/

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 322,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 165 countries. More than 175,000 live in North Carolina.