UNC still number one in value

October 31, 2008

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine has ranked the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill the number one best value in American public higher education for the eighth consecutive time. Carolina has topped this list every time Kiplinger’s has produced it since 1998. The new ranking appears in the magazine’s December issue, which hits newsstands Nov. 11. Learn more

Tommy Edwards singing ’bout barbecue

October 30, 2008

Here’s a recording of Tommy Edwards, the Pittsboro, N.C. based co-founder of the Bluegrass Experience, singing Holy Smoke, the tune he wrote for the book co-authored by Southern studies guru and UNC sociologist emeritus John Shelton Reed. It’s a sneak preview of what you’ll hear at the band’s 37th anniversary concert Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in Fearrington Barn south of Chapel Hill, which Reed will emcee.

Click here for more about Holy Smoke, the book.

Misplaced blame

October 16, 2008

NY Times Editorial, Oct. 15, 2008:In recent weeks, Republicans in Congress have been blaming a lot of things, besides themselves, for the subprime mortgage debacle. And many of these same Republicans have long wanted to abolish the Community Reinvestment Act, a landmark law that helped to rebuild some of the nation’s most desolate communities by requiring banks to lend, invest and open branches in low-income areas that had historically been written off….A study released this week by the Center for Community Capital at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill [College of Arts and Sciences} shows that people of similar financial profiles were three to five times more likely to default when they received high-priced subprime mortgages than when they got bank loans made under the Community Reinvestment Act.”

Related research from Roberto Quercia and colleagues at the Center for Community Capital was cited recently in Forbes.

Holden be good

October 14, 2008

We knew our new Chancellor (and former Dean of the College) could do many things well, but sometimes he surprises even us. Hearing is believing. Here’s the You Tube video of Holden Thorp playing “Johnny Be Good” on his gee-tar at an event in Ann Arbor. And if you’d like to see what he’s up to in his day job, check out his blog.

UNC College authors win top N.C. book awards

October 13, 2008

Authors Michael Chitwood and Daniel Wallace, who teach creative writing at Carolina, have won the top book awards for poetry and fiction respectively from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. Chitwood received the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for Spill, his sixth collection of poems. Carolina faculty have won the award six times out of the past nine years; Chitwood also won it in 2003. Wallace, the J.Ross Macdonald Professor of English and Creative Writing, received the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction for Mr. Sebastian and The Negro Magician. Wallace’s 1998 book, Big Fish, was made into a movie by Tim Burton. Read the rest of the story. Wallace is also featured in a cover story in the latest edition of Carolina Arts & Sciences magazine. You can also listen to an interview with him on the WUNC-FM radio program State of Things: Part I and Part II.

Don’t blame poor for global economic meltdown

October 10, 2008

Hysteria about the global economic meltdown has given life to a damaging myth about how the U.S. economy got in such woeful shape. Some people are saying that greedy low-income households are to blame for the crisis that brought Wall Street to its knees because they recklessly borrowed more mortgage debt than they could afford.

Not so fast, according to new research by the Center for Community Capital in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, cited by Ford Foundation President Luis Ubinas in Forbes Magazine. Given an opportunity to access fair mortgages, most families foreclosed under the burden of irresponsible loan products would still be in their homes, the UNC study shows.

Hot’s not cool

October 10, 2008

From Sept. 21 New York Times: Hot is not so hot. As an adjective – hot topic, hot pants, hot to trot, hot fashion, hot news – the modifier appears to be losing some of its steam. Fierce is where it’s at (and forget about “where it’s at” – it isn’t anymore). According to the latest survey of students by English professor Connie Eble at UNC, fierce no longer means “ferocious” but has gained the slang sense of “well dressed and made-up; extremely attractive, formerly called ‘hot.'” You can feel the metaphors of heat slipping over the hill toward the Graveyard of Dated Slang, where rests “co-ed,” “crazy, man!,” “nerd,” and “you’re history.”