Monthly Archives: June 2012

JSNN reaches milestone on state funding

Congratulations to the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering. For the first time, its full state funding request has been included as a recurring item in the budget, The Business Journal reports today (subscription required).

“The final legislative budget converted the $1 million of nonrecurring funds that had previously been passed for the school into $2 million in recurring funds. … The JSNN, which is run in partnership by UNC-Greensboro and N.C. A&T State University, has been receiving $4.9 million in recurring funds from the state, but school officials had to return to the legislature each year for enough nonrecurring funding to fill a budget gap.”

Nothing is absolutely certain until Gov. Bev Perdue signs off on the budget as whole.  She still has some problems with it, but the JSNN funding isn’t reported to be one of them.

Still, the General Assembly has acted, and that’s a big milestone.  The legislators have given the school strong, bipartisan support for several years. That’s something you don’t see every day in Raleigh.

The next time you have a chance, thank a legislator.  In an economy that remains in desperately bad shape, they’ve made a tough decision and done the right thing for us, for our community and our state.

At issue: A new perspective on affirmative action

“As the Supreme Court prepares to hear yet another challenge to the consideration of race or ethnicity in college admissions, civil rights lawyers and educators are sharpening new arguments to defend affirmative action or defuse the issue.”

— The Bay State Banner

Among those educators is Dr. William Harvey, dean of the N.C., A&T School of Education.  He argues that advocates for affirmative action need to take the issue out of the context of compensation for past discrimination and reframe it in a new light.  His comments are included in this column from The Bay State Banner of Boston.

Journalism’s multimedia future has arrived; HBCU programs find keeping up a challenge

A survey of 240 administrators and faculty from 51 HBCUs with journalism programs reveals a number of challenges as they prepare students for careers in the 21st century news industry.

It’s the first published study to look at how journalism programs at HBCUs are coping with swift changes in the news business as a result of mobile technology and the Internet. The study was conducted by Kim Smith, assistant professor of journalism and mass communication at North Carolina A&T.

The study was published in the June issue of The Electronic Journal of Communication, an online peer-reviewed publication.

Out of the nearly 100 who completed the survey, the most striking result was that nearly all faculty members, chairs and program directors agreed that they must change their journalism education curricula to meet the new demands of 21st century journalism. But they disagreed over who should lead the process. They pointed fingers at each other.

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JSNN to host nanomanufacturing conference

The science and technology of nanomanufacturing will be the subjects of a conference this summer at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.

The one-day Nanomanufacturing Conference will be held Wednesday August 15. The conference website contains program and registration information.

Sessions will focus on nanomanufacturing for such applications as aerospace, energy, and  biotechnology.

The keynote speakers will be Dr. Altaf Carim, assistant director for nanotechnology, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President; and Dr. Jeffrey Morse, managing director of the National Nanomanufacturing Network.

The conference is organized by the JSNN; COIN, the Center of Innovation for Nanobiotechnology; the Nanobusiness Commercialization Association; and the North Carolina Aerospace Alliance.

N.C. A&T leads UNC system in STEM growth

Front page of The Business Journal

The number of N.C. A&T students graduating in the STEM disciplines is accelerating at almost twice the rate of the UNC system as a whole, The Business Journal reports.

The weekly business newspaper notes that the new STEM early college opening this fall will help A&T’s efforts in producing science, technology, engineering and math  graduates:

“But N.C. A&T is already outpacing other Triad UNC campuses and the UNC system as a whole when it comes to fulfilling what many education and policy leaders have said is the critical need for more graduates with skills in science and math. According to data provided by the UNC system, A&T increased the number of STEM-related degrees it granted in 2011 by 39.3 percent compared to 2008, while the number of non-STEM degrees rose by just 3 percent.”

The UNC system overall increased STEM graduates by 20.7 percent.

The article is available at The Business Journal’s website (subscription required).

Summertime: Bililign on Ethiopian satellite TV

Aggie researchers are popping up on TV screens, at podiums and in laboratories around the world this summer.

Dr. Solomon Bililign of the Department of Physics turned up on EBS-TV, a satellite channel aimed at Ethiopians around the world.  The interview was broadcast twice and is now available on YouTube.  Brush up on your Amharic; Bililign and interviewer Solomon Mulugeta Kassa may have done the interview in suburban Washington, but they were speaking the  language of Ethiopia.

Bililign will be the keynote speaker at the 7th International Conference on African Development at Western Michigan University next month.  His topic: “The need for interdisciplinary research and education for sustainable human development to deal with global challenges.”  He also was the keynote speaker for the annual meeting of the Society of Ethiopian-American Engineers and Scientists in Washington last month.

Faculty members: Where are you this summer, and what are you working on? Let us know — — even if you’re simply working on campus and trying to figure out how to get around the construction outside the IRC.

DORED says, ‘Thank you, Dr. Ntuen’

Dr. Celestine A. Ntuen

Dr. Ntuen speaks to the DORED staff at a luncheon in his honor.

The Division of Research and Economic Development honored Dr. Celestine Ntuen on Wednesday for two and a half years of good humor, relentless optimism, and long, long hours as interim vice chancellor. His time as leader of the division will end on July 2, when Dr. Barry Burks arrives to succeed him. (An album of photos has been uploaded to the Aggie Research page on Facebook.)

Although caught by surprise, Dr. Ntuen was at no loss for words. He eloquently thanked the staff for their hard work and offered encouragement for the future.

Among Dr. Ntuen’s accomplishments as interim vice chancellor:

  • A record $60.4 million in sponsored funding received in fiscal 2011.
  • A&T’s social and behavioral sciences researchers were organized for the first time and a new research cluster was created around their disciplines.
  • Interdisciplinary research groups were organized in energy and biomedical research.
  • Research Appreciation Day was expanded to four days.
  • A comprehensive report on impediments to research was issued.
  • A Workplace Climate Committee created for the division; the committee conducted a survey of DORED employees’ views of working conditions.
Dr. Celestine Ntuen and the DORED staff

Dr. Celestine Ntuen and the DORED staff


N.C. A&T appoints vice chancellor for research: Dr. Barry Burks, nuclear physicist from UNCC

Dr. Barry Burks

Barry L. Burks

Dr. Barry L. Burks has been named Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Dr. Burks has been the associate director of the Charlotte Research Institute at the University of North Carolina Charlotte since 2007.  His focus there has been on the growth of the university’s research and research infrastructure and strengthening relationships between the UNC Charlotte research enterprise and the business community in North Carolina as well as national and international businesses.

He has a Ph.D. in experimental nuclear physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He also holds a M.S. in nuclear physics from UNC-Chapel Hill and a B.S. in physics and mathematics from Lynchburg College.

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N.C. A&T grant of the month for April and May: $131,000 for cell-based toxicity assay-on-chip

The Sponsored Funding Report for April and May:

N.C. A&T received 26 grants totaling $2.61 million in April and May.

The complete list of grants received in April and May.

Logo for Semiconductor Research Corp.One highlight of the funding was a grant worth $131,000 from the Semiconductor Research Corp. to Dr. Shyam Aravamudhan of the Department of Nanoenigneering at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.  Dr. Aravamudhan is an A&T faculty member.

The project: Cell-based toxicity assay-on-chip for the next-generation CMOS technology

The issue: It is recognized that the unique quantum properties of engineered nanomaterials (ENs) strongly influence their physico-chemical properties, resulting in novel electrical, optical, thermal and magnetic properties not present in their corresponding bulk counterparts. For example, nanostructures’ huge surface area to volume ratio make them not only more reactive and but uniquely applicable for next-generation devices, including for implantable CMOS. This large surface area is just one of the many factors that alter nanostructures’ biological interfaces. Other aspects include their size, shape, surface functionality, charge, composition (organic, inorganic or hybrid), aggregation, solubility. Because of the widely tunable sizes and compositions, ENs can dynamically modify under different biological and environmental conditions, thus limiting options for uniform nano-bio interactions and standardization.

Abstract:  The objective of this project is to establish a robust, rapid throughput and high-content screening platform to study biological interactions of ENs implemented on a beyond-CMOS substrate, including their potential toxicities due to their unique physico-chemical properties at the nano-scale. Towards this objective, we propose a multi-faceted exercise beyond the traditional singular-focus efforts involving a multi-disciplinary group of researchers from nanoengineering, nano-biophysics, nanochemistry and toxicology. An over-arching goal is to develop a new approach of scientific integration where nano-ESH is an integral part of EN design rather than a post facto add-on.

Bluford Library joins UNCG digitization project to create online history portal for Greensboro

 "4-H Club Members Standing with their Cows at the Negro Junior Dairy Show in Greensboro, North Carolina," 1945

From a digital archive at N.C. State: “4-H Club Members Standing with their Cows at the Negro Junior Dairy Show in Greensboro, North Carolina,” 1945, “Green ‘N’ Growing,” Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University,

N.C. A&T is one of six Greensboro institutions that will take part in a $200,000 digitization project led by UNCG’s University Libraries.

From UNCG:

“Textiles, Teachers, and Troops will make available more than 175,000 digital images including photographs, manuscripts, rare books, scrapbooks, printed materials, and oral histories documenting the social and cultural development of Greensboro. For the first time, all five colleges and universities in Greensboro, along with the Greensboro Historical Museum, will be collaborating on a project to make primary source materials available online. By documenting the vitally important influence of the textile industry, public and postsecondary education, and the massive World War II military presence, Textiles, Teachers, and Troops will provide context for understanding the growth of Greensboro from a town of two thousand residents into one of the leading manufacturing and education centers in the Southeast. The project will display these new materials alongside a large body of material already digitized by the partners and will provide the initial content for a larger community‐based history portal.”

Material to be digitized and put online will include scrapbooks and correspondence from students at what is now N.C. A&T in the early to mid-20th century and a collection of commercial photographs documenting the university and Bennett College in the 1930.

The project is funded by the state of North Carolina through funds allocated under the federal Library Services and Technology Act.