by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Shannon Watkins of the Martin Center posts the transcript of a recent interview with the top officer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz.
In your view, what is the primary purpose of higher education and how does UNC-Chapel Hill pursue that mission?
Our goal is to prepare the next generation of leaders here in North Carolina and across the nation. We stay focused—both from a curriculum standpoint as well as an experiential [standpoint]. I think that part of becoming leaders is to go out and not only help solve the great challenges of our time, but to identify the grand challenges of tomorrow. I think that’s what we do really well here at UNC-Chapel Hill: Preparing our students to view the world through different lenses and to identify what those challenges are and to become members of society to help improve humankind.
What are some of the campus-wide initiatives that you believe are serving to fulfill higher education’s central mission?
There are three different types of experiential education opportunities: study abroad, internship opportunities, and directed research with a faculty member or a graduate student. Our goal is that all of our undergraduates will get at least two of those three experiences while they’re here in Chapel Hill. I think that better prepares them, it takes them outside of the classroom to learn.
We [also] have a new Program for Public Discourse that I think is going to be a really uniquely Carolina program that is really focused on our students gaining an appreciation of viewpoint diversity, intellectual diversity, [and] bringing speakers in who sit at certain places along the ideological spectrum.
And I think the third initiative—I don’t think I can call it an initiative but it’s a culture that we have here, a culture of collaboration.