October 17, 2002

RALEIGH — How far do free speech rights extend on university campuses primarily funded by taxpayers? How should North Carolina’s teachers be trained to meet the educational challenges of the 21st century?

These are among the many issues to be discussed at the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy’s upcoming Academic Issues Forum, an annual event to be held in Chapel Hill this year on Saturday, Oct. 26.

“Challenges Facing Higher Education in North Carolina” is the theme of this year’s forum, which will feature academic leaders from North Carolina institutions such as UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, N.C. State University, East Carolina University, Bennett College, Queens College, and UNC-Wilmington.

Dr. Alan Charles Kors, a University of Pennsylvania historian and a nationally known expert on the issue of free speech on college campuses, will give the keynote address at the event, which will run from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at Chapel Hill’s William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education.

Dr. Bill Friday, president emeritus at UNC, will headline a panel on academic freedom in the wake of September 11 that will also feature Dr. Kors, Dr. William Van Alstyne of the Duke University Law School, and moderator Roger Lotchin, a UNC-Chapel Hill historian. Recent events such as teach-ins, protests, and the Approaching the Qur’an controversy at UNC-Chapel Hill will be key discussion topics, as panelists probe the appropriate relationship between administrators, academic departments, and individuals or organizations who support or oppose U.S. military action in the war on terrorism.

An afternoon panel on the role of independent colleges in North Carolina, moderated by John Locke Foundation senior fellow and former Barber-Scotia College President Asa Spaulding, will feature the remarks of Dr. Johnetta Cole, the newly appointed president of Bennett College in Greensboro, and Dr. Billy Wireman, president emeritus at Charlotte’s Queens College.

A morning panel on how North Carolina schools of education train teachers — including comments from deans and professors at the UNC-Chapel Hill, ECU, UNC-Wilmington, and East Tennessee State schools of education — will follow an opening address by N.C. Sen. Virginia Foxx, a former community college president.

George Leef — who directs the Pope Center (a special project of the John Locke Foundation) and serves as policy director for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni — will serve as moderator for much of the day’s activities and present this year’s Caldwell Prize for Academic Leadership to Dr. Kors.

The registration fee is $20 per person, which includes refreshments, materials, and a lunch. Students and members of the news media can attend without charge. For more information, call 919-828-3876.