Gift Supports Academic Leadership; Program to be Named for Tyson

UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities will expand its Academic Leadership Program – which prepares faculty for academic, intellectual and institutional leadership roles at Carolina and provides ongoing support for faculty who have assumed such positions – as a result of a $5 million gift.

Barbara Hyde ’83 and Pitt Hyde ’65 recently pledged to endow the program with the $5 million gift, the largest single gift to the institute. The program also is being named for Ruel W. Tyson, the longtime director of the institute in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. Tyson stepped down in June after being at the helm for nearly 20 years. A religious studies professor, Tyson will continue to teach at Carolina following a one-year research leave.

Barbara Hyde is president of the J.R. Hyde III Family Foundation and director of the J.R. Hyde Sr. Foundation of Memphis, Tenn. She also chairs the institute’s advisory board and serves on UNC’s Board of Trustees. Pitt Hyde’s family gave the lead gift to build the institute a new home in 2002 in Hyde Hall on McCorkle Place.

“In my year on the Board of Trustees, I’ve come to understand how important faculty retention is to the future of the University. It’s a top priority,” Barbara Hyde said. “As we thought about what makes a faculty member want to stay at Carolina, a big piece of that is having faculty leaders and mentors and administrators who understand the life of a faculty member and who are committed to supporting that in meaningful ways.”

Since the Academic Leadership Program’s inception in 2002, 42 leadership fellows from the College of Arts and Sciences and other parts of the University have benefited from the program. Eight to 10 leadership fellows are chosen annually.

Fellows participate in a semester-long seminar, where they discuss critical issues facing the University and faculty members’ participation in University life. They undergo a week of leadership training at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro and participate in two overnight retreats focused on career development, leadership skills assessment and personal vision. They continue to meet as an ongoing forum of fellows, offering mutual support to each other.

The Ruel W. Tyson Academic Leadership Program will offer expanded opportunities for faculty career development as well as new programs designed for University administrators, department chairs and new faculty.

John McGowan, the new director of the institute, is particularly excited about the new programs. He said there are specific leadership goals associated with being a department chair, for instance.

“It’s a complex job,” said McGowan, an English scholar and the Ruel W. Tyson Jr. Distinguished Professor. “We want to help make chairs aware of the fact that there are different needs in the different career stages for their faculty.”

The Hydes’ gift counts toward the Carolina First campaign, which runs through Dec. 31, 2007, with a goal of $2 billion.

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