Changing the World: Steve Jobs

I hardly gave Steve Jobs a thought while he was alive, but like many people I’m fascinated by trying to understand his significance now that he’s gone.  I encourage you to read any of the following pieces if you want to know more about Jobs. [...Read full article » ]

Coaching Cartoon

The Value of Coaching

The current issue of The New Yorker has another interesting article by Atul Gawande, a surgeon and a faculty member with the Harvard Medical School. One theme of his writing has been the use of different strategies for improving professional performance. The Checklist [...Read full article » ]


Dave Owens Receives Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award

The Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award is a new award that will be conferred for the first time on this upcoming University Day, October 12. Our own Dave Owens will be the first recipient. [...Read full article » ]

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You Are Never Found Wanting

Whenever I spend time with public officials, it is inevitable that someone will say how valuable they find your work.  It happens a lot.  For example, it happened last Friday in Concord at the NC Association of County Commissioners Conference.  A county commissioner from Guilford [...Read full article » ]


Tina Fey’s Advice on Communication and Innovation

Tina Fey’s new book, Bossypants, is smart and funny, which is not surprising. In the unlikely event she wants to pursue a different career, she has great potential as a management consultant. [...Read full article » ]

Joe Ferrell Retires After Wonderful Career

Joe Ferrell came to the Institute of Government in 1964 and is retiring at the end of this academic year—a wonderful career of more than 50 years. He has served as Secretary of the Faculty since retiring from our faculty ten years ago.

Joe is one of those legendary faculty members who really helped to shape the School’s reputation for excellence.

Demography and Destiny

For example, most conversations about the rural-urban divide tend to focus on how to help struggling rural areas. Maybe it makes sense for us to invest more resources in serving urban areas that will face complex challenges associated with over-the-top population growth.

Chuck Szypszak Wins Freshman Teaching Award

Chuck Szypszak recently was notified by Chancellor Folt that he is the recipient of the 2016 J. Carlyle Sitterson Freshman Teaching Award. This is a prestigious award and it is unprecedented, I think, for one of our faculty members to be recognized for teaching undergraduates.

Community Matters

I’ve truly come to appreciate the powerful sense of community that exists at the School. It is a special part of our culture and I believe it has been critically important to our success. I love that everyone is working to align themselves with one another in advancing the School’s mission, and we don’t waste a lot of time or energy on worrying about distinctions based on status.

Revitalizing North Carolina One Cool Building At A Time

DFI is a great example of how we are carrying out the School’s traditional mission for North Carolina in new and innovative ways. Albert Coates could not have imagined the craft brewery movement or our role in it, but he certainly would have approved and hoisted a pint to toast the success of DFI.

School of Government Foundation

The School of Government’s Foundation Board recently met in November. The Board only meets twice a year—once in the fall and again in the spring. In the interest of overall transparency, I thought it might be helpful to give you some idea about the role of our Foundation and the Board. Financial Support. The School’s


This week the School revealed some important things about our organizational culture through the TeachingPalooza. It showed a real commitment to improving our teaching, and that alone is a good thing. At the same time, however, the event also demonstrated some broader features of our culture that cut across all of our work—not just our

Moving Forward on Financial Sustainability

 Thanks to everyone for attending one of the nine roundtables on the School’s financial sustainability. I plan to offer one more for our legislative staff and anyone else who wasn’t able to attend the earlier sessions. My goal was to give everyone the same background for thinking about our financial future. In terms of the

A Lesson in Customer Service

The culture of the School encourages responsiveness and the consistent feedback from officials is that we do a great job. When something goes wrong, however, the Durham Bulls have provided us with a great example of how to respond. Admit it, apologize, and fix it. No excuses.

A Culture That Supports Smart Failures

Faculty and staff still show a remarkable willingness to experiment with new approaches around what we do and how we do it. It should not require unusual courage to take smart risks in our work. Lives are not at stake. I want to continue strengthening the culture of innovation and creativity at the School.