NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
GENERAL FACULTY MEETING
MAY 4, 1999
124 DABNEY HALL
1. Welcome and Opening Remarks
The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m. by George H. Wahl Jr., Chair of the Faculty.
Chair Wahl welcomed everyone to the meeting.
2. Approval of the Minutes, August 18, 1998, General Faculty Meeting
Secretary Dennis Daley moved approval of the minutes.
The motion was seconded and passed without dissent to approve the minutes of the August 18, 1998 General Faculty Meeting.
3. Remarks from the Chancellor "The Future of NC State"
It’s been almost an academic year since I first joined you. I continue to be honored to be in the position that I am in. It is indeed a privilege to serve as your representative. As you know I am a strong believer in shared governance. I would like to talk today about how we hope that we can play out that shared governance in a more effective way as we go forward. By shared governance, I recognize that the faculty is the heart of the university. At any time we talk about decisions and implementation of whatever those decisions are, this has to be something that the faculty not only embrace, but actually drive.
In the fall I started speaking about a vision for NC State University. It involves building a campus community and in that sense, building diversity among our students, faculty and staff and being open to intellectual diversity by fostering interdisciplinary programs. I spoke about the importance of partnerships. We have seen throughout this year how these partnerships have been played out both by collaborations internally and externally with other research institutions as well as with representatives in the private sector and with government. I spoke to you as well about the importance of accountability in developing a business model that worked. In large part today I would like to talk to you about some ideas that we have about elaborating that business model by making a pledge for improved and increased communication between your administrative team and the people who do the work for the university.
One of the principle successes that I can speak about is that we assembled an administrative team that works like a team. We know what each one is doing. I think its important that you know who the Executive Officers of the university are and to whom you can bring questions and ideas. I would like to share some of the achievements that these dedicated people have accomplished over the years.
Charles Moreland is the Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Research. He has served ably in both capacities. It was largely because of his leadership in helping us to identify two major interdisciplinary thrusts that we have been able to put together some innovative ideas for going forward. Two of those thrusts were expressed by developing computer networking graduate programs, jointly between the College of Engineering and the College of Management. This is in response to our partners from the outside, and it embraces both this first vision of intellectual interdisciplinary as well as the importance of embracing partnerships.
The second thing that Charley has done is to assemble the resources that will allow 24,000 square feet of space to be dedicated to a genomic sciences laboratory on the Centennial Campus and to identify a new faculty line in bioinfomatics as part of that genomic science initiative. Genomic Sciences is an area that cuts across many colleges. Of course prominently the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Forest Resources, and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. It also involves some of the other colleges as well. We think that for example, that the genomic science initiative is extremely important for those who are concerned about research ethics. We think that the College of Humanities and Social Sciences will be playing an extra role as this initiative goes forward. We think that the development of genomic sciences is going to be the basis for much of the discovery of the next century. Therefore, the College of Education and Psychology will be influenced by this. We think a great deal of the imaging that is coming forward as a consequence of genomic is going to influence the way that we communicate. Therefore, the Colleges of Engineering and Design will be important players. This is truly the kind of innovative interdisciplinary activity that will transform this institution.
In addition to these two new interdisciplinary thrusts, Charley has also led the formation of the Centennial Venture Partners fund. We have invested in three NC State start ups. Three more are in the planning stages. The possibilities embodied in these small business startups provide the kind of support we need for our faculty, graduate students and undergraduate jobs. It also provides potentially a revenue source that can be elaborated and used as a basis for a new business mode in the future.
Patent royalties which were generated through NC State and through its office of technology transfer amounted to over $9 M in this last academic year. That puts us in the top ten in the nation in patent royalties, and it affirms the importance of the openness that we have expressed toward technology transfer.
June Brotherton who is my Legislative Assistant as well as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Extension has been instrumental in trying to make the connection between Extension within all of the colleges in the university. Under her leadership we have been able to extend the concept of the virtual university across the state by elaborating and extending an existing program "Ask NC State" which provides identification of particular faculty expertise which is available for interaction on issues which are of decisive importance to the state. Not only can you access it from the Web, but because she has provided leadership in providing public access in county extension offices throughout the state, it is possible for people outside to access the resources of the university. In addition, the Extension Service has begun a program of Seed Grants. Seed Grants average approximately $15,000. Eleven of them have been awarded to date. For example, one is a web assessable GIS Data System relevant to land use planners in Western, North Carolina that has been led by Hugh Devine in Forest Resources. Another one is an updating of the "Career Key" web site as prototype from multimedia services which is to be used in the Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School and project directed by Lawrence Jones in Education and Psychology. I am informed that there is another round of startup seed grants being funded and that a decision will be reached this week.
Debra Stewart is Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Graduate School. Under her leadership, five new fellowships have been developed, giving NC State an additional $1M in endowment. We have moved to an online graduate application process which should both speed decision making and make the efficiency of the graduate application process much more efficient.
Tom Stafford is the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. Among the many achievements that Tom’s group has been able to accomplish within the last year, is that we have opened the first African American sorority house. We have held a large event with 2,000 students in Reynolds Coliseum with no alcohol. Tom has been responsible for preparing for the Summer Special Olympics World Game. He has undertaken a substantial effort in administering that program and identifying volunteers for that very worthy project. He has formed a task force which has proposed a new alcohol policy that involves a parental notification if they are under-aged and convicted of a second alcohol violation.
Les Robinson is the Director of Athletics. He has under his direction, emphasized the academic achievement of athletes. Out of 500 scholarship athletes, approximately 300 of them had a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Among our student athletes, we had three Phi Kappa Phi inductees and three ACC post graduate scholarship winners. The Wolf Pack Club ended with a record year. They increased our scholarship endowment by 25% or a total of $7.5M.
Mary Beth Kurz, University General Counsel has compiled and is in the process of formatting for the web, a number of Board of Trustee policies as well as a copulating of academic and administrative regulations. These include student grievance procedures, computer use regulations, the Buckley Amendment, and extortion regulations. All of that will be available at your fingertips if any of you have to deal with any of these issues. She has also been effective in providing support at the post doctoral level in that she has identified and played a primary role in creating affordable health care options for post doctoral fellows and their dependents.
Jeff McNeil is the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement. Our goal of $80M for our campaign for NC State students was doubled. To date we have $98.4M. Chancellor Fox stated that before the end of May we will go over $100M under conditions that we were told that $40M were going to be an ambitious goal. What will we do with that $100M endowment? It will fund thirty-four hundred scholarships. Just think of the lives that are transformed by thirty-four hundred scholarships and the loyalty that is exhibited by our alumni and the effectiveness of the peer solicitation that has resulted. This kind of investment is really a very encouraging thing for the university as we go forward.
Chancellor Fox stated that our faculty marketing efforts have been paying off. We have had work of NC State at the administrative and faculty level quoted in Business Week, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.
George Worsley is the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance. George is a very important person in the budgetary decisions that are made on campus and in keeping us online and in fulfilling our obligations of accountability and success in providing a business model that works. This year we have signed the collegiate code of conduct to prevent exploitation of overseas workers who manufacture our trademark items. Because we have been open with our student body about this, we have avoided the kind of demonstrations that have occurred on other campuses. Because of George’s leadership, we have also obtained much greater leasing flexibility at the Centennial Campus from the Legislature which will lead to much more creative and innovative partnerships with industry. He has worked very hard during this past year to make our campus safer. Every urban campus faces very serious problems with respect to safety. We are dealing with a traditional age student who are at that stage in their lives in which they feel themselves invulnerable. In doing so, George has assembled an information resource team to share information with those who are connected to a crime incident so that they develop responsibility for personal behavior, and so that they do not over react when they do hear about an incident involving crime on campus. We have as well added five new officers and ten new blue light telephones and a commitment to make sure that these safety features are operating effectively. We recognize that safety remains a concern for our students, faculty and staff and we are diligently working on that.
The appointment which is of most interest is our new Provost, Kermit Hall. At present, he is the Executive Dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and the Dean of the College of Humanities and Professor of History of Law at Ohio State University. He has recently published a new book, "(An Oxford Companion on Constitutional Law". One of the major issues that we will be undertaking together with Kermit Hall as a major leader, will be the compact planning process. This process is designed to encourage much better communication and to allow this shared governance to actually work. The Strategic Plan Process that we have had in the past was not influencing decisions that were made in terms of directions, nor were there any follow-ups in terms of the goals that were involved. The Administration became convinced early on that the Strategic Planning Process needs to have a rejuvenation. Its only if that planning process, a means by which the faculty can communicate with this administrative team, is made very smooth and effective that we can effectively represent what it is supporting for you as the heart of the university to be doing. We think that an important part of the process that we have initiated in the compact planning process at NC State can be accessed at a new web address, http://www2.acs.ncsu.edu/UPA/plan.htm. The word compact is chosen almost in a biblical sense. We really are forming a compact with the participants in which we promise that we will do what we can to implement the plans that we together formulate. One that has sufficient commitment from the upper administration is for you to believe that it is worthwhile in terms of the effort. This is not a wish list. Because it is not a wish list, we have to not only project what would be possible and desirable for the university, but we have to think realistically with respect to the vision. Is it something that builds the campus community? Is it something that fosters partnerships and identify resources? Is it something that improves the efficiency of the university? Is it within our financial means? For that to be accomplished, what we have to have is a give and take. We need to have a dialog. As a result, this compact is not a single document. It is going to be an iterative process in which, just as you do in your scholarship, you propose and you react. Each time it gets fine tuned so that by the time it gets dialoged and the repeated dialog has been iterated several times, it should be possible for us to move forward with great enthusiasm for targeted goals that last more than a year or two. At the same time, I say that these represent long range plans, we have to be able to convince those who cooperate with us (those who provide funds) for these initiatives and those in the private sector who will form the basis of the next capital campaign, that we are serious about those objectives and are making progress toward them. This is something with which we are potentially putting our stake in the ground and saying that the shared governance of this university requires the talents of all of our faculty. It requires input from the department level, and interaction between the departments and the Deans, interaction between the Deans and the Provost in terms of getting to a realistic plan that both enlivens the university, provides a vision for the future, and yet is within the realistic resource limitations that we know any modern university faces.
Purposes of Compact Planning
The purposes of compact planning are to establish priorities for action at each level. Some things that may be included in your compact will be things that can be undertaken at the department with no other intervention with the Dean, Provost or Chancellor. It will be a mechanism by which we can monitor progress on critical issues that affect the quality and impact of our programs. It will be the basis of defining what we are at this institution. It will be means by which we can align what you as faculty think is important and what we in the upper administration need to do if we are to go forward in communicating our goals and strategies, both to the private sector and to the legislature. It is also an effort to improve accountability. Why do we need to improve accountability? Because we will never achieve the kind of partnerships that we need for the resource base for interactions unless we can convince those partners that, in fact, we are making progress and are serious about our planning.
What is a Compact?
It is a negotiated, management agreement written in the same way any proposal is. Just like any proposal, the first version is a draft. You would expect that a draft would include what we have described here. It will include high priority initiatives as well as action in a schedule of what needs to be accomplished in what time frame in order to achieve outcomes and the measures that we seek to achieve together. In order to make this not a wish list, what we have to do is to not only identify them but to negotiate them with respect to reality.
It is important to recognize that this compact planning is not an exercise. It is our Strategic Planning. It is the method by which we set goals long term and, short term and in fact, it should be no more work than the current Strategic Planning would be. The difference would be that this is a heart felt commitment from the administration to work with you in identifying what these strategies are and how to go forward with them.
Strategic Planning by definition must include budgeting. This is not a wish list. Simply, because you put something on this compact does not mean that all the resources will be put on the table to make that occur. We have to know what these strategies are if we are to think about complimentary budget decisions. In fact, for the academic budget calendar, budgetary decisions are made between January and April. We are already too late for this year’s budget. We are talking about a process in which, between now and next January we come to sufficient agreement in this iterative negotiation that we are able to influence the budget cycle. It is complimentary to, of course, existing budget cycles. We cannot start from zero base budgeting. We need to have the kind of equipment that allows you to enhance your teaching and to provide normal services. It does compliment the budgeting and provides a means by which those budgetary decisions can be made rationally.
The process is iterative. It begins with a unit draft. It consists of a series of meetings. We are suggesting that the first one should be held during the summer so that we can be doing some thinking about how this goes forward. You will have the opportunity in the fall to modify and complete the draft. One important part of this compact planning process will be that we will have an entire array of the important units of this university which will inform this commission on the future of NC State. A high level, blue ribbon panel of external people, who are cognizant about the issues facing higher education, will be convened in November. These compacts will be important in trying to determine what kind of changes and direction are in process that need to be accomplished if we are to move to the next level.
A compact will consists of initiatives. It will have the affect of asking each unit how you can, for example, as a department of entomology support university goals. What can that department do about building the campus community; enhancing diversity and fostering interdisciplinary programs? What can they do in terms of developing new partnerships with the public sector; with extension and with private sources? What can this do to develop an efficient business model? How do those decisions influence our enrollment strategies? Many of you have heard about the General Administration emphasis on the reality that the University of North Carolina expects to enroll 42,000 more students than are currently enrolled within the next ten years. How will that growth be accomplished? Will we expect that each department grows proportionately? Will we expect undergraduate and graduate growth to occur in exact parallel? Will there be shifts in that strategy? What are the aspirations and goals that that particular unit has? How can we help improve the performance of our students? What can we do to ensure student success?
Each initiative will clearly describe what it is we are talking about, why we think it is important and how it will be achieved. It will also include a sequence of activities and a schedule for achieving that initiative and would identify specific outcomes that we would hope to achieve. The importance of this activity is to inform the commission of the future of NC State. It is to elaborate and identify university wide roles and priorities. It is to update our capital program, particularly as it relates to enrollment needs. It is to inform preparation of our budgets in 2000-2001 and the budget request of the legislature in 2001 and 2003. It will inform our next capital campaign because it will identify what is important and what has high priority, and it could become the basis of performance evaluation as a participant chooses to do that.
We hope that there will be wide participation in this activity, that academic department heads will negotiate their contracts with their Deans and the Deans with the Provost and that administrative units will negotiate with their Vice Chancellors and the Vice Chancellors with the Chancellor.
This process was first described in March and April in a Deans and Vice Chancellors meeting in which they endorsed this general concept of commitment to improve communication with the faculty. By April 20, the plan was fully endorsed. Now we are discussing the interaction that would occur as departments and offices develop their compact at a schedule to be negotiated with your Dean or Vice Chancellor, but in time for the Dean and Vice Chancellor to have their first negotiation in July. In July and August, those first meetings will occur. In the early fall, we will have the results of the first meeting after many of the faculty have returned, and in September and October we will have our second meetings. We will have a third meeting as necessary and aim to complete the compacts in December in time to inform the budget process for 2000-2001.
Chancellor Fox concluded that not only will this region recognize that NC State is a leader in the things that we do, but the entire United States. She believes in shared governance and believes that this process is going to be something to get the faculty’s views expressed into programs and those programs into the quality of education.
A faculty member wanted to know how this plan relates to the ranking of colleges.
Chancellor Fox responded that we believe that it will be part of the compact to take a snap shot of where you are in national rankings and to define your aspirations.
4. George Wahl, Chair of the Faculty "After Two Years-Still Looking Forward"
Chair Wahl noted that the faculty is the heart of the university. That is the reason he ran for the position of Chair of the Faculty. He stated that as Chair he has served on two Search Committees (Chancellor and Provost).
Chair Wahl recognized the Chair of each of the Faculty Senate Committees. In particular the four committees are chaired by John Monahan, Governance; Harriette Griffin, Academic Policy; Philip Carter, Resources of Environment; and Robert Serow, Personnel Policy Committee.
Chair Wahl stated that he is delighted that so many faculty members attended the meeting. He hopes that it will be a rule rather than the exception to have decent attendance at General Faculty Meetings. We clearly need to have improved collegiality, and the compact process is definitely a way to get there. He feels that everyone’s voice should be heard.
Chair Wahl stated that during his tenure the Faculty Senate established a communication network. One of the highest priority items on his schedule was the meeting with the Deans and Vice Chancellors group which meets once a month and is considered one of the higher levels of discussions of issues on campus. He found it to be a profitable meeting. One of the things that the Senate should be proud of is the Benefits Study. He stated that through the efforts of Dave Rainer, of the Group Insurance and Benefits Committee, we organized a task force. That task force led to the university doing something and then the General Administration. At this stage, we do not have more benefits in our pockets, but we know that the next time some money shows up at the legislature, we have a well thought out set of information about where we are and what the needs are. We also made a goal to interact more closely with the Trustees. We have had successes there. This year’s and last year’s chairs have addressed the Senate. Also, many members of the Faculty Senate have attended a Trustee meeting.
One of the places where there is a lot of work to be done is with Faculty Grievances. He stated that he is happy to report that they are few in number, but is disappointed to report that they are not handled in as quite the expeditious way he had hoped. The university has recognized that there are other alternatives, not the least of which is mediation. Several faculty members are going to be taking a tour to Colorado this summer for a one-week training on mediation. In the fall, there will be an opportunity for not only staff, but now faculty and EPA professionals to use mediation to resolve whatever problems might arise.
Finally, the university committee structure left a lot to be desired. We think it has improved some with the Provost and Associate Provost. Fortunately the Staff Senate is now involved. What we are trying to do is make the committees actually function and communicate. We are asking that those of you who are serving on University Committees to consider carefully how well you are interacting with your appropriate Senate Committee and we encourage you to do that more often to enable the amount of material coming to the Chancellor to be smaller and more well thought out.
5. Three Recent Faculty Success Stories
Interim Provost Charles G. Moreland
It has been a real pleasure for me to serve as the Interim Provost for the last few months. It goes without saying for me in the most positive way that I am the person looking forward to Kermit Hall coming more than anyone else. I am convinced that he is the right person for this job at this time to work with our new Chancellor. I assure you that we are working as hard as we have ever worked to make sure that we do our jobs for you.
In order to build community in a university, there is no doubt about it that it takes a lot of work and partnership building and it takes putting together all the parts of the university. Sometimes it is almost impossible to know which one you are referring to when you are carrying out these tasks and making sure that things happen in the university. I would say that it is probably going on better now than it ever has. That leads me to let you know that the compact planning process is a marvelous idea of a way to get representation in from all three of these areas into the university administration. If, indeed your specialty is teaching, let your department head know what needs to be done better. Do the same for research, outreach, and extension. This is the only way that we can work together and form these partnerships. That is exactly what we have today to tell you a story about, and that is some partnerships that have worked this past year. One is in the area of teaching through the Hewlett Initiative which is a developmental program for the improvement of teaching on campus. Ruth Green is going to come and tell about that program.
Ruth L. Green - "Recognition of Participants in the Hewlett Initiative Improvement of Undergraduate Learning."
Ruth stated that in the spring of 1997, North Carolina State was awarded a two-year planning grant from the Hewlett Foundation. We sent out an initial invitation to faculty to volunteer to participate in this initiative and after one invitation we had approximately sixty faculty volunteers. A year later we identified an additional twenty graduate students who have participated in the last year in the initiative. During this two-year period of time, all the Hewlett fellows involved with the initiative have attended four two-day retreats that were led by national leaders in education. They participated in extensive work groups, coordinated across different committees and units within the university and in general, participated in very in depth in cross-disciplinary conversations about teaching and learning. At the end of two years, we still have approximately 95% of the original participates involved.
One of the most important outcomes of the Hewlett Initiative has been that we now have a core group of faculty to represent every college, and most of the major university committees who have had a two year conversation about teaching and learning. We have begun to share a common vision about what we would like to see happening at NC State.
We have had a group of graduate students, who in collaboration with the graduate school, have developed a set of recommendations and taken preliminary steps for developing programs that will better prepare NC State graduate students to teach when they graduate. Another group of graduate students have developed an undergraduate web site called learned.ncsu. This site provides information for undergraduate students to encourage them to think about why they are here to set goals and to increase their responsibility and commitment to their own learning. This semester, there are fifty Hewlett courses being taught with over 2,000 students enrolled in those courses. The faculty who are teaching these courses are implementing Hewlett principles. In the fall of 1999 we will be piloting a series of three credit academic first year inquiry courses. These are discipline base inquiry courses that share a common set of objectives that will include helping students set goals, helping them develop important learning skills, and continuing to commit to their own education here at NC State.
The final recommendation is that this has been a beneficial activity and that there should be a second generation of Hewlett Fellows.
Dr. Sarah Ash
I came into teaching having had no background in teaching. I came in with a lot of enthusiasm for teaching. I discovered over time that I had a problem for which the solution was not obvious. One of the things that the Hewlett Initiative has done for me is to understand why it is that students sometimes do not seem to get it. Hewlett has helped me understand why they do not get it. Hewlett has also given me the tools to be able to get the students a little farther along. It has helped me to understand that although it may be as plain as the nose on my face and that what I need to do for students is to help them see their noses and that means holding up a mirror to get them to understand how to think the way I want them to think.
Maxine Atkinson - Department of Sociology and Anthropology
The Hewlett Initiative has done more things for my career than I can enumerate. For example, I learned to focus on what I wanted my students to do and help them practice performing that behavior. In one of my classes I gave the same mid term exam before and after Hewlett. My percent of A’s went up from 5% to 25%. Not only has the Hewlett Initiative transformed my undergraduate and my graduate teaching, but it has had effect on my department and on my discipline. Both my colleagues and graduate students have been so supportive and, they have convinced me to teach our department’s first graduate course on teaching next spring semester. You can also see the effects of the Hewlett Initiative on my discipline. Our next regional conference, where we expect approximately eight hundred faculty from twenty states, will be organized around the theme of integrating teaching and research.
Martin Dover - Graduate Student - Computer Science
One of the defining moments in my career here has been working with Hewlett Fellowships. One of the classes that I have taught was CSC 114 which is an introduction to programming. As many of you know, it is one of the hardest classes in the university. We started out with approximately 230 students and ended up with 120 to 130 passing the class. That was my experience this fall. This spring I started out with 230 students and rather than ending up with 160, I have 182 students left in my class. Rather than having thirteen cheating cases, I have only had two. I am convinced that when the files are in, I will have many more A’s and B’s and far fewer F’s. I feel that I have had the opportunity to do something for the undergraduates here and would like to personally thank Dr. Anderson and Ruth Green for giving me the opportunity. It will help me a lot in my career. When I go out looking for a job as a faculty member, I will have not just the ability to teach, but the ability to teach very well.
James Anderson - Dean of First Year College
Dean Anderson commented that it has been exciting for him and Associate Provost Abrams and others involved to see the level of excitement and enthusiasm that has existed among the participates in the Hewlett Grant and to also have an involvement of graduate students.
This initiative is not an isolated initiative. It is connected to many other things occurring on campus. There is a group of Alcoa Fellows, a group associated with the Council on Undergraduate Education looking at first year seminars. There are many activities occurring on campus that will all mend together to take us to the cutting edge in terms of being the bench marks that other institutions (Research I) compare against when we talk about the excellence of teaching and learning in this country. These efforts were linked to things that are currently happening in colleges. I would like to mention that every successful initiative has someone in the background and that is Ruth Green for us.
Anne Marie Stomp - History of a Faculty Start-up - Faculty Research Develops into a Commercial Venture
In 1991, I became very interested in Waste Water Mediation which is a big problem here in North Carolina. More importantly, I started thinking about two things. I started broadening my vision as to what sorts of technology would pitch very well with NC State’s mission, and that could be developed from Natural Resources. What is this activity that I am interested in? It is based on a plant called duckweed. It is the fastest growing plant on the planet. It has been studied since the fifteenth century. It has an extraordinarily high protein content. It grows very fast on waste water and grows very easily in the lab. In a relatively short period of time, I recognized that this plant had enormous potential, not just for waste water mediation, but as a terrific model system that would fit with a lot industrial existing processes for manufacturing things and plants. I started this work in 1991, and in 1996, the idea of a company had evolved. I did a reality check by calling people on the phone asking them, if this idea makes sense. In the fall of 1997, I visited some of the external business players and asked if this is possible. There response was yes. In October of 1997, I incorporated this company called Biolets.
What Does This Company Do?
The company’s mission is pretty obvious. It is designed to make anything that a protein makes of plants. Genes actually encode the blueprint of proteins and proteins are the physical embodiment of biological information. Our first products are going to be in the area of therapeutics. There are approximately thirty proteins that are in the commercial market place. They are already being produced and marketed as drugs for various diseases. The most commonly known one is insulin and the world wide market for insulin is at three billion dollars. The whole market for these twenty seven proteins sits somewhere between ten and twelve billion dollars a year. That market is expected to grow in the next five years to over thirty billion dollars. There is an enormous opportunity to make money in therapeutics. Probably even bigger than that is in the dreaming of manufacturing technology. Proteins are extraordinarily interesting molecules. They can be used in all sorts of diagnostic tests. There are a lot of applications and then there are applications in self assembled protein structures that will make very interesting devices just like they do in biological organisms.
How Do You Do This?
I came up with an idea and I wrote some grants and people believed that this might have some potential. I used the grants toward waste water mediation and did quite well. I also worked with students. As the work progressed and I thought that I would start a company, I went to the outside community and here at Research Triangle Park, was very lucky. The attorney’s advice was to go out and find really good business partners. One thing my business partners told me that would be very important as we approach the bench of people here in Research Triangle Park was to have support of the university. One of the things that I knew was that in order to have support of the university, I had to have support at the college level. Not only did my Dean embraced this enthusiastically, but he went to the forestry foundation that had already committed to invest in the new Centennial fund and he convinced the investment subcommittee of the forestry foundation and got them to make a direct investment in the company. He also helped in making contact with Interim Provost Moreland’s office because I needed a bridge before funding came in for the company. Interim Provost Moreland helped out and made direct investments in my research to keep it going while I was out there in the external environment trying to build momentum for this project. We received very good backing from the university and we are still receiving good backing in the college to move this forward. This effort is going forward right now. We incorporated in late 1997. In the first eight months of 1998 we visited with some eight or nine venture capital groups and landed slightly over $1M of investments last October and October of 1998 which is funding our research project. We have three investors; Innersouth Venture Partners here in Research Triangle Park, Kittyhawk Capital in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Centennial Fund here at NC State. I plan to keep my Research Lab at the college so that the effort provides seamless technology transfer. It provides a window of opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students to see what this whole effort looks like. I still teach, and I am very excited about bringing this to you and would like to urge you all to think about your work in a very creative way. You do not have to sacrifice your scholarly work and you do not have to sacrifice work that you are doing for the citizens of North Carolina.
Ron Sederoff - The Genomics/Bioinformatics Initiative
Genomics is a way of studying the genes in a global way. This represents a new paradox for biology. It integrates traditional biology. One way of looking at it is a genetic approach to biology with high fruition. It has been possible because of the human gene program. Virtually all the genes of any organism of interest can be identified , characterized, located and we can learn something about their function. We begin by studying processes important to us for scientific or commercial interest. The human gene program has told us that if it is so useful and important in biology to have this information, why is it not useful for any organism in a scientific or commercial interest. The technology developed from the human gene is going to allow us to have that information for a great many genes.
Chair Wahl thanked everyone for attending.
Chair-Elect Corbin thanked Chair Wahl for organizing the meeting and invited everyone to a reception to honor Chair Wahl.
The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.