Delegates represent Forum on football field

September 27, 2016

img_9724Employee Forum delegates and Chancellor Folt on the football field during half-time of the UNC vs. James Madison University game on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016.

Photo courtesy of Charles Streeter.

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Nominate alumni for recognition at University Day

August 29, 2016

The Office of Faculty Governance, on behalf of the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards, invites nominations for the university’s 2017 Distinguished Alumnus and Alumna Awards. Anyone can submit a nomination.

Nominees for these awards are selected by the faculty’s elected Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards, and they will be presented at the October 12, 2017, University Day ceremony. These awards recognize UNC-Chapel Hill alumni/ae who have made outstanding contributions to humanity in any walk of life.

Nominees must be alumni of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This includes all persons who were registered for at least one full academic year as a student in residence in any college or school of the University. In general, anyone listed in the General Alumni Association’s Alumni Directory is eligible except members of the UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, staff, and administration. They become eligible two years after separation from the University.

Full information about this award, including criteria, eligibility, past winners, and a link to the simplified process for submitting a nomination online, is available at https://facultygov.unc.edu/awards/distinguished-alumnus-and-alumna-award/.

Nominations are due September 30, 2016. If you have questions about the nominations process, please contact the Office of Faculty Governance at 962-2146.

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Upcoming Community Service Opportunities – September 2016

August 24, 2016

Each month, we’ll be featuring upcoming community service opportunities as shared by the Community Service Committee.

9/20- 12th Annual Aging in Stride 5K Walk/Run, 9:00AM, Chapel Hill, NC
The race is sponsored by Project AGE (Advancing Geriatric Education) of the Carolina Association of Pharmacy Students and the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and benefits Senior PharmAssist in Durham. This organization strives to provide seniors in the community with Medicare subsides, in-home aid, health insurance counseling, medication therapy management, and much more! For more information on Senior PharmAssist, please visit http://seniorpharmassist.orgCheck out the course map here.  The entry fee is $25, but only $10 for those ages 65 and older.  On race day, the registration fees are $30. Entry fee includes a t-shirt, guaranteed to all entered by August 27th.  After that, it will be “as available.” Register here.

9/20 – Volunteers needed for Carrboro music festival
Volunteers are needed Sunday, Sept. 25 to assist with Carrboro’s annual music festival. Shifts range from 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. All volunteer applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20. For more information and a list of available jobs, visit Town of Carrboro or contact Caitlin Knepp.

10/1 – Volunteer with Town of Chapel Hill’s Festifall
Volunteer as thousands gather in downtown Chapel Hill for the 44th annual Festifall Arts Festival, an extraordinary opportunity for the community, art enthusiasts and artists to interact. The event is noon – 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 and offers various volunteer shifts available from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. If interested in volunteering, complete the volunteer form.

 

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“Food For All” campus-wide food drive

August 24, 2016

food for all

The Employee Forum is hosting a ‘Food for All’ Campus-wide Food Drive from October 8-21, 2016. We are partnering with UNC General Alumni Association in celebration of their annual Tar Heel Days of Service to host a food drive benefiting the Food Bank of Central & Southeastern NC and UNC’s Carolina Cupboard.

Boxes will be distributed throughout campus over the length of the drive, but we will also have special booths for donations at the start and end of the drive – (1) the Employee Appreciation football game versus Virginia Tech on October 8th and (2) Employee Appreciation Day celebration on October 21st. At the finale, you will have the chance to win a prize if you guess the amount of food donated throughout the course of the drive!

Please be on the lookout for more details regarding the Food Drive in the coming weeks!

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UNC employees in action

August 23, 2016

Kitty Lynn from Fire Safety

Kitty Lynn from Fire Safety and her team teach students from Craige residence hall how to use fire extinguishers.

Photo credit: Katie Turner

 

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Career Corner: Managing Your Leave

February 25, 2016

At the Employee Forum’s December 2, 2015 meeting, Ashley Nicklis (Senior Director, HR Benefits and Work Life) presented on the different types of leave available to University Employees. You can find the basics about employee leave on Human Resource’s website, but we’ve collected some of the more helpful questions—and Nicklis’s answers—here. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity.

Q: What is civil leave?
A: Civil leave is a form of paid leave available to employees when called for jury duty or when called as a witness as part of one’s job. There is usually not a maximum amount of civil leave awarded in most cases.

Q: What kind of leave should employees use if they are taking a class?
A: Any courses during work hours should be first worked out with your supervisor. For classes that are not job-related, employees should either flex their schedule (e.g., come in or stay late to make up the time missed for class) or use vacation leave to cover absences.  For classes that are job-related, employees may use educational leave. If the University is paying for the class, up to five hours a week are eligible.

Q: How does military leave work?
A: The University will pay 30 days of military leave to active or reserve military personnel called into active duty; after 30 days, it will pay the difference between the individual’s military and UNC pay, if the UNC pay is greater. Employees serving as reservists receive 120 hours of military leave each federal fiscal year (October 1-September 30), and there are other provisions governing military leave.

Q: How much vacation leave am I eligible for?
A: Each classification of employee earns leave differently, prorated based on FTE. EHRA employees (formerly “EPA non-faculty”) in Tier 1, such as the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors, earn 26 vacation days a year. EHRA non-faculty employees in Tier 2 earn 2 days a month (24 days a year). SHRA employees (formerly “SPA”)  earn an increasing amount of vacation leave, up to 17 hours a month for employees with 20 years or more of State service. Vacation is the most universal leave that can be used in any instance, with managerial approval.

Q: How does sick leave accrue?
A: All employees, EHRA-non faculty and SHRA, earn sick leave at a rate of 8 hours a month (again, prorated according to FTE). For all leave-earning employees, if you accrue more than 240 hours of vacation leave, those hours above 240 are rolled over into sick leave each January 1st.

Q: What is bonus leave?
A: Bonus leave is usually awarded by the legislature, and there are a couple different kinds. Some leave never expires, while other leave expires at the end of the fiscal year. (The link can help you figure out what kind of bonus leave you have, if you have any.) Bonus leave that does not expire does not count towards the 240 hour a year limit.

Q: Which leaves get paid out when I retire or leave UNC?
A: Upon retirement, the University will pay out, up to the appropriate limit, vacation and bonus leave but not sick leave. Sick leave can be credited towards Teachers and State Employees Retirement System (TSERS) service, but Optional Retirement Program (ORP) enrollees forfeit their sick leave upon retirement. All employees who separate from the university (not retire) can retain their sick leave for up to five years following termination; if they are re-employed by UNC or another state employer, their sick leave will be waiting for them.

Q: How much leave can I donate through the voluntary shared leave program?
A: Employees can donate up to 40 hours of sick leave to someone who is not a member of their family, but the University allows unlimited donations of leave to “immediate family” members (the link defines who counts). Some units and departments do place limits on the amount of shared leave their employees can accept or donate for budgetary reasons. There are lots of rules around sharing leave, so be sure to check with your HR Liaison and manager if you are considering this option.

Q: How does community service leave work?
A: There are three different kinds of community service leave—Options A, B, and C—and each allows for different amounts of paid time. Option A provides employees 24 hours a year to spend on school involvement (e.g., with a teacher about your child meeting or attending a function), with community service organizations (e.g., a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization like Habitat for Humanity), or volunteering with a public university, community college or state agency. Option A cannot be used to cover religious or political activities that promote a particular belief (e.g., leading bible study or campaigning for an individual candidate), but it can be used for non-partisan activities (e.g., volunteering at a polling station, working at a soup kitchen). Option B allows employees 1 hour/week, for up to 36 hours of paid time, to volunteer as a tutor or mentor to students in a formal program. Option C allows employees up 5 hours a month, up to a total of 45 hours of paid leave, to volunteer with a public school literacy program.  Employees may take advantage of only one option a year. Managers may request evidence of employees’ participation, but there is not universal requirement for proof of volunteering.

Thank you to Ashley Nicklis for providing the overview of paid leaves, to Matt Banks for recording the minutes, and to the following delegates for asking excellent questions: Jo-Ann Blake, Sharon Brinson, Shantell Ferrell, Victoria Hammett, James Holman, Todd Hux, Kathy James, Kirk McNaughton, Kathy Ramsey.

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Career Corner: Dressing for Work

September 23, 2015

We may know what to wear for the job interview, but what to wear for the first day (or week) can be a different story. What’s the difference between business casual, professional, smart casual, and the myriad options in between? How do you balance workplace expectations with your sense of self (which may or may not fit into any of the “allowed” categories)?

The easiest thing to do is ask your supervisor or colleagues:

“I’m really excited about starting. Can you tell me about the dress code for a regular day? What about an important meeting?”

or

“I’ve been here a couple [days/weeks/months/years]. How am I doing with our dress code?”

Their answer will depend on your responsibilities and the culture of your particular workplace.

One thing you and supervisors to know is that any dress code must apply equally to everyone in your unit, and it cannot be based on discriminatory norms around race, gender, or other protected identities. For example, a dress code cannot require that all women wear skirts or that only men cannot wear t-shirts. Dress codes cannot set expectations that are implicitly based on (white) racial norms; for example, black women may choose to wear their hair unstraightened as part of their work appearance. A dress code also cannot require that you dress according to your biological sex if you identify with or express your gender differently.

You can also rely on visual cues. What do your colleagues wear on normal day? Are you in meetings all day with people with fancy titles? “Business casual” or “professional” is probably a safe bet. Creative and informal jobs tend to allow for much more self-expression. Do you work with lots of chemicals or equipment that might stain or tear clothing, like a lab or Housekeeping? Go with (clean) clothing that won’t endanger you or be ruined. The bottom line: Wearing clothing that lets you do your job well and still make a positive impression should be your goal.

Starting a job with different dress expectations can be daunting if you feel like you need to buy a new wardrobe—especially when you have other bills to pay. There are lots of options besides turning over your first paycheck to Brooks Brothers, though. Thrift stores—especially in more expensive neighborhoods—can be a great source of inexpensive clothing, while places like TJ Maxx or H&M offer savings on more trendy pieces.

 

Additional Resources:

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Staff spotlight: Forum recognizes administrative professionals

March 26, 2015

This month’s staff spotlight is dedicated to acknowledging our hardworking administrative professionals. We’ve profiled a few of our outstanding department administrators here so you have an opportunity to get to know them a little better. Please remember to mark your calendar for Administrative Professionals Day on April 22, and thank your department administrator for all the work they do behind the scenes to keep the University running smoothly.


 

JenniferWashington
Jennifer Washington. Photograph courtesy of Katie Turner.

Jennifer Washington
Business Officer
Romance Studies
1 year of service

Please tell us a little about your background before coming to Carolina.

I came to UNC in late 2013 from UNC Wilmington, where I served as a Business Coordinator for Business Affairs. Before that I was in the United States Navy, which were some of the best years of my life.

What is your favorite part of working at Carolina?

My favorite part of working at Carolina is the pride that people have here. Also my office is truly great. It doesn’t feel like work which of course is the goal.

If you could change one thing about Carolina, what would it be?

Carolina is a great school. I think if I could change one thing it wold be the administrative processes at Carolina. Also the fact that the administrative bands are some of the lowest paid considering the amount of work these dedicated people do.

Tell us one-three things about you that your co-workers aren’t likely to know.

I have a twin sister who lives in Charlotte.
I love to bake muffins.
I have a serious obsession with the entire Marvel Universe.

If you could choose one administrative assistant from pop culture (television, movies, etc.) to draw inspiration from, who would it be?

Michel Gerard, played by Yanic Truesdale on Gilmore girls. He takes pride in his work and makes me laugh.


 

paulagoodman
Paula Goodman. Photograph courtesy of Katie Turner.

Paula Goodman
Department Manager
Undergraduate Education
6 years of service

Please tell us a little about your background before coming to Carolina.

Right before I came to work here, I was working for Pinellas County Emergency Management That particular position was my first “management” position. I was responsible for all departmental accounting, human resources, and payroll, as well as supervising volunteers and staff members. While working there, I finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources at Barry University. Prior to that I had jobs in various administrative roles from medical to the recruiting industries.

What is your favorite part of working at Carolina?

There are so many, its really hard to name just one. However, if I had to narrow it down I would say what I tell my friends, “I have been a Tar Heel fan most of my life. Now, I get paid to be a Tar Heel! ”

If you could change one thing about Carolina, what would it be?

I would have to say that I would like to see more equal treatment for SPA employees. I feel as though sometimes SPA staff feel as though they are not as important as EPA.

Tell us one-three things about you that your co-workers aren’t likely to know.

I am a kidney cancer survivor since 2007!
I am a single parent and worked while raising my two children as well as putting myself through college to earn my bachelor’s degree.
I like to crochet!

If you could choose one administrative assistant from pop culture (television, movies, etc.) to draw inspiration from, who would it be?

Matt LeBlanc, aka Joey from Friends.


 

shameciapowers
Shamecia Powers. Photograph courtesy of Katie Turner.

Shamecia Powers
Business Manager
Anthropology
1 year 3 months of service

Please tell us a little about your background before coming to Carolina.

My love for Carolina developed during my time as an undergraduate student (class of ’05). After graduation, I entered a dual master’s program at Georgia State University and received my MBA in May 2006, and my MHA in December 2006. After working as the manager of a legal services clinic at Georgia State, I returned to UNC in December 2013 to take the reins in the department of anthropology.

What is your favorite part of working at Carolina?

I equally enjoy the beautiful campus and the amazing people.

If you could change one thing about Carolina, what would it be?

I would make it spring year-round.

Tell us one-three things about you that your co-workers aren’t likely to know.

I have recently taken up quilting.


 

Katherine Max. Photograph courtesy of Katie Turner.
Katherine Max. Photograph courtesy of Katie Turner.

Katherine A. Max
Executive Assistant
Diversity & Multicultural Affairs
2 years of service

Please tell us a little about your background before coming to Carolina.

Before coming to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I worked in the corporate industry for many years as an office manager and executive assistant for pharmaceutical and telecommunication companies. In that capacity, I supported executives, engineers, and lobbyists. I received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from North Carolina Central University. I am a Notary Public.

What is your favorite part of working at Carolina?

Meeting so many bright and intelligent young people from different backgrounds. I enjoy being a part of their day to assist in any way possible.

If you could change one thing about Carolina, what would it be?

The traffic and parking.

Tell us one-three things about you that your co-workers aren’t likely to know.

My favorite comedy television show is The Big Bang Theory.
My favorite movie is Now Voyager.
My favorite television drama is Empire.

If you could choose one administrative assistant from pop culture (television, movies, etc.) to draw inspiration from, who would it be?

Andrea Sachs from The Devil Wears Prada.

 

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Save the dates: New 2015 book club selections announced

March 13, 2015

The Employee Forum book club is pleased to announce that we will continue with new selections through February 2016. All book club meetings will take place at Bulls Head Book Shop on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Lunch will be provided with registration, which is free to all UNC staff. Check back in coming months for more details and registration for each of the book club dates.

Each of the book selections will be available for purchase at Bulls Head Book Shop at a 25% discount!

May 28: The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

ReasonIJumpPublisher’s description:

You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.

Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”) With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights—into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory—are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again.

In his introduction, bestselling novelist David Mitchell writes that Naoki’s words allowed him to feel, for the first time, as if his own autistic child was explaining what was happening in his mind. “It is no exaggeration to say that The Reason I Jump allowed me to round a corner in our relationship.” This translation was a labor of love by David and his wife, KA Yoshida, so they’d be able to share that feeling with friends, the wider autism community, and beyond. Naoki’s book, in its beauty, truthfulness, and simplicity, is a gift to be shared.

June 25: Sea of Poppies by Amitav GhoshSeaofPoppies

Publisher’s description:

The first in an epic trilogy, Sea of Poppies is “a remarkably rich saga . . . which has plenty of action and adventure à la Dumas, but moments also of Tolstoyan penetration–and a drop or two of Dickensian sentiment” (The Observer[London]).

At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China. In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners on board, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of Canton. With a panorama of characters whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, Sea of Poppies is “a storm-tossed adventure worthy of Sir Walter Scott” (Vogue).

Just-Mercy-A-Story-of-Justice-and-Redemption-by-Bryan-Stevenson

July 30: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (summer reading selection)

Publisher’s description:

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

 Aug 27: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichieamericanah

Publisher’s description:

A powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author ofHalf of a Yellow Sun.

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

Sept 25: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

elizabethismissingGoodread’s description:

In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also a heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?

Oct 29: Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Publisher’s description:

Richard Russo—from his first novel, Mohawk, to his most recent, Straight Man—has demonstrated a peerless affinity for the human tragicomedy, and with this stunning new novel he extends even further his claims on the small-town, blue-collar heart of the country.Empirefallsbookcover

Dexter County, Maine, and specifically the town of Empire Falls, has seen better days, and for decades, in fact, only a succession from bad to worse. One by one, its logging and textile enterprises have gone belly-up, and the once vast holdings of the Whiting clan (presided over by the last scion’s widow) now mostly amount to decrepit real estate. The working classes, meanwhile, continue to eke out whatever meager promise isn’t already boarded up.

Miles Roby gazes over this ruined kingdom from the Empire Grill, an opportunity of his youth that has become the albatross of his daily and future life. Called back from college and set to work by family obligations—his mother ailing, his father a loose cannon—Miles never left home again. Even so, his own obligations are manifold: a pending divorce; a troubled younger brother; and, not least, a peculiar partnership in the failing grill with none other than Mrs. Whiting. All of these, though, are offset by his daughter, Tick, whom he guides gently and proudly through the tribulations of adolescence.

A decent man encircled by history and dreams, by echoing churches and abandoned mills, by the comforts and feuds provided by lifelong friends and neighbors, Miles is also a patient, knowing guide to the rich, hardscrabble nature of Empire Falls: fathers and sons and daughters, living and dead, rich and poor alike. Shot through with the mysteries of generations and the shattering visitations of the nation at large, it is a social novel of panoramic ambition, yet at the same time achingly personal. In the end, Empire Falls reveals our worst and best instincts, both our most appalling nightmares and our simplest hopes, with all the vision, grace and humanity of truly epic storytelling.

itotallymeanttodothatNov 19: I Totally Meant to do that by Jane Borden

Goodread’s description:

Jane Borden is a hybrid too horrifying to exist: a hipster-debutante. She was reared in a propert Southern home in Greensboro, North Carolina, sent to boarding school in Virginia, and then went on to join a sorority in Chapel Hill. She next moved to New York and discovered that none of this grooming meant a lick to anyone. In fact, she hid her upbringing for many years–it was easier than explaining what a debutante “does” (the short answer: not much).

Anyone who has moved away from home or lived in (or dreamed of living in) New York will appreciate the hilarity of Jane’s musings on the intersections of and altercations between Southern hospitality and Gotham cool.

Jan 28: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami1Q84

Publisher’s description:

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

Feb 25: The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

peacebookPublisher’s description:

A heartfelt, and riveting biography of the short life of a talented young African-American man who escapes the slums of Newark for Yale University only to succumb to the dangers of the streets—and of one’s own nature—when he returns home.

When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn’t get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, “fronting” in Yale, and at home.

Through an honest rendering of Robert’s relationships—with his struggling mother, with his incarcerated father, with his teachers and friends and fellow drug dealers—The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace encompasses the most enduring conflicts in America: race, class, drugs, community, imprisonment, education, family, friendship, and love. It’s about the collision of two fiercely insular worlds—the ivy-covered campus of Yale University and Newark, New Jersey, and the difficulty of going from one to the other and then back again. It’s about poverty, the challenges of single motherhood, and the struggle to find male role models in a community where a man is more likely to go to prison than to college. It’s about reaching one’s greatest potential and taking responsibility for your family no matter the cost. It’s about trying to live a decent life in America. But most all the story is about the tragic life of one singular brilliant young man. His end, a violent one, is heartbreaking and powerful and unforgettable.

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10 ways to celebrate ‘Love your Library’ month

February 23, 2015

by Tammy Cox, Employee Forum treasurer

Don’t wait until February to enjoy libraries with their rich resources for knowledge and entertainment. Here on campus, your One Card is the key to any of the many libraries available to staff, students and faculty.
During Employee Appreciation Day, the UNC Libraries table provided handouts with “10 Great things to do right here at your library.” Listed below are 10 of the ways to enjoy the offerings:

1. Check out recent best sellers from the browsing collection
2. Borrow DVDs, CDs, language learning CD,s audiobooks, cameras, Wiis, and iPads
3. Find sheet music for your singing group
4. Scan your family photos
5. Take home a children’s book
6. Research that big purchase in Consumer Reports before you make it
7. Read up before your vacation with travel guides
8. Take in an exhibit about NC history
9. Research your family history
10. Visit Mount Everest or the moon via Liquid Galaxy

Today is a great day to stock up on books or movies to entertain you when the weather is less than spectacular. Or even better, grab some travel guides to plan a trip for the sunny days ahead.

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