David Belcher, Western Carolina University’s next chancellor, spoke with members of the local media prior to his introduction to the campus community Monday afternoon, April 11.
Belcher fielded questions from the Asheville Citizen-Times, the Smoky Mountain News, The Sylva Herald, and the Tuckasegee Reader.
The result was a far-ranging conversation that touched on his vision for the university, his leadership style, his musical background and his commitment to inter-collegiate athletics.
Watch video highlights of the interview or read some of his remarks below.
On WCU’s situation:
“Western’s got a lot of great stuff that’s already gotten started here. There’s momentum. They’ve raised admissions standards. There’s been enrollment growth. ... A very good foundation that’s been laid.”
On that state budget crisis:
“This is not a North Carolina issue. This is a national issue. Universities across the nation are having to figure out, ‘Okay, here’s where our missions are and here’s where our goals are… what can we do and what can’t we do?’”
On community engagement:
“I’ve been involved [in] bringing the campus community and the external community together to look at strategic decisions about where the university will go moving forward. [and] engaging all of the constituents in a sort of collective vision.”
On inter-collegiate athletics:
"A strong inter-collegiate athletics program is a key part of campus life… It really helps to ground students in a place. [P}art of the research indicates that students who are grounded in student life in a place tend to graduate at higher rates, so that’s important.”
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