Chancellor Woodson gives “State of State” address

As we entered 2010, North Carolina State University’s academic and athletic rankings had never been worse.  The University’s overall performance and perception amongst its large alumni base was in as deep of a valley as possibly could be imagined.

Enter new Chancellor, Randy Woodson…followed by new Athletics Director, Debbie Yow and you immediately have a re-energized alumni community lining up behind some very impressive and focused leaders.

Yesterday, Chancellor Woodson gave his “State of State” address that was covered here by Technician.

Woodson said the summer hiring of Athletic Director Debbie Yow was a tremendous achievement, and it’s already paying dividends.

“Debbie Yow is doing a fantastic job; she’s making sure student athletes are engaged in athletics, but also concerned with what happens off the field. Debbie wants to see all of our athletes excel as students,” he said.

The search for a permanent provost is still moving ahead, and Woodson said that hopefully, “that position will be filled in the coming weeks or months.”

Woodson also addressed the recent U.S. News and World Report college rankings, in which N.C. State fell from 83 to 111. Woodson said “I’m not a guy that manages toward rankings,” but he was not completely dismissive of the drop.  I don’t think any of us were excited to see N.C. State drop out of top 100. [The ranking] does not reflect the quality of the institution, faculty or students,” Woodson said.

The report showed that as enrollment has increased, so has class size. “The faculty is not big enough for the size of the enrollment; classes are too large,” Woodson said.   And with budget belts tightening statewide, Woodson said that raising the endowment is the elixir that will help cure future budget ills.

“We have to grow the endowment; it’s one of the smallest in our peer group. Our endowment is around $450 million, and it should be above $1 billion. It’s important to this institution to invest in the future so these budgetary waves we have to ride are a little easier,” Woodson said.

There was a silver lining to recent college rankings, however. The Wall Street Journal ranked N.C. State as 19 on its list of the 25 top universities for recruiters.

The only negative?   Dr. Tom Stafford remains in his position – despite SFN being told at the beginning of the year that the ‘esteemed’ Dr. Stafford would finally be put to pasture.

Our message forums have hosted a lot of conversations in the last few months about recent rankings and the direction of the University.  We always encourage our readers to supplement their ‘NC State time’ on the internet with visits – and sharing your thoughts – on our boards.

About StateFans

'StateFansNation' is the shared profile used by any/all of the dozen or so authors that contribute to the blog. You may not always agree with us, but you will have little doubt about where we stand on most issues. Please follow us on Twitter and FaceBook

NC State NC State Administration

22 Responses to Chancellor Woodson gives “State of State” address

  1. packalum44 09/14/2010 at 10:09 AM #

    Expect the endowment to jump closer towards the 1 billion mark soon. However, even with one of the biggest donations to any college in history, it will hardly put a dent in our 1 billion goal. Endowment ranking, above any other variable, is the strongest indicator of the US News Ranking. In other words they are highly correlated. But guess what…its not even looked at by US News in ranking.

    How can one variable be more correlated to a ranking than other variables actually measured (e.g. class size)? Because it drives every other variable! I could save US News a lot of time and resources by just swapping out the US News Ranking with the rank of endowments. Sure there are intricacies that complicate my simplifying assumption such as endowment per student and public versus private (public schools get state funds) but the point is if there is one single thing you can do for you school give to the endowment. Its one of the few gifts that keeps giving – No guys I’m not referring to that gift you got Freshman year during your trip to Greenville 🙂

    The one positive thing is Woodson actually gets this and has made this a public battle.

  2. TopTenPack 09/14/2010 at 10:13 AM #

    To raise its rankings, NC State simply needs to admit less students and of the students it does admit, more need to be out of state. That is counter to NC State’s strategy and philosophy. NC State exists to serve NC and its industries. 91% of NC State students are from NC. We have degree programs that the “elite” universities would never dream of having (e.g. Textiles, Turf Grass Management, Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management).

    I am not really sure what these ranking are worth outside pride.

  3. StateFans 09/14/2010 at 10:32 AM #

    The different criteria for all of the different rankings make for interesting conversation, but not a whole lot of actual substance. Give me solid rankings from employers and pay my alums a lot of money and everything else is less important.

  4. wolfonthehill 09/15/2010 at 5:59 AM #

    ^^ TopTen – that’s why their rankings are garbage. Any school that wins a national championship in football/basketball will automatically see their ranking jump, just because more students apply & they admit a smaller percentage (keeping the freshman class the same size). We unfortunately suffer from the opposite right now…

  5. greatballsoffire 09/15/2010 at 7:26 AM #

    Didn’t Oblinger lead the “Acheive” campaign and raise $1 billion? Or did that solely go towards constructing new buildings rather than bridge the state funding gaps?

    (It’s still amazing to me that there has been so much construction on campus, especially given that these budgetary woes did not come out of the blue.)

  6. NCSU88 09/15/2010 at 7:39 AM #

    Red Flag for me is:
    “The report showed that as enrollment has increased, so has class size. “The faculty is not big enough for the size of the enrollment; classes are too large,” Woodson said.”

    Makes me wonder how the university controls admissions. There certainly must be a set capacity. Lack of communication within the various departments? I understand a comparison to airlines overbooking flights. Is the university out to make money or educate students?

  7. LRM 09/15/2010 at 7:46 AM #

    I’ve been encouraged by Woodson’s leadership so far. He’s earning my trust.

  8. burnbarn 09/15/2010 at 8:08 AM #

    Can someone post the cliff notes version of Stafford for me?

  9. Plz2BStateFan 09/15/2010 at 8:17 AM #

    At least there is some visibility to the issues that our schools leaders are dealing with and they are acknowleging the problems and touching on their strategy to fix the issues.

    Much better than ignoring the issue and claiming everything is fine….

  10. rlgray 09/15/2010 at 8:38 AM #

    The Wall Street Journal had a ranking of colleges and universities this week (September 13, 2010) based on how corporate recruiters view the colleges and universities. In that ranking, State was 19th in the country! The article showing the top 25 (UNC-CH was tied for 25th) is at

  11. GAWolf 09/15/2010 at 8:50 AM #

    I’ve run into him numerous times around Raleigh… at the grocery store, at State baseball games, etc… and he’s unbelievably nice and approachable. He’s a PERFECT fit for NC State. PERFECT!

  12. MattN 09/15/2010 at 9:12 AM #

    Stafford is an empty suit that I cannot believe is still employed. I unfortunately had to interact with him during my time at state and I cannot tell you exactly what use he is to the university.

  13. newt 09/15/2010 at 9:19 AM #

    I will send a note to the Chancellor’s office today asking how the typical NC State Alumnus (not rich) can help increase the endowment.

  14. newt 09/15/2010 at 9:29 AM #

    Below is the link for endowment giving.

    The minimum gift is $15K, but that seems kind of restrictive. If 15 people gave $1000 each, that would be the same difference.

    If 750 people gave $20 each, that would also be a $15K endowment. That type of effort is not hard to imagine for semi-organized groups like the followers of this blog.

    If everybody at an NC State football game gave $20, that would be $1 million.

  15. LKNpackfan 09/15/2010 at 11:09 AM #

    Moneybombs have been insanely successful in the policital realm. I’d like to see something similar orgistrated for academia.

  16. GAWolf 09/15/2010 at 11:12 AM #

    Fantastic ideas, Newt. A grassroots movemment to grow the endowment would be a huge opportunity for the SFN community. I would participate, and I’m sure others would here as well.

  17. sharkwolf 09/15/2010 at 11:49 AM #

    I know our history as a land grant university sets us apart from other UNC institutions. However I feel at this point we need to work to max out our out of state student enrollment. This will help save the state significant amounts of money. Also this will help spread the NCSU alumni branch and national reach. This is one area where Chapel Hill succeeds.

  18. newt 09/15/2010 at 12:36 PM #

    An individual or family can set up a Build to Endowment (BTE) fund that has 5 years to reach $15K. Presumably, any group could set up a BTE and publish to one another how to contribute to that BTE. I have written the University to ask for more details.

    I don’t have any affiliation with SFNation, and they are busy dudes, so I don’t think it’s fair to suggest they should do something like this. However, I’ll post whatever I learn just for discussion and knowledge sharing amongst people who care about NC State.

  19. MachWon 09/15/2010 at 1:58 PM #

    Why is it so difficult to donate to the endowment?

  20. STLPack01 09/15/2010 at 3:57 PM #

    500 Mill is very small for a school NCSU’s size. I’m a PhD student at Saint Louis University and its endowment is well over 1 bill.

  21. GoldenChain 09/15/2010 at 8:35 PM #

    44, I think the endowment impacts the ability to fund ‘chairs’ so they are no so dependent on state funding. Thus the school can control the class size better since it uses money from the endowment to fund professorships.
    TopTen, I have to take issue with your thought because the university has had those disciplines all along and we have gone from 57th to 111th in the last decade. Either others are gaming the system or we’re just plain falling behind. And in fact some of those degrees you mention (like Textiles) are among the best if not the best in the world.

  22. Primewolf 09/15/2010 at 8:35 PM #

    Our endowment is so small, in part, because the school is so inept at raising money.

    Here are some facts from my personal experiences. I have given into the 6 figures to the school so far.

    They can’t keep up with alumni lists, they don’t follow up on offers to give, they haven’t enjoyed smart, aggressive fundraisers.

    I have been to many functions and there is no one that works the crowd. At one function, I was talking to an NC State couple and the wife worked in the univ development office at Duke. I mentioned how there were no folks there walking around introducing themselves to the various circles of alumni and trying to connect. She said Duke would never have an event like this without a number of folks working the crowd, talking to alumni, making contacts, then following up on potential gifts or areas of interest the person might want to support.

    I am an alumni of both NC State and the University of Illinois. I have received 5 times as many phone calls here in NC from Illinois than I have from NC State. I would also give something every time they called. I haven’t heard from NC State univ development folks in quite a while.

    Another factor is that for many years NC State was basically an engineering school. Most of the graduates went out of state for jobs. The univ never kept up with them and never contacted them.

    Also the school has not fostered a endearing spirit among the students and developed pride in the school, say like a Va Tech. We have folks like Stafford in charge. The students graduate but don’t seem to be committed to excellence and giving back to the school.

    I am amazed at the lack of large gifts. We have some very successful alumni, but very few realy large gifts over $20M.

    We need to whole new team in univ development. Basically we have had inept leadership at the Chancellor position since Fox left.


Leave a Reply