New UNC President Ready To Lead School That ‘Values Teaching And Learning’
School is back in session at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Along with all the freshman, there's a new face on campus - President Andrew Feinstein. He replaced Kay Norton, who led UNC for 16 years.
Feinstein's tenure officially began on July 9.
KUNC's Stephanie Daniel spoke with Feinstein to learn more about his vision for the university.
Why did you leave a successful tenure at San Jose State University and come to Colorado?
Andrew Feinstein: The students. So, 40 percent of our students at UNC are first in their family to go to college so being a part of their success and their family's success is very exciting to me. (…) The opportunity to be at a university that highly values teaching and learning. (…) Here it permeates everything. It's not just in the education college but it's in the sciences, the arts, the humanities, business. (…) I think then it provides our students with that experience you wouldn't receive elsewhere.
About 30 to 60 percent of UNC undergrads are either first generation, a minority or come from low-income families or a combination of the three. How do you plan to serve these students?
Feinstein: What makes universities wonderful is the difference of opinion and the difference of thought and the ability for students to understand different perspectives and I think that's what all of our students receive here.
But I think we're about at 19 percent Hispanic community and growing. I think we need to do a better job of ensuring that our Hispanic community is receiving and experiencing an educational experience here that is of quality and is providing them with an opportunity to graduate in four years.
How important is leadership at the top to the day-to-day workings of the institution?
Feinstein: Well, the first thing is I am the number one champion of this university. My job is to support and promote to the ongoing concerns of UNC. But also working collaboratively with the campus community and solving real challenges.
What are some of these challenges?
Feinstein: In my observations, the work that I've done with the CFO on campus and talking to a number of individuals, first and foremost we have a structural deficit here and it's about $10 million. So, we're not broke and we're not going bankrupt, but I think we need to make some real decisions about how we're going to address that structural deficit. It just can't continue.