New UCA President Allen Meadors Called a Uniter

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Jul. 13, 2009 12:00 am  

In addition to Meadors strengthening UNCP financially during his tenure, the university saw "phenomenal growth" with the number of its students more than doubling, Bowles said. Enrollment at the institution, located in Robeson County in southeast North Carolina, rose from just under 3,000 in 1999, when Meadors became chancellor, to 6,300 now.

Bowles also credited Meadors with improving the quality of the student body and leading a $57 million construction program at the campus.

He said Meadors reached beyond the university to the community.

"What he did with regional economic development - he really did forge new partnerships with the public schools, with the community college, with the business community, and that is an enormous accomplishment in an economically distressed region of the state," Bowles said.

"It's a region of the state that is deep-rooted with racial tensions," he said. "There had been long-standing barriers to collaboration."

"It's a great old story that you get your B.A. in politics in Raleigh, you get your master's in Washington and you get your Ph.D. in Robeson County," Bowles said. "It is a tri-racial community," he said. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county is 36.4 percent Native American, 33.1 percent white and 24.4 percent black.

Meadors is "the first person that I know of who's ever gotten all of that community to come together and collaborate in a positive manner."

'We're a Family'

But what does Meadors, a 1969 graduate of UCA and native of Van Buren, say about himself?

He describes his management style as inclusive. He said his primary goals are bridge building - between himself and the faculty and students, between UCA and the city of Conway - and improving morale.

"I try to get a lot of input," Meadors said in an hour-long interview with Arkansas Business. "I don't micromanage, but I certainly want to be informed. I'm a data nut. I ask for lots of information. I want us to make our decisions based on reality, not perception."

Interviewed July 2, his second official day on the job, Meadors said that though he hadn't had time to study all the issues facing UCA, he did have a first impression. "My perception is that we have been a bit scattered, too decentralized ... people going off and doing their own things. We're a family. Yes, there's multiple colleges on this campus, but we're all faculty."



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