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From Hickerson House on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, I’d like to send out greetings to friends and colleagues of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS). In my role as interim director, I am leading a strategic conversation in planning for the future of CURS. In the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to meet with a wide array of faculty, administrators and staff to collect viewpoints on the strengths, opportunities and challenges for the future of the Center. I look forward to continuing the conversation with many of you this semester.

What’s clear is that CURS is a great resource for many faculty, students and research affiliates at Carolina. Our ninety-three Faculty Fellows span 20 disciplines, ranging from social and environmental sciences to history and the humanities—unified by a shared appreciation for the spatial, cultural, institutional and historic arrangements that connect people to place and community.

Our dedicated staff work their magic to support research projects and collaborations of all types—from graduate students launching their dissertation projects to professors proposing early-stage projects to large, multi-unit collaborations that span our university and cross disciplinary lines.

At CURS, we are particularly blessed to have staff with deep knowledge and a longevity of service in support of grants management. Holly McPherson Day is our trusted grants manager and brings over two decades of CURS experience. Linda Comer works behind the scenes, supporting project payroll, travel and logistics. Andy Berner communicates out new funding opportunities and also promotes CURS-supported research through news articles, videos and social media posts. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

Todd Owen, our associate director, brings both a practitioner’s and administrator’s viewpoint to the table when working with faculty, staff and students to identify new sources of funding, while also resolving research-related challenges in real time.

After nearly six years at CURS, Teresa Bullock, our accounting technician, has taken a position at UNC’s Office of Sponsored Research. Faculty Fellows can reach out to Holly or Todd while we search for her replacement.

At CURS, we are not only here to help support your research and grant writing needs—we are an expansive research community, connecting academics with others through intellectual conversation and collaboration.

I invite you to learn about the many ways we support research success, including through our Scholar-in-Residence Program and Research Development Initiative.


Nichola Lowe
Interim Director


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