“Focus Carolina” Features School of Government Faculty


WCHL’s Focus Carolina series features UNC-Chapel Hill faculty members who talk about things that ignite their passion for their work. Since last fall, Focus Carolina has featured three School of Government faculty members. In these segments, each of these three faculty members highlights certain issues they focus on or projects they’re involved with.



Anita Brown-Graham

In the October 8, 2018 segment, School of Government faculty member Anita Brown-Graham talks about her leadership of the ncIMPACT Initiative, a cross-disciplinary and policy-focused research center. She explains that complex issues usually can’t be addressed by a single discipline; the ncIMPACT Initiative expands the School’s ability to work with public officials and civic leaders across disciplines to better serve North Carolina communities. For example, ncIMPACT’s opioid response project is engaging local governments, school systems, county hospitals, social services, and other key stakeholders in 10 communities and helping them work together to confront this epidemic.

Jeffrey Welty

In February 2019, faculty member Jeff Welty, an expert in criminal law and procedure and director of the North Carolina Judicial College, talked about launching the North Carolina Criminal Law Blog in 2009. The blog addresses timely legal issues and provides background information and context to cases. Starting as a one-man show with only a handful of readers each day, Welty soon had several colleagues contributing. Now, a decade later, the blog has more than 125,000 monthly readers.

Peg Carlson

As director of the School’s Center for Public Leadership and Governance (CPLG), Peg Carlson helps public officials lead and govern their communities. One of her toughest challenges is helping local elected officials make “the transition from campaigning to governing.” In the June 24, 2019 Focus Carolina segment, she explains CPLG’s mission to equip everyone—from judges to city managers to county clerks—with the skills, tools, and experience they need to lead in the changing landscape of public service.

Bill Rivenbark

Bill Rivenbark is a public finance expert and director of the Master of Public Administration program at the school of Government. His work focuses on performance and financial management in local government. He helped to develop the County and Municipal Fiscal Analysis tool, a web-based dashboard designed to help North Carolina local governments analyze their fiscal condition. In this October 2018 segment, Rivenbarks discusses ways the School helps local governments improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public services such as waste management and recycling.

Jessie Smith

As the director of the School's Criminal Justice Innovation Lab, Jessie Smith engages a broad range of stakeholders to examine the criminal justice system through an evidence-based perspective and promoting the use of a rigorous evidence-based approach to criminal justice policy. In this February 2020 segment, she describes her current research on citation in lieu of arrest policies. 

Robert Joyce

In a September 2020 segment, School faculty member and North Carolina elections law expert Robert Joyce appeared in the series to discuss and clarify the range of voting options available in the November election. He explained the ways voting processes may change in the face of the pandemic, and predicted how traditional methods may become less prevalent as early and mail-in voting become a more popular choice of submiting ballots among the state's voting populace.