APPOINTED AND PROMOTED: Erskine Bowles, once President Clinton's chief of staff, has been asked to run the University of North Carolina system. Bowles will be president of UNC, his alma mater, at an annual salary of $425,000. He has promised to donate $125,000 of it to financial aid for needy students. Bowles was rumored for months to be a front-runner for the presidency, even though he does not have higher education experience. What he does have is an extensive financial and political background. He most recently was an investment banker based in Charlotte, but worked for Morgan Stanley in New York City after earning an MBA from Columbia University (N.Y.). He served Clinton in several capacities--as director of the Small Business Administration, then as deputy White House chief of staff, and later as chief of staff. In his new job he oversees a $5 billion budget, 16 campuses and 37,000 employees... Alabama A&M University has picked Julian Earls to be president. He has been director of NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio... The U.S. Department of Education has made No Child Left Behind a household phrase. After four years of aiming to improve elementary education, the department has now turned its attention to high school and higher education. Secretary Margaret Spellings has created a National Commission on Higher Education and Charles Miller, a retired Houston money manager and informal Spellings advisor, will be chair. Miller's is an unpaid post.