About the Chair of the Faculty

As stated in Section 3-1 of the Faculty Code, the chair of the faculty has the following duties, in addition to those that may be determined by the chancellor or Faculty Council:

  • To serve as chair pro tempore of the Faculty Council and of the General Faculty,
  • To make an annual report to the Faculty Council on the state of the faculty, and
  • To represent the chancellor in all academic matters whenever requested by the chancellor

The position of chair of the faculty was created on 26 October 1951 as a requirement of the Faculty Code of University Government.

The chair of the faculty serves a three-year term and is ineligible for immediate reelection. Nominations take place every third year and are made by the Advisory Committee. The elected chair takes office the following July 1. Interim vacancies in the office of chair of the faculty are filled through appointment by the Advisory Committee.

Current Chair of the Faculty: Bruce Cairns

Dr. Bruce Carins at the Old Well at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Bruce Cairns at the Old Well at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bruce Cairns at the Old Well at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Photo courtesy of UNC News.

With 2,094 of 3,799 (55.1%) eligible members participating, the highest turnout rate since the beginning of turnout analysis in 1997, Prof. Bruce Cairns, M.D., was elected to the position Chair of the Faculty effective July 1, 2014.

Cairns is the John Stackhouse Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Director of the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center. He joined the UNC faculty in 2000 and has since served two terms on the Faculty Council and the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. He served one term on the Agenda Committee and continues to serve on the Committee on University Government.

In his role as Director of the Jaycee Burn Center, Cairns has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his efforts in recruiting under-represented minorities and diversifying the scientific workforce. He has published over 130 articles covering a wide range of topics related to clinical care, immunology and infection, simulation and education, global health and disaster response. Cairns has participated in interdisciplinary collaborations with departments and schools across campus, and he has traveled across North Carolina to work with various state organizations, private enterprise and other universities. He believes that the “principal role of the Faculty Chair is to serve all faculty as we work together to support the University’s mission of education, research and service.”

He has received multiple awards for his teaching, research, and surgical activities, including the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award for service to the state, nation, and University; the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award; the Resident Physician Advocate Award; and the American Burn Association Traveling Fellow Award. Cairns received his B.A. at The Johns Hopkins University and his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

To contact Bruce Cairns, please email facultychair@unc.edu or call the Office of Faculty Governance at (919) 962-2146.

Click here to read more about Prof. Cairns in the University Gazette.

Chairs of the Faculty 1952-present

From 1952 until 1974, the term of Chair of the Faculty began January 1. Effective with the 1974 election, the beginning date of the term has been July 1. Due to this change, Prof. Okun’s term was extended by six months.

Years servedNameTitle
1952-1955William S. WellsKenan Professor of English
1955-1958Dudley DeWitt CarrollKenan Professor of Economics
1958-1961William S. WellsKenan Professor of English
1961-1964George M. HarperProfessor of English
1964-1967Corydon P. SpruillAlumni Distinguished Professor of Economics
1967-1970Frederic N. ClevelandProfessor of Political Science
1970-1974Daniel A. OkunKenan Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
1974-1977George V. TaylorProfessor of History
1977-1980E. Maynard AdamsKenan Professor of Philosophy
1980-1983Daniel H. PollittGraham Kenan Professor of Law
1983-1986Doris W. BettsAlumni Distinguished Professor of English
1986-1989George A. KennedyPaddison Professor of Classics
1989-1991Harry GooderProfessor of Microbiology and Immunology
1991-1994James L. Peacock IIIKenan Professor of Anthropology
1994-1997Jane D. BrownProfessor of Journalism and Mass Communication
1997-2000Richard N. AndrewsProfessor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
2000-2003Sue E. EstroffProfessor of Social Medicine
2003-2006Judith W. WegnerProfessor of Law
2006-2009Joseph TempletonFrancis Preston Venable Professor of Chemistry
2009-2011McKay CobleProfessor of Dramatic Art
2011-2014Jan BoxillMaster Lecturer of Philosophy