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The announcement below was sent to the General Faculty on September 30, 2015:

Acting in its capacity as the body holding the faculty’s delegated legislative power when quick action is needed, the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) Monday afternoon approved a plan for carrying on faculty governance activities while Chair of the Faculty Bruce Cairns recovers from his recent episode of cardiac arrest.

In consultation with members of the Advisory Committee who were able to attend the FEC’s regularly scheduled meeting, FEC voted unanimous adoption of the following motion, made by Prof. Vin Steponaitis and seconded by Prof. Erianne Weight:

In light of Faculty Chair Bruce Cairns’s illness and until the end of November 2015 or Prof. Cairns’s return, whichever comes first, the chair of the Advisory Committee, Prof. Peter Mucha, will serve as Acting Chair of the Faculty; the vice chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, Prof. Michael Gerhardt, will chair meetings of the Faculty Executive Committee; and the Secretary of the Faculty, Prof. Joe Ferrell, will chair the Faculty Council Agenda Committee.

The Faculty Code of University Government, which is the guiding document for the operation of campus-level faculty governance at UNC, provides in Section 3-1 that “interim vacancies in the office of chair of the faculty are filled through appointment by the Advisory Committee.”  The Advisory Committee also has responsibility every three years for identifying candidates to run for faculty chair.  There is, however, no explicit provision for how faculty chair duties are to be addressed during a chair’s temporary absence. The solution adopted represents a short-term distribution of the chair’s key duties to other current faculty leaders familiar with ongoing initiatives led by Prof. Cairns.

While Prof. Cairns recuperates, faculty members are urged to send any questions or concerns to, from which account emails will be routed to the appropriate respondent.  As always, full information about faculty governance may be found at

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