FAQs for Committee Chairs
If you are new to the role of chairing a committee, the Office of Faculty Governance is here to help you get started.
Committee chairs play an essential role in faculty governance. As a committee chair, you are responsible for being the point of contact for your committee’s work, for scheduling (or working with staff to schedule) your committee meetings, for noticing your committee meetings in accordance with the North Carolina Open Meetings Law (G.S. 143-318.12) and for working with other committee members to create meeting agendas. Your committee will be asked to submit an annual report to the Faculty Council outlining its work over the previous year. If you cannot attend the Faculty Council meeting when your report is scheduled, you may make arrangements with faculty governance staff to have another committee member present the report. You will also serve on the Faculty Nominating Committee (see next item).
Committee chairs serve ex officio as members of the Faculty Nominating Committee. The committee meets approximately four times in the spring semester to make recommendations about candidates for that year’s faculty election and for appointed faculty committees. Committee chairs are consulted about the makeup of their committees and asked to identify qualities of faculty whose background and expertise would complement the committee. It is best for chairs to discuss potential candidates with their committees in closed session before making recommendations to the Nominating Committee. Scheduling for Nominating Committee meetings typically occurs between November to early January. The meetings are held in late January to early March.
Committee reports usually contain a list of the members and meeting dates from the past calendar year, topics discussed and any formal votes taken or decisions rendered. Past reports are available on each committee’s webpage on the Faculty Governance website.
The annual committee reporting schedule is updated over the summer. The university program specialist will contact committee chairs in August with a tentative schedule. You can request a different reporting date provided that you notify our office in advance.
We would like to receive your committee report about two weeks prior to the scheduled Council reporting date to give the Agenda Committee adequate time to review it and plan accordingly. Advance receipt of the report is especially important if your committee is planning to present any resolutions to Faculty Council.
The Agenda Committee may request that a committee submit its report “by title” to the Faculty Council. Submitting a report by title means that the committee chair does not have to make a formal presentation. However, the chair (or a designee from the committee) does have to attend the meeting to answer any questions that may arise about the report. The report is submitted to the Council for informational purposes only.
No. Committee chairs are only required to attend the Council meeting for which they are scheduled to present or submit their annual report.
No. Some members of the Faculty Council may also serve on committees, but membership on the Faculty Council is not a prerequisite for membership on a faculty governance committee. The Faculty Council and committees operate independently of one another.
Only the Agenda Committee, comprised of members of the Faculty Council who meet before each Council meeting to set the agenda, is a subcommittee of the Faculty Council.
Yes. Our office staff can assist you with meeting scheduling. If you contact our office, we can take the times when you are available throughout the semester or academic year, and then poll committee members to find the options that work for them. We can also reserve a room and send out the meeting schedule.
It depends on the committee’s charge. Some committees with active agendas meet monthly, such as the Educational Policy Committee. Others meet as needed when business arises (e.g., the Faculty Hearings and Faculty Grievance Committees). Some faculty committees schedule monthly meetings in advance, but may cancel when there is no business to address. Committees are not required to have a minimum or maximum number of meetings per year.
Yes, depending on the size of your committee. The Office of Faculty Governance manages a conference room on the second floor of Carr Building (Room 200B) that seats up to 15 people and has AV capabilities. We can reserve the room for committees as available. If your committee requires a larger space or one that is accessible (Carr does not have an elevator), our staff can locate and reserve spaces for your meeting or event.
To reserve Carr 200B find our online reservation form or call 919-962-7748.
Yes, depending on your event. The Office of Faculty Governance manages the Anne Queen Faculty Commons. Located in the Campus Y building on Cameron Avenue, it is a place for faculty and staff to have coffee or lunch and a quiet space to read or work. While serving as a faculty lounge in the mornings and early afternoons, it can be reserved for faculty events starting at 2:00pm on weekdays and between 8:00am‒11:00pm on weekends. The space is furnished with comfortable chairs for small groups and tables that can be configured to seat a larger gathering. In its usual arrangement as a faculty lounge, seating for approximately 32 people is available with a seating capacity set at 50 (arrangements will need to be made with Facilities Services for additional seating). The room can also be arranged to accommodate standing receptions or programs involving up to 75 people. Note that the Campus Y will not store furniture before or after events. There is no audiovisual equipment in the room.
More information about the Anne Queen Faculty Commons, including the online reservation form, is available under the “Reservations” tab on the Faculty Governance website.
The North Carolina Open Meetings Law generally requires that meetings of faculty governance committees be open to the public and that sufficient notice be provided prior to each meeting so that members of the public may attend. In the case of faculty committees and the Faculty Council, meeting notifications that include date, time and location must be submitted 10 days in advance of the meeting date to the Office of University Communications (email@example.com) for inclusion on the UNC Open Meetings Calendar. Faculty Governance staff will send the required notice for your meetings if you inform us of your meeting schedule.
Meetings involving personnel issues, such as Faculty Grievance Committee and Faculty Hearings Committee meetings, must be noticed on the Open Meetings Calendar with language indicating that the meeting may go into closed session.
For more detailed information on open meeting policies, see “Guidelines on Defining ‘Public Body’ within the Meaning of the Open Meetings Act” in the UNC System Policy Manual (Chapter 1300.4[G]) and “North Carolina Open Meetings Law Requirements: 10 Key Concepts” [PDF].
If you still have questions, contact our staff at 962-2146 or the Office of University Counsel at 962-1219.
North Carolina Open Meetings Law allows committees to conduct business privately only in certain circumstances, including: to prevent disclosure of confidential personnel information; to prevent the disclosure of confidential student or applicant information; to prevent the premature disclosure of an honorary degree, prize or award; or to preserve attorney-client privilege.
In order to go into closed session, the meeting must start in open session. A script for going into closed session follows:
Chair: “At this time, I will entertain a motion to go into closed session so that we may … [state applicable reason]. Is there a second?”
Any Member: “I second the motion.”
Chair: “All in favor say ‘Aye’.”
Chair: “All opposed say ‘No’.”
Chair: “The Ayes have it. The motion to go into closed session has passed. All those who are not members of the committee are now excused.”
Those not invited to stay at the committee’s request leave the meeting. Close door to the meeting room.
Once in closed session, the committee may only discuss the topic that was the subject of the motion to go into closed session. General topics that do not fall under an exception to the Open Meetings Law must be discussed in open session. In addition, all meetings must adjourn in open session. A script for returning to open session follows:
Chair: “I will now entertain a motion to return to open session.”
Any member: “I second the motion.”
Chair: “All in favor say ‘Aye’.”
Chair: “All opposed say ‘No’.”
Chair: “The Ayes have it. We are now in open session.”
Open door to meeting room.
Yes. The North Carolina Open Meetings Law (G.S. 143-318.10) states “Every public body shall keep full and accurate minutes of all official meetings, including any closed sessions held pursuant to G.S. 143-318.11. Such minutes may be in written form or, at the option of the public body, may be in the form of sound or video and sound recordings. When a public body meets in closed session, it shall keep a general account of the closed session so that a person not in attendance would have a reasonable understanding of what transpired. Such accounts may be a written narrative, or video or audio recordings. Such minutes and accounts shall be public records within the meaning of the Public Records Law, G.S. 132-1 et seq.; provided, however, that minutes or an account of a closed session conducted in compliance with G.S. 143-318.11 may be withheld from public inspection so long as public inspection would frustrate the purpose of a closed session.”
Meeting minutes do not have to be detailed accounts of what was said during the meeting. To satisfy public records requirements, meeting minutes must list the date, time and location of the meeting, along with a list of members who attended, and any formal decisions that have been rendered. Closed-session accounts may be minimal in detail and kept separately to prevent their disclosure.
Unfortunately, there are too many committees for us to keep and distribute committee minutes in a timely manner. We recommend that each committee either designate a recorder at the beginning of the academic year, or rotate responsibility for creating the minutes among all committee members.
Yes. Our office creates a Sakai site for each committee where the chair and members of the committee can upload working documents, meeting minutes, agendas, articles and other materials as needed. Sakai sites are closed spaces that require Onyen login. A listserv tool within Sakai is available to send communications electronically to committee members. Faculty Governance staff update the roster during the summer and make any changes that may arise during the year.
Sakai training is available online through the Sakai blog, tutorials and workshops. Faculty Governance staff can also assist you with customizing your committee’s site. Information on Sakai training is available by visiting sakai.unc.edu and clicking the “Help” button.
We maintain public webpages for each committee that include the current roster and annual reports to Faculty Council. However, we can also post meeting minutes, reports, statements or other materials the committee would like to make publicly available. A complete list of committee webpages is available on the Faculty Governance website.
Yes. While the Faculty Code is usually explicit about who may be elected or appointed as a voting member of a faculty committee, nothing in the Code precludes a committee from involving relevant campus officials or liaisons to pertinent offices or constituencies in its work. If these individuals attend the meetings on a regular basis and need to be included in the committee’s regular communications via Sakai, we can add them to the committee rosters as “non-voting consultants.” If your committee includes such individuals, please let our office know. It is also helpful for faculty governance staff to be informed when such individuals are no longer involved with a committee, and should be removed from the Sakai site and committee webpage.
Every committee with an active Sakai site has access to a built-in listserv tool. Email messages can be sent from committee members’ UNC accounts to your site’s unique Sakai listserv address, and the message will be delivered to everyone on the committee roster via their UNC email addresses (no need to log in to Sakai). All emails sent to committee members via the Sakai listserv address are automatically archived within Sakai. We’ve found that integrating listserv communications with Sakai’s document storage capability has made records management for committees much easier. If you need help using this tool, please contact our office.
Yes. A “public record” refers to any record created or received in conducting University business, in whatever format, including but not limited to paper, photographs, recordings, emails or digital images, unless an exception applies under federal or state law. All communications (emails, text messages, etc.) made or received in connection with the transaction of University business can be requested by members of the public and media. Exceptions include confidential personnel or student information. If you receive a request for public records, please contact the Public Records Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-962-8511. You can find more information on the Public Records website.
Committee chairs are required to transfer committee records to University Archives. The General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule outlines the retention period for administrative records. If you are a committee member, please pass your records, including handwritten notes, to your committee chair. Sections 1.12 and 1.19 outline retention and disposition instructions for committee, Council and task force records and state the following:
1.12 Committee, Council, and Task Force Records
Records documenting the actions of committees, councils, or task forces appointed, elected or ad hoc that are concerned only with administrative matters within the University. This series may include but is not limited to: minutes, notifications of meetings, agendas, reports, briefing materials, working papers, photographs, correspondence, and related documentation.
Confidentiality: Comply with applicable provisions of G.S. 126-22, 126-23,126-24 regarding confidentiality of personnel records. Comply with applicable provisions of 20 U.S.C. 1232g (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974) regarding confidentiality of student records.
a. Permanent for minutes, agendas, reports, photographs, and correspondence. Transfer to the custody of University Archives after 3 years.
b. Destroy in office remaining records after 5 years if no litigation, claim, audit, or other official action has been initiated. If official action has been initiated, destroy in office after completion of action and resolution of issues involved.
Disposition Instructions: Destroy in office when reference value ends.
1.19 Faculty Governance Records.
Records documenting the actions of faculty governance bodies, such as the faculty senate or council and committees. This series may include but is not limited to: minutes and attachments, correspondence, reports, faculty code, and related documentation and correspondence.
Confidentiality: Comply with applicable provisions of G.S. 126-22, 126-23, and 126-24, regarding confidentiality of personnel records. Comply with applicable provisions of 20 U.S.C. 1232g (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974) regarding confidentiality of student records.
Permanent. Transfer records to the custody of University Archives after 5 years.
Disposition Instructions: Destroy in office when reference value ends.
Records may be sent to our office for transfer to University Archives. If all committee records are stored in Sakai, there is no need to resend the records to our office. Our staff will pull the records from Sakai and transfer them to University Archives at your request.
Committees should submit their resolutions to our staff well in advance of the Faculty Council meeting at which they wish to present so that the Agenda Committee can ensure that a resolution is in order and that adequate time is reserved on the agenda for discussion. Questions about language and formatting of resolutions should be directed to the Secretary of the Faculty.
The Joint Rules of Procedure of the General Faculty and Faculty Council state that “The text of any resolution exercising the legislative powers of the faculty or expressing the sense of the faculty on any matter of concern is presented in writing to the secretary at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting at which it is to be considered”; and “Final action may not be taken on any resolution without due notice. Due notice consists of either (i) introduction and discussion of the proposal at the preceding meeting or (ii) distribution of the text of the proposal in connection with the agenda for the meeting at which action is to be taken.” The full text of the rules of procedure is available in the online version of the Faculty Code.
Committees might hold listening sessions, public forums and other special events that they wish to advertise to all faculty. We automatically include these events in our newsletter, Faculty Governance News, which is emailed monthly to all faculty during the academic year. Our office uses an all-faculty listserv to send timely communications like event invitations, special statements, or informational notices when they do not fall within our regular newsletter schedule. We are active on Facebook and Twitter and regularly post announcements and news items that are of interest to faculty across campus.
If a committee anticipates posting frequent public statements, we can arrange to host those within the committee’s public page on the Faculty Governance website.
Our staff is equipped to provide research assistance on educational policy issues by locating information about our peer institutions’ practices, creating and deploying Qualtrics-based surveys to UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and directing committee chairs to institutional policies and procedures.
We are often able to provide basic demographic data on various faculty constituencies to help faculty committees understand and communicate with specific subgroups of faculty.
It is recommended that faculty contact University Communications (email@example.com or 919-445-8555) upon receipt of any media inquiry.
If a member of your committee resigns, please contact the Secretary of the Faculty so that an alternate from a recent election or a new appointee can fill the vacancy. If a member is going on leave for more than one semester, please contact the Secretary of the Faculty to temporarily fill the vacancy in the interim.
Office of Faculty Governance staff are available to assist you during normal business hours Monday through Friday.
For questions regarding committee communications, logistics, or special projects, please contact the University Program Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org (919) 962-2146.
For questions regarding committee scheduling, open meetings assistance, or membership records, please contact the University Program Associate at email@example.com or (919) 962-1671.
For questions regarding the Chair of the Faculty or the Secretary of the Faculty, or to reserve Carr 200B or the Anne Queen Faculty Commons, please contact the Executive Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 962-7748.
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