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Meeting of the Faculty Council and General Faculty

Friday, December 8, 2017, 3:00 p.m.
Kerr Hall, 1001 (Eshelman School of Pharmacy)


3:00 p.m. Secretary of the Faculty remarks

  • Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis
  • Powers of the General Faculty (PowerPoint or PDF)

3:10 p.m. Provost’s remarks

3:40 p.m. Faculty Assembly update

  • Professor Tim Ives, vice chair of the Faculty Assembly

3:50 p.m. Resolution 2017-14. On Protecting Free Speech (PDF)

4:05 p.m. General Education Curriculum update

  • Professor Andrew Perrin, chair of the GEC Coordinating Committee
  • Latest draft of the proposed curriculum: IDEAs in Action (PDF)

4:35 p.m. Open discussion

4:45 p.m. Closed session: Approval of the 2018 Edward Kidder Graham Award nominee

4:50 p.m. Adjournment

Video of Proceedings

Watch the full video [Streaming]

Journal of Proceedings of the Faculty Council and the General Faculty

The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on December 8, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. in Kerr Hall, room 1001 at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

The following 40 members attended: Anksorus, Ansong, Babb, Beltran, Berkowitz, Bloom, Calikoglu, Chambers, Clement, Cuddeback, Fry, Furry, Gilland, Giovanello, Graham, Hannig, Hastings, Hessick, Hobbs, Ives, Khan, Kireev, Kris, Larson, Lithgow, Mauro, Mayer, Melehy, Mizzy, Ramaswamy, Renner, Sawyer, Scarlett, Song, Steponaitis (Secretary of the Faculty), Tuggle, Wallace, Willett, Yaqub and Zvara.

The following 33 members received excused absences: Aikat, Arnold, Austin, Baumgartner, Berman, Boettiger Cooney, Brewster, Coble, Cox, Duqum, Estigarribia, Estrada, Fisher, Folt (Chancellor), Hill, Joyner, Koonce, Malloy, Mayer-Davis, McBride, Moore, Nelson, Neta, Osterweil, Parise (Chair of the Faculty), Perelmuter, Platts-Mills, Pukkila, Rashid, Stearns, Tepper, Thorp and Thorpe.

The following 21 members were absent without excuse: Ammerman, Burch, Chapman, Coyne-Beasley, Daughters, Dobelstein, Edwards, Elsherif, Felix, Gilchrist, Kang, Lee, A. Levine, C. Levine, Lundberg, Muller, Savasta-Kennedy, Upshaw, Walter, Williams and Zamboni

Others in attendance: Blouin (Provost), Andringa (Undergraduate Representative), Filene (Undergraduate Representative) and Stember (Graduate Representative).

Call to order

The Secretary of the Faculty called the meeting to order at 3:04 p.m.

Secretary of the Faculty’s remarks

Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis gave a presentation on the powers and responsibilities of the General Faculty. The Faculty Code of University Government states that the General Faculty consists of all tenured and tenure-track faculty, librarians and fixed-term faculty who have been at the University for three years and have at least a three-quarter-time appointment. The General Faculty delegates most of its legislative duties to Faculty Council, which consists of about 90 members. Some of Faculty Council’s legislative duties are delegated to the Faculty Executive Committee, a smaller body that acts on behalf of Faculty Council when prompt action is required. Professor Steponaitis thanked Faculty Council for exercising the voice of faculty in shared governance.

Provost’s Remarks

Provost Blouin said Chancellor Folt sends her warm wishes to Faculty Council and hopes everyone has a wonderful holiday season. The website for the “Blueprint for Next: University Strategic Framework” has launched. The Blueprint for Next plays a critical role in fundraising efforts. It will be used as a development tool and a way for the administration to establish investment priorities within the University. The Campaign for Carolina is off to a strong start with a total of $1.8 billion raised. These funds will support faculty and student initiatives and student aid.

Provost Blouin’s main priority is to examine the budget model and the Carolina Service Initiative. Provost Blouin will delay implementation of the new budget model until unintended consequences are understood and addressed. The Provost’s Cabinet (formerly the Dean’s Council) will meet in December and January to explore Responsibility-Centered Management (RCM) budget models and to identify problems that may evolve as a consequence of the budget model. After these concerns are addressed by Mr. Matthew Fajack, vice chancellor for finance and administration and his team, the final budget model will be shared with University leadership and individual campus units.

Provost Blouin said the Carolina Service launch has also been delayed. The recent focus of this initiative has been on examining how central services can be optimized. More time is required to relay information about Carolina Service to campus units. He said the best practice would be to solidify the budget model and then explore how we can best optimize the operations of the University based on the model and examine the role of decentralized and centralized administrative structures within the University.

Professor Wendell Gilland (Business) asked Provost Blouin to elaborate on his concerns about the new budget model.

Provost Blouin said some schools are thriving financially, while others are not. Resources from financially prosperous schools have to be used to assist schools that are not doing as well, which does not guarantee transparency. Before the budget model launches, Provost Blouin wants to ensure that we understand the reasoning behind the subvention process and evaluate which academic programs should potentially be supported with block funds. Provost Blouin is also concerned about the culture of collaboration in teaching and research at the University. The collaborative spirit could be in jeopardy if individual departments are focused on optimizing their funds and are reluctant to collaborate. Provost Blouin wants to guarantee the positive and negative effects of RCM budget models are understood.

Professor Keith Sawyer (Education) said the specifics of the RCM budget models have an impact on faculty governance, and it seems that Faculty Council should have power in decisions made about these models. Professor Sawyer asked if this has been discussed or considered.

Provost Blouin said he believes that the faculty should be both engaged and involved, and he will seek clarification on the issue from the Office of Faculty Governance.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics and Operations Research) said there are big costs associated with the current budget model that are stifling to units that are experiencing growth because there is no way to convert this growth into more faculty positions.

Provost Blouin said this is one of the major motivations of converting to an RCM budget model. Most people are dissatisfied with the current budget model and believe that we should move towards a different model. The question is what this model will look like and what the unintended consequences are.

Provost Blouin congratulated faculty in their research efforts. For the first time, the University received $1 billion in incoming grants and contracts. UNC-CH ranked sixth in the country for federal funding and sixth among public universities in the country for research and development funding from all sources. Provost Blouin believes this success is due to the talent and collaborative spirit of our faculty.

Provost Blouin said that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has reaccredited the University at its 10-year review. Provost Blouin said the administration has been working to understand the financial ramifications for the University if there is a federal government shutdown on December 22. In the case of a shutdown resources can still be pulled through a portal, as long as it continues to function properly. Provost Blouin thinks the University will be fine in the event of a shutdown.

Provost Blouin said it is unlikely the full federal tax bill will pass in the House of Representatives. There has been pushback on the provision regarding taxing graduate students’ tuition waivers as income. Chancellor Folt has been proactive in trying to ensure that everyone who represents the University understands the impact of the new tax bill on the University and the state of North Carolina. The University is a $1 billion research enterprise and Research Triangle Park is a $2.5 billion research enterprise, both of which are fueled by the work of graduate students.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics and Operations Research) said graduate student tuition remission could be limiting to our research enterprise, because it puts boundaries on the number of graduate students a department can have.

Provost Blouin said graduate student remission is a problem for all departments that have graduate students. Graduate student remission is not considered a waiver, this cost has be paid by some entity. There are not enough graduate student remissions and more resources are needed to fund this tuition support. Graduate students are one of the most vulnerable populations on this campus.

Provost Blouin announced that the May 2017 report on the educational benefits of diversity and inclusion for undergraduate students at UNC-CH, compiled by Professor Jim Dean and a group of faculty, will be posted on the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost website.

Faculty Assembly update

Professor Tim Ives (Pharmacy), vice chair of the Faculty Assembly, gave an overview of the structure of the Faculty Assembly Delegation. It is a five-person delegation based on the size of the University. Professor Charlotte Boettiger Cooney (Psychology and Neuroscience) is the chair of the delegation. Professor Alice Ammerman (Nutrition) is serving as the interim chair. Chris Lundberg (Communication Studies) and Chair of the Faculty Leslie Parise are also members of the Faculty Assembly Delegation. Professor Megan Williams (Nursing) and Professor Mark McNeilly (Business) serve as alternates. The Faculty Assembly works jointly with the Staff Assembly, the Employee Forum and the UNC Association of Student Governments. UNC President William Friday created the Faculty Assembly in 1972 to serve as an advisory board. The Assembly serves the UNC System President, the General Administration, the Board of Governors (BOG) and the General Assembly. Professor Gabriel Lugo (UNC-Wilmington) serves as Chair of the Faculty Assembly.

The Faculty Assembly has taken a proactive approach this academic year by getting involved in issues coming before the BOG and the General Administration. Their goal is to disseminate information to individual campuses about the actions taken at the Faculty Assembly level to increase discussion and information sharing. Another goal of the Faculty Assembly is to enhance the role of shared governance.

Free speech is a recent issue on which the Faculty Assembly has taken action. The NC General Assembly recently passed House Bill 527 also known as the “Restore Campus Free Speech Act,” that requires the BOG to write a policy on freedom of speech. The Faculty Assembly was asked to give feedback on the policy draft; the BOG accepted some of their recommendations. They are also focusing on a proposed policy to limit undergraduate programs to 120-credit hours and resources to improve summer school. The BOG and the Faculty Assembly are working to address the dramatic increase in health care premiums. Professor Ives acknowledged Katie Turner (Office of Faculty Governance) and Chair of the Employee Forum Shayna Hill for their resolution outlining the health care premium issue.

Resolution 2017-14. On Protecting Free Speech

Professor Ives said the Faculty Assembly reviewed the draft freedom of speech policy, and they want the policy to cover outside speakers, in addition to faculty and staff. The goal of Resolution 2017-14 is to ensure the policy does not go beyond the intent of the free speech bill. In January, the Faculty Assembly, the Staff Assembly and the UNC Association of Student Governments will meet to assist in creating the guidelines of the policy.

Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis said when the BOG and General Administration began working on the free speech policy, the Faculty Assembly passed a resolution with suggestions. A second draft of the policy became public and the Faculty Assembly invited the individual campuses to give their input. The Faculty Executive Committee decided to focus on a statement that gave general advice: limit the policy so it doesn’t exceed the requirements of the law and give campuses maximum discretion in determining appropriate consequences for violations.

Professor Steponaitis stated the question, Resolution 2017-14, and opened the floor for discussion.

Resolution 2017-14 passed unanimously with no abstentions.

General Education Curriculum update

Professor Andrew Perrin (Sociology), chair of the General Education Curriculum (GEC) Coordinating Committee, said the new draft of the curriculum incorporates proposed revisions and ideas from faculty, students and the public. There are 11 feasibility and design committees appointed in November. Each committee is working on one section of the proposed curriculum and is addressing whether the University has the resources to implement that piece of the proposed curriculum. The committees should have significant feedback by January. The GEC Coordinating Committee will relay this information to Faculty Council. The Committee will also share a research brief that outlines the basis of their design process.

The substantive principles of the curriculum proposal are student-focused, evidence-based, capacity driven and simplifying. The concrete elements of the curriculum include: a structured first year with a first-year-focused course; a rhetoric and comprehension class; and a broad interdisciplinary introduction into the foundations of university learning, titled “Ideas, Information, and Inquiry.” The committee is working to simplify distribution requirements. The current curriculum draft includes nine courses organized by capacities. The curriculum proposal reinforces capacities by offering them in multiple academic contexts. The committee is also proposing more opportunities for global and experiential education and an advanced communication-intensive course to help students reflect on information they’ve learned earlier in their career.

Professor Florence Babb (Anthropology) asked how much the committee has considered the possibility of students studying abroad for a portion of the academic year, under the curriculum proposal. One of the goals of the University is to increase student participating in study abroad, would students be able to fulfil some of the other curriculum requirements while studying abroad?

Professor Perrin said the Feasibility and Design Committee on Experiential and Global Education is examining the resources needed to ensure global engagement is available to the greatest number of students. Another committee is focused on how transfer credits are handled. There is discussion on how to balance the idea of making general education special at UNC-CH, while also being flexible in allowing students to decide their own educational direction.

Professor Hassan Melehy (Romance Studies) said there is concern about why there has to be a new curriculum. He asked the GEC Coordinating Committee to consider preserving the best parts of the current curriculum and modifying it to address major concerns.

Professor Perrin said the Committee held listening sessions where faculty stated significant problems with the current curriculum. Faculty, students and advisors said students were not making connections and did not have the resources or opportunities to fully utilize the curriculum. Students feel that the first year can be alienating, in particular first-generation college students and Pell Grant eligible students. This demands an educational intervention that provides students with enough structure and support to take full advantage of the faculty. The committee expects that relatively little work will be needed to fit existing courses into the newly organized curriculum. There are ways in which the organization of the curriculum needs to change in order to match the level of ambition the committee is striving for.

Professor Hilary Lithgow (English) said the “core knowledge and common experiences” value detailed in the curriculum proposal seems to be heavily focused on skills, but not content. She said it would be a huge loss if historical content were not included. As an advisor, she noticed that students would prefer not to fulfill the World Before 1750 requirements. Professor Lithgow asked if the details of the “engagement with the human past” focus capacity addresses historical content at all.

Professor Perrin said the Feasibility and Design Committees on Course Availability and on Transfer Students are working on the list of focus capacities and their criteria. They are detailing what the “engagement with the human past” focus capacity means internally and whether an additional focus capacity is needed to encapsulate the World Before 1750 requirement. There is far more that can be taught at Carolina than they could possibly require in the general education curriculum. They will examine if there are content areas that students should be required to encounter. Professor Perrin said the committees are considering the relationship between content and capacity, but it should be thought of in a broader sense.

Professor Lloyd Kramer (History) said he shares the concern about the World Before 1750 requirement. He asked if the Idea, Information and Inquiry course and the Junior-Senior Communication-Intensive course can be offered in each discipline.

Professor Perrin said the Idea, Information and Inquiry course does not live within any particular discipline. The course is meant to be a college-level, interdisciplinary course that seeks to teach students broadly about University learning. Its purpose is to give students a surface-level introduction to new subject areas and how they can relate to one another.

Professor Kramer asked if departments will get credit for the FTEs if instructors from the department are teaching the Idea, Information and Inquiry course and the Junior-Senior Communication-Intensive course.

Professor Perrin said departments will get credit for the FTEs. A feasibility and design committee is tasked with figuring out the logistics. One goal of the ideas, information and inquiry course is to provide students with early access to faculty who are doing great research in their field. Multiple models have been discussed for the Junior-Senior Communication-Intensive course. The direction for this course is less clear because it is heavily skills based and the Feasibility and Design Committee on the Junior-Senior Communication-Intensive Course is not sure how it fits with the content of the curriculum. One of the proposals is to attach this course directly to undergraduate majors.

Professor Jay Smith (History) said the curriculum proposal feels like a top-down, engineered document that imports desired learning outcomes into courses. He said it feels as though faculty control is being taken away, and faculty members are not being trusted to teach courses in ways that have succeeded in the past. This problem manifests in two portions of the proposed curriculum. First-year seminars are still a requirement even though there is faculty opposition and students do not receive their first choices. Additionally, only four faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences are on the Curriculum Oversight Committee, which has the authority to recommend changes to the curriculum, yet the changes proposed would affect the College’s faculty.

Professor Perrin said they recognize there are concerns with the practicality of requiring first-year seminars. The Curriculum Oversight Committee has asked the College to make sure the resources are available if this becomes a requirement. They are looking into other possible first-year related courses that do not jeopardize the success of the First-Year Seminar Program.

The rationale for maintaining the first-year seminar requirements are supported by literature on how students best adjust to college. The rationale is also based on data showing which groups are not taking first-year seminars. Only 68% of first-year students take first-year seminars even though there is space for 90% of first-year students. The first group less likely to take first-year seminars are students who plan to be science majors. The second group consists of first-generation college students and students from low-income families. They want to guarantee there are incentives and opportunities for the second group to have contact with faculty. If this cannot be accomplished successfully, it will not be a part of the curriculum. Professor Perrin said they would be delighted to have a Curriculum Oversight Committee structure that better represents College of Arts and Sciences faculty.


Professor Nadia Yaqub (Asian Studies) said she anticipates the curriculum will change drastically after the data from the feasibility and design committees is incorporated. She is concerned about the timeline. The curriculum needs careful discussion within the College of Arts and Sciences before it is presented to Faculty Council. She believes a structure should be put in place for faculty to review the curriculum to make certain there is support for the curriculum. She recommended slowing the process down.
Professor Perrin said the goal is to have a curriculum that has faculty support and is feasible within the current timeline. If this goal is not met, they will put forth a curriculum when it can be successfully accomplished. He suggested that Professor Yaqub, himself and others meet to discuss how to circulate the curriculum to the maximum number of faculty.

Professor Heidi Anksorus (Pharmacy) suggested that the GEC Coordinating Committee start to consider finding resources to assist the faculty with teaching the recurring capacities.

Professor Perrin said many of the feasibility and design committees have been asked to recommend faculty development opportunities. These opportunities could come from the Center for Faculty Excellence, where faculty could develop approaches that are faithful to their disciplines and that would fit within the criteria of the curriculum. Professor Perrin and Professor Yaqub previously discussed if faculty should be able to teach the recurring capacities adequately if the capacities are not in their discipline. Professor Yaqub said that some of the recurring capacities may be beyond what can be reasonably expected for faculty to teach in a general education course. This question is ongoing and the Feasibility and Design Committee on General Education Course Criteria is examining the recurring capacities.

Professor Muge Calikoglu (Medicine) asked what the current student to advisor ratio is and if there will be more advisors to help students navigate the new curriculum.

Professor Abigail Panter, senior associate dean for undergraduate education, said the student to advisor ratio is too high and the University is always looking for resources for more advisors.

Professor Perrin said integrating advising into the first-year experience is an aspect of the first-year cohort plan.

Approval of the 2018 Edward Kidder Graham Award nominee

Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis thanked everyone for attending the Council meeting and acknowledged the Faculty Executive Committee and Faculty Assembly Delegation for their hard work this academic year. Professor Steponaitis entertained a motion to go into closed session to prevent the premature disclosure of the award nominee. The motion was seconded and approved by the body. The Council went into closed session and approved the nominee for the Edward Kidder Graham Award to be presented at the 2018 University Day.

Open session

Professor Steponaitis entertained a motion to return to open session. The motion was seconded and approved by Faculty Council. The Council returned to open session.


Its business having concluded, the Faculty Council adjourned at 4:54 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kadejah Murray
University Program Associate

Vin Steponaitis
Secretary of the Faculty

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