Skip to main content

Meeting of the Faculty Council and the General Faculty

Friday, February 8, 2019
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Genome Sciences Building, Auditorium G200


3:00 p.m. Chair of the Faculty’s remarks

       Professor Leslie Parise

3:10 p.m. Interim Chancellor’s remarks (tentative)

       Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz

3:30 p.m. Provost’s remarks

       Provost Robert Blouin

3:40 p.m. General Education Curriculum Revision

       Professor Andrew Perrin, chair of the GEC Coordinating Committee

4:25 p.m. Report of the Committee on University Government [PDF]

       Anne Klinefelter, chair of Committee on University Government

4:50 p.m. Committee Annual Reports (by title)

5:00 p.m. Adjournment

Video of Proceedings

Watch the full video [Streaming]

Journal of Proceedings of the Faculty Council

The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on February 8, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. in Genome Sciences Building, Room G200.

The following 50 members attended: J. Aikat, Anksorus, Baumgartner, Beltran, Berkowitz, Bloom, Boon, Burch, Calikoglu, Chambers, Clement, Coble, Cope, Cox, Cuddeback, Edwards, Entwisle, Fisher, Fry, Furry, Gentzsch, Gilland, Guskiewicz (Interim Chancellor), Halladay, Hill, Ives, Koonce, Kris, Krome-Lukens, A. Levine, C. Levine, Lithgow, Mayer, McGrath, Muller, Parise (Chair of the Faculty), Perucci, Pukkila, Ramaswamy, Renner, Rudder, Song, Steponaitis (Secretary of the Faculty), Upshaw, Walter, Watson, Willett, J. Williams, M. Williams and Yaqub.

The following 28 members received excused absences: D. Aikat, Ansong, Arnold, Austin, Byerley, Daughters, Dobelstein, Duqum, Estrada, Felix, Giovanello, Graham, Halpern, Hannig, Hessick, Hester, Joyner, Kireev, Larson, Lee, Malloy, Moore, Stenberg, Tepper, Thorp, Thorpe, Vaidyanathan and Zomorodi.

The following 14 members were absent without excuse: Berman, Brewster, Clegg, Fromke, Gilchrist, Hobbs, Lundberg, Mayer-Davis, Platts-Mills, Rashid, Scarlett, Wilhelmsen, Zamboni and Zvara.

Others in attendance: Provost Blouin and Peter Andringa (Undergraduate Representatives)

Call to Order

Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis called the meeting to order at 3:03 p.m.

Chair of the Faculty’s remarks

Chair of the Faculty Leslie Parise welcomed everyone to the meeting. She reminded everyone that Faculty Council members have the legal right to speak without inappropriate interruption. Professor Parise said the University has been through many changes in the past few weeks and many of us are still adjusting to the change in senior leadership. Carol Folt sacrificed in order to put the University in a better place. Former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Kevin Guskiewicz was named interim chancellor of the University. Professor Parise is confident he will do a great job advancing the University. Interim UNC-System President Bill Roper spoke with the constituents of the University before making the decision to appoint Professor Guskiewicz. He met with the Faculty Executive Committee twice, along with other faculty groups and with students. Professor Parise expressed appreciation for President Roper’s work in making an informed decision and congratulated Interim Chancellor Guskiewicz on his new position.

Professor Parise gave the Faculty Council an update on the Faculty Advisory Committee on the Confederate Statue. This ad hoc committee was created on December 8, 2018, when Faculty Council passed Resolution 2018-10, On Implementing a Plan for the Disposition of the Confederate Statue [PDF], which was submitted by Professor Ed Fisher (Public Health). It was followed up by Resolution 2019-1, On Establishing the Faculty Advisory Committee on the Confederate Statue [PDF], which outlines the shape and charge of the committee. When this committee was created, the pedestal was still in McCorkle Place, Carol Folt was still the chancellor and the Board of Governors (BOG) had not yet formed a subcommittee charged with creating a plan for the disposition of the Confederate statue by March 15, 2019. The Office of Faculty Governance staff created a portal for faculty to nominate their colleagues to serve on the committee. As chair of the faculty, Professor Parise appointed members to the committee with diversity as her central goal. She received complaints from faculty due to the lack of representation from the division of Fine Arts and Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences. Therefore, the Faculty Executive Committee passed a resolution giving Chair of the Faculty Leslie Parise permission to add another member to the committee from the Humanities Division of the College.

The first meeting of the Faculty Advisory Committee on the Confederate Statue was held this morning, and Professor Parise formally charged the committee at this meeting. She asked Professor Ted Shaw (Law) to chair the committee. Since the BOG subcommittee was asked to bring forth a plan for disposition by March 15, Professor Parise hopes the committee can meet with University leadership, the UNC-System leadership and members of the BOG subcommittee soon. Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz attended the first meeting, and President Roper will attend the second meeting on February 14.

Professor Parise commented on how many people were shocked by the racist photos recently brought to light that were included in the 1979 Yackity Yack yearbook. She hopes, as things emerge, the photos do not derail us from the important issues in front of us. The campus community needs a period of healing from the issues surrounding the Confederate statue. Professor Parise said she hopes that we better appreciate the importance of diversity, accessibility and a level playing field for career advancement, along with our usual roles of education, research and service. She also hopes that everyone is committed to helping the University move forward with these goals.

Interim Chancellor’s remarks 

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz thanked Chair of the Faculty Parise for her kind words. February 7 was Chancellor Guskiewicz’s first day in his new role. One of his first engagements as chancellor was to attend the UNC-System Student Success Conference held at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education where he can Professor Kelly Hogan (Biology) spoke about the great work the University has been doing with high structure active learning. Chancellor Guskiewicz thanked President Roper for the opportunity to lead this great University. They held a press conference together on February 7; the chancellor appreciates the kind comments from President Roper and looks forward to working with him. He also thanked everyone who commented on the recent press conference.

Chancellor Guskiewicz recently attended the African American Heritage Month Lecture and an event to celebrate Arts Everywhere with Carol Folt and a number of local friends and donors of the Arts Everywhere Initiative.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said he is deeply honored to step in and lead this great University. He is excited and energized by the possibility of moving many initiatives forward. Provost Bob Blouin and the leadership team have done great things to help the University move forward. Chancellor Guskiewicz came to UNC-Chapel Hill in 1995, and he believes that Carolina is not only the first public, but the most public of the public universities, in terms of the work the University does. He has grown to love the University deeply, although he recognizes that he still has a lot to learn. Over the next months, he will begin a listening and learning tour, not too different from what he did in his role as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences when he had to learn about the disciplines across the College.

A Roadmap to Boldness [HTML], the College’s strategic plan, closely aligns with the University’s strategic plan, the Blueprint for Next [HTML]. He looks forward to working with University constituents to ensure the advancement of initiatives outlined in the Blueprint for Next. Chancellor Guskiewicz said one of the great things about UNC-Chapel Hill is the culture of collaboration, he doesn’t think there is an academic university in the country that does collaboration better than this one. He looks forward to visiting all the professional schools in order to find ways to ensure that the culture of collaboration continues.

In January 2017, the Board of Governors approved the Higher Expectations: Strategic Plan for the University of North Carolina, which is a 5-year strategic plan for the UNC System. The five metrics include: (1) access, (2) affordability and efficiency, (3) student success, (4) economic impact and community engagement, and (5) excellent and diverse institutions. The UNC System Office tasked UNC-Chapel Hill to prioritize rural enrollments, low-income completions, the five-year graduation rate, critical workforces and research productivity; to improve low-income enrollments, rural completions and achievement gaps in undergraduate degree efficiency; and to sustain undergraduate degree efficiency by 2022. Chancellor Guskiewicz emphasized the University’s progress in completing the strategic plan. The first goal of the strategic plan is to increase the University’s 5-year graduation rate to 94% by 2022. The current 5-year graduation rate is 91.3%. Chancellor Guskiewicz said we are on a great trajectory with this goal. The second goal is for UNC-CH to produce 3,769 critical workforce credentials to contribute to the talent pool of professionals with degrees and certificates in the health sciences and STEM fields by 2021. The University is making great progress along this metric. The third goal is for UNC-CH to receive more than $905 million in research and development sponsored program awards and licensing income by 2022. The University has surpassed this goal. Last year the University raised $1 billion in research funding and is close to reaching this goal for the second year. UNC-CH is fifth overall in federal funding and 11th in overall research volume. The University reached this milestone without a school of engineering, which is unique. The fourth goal of the strategic plan is for UNC-CH to enroll 4,140 students from rural areas by fall 2021, and the University has already met this goal. The fifth goal is to increase low-income completions, and the University is close to completing this goal. A complete description of each goal can be found on the UNC System website’s Strategic Planning page [HTML].

Chancellor Guskiewicz is committed to ensuring that the University maintains a diverse community of students. Many of the metrics above are founded on this principle. UNC-CH has world-class faculty and is doing a great job with faculty retention. He hopes to see even more improvement by the end of the semester. Faculty are tackling the grand challenges of our time and, due to this, they are often poached by other universities. The chancellor said he is committed to working hard to increase faculty retention, which speaks to the goals of the Campaign for Carolina. The capital campaign has raised 58% of its $4.5 billion goal. Chancellor Guskiewicz is also committed to providing for staff needs. UNC-CH has great staff and they make operations run smoothly and effectively.

Chancellor Guskiewicz underscored that believes in shared governance; he served on Faculty Council for eight years and was a member of the Faculty Executive Committee for four years. He wants to continue to work closely with Chair of the Faculty Leslie Parise and Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis along with the Faculty Council and standing committees of the faculty. The chancellor told faculty to contact Amy Hertel, his chief of staff, if they have recommendations on groups he should meet with on his listening tour. Provost Blouin and Chancellor Guskiewicz will select an Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in the coming weeks, and they are open to faculty input.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said one of his goals is to work closely with Provost Blouin and the leadership team to move initiatives forward that they have been working on over the past 18 to 24 months. The Global Mindset Initiative [website] is ready to be launched, which aims to ensure that all students receive a substantive combination of knowledge, experiences and skills to be engaged and dynamic global citizens. They are getting closer to naming a Vice Provost for Global Affairs—the previous title of this position was Chief Global Officer. Chancellor Guskiewicz thanked Executive Vice Provost Ron Strauss for the number of roles he has taken on over the years, including former Chief Global Officer. Another initiative centers on improving the graduate student experience. The chancellor, Provost Blouin and the senior leadership team in the College of Arts and Sciences conducted 15 meetings with graduate students over the course of three weeks in which they gathered information and ideas on improving graduate student experiences. They are making progress on a number of recommendations that came out of those meetings. The UNC Institute for Convergent Science [website] is well underway. This initiative will bring together faculty, researchers and students from the worlds of science, engineering, art, humanities, design and business to speed the impact of new discoveries through a culture of collaboration. Chancellor Guskiewicz thanked everyone involved with the Ideas in Action General Education Curriculum. He is committed to working tirelessly for the University and he appreciates input, he wants to ensure that everyone in the community feels that they have a voice. He is thankful and appreciative of everything Provost Blouin and the leadership team have done to situate the University. Chancellor Guskiewicz said Provost Blouin has a very clear vision for the University and he is looking forward to working with him and the leadership team. Finally, he thanked Carol Folt for her service. He then opened the floor for questions.

Professor Jaqueline Halladay (Family Medicine) said one of the duties of Faculty Council members is to relay information to their home departments. She asked where she can find information on UNC-Chapel Hill’s performance on the UNC System Strategic Plan.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said a PowerPoint presentation that includes a description of all the metrics—an update on UNC-Chapel Hill’s performance on the UNC System Strategic Plan Metrics— can be found on the Board of Trustee website [PDF].

Professor Cary Levine (Art and Art History) said there is virtually no one in the senior administration from the Fine Arts and Humanities division of the College of Arts and Sciences. He asked Chancellor Guskiewicz to speak about this imbalance and how he might address it. Some faculty in Fine Arts and Humanities feel they do not have any input in what happens in South Building.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said he has begun to gather information and that a Dean’s Leadership Advisory Committee has been tasked with providing input to the chancellor. He is also working with Provost Blouin, the senior leadership team and the developmental team on this decision. He told anyone interested in meeting with him to share their thoughts to email his Chief of Staff, Amy Hertel. The chancellor, provost and the rest of the leadership team are interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts, and some of the feedback they have already received aligns with Professor Levine’s comments.

Provost’s remarks

Provost Bob Blouin said he appreciates Professor Levine’s comment; the senior administration values the campus community’s thoughts on leadership positions. Whether people reach out to the chancellor or the provost, they want people thinking about who would be best in these vital roles. Provost Blouin said we are in a critical place in the history of the University. He expressed appreciation to Chancellor Guskiewicz for accepting the role of interim chancellor, adding that he will need support from the campus community as many challenges lie ahead of us. Provost Blouin noted that we can achieve much more as a university, if we start to think of ourselves as one university, rather than elements or factions of a university. A divide exists in the University’s self-governance and faculty governance in relation to the administration. Provost Blouin said we have to do our best to work closely together to solve the pressing problems of the University. He attended the Board of Trustees meeting where the update on UNC-Chapel Hill’s performance on the UNC System Strategic Plan Metrics was given. The PowerPoint included all the wonderful work, faculty, staff and students have done. He wished everyone could have attended the meeting in order to feel the great sense of pride in what the University has been able to accomplish over the past five years—in particular the past two years when the University has been stressed by things that could have distracted us from our core mission. Provost Blouin said we are in a very special moment; it is a time when everyone will be challenged to step up and ensure that we do what is right for the University. He asked everyone to find a way to work with the administration to get us to the next level.

Provost Blouin continues to work on the Operational Excellence project. He has visited professional schools and campus units to talk with faculty about operational excellence. The leadership team has begun working to accelerate critical functions like human resources (HR) and procurement processes, and they are making great progress. A few units have piloted new HR practices. Those units have reduced the hiring window from 110 days to 45 days. This is a positive example of what the University can do and will continue to strive for in terms of creating efficiency. A faculty group is working to improve data analytics, which includes hardware, software and reexamining what is embedded in the data warehouse, so the University can be more efficient in extracting information that will help everyone do their jobs better. Provost Blouin and the leadership team are planning a campus-wide conversation on data science. The recent developments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Virginia and University of California at Berkeley show that data science is going to become an important part of the university. This University needs to take a different approach in bringing in talent and educational opportunities for our students and the citizens of North Carolina in the discipline of data science. Provost Blouin said data science is an area on which the University needs to come to consensus at some point in the near future. It is important to have public forums and discussions about how data science might be expressed at UNC-Chapel Hill, given the many different models among our peer institutions.

Provost Blouin talked about the interesting conversations he’d had with the graduate students over the past few months. He had a conversation with Manny Hernandez, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation, about financial issues facing graduate students, including stipends and fees. He feels that the University is in the position to make progress in these areas. In order for the University to recruit the best and the brightest graduate students across all academic disciplines, it is important to be fair and competitive. Chancellor Guskiewicz and Provost Blouin are having conversations with Steve Matson, dean of the Graduate School, and they feel confident that they can accomplish part of the task by fall 2019. It will take time to find the resources necessary to fix the problem.

Chancellor Guskiewicz and Provost Blouin are working to recruit a Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Provost Blouin said it takes a village to recruit good talent. Due to the current campus climate, it has been more difficult to recruit. He is being asked questions that he never would have been asked previously, because people are seeking reassurances that UNC-Chapel Hill is a great university, campus and culture. Provost Blouin said he may need the help of faculty to reassure people that this is a welcoming environment, one in which they can spend the next phase of their academic career.

Professor Emeritus Pat Pukkila (Retired Faculty) asked if it is possible to have a public forum with potential candidates for dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to give University constituents the opportunity to question candidates about their vision for the College.

Provost Blouin said that a public forum will be held when we get to the point of recruiting a permanent dean of Arts and Sciences.

General Education Curriculum Revision

Professor Andy Perrin (Sociology), chair of the General Education Curriculum Coordinating Committee, unveiled the latest version of the IDEAS in Action General Education Curriculum [PDF]. This proposal is the result of three years of intensive consultation, conversation, research, comment and revision led by the members of the GEC Coordinating Committee in collaboration with nearly 200 faculty, students, staff, alumni and others who have helped the committee design the curriculum. Professor Perrin said it has been one of the most intellectually exciting projects of his professional career, especially the opportunity to think deeply and carefully about how UNC-Chapel Hill’s fantastic faculty can best educate the University’s diverse and capable students in the liberal arts. Professor Perrin thanked Chancellor Guskiewicz, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Abigail Panter and other colleagues for the opportunity to think boldly and creatively about this set of questions. The committee set out to reimagine a general education curriculum to serve the needs of students as citizens, scholars, leaders and professionals. They wanted to leverage the very best of Carolina: the liberal arts roots, interdisciplinary research, discovery, scholarship and creativity with the University’s mission to remove barriers to a great education, to educate for democracy and to adapt to changing student and workforce needs. The committee wants students to understand why they are taking each portion of the curriculum, and also have the opportunities and resources to make connections between general education courses, their majors and high impact experiences outside the classroom. They want general education to instill in students the tendency and ability to bring creativity and careful reflective evidence-based inquiry to the problems and issues they encounter during and beyond college. The proposal is a result of many conversations and amendments in response to concerns raised by faculty since the November draft, up to and including the letter circulated by Professor Nadia Yaqub (Asian Studies) and Professor Morgan Pitelka (History and Asian Studies). As the GEC Coordinating Committee met with faculty and student groups, there has been much enthusiasm for the ideas and ambitions of the framework. Professor Perrin gave a presentation on the Ideas in Action General Education Curriculum [PDF], which included intellectual background of the proposal, an outline of the biggest changes made in response to concerns raised by faculty and an explanation of the structure of the proposed curriculum and how it addresses its goals.

Professor Hilary Lithgow (English and Comparative Literature) said traditional first-year students are expected to complete 12 credit hours of first-year foundation courses and 28 credit hours of focus capacity courses, some of which can be exempt by exam credit. It is possible for a first-year student to complete their general education requirements by the fall semester of their sophomore year. If a first-year student had exam credits he or she could finish their general education requirements during their first year, and not have to take any general education classes for the remainder of their undergraduate career. Professor Lithgow asked Professor Perrin for the reasoning behind this structure.

Professor Perrin said one of the key concerns raised by students and the Academic Advising Program is that the current general education curriculum is too big. The curriculum is larger than those of peer institutions and other schools in the UNC System. It is also unequal because certain courses can be taken to fulfill multiple general education requirements, which advantages students with more social capital who know or quickly figure out how the system works coming into the University. The GEC Coordinating Committee seeks to make the curriculum fairer and to ensure that it isn’t as burdensome for students. The number of students who are double majoring is increasing and more students are taking courses outside their majors. One of the new curriculum’s goals is to create space so students aren’t just taking courses they are forced to take, but have space to explore outside their major and beyond the general education curriculum. The proposed general education curriculum is still larger than the curriculum of most of our peer institutions.

Professor Wendell Gilland (Business) asked if every undergraduate course has to be designated to fill a focus capacity.

Professor Perrin replied that in courses designed to meet the focus capacities, students can expect to have a set of foundational recurring capacities included in the structure of the course, unless the recurring capacities do not work for the course materials.

Professor Gilland said he is confused about the language that states, “courses that do not meet one or more of these recurring capacities must include an explanation as to why such inclusion would be inappropriate for the topic area.”

Professor Perrin said this statement is referring to courses that students can take to complete one of the focus capacity requirements. The GEC Coordinating Committee’s job is to determine which courses meet the recurring capacities based on the course syllabi and therefore will be part of the curriculum. It is plausible that there are courses that should be in the general education portfolio, but can’t meet one or more of the recurring capacities for some reason. Under these circumstances, the GEC Coordinating Committee would assess the appropriateness of the reason, and determine if the course will count as a general education class.

Professor Nadia Yaqub (Asian Studies) said Faculty Council was only given 24 hours to review the latest draft 4.25 of the proposed curriculum before this discussion. She spent her entire morning reviewing the document in order to prepare for today’s meeting. She said she was only notified a few days ago that Council would be receiving this version and that it would be discussed at today’s meeting. This is part of the process that she finds frustrating and disrespectful of her time as a faculty member and member of the Faculty Council. She requested that the discussion of the curriculum, the presentation of the curriculum to the Educational Policy Committee and the Faculty Council vote on the proposed curriculum scheduled for March 8 be delayed so the concerns raised in a letter she co-authored with Professor Pitelka can be addressed—the letter was signed by more than 100 faculty members, including 12 department and curriculum chairs. Professor Yaqub said Interim Chancellor Guskiewicz expressed that he did not want a general education curriculum that does not have the broad support of the faculty. She said she is offering him a chance to stand by his word by pausing and reconsidering the curriculum revision process, so the proposed curriculum can have the broad support of the faculty. She is not opposed to revising the curriculum and she believes that a great portion of the proposed curriculum has merit. Professor Yaqub read a portion of the letter she wrote expressing: what she likes about the current proposal; the places in which the committee has been responsive to her concerns; her appreciation for all the hard work the GEC Coordinating Committee has done; and unanswered questions and concerns that she has about the curriculum proposal. She conveyed this document to Faculty Council via email in advance of the meeting, and then read a portion of it:

I also sincerely appreciate the thought and hard work that my colleagues on the Coordinating Committee have put into the curriculum revision process. I believe that they are as devoted as I am to offer the best possible education to our students and admire their sense of service and patience as the revision process has dragged on. However, it appears to me that the Committee has felt rushed every step of the way. Throughout the revision process we faculty members have been given very little time to study versions of the curriculum before meetings in which we are expected to discuss them. Inaccuracies in Andy’s response to our letter also arise, I assume, from the rushed nature of every step of this process (These include, the focus capacities which existing courses meet and inaccuracies in his representation of the oral communication requirements at other universities. Versions we have been given have been incomplete. Questions about implementation and cost have been divorced from questions of the actual content of the curriculum in ways that have stymied useful conversations about the various drafts. Most importantly, I believe that Committee members have not fully understood how the revision process has felt to those of us who are not on the Committee, both faculty members like myself who have followed the curriculum revision process closely but chosen to not participate in any of the sub-committees and task forces, and some who have participated in such groups but been mystified about the process by which their work has been incorporated (or not) into the various versions. The revision process has generated three or four letters with dozens of signatures objecting to various features, some of which have been addressed in ways that suggest that the curriculum is being driven by pressure from the faculty rather than by thoughtful, shared consideration by faculty and the Committee about what is best for our students, faculty, and the institution. My own opposition to eliminating the Beyond the North Atlantic requirement is a case in point: I first raised that objection in my response to the first version of the curriculum in fall 2017. A watered-down version of that requirement has been re-inserted in the latest revision only after Morgan and I criticized its elimination in our recent, robustly supported letter.

From the first town hall meetings held in fall 2016 through the current discussion that we are supposed to undertake without adequate time to prepare this revision process has been disrespectful of faculty time. At no point was the faculty as a faculty invited to provide substantive input during the initial planning stage. The few open meetings that the general faculty were invited to discuss the drafts have been announced on short notice and poorly advertised. The first version of the curriculum that we were invited to consider was a pipe dream—entirely unrealistic in terms of what a course can actually do, what the institution can afford, what various rules and commitments allow (e.g., whether AP course count for credit). Most egregious was the research brief that was provided to us in March 2018 and which is not only over long but includes much irrelevant material and even detrimental material. Given that Andy stands by this research brief in his recent letter, I believe that all EPC and Faculty Council members should review this brief closely and consider whether they want this collection of documents to serve as the basis for our teaching.

I believe that the current curriculum still has flaws and gaps and is not ready for approval. I have raised these and other concerns in the past, and while I have found Andy, Abigail and Kevin responsive in that they have been willing to meet and discuss the issues I have raised, many of my questions remain unanswered and my concerns unaddressed. Below I outline some of them:

  1. Concern that the current curriculum supports UNC’s goals as a leading global institution.
  2. The Focus capacities: Do all of the courses listed under a given focus capacity have to include all the learning outcomes? It appears to me that this is not happening in the courses that Andy lists in his response to our letter that are supposed to count for “Global,” for instance.
  3. Recurring capacities: I appreciate that these have been scaled back, but still find them onerous and somewhat distrustful of how faculty best think they can teach their courses. I recommend that they be scaled back further.
  4. E-portfolios: I am still waiting to find out what other large institutions have successfully adopted these. What the pitfalls have been where they have been adopted and how the College plans to avoid those pitfalls. What will this initiative cost in terms of technology and personnel?
  5. Campus Life Experience: How will this be administered such that it does not become a tedious “checklist” item or worse, an incentive to cheat?
  6. Reduction in writing across the curriculum: I am still eager to find out how the ongoing development of writing skills will be treated in the new curriculum. Will there continue to be a 10-page writing requirement in gen ed courses?
  7. Will this Curriculum meet SACS requirements? At the January faculty meeting the fact that transfer students will not complete most of the required first year coursework was raised as a possible SACS concern (students completing different requirements for the same degree). Has that issue been resolved?
  8. Implementation: A concrete, realistic, and detailed plan for implementation needs to be a part of any curriculum we approve.

Professor Yaqub submitted “Resolution 2019-6. On Delaying a Vote on the Ideas in Action Curriculum,” which calls for the postponement of the entire process for one year, so a curriculum that has the full support of the faculty can be implemented.

Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis said the discussion of this motion will take place after the GEC question-and-answer portion of the meeting.

Professor Perrin said that as the committee receives concerns and ideas from colleagues electronically, in writing and in person they will be delighted to consider them. From a process viewpoint, he cannot tell if Professor Yaqub feels if the committee has been too responsive or too unresponsive, both were issues of concerns in the document.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said he appreciates Professor Yaqub’s comments and that he has read her document. Shared governance is extremely important to him and for the members of the GEC Coordinating Committee, who have worked tirelessly on this process for about three years. Chancellor Guskiewicz wants to ensure that the committee has time to respond to the document. There was no call for a vote today and there is nothing that says Faculty Council has to vote on March 8. About a year ago, the committee set a deadline of September or October 2018, but they decided to push the deadline to October in order to pilot the Ideas, Information and Inquiry (III) courses and the first-year launch courses. The Coordinating Committee has been very responsive to feedback at public forums, online and in Council meetings, but they need time to review this feedback provided in Professor Yaqub’s document. Chancellor Guskiewicz said adjustments have been made, but the Coordinating Committee cannot make every faculty member 100% pleased with this curriculum. Professor Yaqub’s point about the global understanding and engagement focus capacity is one to which Chancellor Guskiewicz has paid close attention. If UNC-Chapel is going to be the leading global public research university, then the proposed curriculum has to support this goal. He will ask the committee to review the concerns about the global understanding and engagement focus capacity. Chancellor Guskiewicz said UNC-Chapel Hill will become the leading global public research university, not just in terms of research, but the way in which we prepare our undergraduate students through the breadth, depth and practice that the proposed curriculum will provide them with. He asked for time to allow the Coordinating Committee to adjust the proposed curriculum and work toward a vote either later in the academic year or early next academic year

Professor Yaqub said the GEC Coordinating Committee has done an extraordinary service in the amount of work they have done and ways in which they have attempted to respond to faculty concerns, even though the conversation has not always been pleasant to engage in. She is asking the committee to consider a different curriculum revision process, because the way it has been done over the past three years has not worked. It has not made a significant portion of the faculty feel heard and engaged. Professor Yaqub sent the curriculum revisions done at Cornell University and Penn State University to Faculty Council. Their processes look reasoned and incremental with a lot of thoughtful engagement at different stages. Professor Yaqub would like GEC Coordinating Committee and the faculty to follow some of these processes, so everyone understands the curriculum and the vast majority feels comfortable with and supports it.

Professor Robin Visser (Asian Studies) signed the letter co-authored by Professor Yaqub and Professor Pitelka. She thinks the way in which the global understanding and engagement focus capacity is written, it focuses on global processes and does not require students to go deep into area studies, even though it calls for study beyond the North Atlantic. For example, a student can take the course “Water in our World” and learn a little about how water plays out in different parts of the world, but they could complete the curriculum never having to take a course where they would learn about another culture in depth. Professor Visser said this is a genuine concern.

Professor Perrin said the committee recognizes this concern and they are delighted to hear more feedback on the global section of it. Every faculty member could say that it is possible for a student to complete the curriculum without engaging in a certain topic that is intellectually important. Professor Perrin is not suggesting that the particular concern about global engagement is not important. Faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill teach much more important material than can possibly be included in an undergraduate curriculum. When making decisions, the committee has to consider not only if the topic is important, but if it reaches the grand goals of the curriculum.

Professor Stefan Jeglinski (Physics and Astronomy) said one of the early concerns of faculty in his department was what appeared to be a reduction in the exposure to natural sciences, and that they appreciate the changes the committee has made in that respect. In appendix C of Professor Perrin’s response to the letter co-authored by Professor Yaqub and Professor Pitelka, there is a table that includes some comparisons to peer institutions. Professor Jeglinski and his colleagues believe that the exposure to natural sciences is reduced in the proposed curriculum, compared to peer institutions. He is unclear on the extent to which the committee decides to focus on peer institutions, Sometimes it seems as if the committee is concerned about what peer institutions are doing and other times it seems as if there is no connection to peer institutions. He is unclear on how the committee decides when to emphasize the connection to peer institutions.

Professor Perrin said the committee was asked to create a curriculum that spoke to UNC-Chapel Hill’s mix of students. They were not seeking to replicate any peer institution’s curriculum. The letter sent by Professor Yaqub and Professor Pitelka asked which sections of the curriculum have been tried before and where the inspiration coming from. The committee developed appendix C in order to answer these questions. The committee wants to make Carolina the best that it can be, and they have been happy to learn from peer institutions in order to do so. Professor Perrin has friends on the Cornell University faculty and they said they had never heard of the curriculum revision process and did not know it was happening. Professor Perrin said there may be differences in how Cornell University’s curriculum revision process was portrayed online and the experiences of faculty within the institution.

Professor Barbara Ambros (Religious Studies) said that, as a chair, she is concerned about the footprint for departments and faculty. Version 4.25 of the proposed curriculum states that focus capacity courses must be taught regularly, at least once every two years. She is trying to imagine what this means for a small department like religious studies. For example, a faculty member who only teaches in a specific area may find themselves in a situation that feels like a hamster wheel, in order to maintain focus capacity designation for a course, because the course would have to be taught over and over again. Courses in the Department of Religious Studies do not function this way. All the courses may fulfill the same capacity, but they do not have to be taught in a cycle of two years. Professor Ambros understands the committee wants to ensure that their focus capacitates are covered. She wonders if the problem that the committee is trying to address can be solved in a different manner that wouldn’t affect smaller departments in this way.

Professor Perrin said this clause was suggested to them by the Office of Undergraduate Curricula. He will ask them if there are ways to address this particular concern.

Professor Donald Haggis (Classics) said he appreciates Professor Perrin answering the questions of Faculty Council. It seems little has changed in terms of the core of the curriculum, which is “to develop classes, assignments, and course assessments to sustain the recurring capacities of inquiry that guide the general education mission.” He wants to know if the committee asked faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences whether or not they agree with the capacities in principle and substance, and whether they agree with the general education mission, which is—according to page 6 of the proposed curriculum—“to teach and reinforce skills and capacities in great demand in the current economy.” Professor Haggis said very few of his colleagues would agree with that statement. He is worried about the difficulties in balancing the two components of teaching a course, which are listed in the curriculum as teaching a substantive topic and sustaining a capacity, and what it may mean for the substance of courses and a faculty member’s ability to participate in the curriculum. Professor Haggis said anything that becomes exclusionary will be detrimental to the broader goal of the College of Arts and Science. He noticed that the focus capacitates have become extremely developed, as an archeologist he is particularly concerned about the engagement with the human past capacity. He referenced the questions for students and learning outcomes listed under the capacity and asked if they were placeholders or mandated criteria that faculty are supposed to use in shaping their courses. If it is the latter, he objects, and he feels that his colleagues would also object to these criteria.

Professor Perrin said the questions for students are designed to help explain to students what role the focus capacity course plays in their curricular experience, so they are not part of the assessment process. The learning outcomes are not the main content of the course, but the role that the course plays within the capacities can be appropriately accessed using these learning outcomes. The committee would be delighted to hear any concerns about the learning outcome portion of the capacity. On February 6, Professor Perrin gave a talk at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. He spoke on the principles of deliberative rhetoric, where he argued that deliberative rhetoric should be civil, frank, accurate and thorough. The introduction to the curriculum not only lists the skills and demands of today’s economy, but also the skills and capacities to be amazing leaders, to develop an intellectual style of life and to be life-long learners. Students come to Carolina in hopes they will be employed upon graduation, they select certain majors because they think majors lead to jobs. Part of the goal in having the curriculum address employability questions is to provide students with the certainty that they will have those employment opportunities and they can choose majors based on intellectual grounds and not their mistaken views on what might make them more employable.

Professor Nadia Yaqub put forth a motion before Faculty Council: Resolution 2019-6. On Delaying a Vote on the Ideas in Action Curriculum. This resolution requests that the vote on the Ideas in Action Curriculum be delayed for one year. Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis said the motion will have to be seconded. Once the motion is made and seconded, the normal process would be for this motion to be taken up at the next Council meeting. The Faculty Council’s Rules of Procedure state that final action may not be taken on any resolution without due notice, which consists of introduction and discussion of the proposal at the preceding meeting or distribution of the text of the proposal prior to the meeting at which the action will be taken. Professor Steponaitis said the motion made by Professor Yaqub will come up for a vote at the March 8 meeting, unless she decides to withdraw it. If someone wants to vote on this motion today, it would require another motion to suspend the rules, which would take precedence. A suspension of the rules requires a two-thirds vote of Faculty Council.

The motion was seconded.

Secretary of the Faculty stated the question, Resolution 2019-6, and opened the floor for discussion.

Resolution 2019-6

Whereas Version 4.25 of the Ideas in Action Curriculum is incomplete and poorly understood by the faculty in the college, and

Whereas the process of creating and revising the Ideas in Action Curriculum has been flawed and has not systematically and respectfully engaged with faculty in the college

The Faculty Council resolves:

A vote on the Ideas in Action Curriculum be delayed for one year in order to give the College time to (1) devise and implement a new and more inclusive way for engaging with college faculty, and (2) correct the problems in the current version and provide faculty, the Educational Policy Committee, and members of Faculty Council with complete and accurate information about the curriculum and its implementation well in advance of any future discussion or vote.

Professor Harry Watson (History) asked if Faculty Council were to consider this motion under regular order, without suspending the rules, would there be a guarantee that Faculty Council would have a chance to vote on this motion before we vote on the Ideas in Action Curriculum.

Professor Steponaitis said, since the secretary of the faculty makes the agenda, he can guarantee that Council will be able to vote on this motion before they vote on the proposed curriculum. However, whenever there are multiple resolutions before Faculty Council they are placed in a logical order.

Professor Cary Levine (Art and Art History) said it seems as if delaying the vote for one year seems arbitrary. Chancellor Guskiewicz said Faculty Council does not have to vote on proposed curriculum at the March 8 meeting. Professor Levine said everyone is committed to delaying the vote for a certain amount of time and he doesn’t know the purpose of having a resolution with a time limit on the vote. He asked if Faculty Council could go on good faith that everyone agrees not to vote until there is more discussion.

Professor Steponaitis said one possibility is that no one presents a motion to vote on the proposed curriculum at the March 8 Council meeting. The other possibility is that if a motion is put forth to vote on the proposed curriculum, Faculty Council could move to delay or postpone the vote, which take precedence over a vote on the curriculum proposal.

Professor Levine said it is in no one’s interest to put the curriculum up for a vote if there is going to be a split vote. He feels there is no need for a resolution dictating that the vote will take place in a year

Professor Steponaitis said no action that Faculty Council takes at today’s meeting will force a vote on the proposed curriculum in March.

Professor Yaqub said she is open to changing the one-year delay. The original language she used was indefinitely, but Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis said using the term indefinitely would mean that Professor Yaqub is killing the motion, which in this case is the curriculum proposal. Professor Yaqub made a motion to amend the language from “a vote on the Ideas in Action Curriculum be delayed for one year” to “a vote on the Ideas in Action Curriculum be delayed and not take place in March 2019.” The motion to amend was seconded.

A member of Faculty Council said unless Council votes to suspend the rules and vote on this motion at today’s meeting, then Faculty Council will be voting on this resolution on March 8, the same day listed in the resolution.

Professor Steponaitis said this motion will come forth before the curriculum vote.

Professor Frank Baumgartner (Political Science) made a motion to call the previous question, which was Professor Yaqub’s amendment.

The motion passed to amend the language from “a vote on the Ideas in Action Curriculum be delayed for one year” to “a vote on the Ideas in Action Curriculum be delayed and not take place in March 2019,” passed unanimously with no abstentions.

Professor Steponaitis stated the question, as amended and opened the floor to discuss the new main motion.

Professor Yaqub made a motion to suspend the rules. The motion was seconded.

Professor Steponaitis said it will take a two-thirds vote in order to suspend the rules. The motion to suspend the rules failed.

Professor Steponaitis said since the motion was introduced and seconded it can come up for a vote in March, unless the motion is withdrawn.

Professor Perrin said the goal of the GEC Coordinating Committee is to be inclusive and pay attention to everyone’s feedback. This was the roll-out meeting in preparation for the vote on March 8. If there are major amendments to the curriculum proposal and there is going to be a vote in March, the revised curriculum will be released more than 24 hours prior to the March Council meeting. The committee’s goal has always been to relay information as soon as possible.

Reports accepted by title

The Appointments, Promotions and Tenure Committee annual report, the Faculty Grievance Committee annual report, the Faculty Research Committee annual report and the Undergraduate Admissions Committee annual report were accepted by title. There were no questions for the committee chairs.



Its business having concluded, the Faculty Council adjourned at 4:58 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kadejah Murray
University Program Associate

Vin Steponaitis
Secretary of the Faculty

Print Friendly, PDF & Email