Skip to main content

Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, April 17, 2020, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.


3:00 p.m.     Chair of the Faculty’s remarks [PDF]
                            Professor Lloyd Kramer (History)

3:10 p.m.     Remembrance of faculty colleagues [PPT]

3:15 p.m.     Faculty Election results
                            Chair of the Faculty Lloyd Kramer

3:20 p.m.     Chancellor’s remarks
                           Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz

3:50 p.m.     Provost’s remarks
                           Provost Robert Blouin

4:00 p.m.     Update on Data Science @ Carolina
                           Provost Robert Blouin

  • Draft Feasibility Plan for Implementation of School of Data Information and Society [PDF]

4:05 p.m.     Report of Task Force on Promotion and Tenure
                            Committee Chair Ronald Strauss

  • Cover letter [PDF]
  • Report [PDF]

4:30 p.m.     Resolutions from the Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Tenure
                            Committee Chair Steven Crews (Medicine)

Resolution 2020-2, On Endorsing the Recommendations of the Promotion and Tenure Report [PDF]
Resolution 2020-3, On Amending the Trustee Policies to Eliminate the “Eighteen-Month Rule” [PDF]

4:45 p.m.   Annual Committee Reports by Title

Administrative Board of the Library [PDF], Committee Chair Kurt Gilliland (Medicine)
Committee on Community and Diversity [PDF], Committee Chair Rumay Alexander (Nursing)
Copyright Committee [PDF], Committee Chair Anne Gilliland (Libraries)
  Educational Policy Committee [PDF], Committee Chair Melinda Beck (Public Health)
  Faculty Executive Committee [PDF], Committee Chair Lloyd Kramer (History)
  Committee on Scholarships, Awards and Student Aid, Committee [PDF] Chair Don Hornstein (Law)
  Committee on the Status of Women [PDF], Committee Chair Elizabeth Dickinson (Business)

4:50 p.m.     Ceremonial Resolution
                            Professor Jennifer Larson (English and Comparative Literature)

4:55 p.m.     Closed session: Special report of the Honorary Degrees and Special Awards Committee
                            Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis (Anthropology, Archaeology)
                                      Honorary Degree Award nominations [PDF] (Sakai login required)

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 April 17, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. Other faculty and members of the public observed the meeting on a livestream via YouTube.

The following 76 members attended: D. Aikat, J. Aikat, Austin, Beltran, Berkowitz, Bloom, Boon, Brewster, Burch, Burke, Byerley, Calikoglu, Chambers, Chavis, Clement, Coble, Divaris, Dobelstein, Donahue, Entwisle, Falvo, Floyd-Wilson, Fry, Gates-Foster, Gentzsch, Gilland, Guskiewicz (Chancellor), Halladay, Halpern, Hannig, Hessick, Ives, Jeffay, Koonce, Kramer (Chair of the Faculty), Kris, Krome-Lukens, Larson, Lee, C. Levine, Lithgow, Mayer, Mayer-Davis, McGrath, Meyer, Mock, Moon, Moore, Muller, Olson, Padilla, Powell, Rahangdale, Ramaswamy, Renner, Roberts, Rudder, Santos, Scarlett, Scarry, Steponaitis (Secretary of the Faculty), Thorpe, Upshaw, Vaidyanathan, VanDeinse, Vision, von Bernuth, Walter, Watson, Willett, J. Williams, M. Williams, Young and Zomorodi.

The following 5 members received excused absences: Cox, Holland, Joyner, J. Thorp and Worthen.

The following 12 members were absent without excuse: Anksorus, Clegg, Dewitya, Fisher, Fromke, Gilchrist, Graham, Hobbs, C. Levine, Platts-Mills, B. Thorp and Zamboni.

Others in attendance: Peter Andringa (Undergraduate Observer), Provost Bob Blouin, Professor Mimi Chapman (Social Work), Professor Steve Crews (Biochemistry and Biophysics) and Executive Vice Provost Ron Strauss. Other presenters attended via Zoom. 

Call to Order

The Chair of the Faculty called the meeting to order at 3:01 p.m.

Chair of the Faulty remarks

Chair of the Faculty Lloyd Kramer welcomed everyone to the April Faculty Council meeting and gave remarks [PDF].

Remembrance of faculty colleagues

Professor Kramer asked for a moment of silence during the “In Memoriam” presentation [PDF], which honors UNC-Chapel Hill faculty who have passed away during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Faculty Election results

Professor Kramer thanked everyone for their participation in the election and Faculty Council members who are completing their terms. The election results are posted on the Office of Faculty Governance website [link]. He thanked Professor Joy Renner (Allied Health) for her candidacy for the position of chair of the faculty. He congratulated Professor Mimi Chapman (Social Work), who has been elected to a three-year term as chair of the faculty and invited her to make remarks.

Professor Chapman said she is delighted, honored and humbled to represent the faculty. She and Professor Renner will be working together during her term and she will seek the counsel of many other faculty as well. She shared one of her favorite sayings from a Chilean author, which is “we make the road by walking.” During these different times, faculty do not know how things will unfold. Faculty have to pull together and communicate across new platforms. She is open to feedback and comments and is happy to talk with anyone by phone or Zoom, individually or in small groups.

Chancellor’s remarks

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz thanked Professor Kramer for his dedicated, passionate and strong leadership as Chair of the Faculty. He congratulated Professor Chapman on her election and thanked everyone who ran for a position and voted in the faculty election. He offered his thoughts and prayers to those impacted by COVID-19. He is proud of the University’s response to the pandemic; faculty, nurses, doctors and researchers have played a great role in combating this virus. Faculty in the Kenan Flagler Business School and the Department of Economics are advising the North Carolina government on how the economy should be restarted when it’s determined safe to reopen.

This week marks the fourth week of remote instruction, Chancellor Guskiewicz visited several classes over the past two weeks and students are adapting well. Recently, there has been increased communication with the campus community, administration is checking in with students and faculty more often to check on their well-being. Even though most of the community is off campus, there are still about 650 students on campus, along with hospital workers and researchers.

Chancellor Guskiewicz gave an update on campus events and initiatives. This week is Senior Week, the communication team sent a video to seniors acknowledging this milestone and reassuring them their accomplishments will be celebrated. A survey was sent to students to assess how they are adapting and the challenges they are facing. The majority of the challenges are related to finances, plans for the summer and fall and remote exams. The University’s Information Technology (IT) team and others are working with faculty and students to overcome challenges with remote exams.

There is a working group considering several options for reopening in the fall semester, including infectious-disease faculty. He will be seeking the input of the Advisory Committee, chaired by Professor Suzanne Gulledge (Education). The administration wants faculty input as they consider the options for reopening. He hopes to hold new student convocation in Carmichael Arena on August 16, but there needs to be a contingency plan in place. The leadership team is reviewing options in case they need to pivot to a different academic calendar, they will provide updates as information becomes available.

He is grateful to UNC hospital doctors, nurses and staff who are fighting COVID-19. The University is up eight percent in research expenditures from where we were last year at this time. Microsoft Academic Analytics ranked UNC-CH number one in the U.S. among universities for research in fighting this virus, the Center for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health were the only two institutions ranked above the University.

He is continuing to monitor the State budget situation, he anticipates that it will impact the UNC System, but it is too early to know the extent. Every form of campus revenue is threatened by this pandemic, including tuition and state appropriations, student housing and dining receipts and ticket sales for athletics and performing arts events. The sooner normal campus operations can resume the more stable the funding situation will become. They are monitoring the financial impact; the strategic plan will be their roadmap as they consider how to address a potential budget shortfall.

He received two letters from the Graduate and Professional Student Federation (GPSF) detailing their concerns and responded to these letters along with Provost Blouin and Suzanne Barbour, dean of UNC Graduate School. They will continue to have dialogue with this group. On the other side of every challenge there are opportunities, he will rely on Faculty Council to help think about these opportunities. Provost Blouin has been talking with the deans on a daily basis about possible opportunities for the University. We are participating in a forced experiment and interesting results are emerging. Classes transitioned to remote learning in the span of two weeks, this reflects the ingenuity of our faculty and students. The administration is open to feedback and is willing to answer questions. He encouraged everyone to reimagine a creative and bold new normal, despite some challenges we can learn from this situation and become stronger.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics & Operations Research) asked how negatively the coronavirus will affect our budget and about job security.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said they haven’t received any indication on what type of budget reduction we might receive. There was little discussion about the specifics of the shortfall at today’s Board of Governors (BOG) meeting. The state budget shortfall could be anywhere from to $1.5 to $2.5 billion. At this point there is not a hiring freeze, but the System Office asked all 17 campuses to be careful and responsible regarding new hires and salary adjustment. Chancellor Guskiewicz and Provost Blouin must approve all essential hires. There are 450 vacancies at the University, in order to be fiscally responsible less than 10 percent of these positions are going to be filled over the next few months. They are doing everything possible to protect the people and the core mission of this University.

Professor Hilary Lithgow (English & Comparative Literature) asked if there are efforts to connect with the 650 students who currently live in residence halls.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said they have encouraged these students to stay in connection with the Student Care Hub. Student Affairs has done a great job staying connected with these students. Originally 850 students qualified for the special circumstance waiver, these were students who faced hardships, students from abroad who couldn’t get home and students who did not have internet access. Each week a number of students have decided to return home. They are doing everything possible to keep the students connected to campus. When it is determined safe to reopen campus, they anticipate a gradual reentry of students.

Professor Jessica Boon (Religious Studies) asked when faculty will receive information about the fall schedule.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said they frequently speak with infectious disease experts about flattening the curve. The fall schedule will depend on what the curve looks like, and how much social distancing is required after this occurs. They will have a clearer picture by the end of May. If it is risky to bring people back to campus in mid-August, there could be a late start to the semester or classes could be entirely remote. Once the working group provides an outline of the various scenarios he will present them to the Advisory Committee for input.

Professor Deb Aikat (Journalism & Media) asked how the University is going to practice social distancing in the fall.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said one scenario is that there will be no large campus gatherings in the fall. Our infectious disease experts may recommend a limit on the number of people allowed to gather. Larger classes may be taught remotely until larger groups can meet. He said there will be a gradual reentry, they are preparing various scenarios in order to be ready once the experts give their recommendations. In late May or June, they will be prepared to choose one of the safe options for reentry.

Faculty and others watching this meeting on YouTube submitted their questions via Poll Everywhere. The questions were displayed on the screen.

A livestream viewer asked where the response to the GPSF is located and about the Chancellor’s response to the petition signed by about 450 students.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said he will talk to the communications team about their plan for posting the response. The Chancellor’s Office received an email from the GPSF referencing questions and letters sent by students. They felt the best way to respond to questions and concerns was to respond to the GPSF since it is the elected body representing graduate students. The questions and concerned raised by the GPSF were in response to challenges that students were facing due to COVID-19. The administration is focused on helping all students during this crisis, as this is important to the mission of the University.

A livestream viewer asked if the University anticipates higher levels of attrition, and if so, how will this be mitigated.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said they currently have no indication that there will be higher levels of attrition.

Provost’s remarks

Provost Blouin thanked Chancellor Guskiewicz for his leadership. He also thanked faculty for their work in transforming their courses to remote learning. Faculty have been patient and conscientious in keeping students at the forefront and trying their best to accommodate them when possible. He emphasized to faculty how challenging these times are for everyone, particularly students. Their academic, study abroad and professional plans have been turned upside down. Their families are also being directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19. Students are under a great amount of pressure and stress, the concerns over mental health have risen due to this crisis. Faculty should continue to be thoughtful, reflective and compassionate towards students as they try to continue this semester and plan for the future.

Provost Blouin and Chancellor Guskiewicz have stayed actively engaged with all the members of the leadership team and have asked them to stay in touch with faculty, staff and students. They are working to ensure that the campus community has all the information they need in a timely manner. One of their approaches is meeting frequently with deans, they are an important resource to get information to department chairs and faculty. Many people have been working hard to anticipate challenges and issues and doing their best to mitigate them before they become a problem. Their meetings with the deans have focused on a wide array of issues and include frequent updates from healthcare specialists from the UNC Health Care System and members of the Health Affairs Professional Schools. The University has made contributions to the treatment of patients by providing facemasks, shields and other materials. They also discussed how to continuously improve teaching and learning remotely and how to be responsive to both faculty and students to ensure the best outcome possible.

Provost Blouin recognized a few senior leaders for their work in helping the campus community during this transition. Becci Menghini, vice chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance, has kept the campus community updated on the human-resources changes taking place. Michael Barker, vice chancellor for Information Technology, and his team have done great work in ensuring portals are working and we have access to the information we need. Terry Magnuson, vice chancellor for Research, has worked closely with senior and associate deans for research to keep essential research activities current and ongoing, including graduate student research projects. Todd Nicolet, vice provost for Digital and Lifelong Learning, has done great work in ensuring that all of the remote educational programming is running as smoothly as possible. Dean Barbour has been a liaison to not only graduate students but to individual schools that oversee these graduate programs and their departments as we try to ensure this crisis has minimum impact on graduate students.

Originally, the agenda included a significant update on the Data Science Initiative. Provost Blouin decided not to provide this update because of the crisis. Faculty in the School of Information and Library Science and the Department of Computer Science have been working closely with the Office of the Provost and they will continue to have conversations about the potential to build out a new school of data science. He hopes to have a discussion with Faculty Council about the draft Feasibility Plan for Implementation of the School of Data Information and Society [PDF].

Professor Deb Aikat commented that the Student Care Hub has helped many students through this crisis and he thinks faculty and staff should have a care hub as well. He asked if there is an online proctoring system for the final exams.

Provost Blouin thanked Professor Aikat for his suggestion and said it is an excellent idea that he will take into careful consideration. There is an established set of guidance on how to conduct final exams on the Keep Teaching website [link]. Vice Provost Nicolet and his team are offering guidance to faculty on how they approach the delivery of their final exam and grading their courses.

A livestream viewer asked if smaller class sizes have been considered for the fall semester.

Provost Blouin said they are looking at all possibilities for the fall, including smaller class sizes. According to infectious-disease experts, if in-person classes are to resume in the fall, we will not return to business as usual. There will be much consideration of social distancing, monitoring the progression of the virus and testing. Many of the campus’s approaches will be informed by the infectious-disease experts. The number one priority is the safety of faculty, staff and students.

Professor Hannig asked if there is a central location for all UNC-CH’s COVID-19 research and if the administration is communicating how important the University is to stakeholders like the N.C. Legislature and the BOG.

Chancellor Guskiewicz sent out a communication to the University’s governing bodies to inform them of the research being conducted at the University as well as the actions being carried out on behalf of students and the citizens of the State. Vice Chancellor Magnuson has accumulated a list of the University’s COVID-19 research on the UNC Research website [link].

Professor Chris Willet (Biology) asked if the University’s guidance on resuming non-essential research will be shaped by Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order or if the campus will be developing its own policies.

Provost Blouin said they are trying to stay faithful to the intent of the stay-at-home order through their interpretation of social distancing and essential work. At the end of May, they will be re-evaluating many decisions regarding campus activities, including what they define as essential versus non-essential research.

Report of Task Force on Promotion and Tenure

Executive Vice Provost Ron Strauss gave a presentation [PDF] on the report of the Task Force on Promotion and Tenure [PDF]. Provost Blouin charged the task force to investigate and make recommendations on current promotion and tenure policies and practices across campus, study the impact of changing library relationships with journal publishers and provide statements and recommendations to give insight to improve promotion and tenure policies. The presentation included information on the task- force recommendation foci, the timeline, stakeholder meetings, major recommended changes and the task-force roster.

Professor Eric Muller (Law) asked if the accomplishment clock restarts for faculty when the track change occurs or if their accomplishments from when they were not on tenure track count toward promotion and tenure. He was referencing recommendation 14 and 15.

Executive Vice Provost Strauss said since they have introduced the notion of “meet the mark” as a measure, it is more about the accomplishment than the clock. Each unit has the opportunity to develop its own version of the requirements for promotion and tenure. This process does take a faculty member’s full career into account.

Professor Muller asked if formal consideration of tenure for an untenured-associate professor coming from another university can be initiated during the recruitment period, before the initial probationary appointment. He was referencing recommendation 22 of the report.

Executive Vice Provost Strauss said when a faculty member is first being recruited they go into a nominated position then come up for a permanent position as soon as possible. This is a part of the recruitment, but an appointment-promotion dossier process still has to occur, which can start before the faculty member gets to campus.

Professor Muller referenced recommendation 34, which focuses on voting processes and states that “ballots must allow voters to explain negative and abstained votes.” In the past an explanation of a negative or abstained vote was required, he asked if this explanation is now optional.

Executive Vice Provost Strauss said the explanation is still required.

Professor Larry Chavis (Business) asked if faculty whose accomplishments were not counted when they were on tenure track could be considered for tenure.

Executive Vice Provost Strauss said based on their recommendations it would be possible for people who are currently fixed term to visit with their dean and department chair about whether they are meeting the mark for a promotion. Everyone will not be able to migrate to the tenure track. Many fixed-term faculty members are happier in their fixed-term positions than in tenured situations. This report allows more flexibility to individuals whose aspirations and accomplishments are consistent with moving to a tenured appointment.

Resolution from the Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Tenure (APT)

Professor Steve Crews (Biochemistry & Biophysics), chair of the APT Committee, introduced two resolutions on behalf of his committee.

Resolution 2020-2, On Endorsing the Recommendations of the Promotion and Tenure Report [PDF], endorses the recommendations within the task force’s report, while also supporting the idea that schools and units can implement these recommendation as they fit their needs and mission. Over the years the APT Committee has discussed many of these recommendations and unanimously voted to endorse them. They believe these recommendations are overwhelmingly positive for UNC-CH and its faculty.

Resolution 2020-3, On Amending the Trustee Policies to Eliminate the “Eighteen-Month Rule” [PDF], recommends that the Trustee Policies and Regulations Governing Academic Tenure be amended to allow tenure in less than 18 months after the start of active employment where appropriate. Thus, except where expressly limited, promotions and rank may be made at any time during a faculty members employment. The APT Committee endorsed this amendment and believes it will enhance the ability of UNC-CH to hire outstanding faculty.

Professor Muller asked if the endorsement of Resolution 2020-2 by Faculty Council will foreclose the possibility to make changes to the recommendations if questions arise that have not yet been addressed.

Professor Crews said changes will be made after today’s vote.

Professor Nancy Fisher (Microbiology & Immunology) said asked if Council is approving the report to go forward in its intent, since the report is in draft form.

Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis said Council is approving this report in principle, understanding that there may be some changes.

Executive Vice Provost Strauss said Resolution 2020-2 is a general endorsement of the intent of the report. If there are going to be major changes, they might bring them to Council. They would like to present this report to the Board of Trustees and know they have the general endorsement of the Council.

Professor Steponaitis explained the voting procedures. When it is time to vote, each Faculty Council member will receive a ballot via Zoom.

Professor Steponaitis stated the question, Resolution 2020-2, and opened the floor for discussion.

Resolution 2020-20, On Endorsing the Recommendations of the Promotion and Tenure Report, was put before the Council for a vote and passed unanimously with one abstention.

Professor Steponaitis stated the question, Resolution 2020-3, and opened the floor for discussion.

Resolution 2020-3, On Amending the Trustee Policies to Eliminate the “Eighteen-Month Rule,” was put before the Council for a vote and passed unanimously with no abstentions.

Annual Committee Reports by Title
The annual reports of the Administrative Board of the Library [PDF], the Committee on Community and Diversity [PDF], the Copyright Committee [PDF], the Educational Policy Committee [PDF], the Faculty Executive Committee [PDF], the Committee on the Status of Women [PDF] and the Committee on Scholarships, Awards and Student Aid [PDF] were accepted by title. There were no questions for the chairs of the committees.

Ceremonial Resolution

Secretary of the Faculty made a motion to suspend the rules of procedure to allow Faculty Council to consider a ceremonial resolution. The motion to suspend the rules passed by unanimous consent.

Professor Jennifer Larson presented Resolution 2020-4, On Appreciation for the Service of Lloyd Kramer, Chair of the Faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill [PDF].

Resolution 2020-4 was put before the Council and passed by unanimous consent.

Closed Session: Special Report from the Honorary Degrees and Special Awards Committee

Secretary of the Faculty entertained a motion to move into closed session to prevent the premature disclosure of honorary degree information. While in closed session, candidates for honorary degrees were approved by the Council.


After returning to open session, the Faculty Council adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kadejah Murray
University Program Associate

Vin Steponaitis
Secretary of the Faculty



Print Friendly, PDF & Email