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Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, March 20, 2020, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.


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

3:10 p.m.     2020 Candidates for Chair of the Faculty
                            Introduced by Chair of the Faculty Lloyd Kramer

Mimi Chapman, School of Social Work
Joy Renner, Radiologic Science, School of Medicine

3:20 p.m.     Chancellor’s and Provost’s remarks
(including updates on COVID-19 policies)
                            Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Robert Blouin

3:40 p.m.     Panel on campus coronavirus preparedness
                           Led by George Battle, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Integrity and Risk Management

Michael Barker, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
Myron Cohen (Microbiology and Immunology; Epidemiology), Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Health and Medical Affairs
Kelly Hogan (Biology), Associate Dean of Instructional Innovation
  Darrell Jeter, Director of Emergency Management and Planning
  Becci Menghini, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance


4:15 p.m.     Update on Elsevier contract
                           University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks

4:35 p.m.     Annual Committee Reports (submitted by title)

Report of the Buildings and Grounds Committee [PDF], Committee Chair David Owens (Government)
Report of the Faculty Athletics Representative [PDF], Lissa Broome (Law)
Report of the Faculty Assembly Delegation [PDF], Committee Chair Megan Williams (Nursing)
  Report of the Faculty Welfare Committee [PDF], Committee Chair Muge Calikoglu (Medicine)

4:40 p.m.     Open Discussion

4:50 p.m.     Closed session: Special report of the Honorary Degrees and Special Awards Committee

  • Honorary Degree Award nominations [PDF] (Sakai login required)
  • Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis

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 March 20, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. via teleconference. Other faculty and members of the public observed the meeting on a livestream.

Presenters met in Kerr Hall, Room 2001 at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

The following four members were present in Kerr Hall 2001: Kevin Guskiewicz (Chancellor), Lloyd Kramer (Chair of the Faculty), Joy Renner and Vin Steponaitis (Secretary of the Faculty).

The following 69 members attended via Zoom: D. Aikat, J. Aikat, Anksorus, Austin, Beltran, Bloom, Boon, Brewster, Burch, Burke, Calikoglu, Chambers, Chavis, Clement, Coble, Cox, Divaris, Dobelstein, Donahue, Entwisle, Falvo, Fisher, Floyd-Wilson, Fry, Gates-Foster, Gentzsch, Gilland, Graham, Halladay, Halpern, Hannig, Hessick, Ives, Kris, Krome-Lukens, Larson, Lee, A. Levine, C. Levine, Lithgow, Mayer, Mayer-Davis, McGrath, Meyer, Moon, Moore, Muller, Olson, Powell, Rahangdale, Ramaswamy, Roberts, Rudder, Scarlett, Scarry, B. Thorp, Thorpe, Upshaw, Vaidyanathan, VanDeinse, Vision, von Bernuth, Walter, Watson, Willett, J. Williams, M. Williams, Young and Zomorodi.

The following five members received excused absences: Clegg, Hobbs, Holland, Koonce and Worthen.

The following 13 members were absent without excuse: Berkowitz, Byerley, Dewitya, Fromke, Gilchrist, Jeffay, Joyner, Mock, Padilla, Platts-Mills, Santos, J. Thorp and Zamboni.

Others in attendance via Zoom: Peter Andringa (Undergraduate Observer), Mallory Garner (Undergraduate Observer), Karson Nelson (Graduate Observer), Nisarg Shah (Undergraduate Observer).

Other present in Kerr Hall 2001: Provost Blouin, Vice Chancellor George Battle (Institutional Integrity and Risk Management), Professor Mimi Chapman (Social Work) and University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks. Other presenters attended via Zoom.

Call to Order

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

Chair of the Faculty’s remarks

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

2020 Candidates for Chair of the Faculty

Professor Kramer introduced the 2020 candidates for Chair of the Faculty, Professors Mimi Chapman (Social Work) and Joy Renner (Radiologic Science). Both candidates made remarks [PDF].

Chancellor’s and Provost’s remarks (including updates on COVID-19 policies)

Chancellor Guskiewicz thanked everyone who attended the meeting virtually and in person. He also thanked Chair of the Faculty Lloyd Kramer and Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis for their leadership and Professors Chapman and Renner for their willingness to run for the Chair of the Faculty position. These are extraordinary times, but there are extraordinary people stepping up in important ways, and he is grateful. There is no playbook for the circumstances we are facing in the COVID-19 pandemic, and he is proud of the direction the University community is heading. On March 11, Chancellor Guskiewicz called an emergency meeting to discuss the possibility of moving to remote instruction. On March 12, Provost Blouin and Chancellor Guskiewicz sent a message to the campus community announcing an extended spring break to allow faculty and support teams to transition to online instruction. Faculty have gone above and beyond their call of duty, converting 96% of UNC-Chapel Hill courses to online courses.  Remote instruction will begin Monday, March 23. He thanked the staff of Carolina’s Emergency Operation Center for their work around the clock.

The 2020 Spring Commencement on May 10 in Kenan Stadium has been postponed. A survey will be sent to graduating seniors and graduate students seeking their advice on how we should celebrate their accomplishments. He thanked Barbara Stevenson, vice provost for Global Affairs, and Heather Ward, associate dean for Study Abroad and International Exchanges, who led the efforts in bringing over 600 study abroad students back to home. He acknowledged the student athletes, performers and artists who will not be able to showcase their incredible talent during their last semester of college. He also acknowledged people who are sick, vulnerable and fearful of the uncertainty around the virus.

Chancellor Guskiewicz highlighted a number of campus initiatives and activities. Dr. Melissa Miller and her research team appeared on the Today Show on March 19. They worked around the clock to create a COVID-19 test, which was rolled out this week. The School of Education is providing resources for at-home learning to North Carolina’s teachers, students and parents. The School of Government hosted a webinar for local government leaders across NC to learn more about COVID-19 and the roles of local and state government agencies in helping to manage this crisis. The search committees for the vice provost for Equity and Inclusion and the vice chancellor for Student Affairs are still doing their important work. Many of the University’s graduate programs have been highly ranked by the U.S. News & World Report, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and the School of Medicine’s Department of Primary Care were ranked number one and the School of Nursing was ranked in the top 10. The Law School, Kenan-Flagler Business School, the School of Education, the Graduate School and the Department of Allied Heath also received accolades.

Provost’s remarks

Provost Blouin thanked faculty, staff and students for their tremendous and selfless work. He updated Faculty Council on the emergency grading accommodation [PDF], which was a result of students and faculty requesting that the administration consider a different grading policy. Lauren DiGrazia, assistant provost and University Registrar put together a working group of faculty and staff to create the emergency grading accommodation. They studied other universities to quickly assimilate best practices, and they produced a draft proposal, which Provost Blouin shared with academic deans to determine if they would support the pass/fail option. He also sought the guidance of Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis, Chair of the Faculty Lloyd Kramer and the Faculty Executive Committee. The proposal was sent to the University community via email from the chancellor and provost. Faculty will give the final course grades to the University Registrar and students will have until August 7 to opt into the pass/fail option. Professional schools, unassociated with the undergraduate program, have the discretion to decide whether or not the pass/fail option would be appropriate, because these schools have different accreditation expectations.

Chancellor Guskiewicz and Provost Blouin received expressions of concern surrounding the end of the semester. Spring break was extended by one week, which will result in a week of lost instruction. After reviewing communication sent by Terry Rhodes, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and guidance set by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), upper administration decided not to extend the semester. If an individual faculty member determines they need more time to accomplish the goals and outcomes of their course they have the freedom to extend their course. They would work with the University Registrar’s Office to ensure the extension of the class is consistent with SACS accreditation.

Professor Jessica Boon (Religious Studies) commented that by giving students the decision to opt into the pass/fail option rather than moving entirely to pass/fail the burden remains on faculty. She asked if faculty will be notified when students choose to opt into the pass/fail option, to ease their work.

Provost Blouin said that under the current plan faculty would not know who is seeking the pass/fail option. Administration thought it would be in the best interest of students if they had the ability to receive a complete review of their work before opting into pass/fail.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics & Operations Research) said in his opinion the default should be pass/fail with students having the option to choose a letter grade. If only a handful of students choose the pass/fail option, it will give the impression that they were failing the course.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said one of the challenges the administration and the working group faced in creating the emergency grading accommodation was not knowing which option students would choose. They thought it was best to keep current practices as listed on course syllabi.

Professor Betsy Olson (Geography) commented that some faculty had to significantly redesign their courses, particularly around group work. If faculty are not aware of which students are opting into the pass/fail option, they may inadvertently group students together who do not have the same social pressure to participate in group projects.

Provost Blouin said the pass/fail option surfaced in response to the tremendous amount of pressure facing students. Duke University has pass/fail as the assumption and students can choose to receive a letter grade. He thinks there are challenges with both methods, from a faculty standpoint. They discussed both methods, but ultimately decided to maintain current practices, so that faculty can continue to run their courses as planned. The student will request the pass/fail option through the Registrar’s Office, freeing up faculty time. Faculty will never know if a student opts into pass/fail.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said students who are on academic probation or who are applying to graduate schools need their letter grades. Some students expressed anxiety about pass/fail being the default grading method, so administration and the working group gave students the option to opt into pass/fail.

Provost Blouin said they have changed the process for incompletes during this period. Instead on an “I” students will receive a “CV” on their transcript, which stands for Coronavirus. This will signal that the incomplete happened during a period of crisis and students will receive additional time to convert the incomplete to a letter grade.

Panel on campus coronavirus preparedness

George Battle, vice chancellor for Institutional Integrity and Risk Management, led the panel on coronavirus preparedness. He started the panel with an overview of the work of his office to keep the University running during the fight against coronavirus. Members of the panel introduced themselves and they included Michael Barker, vice chancellor for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer; Myron Cohen (Microbiology & Immunology; Epidemiology), associate vice chancellor for Global Health and Medical Affairs; Kelly Hogan (Biology), associate dean of Instructional Innovation; Darrell Jeter, director of Emergency Management and Planning; and Becci Menghini, vice chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance.

Professor Eric Muller (Law) asked about the stability of Zoom given the enormous uptick in their business and the viability of storage space for the videos being recorded on campus.

Vice Chancellor Barker said recently his office contacted Zoom about their stability. Zoom has the capability to provide service on a large scale due to its design.

Professor Kramer said there is concern about junior faculty who have research projects and need access to the libraries. He asked if their tenure clocks will be paused for a period of time and what will happen with processes that require records of research productivity during this time.

Ron Strauss, executive vice provost, said there is already a mechanism in place for faculty who encounter disruption in their scholarship for a number of reasons. Faculty can request up to two years of tenure clock extension. This process requires the chair of the department to review the request then send it to the Office of the Provost.

Professor Deb Aikat commented that students in remote areas of North Carolina are facing problems with remote connectivity. He asked for suggestions to address this issue.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said David Routh, vice chancellor for University development, and his team created a student impact fund. They will work with Vice Chancellor Barker to address this issue. By Monday, they will have a mechanism in which students can express their various needs.

Vice Chancellor Barker said there are a number of avenues for faculty, staff and students. Charter and Spectrum are offering free and increased internet to locations. He shared a link in the Zoom chat that has a couple of different guidance options that people can pursue. There is a student hub that is being created by the Office of Student Affairs, where students can review guidance on connectivity issues as well.

Professor Hannig asked for clarification on a recent email sent by Dean Rhodes on making up the week of lost instruction.

Dean Rhodes said the first communication was to ensure faculty were thinking about student learning outcomes. They were not implying that faculty had to extend the semester but prompting faculty to consider options to make up for the week of lost instruction. They listed several options including adding extra projects and reading, faculty have the flexibility to choose the best option for their course.

Provost Blouin said SACCS is primarily concerned about the outcomes and goals of the courses. The administration wanted to ensure they were fulfilled before the end of the semester.

Professor Hannig asked that an email be sent to faculty with this information.

Provost Blouin said his office and Dean Rhodes office can construct an email if it would be helpful.

Professor Beth Mayer-Davis (Nutrition) commented that under the current policy all employees are paid through March 31, even if they cannot work from home. She asked about the expectation for this policy beyond March 31.

Vice Chancellor Menghini said the State and UNC System Office are working together to ensure that administration have guidance post March 31. The expectation is that the University will continue to provide pay for permanent employees who cannot work from home or who are out for other reasons listed in the Administrative Leave Policy. There are challenges associated with the guidance as written, particularly as it relates to mandatory employees and student employees. The System-wide HR Council asked the NC Legislature if campuses, or the System would receive delegated authority to manage this guidance with more flexibility.

Professor Boon commented that the email sent by Dean Rhodes stated that faculty need to ensure the 150 minutes of missing instruction was covered. She asked if the new email to be sent to faculty will state they need to ensure the goals of their course are met instead of the 150 minutes of content.

Dean Rhodes said the specificity of the email was to give faculty a sense of the work that was missed during the extended spring break, they do not expect faculty to count minutes but to think about the learning outcomes with regard to the missing week of instruction.

Faculty and others watching the meeting on the livestream were allowed to submit questions and comments via the Poll Everywhere application.

Someone commented that the extension of one week of instruction will not help graduate students trying to get back into their labs, who depend on having 4-5 weeks to finish their work to graduate in May.

Provost Blouin said the communication sent by Terry Magnuson, vice chancellor for Research, specified a mechanism for students who have laboratory experiments that are essential toward their May or December graduation. Their experiments could be classified as critical laboratory functions, which would enable the students to work within their lab.

Professor Kramer asked Associate Vice Chancellor Myron Cohen how dangerous it is for people to come to campus from an epidemiology viewpoint.

Associate Vice Chancellor Cohen said Chapel Hill is a lot safer than New York City. Social distancing three to six feet is sufficient to preclude much risk.

Someone asked about the options available to students who do not have internet access at home.

Chancellor Guskiewicz emphasized that the administration is not asking every student to leave campus. The Office of Student Affairs have received about 1,000 special circumstances waiver requests from students. There will be upwards of 800 students still living in residence halls.

Someone asked if Campus Health would remain open to students who receive their primary care from this facility.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said students who use Campus Health as their primary care facility will have access, regardless of whether they are on or off campus.

Associate Dean Kelly Hogan said one of the trends around teaching is to promote asynchronous learning so if students broadband and Wi-Fi goes in and out, they can manage their learning on their own time. She thinks many students will be able to connect through their phone at times, but hopefully can be in touch with faculty. They are encouraging faculty to send out surveys to find out the issues students are facing. The goal is to balance structure and flexibility, and to reach learning outcomes.

Update on Elsevier contract

University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks said even though the physical spaces are closed, the libraries are still open for business. Over the past 10 years, they have transitioned to providing the bulk of their services remotely. They have found great success in finding electronic copies of books and journals. Librarians are holding virtual consultation sessions.

The University’s Elsevier license expired on December 31, 2019. It was a $2.6 million/year contract with approximately 2,000 journal titles. The University cannot afford to pay the escalating costs. University Libraries has engaged in negotiations for 18 months and Elsevier has failed to offer a sustainable and affordable option. They are spending $230,000 a month just on Science Direct. The only course of action is to reduce the number of titles they license and focus on just-in-time delivery of articles. University Libraries recently sent out a survey seeking the broad input of the University community, which closes on March 30. As of today, they have received 1,400 responses. The University Libraries will continue to provide access to journal articles through a combination of subscriptions, interlibrary loan and other document delivery options at no charge to the University community. No matter which journals the University subscribes to, faculty can always publish in the journals of their choice.

Professor Kramer asked how many journals will be dropped.

University Librarian Westbrooks said that a significant number would have to be considered, but they want to look at the feedback of the survey before they make the decisions.

Professor Kimon Divaris (Pediatric Dentistry) asked whether University Libraries can collaborate with other institutions to collectively negotiate with Elsevier and other publishers.

University Librarian Westbrooks’s goal is to come to a two-year agreement with Elsevier. Once the two-year window is up, the University will be on the same timeframe as Duke and NC State. Her goal is to work with these universities to leverage their collective power and get a better deal in two years.

Professor Deb Aikat asked about the outcome of negotiations with Sage Publications and other publishers.

University Librarian Westbrooks said they negotiated a groundbreaking deal with Sage Publishing, which includes lower article processing charges and ways to make faculty scholarship open and available around the world. This deal is exclusive to UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and students. University Libraries is subscribing title by title with Wiley Publishing. The University’s contract with Springer Nature Publishing and Taylor and Francis Publishing does not expire for a few years. University Libraries wants to pay for the materials that are most valuable to the University.

Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis asked University Librarian Westbrooks about her thoughts on fixing the problem of predatory publishers more generally and if there is anything faculty can do to help.

University Librarian Westbrooks said the Libraries is committed to sustainable research. Faculty and students who publish can consider keeping their copyright when publishing and consider open-access options. There is great research happening at this University, but it is locked behind paywalls. This research should be available to the citizens of North Carolina and beyond. As faculty work with their societies and associations, they should also work with the Libraries because they can find ways to make faculty research available to the world. The idea that scholars are creating content, peer reviewing it for free and giving it to publishing companies who then charge back millions of dollars is not sustainable. The University community has to think of ways to take back control of research and make materials more accessible to the citizens of the State.

Chancellor Guskiewicz thanked University Librarian Westbrooks for her leadership on this issue.

Someone from the livestream asked if certain e-journals subscriptions are canceled, can the University community access them through Duke or NC State.

University Librarian Westbrooks said they work with Duke and NC State to deliver content. If we are not subscribed to a title, in many cases we can get it delivered from Duke or NC State within 48 hours.

Someone commented that many of the resources graduate students need are shut down, so they have to work into the summer. They requested that a summer tuition waiver be considered for these students.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said he spoke with Suzanne Barber, dean of the Graduate School, about a number of challenges graduate students are facing. He will add this to the list of issues and report back.

University Librarian Westbrooks said there are options for students who don’t have internet access at their parent’s home. Students can call the Libraries and they will figure out ways to deliver the materials they need. Rare materials are an exception because they typically require close proximity.

Professor Steponaitis said rare materials created before 1923 can be found online at Internet Archive.

University Librarian Westbrooks said copyright laws are loosening during this crisis, which will allow the Libraries to make more materials accessible.

Professor Kramer asked if the final decision has been made about the contract with Elsevier

University Librarian Westbrooks said they tried to work through an open deal with Elsevier for the past 18 months and they do not seem to be flexible in their licensing. If they want to reduce spending, they have to reduce the University’s subscriptions.

Professor Kramer asked if there are any reports on the person who tested positive for COVID-19 on campus.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19 through Campus Health or UNC Hospitals, this information is turned over to the Orange County Health Department. They reach out to the individuals who have been in contact with the person who tested positive. The Health Department will report the number of people who tested positive.

Provost Blouin said because of HIPPA and FERPA laws they have to be careful of releasing any information about an individual that could reveal their identity.

Someone on the livestream asked if the Office of Sponsored Research will be able to submit grants.

Provost Blouin said they are still open and processing grants and projects remotely.

Someone asked about the trends in online teaching – for example asynchronous vs synchronous, and for recommendations.

Provost Blouin said synchronous teaching is when faculty use Zoom, and asynchronous teaching is when faculty record their lessons and put it on a site like Sakai. They are encouraging faculty to use both methods.

Professor Kramer asked about student evaluations for faculty who are coming up for promotion reviews.

Provost Blouin said the details have not been finalized, but their intention is to maintain their current evaluation processes.

Annual Committee Reports (submitted by title)

The annual reports of the Buildings and Grounds Committee [PDF], the Faculty Athletics Representative [PDF], the Faculty Assembly Delegation [PDF], and the Faculty Welfare Committee [PDF] were accepted by title. There were no questions about the reports.

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

Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis entertained a motion to move into closed session to prevent the premature disclosure of honorary degree information. The motion was seconded and approved by Faculty Council. 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




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