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Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, October 11, 2019, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Kerr Building, Room 2001
Eshelman School of Pharmacy


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

3:10 p.m.     Presentation of the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement
                          Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz

  • Professor Uffe Bergeton, Department of Asian Studies
  • Professor Kavita Singh Ongechi, Department of Maternal and Child Health
  • Professor Li Qian, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • Professor Greg Wang, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics

3:20 p.m.     Chancellor’s and Provost’s remarks, including overview of new strategic plan
                          Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Robert Blouin

3:50 p.m.     Continued discussion of Program for Public Discourse

Update from Professor Jay Smith (History)

Update from Advisory Board members: Professors Chris Lundberg (Communication) and Sarah Treul (Political Science)

General discussion by Faculty Council


4:15 p.m.     Resolution 2019-10. On Delaying the Program for Public Discourse [PDF]

4:45 p.m.     Report by title: Annual Report of the Faculty Athletics Committee [PDF]
                         Professor Daryhl Johnson (Surgery), committee chair

4:50 p.m.     Faculty Assembly update
                         Professor Megan Williams (Nursing), UNC-CH delegation chair

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 October 11, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. in Kerr Hall, Room 2001 at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

The following 58 members attended: Austin, Berkowitz, Boon, Burch, Burke, Byerley, Calikoglu, Chavis, Clement, Cox, Divaris, Dobelstein, Entwisle, Falvo, Fisher, Floyd-Wilson, Fry, Gentzsch, Gilland, Guskiewicz (Interim Chancellor), Halpern, Holland, Ives, Jeffay, Kramer (Chair of the Faculty), Kris, Krome-Lukens, Larson, Lee, A. Levine, C. Levine, Lithgow, McGrath, Mock, Moon, Muller, Padilla, Platts-Mills, Rahangdale, Renner, Robert, Santos, Scarlett, Scarry, Steponaitis (Secretary of the Faculty), Thorp, Thorpe, Upshaw, Vaidyanathan, VanDeinse, Vision, von Bernuth, Walter, Watson, Willett, Worthen, Young and Zomorodi.

The following 20 members received excused absences: D. Aikat, J. Aikat, Anksorus, Bloom, Chambers, Coble, Donahue, Gates-Foster, Graham, Halladay, Hannig, Hessick, Joyner, Koonce, Mayer-Davis, Meyer, Moore, Olson, Rudder and Thorp.

The following 13 members were absent without excuse: Beltran, Brewster, Clegg, Dewitya, Fromke, Gilchrist, Hobbs, Mayer, Powell, Ramaswamy, J. Williams, M. Williams and Zamboni.

Others in attendance: Andringa (Undergraduate Observer), Blouin (Provost), Garner (Undergraduate Observer), Nelson (Graduate Observer) and Shah (Undergraduate Observer)

Call to order

The Chair of the Faculty called the meeting to order at 3:02 p.m.

Chair of Faculty’s remarks

Chair of the Faculty Lloyd Kramer welcomed everyone to the meeting, and gave updates on various campus events and initiatives. The School of Media and Journalism received a $25 million gift from the Hussman family and has been renamed the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. An anonymous donor committed $25 million to the College of Arts and Sciences to support graduate students. The Morehead-Cain Student Scholarship program has received a $10 million challenge gift to match new gifts.

The Carolina Latinx Center opened on October 4. The center offers new opportunities to explore the importance of our Latinx community at UNC and beyond. The center was developed through the hard work of members of the campus community including Professor Paul Cuadros (Journalism and Media) and Josmell Perez, director of the center.

“The Well,” UNC’s new information and news website launched on September 23. The site provides constant updates about UNC events, faculty and staff. The creation of the “The Well” marks a turning point in campus communications as the printed “University Gazette” will soon disappear. Professor Kramer thanked Jane Calloway and others for their work in developing innovative ideas for “The Well,” and the producers of the “University Gazette,” including Editor Susan Hudson, Senior Editor Gary Moss and Senior Content Manager Scott Jared.

University Day will be held October 12 at Memorial Hall. Professor Kramer encouraged faculty to gather near the Old Well at 10:30 a.m. Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz will discuss his views of the University and public service. Professor Giselle Corbie-Smith (Social Medicine) will receive the 2019 Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award. Nominations for the 2020 Graham Award are open through October 21.

The special election for the General Education Oversight Committee ends on October 21.

Harry Smith stepped down as chair of the UNC Board of Governors, he was replaced by Randall Ramsey who also is serving as co-chair of the search committee for the UNC-System President. This committee is collecting input from faculty throughout the System about desired qualities sought in the next System president. UNC-Chapel Hill faculty have until October 14 to respond to questions sent from the Office of Faculty Governance.

Professor Kramer said the North Carolina Legislature is still at an impasse regarding the state budget, and there is no new information on salary increases. The current General Assembly plan provides for a one-half percent increase for faculty and staff.

The United States Department of Education charged the Duke-UNC Middle East Studies Consortium with violating the terms of a Title VI grant by focusing too much on culture and arts rather than on pure language instruction, and by putting too much emphasis on positive views of Islam while overlooking the mistreatment of other religious groups. Terry Magnuson, vice chancellor for Research, refuted the criticism. Professor Kramer stressed that most faculty see this critique as a challenge to the University’s core values of academic freedom and intellectual autonomy. Faculty must continue to explain why they view the critique of the University’s Middle East center as a disturbing, unusual intervention in how faculty should interpret the languages, cultures and religions of other societies and in how faculty should understand and teach the meaning of national security. The Title VI funding will continue for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Presentation of the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty

The Hettleman Prizes recognize achievements of outstanding junior tenure-track or recently tenured faculty. Chancellor Guskiewicz presented a Hettleman prize to four faculty members: Uffe Bergeton, associate professor in the Department of Asian Studies; Kavita Singh Ongechi, associate professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health; Li Qian, associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; and Greg Wang, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. The chancellor congratulated the recipients who were honored with applause.

Chancellor’s remarks

Chancellor Guskiewicz presented various campus updates to Faculty Council. He recently visited Elizabeth City State University for the installation of their new chancellor, Karrie Dixon. The Tar Heel Bus Tour kicks off October 16, where 90 faculty and administrators will travel across North Carolina. He acknowledged the participants of the bus tour in attendance and thanked them for their participation.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said he followed the ideas that surfaced from the discussion on the Program for Public Discourse. He believes this program fills a campus need and will help train students to critically engage with ideas. This program will amplify the engagement already happening in classrooms and provide opportunities to students. It embodies the culture of collaboration at Carolina and emphasizes the importance of everyone’s voice. He has received feedback from faculty and students; many are excited about this program.

Chancellor Guskiewicz and Provost Blouin convened three community-building formers focused on defining diversity, equity and inclusion goals on campus and reimagining the Office for Diversity and Inclusion to better engage the campus community. Participants gave feedback on what the campus’s diversity goals should be; the programs, services and tools needed to achieve these goals; and potential first steps to address these goals. The themes that emerged from the forums will help the leadership team build out the strategic plan. Defining diversity, creating a sense of belonging for all, developing organizational structures on campus so diversity is made real in all campus units, access to resources and training, engagement of campus leaders, and acting rather than waiting to create change are a few of the themes that emerged from the forums.

Provost’s remarks

The new strategic plan, called “Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good,” is slated to roll out in November. Provost Blouin gave an overview of the plan’s eight strategic initiatives (1) Build our community together, (2) Facilitate student success, (3) Develop careers, (4) Discover, (5) Renew democracy, (6) Serve to benefit society, (7) Globalize and (8) Optimize operations. Provost Blouin said the plan will be refreshed every six months as we discover new priorities for the institution.

Provost Blouin gave an update on the Data Science Initiative. Seven subcommittees are actively engaged in various aspects of data science and its future on campus. Each subcommittee has had 10-12 weeks to study their aspect of data science. Four subcommittees reported their findings to Provost Blouin, who praised the quality of their work and the thoughtfulness of their ideas.

Professor Jennifer Larson (English and Comparative Literature) asked about the broadness and inclusivity of the Steering Committee’s interpretation of data science.

Provost Blouin said they have a broad definition of data science. The arts and humanities will be important players in data science at Carolina. Provost Blouin and the steering committee are compiling examples of how other universities incorporate the arts and humanities in their programs. The fields of data science and technology are experiencing exponential growth. The work done in these fields has moral and ethical implications, which need to be studied as we begin to assess the impact on society. The University Libraries has become a data-rich environment in need of infrastructure to support the rapidly growing needs surrounding data science, and this relates almost directly to the humanities.

Professor Hilary Lithgow (English and Comparative Literature) said there are great examples of faculty at Carolina who incorporate humanities and data science in their work.

Continued discussion of Program for Public Discourse

Plans for the Program for Public Discourse propose to link current and new courses with a thematic focus and to develop campus dialogues that will foster capacities in the IDEAs in Action Curriculum. Chair of the Faculty Lloyd Kramer has received two recurring questions about the Program for Public Discourse: (1) Is this new program and is its advisory board unusual or unique in the College of the Arts and Sciences, and (2) why is Faculty Council discussing a new program that would be based in one school of the University.

The College currently hosts 10 interdisciplinary programs that offer thematic clusters of courses as well as public events for students, faculty and the general public. Six interdisciplinary area studies centers provide programs and financial support for faculty and students who work on global themes and international issues. Three additional College-based centers and institutes offer interdisciplinary support for faculty collaborations and public-facing programs. Faculty directors provide administrative leadership for each program. The Program for Public Discourse would become the twentieth interdisciplinary initiative in the College. This program would not alter or redefine requirements for the curriculum and it would not create a new major or minor for students. A faculty director would provide administrative leadership.

Currently, 14 Advisory Boards are housed in the College, including five that advise specific departments. Advisory Boards offer diverse internal and external perspectives, provide financial contributions and build networks of support outside the University. They are not governing boards and do not control hiring, academic programs, staff management or budgets for the programs they advise. Members of the Board of Trustees have occasionally served on some of these Boards. Programs and centers occasionally pay consultants for assistance and expertise, but they do not typically pay advisory board members for their service.

Section 1-6 (4) of the Faculty Code of University Government states “The General Faculty has power… to discuss and resolve upon matters relating to the life of the University.” Council does not have the authority to control programs or centers within the University, but it can freely express its views on “matters relating to the life of the University.”

Professor Jay Smith (History) gave an overview of why he believes faculty should be alarmed by and oppose the Program for Public Discourse. He believes that the Dowd Foundation, the supplier of the seed money for the Program, has an ideological bias. They are a part of a network of right-wing foundations that have been coordinating since the 1980s to push an anti-regulatory agenda and infiltrate higher education. Foundations like these have long histories of disguising their intentions and tilting the ideological balance of campuses. The presence of external board members signals the continuing ideological slant of this program.

Professor Smith added that the University already has programs that promote public discourse. The Center for Faculty Excellence runs workshops to create and enrich dialogue in the classroom. The new Center for the Science of Moral Understanding brings together “liberals and conservatives” who seek moral understanding. He believes that the long-term goal of the Program is to impact curriculum and faculty hiring through mechanisms that violate the democratic principles of faculty self-governance. Faculty are supposed to control the curriculum. Members of the Board of Governors (BOG) and Board of Trustees (BOT) serving as external members of the board means they can influence the direction of curricula. This is not their role, and it violates the accreditation rules of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Professor Smith encouraged Faculty Council members to vote in favor of Resolution 2019-10, On Delaying the Program for Public Discourse [PDF], if any of his objections cause questions to arise about the Program.

Professor Sarah Treul (Political Science), a member of the Faculty Advisory Board of the Program for Public Discourse, explained her support of the program. Students of the University want a framework for constructive conversation and deliberation in order to prepare them for the world outside the University, where they will engage with different ideas, philosophies and opinions. The program will provide this framework by incorporating structured deliberation in the classroom and showcasing debate and respect for alternative opinions through a moderated speaker series. The program will give students the skills to engage with the pressing questions facing our society.

Instead of criticism, Professor Treul asked that changes to the Program and the roundtable discussions about it introduced by Terry Rhodes, interim dean of the College, be used as evidence of an openness to input and commitment to design a program that best suits Carolina. The external members are not involved in curriculum, they provide knowledge and experience, which is used to help determine what will and will not work at the University. The Office of University Development will assist with gift agreements to ensure that no donor will influence curriculum or research agendas. She is a proud member of the Faculty Advisory Board of the program, she asked faculty for their support and assistance as they continue to build a program that will benefit our community and the State.

Professor Mary Floyd-Wilson (English and Comparative Literature) asked if the program will have a thematic focus.

Senior Associate Dean Chris Clemens, acting director, said the program will be focused on capacities that are defined in the IDEAs in Action Curriculum.

Professor Todd Vision (Biology) asked how the budget and funding of the program differ from other programs in the College that have the same public component.

Professor Kramer answered that, since the program is just beginning, it has relatively low funds. Some programs in the College, such as the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and the Honors Program have been accumulating endowments for years.

Rob Parker, associate dean for development in the College said they are considering a phased approach. Phase one will include $5-10 million in funding, followed by a needs assessment of the Program beyond phase one.

Professor Sharon Holland (American Studies) said we have to think about value and power and ensure this debate is open to as many voices as possible. She asked how the Program will impact diversity and inclusion initiatives and provide for a more inclusive environment to attract people to participate in this debate.

Professor Treul said the roundtables will allow voices from diverse perspectives to offer feedback about the Program. These voices are important in determining how to have deliberative conversations and teaching students how to encounter views different from their own. Faculty from any discipline who are willing to facilitate deliberative conversations are welcome to participate, they want the Program to be as diverse as possible.

Professor Lithgow asked about the role of the External Advisory Board, particularly in hiring and tenure decisions.

Professor Molly Worthen (History), a member of the Faculty Advisory Board, said external members spoke about their experiences at their institutions and offered suggestions for speaker ideas and branding, which the faculty board rejected. Originally, she was skeptical of the presence of BOT and BOG members, she is now a provisional convert. Their involvement is a net good for the Program and the University as it is a small step toward rebuilding the integrity and good faith of faculty. She said it would be great if the scrutiny of the Program’s funding leads to a conversation about the moral conundrum of the University’s funding resources. There are ideological goals attached to almost every foundation or private donor involved in the University, and there are moral challenges we need to address surrounding private funding in general.

Professor Kramer said the advisory boards of University programs play no role in tenure, hiring or appointment decisions.

As a retired faculty representative, Professor Emeritus Andy Dobelstein (Social Work) said some retired faculty members question whether the role of advisory boards has changed over the years in order to gain more influence over universities. The retired faculty, with whom he has spoken, trust that current faculty will make the right decisions about the Program.

Resolution 2019-10. On Delaying the Program for Public Discourse

Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis stated the question, Resolution 2019-10, and opened the floor for discussion.

Professor Jessica Boon (Religious Studies) made a motion to amend the language of the resolution to read:

The Faculty Council resolves that all planning and implementation for the Program in Public Discourse be suspended until all outside actors—from the BOT, the BOG, and other universities—have been removed from the advisory board.

The motion to amend the language was seconded by Professor Eric Muller (Law), who then went on to say he opposed the amendment because the role of external members is small and excluding faculty from other universities from participating on advisory boards is ill advised.

Professor Harry Watson (History) asked for clarification as to why there is a need for this program. The good components of the program are also central features of the core mission of the University. The creation of this institution indirectly says that the University is failing in its mission. He doesn’t believe the University is failing, there is ideological diversity and diverse discourse on this campus.

Professor Larson (English & Comparative Literature) responded by saying that she, Professor Tim Ryan (Political Science) and Professor Mark McNeilly (Business) conducted a study on the climate for free speech on campus. The resulting data shows that students believe faculty express diverse viewpoints and do not try to indoctrinate them. It also shows that students (especially conservative-leaning ones) self-censor in the classroom at an alarming rate. The data has caused these faculty to see the need to increase the ways students interact with each other constructively. Professor Larson said their findings will be available soon; they are slated to present at the November Council meeting. [Later moved to December.]

Professor Watson suggested delaying the discussion of Resolution 2019-10 until Faculty Council receives the results of the study.

Professor Boon asked for information on how the Program plans to foster structured debate across the curriculum.

Dean Clemens said the proposal they constructed is modeled after the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Program. There will be course development grants, infrastructure development for workshops and learning communities at the Center for Faculty Excellence and undergraduate research programs that are connected to courses that implement structural argumentation.

Professor Carolyn Halpern (Maternal and Child Health) asked how the Program will do a better job at fostering structured debate than other campus entities, such as the Center for the Science of Moral Understanding.

Professor Worthen said the Center for the Science of Moral Understanding is heavily focused on cognitive science and social psychology, not pedagogy or the undergraduate experience. The principles and practices of the Program are not brand new, but the goal is to consolidate the best practices happening in classrooms and experiment with how faculty can better utilize these tools to foster debate.

Professor Eric Muller commented that the Law School focuses on structured argumentation, and that the techniques being described are the focus of the first year of Law School.

Professor Emerita Sherryl Kleinman (Sociology) said there are guidelines for interaction to address a student’s need to self-censor in front of their peers. There are many types of pedagogy; she is concerned about the Program’s strong focus on debate. She is skeptical as to why foundations are interested in this program when faculty are already doing the work proposed by the Program.

Professor Erik Gellman (History) said it is documented that about 85 university programs with similar language and innocent intentions have damaged the curriculum and hiring procedures of various universities. He hasn’t received a sufficient answer for why this situation will be different at UNC.

Professor Donald Haggis (Classics) asked if the interdisciplinary programs in the College were reviewed by the Administrative Boards of the College.

Abigail Panter, senior associate dean for Undergraduate Education, said the Administrative Boards of the College has representation from all divisions of the College as well as professional schools. Any undergraduate course or curricular aspect of a program is reviewed by the Administrative Boards.

Dean Clemens said any course developed using course development funding from the program will be reviewed by the Administrative Boards of the College according to standard procedures.

Dean Rhodes said the Administrative Boards do not review programs, they review courses within programs.

Professor Smith said the mission of the Administrative Boards of the College is to review all programs and curricula.

Resolution 2019-10, On Delaying the Program for Public Discourse, was put before the Council for a vote and did not pass.

Report by title: Faculty Athletics Committee

The annual report of the Faculty Athletics Committee was accepted by title. There were no questions for the committee chair, Professor Daryhl Johnson (Medicine).

Faculty Assembly update

Professor Timothy Ives (Pharmacy), chair-elect of the UNC Faculty Assembly, gave an update on the actions of the Assembly. He and David Green, chair of the Assembly, will serve as ex-officio members of the UNC System President Search Committee. October 24, the Search Committee is hosting a listening session where all faculty senate chairs will report the feedback about the presidential search given by faculty from their respective institutions. The Faculty Assembly is aligning their committee structures with the strategic plan of the System. They are focused on student success; addressing issues faced by veterans; professionalism and collegiality; and faculty, staff and student wellness and safety.



Its business having concluded, the Faculty Council adjourned at 4:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kadejah Murray
University Program Associate

Vin Steponaitis
Secretary of the Faculty

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