February 19, 2021
Meeting of the Faculty Council
Friday, February 19, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
The meeting was streamed live and recorded. The recording is available at this link. Those watching the livestream were able to submit questions and comments via Poll Everywhere.
3:00 p.m. Introductory remarks from the Chair of the Faculty [PDF]
Professor Mimi Chapman (Social Work)
3:05 p.m. Chancellor’s and Provost’s Remarks
Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Robert Blouin
3:35 p.m. Resolution from Committee on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure
Professor Karin Pfennig (Biology), committee chair
- Resolution 2021-2. On Mitigating the Impacts of COVID-19 on Faculty Careers [PDF]
3:45 p.m. UNC Health in the Pandemic
Dean Wesley Burks (UNC School of Medicine; CEO, UNC Health Care)
3:55 p.m. Vaccine Rollout
Ms. Quintana Stewart (Director, Orange County Health Department)
Professor Tony Lindsey (Psychiatry; Chief Medical Officer, UNC Health)
Ms. Catherine Brennan (Executive Director, UNC Environment, Health and Safety)
4:40 p.m. Carolina Peer Support Network
Professor Edwin Fisher (Health Behavior)
4:55 p.m. Annual committee reports by title
- Committee on Fixed-Term Faculty [PDF], Professor Tonya Van Deinse (Social Work), committee chair
- Undergraduate Admissions Advisory Committee [PDF], Professor Abigail Panter (Psychology and Neuroscience), committee chair
5:00 p.m. Adjournment
Video of Proceedings
Journal of Proceedings of the Faculty Council
The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on February 19, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. Other faculty and members of the public were able to observe the meeting on a livestream.
The following 77 members attended: D. Aikat, J. Aikat, Alexander, Anksorus, Berkoff, Berkowitz, Boon, Brewster, Brownley, Burch, Burke, Byerley, Cai, Chapman (Chair of the Faculty), Chavis, Clement, Coble, Cox, Divaris, Donahue, Entwisle, Estroff, Falvo, Floyd-Wilson, Freeman, Gates-Foster, Gentzsch, Gilland, Guskiewicz (Chancellor), Halladay, Halpern, Holland, Jeffay, Krause, Krome-Lukens, Larson, Lee, Lensing, Levine, Lithgow, Mayer, Mayer-Davis, McGrath, Metcalfe, Meyer, Moon, Moore, Moracco, Muller, Neal, Olson, Padilla, Pettifor, Plenge, Powell, Rahangdale, Renner, Rose, Rudder, Santos, Scarlett, Scarry, Steponaitis (Secretary of the Faculty), Thornburg, Thorp, Thorpe, Triumph, Vaidyanathan, Van Deinse, Vision, von Bernuth, Walter, Watson, J. Williams, Wiltshire, Womack and Young.
The following 4 members received excused absences: Mock, Nichols, Ramaswamy and Roberts.
The following 11 members were absent without excuse: Clegg, Dewitya, Fromke, Gilchrist, Joyner, Lain, Lopez, Menard, Platts-Mills, M. Williams, and Zomorodi.
Others in attendance: Provost Blouin, David Burriss (Undergraduate Observer) and Maian Adams (Graduate and Professional Student Observer).
Call to order
Chair of the Faculty Mimi Chapman called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m.
Chair of the Faculty remarks
Professor Chapman welcomed everyone to the February Faculty Council meeting and gave brief introductory remarks [PDF].
DTH Media Corp., the parent company of The Daily Tar Heel, has settled its lawsuit against the UNC System over allegations of violating state Open Meetings Law. Last week, Chancellor Guskiewicz released a campus-wide message about the settlement; he expressed appreciation for the support he received after the message. Silent Sam has caused pain on this campus for decades, the news of the most recent legal settlement reopened wounds for many people. He felt it was important to send a message directly to the campus community to provide more clarity and context. Even though the statue is gone, the painful history of racism on the campus remains. Silent Sam is a symbol, but those issues did not disappear when it was removed. For that reason, the first and most important part of the University’s strategic plan Carolina Next is the strategic initiative “Build Our Community Together.” The chancellor is inspired by the progress happening on campus, from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council to the Commission on History, Race and A Way Forward.
Chancellor Guskiewicz shared what he learned from his experience with the monument settlement. The settlement was his first major encounter with the tensions of the UNC System’s complex governance structure, which has existed since the founding of the consolidated university system. UNC-CH leadership does not always have the authority to make important decisions that impact campus. Pay raises, certain HR actions, new academic programs and finance authorities are dependent on the legislative process of the Board of Governors (BOG) with input from schools within the UNC System. The authority of others external to the campus, yet within this system of governance, is well established. They are critical partners, and rather than challenge this long-established system it is more effective for him to operate within the University’s governance rails to accomplish important outcomes for both the campus and UNC System. He has to navigate and balance different constituencies, who often have competing priorities, interests and influence. He meets regularly with faculty groups, student leaders, the Employee Forum, the Board of Trustees (BOT), the BOG and leaders in the UNC System Office.
In 2019, his role as interim chancellor was not to decide the fate of the monument nor was it to pursue, negotiate or approve the terms of any settlement. That authority resides with the BOG. Some members of the campus community wanted Chancellor Guskiewicz to rally a public fight against the settlement the moment he learned it was under consideration, even if it meant risking that the monument would be forced back on campus. When he became interim chancellor, he proclaimed that the monument should not return to campus and he did not waiver on this principle. The idea of the settlement had a profound effect upon those in the community who have worked diligently in their professional lives, in their classrooms, in their research, and in their work spaces to strive for a vision of Carolina that is truly inclusive and one that lives up to its ideals. He understands the unintended impact of these actions on the general spirit of the campus. He heard from others in the campus community who believed the benefit of removing the monument from campus was nearly absolute. They generally believe that any risk of returning the monument to campus is unacceptable and would be a direct threat to the safety and security of our community. It would stand as a continued source of division and disruption to the University’s mission.
At their last meeting, the BOG decided to continue the five-year tuition freeze to ensure UNC-CH remains affordable to students. They discussed how the University’s four-year graduation rate has continued to improve and remain among the best in the nation. We must plan for the fall 2021 semester to ensure the University is providing the best educational opportunities for students. In December 2019, when he was named chancellor, he pledged to be inclusive in the decision-making process. Since then he has reaffirmed the value of building working relationships and trust within the University’s governance structure. The leadership team continues to work to meet this commitment, and to shape the governance rails in the appropriate places to help influence and generate more favorable outcomes. It takes time, patience and negotiation, but he learned how the University can move strategically in this direction. He needs the campus community to join him in this important work by helping gather and put forward facts, data and personal testimonies that illustrate the impactful contributions of Carolina’s faculty, staff and students and the value of the work done on campus and for the State. The campus community must demonstrate how critical it is that we retain the resources, the authority and the independence to continue to build and expand upon this critical work.
At the end of last fall, Chancellor Guskiewicz asked his advisory groups what a successful spring semester would look like and the campus is on track for that type of semester. In-person instruction started on February 8. Since then he has talked with faculty and several students, and all indications point to a very successful start of the semester. He thanked everyone who has worked hard to put the measures in place to make in-person teaching possible. Faculty teaching remotely are playing a critical role in the mission of the University.
The Carolina Together Testing Program continues to run smoothly. Professor Amir Barzin (Family Medicine) and his team built the testing program from the ground up. They collaborated with Professor Steven King (Journalism and Media) to develop the Hall Pass web application, which registers members, informs and reminds them about testing, and provides a streamlined interface at testing locations. The campus’s positivity rate remains extremely low, at approximately 0.4 percent, with nearly 70,000 tests conducted. He commended the Carolina COVID-1 Student Services Corps. More than 400 students have volunteered through this program, logging a collective 10,000 hours of community service. The administration is now focused on getting the campus vaccinated.
Judith Cone, vice chancellor for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development is retiring after 11 years of excellent service. Chancellor Guskiewicz expressed appreciation for her contributions to the University.
Provost Blouin’s remarks focused on planning for the upcoming summer and fall semesters, and on the progression of the strategic plan.
The Roadmap Implementation Team (RIT) and the Campus and Community Advisory Committee (CCAC) worked together in the planning of the spring semester. They continue to work closing with clinical specialists in infectious disease, public health experts and the Orange County Health Department. Both groups are starting to discuss plans for the summer and fall. They are encouraged by the increasing pace of the vaccine rollout, which will play an important part in ensuring a successful fall semester. Some aspects of the campus operations have been expanded, with more students having been invited back for in-person instruction this spring. The summer sessions will be supported by remote learning strategies, with the possibility of some face-to-face interaction. The administrations hopes the fall semester will be as near to normal as possible, and continues to consult experts about the best path forward.
The campus community has remained in compliance with the University’s community standards, which has contributed to the campus’s low positivity rate. The provost thanked everyone for their diligence in upholding these standards as well as the standards set by Governor Roy Cooper.
Provost Blouin encouraged everyone to review the most recent web version of the strategic plan, Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good at carolinanext.unc.edu [HTML]. The campus community has made great progress on the plan, with broad faculty, staff and student participation. The most significant progress over this past year has been on the first strategic initiative, “Building our Community Together.” Provost Blouin is proud of the campus community and the active role it’s taking to ensure that all eight initiatives are pursued with great vigor and diligence. COVID-19 has impacted the campus’s ability to implement strategic initiatives. Changes in race relations taking place across the country and the community are at the forefront of our minds, which is why we must continue to acknowledge the importance of the Building our Community Together strategic initiative.
Professor Larry Chavis (Business), director of the American Indian Center, expressed the need for greater funding at the center.
Chancellor Guskiewicz said identity and cultural centers are extremely important to the campus community. The administration is proud the University has a diverse student body that allows the curriculum to come alive when they’re able to participate and view it through different lenses and experiences. They are committed to the cultural and identity centers on campus and have been working on a plan to ensure they are funded.
Provost Blouin said he and Chancellor Guskiewicz have talked extensively about ensuring all centers are and in a good place financially. They recognize that it has not been easy at times, which is partially due to the historical funding model associated with these centers. They are committed to fixing this issue.
Chancellor Guskiewicz added that they are continuing to work hard to raise private funds for the identity and cultural centers.
Provost Blouin said gifts are somewhat narrow and don’t address the needs of everyone. Development is a challenging space and decisions are driven by donors and their interests. The University needs to go beyond the framework of development.
Resolution from Committee on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure (APT)
Professor Karin Pfennig (Biology), committee chair, presented Resolution 2021-2. On Mitigating the Impacts of COVID-19 on Faculty Careers [PDF]. The committee developed these recommendations due to concerns about the immediate and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the professional lives and career trajectories of faculty. These recommendations deal with promotion and tenure, and impact faculty across the University. The committee highlighted some of the obvious impacts of COVID-19, such as the closure of performance venues or research facilities, but others are subtler, such as the slowing of publication timelines. Losses in funding and resources for scholarship and professional opportunities might continue for many years beyond these immediate impacts of COVID-19. The resolution also emphasizes that the impacts of COVID-19 are not equal for all faculty, and the committee hopes the administration will recognize the potential for these disparities and deal with them in a way that is both generous and compassionate. The committee intend these recommendations to continue to support the work of faculty and promote their success while alleviating some of the burden of stress and anxiety that many are experiencing right now.
Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis stated the question, Resolution 2021-2, and opened the floor for discussion.
Resolution 2021-2 passed unanimously.
UNC Health in the Pandemic
School of Medicine Dean Wesley Burks (also CEO of UNC Health), gave an update on what has happened at UNC Health over the past year. The first anniversary of North Carolina’s first COVID-19 case will occur in two weeks, at the same time our country is approaching 500,000 deaths from the virus. The last year has been difficult; beyond the many professional and personal challenges caused by the pandemic, people are dealing with financial insecurity, political and social unrest and additional caregiving responsibilities. He will remember how we as an organization had to embrace the overlap and the interplay of our personal and our professional lives. The full presentation can be found at this link [PDF].
Quintana Stewart, director of the Orange County Health Department, gave a presentation [PDF] on the vaccine distribution process in North Carolina. Phases 1 and 2 of the vaccination plan are currently underway. Under phase 1, health care workers and long-term care staff and residents are eligible for the vaccine. Under phase 2, anyone over the age of 65 is eligible for the vaccine.
Professor Chapman said some people are handling the affairs of their parents who live in assisted living facilities, she asked what qualifies someone as a caregiver of an elderly adult in the vaccine distribution plan.
Ms. Stewart said specific questions about the level of care for the parent will be asked. If a parent is in an assisted living facility, their caregiver would not pass the screening questions. If someone provides care for a parent living in their household over the age of 65, they are eligible for the vaccine during phase 1 of the distribution plan.
Professor Chapman asked if people are allowed to sign up for the vaccine in other countries if supplies are limited in their home county.
Ms. Stewart said this is allowed. People can cross country lines to be vaccinated if they meet the criteria for the priority group, and they find a county where the vaccine and appointments are available. The second dose has to be administered at the same location as the first dose.
Professor Ronit Freeman (Applied Physical Sciences) asked if someone qualifies for the vaccine if they are a caregiver for any other subpopulation at high risk.
Professor Tony Lindsey (Psychiatry), chief medical officer of UNC Health, said home caregivers providing regular medical care to medically fragile children and adults are eligible to be vaccinated under phase 1.
Professor Lindsey gave a presentation [PDF] on the vaccine distribution process at UNC Health.
As of March 10, university personnel will be eligible for the vaccine. Professor Chapman asked is there a distinction between faculty teaching in-person and faculty teaching remotely.
Professor Lindsey said to be eligible in group three college and university instructors and support staff must be working in-person.
Professor Christina Burch (Biology) asked for clarification about when K-12 educators and university faculty will have access to the vaccine.
Professor Lindsey said the Orange County Health Department cannot move forward with phase 3 because they have a waitlist of 20,000 healthcare workers and people over the age of 65. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a principle: if approximately 60% of a group is vaccinated, it is time to move on to the next priority group. Approximately 50% of people eligible for the vaccine under phase 1 and phase 2 have been vaccinated. UNC Healthcare will open the vaccine to teachers and continue to vaccinate health care workers and people over the age of 65.
Professor Eric Muller (Law) asked what they do with any extra vaccines from canceled appointments.
Professor Lindsey said the State has given vaccine sites very clear guidance not to waste any doses. Usually, there five to six doses are left over from canceled appointments, and UNC Health reaches out to nearby businesses that employ frontline workers who are at high risk. Sites all over North Carolina have been reaching out to frontline essential workers who are eligible for the vaccine under phase 3. UNC Health has vaccinated staff from places such as grocery stores, the Ronald McDonald House and the SECU House who could get to the Friday Center vaccination site quickly.
Ms. Stewart said that early on, when there were extra does, the Orange County Health Department offered them to vaccinators or someone doing patient monitoring. As the weeks progressed, they created a new system, one in which they identify people on their waitlist and are prepared to call them within an hour of closing if there are extra doses.
Professor Jennifer Larson (English and Comparative Literature) asked how university staff will be identified as frontline workers under the vaccination plan.
Catherine Brennan, executive director of UNC Environment, Health and Safety, said North Carolina is not requiring employers to send eligibility. Front-line workers, like K-12 educators, university staff and child care staff will self-identify.
Ms. Brennan gave a presentation [PDF] on vaccination planning on Carolina’s campus.
Professor Jill Moore (Government) asked if the University will be working with the Orange County Health Department or UNC Health to provide a dedicated vaccination clinic to faculty, staff and students.
Ms. Brennan said it is possible, but has not been discussed yet because of the allocations received. As supplies increase, they hope to partner with these organizations to create a clinic at the University.
Professor Chapman asked if college students, who are also K-12 educators, are eligible for the vaccine under phase 3 of the plan.
Ms. Brennan said yes.
Annual committee reports by title
Its business having concluded, the Faculty Council adjourned at 5:00 p.m.
University Program Associate
Secretary of the Faculty