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Meeting of the Faculty Council and the General Faculty

Friday, November 5, 2021, 3:00–5:00 p.m.

Members of the voting faculty were able to attend by Zoom by registering in advance.

The recording of the meeting is available at this link.


3:00 p.m.  Chair of the Faculty’s remarks
                       Professor Mimi Chapman (Social Work)

3:05 p.m.  Faculty Council business

  • Annual Report of the Faculty Hearings Committee [PDF] (to be submitted by title)
    Professor Charlotte Boettiger (Psychology and Neuroscience), committee chair
  • Approval of Faculty Executive Committee resolution [PDF] charging the Educational Policy Committee to study class cancellation policies and procedures
    Secretary of the Faculty Jill Moore (Government)

3:15 p.m.  Chancellor’s remarks
                      Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz

3:25 p.m.  Libraries and Open Access
                      Vice Provost for University Libraries and University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks
                      Professor Richard Schneider (University of California San Francisco)

Resources for this discussion

4:00 p.m.  Community well-being and crisis response
                      Hosted by Chair of the Faculty Mimi Chapman

  • CAPS and Residence Hall resources
    Executive Director of Carolina Housing Allan Blattner
    Associate Director and Clinical Coordinator for Counseling and Psychological Services Avery Cook
  • Communication protocol and procedures
    Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Amy Johnson
    Dean of Students Desirée Rieckenberg
  • Nov. 15 Campus Mental Health Summit
    Professor Samantha Meltzer-Brody (Psychiatry)

5:00 p.m.  Adjournment

Video of Proceedings

Watch the full video [Streaming]

Journal of Proceedings of the Faculty Council

The Faculty Council and General Faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on November 5, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. The meeting was also streamed live for anyone to watch online.

The following 77 Faculty Council members attended: D. Aikat, J. Aikat, Alexander, Anksorus, Becker, Berkoff, Berkowitz, Binz, Boyd, Brownley, Burch, Burke, Chapman (Chair of the Faculty), Charles, Clement, DeHart-Davis, Dewitya, Donahue, Entwisle, Estroff, Floyd-Wilson, Frederick, Freeman, Gates-Foster, Gilland, Gold, Guskiewicz (Chancellor), Haggis, Halpern, Hannig, Jeffay, Johnson, Krause, Lain, Lee, Lensing, Lopez, Mayer-Davis, McEntee, McNeilly, Mehrotra, Menard, Metcalfe, Meyer, Mohanty, Moon, Moore (Secretary of the Faculty), Moracco, Muller, Nichols, Olson, Padilla, Penton, Pettifor, Plenge, Powell, Rahangdale, Renner, Roberts, Santacroce, Sathy, Scarlett, Scarry, Schlobohm, Smith, Triumph, Upshaw, Vaidyanathan, Van Deinse, Vernon-Feagans, Vision, von Bernuth, Watson, Wiltshire, Womack, Worthen and Young.

The following 8 members received excused absences: Brewster, Divaris, Goralski, Holland, Neal, Thornburg, Williams and Zomorodi.

The following 6 members were absent without excuse: Larson, Lithgow, Ma, Mock, Rose and Santos.

Others in attendance: Brandt (Graduate Observer), Igollo-Ogele (Undergraduate Observer), Phillips (Undergraduate Observer) and Swamy (Graduate and Professional Student Government President).

Call to Order

Chair of the Faculty Mimi Chapman called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m.

Chair of the Faculty’s remarks

Chair Chapman welcomed everyone to the meeting and gave her opening remarks [PDF].

Faculty Council business

Secretary of the Faculty Jill Moore announced that that the Faculty Council will begin meeting in a hybrid format in January 2022 provided that COVID metrics and Carolina Community Standards permit it. The Office of Faculty Governance recently surveyed Faculty Council members on when to return to in-person meetings. The survey had an 85% response rate with members evenly divided on the closed answer questions asking whether to resume meeting in person in the spring or next academic year. The open-ended responses indicated that there was a need for flexibility. This decision will be reevaluated if there is another COVID-19 surge after the holidays.

The annual report of the Faculty Hearings Committee [PDF] was accepted by title.

Secretary of the Faculty Jill Moore introduced the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) resolution [PDF]. The resolution charges the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) to study class cancellation policies and procedures and develop standards for making decisions to cancel classes in response to student and faculty needs, such as mental health and wellness during times of crisis. EPC will then report to Faculty Council for further consideration. The Faculty Code of University Government gives Faculty Council a significant role in determining matters of educational policy. The purpose of the resolution was to formally refer the matter to the EPC for further study. The resolution is being presented to Faculty Council today for a vote of confirmation. Members must only vote to approve or disapprove the resolution; there is no option to amend the resolution during a vote of confirmation.

Professor Deb Aikat (Journalism and Media) made a motion to confirm the resolution and Professor Eric Muller (Law) seconded the motion.

Professor Moore opened the floor for discussion.

Professor Vaughn Upshaw (Public Health Leadership Program) asked if the policy is going to affect multiple class cancellations or apply to individual faculty deciding to cancel a class.

Professor Moore said the purpose of this resolution is not to create a policy, it is to charge the EPC to study the matter and then report their recommendations to Faculty Council.

Resolution 2021-9, On Charging the Educational Policy Committee to Study Class Cancellation Policies and Procedures, passed unanimously.

Chancellor’s remarks

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz encouraged everyone to participate in the 2021 Carolina Homecoming weekend events. He thanked the faculty for supporting students and the community during the semester and for helping to ensure the 2020 commencement weekend, held from October 9-10, was an incredible moment for the class of 2020.

Chancellor Guskiewicz focused the remainder of his remarks on the Association of American Universities (AAU) Presidents and Chancellors meeting, the University’s ongoing COVID-19 response, and the mental health and well-being of the campus community.

He attended the AAU meeting from October 25-26 in Washington, DC. This meeting occurs twice a year and this meeting was the first held in-person in two years. Of 66 AAU institutions, 55 presidents and chancellors attended the meeting. They discussed COVID-19 protocols and endorsed a new sexual harassment policy. There was a session on the role of universities in promoting and teaching democracy across the country. The chancellor participated in a panel where AAU presidents were paired with a president from an HBCU (Historically Black College or University); he was paired with Chancellor Harold Martin of North Carolina A&T State University. They are developing a partnership between the two universities. The goal of this partnership is to assist NC A&T in reaching R1 (Research 1) status and becoming a top-tier research institution. The chancellors have committed $500,000 to expand and build research infrastructure to facilitate a broader and deeper partnership. They are focusing on four main areas: data science, environment and climate, cybersecurity and health disparities. There will soon be a joint call for proposals announced to create partnerships between investigators at UNC-CH and NC A&T. The growth and prosperity of North Carolina depends on building broad ecosystems of talent and expertise, which means working closely with talented faculty across the UNC System.

On November 3, the administration announced a vaccine requirement to comply with President Biden’s Executive Order 14042, which requires “covered employees of federal contractors” to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than December 8. The requirement applies to full-time, part-time and temporary Carolina employees, as well as those working remotely or under flexible work arrangements. About 94% of faculty and students and 86% of staff are vaccinated. Chapel Hill is in the most vaccinated county in the state. The University’s public health experts are evaluating testing and community standards for the spring semester. They anticipate the indoor mask policy will continue. The Campus and Community Advisory Committee (CCAC) will consider any modification to testing and community standards.

The pandemic has not only threatened our physical health but has also taken a toll on our mental well-being. The mental health crisis affecting our community is part of a national trend. The administration realizes it will not solve this generational crisis quickly or easily, but is committed to supporting students, faculty and staff. The administration has invested more resources in counseling and crisis intervention over the past year and has urged students to build a culture of support. The chancellor thanked the faculty for the compassion, flexibility and care they have shown to students, especially to the students who were roommates, suitemates and friends of the students we lost this year. A wellness day was held on October 12 and at least one wellness day will be added to the spring semester—more information will be available soon. To allow faculty adequate time to plan, the Registrar’s Office is determining wellness days for the 2022-2023 academic year with input from the Educational Policy Committee. The Chancellor’s Office is convening a campus-wide Mental Health Summit on November 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to address three topics related to mental health at Carolina: 1) campus culture, 2) crisis services and 3) prevention. The summit will feature leaders who will share best practices from their respective fields. The mental health struggles among young people have many causes and need to be met with many solutions that extend beyond the bounds of our campus. Chancellor Guskiewicz is confident that the Carolina community can bring in unique resources and expertise to help find solutions that will benefit UNC-CH students and the broader society.

The provost search is going as planned; Chancellor Guskiewicz hopes to announce the new provost in mid-November. He thanked everyone who participated in the search.

Professor D. Aikat said it was nice to hear that the Tar Heel Bus Tour will resume. He asked if CCAC would reconvene to assist in planning the spring semester.

Chancellor Guskiewicz plans to reconvene CCAC as COVID-19 projections for the spring become available and when the administration needs to make decisions on testing and community standards. They are planning to hold the spring semester in person.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics and Operations Research) asked when the process for international conference attendance would no longer require the approval of the provost.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said Barbara Stephenson, vice provost for global affairs and chief global officer, and her team at UNC Global are tracking the regions of the world that will be safest to travel to this spring. If the trends continue, he anticipates that faculty, staff and students will be able to travel more freely in the early spring.

Professor Muller asked if the faculty input Chancellor Guskiewicz would seek to plan wellness days align with the FEC resolution passed at the start of the meeting.

Chancellor Guskiewicz said faculty input is needed to plan wellness days. The need for a wellness day in October arose suddenly as a result of two student deaths in rapid succession, and was based on input from students as well as consultation with faculty leaders. Due to accreditation requirements, there are limited options for wellness days in the spring. For the 2022-2023 academic year, the administration is considering extending the semesters by a week to build in multiple wellness days. They will engage EPC on this issue because these decisions need to be made through a shared governance approach. Such faculty engagement would align with the resolution.

Professor Chapman stated that the University has an Academic Calendar Committee that should include faculty representation. Chancellor Guskiewicz confirmed that the chair of the EPC will serve as the faculty representative on the calendar committee.

Libraries and Open Access

Professor Chapman opened the discussion by describing three separate issues associated with the libraries: (1) an immediate budget problem and the use of non-recurring funds to support the library on our campus; (2) the larger issue of how universities engage with publishers; and (3) questions about whether and how to support open access publications. Conversations are underway about how to address the first two issues. The intent for this discussion was to focus on the third issue.

Vice Provost for University Libraries and University Librarian Elaine Westbrooks began by saying that a major challenge regarding open access is that it has a negative reputation in some circles. While some open access journals are predatory and not peer-reviewed, there are other high-quality open access articles and journals and the two should not be conflated. Faculty Council has considered this issue in the past and adopted resolutions about it, including Resolution 2005-7 [PDF], On Faculty Ownership of Research; Resolution 2015-9 [PDF], On Endorsing a University Open Access Policy; and Resolution 2019-8 [PDF], On Containing the Costs of Published Research. Carolina has a history with this issue and an opportunity now to make a transformative change.

Vice Provost Westbrooks introduced University of California San Francisco Professor Richard Schneider (Orthopedic Surgery), who was invited to discuss the UC system’s work on this issue. Professor Schneider stated that he believed there was something inherently wrong with the way authors transfer their rights to commercial publishers and then expect their libraries to purchase access to that content at a high price. Faculty conduct peer review for journals and serve as editors without pay, yet commercial publishers reap tremendous profits. Taxpayers, who pay for the public institutions to operate, do not have access to the content faculty are generating. He believed there was a better way to steward these public resources and benefit the taxpayers of his state (California), and worked with his UC colleagues to shift their model from the subscription side (“pay to read”) to more investment in the publication side.

The UC System adopted an open access policy in 2013In 2018, UC faculty created a declaration of rights and principles that states their values and how they wanted the system to use funds to support the research enterprise and began to work toward a system that would reinvest subscription money to support open access publishing. Recognizing that some faculty would need to be persuaded to publish in new unestablished open access journals, they created a model that worked with existing publishers to convert existing journals to open access (rather than creating new open-access journals). The model allowed the UC System to use its subscription money to cover the cost of publishing upfront, while keeping intact structures for peer review and editorial management. Some publishers were more receptive than others, with the result that at one point the UC system had no contract with a major publisher. UC faculty and students were able to work with their librariesto find alternative ways to get access to the content they needed, which made them further question why they were paying large subscription fees to obtain access to content that they were generating. A negotiating team including Professor Schneider was formed to reach agreements with commercial publishers, with a goal of creating a business model that supports open access publishing. The UC Academic Senate passed statements in support of their libraries and open access.

As the UNC-CH community confronts the University Libraries’ budget crisis, Professor Schneider suggested that we consider it an opportunity to reevaluate the way the University supports the existing subscription system. The open-access system is more equitable and, as the name implies, allows everyone access. By using the subscription budget from institutions to cover the costs of publishing, authors who have no grant money or research funds can publish their work. Every author in the UC System receives $1000 towards publishing and any author that does not have any research funds gets the full cost covered by the library. Authors who do have research funds that are solely budgeted for publication are asked to help contribute to the costs of publishing.

The University of California’s Office of Scholarly Communications has a tremendous number of resources for journal editors, authors, libraries and administrators on creating an open-access system at their universities. These resources include templates, negotiation tools and all the documents UC faculty generated through their Academic Senate. This information is linked to the agenda.

In the chat, Professor Upshaw asked how those publishing in open access have been assessed and evaluated as compared to those who are publishing in highly ranked journals. Professor Schneider responded that part of the rationale for flipping the business model to open access was to address the perception that open access has different review standards, and to address the problem of predatory journals.

In the chat, Professor Charlotte Boettiger (Psychology and Neuroscience) commented that labs with resources could afford to make their work freely available, while less well-funded scientists have to work hidden behind paywalls.

Professor Schneider agreed with this point and stated that the UC System’s reallocation of its subscription budget helped support the publication of open access articles by authors who are not as well-funded by grant money.

Professor D. Aikat asked if the UC System’s transition to open access has resonated with other universities, including private universities.

Professor Schneider said open access is a mission for all academics who believe there is a better way to communicate. When people search for content for their research, they are not finding the most relevant content, but the most available content. Freely available articles are highly cited and have the most downloads. He is hopeful that other institutions will commit to open access, and UC representatives have communicated with private institutions and non-research intensive institutions.

Professor Cal Lee (Information and Library Science) said he hopes the campus community does not face the danger of justifying massive cuts to the libraries as a result of the notion that open access is free. There are always costs associated with publishing. He also expressed concern for publications associated with professional organizations that depend on subscriptions to survive and are not predatory.

Professor Schneider said UC faculty had similar conversations with their administration. The administration must commit to investing in the research and academic enterprise around publishing. They work with professional societies and publishers to ensure that their publishing system does not negatively affect these societies and they understand how vital it is that professional societies receive revenue from their journals.

Professor Schneider and Vice Provost Westbrooks are available to answer questions about the UC System business model on open access. Documents the UC System shared with UNC are linked through the Faculty Governance website.

Professor Chapman said the Administrative Board of the Library will discuss open access and engage the Faculty Executive Committee or Faculty Council on the next steps.

Community well-being and crisis response

Professor Chapman described this discussion on mental health and well-being as preparation for the upcoming Mental Health Summit and an opportunity for faculty to share their experiences with mental health on campus with each other and the administration. She introduced the panelists and asked each to provide information that is needed to inform this conversation.

Communication protocol and procedures

Amy Johnson, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, provided an overview of the Office of Student Affairs’ approach to handling communications and crisis on campus. It has been an extremely difficult time for the campus community. The loss of any student is a tragedy and we have lost several over the last few months. When a student death occurs, the office mobilizes its student affairs teams to support students. Carolina Housing, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the Dean of Students and Student Wellness are a part of the support teams. They provide support to the deceased student’s close contacts and affiliate groups, including campus residences, clubs, departments and campus jobs. They do not send out campus-wide notifications of student deaths or emergencies unless there is an ongoing threat because these messages can be triggering for members of the community. They always want to respect the family’s privacy and their ability to make difficult personal decisions, so they work closely with them to get their preferences on the communications sent to the campus community. Vice Chancellor Johnson will publish the immediate crisis response, prevention and post-prevention protocols for public access. Student Affairs is meeting with several partner institutions to benefit from their experience and expertise in this area.

CAPS and Residence Hall resources

Avery Cook, associate director and clinical coordinator for CAPS, gave an overview of the resources available to students. CAPS operates as a walk-in service; students can initiate service as soon as they decide to, and there is no delay or wait. Students can visit CAPS Monday through Friday and meet with a therapist to develop a plan for the next steps, which include brief individual therapy, group therapy and a medication management program. Individual therapy is for students that have more long-standing needs. A therapist will work with students until they are connected to a therapist in the community through the referral coordination service that CAPS provides. They also help students in crisis and help students experiencing an acute mental health episode create safety plans. If a student cannot be safe outside of the hospital, they will facilitate a connection to the hospital. This year, there was a waitlist for brief therapy; the longest wait time was a week. The campus has entered an agreement with Uwill, an online psychotherapy platform to provide brief therapy to students immediately. CAPS also has an after-hours service that students can call anytime to speak with a therapist to address their needs and bridge them to further support. CAPS no longer has any wait periods and they are fully able to meet student needs.

Executive Director of Carolina Housing Allan Blattner gave an overview of resources provided at residence halls and the training and support provided to Resident Advisors (RAs). We have residential students every day of the year and multiple levels and types of support are provided for them. Every floor of each residence hall has a resident assistant (RA) who is the first touchpoint for residential students. RAs are supported by community directors who live in the residence halls and are full-time professionals with master’s degrees in higher education administration or similar fields. Residential Life leadership staff and senior housing staff are on call every day of the year and they also support RAs. CAPS, the Critical Incident Response Team, and University Police assist Carolina Housing in after-hours response.  Detailed protocols define the roles of each level of staff and the expectations to ensure timely communication. There is thorough pre-service and in-service training on protocols, mental health, crisis intervention and making appropriate referrals for the RAs and all staff at various levels. RAs have weekly one-on-one meetings with their supervising community director to discuss the RA’s well-being and ability to manage their responsibilities as both an RA and a student. An RA may step away from the role if needed. CAPS visits residence halls to support residential students and staff.

Professor Beth Mayer-Davis (Nutrition) shared a conversation she had with one student who lives two hours away and appreciates the virtual services CAPS now provides. Before the pandemic, this student did not have access to CAPS services due to distance. Professor Mayer-Davis said continuing the virtual service will be a great help to students who are not on campus.

Professor Allison Schlobohm (Business) said she has heard from students who have felt hopeless or who have been put in the position of assuming extraordinary responsibility for their peers who are in crisis. Information or rumors circulating among the students can be scary and they don’t know how to help each other. We as faculty don’t always know what to do either.

Professor Chapman said Mental Health First Aid training [link] is available.

Professor D. Aikat asked for clarification on how absence approvals are done and how promptly students can accept a decision.

Dean of Students Desirée Rieckenberg said the University Approved Absence Office website [link] details what students should expect regarding their submission and timelines. It should take no longer than 10 days to review and make decisions about the absence. There is one University Approved Absence Coordinator and temporary staff have recently been hired.

Professor Sue Estroff (Social Medicine) described an instance in which she was able to leverage her professional connections to get an appointment for a student in crisis, and noted that the situation could have ended differently if she didn’t have those connections. She now has a policy for all her classes where students can contact her day or night if they need help.

Professor Beth Moracco (Health Behavior) said she reserves a portion of her class for students to debrief and check on each other. Students are exhausted, they are having trouble focusing and organizing their thoughts and work. Faculty in her department have allowed students to request extensions for some of the major assignments and about one-third of her class requested extensions. Faculty meet with students and provide support, but they are also exhausted and under some of the same stressors as students.

In the chat, Professor Kelly Smith (Family Medicine) told faculty to encourage students to meet with a primary care provider as they are often more accessible than psychiatry services.

Professor Hannig said he is having a great semester and it is important for him to understand that this is not the case for everyone. He has the privilege of hearing this information; it is important to think about how to replay this information to the rest of the campus community.

In the chat, Professor Mary Floyd-Wilson (English and Comparative Literature) commented that graduate students who are also instructors are being impacted doubly. They are on the frontline in classes checking in with undergraduates while also suffering through their own stress of being students, as well as their family care.

Professor Megan Plenge (Geological Sciences) said she has 18 in-person lab sections, two virtual lab sections and a team of 10 teaching assistants (TAs). During the week of October 11, her students were supposed to have their midterm exams. Since there was a wellness day on October 12, the students with Tuesday labs could not take their exams. She gave all of the students the option to take their lab exams anytime that week. This created more work for the TAs and this caused them a great deal of stress. Graduate students hold multiple roles and it is important to consider their mental health as well.

November 15 Campus Mental Health Summit

Professor Samantha Meltzer-Brody (Psychiatry) said the Department of Psychiatry is pummeled with the massive mental health needs across all of North Carolina and all the entities associated with UNC Health. The mental health of youth has worsened since the pandemic; the prevalence of suicide, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other self-harming behaviors has increased drastically.  However, the number of mental health practitioners has not increased at the same rate. The Department of Psychiatry is hiring more mental health clinicians, but it is still challenging. The entire campus community has to work together to address this issue.

Professor Meltzer-Brody said she has been inspired by the outpouring of people who want to be involved and are spending their time and energy on enormously short notice to rally behind the Mental Health Summit. The event is designed to educate, engage and foster discussion among faculty, staff and students and is for the University community only; a UNC-CH email is required to register. . The summit will include sessions on student voices, faculty and staff voices and parent voices; a presentation on the JED Foundation, a nonprofit focused on adolescent and young adult emotional health and suicide prevention; and working group presentations on prevention, crisis, and campus culture. The campus culture working group is co-led by Professor Chapman, the crisis working group is led by Professor Amy Ursano (Psychiatry) and Associate Director Avery Cook and the prevention working group is led by Vice Chancellor Johnson. The goal for these discussions is to help distill a set of recommended action items and to build on the 2019 Mental Health Taskforce report.

Professor Chapman led a moment of silence for the students we have lost in our community.


Its business having concluded, the Faculty Council adjourned at 4:54 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kadejah Murray
University Program Associate

Jill Moore
Secretary of the Faculty

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