November 15, 1996
Minutes of the Faculty Council
November 15, 1996[A full transcript of the proceedings can be found on the University’s Internet homepage. The URL is http://www.unc.edu/faculty/faccoun/.]
A memorial resolution for the late J. Robert Butler, Professor Emeritus of Geology, was presented by Professor Daniel A. Textoris.
Remarks by Chancellor Michael Hooker
Resolution of dispute with housekeepers.
The University and the Housekeepers Association Steering Committee have reach agreement in principle on a settlement of the dispute. Details cannot be made public until the settlement has been approved by both parties and the administrative law judge having jurisdiction.
“Glass ceiling” report.
The administration welcomes the “glass ceiling” report [a report on the relative progress of women faculty in the Division of Academic Affairs toward tenure as compared to male faculty]. We will address the concerns it identifies and will be conducting a parallel study for faculty in the Division of Health Affairs. We will also begin collecting data on an annual basis.
Classroom repair and renovation.
We have designated $1.7 million for classroom improvements. Renovations are beginning on the 46 classrooms identified as most in need by the Classroom Advisory Committee. There will be some inconvenience as classes are shifted to accommodate the work. We have also designated $1.7 million for lecture hall improvements, with highest priority given to Venable 207 and 268. This work will be done in the summer and fall semester of 1997. Two million has been allotted for Murphey Hall renovations, which will be done in 1998-99. Carroll Hall will be renovated in 1997-98. When the School of Journalism and Mass Communication vacates Howell Hall, that building will become swing space for buildings being renovated.
The Chancellor has asked to the Provost to begin inaugurating an undergraduate major in environmental studies with an anticipated inception date of Fall, 1998. Required courses will be identified by Fall, 1997. Details of administrative organization remain to be worked out.
M.P.A. program transferred.
Administrative responsibility for the Master of Public Administration degree program has been transferred from the Department of Political Science to the Institute of Government. Course offerings will continue to be offered by faculty of both units.
A recent survey of students done by General Administration suggests that our students are dissatisfied with undergraduate advising. We ranked 13 points lower in satisfaction rating than the next lowest institution and 24 points below the median for the entire System. The Chancellor has asked the Task Force on the Intellectual Climate to add this topic to its agenda.
Chancellor Hooker is convinced that this University does not have a problem with its faculty that will be addressed by post-tenure review, but we do “have a problem with perception out in the broader world,” and for that reason must do something in this regard. He regards it as his job to change the perception that there is “deadwood” on the faculty and will be look for help from the faculty in doing that. He also believes it will be increasingly important to defend the institution of academic tenure with more vigor and persuasion than in the past. We have traditionally emphasized tenure’s guarantee of academic freedom, but that has lost much of its persuasive force. We need to point to other benefits, such as the way in which tenure promotes inter-disciplinary efforts that otherwise might not be encouraged or rewarded. We also need to be prepared to demonstrate that tenure does not have the kinds of negative consequences at this institution that it is sometimes said to have produced elsewhere.
Chancellor Hooker acknowledged misgivings among some of the faculty about his emphasis on the use of digital technology in the academy. He does not mean that the University should compromise its high standards of scholarship and teaching. In talking about change, he means changing our ways of doing things in order to remain the same. The strength of Carolina has been scholarship and teaching, and they will remain its strengths in the future. But in order to remain the leader in American higher education that we now are, we must take cognizance of the changing external environment. We must bring digital technology into the classroom, and he is concerned that we are not doing it fast enough. That concern underlies the funding recently made available for grants to faculty who want to experiment with this technology in their classrooms. The proposals that have come forward so far are so good that the Chancellor will make additional funding available. We also need to be prepared to enter the national and international arena in the emerging world of distance learning. There is “an enormous thirst out there, especially in developing nations, for American higher education taught in English.”[There were no questions or comments from Council members.]
Remarks by the Chair of the Faculty, Jane D. Brown
Professor Brown reported on several topics under discussion by the Faculty Assembly, which was also meeting today. They included ways to increase faculty and student involvement in the search for a new UNC president, possibilities for more flexible retirement options and incentives for early retirement, undesirable consequences of the Open Meetings Law for faculty participation in University governance, and President Spangler’s thoughts on the subject of post-tenure review. As for the latter topic, Professor Brown reported that President Spangler sees this initiative as a “pre-emptive strike” to some extent. Ten states have already implemented such systems and others are in various stages of developing one. The President wants the University to take the initiative in this area rather than have it forced on us by the General Assembly. He also thinks it is important that the faculty have a major hand in shaping post-tenure review procedures.
World AIDS Week
Ms. Anna Wood, an undergraduate student, spoke to the Council about the campus observance of World AIDS Week during the first week in December. Information about supportive activities that the faculty could undertake was distributed, and interested faculty were urged to contact Cheryl Manning-Schaub at Student Health Services.
Update Report of the Task Force on the Intellectual Climate
Professor Pamela Conover, chair of the Task Force on the Intellectual Climate, briefed the Council on the work of the Task Force. It is working in six subcommittees: Inside the Classroom, First Year Experience, Service Learning, Public Spaces, Outside the Classroom, and Faculty Roles and Rewards. She described several ideas that the subcommittees are developing. Discussion of the Task Force’s work will be the main item of business for the December meeting of the Council. meeting.
Professor Conover called attention to the Task Force’s Web page and urged the faculty to visit it. The URL is http://www.unc.edu/campus/sigs/icc/. A complete transcript of this portion of the meeting will be found on the University’s Web page. Paper copies are available from the Office of Faculty Governance upon request.
Annual Reports of Standing Committees
Committee on the Status of Women.
Professor Abigail Panter, Chair. The annual report was received and read by title.
Committee on Faculty Welfare.
Professor Steven Bachenheimer, Chair. The annual report was received and read by title. Professor Bachenheimer noted that the matter of faculty benefits has historically had a low priority on this campus and expressed the committee’s frustration that it has little authority in that regard. Chancellor Hooker agreed that our faculty benefits package is not competitive with our benchmark institutions (Michigan and Virginia). He is working with the General Assembly on a compensation package that addresses both salaries and benefits.
Professor Bachenheimer moved adoption of a resolution requesting that the name of the committee be changed to Committee on Faculty Life. Professor James Peacock, speaking as Chair of the Committee on University Government, opposed the motion on grounds that the first dictionary definition of “welfare” aptly describes the committee’s charge. The motion to rename the committee was defeated.
Professor Peacock then moved that the charge of the committee be revised to read “The Committee works on the improvement of faculty benefits and working conditions.” Professor Bachenheimer supported this motion and it was unanimously adopted.
Professor Peacock’s motion was referred to the Committee on University Government for preparation of an appropriate amendment to the Faculty Code.
Professor Janet Mason, Chair. The annual report was received and read by title.
Principles of Post-Tenure Review
Professor Janet Mason, Chair of the Advisory Committee, introduced a discussion of post-tenure review. President Spangler has directed each of the sixteen campuses to develop a statement of the principal features of a meaningful system of post-tenure review. A system-wide committee will receive these statements and advise the President and Board of Governors as to the next steps to be taken. Professor Stirling Haig (Romance Languages) is our representative on that committee.
Chancellor Hooker assigned to the Advisory Committee the task of responding to the President’s directive on behalf of this institution. The Committee has produced a draft statement, which has been circulated for comment to all members of the General Faculty. Professor Mason has also discussed the draft with the academic deans. With the benefit of comments from the faculty and key administrators, the Advisory Committee will finalize the draft on Wednesday, November 20, and will present our response to General Administration on Friday, November 22.
The Committee has kept the draft at a fairly general level in order to leave room for development of a system that recognizes the needs and uniqueness of each of the sixteen campuses campus in the System and the special circumstances of individual academic units within each institution. Therefore, the draft lacks much of the detail that would be necessary for a comprehensive discussion of post-tenure review. Professor Mason emphasized that the Advisory Committee wants to encourage a process that is supportive of academic tenure, and for that reason the draft emphasizes the faculty development aspect of post-tenure review.
The Council’s discussion of the draft centered on five topics: (1) the nature of peer review and the proper role of administrators in such reviews, (2) concerns about the amount of time that could be consumed by regular reviews, (3) concerns that faculty development plans should not be permitted to discourage faculty members from seizing emerging opportunities, (4) concerns as to the need to adapt the faculty grievance process to accommodate post-tenure review, and (5) the hope that any new procedures would build on those already in place. A complete transcript of this portion of the meeting will be found on the University’s Web page. Paper copies can be obtained from the Office of Faculty Governance upon request.
Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Awards for 1997
Pursuant to a motion duly made and adopted, the Council went into closed session to consider the report of the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards with respect to Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Awards to be presented at University Day, 1997.
Professor Weldon Thornton, Chair of the Committee, presented a slate of five candidates. The slate was adopted unanimously.
At the conclusion of the closed session, the Council returned to open session. Upon a motion duly made and adopted, the Council then adjourned at 5:00 p.m.
Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty