April 16, 1999
Minutes of the General Faculty
April 16, 1999, 1:00 P.M.[On or about April 10, Chancellor Hooker, acting on the advice of his physicians, notified President Broad that he would be unable to fully carry out his duties for at least two months while undergoing chemotherapy treatments at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. After wide consultation, President Broad placed Chancellor Hooker on medical leave and asked Mr. William O. McCoy, just recently retired as Vice President for Finance, to accept appointment as acting chancellor until Chancellor Hooker is able to resume his duties. Among those consulted were Prof. Richard Andrews, chair of the faculty, and as many of the former chairs of the faculty as could be assembled on short notice. President Broad then met with appropriate groups to introduce Mr. McCoy, including a combined meeting of the Advisory Committee and the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council. Prof. Andrews called this special meeting of the General Faculty to afford an opportunity for other members of the faculty to meet Mr. McCoy.]
Prof. Andrews welcomed President Molly Broad and on behalf of the faculty expressed his appreciation for her decision to involve the faculty leadership in her decision.
President Broad began by characterizing McCoy as “very sure and steady.” He has her full and unqualified support and she is confident that he will guide the campus along the paths already laid out by Chancellor Hooker. McCoy is a Carolina alumnus and has a deep affection for this institution that has been evidenced at every turn. He also knows the greater University from the inside. His experience in the business world and at General Administration makes him an ideal choice in view of the issues that he will be facing immediately as the General Assembly works on the 1999-2000 budget. McCoy has the confidence and respect of Governor Hunt and is well known and highly respected by the leadership of the General Assembly, the UNC-CH Board of Trustees, and the State’s business community.
President Broad acknowledged that the temporary disability of both the chancellor and the provost has raised concerns about the state of the University’s academic life. She said that in her view “academic policy is written by the faculty.” The faculty’s role in academic matters is “clear and established,” and she has no doubts as to the ability of the institution to function effectively under current conditions. She believes that “the primary role of administration is to create an environment that enables the faculty to carry out their teaching and research.” “You are in very good hands with Bill McCoy,” she said. She then presented McCoy to the faculty.
McCoy began by expressing his deep concern for Michael Hooker and his family. He regrets the circumstances that have called him to the job of acting chancellor, but having accepted it, he is looking forward to the challenge. “I love this University,” he said. “I went to school here and have been involved with the University in many different ways over the years. This is a great university in so many ways, but it’s great principally because of the faculty. I could not be more proud to be a product of The University of North Carolina.”
McCoy said that his first priority will be to try to keep the university going on its current trajectory. He will spend as much time as it takes to learn the specifics of each decision that has to be made. His approach will be consultative and open. It is clear to him that the secret of success in University administration is teamwork and consultative governance, which he is finding to be the norm on this campus.
McCoy said that he sees one of his most important roles as that of a representative of and advocate for The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In working with President Broad and the Board of Governors, he will be focused on Chapel Hill priorities. Having served as one of President Broad’s vice presidents, he knows how she operates. He is comfortable with the context in which he is now working and will do his best at it.
In the near future, McCoy thinks it will be important to focus on the capital needs of the institution—both repairs and renovations and new construction. He is delighted that the President is pursuing creative approaches toward dealing with capital needs.
McCoy concluded by saying that he sees his role as being as effective as possible at making the environment conducive to the work of the institution’s faculty, staff, and students.
McCoy then opened the floor to questions.
Prof. Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology/Immunology) spoke of the acute need to improve faculty benefits. Our benefit structure is no longer competitive among peer institutions. This is becoming even more important as we approach a period when there will be many new faculty hires in response to enrollment growth and retirements. He urged both President Broad and Acting Chancellor McCoy to place a very high priority on this issue. McCoy replied that he understands the point. President Broad added that a study that she commissioned on this topic has recently been completed. The study documents that we are not competitive with peer institutions in retirement and health benefits. The major problem in the near term is the extremely tight revenue situation with the State budget. The University will have to judge when the time is opportune to approach the legislature on the benefits issue and whether to advocate the needed improvements as a package or separately. We need to be competitive in both the State retirement system (TSERS) and the optional plan (TIAA).
Prof. Kerry Kilpatrick (Health Policy & Administration) asked about the status of the provost search. McCoy replied that the chair of the committee has been selected [Dean Jeffrey Houpt] and work on constituting the membership is nearing completion.
Prof. Joy Kasson (American Studies) called attention to the needs of graduate students. “Graduate students are a part of our instructional team,” she said. McCoy replied that this is a “high profile item” in budget planning at General Administration.
Prof. Rachel Willis (American Studies) asked whether the central campus plan and planning for the Horace Williams tract are now “on the back burner?” McCoy said “my approach to the job is to try to make sure that operations and activities are not diminished in any area. I think that’s possible.” He has met with Vice Chancellor Jim Ramsey to discuss both of these efforts.
Prof. Gerry Bolas (Ackland Art Museum) asked whether planning for the upcoming capital campaign remains on schedule. McCoy replied that development of the case statement should continue on its current schedule. Any changes that need to be made in the plans should wait until that process is complete.
Prof. Catharine Newbury (Political Science), chair of the Administrative Board of the Library, spoke to the importance of the library to faculty and graduate student recruitment and emphasized the need to find for additional funding to continue services financed this year from non-recurring funds, relief from State sales tax on acquisitions (as is already the case for private institutions), and improvement in librarians’ salaries. McCoy thanked her for her statement and leadership, saying “I have a feeling you’re doing a good job.” He said that the library will continue to be a top priority.
Prof. Louise Antony (Philosophy) asked if McCoy would be able during his term of service to address concerns now being voiced by many students about labor conditions in companies manufacturing products bearing one of the University’s trademark logos. McCoy replied that he has been made aware of the questions that are being raised and agrees that it is important that they be addressed. At the right moment, he will do so.
Prof. Edward Samulski (Chemistry) said that it is important to challenge the mistaken impression held by some that science and research in the University System take place only at North Carolina State University. McCoy agreed and noted that one of the items on the agenda of today’s meeting of the Board of Visitors is “A Science University in a Liberal Arts Environment.”
There being no further questions or comment, President Broad and Acting Chancellor McCoy thanked the faculty for their attendance and the meeting adjourned.