Meeting of the General Faculty and the Faculty Council

Please note the earlier starting time and the location of the meeting.

Friday, September 7th, 2001, 2:00 p.m.

The Faculty Lounge in the West Wing of the Morehead Building

Professor Sue Estroff, Chair of the Faculty, will preside in the absence of the Chancellor.

Agenda

2:00 Call to Order. The Secretary of the Faculty.

INFO 2:00 Greetings from the Board of Trustees of UNC-Chapel Hill.

  • Timothy B. Burnett, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

INFO 2:05 Remarks. Gretchen Bataille, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (UNC System).

INFO 2:10 Remarks. John Heuer, Chair of the Employee Forum.

DISC 2:15 Remarks by the Chair of the Faculty.

  • Professor Sue Estroff invites questions or comments on any topic.

INFO 2:35 Faculty Council Expectations and Procedures.

  • Professor Joseph S. Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty.

ACT 2:45 Resolution 2001-3 on the University Committee on Copyright (Second Reading).

  • Professor Janet Mason.

2:50 Break.

ACT 3:00 Resolution 2001-4 on the Academic Calendar.

  • Professor Douglas Crawford-Brown.

ACT 3:20 Resolution 2001-5 on Grading Standards.

DISC 3:40 Reports on the Revision of the General Education Curriculum.

  • Mission Statement
  • Subcommittee Charges
  • Professor Laurie McNeil.

DISC 4:00 Annual Report of the Faculty Information Technology Advisory Committee (FITAC).

  • FITAC Vision Statement
  • Professor William Balthrop.

DISC 4:30 Report on Faculty Salaries.

  • Professor Steve Bachenheimer.

DISC 4:45 Topics Raised by Council Members.

ACT 5:00 Adjourn.

 

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty

 

KEY:
ACT = Action
DISC = Discussion
INFO = Information

Minutes

Attendance

Present (59): Adimora, Adler, Allison, Barbour, Bollen, Bouldin, Bowen, Boxill, Bromberg, Bynum, Cairns, Carelli, Chenault, Clegg, Colindres, Crawford-Brown, Daye, Drake, Elter, Elvers, Fishel, Foley, George, Gilland, Kalleberg, Kessler, Kopp, Langbauer, Lubker, McCormick, McGraw, Meece, Meyer, A. Molina, Nelson, Otey, Owen, Pfaff, Poole, Raab-Traub, Rao, Reinert, Rowan, Schauer, Shea, Sigurdsson, Slatt, W. Smith, J. Smith, Straughan, Strauss, Tresolini, Tulloch, Vuaghn, Wallace, Waters, Watson, Willis, Yopp.

Excused absences (27): Ammerman, Cotton, D’Cruz, Files, Fowler, Granger, Henry, Janda, Kagarise, Ketch, Kjervik, Kupper, LeFebvre, Metzguer, P. Molina, Moran, Nonini, Orthner, Pisano, Raasch, Runyan, Sams, Sueta, Tauchen, Walsh, Williams.

Unexcused absence: McQueen.

Call to Order

The General Faculty convened at 2:00 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge of the Morehead Building. In the absence of Chancellor Moeser, Prof. Joseph Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty, convened the meeting and called upon the Chair of the Faculty, Prof. Sue Estroff, to preside. She announced that the Chancellor was unable to attend due to a prior commitment, and that John Heuer, Chair of the Employee Forum, was ill and would not be able to address the faculty as had been planned.

Chair of the Board of Trustee Remarks

Mr. Timothy Burnett, Chair of the Board of Trustees, brought greetings to the faculty from the Board. He noted that if one looked out of the windows at the rear of the meeting room, one would see the new building for the Institute for Arts and Humanities now under construction. He looks forward to seeing that facility complete. It is significant that this new building is directly across McCorkle Place from the Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence. In the mind’s eye, one can already see a well-traveled brick walk connecting the two. He reminisced about his college years at Carolina (Class of 1962). He had no career objective in mind; rather he hoped to learn to think critically, to be able to express himself in both written and oral forms, and to broaden his horizons of understanding and learning. Although his formal major was mathematics, he characterized his experience as “majoring in professors.” He especially mentioned Joffre Coe (Anthropology); Maynard Adams (Philosophy); Bernard Boyd (Religious Studies); Ed Cameron, John Lasley, and Bill Mann (Mathematics). He congratulated the faculty on its record of research, but reminded us that many thousands of students remember us not for the books we write or the research we produce, but for the classroom experience.

Prof. Philip Bromberg (Medicine) asked why the University did not encourage “diversity in the undergraduate years,” but did encourage it in the graduate levels (referring to the limit of out-of-state college enrollment). He said he thought this showed a serious long-term lack of vision. Mr. Burnett agreed, but pointed out that the enrollment cap is statutory. He noted that most members of the General Assembly feel that their first obligation is to the taxpayers of North Carolina and that it would be difficult to retain the level of support that we enjoy from legislative appropriations while at the same time reducing the number of North Carolina residents that we admit.

Remarks by Gretchen Bataille, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Office of the President

Vice President Gretchen Bataille (also a member of the UNC-CH faculty) touched on a number of topics of interest.

Enrollment growth.

Overall, the UNC System enrolled 6,400 new students this year. The number exceeded previous estimates. Enrollment growth for this fiscal year has been fully funded by the General Assembly.

Campus-initiated tuition increases.

Earlier this year, there was cause to fear that the legislature would derail campus-initiated tuition increases already approved. This did not occur.

Benefits.

The Office of the President (OP) was successful in persuading the General Assembly to expand eligibility for participation in the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) to include many professionals, such as post-doctoral students, who were not previously eligible. The legislature did not, however, agree to increase the state contribution to ORP. The Health Plan Legislative Oversight Committee will be recommending a “medium option plan” to the General Assembly. This will reduce employee costs for medical insurance in return for reduced benefits and increased deductibles.

Personnel actions.

The Board of Governor’s Personnel and Tenure Committee has been supportive of delegating more authority to the campuses with respect to hiring and promotion decisions, and the full Board of Governors seems inclined to support that position. The President may now approve changes in institutional tenure regulations without ratification by the Board.

Faculty Assembly.

President Broad invited Prof. Richard Veit, the new president of the Faculty Assembly, to attend orientation sessions provided for new Board of Trustees members. At his request, a similar session was provided for Assembly members.

Phased retirement.

The Board of Governors has approved the phased retirement plan, initially offered on a trial basis, as a permanent faculty benefit.

Recruitment and retention.

The UNC System anticipates enrolling 50,000 more students over the next decade and, over the same time period, a large percentage of the tenured faculty will retire. For example, by the year 2010, the System will need to hire 1,200 new faculty in that year alone. It is essential that salaries and benefits remain competitive in order to meet that challenge. A special task force appointed last year to study use of fixed-term faculty throughout the System is nearing completion of its work and anticipates reporting recommendations to the campuses early in 2002.

Academic program planning.

OP has been working to streamline the process for approval of new academic programs and evaluation of existing ones. The revised process seems to be working well. In this year’s survey of low-performing programs, only 19 were identified for elimination and all of those eliminations are supported by the affected campus.

Academic Common Market.

The General Assembly has been receptive to a proposal for an Academic Common Market in which individual campuses have the option of providing graduate programs to out-of-state students under circumstances that allow the students to be considered in-state for tuition purposes.

Teacher education.

OP is cooperating with the Department of Community Colleges in attempts to identify means for increasing the number of teachers being prepared for work in the elementary and secondary schools.

Distance education.

The UNC System now offers 24 complete academic programs online.

Surveys and assessment.

OP has been visiting each campus to discuss surveys and assessment reports required by the System.

Strategic planning.

The System’s five-year strategic plan will place greater emphasis on internationalization.

Vice President Bataille also responded to Prof. Bromberg’s remarks concerning out-of-state admissions. She pointed out that the 18% cap on out-of-state enrollment applies only to entering freshmen, and she agreed with Mr. Burnett that it seems unlikely that there will be legislative support for raising the cap within the foreseeable future.

Chair of the Faculty’s Remarks

Prof. Estroff reported on a busy summer in dealing with the Legislature. She thanked the Chancellor and all those who have worked faithfully with the Legislature on behalf of the faculty. She reported that there still was no budget. The University Priorities and Budget Advisory Committee has been asked to advise the administration on principles to guide mandated budget cuts. Prof. Estroff thanked Representatives Verla Insko and Joe Hackney for their help in educating their colleagues about the negative effects of a proposed legislative requirement that all tenured faculty teach at least 15 credit hours each year.

The University is about to develop a plan to open a satellite campus of the Kenan-Flagler Business School in the Middle East country of Qatar. Many members of the faculty met recently with a representative of the Qatar Foundation to voice concerns and ask questions about academic freedom, human rights, and the rationale for the plan. The current plan calls for a two-year general college curriculum leading to an undergraduate major in Business. Prof. Estroff said she is particularly interested in the Council’s views and how to ensure a timely faculty-wide conversation on the plan.

Prof. Estroff distributed a draft overview of the Agenda which the Executive Committee proposed to address this year. Items include

  • Discussions with the Chancellor and Provost about working relationships. The key principles here are transparency, timely consultation, and implementation follow-through.
  • Moving forward with “Intellectual Climate-2”, especially with respect to the intellectual climate in the professional schools.
  • Discussions leading toward review and improvement of the Honor System.
  • Revision of the Faculty Code.
  • A review of institution-wide tenure and promotion regulations now being undertaken by an ad hoc task force co-chaired by Prof. Paul Farel and Prof. Barbara Harris.
  • Participation in development of the Academic Plan.
  • Discussion of how the most recent recommendations of the Knight Commission can be implemented at Carolina.
  • Procedures for review of vice chancellors, deans, and other senior administrators.
  • Issues arising from construction projects, especially parking.
  • Relationships with the Board of Trustees.
  • Improved faculty communication with the General Assembly, especially with respect to research and graduate education.

Prof. Ronald Hyatt (Exercise & Sport Science) announced upcoming symposia on the Knight Commission Report on Intercollegiate Athletics (late October), the Desegregation of American Sports in the Southeast (in January 2002), and How Can the Business of Sport Be Improved in North Carolina? (March 2002). These are sponsored by the Program for Public Policy in Sport. In his capacity as Faculty Marshall, Prof. Hyatt also urged the faculty to participate in upcoming University Day events.

Prof. Estroff discussed the proposal to raise tuition and said that she regrets that tuition increases are usually coupled with discussion of faculty salaries. This places the faculty in the position of expecting students and their families to pay for higher salaries. She said this is a mistaken connection and does a disservice to the University community.

Resolution 2001-3 on the University Committee on Copyright (Second Reading)

Prof. Janet Mason (Institute of Government), Chair of the Committee on University Government, presented for adoption on second reading an amendment to the Faculty Code of University Government concerning the University Committee on Copyright. The proposed amendment was approved on first reading at the April, 2001 meeting of the General Faculty. The amendment was approved unanimously.

Resolution 2001-4 on the Academic Calendar

The General Faculty proceeded to consideration of Resolution 2001-4, reported to the floor by the Educational Policy Committee.

Vice President Bataille reported that the crux of the matter with respect to the length of the academic calendar is the accreditation issue and federal requirements for instruction. Federal requirements do not speak to the number of instructional days. Rather, the requirement is 750 “Carnegie units” per credit. [A “Carnegie unit” appears to be defined as one minute of instructional interaction between faculty and students in a classroom, laboratory, or comparable setting.] That works out to 2,250 instructional minutes for a three-credit course. An institution can meet this requirement with 14 weeks of instruction in the semester plus one 3-hour meeting in the 15th week, which can be the final examination. However, the faculty member must be present during the entire exam period in order for this period to be counted as instructional time. When President Spangler recommended that the Board of Governors require 15-week semesters, this was thought of as “rounding up.” However, the critical measure remains the number of instructional minutes. It is not possible to meet the 750 minutes per credit hour requirement without going into the 15th week. At some institutions with which she is familiar, faculty began to move the exams into the 14th week. This practice threatens accreditation. Vice President Bataille also pointed out that it is misleading to compare institutional calendars by looking only at the opening and closing dates of the semester. Duke, for example, holds classes on Labor Day and Good Friday. She said that she is working with Provost Robert Shelton in an effort to resolve this issue in a way that will be satisfactory to all concerned.

Prof. Douglas Crawford-Brown (Environmental Science and Engineering), 2000-01 Chair of the Committee on Educational Policy, said that the Committee had been more concerned about the limitations that the requirement places on future developments than its current impact. As we more toward involving college students in research projects, more toward study abroad, and more toward students participating in programs off campus, problems arising from the need to coordinate our schedules with other campuses become more acute.

Prof. Boone Turchi (Economics) said that two years ago, when he was the Chair of this Committee, the Committee prepared a report to the Chancellor in an effort to urge him to approach General Administration with a request that the policy be re-evaluated. The Committee did extensive research on the policy and its consequences. This revealed that no research on the policy was done prior to its imposition; it was decided unilaterally to increase the length of the academic year by two full weeks because there were members of the Legislature who were concerned that the faculty was not teaching enough. We had been on the same academic calendar for thirty years. Prof. Turchi does not agree that accreditation issues are a problem. It is rather an issue of the extent to which each individual campus will be permitted to define and achieves its educational goals. This is a precedent which should not be allowed to stand. He said he supports the Resolution, and there is no other issue on which he has seen more unanimity among the faculty.

Prof. Vincent Kopp (Anesthesiology) wondered if there was a way to reword the resolution so as not to leave the impression that the faculty is trying to giving itself ten fewer days of work to do, while simultaneously asking for more money from the Legislature.

Prof. Estroff said that it is not accurate to equate the number of days in the semester with the number of work days for the faculty. She noted that a majority of the faculty work a 12-month year. The resolution refers to class days, not work days.

Prof. Richard Pfaff (History) asked Vice President Bataille whether she means to say that every private institution in the nation, including liberal arts institutions such as Amherst and Swarthmore, observes the 2,250 instructional minutes standard. She replied that this is her understanding. To some extent, compliance depends on how one counts final examinations.

Prof. Estroff said that part of the problem is that the policy promulgated by General Administration specifically prohibits counting exam week as instructional time.

Prof. Thomas Shea (Medicine) asked how the University calendar matches up with the calendars of other institutions.

Prof. Turchi responded that the 75-day semester requirement exceeds that of our peer institutions. He noted that it is very difficult to coordinate joint programs with other campuses and still comply with the strictures of the General Administration policy.

Prof. Estroff responded that the policy probably delayed start-up of the Robertson Scholars program by at least a year.

Resolution 2001-4 was adopted unanimously.

Resolution 2001-5 on Grading Standards

The Resolution was presented to the Council by the Task Force on Grading Standards, chaired by Prof. Beverly Long (Communication Studies). Prof. Long was unable to attend the meeting due to a death in her family. Prof. Crawford-Brown, who served on the Task Force, said the group had met for about a year. There was agreement that grades had changed on campus, but less of an agreement as to what the causes of the change are, and differences of opinion of what the policy should be. The Resolution embodies a consensus among members of the Task Force that there is a need for discussion of grading practices and for individual departments to review their grading practices. The resolution does not go so far as to recommend adoption of University-wide practices. The approach is to urge departmental discussions of grading policies given the University-wide definitions of letter grades as adopted by the Council in the 1970s.

Prof. Harry Watson (History) called attention to Section 3 of the Resolution, which calls on department chairs to review grading patterns with faculty members on an annual basis. He asked whether this information would be placed in faculty members’ personnel files. Prof. Crawford-Brown said that questions of this nature would be left up to individual departments.

Prof. Turchi moved to amend the resolution by adding a new paragraph (6) as follows: “The Educational Policy Committee should report to the Faculty Council regularly, but at a minimum once per year, on the state of grading practices at UNC-Chapel Hill.”

Prof. Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology and Immunology) said he supported the amendment. There is a need to monitor implementation of regulations of this nature. Prof. Robert Adler (Business School) also supported the amendment.

Prof. Crawford-Brown said that the Educational Policy Committee would need to receive routine information on grading practices in order to comply with Prof. Turchi’s amendment.

Mr. David Lanier, University Registrar, replied that his office routinely prepares several reports on grades and grading patterns and would be happy to pass those on to the Educational Policy Committee.

Prof. Turchi pointed out that the Registrar is a member of the Educational Policy Committee and has always been extremely helpful in facilitating its work.

Prof. William Smith (Mathematics) commented that department chairs have many things thrown at them and sometimes feel that the administration is requiring too many reports. He pointed out that Prof. Turchi’s amendment requires department chairs to undertake this review every year. He much preferred language that would require it to be done on a regular basis, but not necessarily each year.

Prof. Pfaff asked what the specific goal of the amendment would be. Prof. Turchi said that the Educational Policy Committee had taken note of the steep rise in grade point averages over the past twenty-five years and felt that this was harmful to the educational mission of the University. This is a fundamental issue that should be regularly addressed, particularly as grade point averages continue to increase. The intent of the amendment is to keep the issue before the faculty.

The amendment to Resolution 2001-5 moved by Prof. Turchi was adopted unanimously.

Prof. Thomas Clegg (Physics and Astronomy) moved to strike paragraph 4 of the Resolution, which requires deans and department chairs to include in their annual reports information as to grading practices. He asked whether this is needed in view of the Registrar’s statement that reports would be routinely sent to the Educational Policy Committee. The annual report process is already rather onerous. Adding another item should be done only if really necessary and useful. Prof. Estroff explained the purpose of paragraph 4 is to keep all layers of the administration involved in this issue.

The Registrar commented that he is already sending grade distribution reports to the dean’s office. The report is organized by subject and individual instructor. He interprets paragraph 4 as requiring that this report also be distributed to department chairs.

Prof. Adler spoke against striking paragraph 4.

The amendment to strike paragraph 4 was defeated.

Prof. Charles Daye (Law School) asked to whom the Resolution was directed.

Prof. Estroff pointed out that the resolution makes recommendations for action. She understands that it would be forwarded to the Provost in his capacity as chief academic officer.

The Resolution, as amended, was adopted unanimously.

Report on the General Education Curriculum

Prof. Laurie McNeil (Physics and Astronomy) said that the Committee she chairs is revisiting the general education curriculum for the first time in about 20 years. Information about the review is available at http://administrativeboards.web.unc.edu/files/2014/08/Making-Connections-A-Proposal-to-Revise.pdf. The review is being conducted through a number of subcommittees involving about 150 people.

Annual Report of the Faculty Information Technology Advisory Committee (FITAC)

Prof. William Balthrop (Department of Communication Studies), Chair of the Committee, presented the report.

Prof. Adler commended Prof. Balthrop for a superb job of chairing this committee. He added that several members of the Faculty Council had been concerned about the Provost’s decision to consolidate the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Center for Instructional Technology. He said that the language on page 11 of the report gives the impression of the Committee endorses that action. Prof. Adler said that this is a matter that is not universally supported and should be a point of major discussion if acceptance of the report is to be construed as agreeing to such an endorsement.

Prof. Estroff pointed out that the report was received at the April Council meeting, but receipt of a report does not constitute adoption of specific actions recommended therein without separate discussion and vote. The resolutions recommended in the report will be on the agenda for the October Council meeting.

Report on Faculty Salaries

Prof. Steve Bachenheimer presented the wrap-up report on a study of faculty salaries that has occupied the Faculty Welfare Committee for several years. The Committee has worked closely with Dr. Lynn Williford, Director of the Office of Institutional Research, in developing a new faculty salary report format that provides useful information for comparative purposes while at the same time protecting the privacy interests of individual faculty members. The report will be especially useful in implementing and monitoring the Council resolution on faculty salary policies adopted over five years ago. In 1998, the Committee completed a survey of individual units’ salary policies, and a survey of unit heads’ assessments of their unit’s salary policy. This report completes the Committee’s original assignment by improving the usefulness of information routinely gathered and published by the Office of Institutional Research.

Adjournment

The business of the day having concluded, the Council adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty

 

Pdf of meeting materials

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