Meeting of the General Faculty and the Faculty Council

Friday, February 11th, 2005 at 3:00 p.m.

The Hitchcock Multipurpose Room, Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center

Chancellor James Moeser and Professor Judith Wegner, Chair of the Faculty, will preside.

Agenda

3:00 Faculty Council Convenes

  • Comments, Questions, Matters of Concern from Faculty Council Members

3:15 Chancellor’s Remarks

3:25 Second Reading of Resolutions to Amend the Faculty Code of University Government

  • Resolution 2005-1 amending the Faculty Code as it relates to the Faculty Grievance Committee
  • Resolution 2005-2 amending the Faculty Code to abolish the Committee on Instructional Personnel and related to other matters of appointments, promotion and tenure, including fixed-term appointments

3:30 Reports Related to Undergraduate Students

  • Annual Report of the Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Admissions
    • Appendix
  • Annual Report of the Scholarships, Awards and Student Aid Committee
    • Members of the Committee
    • Comparison of Awards from 94-95 until 03-04
    • Graphs (Excel file)

2003-04 Scholarships and Financial Aid Awards (Excel file)

  • Report on Student Retention Issues

4:00 Annual Report of the Educational Policy Committee

  • Resolution 2005-5 on Class Attendance Policy

4:30 Other Annual Reports

  • Buildings and Grounds Committee
  • Advisory Committee

4:40 Next Steps on Academic Freedom Issues

  • Resolution 2005-6 endorsing a resolution of the UNC Faculty Assembly

4:50 Closed Session: Honorary Degrees for 2006

5:00 Adjourn

 

Joseph S. Ferrell

Secretary of the Faculty

Minutes

The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillconvened at 3:00 p.m.in the Hitchcock Multipurpose Room of the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center.

The following 49 members of the Council attended: Bachenheimer, Bane, Blocher, Cairns, Cantwell, Chapman, Dalton, Degener, Eble, Foley, Gollop, Granger, Gulledge, Heenan, Jonas, Keagy, Klebanow, Kramer, Lastra, Leonard, Morris-Natschke, Morton, Nicholas, Pardun, Parikh, Pittman, Porto, Reisner, Renner, Rippe, Rock, Rogers, Rustioni, Salmon, Sandelowski, Sawin, slavick, Strom-Gottfried, Sulik, Sutherland, Sweeny, Tauchen, Tobin, Toews, Trotman, Vandermeer, Weinberg, Wilson, and Yankaskas. The following 29 members were granted excused absences: Ammerman, Arnold, Bennett, Booth, Connolly, Elvers, Frampton, Gasaway, Gerber, Gitterman, Givre, Holmgren, Howell, Kagarise, Leigh,McLean, Martin, Matson, McIntosh, Mesibov, Miguel, Muller, Schoultz, Simpson, Smith, Tiwana, Vick, Wallace, and Whitsel . The following 6 members were absent without excuse: Alperin, Anton, de Silva, Lin, Miller, and Taylor.

Comments, Questions, and Matters of Concern from Council Members

Prof. Judith Wegner, Chair of the Faculty, called the Council to order.

Prof. elin o’Hara slavick (Art) read a “Statement Concerning the Pope Foundation Proposal for Studies in Western Cultures” signed by herself and Professors Trude Bennett (Maternal & Child Health), Karen Booth (Women’s Studies), Sherryl Kleinman (Sociology), and Dwight Rogers (Education). The statement expressed dismay at the “covert manner” in which the proposal for a minor in Western Cultures is being developed, charged that the proposal is being developed without faculty input, expressed concern that the potential donors would have undue influence over the proposal, and charged that the John W. Pope Foundation appears to have more influence in guiding administrative action than faculty and others who are challenging the need for and content of the proposal and the funding source.

Prof. Wegner asked whether the concerns expressed in the statement were being pursued through appropriate channels in the College of Arts and Sciences. No one expressed knowledge of any such efforts.

Chancellor Moeser said that he has read the Western Cultures proposal and thinks it is excellent. He said that he could not speak to the issues raised about faculty processes within the College. As to the discomfort that some faculty have expressed with regard to funding sources, he said that he remains committed to free speech, which includes allowing those with whom we disagree the same freedom we claim for ourselves. He rejected the idea that there should be some kind of “litmus test” for potential donors because we don’t like what they have to say. He concluded by saying that it would be foolish, short-sighted, and not in keeping with our commitment to freedom of speech and academic freedom to close off an opportunity to enrich our curriculum because some of us do not agree with some of the positions that have been taken by others who have received money from the same source.

Dean Bernadette Gray-Little said that there had been a meeting of the Arts & Sciences faculty in November at which a proposal for a minor in Western Cultures was discussed. This proposal had been developed by a faculty committee. At about the same time, the proposal was submitted to the John W. Pope Foundation for funding. In the course of that review, the Foundation became aware of other elements that had been considered but not included in the original proposal due to cost. She said that she then made the faculty committee aware of these elements, which they had not known of before. After that discussion, it was decided to revise the proposal to include additional elements expanding programs such as the first-year seminars, study abroad, honors program, undergraduate research, and fellowships in the Institute for Arts & Humanities. All of the additional elements are consistent with the College’s Academic Plan.

Prof. Wegner asked about procedures within the College for faculty review of proposals of this nature. Dean Gray-Little said that it is unusual to have broad faculty review of proposals that are being submitted to donors. In response to the suggestion that the College had not been forthcoming with the current version of the proposal, Dean Gray-Little said that she had decided against releasing the document while it was still in the process of revision; however, she assured the Council that all of the items under consideration are academically sound. Prof. Wegner noted that the recently-instituted program in entrepreneurship, which was funded by a private gift, was not subject to the kind of faculty scrutiny that is being suggested for the Western Cultures minor. Dean Gray-Little observed that the process for the Western Cultures proposal has in fact been much more open than is typically the case.

Prof. Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology & Immunology) asked Chancellor Moeser to comment on whether there are lines that the University would not cross in accepting support from donors, and how we identify those lines. The chancellor replied that one such line is that we would never allow donors to intrude into the academic processes of the University. Another is that we would not welcome funds that were ill-gotten.

A Council member asked why we are continuing to negotiate with donors who have rejected the original proposal. Chancellor Moeser said that assertion is not true; the donors did not reject the proposal—they asked that it be expanded and strengthened.

Prof. Wegner recognized Prof. Joseph Jordon, Director of the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center, and thanked him for hosting today’s Council meeting. Prof. Diane Leonard (Comparative Literature) reminisced about the late Professor Stone, who was a frequent presence at Council meetings in her day.

Chancellor’s Remarks

Chancellor Moeser reported that the Board of Governors, meeting in Wilmington yesterday, had voted not to approve any campus-based tuition increases for in-state students this year. They had been urged to take this action by Gov. Michael Easley. The board will decide about non-resident tuition and the increases requested by the professional schools at its March meeting. An encouraging outcome of this decision was that the Board has agreed to revisit the funding model insofar as it affects research institutions. The chancellor said that he thinks we have succeeded in making the case to the board that we have compelling reasons for seeking salary increases for our faculty. The issue is not ratings and rankings, he said; it is about protecting our most valuable resource, the faculty, from being attracted elsewhere.

The chancellor reported that he has asked the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Naming Facilities and Activities, chaired by former provost Dick Richardson, to (1) develop guiding principles for using and interpreting historical names, and (2) to consider how most appropriately we might honor the service given to the University by members of the Philips, Spencer, and Love families—families that span seven generations in their relationship to Carolina. He said that he has appointed a second committee of women, chaired by Prof. Jane Brown, to advise him on whether we need an award that focuses on women’s issues and how such an award might be described. Chancellor Moeser said that we will not engage in removing names from buildings or taking down monuments—we are not going to erase our history. Instead, we need to understand it. That resolve led him to ask the Center for the Study of the American South to prepare an online virtualmuseumofCarolina’s history.

Chancellor Moeser next turned to comments on President Bush’s recently submitted federal budget. He said that there will be serious issues this year stemming from this budget. He said that in terms of purchasing power, the budget recommends reductions for National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation grant support.

Prof. Dwight Rogers (Education) observed that a reduction in federal research funding will tend to drive us closer to the private sector. He felt that it would be important to establish ethical guidelines for accepting funding from private sources. Chancellor Moeser said that he thinks corporate funding for research will become more important as federal support is scaled back. He said that he agreed with Prof. Rogers’ point.

Second Reading of Resolutions to Amend the Faculty Code

Prof. Elizabeth Gibson, Chair of the Committee on University Government, presented Resolution 2005-1, which was adopted on first reading in February. There was no further discussion or debate. The resolution was adopted and becomes effective immediately.

Prof. Gibson presented Resolution 2005-2, which also was adopted on first reading in February. A Council member noted that the Committee on Instructional Personnel is now charged with arranging the university calendar. She asked if that needed to be retained. Prof. Wegner explained that the calendar is now handled by a separate Calendar Committee and that the Code reference is obsolete. The resolution was adopted and becomes effective July 1, 2005.

Annual Reports

Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Admissions. Dean Gray-Little gave a PowerPoint presentation highlighting statistical information relating to undergraduate admissions in the 2000-2004 reporting period.

Scholarships, Awards, and Student Aid Committee. Prof. Charles Daye, chair of the committee, summarized the committee’s annual report and highlighted relevant statistical information relating to the reporting period.

Student Retention. The planned report on student retention issues was postponed due to time constraints.

Educational Policy Committee. Prof. Peter Gordon, chair of the committee, said that in the Fall of 2003, the Student Congress adopted a resolution asking the University to look into the class attendance policy, particularly with respect to what constitutes an excused absence. The Faculty Council referred the matter to the Educational Policy Committee. Resolution 2005-5 embodies the committee’s recommendations on this issue. Prof. Gordon said that the committee had discussed extensively the provision relating to excused absences for students taking part in an officially sanctioned out-of-town event and had surveyed the departments to see if there were problems here. He said that the responses received indicated generally that the current policy is adequate. Prof. Gordon said that the committee continues to keep this matter under advisement.

Prof. Gordon said that principle issue addressed by Resolution 2005-5 arose from the provisions of the current policy that leave the matter of excused absences entirely in the hands of the instructor. He said that students feel that this has resulted in non-uniform practices, especially with regard to excused absences for religious holidays. Prof. Gordon said that the committee had concluded that this was not a major problem, but that there had been instances in which students had been denied excused absences for religious holidays and that there was in fact a perception among the students that the problem is a real one. The committee’s recommended solution is to add provisions for a student to appeal to the head of the instructional unit (chair or dean, as appropriate).

Prof. Wegner asked whether there might be valid reasons for excused absences other than observance of religious holidays. Prof. Gordon replied that the committee thinks there should be flexibility to recognize other compelling reasons as well. Prof. Wegner also asked whether the direction for the instructor to make “reasonable accommodation” might require the instructor to devise a special examination for a student who requested and received an excused absence for a class session in which a quiz or examination was administered. Prof. Gordon said that he believes the expectation to be that the student would not be academically penalized for missing the quiz in such a case.

Prof. Bachenheimer asked to whom the student would appeal if the instructor for the course was the dean or department chair. Prof. Gordon said the committee assumed the appeal would go to the next higher level.

Prof. Ferrell suggested that the last sentence of the second paragraph be revised to read “The appeal is to be made to the instructor’s immediate academic supervisor.” The amendment was adopted by consent. Resolution 2005-5, as amended, was adopted.

Buildings and Grounds. Prof. David Owens, chair of the committee, presented the annual report. Prof. Bachenheimer said that the report does not provide a sense of the dynamic between those who are bringing matters to the committee and the committee’s members. Prof. Owens said that the committee is involved in the project approval process at several stages and often gives advice that results in changes along the way. Formally, its role is to advise the chancellor before the project is submitted to the Board of Trustees for final approval, but as a practical matter it typically has had much input before that stage is reached. Prof. James Porto (Health Policy & Administration) asked if the committee is involved in developing design standards. Prof. Owens replied that the committee looks at design standards in a policy-setting context. As to individual projects, the committee looks at consistency with established policies. Chancellor Moeser said that he has found the committee to be very thorough in its review and that it represents the faculty extremely well.

Advisory Committee. Prof. Bachenheimer asked about the dynamic of this committee as well. Prof. Wegner commented.

Resolution on Academic Freedom

On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, Prof. Wegner presented Resolution 2005-7 endorsing a resolution on this subject by the UNC Faculty Assembly.

Honorary Degrees to be Awarded at Commencement 2006

Prof. Ferrell, on behalf of the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards, presented five nominees for honorary degrees to be awarded at Commencement 2006. Each nominee was approved. A brief biographical sketch of the nominees is attached to these Minutes but will be withheld from public inspection until the awards have been approved by the Board of Trustees and are officially announced.

Adjournment

Having completed action on its Agenda, the Council adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

 

Joseph S. Ferrell Secretary of the Faculty

Appendix A

Resolution 2005-5. Amending the Class Attendance Policy

The Faculty Council resolves:

The policy on Class Attendance (found in the 2004-05 Undergraduate Bulletin at page 298) is amended as follows:

“The following legislation by the Faculty Council gives each instructor the authority to prescribe attendance regulations for his or her classes:  ‘Regular class attendance is a student obligation, and a student is responsible for all the work, including tests and written work, of all class meetings.  No right or privilege exists that permits a student to be absent from any given number of class meetings.’  If a student misses three consecutive class meetings, or misses more classes than the instructor deems advisable, the instructor may report the facts to the student’s academic dean.  However, only instructors excuse absences from class for valid reasons (illness, family emergency, etc.).  A student should present his or her explanation for any absences to the instructor in advance if the reason for the absence can be foreseen or at the next meeting if the reason for the absence cannot be foreseen.  The faculty are encouraged to make reasonable accommodations for students requesting to miss class due to the observance of religious holidays.

A student may appeal an instructor’s denial of a request that an absence be excused if the request to be excused from class and the reasons for the request are presented to the instructor in writing at least two weeks in advance of the date of the absence.  The appeal is to be made to the instructor’s immediate academic supervisor.

Students who are members of regularly organized and authorized University activities and who may be out of town taking part in some scheduled event are to be excused during the approved period of absence.  Notification of such an absence must be sent by the responsible University official to the instructor before the date(s) of the scheduled absence.

The University calendar does not recognize religious holidays. The faculty are encouraged to make reasonable accommodations for students requests to miss class due to observance of religious holidays.

Appendix B

Resolution 2005-6 Endorsing A Resolution on Academic Freedom Adopted by the Faculty Assembly of The University of North Carolina

The Faculty Council resolves:

The Faculty Council receives and endorses the Resolution on Academic Freedom adopted by the Faculty Assembly at its regular meeting on November 5, 2004, and thanks the Assembly for this important defense of academic freedom.

University of North Carolina Faculty Assembly Resolution on Academic Freedom

Whereas academic freedom is the foundation upon which the mission of discovery and the advancement of knowledge is built, and

Whereas academic freedom can thrive only in an atmosphere where unfettered discussion and open inquiry are encouraged and protected, and

Whereas restrictions from inside or outside the university on the freedom of teaching, research, expression, and publication can actively chill or undermine the advancement of knowledge, and

Whereas, in the recent past, there have been numerous attempts, both locally and nationally, to quell discussion of contentious and important topics in the classroom and beyond, and

Whereas numerous protections for the academic freedom of both students and faculty alike are already substantively built into the codes, missions, and visions of the University of North Carolina system;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the University of North Carolina Faculty Assembly opposes administrative or legislative measures that would deprive faculty of the authority necessary to teach, to do research, to publish in a manner that meets scholarly standards, and to advance knowledge in an open and unencumbered fashion inside and outside the classroom; and

Be it further resolved that the University of North Carolina Faculty Assembly strongly reaffirms its already stated commitment and responsibility to academic freedom for faculty and students alike; and

Be it further resolved that the Faculty Assembly also strongly reaffirms the University of North Carolina Board of Governors’ code on academic freedom, which “supports and encourages freedom of inquiry for faculty members and students to the end that they may responsibly pursue these goals through teaching, learning, research, discussion, and publication, free from internal or external restraints that would unreasonably restrict their academic endeavors”; and

Be it further resolved that this University of North Carolina Faculty Assembly calls upon the Office of the President and the Board of Governors to maintain the University of North Carolina system as an open forum where the free expression of ideas is exercised and where diverse views so critical to a quality higher education are expressed in a framework of scholarly inquiry and professional standards.

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