Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, October 8th, 2004 at 3:00 p.m.

The Holt Auditorium (Kerr 1001) at the School of Pharmacy

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

Agenda

3:00 Faculty Council Convenes.

  • Agenda Committee Report: Suggestions for Modified Format of Council Meetings.
  • Comments, Questions, Topics of Concern from Faculty Council Members.
  • Comments by Chancellor.

3:45 Preliminary Report on Faculty Retention Study.

  • Overview: Professor Judith Wegner, Chair of the Faculty.
  • Discussion by Faculty Council Members.

4:45 Reports of Standing Committees.

  • Faculty Grievance Committee.
  • Faculty Hearings Committee.

5:00 Adjourn.

 

Joseph S. Ferrell

Secretary of the Faculty

Minutes

The Faculty Council of theUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened at 3:00 p.m.in the Holt Auditorium of Kerr Hall (School of Pharmacy). The following 54 members of the Council attended: Arnold, Bachenheimer, Bennett, Blocher, Cairns, Cantwell, Chapman, Conover, Dalton, Degener, Eble, Foley, Frampton, Gerber, Gitterman, Givre, Gollop, Gulledge, Heenan, Jonas, Keagy, Klebanow, Lastra, Leigh, Leonard, Lin, Mathysse, Mesibov, Miller, Morton, Muller, Pardun, Parikh, Pittman, Porto, Renner, Rippe, Rock, Rogers, Sandelowski, Smith, Sulik, Sutherland, Sweeney, Tauchen, Tiwana, Tobin, Toews, Trotman, Vandermeer, Wallace, Whitsel, Wilson, and Yankaskas. The following 29 members were granted excused absences: Alperin, Ammerman, Connolly, de Silva, Gasaway, Granger, Holmgren, Howell, Huber, Kagarise, Kramer, MacLean, Martin, Matson, Miguel, Morris-Natschke, Nicholas, Perrin, Reisner, Rustioni, Salmon, Sawin, Schoultz, Simpson, slavick, Strom-Gottfried,Taylor, Vick, and Weinberg. The following three members were absent without excuse: Anton, Lohr, and McIntosh.

Report of the Agenda Committee on the Format of Council Meetings

Professor Helen Tauchen (Economics) led a discussion of a special Report from the Agenda Committee concerning the format of Faculty Council meetings. She said that the report stemmed from suggestions made last year to Professor Judith Wegner, Chair of the Faculty. Those observations identified two broad themes: (1) the Council seems to be moving away from functioning as a deliberative body that plays a constructive role in the development of the University toward becoming a body to whom announcements are made; (2) the customary arrangement of the agenda often means that the opportunity for Council members to participate in discussion of items of interest occurs toward the end of the meeting when available time is limited. The first proposed change is to move the more routine items to the end of the agenda, and to place those items that would most benefit from discussion towards the beginning. The second change is to distribute informational items in advance of the meeting and to assume that members have read the materials, thus eliminating the need to place the items on the agenda for discussion unless questions are raised.

The discussion was generally supportive of the recommendations. Among points of view expressed were the following:

  • Prof. Bruce Cairns (Medicine) said that while discussion is important, it is also important that the discussion lead to some kind of action when that is appropriate. He wondered whether it would be useful to schedule periodic “town hall” meetings devoted entirely to discussion and to use the Council’s time primarily for action on resolutions and other business.
  • Prof. Diane Leonard (Comparative Literature) said she often has questions about annual reports and thought that putting those always at the end of the agenda could discourage questions.
  • Prof. Eric Muller (Law) suggested that a Faculty Council web log might be useful.
  • Prof. Jim Porto (Health Policy & Administration) expressed concern about how to communicate with the faculty members he represents with respect to matters under discussion by the Council.

Chancellor’s Remarks

Chancellor James Moeser said that Carolina has a unique culture for both our faculty and our students. “We want the next generation of faculty to buy into this culture,” he said, “but it is challenged by many of the realities in which we live.” One of the consequences of restricted parking and the electronic revolution is that the faculty spend less time on campus and interaction among the faculty is increasingly by email. While there are advantages, the downside is that something is lost when personal contact with students and colleagues diminishes. “Faculty culture is frayed by lack of presence,” he said. Nevertheless, he recognized that we are not likely to find it possible to change many of the underlying causes for that lack of presence, which means that we must find new and creative ways to compensate.

The Chancellor reported that plans have been made to cut back on the length of the May Commencement ceremony by reducing the number of people who bring “greetings” at the event and in other ways. The goal is to complete the ceremony in 60 minutes, not counting the time it takes for the student and faculty processions. He said that it is important to re-engage the faculty in both the December and May ceremonies. It should be remembered that Commencement is a University event, not specifically a student event.

Professor Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology & Immunology) said that he regretted the University having scheduled classes on Labor Day 2005. He hoped this would not become a regular practice. Provost Robert Shelton said that the Calendar Committee, which includes faculty members, had a difficult assignment this year. They reviewed six alternatives. The one chosen had unanimous support.

Preliminary Report on the Faculty Retention Study

Professor Wegner led a discussion of the Preliminary Report of the Faculty Retention Study. She gave an overview of the findings and recommendations of the report and called for discussion.

Prof. Paul Frampton (Physics & Astronomy) suggested that sometime the University can do too much in an attempt to retain a faculty member who is being recruited by another institution. He offered the following scenario: Department A desires to retain a “super star” member of its faculty and in order to do so asks for and receives funds for additional faculty hires in the faculty member’s field. Department B also has plans for program expansion that would entail new hires, but learns from the dean that there are no new positions available. In the example given, the effect of enabling Department A to retain a member of its faculty is to disappoint the plans of Department B. Prof. Frampton suggested that there should be a limit on the number of associated faculty hires, perhaps three, that could be used as a means of retaining or recruiting especially outstanding faculty.

Prof. Leonard, taking note of the emphasis in the report on support for faculty research, said that in the Humanities research support means primarily paid sabbaticals. She said that current policy is that a faculty member may receive only one semester of paid leave every five years. She thought that the policy should be at least one semester every three years. Provost Shelton agreed that the lack of a sabbatical program is a major problem in all disciplines. He said they University has tried to find ways to support such a program, which must be self-supporting. The Provost said that he would have no objection to Prof. Leonard’s suggestion if departments could manage leaves that frequent within currently available funds.

Prof. Steven Bachenheimer suggested that one of the next steps in response to the Retention Study should be to seek out and identify “best practices” across the campus.

Prof. Porto said that job satisfaction often has as much to do with working conditions as with salary. He felt that having the support of capable, motivated staff is very important to the faculty and, therefore, improving the working conditions of our staff can be an effective means of retaining the faculty. He urged that the University look carefully at the non-financial aspects of the workplace. He cited good academic management as one important factor.

Prof. Dwight Rogers (Education) agreed that good management is important. He noted that most administrators drawn from the ranks of the faculty did not train for a job in administration and often have no prior experience at it. He also agreed that the lack of a sabbatical policy is a major problem in the School of Education. Finally, he suggested that speeding up the process of responding to outside offers would help. He said that a colleague suggested to him that often a faculty member who gets an offer from another institution goes ahead and accepts it when Carolina takes too long to respond.

Prof. Ruel Tyson (Religious Studies and Institute for the Arts & Humanities) said that research in the business world has demonstrated conclusively that an employee’s relationship with his or her immediate supervisor is the most crucial condition in the workplace. He asked what investment the University makes in training department chairs and senior associate deans to prepare these colleagues for the vital roles that they are asked to assume. Are we adequately training and supporting the quality of middle management and their relationship with each other? Should we be using scarce funds to retain “super stars” on the faculty or train department chairs to do their jobs? Prof. Tyson said that we should be asking more of our department chairs, and should be paying adequate compensation for the job they are asked to do. “Instead,” he said, “we have a culture that says ‘I have a Ph.D. degree; therefore, I can do anything.’” He concluded by saying, “common sense, as well as research, suggests that the quality of departmental leadership has a major consequence for keeping our best people.”

Prof. Frank Wilson (Orthopaedics) said that before he read the report, he had given thought to why he had stayed on this faculty for 40 years despite numerous offers to go elsewhere. He said that there were two important factors. First, the ambiance of the University and its surrounding community was by far the most important.Carolinais a place where people in all academic disciplines mingle freely; it is truly a community of scholars. The second factor is the values espoused by this University and its faculty. He has found the faculty to be absorbed in ideas and actions related to the academic mission of the institution; in teaching and research. Economic advancement or social standing has been of secondary importance. He said that if the University will continue to foster these attitudes and values, we will continue to prosper.

Prof. Jane Brown (Journalism & Mass Communication) recounted the effort to address the issue of salary compression that had occupied much her time during her tenure as Chair of the Faculty (1994-97). At that time, she said, compression seemed to stem primarily from competing in the academic marketplace for new hires with the result that often newly-hired faculty were being paid salaries in excess of current faculty with longer tenure and higher rank. As a result of work by the Faculty Welfare Committee and the Council, the University made a commitment to begin to compensate for compression as funds became available. She said that now it seems that countering outside offers may be having a similar impact, and that it is perhaps time to renew our commitment to address salary compression. Prof. Brown also recalled the Council’s action asking each appointing unit to adopt stated policies for setting faculty salaries and to create an elected committee of its faculty to monitor administration of the unit’s salary policy. She said that it was her understanding that those recommendations have not been implemented in all appointing units, but that those that have implemented them have had good experience.

Prof. Leonard remarked that salary issues are much more acute in very small appointing units. She thought that there should be a general pool of funds from which small units could draw.

Prof. Daniel Gitterman (Public Policy) said that he has found the Faculty Partners Fund to be quite useful. This program puts a faculty member in contact with a potential donor with similar interests. The amount of funding obtained is not always great, but for junior faculty this kind of support is very important.

Prof. Bachenheimer said that he had chaired the Faculty Welfare Committee when the work mentioned by Prof. Brown was done. During that period (1994-97), salary reports were aggregated and it was not possible to ascertain individual salaries. One of the efforts the Committee undertook was to work out ways to disaggregate the data so it could be reported in ways that enabled better understanding of the dimensions of salary compression. As a result, we now understand the situation much better than was the case then.

Prof. Connie Eble (English) agreed that training for department chairs is important, but she urged more attention to training for the faculty in general. Getting your Ph.D. prepares you for only one part of the job, she said. The bus tour of North Carolina offered for new faculty is a wonderful opportunity to become involved with the people of the state and with new faculty of one’s own generation. Other important skills are how to write a good letter of recommendation, how to be an effective member of a committee, and how to be effective in fund-raising. She said that the role of how to be an effective member of the faculty has changed greatly during her tenure here.

Annual Report of the Faculty Hearings Committee

The Annual Report of the Faculty Hearings Committee was received. Prof. Leonard said most of the members of the committee appear to be from units outside the College whereas it was her impression that most of the business of the committee was generated from within the College. Prof. Ferrell said that it is his impression that non-renewal appeals cases originate in the College more often than in the professional schools, but he did not think that is true for discharge cases. As for concentration of membership in a few units, he said that at the request of the Hearings Committee, the Nominating Committee makes a conscious effort to encourage election to this committee of faculty members with legal training.

Joseph S. Ferrell Secretary of the Faculty

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