Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, November 11th, 2005
3:00 p.m.
The Pleasants Family Assembly Room in Wilson Library

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

Agenda

3:00 Faculty Council Convenes.

  • Comments from the Chancellor.
  • Questions and Comments from the Faculty Council.

3:30 Annual Report of the Advisory Committee.

  • Discussion of Proposal to Amend the Tenure Regulations.

4:15 Annual Reports.

  • Faculty Hearings Committee.
  • Faculty Grievance Committee.
  • Appointments, Promotions and Tenure Committee.

4:30 Update on the Phased Retirement Program.

  • Associate Vice Chancellor Laurie Charest.

4:50 Closed Session: Distinguished Alumnus and Alumna Awards for 2006.

5:00 Adjourn.

Joseph S. Ferrell

Secretary of the Faculty

Minutes

The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened at 3:00 p.m. in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room of the Wilson Library.

The following 53 members of the Council attended: Ammerman, Arnold, Bachenheimer, Barreau, Becker, Belger, Blocher, Booth, Cairns, Chapman, Copenhaver, Dalton, de Silva, Degener, DeSaix, Dupuis, Eble, Givre, Granger, Gulledge, Holmgren, Howell, Huber, Kagarise, Kamarei, Klebanow, Kramer, Lastra, Leonard, Matthysse, McGrath, McIntosh, Mesibov, Miguel, Murphy, Murray, Papanikolas, Peterson, Renner, Rustioni, Salmon, Sandelowski, Selasssie, Smith, Sulik, Sweeney, Tauchen, Taylor, Tiwana, Tobin, Trotman, Weil, and Wolford. The following  30 members were granted excused absences: Alperin, Bennett, Clemens, Couper, Ewend, Foley, Gasaway, Gerber, Gilligan, Heenan, Jonas, Keagy, MacLean, Marshall, Martin, Matson, Muller, Peirce, Perrin, Rock, Rogers, Simpson, Strom-Gottfried, Sutherland, Vick, Wallace, Weinberg, Wilson, Wissick, and Yankaskas. The following four members were absent without excuse: Anton, Connolly, Conover, and Lin.

Chancellor’s Remarks

Chancellor James Moeser reported that neither the Tuition Task Force nor the Student Fee Task Force have been able to reach consensus on recommendations to be made to the Board of Trustees. Both groups have developed an array of options which will be presented to the November 17 Trustees’ meeting for information and discussion. The administration will then make a recommendation to the board for action at the January meeting. The chancellor emphasized the importance of campus-based tuition revenue for faculty compensation which, he said, is currently our highest priority, followed by more competitive stipends for graduate teaching assistants. He pointed out that campus-based tuition increases have generated more than $19 million since 2000-01 when this option first became available. This additional revenue has played a key role in faculty retention. In 2004-05, there were 32 external offers to members of our faculty. We retained 21 and lost 11 to other institutions. In 2003-04, we retained 43 faculty and lost 26, reversing a negative pattern from 2002-03.

Chancellor Moeser reiterated the Board of Trustees’ basic policy on tuition: resident undergraduate tuition should remain in the bottom quartile of our national public peers; non-resident undergraduate tuition should be value- and market-driven, but should not exceed the 75th percentile of our national public peers. He said that there is room to raise resident tuition at Carolina by as much as $1,300 and still remain within the 25th percentile of our public peers. The chancellor said that there are signs that the Board of Governors will be receptive to reasonable proposals for campus-based tuition increases, and that the Board recognizes that the needs of Carolina and N.C. State, the two Research I institutions in the System, need to be addressed.

Chancellor Moeser read into the record the following letter from Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Robert Shelton, to Vice President Jeffrey R. Davies, in which the provost expresses strong concerns about a proposal under consideration by the Office of the President to revise the model for computing tuition.

“I have read the report of the Subcommittee on Tuition and Fees for the E-Learning Policy Group, which recommends to the full committee that tuition be based on a student credit hour (“SCH”) model rather than on our current block model. There are at least two significant risks associated with this recommendation, and before final action is taken I ask that you consider them.

First, there is the risk that the SCH model will be an incentive for students to take fewer courses than they do now, since there would be an increased cost associated with taking additional hours. Under our current system, a student pays the same tuition whether he or she takes 12, 15, or 18 hours in a given semester. Last fall, fully one-third of the undergraduate students at UNC Chapel Hill took more than 15 hours of course credit (this excludes continuing study and off-campus students). Last spring, the percentage of Carolina students taking more than 15 hours was only slightly lower, at 30 percent. If these students had a choice of taking 12 hours for $3,000 versus 15 hours for $3,500, they would be tempted to pay less and take longer to graduate. The number of students taking more than 15 hours would drop precipitously. In short, the SCH model has a greater potential to affect adversely the time to degree than any other action the Office of the President could possibly take. In an era where many UNC system schools already have low four-year graduation rates, it is frankly inconceivable that this course of action would be pursued.

Second, the report notes on page 10 that financial aid directors and SEAA staff should “evaluate the impact of these changes on students receiving need-based financial aid” to make sure there are no negative effects if the SCH model is implemented. Clearly, a detailed study of the fiscal impact of the move to the SCH model should be done before the full E-Learning Committee acts. I am concerned that moving to the SCH model poses a risk to the integrity of the Carolina Covenant. I do not believe that is a risk the Office of the President would deem worth taking without a full assessment. Thus I urge that a complete understanding of the impact of the SCH model be made before a final decision is taken. Equally important to us is that funds are identified and made available to meet the additional financial need that will be created across the UNC system should current patterns of enrollment persist. It concerns us that the total cost of this change may be transferred to the student and in the long term result in a further reduction in state support for higher education. This will ultimately place a heavier burden on low and middle income families whose dependents choose to attend our universities.”

Questions and Comments from Council Members

Referring to the proposed SCH tuition model, Prof. Gregory Copenhaver (Biology), pointed out that some of the concern expressed by the provost might be mitigated by external requirements that students register for a minimum number of credit hours in order to be eligible for aid such as Pell Grants. Chancellor Moeser replied that a student must register for 12 credit hours to be eligible for a Pell Grant. Prof. Copenhaver wondered if the Board of Governors would consider establishing a minimum course load below which there would be no reduction in tuition. The chancellor said he sees no signs that the Board would do so.

On the issue of campus-based tuition increases, Prof. Stephen Bachenheimer (Microbiology), noting that the chancellor had mentioned the possibility of increasing resident tuition by $1,200 or more, wondered whether median family income in North Carolina should be taken into account. The chancellor said that raising tuition by that much is not under consideration. Prof. Bachenheimer asked whether considerations of price elasticity were being taken into account. The chancellor replied that the administration has done studies as to how much tuition can be increased without affecting acceptance rates in undergraduate admissions.

Prof. Joy Renner (Allied Health Sciences) said that the SCH tuition model would adversely affect students in her department where typical course loads are high.

Prof. Judith Wegner, Chair of the Faculty, noted that tomorrow’s newspapers will likely highlight recent Board of Governors’ action giving raises of 15% or more to chancellors throughout the System. She said this seems out of step with the times in view of the very low increases received this year by faculty and staff. Chancellor Moeser replied that he did not attend that session of the Board of Governors meeting and had not been involved in any of the discussions of this issue. He said that funds for these salary adjustments had been specifically set aside by the General Assembly and could not be used for any other purpose.

Noting that UNC President-Elect Erskine Bowles would be visiting our campus next week, Prof. Wegner invited the chancellor to comment on Carolina’s priorities for attention by General Administration. Chancellor Moeser said that part of his message would be to urge creation of a matrix funding system that will allow individual campuses to function autonomously in pursuit of their own vision and with much more flexibility.

Prof. Ed Halloran (Nursing) suggested that results of recent surveys of faculty opinion be shared with President-Elect Bowles. He mentioned the faculty salary equity study and the faculty retention survey as examples.

Comments from the Chair of the Faculty

Prof. Wegner said that the discussion on diversity that had begun at the October Council meeting would resume in December (it was not possible to schedule that for this meeting due to conflicts for key participants). She encouraged Council members who would like to participate in a panel of discussants to contact her.

Prof. Wegner said that the federal General Accounting Office has recently done a study of the escalating cost of textbooks. Prof. Brenda Killingsworth, Chair of the UNC Faculty Assembly, has raised this issue with the Faculty Assembly. She is seeking to identify best practices on textbook selection and to share information with faculty across the System as to how timeliness of decision affects the cost of textbooks and resale opportunities. She also hopes to identify and share information on best practices among bookstores in the University System. Prof. Wegner asked Council members whether those who teach large survey courses have been able to get book orders in on time.

Prof. Copenhaver said that he had had no problem with timeliness of orders. He observed that from the standpoint of the publisher, faculty members, not students, are the primary consumer. He pointed out that faculty can easily do competitive shopping. He gave as an example a book he has been using that was available only in hardcover. He found a competitor’s book in soft cover for a considerably lower price and dropped the hardcover book. The following year, the publisher of the hardcover book offered a soft cover edition.

Prof. Diane Leonard (Comparative Literature) said that much material in the Humanities is available online. She observed that faculty members should check online availability of assigned material before ordering textbooks.

Prof. Wegner said that at the October meeting of the Board of Trustees she had raised concerns about the impact of tuition increases in graduate students. She said that members of the Board typically come from business backgrounds and have not had much personal contact with graduate education.

Chancellor Moeser said that Provost Shelton was in South Africa at the opening of the SALT telescope of which Carolina is a minor but significant shareholder. This is an important development for our department of Physics and Astronomy. Together with the SOAR telescope in Chile, we now have more guaranteed time for viewing the southern sky than any other institution in the northern hemisphere.

The chancellor said that he had recently read an article on “taking back Friday,” which alleged that there is a national trend for students to attempt to arrange class schedules so as to avoid Friday classes. He said that Carolina is now experiencing a severe shortage of classrooms. He wondered whether classrooms are sitting empty on Friday because students have arranged their schedules so that the week ends on Thursday. No one commented on this.

Mike Brady, President of the Graduate and Professional Students Federation, remarked that three of the four proposals developed by the Tuition Task Force exhibit a significant bias against graduate students. He called for more understanding of the impact of tuition increases on graduate students.

Annual Report of the Advisory Committee

Prof. Arne Kalleberg, Chair of the Advisory Committee, presented the committee’s annual report.

Prof. Wegner said that the Agenda Committee had advised that the committee’s recommended change in the Trustees Policies and Regulations Governing Academic Tenure should be explained and discussed at today’s meeting, but that voting on the proposal should be deferred to the December meeting. This procedure would enable Council members to discuss the change with their constituency.

Prof. Wegner asked Prof. Joseph Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty and an ex officio member of the committee, to explain the context of the committee’s proposal, which would change the regulations so that the required 12-month notice of non-renewal of an untenured faculty member would be measured from the date that all appeals of the non-renewal are completed, rather than from the date of notification of non-renewal.

Prof. Ferrell presented a walk-through of the steps and procedures for award of permanent tenure in the College of Arts and Sciences. He said that he had chosen the College because its organization and procedures are more complex than many of the professional schools. Since the tenure regulations apply equally to every appointing unit, he felt that it would be important to understand the effect of the proposed change on a complex, departmentalized unit. Prof. Ferrell referred to three documents in his presentation: (1) instructions from the Office of the Provost detailing the contents of the dossier submitted for review in a tenure decision, (2) the “tenure track schedule” for 2005-06 in the College, and (3) examples of time lines for review of a tenure decision in the College and for review of a decision not to reappoint.

Prof. Ferrell said that most appointing units begin to evaluate a non-tenured assistant or associate professor about 18 months before the end of the current term. This point is midway in the fifth year after initial appointment for an assistant professor and in the third year for associate professors. Beginning the evaluation 18 months in advance allows six months to complete the process since formal notice of reappointment or non-reappointment must be given to the faculty member no later than twelve months before the end of the term. The proposed amendment affects the procedure only if there is a decision not to reappoint. Such a decision can occur at any one of four stages of review in the College: (1) by the department chair; (2) by the dean; (3) by the provost; or (4) by the chancellor. The tenure regulations provide that decisions not to reappoint may not be based on specified impermissible grounds (such as personal malice; discrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status; or exercise of First Amendment rights), nor may the decision be infected by procedural error sufficient to cast doubt on the validity of the decision. A faculty member who has received notice of non-reappointment may seek review of that decision if he or she believes it to have been impermissibly based or infected by procedural error. Prof. Ferrell explained that the maximum time period that would be required to complete the review procedures would be at least 100 days, and could be more depending on the time required for the Hearings Committee to conduct a hearing and prepare a report. He said that the effect of the amendment proposed by the Advisory Committee would be to require that this three-month review period be completed within the six-month period now allowed for the multi-level review of a tenure decision; otherwise, the faculty member would be entitled to an additional one-year appointment. He thought that it would be possible, in a typical case, to complete all procedures, including review by the Hearings Committee, if the non-renewal decision were made at the department level, and perhaps if made at the dean level. He did not think it would be possible if the non-renewal decision were made by the provost or the chancellor.

Prof. Melissa Bullard (History), a member of the Advisory Committee, spoke in favor the proposal. She had five points: (1) last spring, the issue of the dismissal window came to the attention of the Advisory Committee in the context of a faculty member who alleged procedural irregularity; (2) the proposed amendment would bring our tenure regulations into full compliance with AAUP guidelines which call for a full 12-months notice of non-renewal, something which our current procedures do not guarantee in all cases; (3) the intent of the proposed amendment was discussed at length by the Advisory Committee; the committee did not think the change would encourage frivolous appeals; (4) the two faculty committees that have considered the matter formally (the Hearings Committee and the Advisory Committee) have both arrived at the same conclusion: the policies need clarification and amendment on the point at issue; and (5) the proposed amendment introduces minimal change in the regulations.

Prof. Wegner said that she had serious concerns as to the wisdom of the change. She thought that changing the rules to require all review procedures to be concluded by 12 months before the end of the term would result in beginning all tenure decisions as much as six months earlier than now, i.e., 24 months before the end of the term rather than 18 months. This would mean that assistant professors would have to present a complete dossier at the end of the fourth year of appointment and associate professors at the end of the second year. She thought this would significantly increase pressure on untenured faculty and would not be in the best interest of the candidate or the University.

Prof. Janne Cannon, Chair of the Committee on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure, asked for details and clarification on the assertion that our current tenure regulations do not meet AAUP guidelines.

Prof. Noelle Granger (Cell & Developmental Biology) asked for the rationale for beginning the evaluation process earlier rather than adding time to the terminal appointment. Prof. Ferrell observed that the consequences of a terminal appointment of more than 12 months would vary for nine-month faculty whose work tracks the semester system and 12-month faculty whose work often is not greatly  affected by the regular academic year.

Prof. Bullard said that the amendment is designed to address exceptional cases. She did not think it should be necessary to lengthen the review period for all cases.

Prof. Evelyne Huber (Political Science) said that the effect of the change would necessarily add an extra half year at one end of the process or the other.

Prof. Terence McIntosh (History) thought it would be helpful to know how many cases over the past five years would have been affected by the change had it been effect then. Prof. Cannon said that only one case was not completed within 12 months before the end of the term. Chancellor Moeser observed that all cases would have been affected because it would have been necessary to begin the review earlier. Prof. Laurel Files, Chair of the Hearings Committee, agreed that the proposed change responds to the circumstances of only one case.

Prof. Barbara Moran (Library Science), who was Chair of the Advisory Committee when the issue was discussed and the amendment prepared, said that the committee had not taken into account the possibility that all review would have to begin earlier.

Prof. Dino Cervigni (Romance Languages) said that it would be detrimental to young faculty members to begin the tenure review process earlier. He favored extension of the terminal appointment.

Prof. Anselmo Lastra (Computer Science) said that changing the rules for one unusual case is not good policy.

Prof. Michael Murray (Pharmacy) said that the needs of the appointing unit should be kept in mind. He thought that exceptional cases could best be addressed by relying on the provost to work out these issues between the faculty member and the department on a case-by-case basis.

Update on the Phased Retirement Program

Associate Vice Chancellor Laurie Charest distributed a Fact Sheet on the impact of a recent statutory change to participation in the Phased Retirement Program (TSERS) by faculty members who are members of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System. She made three main points:

  • Effective November 1, 2005, TSERS retirees cannot return to work for the State for six months following the retirement date; faculty in the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) are not affected by this change;
  • Faculty who have entered the Phased Retirement Plan before June 30, 2007 will not be affected by the change;
  • Continuation of the Phased Retirement Plan beyond June 30, 2007, is uncertain for both TSERS and ORP faculty.

Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards

The Council went into closed session to consider the report of the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards with respect to Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards to be presented at University Day 2006.

Prof. Ferrell, on behalf of the committee, submitted one joint nomination and four individual nominations. The Council approved each nomination.

The Council returned to open session.

Adjournment

Its business having concluded, the Faculty Council adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Joseph S. Ferrell

Secretary of the Faculty

 

Pdf of meeting materials

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