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Meeting of the Faculty Council and the General Faculty

Friday, March 23, 2007
3:00 p.m.
Hitchcock Multipurpose Room
Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Chancellor James Moeser and Faculty Chair Joseph Templeton presiding


3:00 Welcome, Opening Remarks, and General Questions

  • Chancellor James Moeser
  • Provost Bernadette Gray-Little

3:30 Committee Reports

4:00 Second Reading: Resolution 2007-4. Amending The Faculty Code of University Government as it Relates to The Schools and Colleges; The General College; The College of Arts and Sciences; The Graduate School; The Summer School; Records, Registration, and Undergraduate Admissions; Administrative Board of Student Affairs; and Administrative Board of the Library.

  • Prof. Michael Lienesch, Chair, University Government Committee

4:05 Educational Policy Committee Report and Proposal on Adopting the Achievement Index as the Metric for University-Wide Comparative Rankings of Students

5:00 Adjourn


The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened at 3:00 p.m. in the Hitchcock Multipurpose Room of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.

The following 54 members of the Council attended: Alperin, Bachenheimer, Balthrop, Barreau, Blocher, Campbell, Cantwell, Chapman, Chin, Collichio, Conway, Copenhaver, Couper, Dalton, Degener, Desaix, Dupuis, Eble, Gerber, Gilligan, Glazner, Halloran, Hendrick, Hobbs, Kamarei, Kirsch, Kramer, Lastra, LeFebvre, Lesneski, Maffly-Kipp, Matson, Matthysse, McGrath, McIntosh, Moss, Oatley, Papanikolas, Peirce, Peterson, Pruvost, Salmon, Saunders, Selassie, Silversmith, Sulik, Sweeney, Temple, Threadgill, Trotman, Wallace, Weinberg, Whisnant and Wilson.

The following 25 members were granted excused absences: Bagnell, Belger, Bennett, Boukhelifa, Cairns, Connolly, Fisher, Gulledge, Hightow, Huber, Jonas, Marshall, McCombs, Murphy, Murray, Orth, Rustioni, Sandelowski, Strom-Gottfried, Tiwana, Wasik, Wegner, Wilder, Wissick and Yankaskas.

The following 8 members were absent without excuse: Ammerman, Arnold, Booth, Ewend, Keagy, MacLean, Rosamond and Taylor.

Welcome, Opening Remarks, and General Questions

Chancellor Moeser spoke of the dedication earlier this week of the residence hall formerly known as Morrison South in honor of Paul Hardin, who served from 1988 to 1995 as seventh chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He praised Chancellor Hardin for leading the Bicentennial Campaign for Carolina, which raised $440 million, for securing greater fiscal and management flexibility for the University, and for helping to double minority representation on the faculty.

The chancellor announced that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has announced that Carolina will become the home of the National College Advising Corps Coordinating Office, which is a new effort to increase college enrollment and graduation among low-income high school and community college students. Carolina will also receive a grant of $1 million from the Cooke Foundation to place college advisers in 18 low-income high schools across the state.

Chancellor Moeser summarized two recent initiatives from UNC System President Erskine Bowles and the UNC Board of Governors: (1) an 18-month initiative called “the University of North Carolina Tomorrow,” and (2) an accountability plan for the UNC System. The first of these is designed to determine how the UNC System can best meet North Carolina’s needs over the next two decades. It will be conducted by a blue-ribbon commission that will be assisted by a Scholars Council. The commission will visit each campus in the System and generate recommendations to the Board of Governors. The objectives of the accountability plan include providing a transparent account of goals, directions, and performances on a number of specific performance measures. The plan will address topics such as student success, outstanding faculty, program quality, use of space, and private fund-raising.

Finally, the chancellor announced that he has appointed a 10-member task force chaired by Exec. Assoc. Provost Stephen Allred to study and respond to a “Report on Academic Responsibility” recently prepared by the Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor. Members of the task force include Professors Frayda Bluestein (Government), Karen Gil (Psychology), Darryl Gless (English), Ronald Strauss (Dentistry); undergraduate students Ronald Bilbao, Ashley Collette Groves, and Matthew Hendren; graduate student Lauren Anderson, and Dean Melissa Exum.

Provost Bernadette Gray-Little reported briefly on the following items:

  • The final version of a new policy on criminal conviction checks for newly-appointed members of the faculty has been completed and will be implemented beginning July 1, 2007.
  • A review team has been appointed to look at the organization and scope of the Graduate School. The team will be chaired by John Keller, Assoc. Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Iowa. Other members include Rosanne Ford, Assoc. Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Virginia, and Ruth Walden, Associate Dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication here at Carolina.
  • A review of advising with the College of Arts and Sciences will be conducted by a review team chaired by Eric R. White, Executive Director of the Division of Undergraduate Studies at The Pennsylvania State University. Other members include Alice Reinarz, Asst. Provost for Enrollment at Texas A&M University, J. Milton Adams, Vice Provost for Academic Programs at the University of Virginia; Professors Lawrence Band (Geography) and Michelle Berger (Women’s Studies); Kreemah Lewis (undergraduate), and one additional undergraduate yet to be named. The review will center on the academic advising program in the College, but will also include advising done in Honors, departments and curricula, Study Abroad, student-to-student peer advising, and that provided to student athletes.

Prof. Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology & Immunology) asked about background checks for persons who are citizens of another country at the time of employment. The Provost said that the University would not be doing checks through Interpol. Assoc. Provost Steven Allred said that this is an acknowledged weakness of the new policy for which there is no easy answer. Prof. Bachenheimer asked whether a new background check would be required with each reappointment. The Provost replied that checks would be done only at the point of initial employment.

Prof. Templeton gave a brief update on efforts being made in response to the Council’s recent resolution discouraging street bonfires following basketball games.

Committee Reports

Buildings and Grounds. Prof. David Owens (Government), Chair of the Committee on Buildings and Grounds, presented the committee’s annual report.

Copyright. Leah McGinnis Dunn (Undergraduate Library), Chair of the Committee on Copyright, presented the committee’s annual report. On behalf of the committee, she introduced and explained a resolution entitled “Encouraging Use of Office of Technology Development’s Resources for the Commercialization of Works.” She said that the purpose of the resolution, which revises the University’s policy on commercialization of copyrighted works, is to give greater incentives to the faculty to use the services of the Office of Technology Development (OTD) for commercialization of their works by giving the creator a greater share of royalties. She said the policy primarily affects creation of software and multi-media works because OTD is not involved in publishing books or journals.

Prof. Gregory Copenhaver (Biology) asked whose share of the royalties would be reduced as a result. Ms. Dunn said that the faculty member’s department and OTD would receive less, and that departments that would be potentially affected have been consulted and support the change.

Prof. Richard Whisnant (Government) asked for clarification on whether the revised policy would affect directed works. Fletcher Fairey, Assoc. University Council, replied that the policy has no effect on production of directed works by the School of Government.

Prof. Marci Campbell (Nutrition) pointed out that often works subject to the policy are produced by teams that include SPA personnel and asked whether those team members might share in royalties. Mr. Fairey replied that the State Personnel Act places many obstacles in the way of rewarding SPA personnel for work done in the course of their employment. He said that the University recognizes that this can be unfair and is trying to find ways to address the issue.

The resolution was adopted without dissent and is enrolled as Resolution 2007-6.

Scholarships and Student Aid. Prof. Charles Daye (Law), Chair of the Committee on Scholarships, Awards, and Student Aid, presented the committee’s annual report:

Second Reading of Resolution 2007-4 Amending the Faculty Code.

Prof. Michael Lienesch (Political Science), Chair of the Committee on University Government, presented and moved adoption on second reading of Resolution 2007-4.

Prof. Frank Dominguez (Romance Languages) moved adoption of an amendment to reinstate the provisions of current Section 8-4 of the Faculty Code that speak to the right of department chairs in the College of Arts and Sciences to appeal to the provost and chancellor in budgetary matters. Prof. Joseph Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty, said that this amendment would be appropriate for new Section 6-3 as contained in Resolution 2007-4. Prof. Lienesch said that he had no objection to the proposed amendment. The amendment was adopted.

Prof. Ferrell said that he was of the opinion that the amendment was not a material amendment that places the resolution back on first reading and that the General Faculty could proceed to vote on second reading if it so desired. Without objection, Resolution 2007-4 was put on second reading. The resolution, as amended, was adopted without dissent and is enrolled as Resolution 2007-4.

Educational Policy Committee Report and Proposal on Adopting the Achievement Index as the Metric for University-Wide Comparative Rankings of Students.

Prof. Peter Gordon (Psychology), Chair of the Educational Policy Committee, presented a proposal developed by the Educational Policy Committee to adopt the Achievement Index.

Prof. Copenhaver made three criticisms of the AI proposal. First, he noted that the data presented by the Educational Policy Committee shows a 92% correlation between AI and Grade Point Average (GPA). In view of such a high correlation, he wondered whether computing AI would be worth the expense and administrative effort. Second, he said that the AI system assumes that grades are ordinal but it also assumes equivalence from year to year of the same course taught by the same instructor. He suggested that such equivalence does not necessarily exist and that the AI concept fails to account for different levels of ability in the student cohorts in different years. Third, he said that the AI system assumes no pre-differentiation in the students allowed to enroll in particular courses. Prof. Gordon replied that he recognized that there would be some cost involved, but he felt that it would be justified. As to the second criticism, he agreed that the AI system does treat the top grades in a given course the same, no matter what the letter grade, but that overall the objection raised by Prof. Copenhaver on this point is minor.

Prof. Peter Gilligan (Medicine) said that he had been for some years a member of the Medical School’s admissions committee and that he did not think that the committee would give much credence to an applicant’s AI, or overall GPA, for that matter. Rather, the committee is more influenced by how the applicant has performed in courses directly relevant to the study of medicine, such as science courses. Prof. Gordon replied that he thought that admissions committees are much more sophisticated consumers of academic performance data than Prof. Gilligan’s comment might suggest.

Prof. Thomas Linden (Journalism & Mass Communication) said that it is his impression that student evaluations tend to drive up GPA over time. He asked whether the Educational Policy Committee had taken this into account. Prof. Gordon replied that there is an extensive literature on this topic and that the findings are inconclusive.

Prof. John Papanikolas (Chemistry) observed that the AI does tend to improve differentiation among student performance in the middle of the curve but does not really help much with differentiating students at the upper and lower extremes. He said that he would expect that employers and admissions committees making use of performance data would not find AI of much help for that reason. Prof. Gordon disagreed.

Prof. Patrick Conway (Economics) expressed concern at the effect AI might have on enrollment in Honors sections. Prof. Gordon said the committee had considered this and conluded that there would be little impact.

Prof. Terence McIntosh (History) asked about the effect on Study Abroad programs. Prof. Gordon said that the Educational Policy Committee had not taken Study Abroad into account and acknowledged that something would need to be done on that account.

Prof. Andrew Chin (Law) noted that an alternative that accomplishes the same objectives as AI would be a mandatory University-wide grading curve. He said that he felt using the AI would be a better and more acceptable solution. Prof. Gordon pointed out that the faculty soundly defeated a proposal for a mandatory grading curve in 2000.

As the adjournment hour was nearing, it was agreed that a special meeting of the faculty will be held on April 13, 2007, to continue the discussion.


Its business having been completed, the Council adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty


Pdf of meeting materials

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