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Meeting of the General Faculty and the Faculty Council

Friday, September 15, 2006
3:00 p.m.
Hitchcock Multipurpose Room
Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History
Chancellor James Moeser and Professor Joe Templeton, Chair of the Faculty, presiding.


3:00 Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Chancellor James Moeser
    • Recognition of Hettleman Award Winners
    • Questions for Chancellor Moeser from the Floor
  • Provost Bernadette Gray-Little
  • Chair of the Faculty Joe Templeton

3:30 Comments from Leaders of Campus Constituencies

  • James Allred, President of the Student Body
  • Lauren Anderson, President of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation

3:40 Enrollment Growth, Student Retention

  • Presentation by Provost Bernadette Gray-Little
  • Discussion

4:25 Discussion: Faculty Council Work Plan for 2006-07

  • Chair of the Faculty Joe Templeton

 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 58 members of the Council attended: Alperin, Bachenheimer, Bagnell, Balthrop, Bangdiwala, Barreau, Bennett, Cairns, Cantwell, Chapman, Chin, Collichio, Conway, Couper, Dalton, DeSaix, Eble, Fisher, Gerber, Gilligan, Glazner, Gulledge, Hendrick, Hobbs, Kamarei, Kirsch, Kramer, Lastra, Lefebvre, Lesneski, Maffly-Kipp, McGrath, McIntosh, Peterson, Moss, Murray, Oatley, Papanikolas, Parsons, Peirce, Pruvost, Rock, Rustioni, Salmon, Sandelowski, Saunders, Selassie, Sulik, Sweeney, Threadgill, Trotman, Votta, Wallace, Wasik, Wegner, Weinberg, Wilson, and Yankaskas.

The following 24 members were granted excused absences: Ammerman, Arnold, Blocher, Booth, Campbell, Connolly, Copenhaver, Degener, Dupuis, Hightow, Huber, Jonas, MacLean, Marshall, Matson, Matthysse, McCombs, Strom-Gottfried, Taylor, Temple, Tiwana, Whisnant, Wilder, and Wissick.

The following 5 members were absent without excuse: Ewend, Keagy, Orth, Rosamond, and Weir.

Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

Chancellor James Moeser called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. He commented on the summer reading program for this year, which he characterized as very successful

The Chancellor commented briefly on a recently concluded conference held here entitled “The Politics of Inclusion: Higher Education at a Crossroads.” He said that the proceedings of the conference will be published.

Chancellor Moeser highlighted the budget priorities that this campus has submitted to the Board of Governors for the 2007-08 fiscal year. First priority is improvement in faculty salaries. The Chancellor said that five consecutive years of 6% increases would be needed for Carolina to reach the 67th percentile of our peer institutions in the area of faculty salaries. This estimate includes modest predictable increases in tuition over that period of time as well. The second priority is a request for $35 million to support research, including more funding for the University Libraries, and $20 million for computing support. The third priority includes a number of items related to engagement with the State of North Carolina, such as economic development, K-12 education, expansion of AHEC, and expanded outreach by health-care professionals.

Professor Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology & Immunology) noted that UNC System President Erskine Bowles has trimmed 10% from the General Administration budget and is encouraging the campuses to do so as well. He asked the Chancellor how faculty would be involved in the process of re-directing saved administrative funds to academic programs. The Chancellor replied that he has received neither specific instructions from General Administration in that regard nor any particular dollar or percentage goals for reducing administrative expenses. Nevertheless, he said, we are already working to be able to respond appropriately when instructions are received, and gave some examples. Among them was the thought that a number of services available at Carolina could be made available to other institutions. Such a move could lower their costs and ours as well. He concluded by saying that he thinks the President’s initiative is a very constructive process.

2006 Hettleman Awards

Chancellor Moeser presented the 2006 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The prizes this year went to Jeffrey Johnson, Assistant Professor of Chemistry; Anne McNeil, Associate Professor of Music; David Siderovski, Associate Professor of Pharmacology; and Jonathan Oberlander, Associate Professor of Social Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Political Science.

Chair of the Faculty Induction

Chancellor Moeser inducted into office as the newly-elected Chair of the Faculty Joseph L. Templeton, Francis Preston Venable Professor of Chemistry. He presented to Prof. Templeton, as a symbol of his office, the Council’s gavel which was crafted from a timber thought to be part of the original framing of the University’s first building, Old East.

Greetings from the Provost

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bernadette Gray-Little brought greetings to the Council. She said that her first two months as Provost have been largely spent in retreats focusing on topics such as the regulatory climate in which public universities operate, issues related to enrollment growth, and the implications of the need to replace much of the University’s computer infrastructure. Provost Gray-Little said that she is very fortunate to have begun her term in a year in which significant faculty salary funds have been made available. She concluded by assuring the Council that she is aware of the long and distinguished history of shared governance at Carolina. She supports that tradition, and looks forward to working the faculty to attain the goals that we set for ourselves.

Greetings from the Chair of the Faculty

Prof. Templeton began by saying that he had great appreciation for the experience, knowledge, wisdom and intellectual horsepower assembled in the Council chamber today, and that he intended to take advantage of it. He then called Prof. Sue Estroff (Social Medicine) to the podium and left the room. Prof. Estroff recalled the various models of faculty chairs that she has known, and then introduced to the Council the Great Carnac, who strode to the front robed in a black doctoral gown and an outrageous scarlet turban. Carnac (a.k.a. J. Templeton) amazed the Council with his uncanny ability to read minds and predict the contents of sealed envelopes.

Greetings from Student Leaders

Prof. Templeton reported that James Allred, President of the Student Body, and Lauren Anderson, President of the Graduate and Professional Students Association (GPSF), were unable to attend today’s meeting due to a conflict with a meeting of the Student Fees Advisory Committee. He said they hope to greet the Council at a later date.

Prof. Templeton introduced Cassidy Sugimoto, Secretary of GPSF. Ms. Sugimoto spoke of GPSF’s interest in working with the Council this year on a training transition plan for teaching assistants in the new undergraduate curriculum and in responding to changes in the printing policy. She said that printing labs on campus have moved from a system that students assumed provided unlimited free printing underwritten by the educational and technology fee to a pre-paid plan that allows only 500 “free” pages per semester. This causes problems for teaching assistants in departments that do not underwrite class-related printing by their TAs. Ms. Sugimoto said that GPSF would be making suggestions to address this issue.

Enrollment Growth, Student Retention

Provost Gray-Little spoke on the subjects of enrollment growth and student retention with the aid of PowerPoint slides. The presentations are accessible from the Faculty Council archives page of the Faculty Governance website.    The Provost emphasized the following points in the course of her presentation:

  • The current long-range plan is that enrollment will increase by 2,171 students to a total of 29.447 by 2015.
  • The projected total includes an otherwise unnecessary increase needed to keep revenue-neutral the recently mandated policy of counting all full-scholarship students (mostly athletes) as in-state students.
  • The administration has considered models of growing to 30,000 and 35,000 students. The latter model has been rejected as infeasible; we simply cannot accommodate those numbers on the existing campus.
  • There is much pressure on Carolina to absorb our share of the projected increase in the college-going population in North Carolina.
  • Our current admission and yield rates are very good in comparison to other large research institutions.
  • A survey of student opinion suggests that higher enrollment numbers would have a negative impact on decisions to enroll at Carolina. This effect is greatest among the most highly-sought-after applicants.
  • A drop in the admission yield rate due to higher enrollment would have a negative impact on the quality of the entering class. To offset that effect, we would need to generate more applicants, which is unlikely.
  • Under any expanded enrollment model, the percentage of minority students is likely to decrease because the pool of eligible minority applicants is not likely to increase commensurately.
  • Expanded enrollment would have a negative impact on the University’s research mission because the growth is likely to be entirely among undergraduates; it would be very difficult to increase graduate enrollment by the same percentage.
  • Negative impacts of increased enrollment on the area of student life would be focused on access to student heath care and career services; housing would not be a problem.The administration expects that Carolina will continue to under pressure from General Administration to increase enrollment.
  • General Administration is committed to increasing the percentage of students who complete their degree within four to six years.

Prof. Peter Gilligan (Microbiology & Immunology) said that increasing the size of the entering Medical School class by 25% (from 160 to 200) is under discussion. He said that this will further exacerbate student discontent with what they consider to be inadequate access to clinical training here at UNC Hospitals. It is necessary to assign many students to rotations at other hospitals around the state, which they tend to view as less desirable.

Prof. Laurie Maffly-Kipp (Religious Studies) expressed concern about the impact increased undergraduate enrollment could have on allocation of faculty and staff resources among departments in the College. She observed that these allocations do not necessarily correspond to course enrollment. The Provost agreed that departments with large undergraduate enrollments do tend to have proportionately fewer faculty and staff positions. Prof. Maffly-Kipp also expressed concern about the potentially negative impacts on diversity and graduate enrollment.

Prof. Bachenheimer asked for comment on lateral transfers from other four-year institutions and from community colleges, and for the effect that increased emphasis on distance learning might have on enrollment projections.

The Provost replied that there is growing interest across the country in opening new campuses that focus solely on offering distance education degrees. She said that Carolina has been asked to review distance education efforts on this campus. Now, these efforts are dispersed among the schools and departments. The “big question” to be answered is whether Carolina is interested in offering undergraduate degree programs online. Such programs are already available on a limited basis through the School of Public Health and the School of Pharmacy. She said that the administration has not yet addressed the larger question. As for transfer students, the Provost said that the data summarized in her presentation includes transfer students, but the primary source of those students is other four-year institutions, not community colleges. She pointed out that the UNC System has not followed the lead of the California System, where it is expected that most students will complete their first two years in a community college setting.

Prof. Anselmo Lastra (Computer Science) asked how the projected enrollment growth at Carolina compares to other campuses of the UNC System. The Provost replied that our projected growth is modest both in comparison to growth in the enrollment pool and to other campuses. Some UNC campuses are actually under-enrolled, she said.

Prof. Lloyd Kramer (History) commented on the interconnection between graduate and undergraduate enrollment. He pointed out that for departments with high undergraduate enrollments, it will be essential to increase graduate enrollment in order to maintain acceptable student/faculty classroom ratios. He said that increasing undergraduate enrollment would have a huge ripple effect across the College. The Provost agreed with his assessment.

Prof. John Sweeney (Journalism & Mass Communication) characterized the Provost’s presentation as “an impressive analysis with mostly negative conclusions.” He asked whether Carolina has the option of declining to increase enrollment. The Provost replied that we do not have the option of simply refusing, but we can and will point out the necessary consequences of growth. She reminded the Council that at one point several years ago Carolina indicated to General Administration that we preferred for all growth to occur in graduate and professional enrollment. That was not acceptable. She felt that there is a “certain level of imperative here.”
Prof. Frank Wilson (Orthopaedics) asked whether it would be possible to leverage an increase in overall enrollment to an increase in the percentage of out-of-state students. The Provost said that she did not see that as a realistic possibility.

Prof. John Papanikolas (Chemistry) observed that the Provost’s presentation could be encapsulated by saying that we are being asked both to admit more students and to see more of them through to graduation. To admit more students we will need to go deeper into the applicant pool; to let more through means that we will have to reduce grading standards. He that that it appeared to him that the solution to this dilemma must be to try to improve the quality of the applicant pool by improving K-12 education, and working on better instructional techniques in our own classrooms.

Honorary Degree

The Council went into closed session to consider the award of an honorary degree to the person selected as the 2007 Commencement Speaker. The Secretary of the Faculty nominated an individual on behalf of the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards. The nominee was approved.


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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