Skip to main content

Meeting of the General Faculty and the Faculty Council

Friday, February 22, 2008
3:00 p.m.
Hitchcock Multipurpose Room
Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History


3:00 Welcome, Opening Remarks, and General Questions

  • Chancellor James Moeser

3:20 Introduction of Football Coach Butch Davis

  • Chancellor James Moeser

3:25 Discussion of Textbook Ordering

  • Faculty Chair Joseph Templeton
  • Mr. John Jones, Director, Student Stores

3:40 Administrative Board of the Library Annual Report

  • Prof. Reid Barbour, Chair

3:50 Educational Policy Committee Annual Report

  • Prof. Beverly Foster, Chair

4:00 Undergraduate Admissions Committee Annual Report

  • Mr. Steve Farmer and Prof. Bobbi Owen, co-chairs

4:15 Resolution 2008-2. On Amending the Faculty Code of University Government to Provide a Term Limit for the Office of Chair of the Faculty. (First reading)

  • Prof. Michael Lienesch, Chair, Committee on University Government

4:25 Mission and Work of the School of Government

  • Prof. Frayda Bluestein, Associate Dean for Programs, School of Government

4:55 Closed session: Honorary Degrees and Special Awards Committee Report

  • Prof. Joseph Ferrell


The General Faculty and 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 45 members of the Council attended: Aaron, Bachenheimer, Bagnell, Balthrop, Barreau, Bickford, Blocher, Bloom, Brice, Broome, Chin, Conway, Copenhaver, Couper, DeSaix, Gerber, Gilligan, Glazner, Gulledge, Halloran, Heenan, Kamarei, Koroluk, Leonard, Lesneski, McGrath, Meade, Melamut, Moss, Murray, Oatley, Papanikolas, Pruvost, Rodgers, Saunders, Silversmith, Sweeney, Threadgill, Toews, Visser, Votta, Weinberg, Whisnant, Wilson and Wissick.

The following 35 members were granted excused absences: Ammerman, Andrews, Ashby, Bangdiwala, Belger, Blackburn, Boukhelifa, Campbell, Coleman, Dupuis, Earp, Ernst, Ewend, Hendrick, Hightow, Hobbs, Hodges, Katznelson, Kelly, Kendall, Kramer, Lauen, Mauro, Orth, Paquette, Parsons, Perrin, Renner, Rhodes, Sheldon, Stein, Wegner, Wilder, Williams, and Yankaskas.

The following 8 members were absent without excuse: Marshall, McCombs, Peirce, Rosamond, Temple, Thorp, Vernon-Feagans, and Weil.


Prof. Bill Balthrop (Communication Studies) called the meeting to order at the request of Prof. Joseph Templeton, Chair of the Faculty, who was unable to attend. Prof. Balthrop, who is chairing the search committee for faculty director of the new Center for Faculty Excellence, reported that the committee has selected two finalists for the position. They are Prof. Patrick Conway (Economics) and Prof. Joseph Lowman (Psychology).

Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

Chancellor James Moeser said that Provost Bernadette Gray-Little was out of town leading a delegation from Carolina on a visit to explore future academic and research collaboration with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, a private liberal arts institution in Ecuador. He said that credit goes to Prof. Stephen Walsh and colleagues from the Department of Geography and the Carolina Population Center for their work to date that positioned us for this visit. The Chancellor also noted that Prof. Walsh has received the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers. He was honored for his work in advancing the discipline of geography through his research in spatial digital technologies, population-environment interactions and physical geography; training undergraduate and graduate students in the classroom, lab and field; and providing leadership to the broader community of geography scholars.

Chancellor Moeser congratulated the School of Pharmacy for having significantly advanced its national ranking in funding from the National Institutes of Health. The school ranked fifth this year.

Noting that the issue of textbook ordering is on today’s Council agenda, Chancellor Moeser said that he hopes the faculty will take the issue seriously. He said that textbook costs have escalated much more than tuition. UNC System President Erskine Bowles has highlighted this because it is possible to help control textbook costs in large undergraduate courses by ordering books early. The Chancellor acknowledged some concern that textbook choices in large undergraduate sections might be taken out of the faculty’s hands if there is no improvement in getting orders in on time. He said that this semester 80.5% of orders were received by Student Stores on time. In the past, as few as 40% of orders were received on time.

Turning to General Administration’s UNC Tomorrow initiative, Chancellor Moeser said that a recent conversation he had with the Faculty Executive Committee disclosed a good bit of concern among the faculty that emphasis on engaged scholarship and work directly relevant to North Carolina might have a distorting effect on course content in some disciplines. The Chancellor said he wanted to assure the faculty that UNC Tomorrow will not distort or change in any dramatic way the work being carried on at Carolina. He said that we are well-positioned to be the leading example of President Bowles’ vision for the future of higher education in North Carolina. He urged the faculty not to be anxious, but to seize the opportunity to showcase the depth of the contributions we make to North Carolina every day. One thing UNC Tomorrow has revealed, he said, is that we are not doing a very good job of telling our own story. Chancellor Moeser said that he thought that UNC Tomorrow may help clarify the missions of some of the smaller UNC institutions, but would not appreciably affect Carolina’s mission.

Chancellor Moeser concluded by commenting on recent controversy arising from classroom remarks in a course in genetics pertaining to fetuses identified as having Down Syndrome. He said: “This is a campus that puts a high value on the principles of academic freedom. And as such, we sometimes find ourselves in a position to, on the one hand, affirm those principles of academic freedom, while on the other hand, we acknowledge that opinions can sometimes offend. Faculty should be free to express their opinions when they are relevant to the class topic. And nothing could be more critical in a biology or life-sciences classroom than the ethical and moral issues surrounding life itself. So it’s important for faculty members to be able to share opinions. And it’s equally important for faculty members to create a classroom environment that encourages respectful discussion of different points of view.”

Prof. Diane Leonard (English & Comparative Literature) raised concerns about the demolition of Venable Hall. She said that dust penetrated Dey Hall, making offices and classrooms unpleasant and unhealthy. She hoped that such demolition projects would be done during times when classes are not in session, or at least that windows could be sealed to prevent dust penetration. The Chancellor replied that he will talk to Facilities Services about sealing windows of nearby buildings when future demolition projects take place.

Greetings from Coach Butch Davis

Chancellor Moeser introduced Head Football Coach Butch Davis. He said that during the search for this position, Coach Davis rose to the top of the list because of his success on the field and his demonstrated commitment to integrity and academic quality. Coach Davis said that he is committed to recruiting the finest student athletes possible. Part of the allure of coming to Carolina, he said, is its academic reputation. He said that he tells students that “if the only reason for coming to Carolina is for Butch Davis to get you a place in professional football, you shouldn’t come here.” Having seen the life of a professional athlete from the bottom up, he said that the NFL is not a worthy long-term goal. Coach Davis said that he has had great success this year in recruiting. A large part of the reason for that success has been faculty members who volunteer to talk to recruits and their families. He concluded by saying that he wants Carolina to be the model for Division I football: great academics, great graduation rate, and student athletes who become leaders.

Prof. Susan Bickford (Political Science) asked about graduation rates for football players. Coach Davis answered that the rate last year was 75%, while the national average is about 50%. He added that at the University of Miami his teams had an 80% graduation rate.

Discussion of Textbook Ordering

Mr. John Jones, Director of Student Stores, explained the procedures for textbook ordering and the details of Student Stores’ buy-back program. His remarks are posted on the Faculty Governance website.

Prof. Jean DeSaix (Biology) asked about the consequences of ordering a textbook that proves to be unsatisfactory. Mr. Jones said that in such a case Student Stores takes the loss. He added that since all profits go to scholarships, Student Stores’ financial losses eventually impact the number of scholarships that can be awarded.

Prof. Suzanne Gulledge (Education) asked how the figures on late textbook orders cited by General Administration were generated. Mr. Jones replied that the data comes from Student Stores records. He said that there were mitigating circumstances in the year for which Carolina was cited for only 40% compliance. One was that the Daniels Building was under renovation. There was a strong rebound in the following year. He said that achieving timely textbook orders is easier on some of the smaller UNC campuses where only a few hundred faculty are placing orders. On large campuses with faculty in the thousands, compliance is not so easy to achieve. He noted that North Carolina State University was also cited for low compliance.

Prof. Gregory Copenhaver (Biology) asked whether placing textbook orders early helps Student Stores bargain for lower prices. Mr. Jones replied in the negative.

Prof. Edward Blocher (Business) asked whether paperback books are included in the buy-back program. Mr. Jones replied in the affirmative.

Prof. Shielda Rogers (Nursing) asked whether the figures cited by General Administration included the Health Affairs Bookstore. Mr. Jones said they did not.

In response to a question by Prof. Robin Visser (Asian Studies), Mr. Jones explained how textbook order forms are distributed.

Prof. John Papanikolas (Chemistry) asked about electronic books. Mr. Jones replied that General Administration is not concerned about electronic publications in this context.

Annual Report of the Administrative Board of the Library

Prof. Reid Barbour (English and Comparative Literature) presented the annual report of the Administrative Board of the Library. He said that 2007-08 has been a good and exciting year for the Academic Affairs Library under the leadership of University Librarian Sarah Michalak. He said that major progress has been made on a five-year plan, but the board remains concerned about the chronic budget shortfall the library continues to face. He emphasized the need to put the acquisitions budget on firmer ground and urged the faculty to advance ideas to address this problem.

Annual Report of the Educational Policy Committee

Prof. Beverly Foster (Nursing) presented the annual report of the Educational Policy Committee, noting highlights of the committee’s work in the past year. She said that the committee anticipates sponsoring a pilot project on the Achievement Index proposal put forward last year. If the project is funded and the results are promising, she predicted that the committee would bring this proposal back to the Council for reconsideration.

Prof. Bickford asked if the Priority Registration Advisory Committee had been appointed. Exec. Assoc. Provost Steven Allred said that it had and that the membership list appears on the Registrar’s website. [Members are University Registrar Alice Poehls, Chair; Prof. William Kier (Biology); Prof. Stephen Leonard (Political Science); Prof. Dulcie Straughan (Journalism & Mass Communication); Ms. Cynthia Demetriou (Undergraduate Education Office); Ms. Cheryl Thomas ( Graduate School); Mr. Spencer Braswell (First Year Student); and Mr. David Bevevino (Sophomore).]

Annual Report of the Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Admissions

Senior Assoc. Dean Bobbi Owen presented the annual report of the Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Admissions. She pointed out that the average SAT score of the 2007-08 entering class exceeds 1300 for the first time ever. The quality of our students had continuously improved over time, she said. Dean Owen singled out for special mention the College Advising Corps, which puts recent graduates in high schools around North Carolina to work with guidance counselors in urging students to go on to higher education. She also pointed out that Carolina has instituted successful programs with three nearby community colleges.

Prof. Peter Gilligan (Microbiology & Immunology) pointed to information in the committee’s report indicating a tripling of the number of Hispanic students admitted, and quadrupling of the number of students who have conducted research outside the classroom. He asked about future trends for Hispanic enrollment, and whether the student research reported was mainly in the sciences. Director of Admissions Steve Farmer replied that he anticipates continued growth in Hispanic enrollment, and pointed out that Carolina has a proven track record of leading the nation in the percentage of African-American students in our first-year class. He said that he was surprised at the extent of research reported by applicants. He felt that to some extent this reflects change in the secondary school environment, which he finds to be much richer than in the past.

Resolution 2008-2. On Amending the Faculty Code of University Government to Provide a Term Limit for the Office of Chair of the Faculty.

Prof. Michael Lienesch (Political Science), Chair of the Committee on University Government, presented for consideration on first reading an amendment to Section 3-1(b) of the Faculty Code of University Government providing that the chair of the faculty is not eligible for immediate re-election. He explained that the amendment returns the Code to a one-term limit for chair of the faculty, which was the case until a 2003 amendment permitted two terms. He reviewed the reasons for returning to a one-term limit (see the Minutes of the January 25, 2008, Council meeting). He reported that the committee had met to discuss the proposal further in the light of suggestions made during the course of the discussion at the January 25 Council meeting, and that the committee is now even more convinced of the wisdom of the proposed return to a one-term limit.

There being no questions or further discussion, Prof. Balthrop put the question of adoption on first reading. The amendment was adopted without dissent and remains on the calendar for second reading at a future meeting of the General Faculty.

Mission and Work of the School of Government.

Assoc. Dean Frayda Bluestein spoke to the Council on the mission and work of the School of Government.

Special Report of the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards

The Council went into closed session to consider persons nominated by the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards for honorary degrees to be awarded at Commencement 2009. Prof. Joseph Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty, presented five nominees. Each 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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email