Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, January 25, 2008
3:00 p.m.
Hitchcock Multipurpose Room
Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Faculty Chair Joseph Templeton presiding

Agenda

3:00 Welcome, Opening Remarks, and General Questions

3:15 Carolina First Campaign Update

  • Mr. Matt Kupec, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement

3:45 Annual Report of the Committee on University Government

  • Prof. Michael Lienesch, Chair

4:10 Resolution 2008-1. On  a Faculty Sabbatical Program.

  • Presented on behalf of the Faculty Research Committee by Prof. Harvey Seim, Chair

4:30 Adjourn

Minutes

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 48 members of the Council attended: Aaron, Andrews, Bachenheimer, Bagnell, Barreau, Belger, Bickford, Blackburn, Blocher, Brice, Chin, Coleman, Conway, Copenhaver, Couper, DeSaix, Earp, Gilligan, Glazner, Halloran, Heenan, Hendrick, Hightow, Hobbs, Hodges, Kendall, Kramer, Lauen, Leonard, McGrath, Meade, Murray, Oatley, Paquette, Parsons, Perrin, Pruvost, Renner, Sheldon, Silversmith, Stein, Sweeney, Threadgill, Toews, Wegner, Wilson, Wissick and Yankaskas.

The following 34 members were granted excused absences: Ammerman, Balthrop, Bangdiwala, Bloom, Boukhelifa, Broome, Campbell, Dupuis, Ernst, Ewend, Gerber, Gulledge, Kamarei, Katznelson, Kelly, Koroluk, Lesneski, Mauro, Melamut, Moss, Orth, Papanikolas, Peirce, Rhodes, Rodgers, Saunders, Thorp, Vernon-Feagans, Visser, Weil, Weinberg, Whisnant, Wilder and Williams.

The following 6 members were absent without excuse: Ashby, Marshall, McCombs, Rosamond, Temple, and Votta.

Convening

Prof. Joseph Templeton, Chair of the Faculty, called the meeting to order in the absence of Chancellor James Moeser, who was away on a business trip to California.

Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

Provost Bernadette Gray-Little began by providing updated information on a number of searches for senior administrators:

  • Mr. Larry D. Conrad has been appointed chief information officer, effective February 1. Mr. Conrad comes to us from Florida State University, where he served as associate vice president for technology integration and chief information officer.
  • The search committee for dean of the School of Education has identified three finalists who will be visiting the campus soon.
  • The search committee for a new dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School, chaired by Dean Barbara Rimer, has begun work. Dean Steve Jones will be completing his term at the end of this fiscal year.
  • The search committee for dean of the Graduate School is now receiving and reviewing applications. This is an internal search.
  • A national search for director of the Institute for African-American Research is being headed by Prof. Reginald Hildebrand.
  • Prof. Bill Balthrop is heading the search committee for director and executive director of the newly-created Center for Faculty Excellence.

Provost Gray-Little said that last year the Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor prepared a paper urging the university to take steps to ensure that classroom environments are places where students feel free to express ideas different from those expressed by the instructor and other students. Chancellor Moeser appointed a Committee on Academic Responsibility chaired by Executive Associate Provost Steve Allred to respond to this initiative. The committee membership included four students, four faculty members, and three administrators. [The faculty members were Professors Frayda Bluestein, Darryl Gless, Karen Gil, and Ronald Strauss.] The report is available on the Office of the Provost website   under the heading Miscellaneous].

The provost said that the key findings of a survey conducted by the committee are: 94% of those responding agreed that instructors generally maintain an atmosphere that promotes intellectual freedom and welcomes diverse perspectives; 88% agreed that their classmates support open discussion; 90% think their classes are open and welcoming of different points of view; and 14% reported witnessing or experiencing situations in which the classroom environment seemed unwelcoming of provocative or unpopular ideas. She said that the survey found no correlation between a student’s political views and responses to the survey.

Provost Gray-Little said that the UNC Tomorrow Commission has issued its final report. Now, each campus is being asked to respond to its findings. She urged the faculty to be alert to this process.

The provost called attention to recent increased interest by the Board of Trustees in issues related to graduate education and funding of graduate students. At the Trustees’ January meeting, the administration reported on the general subject of graduate student funding, particularly focusing on the need to bring stipends of graduate teaching assistants up to the level of our peer institutions, and the need for additional tuition remissions and graduate fellowships.

Prof. Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology & Immunology) reported that the UNC Faculty Assembly recently heard a report on the work of the UNC Tomorrow Commission. He emphasized the recommendations for improving the UNC System’s interface with K-12 public education and the community college system. He hoped that the candidates for dean of the School of Education would hear about this concern when they visit.

Prof. Andrew Perrin (Sociology) asked whether any action is contemplated in response to the report of the Committee on Academic Responsibility. Exec. Assoc. Provost Allred said that there were five recommendations in the report, one of which was to consider expanding the mission of the University Ombuds Office to include student complaints. [The report noted that this could require an additional staff member for the Ombuds Office.] He pointed out that the committee focused its work on the classroom environment. Overall, he said, the report found that we are doing most things very well.

Carolina First Campaign Update

Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Matt Kupec reported on the Carolina First Campaign, which concluded December 31, 2007, having raised over $2.38 billion for support of Carolina’s vision to be the nation’s leading public university.

[View Mr. Kupec’s PowerPoint presentation here.]

In response to a question, Mr. Kupec said that he anticipates another capital campaign in 2011, but would not hazard a guess as to what the goal might be.

Prof. Gregory Copenhaver (Biology) asked how much of the campaign total will go to the permanent endowment. Mr. Kupec replied that $950 million will be added to the endowment, which now totals about $2.2 billion, making it the 30 th largest in the nation.

Prof. Perrin, noting that we always welcome donations, asked why a formal fund-raising campaign is thought necessary. Mr. Kupec replied that a campaign capitalizes on the psychology of challenge and affords an opportunity to mobilize our resources to make a coordinated, sustained approach to potential donors.

Prof. Lloyd Kramer (History) pointed out that two senior members of the United States Senate have recently announced plans to hold hearings on university endowments, particularly with regard to payout rates. He asked for comment. Mr. Kupec replied that Carolina has been asked to respond to a number of questions in this regard. He felt that the problem stems from the continuing escalation in tuition rates by institutions like Harvard who have huge endowments coupled with very high tuition. He said that the senators who have raised this concern believe that endowments should pay out at least 5% annually, which we already do. Prof. Kramer asked whether there is a possibility that our payout rate might be increased beyond 5%. Mr. Kupec said that is a possibility, but he cautioned that 99.5% of all contributions have been designated by the donor for specific purposes.

Prof. Jo Anne Earp (Health Behavior and Health Education) asked whether donors have control over payout rates or the specific expenditures made from endowments. Mr. Kupec replied that they have no control over either. Prof. Earp asked whether donors understand this up front. Mr. Kupec replied that this is made clear from the beginning and the he does not recall having lost a donor over those issues.

Annual Report of the Committee on University Government

Prof. Michael Lienesch, Chair of the Committee on University Government, presented the committee’s annual report.

Prof. Lienesch spoke to the committee’s recommendation that Section 3-1 of the Faculty Code of University Government be amended to provide that the chair of the faculty is not eligible for immediate re-election. He said that this matter had been referred to the committee by Prof. Templeton.

Prof. Lienesch said that when the office of chair of the faculty was created in 1952, the Code provided that the chair was elected for a three-year term without eligibility for immediate re-election. This was changed by Res. 2003-11, on recommendation of the Committee on University Government, to allow the chair to serve two consecutive three-year terms. Prof. Lienesch said that the committee recommended that change primarily because it was recommending at the same time that members of the elected standing committees of the General Faculty be eligible to serve two consecutive terms. There was also some thought that serving two terms as chair of the faculty might have advantages arising from continuity. But, he said, the truth is that the committee did not actually devote much consideration or discussion to the effect on the office of faculty chair of eliminating the one-term limitation. Having been asked to focus attention on a one-term limit for that office alone, the committee solicited the views of the past five chairs (Professors James Peacock, Jane Brown, Richard Andrews, Sue Estroff, and Judith Wegner). The committee also sought comments from other members of the faculty who had had opportunity to work closely with chairs of the faculty over the past decade or so. After carefully considering these points of view, the committee concluded unanimously that the Code should be amended to return to the pre-2003 plan which limits faculty chairs to one term, with eligibility for re-election only after the lapse of at least one intervening term.

Prof. Lienesch advanced three reasons for returning to the one-term model:

  • Single terms are optimal in allowing chairs to function as the chief advocate of faculty interests. Over time, there is a risk that a faculty chair may begin to identify more with the point of view of the administration than with the faculty viewpoint. One former chair characterized this tendency as “going native.”
  • An incumbent running for re-election enjoys a clear and probably insurmountable advantage from name recognition in faculty-wide elections in an institution as large as Carolina.
  • Changing faculty chairs every three years serves to ensure that over time a diversity of academic cultures is represented in this important position and that more members of our faculty who would be outstanding choices for this position have an increased opportunity to serve.

Prof. Lienesch said that the committee had discussed a number of other options for restructuring the position of faculty chair but in the end had rejected them all. Among the ideas considered were shortening the term and creating the position of chair-elect. A shorter term was not favored by past chairs who felt that there needs to be sufficient time for a new chair to “learn the ropes” before attempting to develop and see to fruition new initiatives. The chair-elect idea was felt to be unsuited to the customs of this institution and the overall structure of our system of faculty governance. Furthermore, having a chair and chair-elect who ran independently of each other would set up the possibility of conflicted leadership.

Prof. Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty, explained that the committee’s proposal is on the agenda of today’s meeting for discussion only. Adoption requires a favorable vote at two meetings of the General Faculty, which will be called by the Agenda Committee at some later time.

Prof. Bachenheimer said he would like more discussion of the chair-elect option. Prof. Lienesch observed that North Carolina State University elects someone each year who serves for a year as chair-elect, then one year as chair, and finally one year as past chair. Prof. Ferrell added that faculty chair elections at N.C. State are conducted by their Faculty Senate from among the members of the Senate, not by the faculty at large. He felt that this adds a dimension that makes the system work well at State. He was skeptical that it would work as well for Carolina where the election is conducted among the faculty at large.

Prof. Perrin asked whether the committee had given thought to the somewhat constrained process whereby nominees for faculty chair are selected. Prof. Lienesch said that this had not been discussed.

Prof. Templeton said that he favors the committee’s proposed Code amendment.

Resolution 2008-1. On a Faculty Sabbatical Program

Prof. Harvey Seim (Marine Sciences), chair of the Research Committee, introduced a resolution calling for fund-raising efforts to endow a faculty sabbatical program. He said that the committee envisions a three-step process: (1) have the Faculty Council express support for a campus-wide sabbatical program to be part of the next capital campaign; (2) initiate a faculty dialogue on the benefits of such a program through Blackboard or other means; and (3) conduct a study of sabbatical programs at peer institutions and existing programs at Carolina. He said that the estimated endowment needed for a program that would provide a six-month sabbatical for all tenure-track faculty on a seven-year cycle would be around $250 million. He did not think that to be an unattainable goal.

Provost Gray-Little said that she has seen a good bit of sympathy for and interest in a faculty sabbatical program. Although this has not been a major focus of a capital campaign yet, she felt that the success of other faculty resources issues is a good signal for future success.

Prof. Richard Andrews (Public Policy) said that in the Bicentennial Campaign there had been interest in raising an endowment for the University Research Council. He felt that when fund-raising efforts related to research are being discussed, this idea should be pursued as well.

Prof. Kramer observed that while raising an endowment for sabbaticals is a worthy effort, speaking from his perspective as a department chair in the College he would not want to be put in the position of having to forego other kinds of support in return.

Adjournment

Its business having been completed, the Council adjourned at 4:19 p.m.

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty

 

Pdf of meeting materials

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