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Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, March 20, 2009, 3:00 p.m.
Hitchcock Multipurpose Room
Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Chancellor Holden Thorp
Professor Joe Templeton, Chair of the Faculty


3:00   Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

  • Chancellor Holden Thorp

3:15   Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

  • Provost Bernadette Gray-Little

3:30   The Employee Forum’s Response to the University Budget Crisis

  • Mr. Tommy Griffin, Chair

3:40   Annual Report: Committee on the Status of Women

  • Prof. Barbara Osborne, Chair

3:50   Annual Report: Buildings and Grounds Committee

  • Prof. David Owens, Chair

4:00   Annual Report:  University Committee on Copyright

  • Ms. Leah Dunn, Chair

4:10   Annual Report: Scholarships, Awards, and Student Aid Committee

  • Prof. Charles Daye, Chair

4:30   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: Aaron, Ashby, Bagnell, Balthrop, Bangdiwala, Bechtel, Bickford, Binotti, Blalock, Blocher, Boukhelifa, J. Brown, Campbell, Chin, Conway, DeSaix, Earp, Egan, Gerber, Gulledge, Halloran, Hartnett, Heenan, Hendrick, Hodges, Katznelson, Kelly, Kendall, Kramer, Lee, Leonard, Lopez, Melamut, Moss, O’Connell-Edwards, Papanikolas, Paquette, Pruvost, Quinonez, Renner, Richardson, Rodgers, Saunders, Schoenfisch, Shields, Shomaker, Stein, Stotts, Sweeney, Thorp, Tobin, Toews, Van Tilburg, Verkerk, Vernon-Feagans, Wallace, Weinberg, and Williams.

The following 28 members were granted excused absences: Adamson, Andrews, Blackburn, Bloom, Brice, P. Brown, Copenhaver, Cornell, Dilworth-Anderson, Ernst, Hightow, Hobbs, Kirsch, Koroluk, LeFebvre, Lesneski, Maffly-Kipp, Mauro, Morris-Natschke, Oatley, Orth, Parsons, Rhodes, Sheldon, Temple, Visser, Whisnant and Wilder.

The following 6 members were absent without excuse: Adler, Catellier, Coleman, Mauro, Rosamond and Sweet.

Call to Order and Chancellor’s Remarks

Prof. Joseph Templeton, Chair of the Faculty, called the meeting to order promptly at 3:00 p.m.

Chancellor Holden Thorp, referring to a recent email he had sent to all campus constituencies, reiterated that all units have been instructed to prepare for a permanent reduction of 5 percent in state budget appropriations for fiscal 2009-10. He said that he had shared in advance what he planned to say in the email with the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. One point raised in that discussion was that wide sharing of budget information of this kind raises the anxiety level of faculty and staff who fear adverse consequences. Nevertheless, he said, he remains committed to continued openness and transparency in preparing for budget cuts, a stance that the Advisory Committee endorses. The chancellor noted that Governor Beverly Perdue’s recommended 2009-10 budget calls for a 6.4 percent cut in appropriations to higher education. UNC Vice President for Finance Robert Nelson has said that the governor’s proposal is probably the best budget that we will see. Consequently, the chancellor said, we need to be prepared for the worst, hoping for the best. In this environment, he said, the earlier we get started on preparing for permanent reductions in state funding the better we will be able to manage in the long run. This is why we are working now to reduce expenditures for 2009-10 by targeted amounts rather than waiting for precise details to emerge from the legislative budget process, which will not be completed until after the fiscal and academic years have already begun.

Chancellor Thorp reported that the Employee Assistance Fund that he described at the February 20, 2009, Council meeting is up and running. He said that deans and department chairs have been briefed on how to implement budget cuts assigned to them. The chancellor said that the two overarching priorities in managing these cuts are: (1) to protect tenured and tenure-track faculty members, and (2) to be in a position to make new faculty hires in 2009-10 in order to protect the vitality of our academic programs. He emphasized that he is committed to continued progress in those programs and is determined not to allow Carolina to fall behind academically. He firmly rejected any strategy of across-the-board budget cuts.

Turning to other matters, Chancellor Thorp commented on the recent decision to postpone a major renovation and enlargement of Kenan Stadium that had been planned for some time. He said that the project would have been fully funded by private gifts and anticipated increases in Athletics Department revenue and would have injected a good bit of money into the local economy. However, as the national economy worsens it seems unlikely that the revenue projections on which the project had been planned would materialize. Consequently, he decided to complete the portion of the renovation that is now under construction but to postpone the remainder of the plan. He said that Athletics Director Richard Baddour and Head Football Coach Butch Davis both support that decision.
Returning to budget issues, Chancellor Thorp said that he and President Erskine Bowles still support asking the General Assembly to authorize the University to use employee furloughs as one means of managing the budget crisis. He said that today a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives that would authorize up to 20 days of furlough, but protect employees whose annual salaries are less than $30,000. He said that Governor Perdue remains opposed to furloughs and that the fate of the proposed legislation is unclear.

Prof. Margot Stein (Dentistry) asked about the impact of the planned five percent budget reduction on fixed-term faculty. She said that she understands that some deans are placing all fixed-term faculty on one-year contracts. Chancellor Thorp replied that deans are not allowed to change the terms of fixed-term contracts in the middle of the term, but that deans have always had discretion to make renewal appointments for terms of one to five years without regard to the length of the prior appointment. He said that there are no plans to initiate University-wide policies that would change that discretion.

Prof. Lloyd Kramer (History) asked whether any thought has been given to salary reductions if furloughs are not allowed. The chancellor replied that voluntary salary-reduction plans are not under consideration due to legal considerations. He noted that Governor Perdue and Speaker of the House Joe Hackney are on opposite sides of these issues.

In response to a question about how much notice will be given to fixed-term faculty members whose appointments are not renewed, the chancellor replied that no change in existing policy is contemplated. [The tenure regulations provide that not earlier than 180 calendar days nor later than 90 calendar days before the expiration of a current term, a fixed-term faculty member may ask the department chairman whether the appointment will be renewed and, if so, its terms.]

Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

Provost Bernadette-Gray Little reported that the search for dean of the School of Information and Library Science is beginning (Prof. John Stamm is chairing the search committee); the search for dean of the College of Arts and Sciences is at the stage of interviewing finalists; the search for dean of the School of Nursing is at the interview stage; and the search for University Registrar is beginning to organize (Dr. Lynn Williford, Assistant Provost for Institutional Research and Assessment, is chairing the search committee).

The provost said that this is a good year to be recruiting for new faculty positions, but not a good time to be looking for a job in higher education. She said that our doctoral and post-doctoral students will find a challenging job market. At Carolina, a number of searches have been cancelled; some in anticipation of budget cuts, others because anticipated retirements did not occur.

Provost Gray-Little said that the difficulties that graduating seniors will encounter in finding employment is likely to result in a marked increase in applications to graduate programs. The Graduate School reports that applications are up 8 percent already, and that applicants’ resumes are typically stronger than usual. She said that this is a good time to capitalize on the richness of the applicant pool if funding for stipends and tuition remissions can be found.

Turning to undergraduate admissions, the provost reported that our goal for the Class of 2013 is 3,943 admissions, of whom 710 will be out-of-state. She said that to date we have received mover 23,000 applications, which is a 7 percent increase over last year. Most of the increase is in the out-of-state category.

The provost reported that two Carolina students have been named Rhodes Scholars (out of 85 selected world-wide). She said that we have had eight Rhodes Scholars in the past seven years. In addition, three of our students received Luce Scholarships out of a total of 18 awarded (giving us more Luce Scholars than any other institution), and one student was named a Churchill Scholar out of eight selected. She gave special praise to Prof. George Lensing who has headed the Office of Distinguished Scholarships for the past several years, and who has indicated that this will be his last year in that position.

Finally, the provost reported that externally funded research is already up by $60 million from the same point last year. She anticipates record external funding next year, partially due to the federal economic stimulus package.

Employee Forum Response to University Budget Crisis

Prof. Templeton welcomed Mr. Tommy Griffin, Chair of the Employee Forum, and invited him to address the Council.

Mr. Griffin said that the current economic recession is leading to far-reaching budget cuts that will lead to difficult choices on the part of the University’s leaders. He said that the prospect of job loss is particularly painful to anyone who does not have tenure or immediate prospects for retirement. He noted that Chancellor Thorp revealed to the Employee Forum on March 2 a plan to deal with layoffs that would be honorable and humane. Mr. Griffin said that he wants that to be done in the right way, which includes extension of benefits, career counseling, personal counseling, and preference in hiring for new positions. He said that in his role as chair of the Employee Forum he is seeing a sense of unity among staff employees. “People don’t want there to be layoffs, but they want to help make sure that whatever cuts come are done while considering the best interests of the University and the people involved,” he said. He referred to a sign from the Battle of Britain in World War II that says “Keep Calm and Carry On.” This, he said, is the spirit that he is seeing on campus today. People are not giving up, he said; they are working hard for the University in tough times. We know that we have in our student body the future leaders of our state, and that we must deliver to them the best education possible to provide a brighter and more productive future for our own children, he said. Mr. Griffin summed it up with this conclusion: “People—employees—know that we are indeed tougher than these tough times, and we know that we will endure.”

The Council responded with hearty applause.

Annual Report of the Committee on the Status of Women

Prof. Barbara Osborne (Exercise & Sport Science), Chair of the Committee on the Status of Women (COSW), presented the committee’s annual report. She said that the committee had focused on two matters this year: (1) reorganization and revitalization of the committee, and (2) working cooperatively with other groups addressing similar issues in order to avoid duplication of effort. She acknowledged the good work of the Carolina Women’s Center, but said that COSW thinks that it should continue to be the primary focus for faculty attention to the status of women faculty. She said that COSW hopes to encourage on-going studies of gender salary equity under the auspices of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

Prof. Jane Brown (Journalism & Mass Communication) pointed out that in the past COSW had also focused on recruitment and retention of women faculty. Prof. Osborne replied that the committee would also like to see a longitudinal study annually updated that focuses on all faculty career paths.

Prof. Diane Leonard (English & Comparative Literature) expressed hope that COSW would remain active and that it would continue its attention to gender salary equity.

Annual Report of the Committee on Buildings and Grounds

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

In response to a comment and question about the area around the flag pole in the center of Polk Place having become a haven for smokers, Prof. Owens said that this has not come to the committee’s attention because the location has no official status. If it did, the committee would have jurisdiction. Chancellor Thorp said that state law as now written does not allow the University to ban smoking in areas that are 100 feet or more distant from the nearest building. Prof. Valerie Pruvost (Romance Languages) asked whether it would be possible to provide special trash cans in the area. Now, the ground is littered with butts, she said. The chancellor replied that it comes down to whether we want to endorse the flag pole as a designated smoking location. “There is not a good solution to this,” he added.

Annual Report of the Committee on Copyright

Ms. Leah Dunn (University Libraries), Chair of the Committee on Copyright, presented the committee’s annual report.

Prof. Leonard asked whether the committee addresses copyright problems in foreign countries. Ms. Dunn replied that one of the committee members, Mr. Fletcher Fairey, is a attorney in the Office of General Counsel and that questions of that nature are referred to him.

In response to a question about whether the committee is concerned with patents, Ms. Dunn said that patent matters are currently handled by the Office of Technology Development, but that she would ask the committee whether it has an interest in developing expertise in that area.

Annual Report of the Committee on Scholarships, Awards, and Student Aid

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

A member of the Council asked whether the committee has developed data on the average award as a percentage of tuition. Prof. Daye replied that it has not. Director of Scholarships and Student Aid Shirley Ort said that the Office does have that data but that she did not have it with her today.

Prof. Ed Halloran (Nursing) said that at the February Council meeting, he had learned that minority enrollment had declined somewhat. He asked if the committee is in contact with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Prof. Daye replied that Director of Undergraduate Admissions Steve Farmer is a member of the committee, but that the committee has not specifically addressed particular cohorts of students. He noted that the Pogue Scholarships were originally earmarked for minority students, but that had been invalidated by the courts.

Prof. Pat Conway (Economics) asked whether the data presented by the committee included athletic scholarships. Prof. Daye said that it did. Prof. Conway asked how many such scholarships are awarded annually. Ms. Ort replied that there were 478 athletic scholarships in 2007-08. Prof. Conway asked whether they are considered to be merit-based or need-based. Ms. Ort replied that there are some in both categories.


Its business having been completed, the Council adjourned at 4:16 p.m.

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty

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