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Meeting of the General Faculty & Faculty Council

Friday, November 6, 2009
3:00 p.m.
Hitchcock Multipurpose Room
Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Chancellor Holden Thorp and
Professor McKay Coble, Chair of the Faculty, presiding


3:00    Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

  • Chancellor Holden Thorp

3:15    Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

  • Interim Provost Bruce Carney

3:30    Online Student Course Evaluation System

4:00    Committee Reports

4:20    Resolution 2009-3. On Review of School and  Departmental Statements of Criteria for Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure.  (Second reading)

4:25    Presentation of Nominees for 2010 Distinguished Alumnus/a Awards (closed session)

  • Faculty Council members click here for secure access to infromation about the nominees (ONYEN and password required)
  • Prof.  Joseph Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty

4:30    Adjourn


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 48 members of the Council attended: Aaron, Anderson, Bagnell, Bechtel, Bickford, Binotti, Blalock, Blocher, Bowdish, P. Brown, Cornell, DeSaix, Earp, Gerber, Gilliland, Greene, Guskiewicz, Heenan,  Janken, Kelly, Lee, Lopez, Lothspeich, McMillan, Mieczkowski, Owen, Papanikolas, Paul, Persky, Quinonez, Renner, Richardson, Rodgers, Schoenfisch, Shea, Sheldon, Shields, Stein, Stotts, Sweeney, Szypszak, Thrailkill, Tobin, Toews, Van Tilburg, Verkerk, Wallace, and Yankaskas.

The following 31 members were granted excused absences: Andrews, Blackburn, Bloom, C. Brown, J. Brown, Catellier, Dilworth-Anderson, Egan, Ernst, Fuchs-Lokensgar, Gerhardt, Gulledge, Halloran, Hartnett, Hodges, Irons, Katznelson, Koomen, Koroluk, Maffly-Kipp, Mauro, Melamut, Morris-Natschke, New, Paquette, Rhodes, Stearns, Throp, Tisdale, Troster, and Williams.

The following 6 members were absent without excuse: Brice, Coleman, Hayslett, Morse, O’Connell-Edwards, and Sweet.

Call to Order

Chair of the Faculty McKay Coble called the meeting to order promptly at 3:00 p.m.

Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

Chancellor Holden Thorp reported briefly on the current budget situation. He said that while there is still cause for concern, the state’s  financial situation has improved over the past year. The revenue report for the first quarter of the 2009-10 fiscal year shows collections to be about one percent lower than the estimates used in preparing the state budget, but,  compared to the situation in other states, that is “pretty good.” He said that Governor Beverly Perdue’s earlier decision to hold back five percent of the  quarterly allotment for expenditures in the first quarter of the fiscal year means that we will probably be able to get through the remainder of 2009 without more holdbacks. However, we will not have a clear idea of what to expect for 2010 until the third quarter (January-April, 2010) revenue report is  issued in early May. His overall assessment of the state budget situation was “so far, so good,” but, he said, “while the worst may be behind us, the fiscal crisis is not over yet.”

The chancellor noted that he has appointed Ms. Judith Cone as special assistant to the chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship. Ms. Cone is vice president of emerging strategies for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. She will be working with the chancellor over the next 18 months on a strategy plan for innovation and entrepreneurship that will mesh with the new academic plan now in the works.

[An announcement of Cone’s appointment is reproduced here.]

He asked for questions or comments. There were none.

Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

Interim Provost Bruce Carney reported that the co-chairs of  the task force charged with developing a new academic plan will be Senior Assoc. Dean William Andrews and Professor Sue Estroff. He said that he hopes to fill the remaining positions on the task force within the next week or two. The academic plan guides our decisions in allocating resources, he said.

The provost reported that the Global Research Institute, which  had been announced last March, has now been approved. It will be headed by  Prof. Peter Coclanis, who is stepping down from his current position as associate provost for international affairs to accept this new assignment.

[An announcement about the creation of the Global Research Institute is here.]

Finally, the provost said that funds have been allocated this week to develop improved security measures for databases that contain sensitive information.

There were no questions or comments.

Online Student Course Evaluation System

Dr. Lynn Williford, assistant provost for institutional research and assessment, briefed the Council on a new online student course  evaluation system.

In response to a question from Prof. Coble, Dr. Williford said that departments that would like to begin using the new system for the  current semester should contact her or Dr. Larry Mayes.

[Dr. Williford’s PowerPoint may be seen here.]

Prof. Douglas Kelly (Statistics & Operations Research)  asked about response rates for online surveys. Dr. Williford said that in the pilot phase of developing the new system, response rates were about 50 percent. She said the response rate for a particular course is influenced by how enthusiastic the instructor is about the system. Some institutions have put incentives in place to encourage responses. Others withhold grades until all students have responded. Other institutions allow students to see the results  after a pre-determined percentage of responses have been received.

Ms. Maryam Farooq, student government liaison, said that undergraduates tend to be apathetic about submitting course evaluations. She  thought that incentives would be a good idea.

Prof. Virginia Shea (Cell & Molecular Physiology) said that she typically has a 98 percent response rate in a course that enrolls  150-180 students. She said that she gives extra credit to those who complete the survey. She asked whether the new system that Dr. Williford described allows instructors to identify students who have responded. Dr. Williford  replied that this is technically possible.

Annual Reports of Standing Committees

Advisory Committee. Prof. Coble said that Prof. Charles Daye, chair of the Advisory Committee was unable to attend but that Prof. Joseph Ferrell, secretary of the faculty, would  try to reply to any questions. There were none.

Faculty Grievance Committee. Prof. Beverly Taylor, chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee,  filed the committee’s annual report by title and offered to respond to questions. Prof. Ferrell asked whether the committee had noticed a decline in  formal grievances as a result of the work of the University Ombuds Office. Prof. Taylor said she could not make a definite connection, but that the committee had little business this year.

Faculty Hearings  Committee. Prof. Richard Whisnant, chair of the Faculty Hearings Committee, filed the committee’s annual report by title. There were no questions.

Resolution 2009-3. On Review of  School and Departmental Statements of Criteria for Appointment, Promotion, and  Tenure.

Prof. Ferrell call for discussion and action on second reading on Resolution 2009-3, adopted on first reading at the September 4, 2009, meeting of the General Faculty. There was no further discussion.

Resolution 2009-3 was adopted without dissent and will be enrolled.

2010 Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus Awards

Prof. Ferrell moved that the Council go into closed session  to receive a report from the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards  nominating persons for Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards to be presented on University Day 2010. The motion was adopted.

Prof. Ferrell reported the names and brief biographical  sketches of five nominees. Each was approved without dissent.

Prof. Ferrell moved that the Council return to open session. The motion was adopted.


Its business having been completed, the Council adjourned at 4:00 p.m.

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty

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