Meeting of the Faculty Council and the General Faculty

Friday, September 4, 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

Agenda

3:00 Presentation of the 2009 Thomas Jefferson Award to Prof. George Lensing

3:10 Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

  • Chancellor Holden Thorp

3:25 Recognition of Hettleman Award Winners

  • Chancellor Holden Thorp

3:30 Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

  • Interim Provost Bruce Carney

3:45 Resolution 2009-3. On Review of School and Departmental Statements of Criteria for Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure.

  • Prof. Joseph Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty

3:50 H1N1 Flu Planning for the University

  • Prof. Ron Strauss, Executive Associate Provost
  • Ms. Mary Beth Koza, Director, Environment, Health, & Safety Office
  • Dr. Mary Covington, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Campus Health Services

4:15 Discussion: Faculty Council Priorities for 2009-10

  • Chair of the Faculty McKay Coble

4:45 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 61 members of the Council attended: Anderson, Andrews, Bagnell, Bechtel, Bickford, Binotti, Blalock, Blocher, Bloom, Bowdish, Brice, Carol Brown, Pauline Brown, Catellier, Cornell, Earp, Egan, Fuchs Lokensgar, Gerhardt, Gilliland, Greene, Gulledge, Guskiewicz, Halloran, Hayslett, Heenan, Hodges, Irons, Janken, Kelly, Koomen, Lee, Lopez, Leonard, Lothspeich, McMillan, Melamut, Morris-Natschke, Morse, New, Owen, Paquette, Paul, Persky, Renner, Rhodes, Rodgers, Schoenfisch, Shea, Sheldon, Shields, Stearns, Sweeney, Sweet, Szypsak, Thorp, Tobin, Troster, Van Tilburg, Wallace and Williams.

The following 22 members were granted excused absences: Aaron, Blackburn, Jane Brown, DeSaix, Dilworth-Anderson, Ernst, Gerber, Hartnett, Katznelson, Kendall, Koroluk, Mauro, Montmeny, Papanikolas, Quinonez, Richardson, Stein, Stotts, Thrailkill, Tisdale, Toews and Yankaskas.

The following 5 members were absent without excuse: Coleman, Kramer, Maffly-Kipp, O’Connell-Edwards, and Verkerk.

Call to Order

Chancellor Holden Thorp called the meeting to order promptly at 3:00 p.m.

Presentation of the 2009 Thomas Jefferson Award

Chancellor Thorp presented the 2009 Thomas Jefferson Award to George S. Lensing Jr., Gordon and Bowman Gray Professor of English & Comparative Literature. This award was established in 1962 through the generosity of Mr. Robert E. McConnell. It is given annually to “that member of the faculty who most closely approximates in his or her teaching and personal life the philosophy and conduct of Thomas Jefferson.” Recipients are chosen by the faculty Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards.

Prof. Connie Eble (English & Comparative Literature) read the citation on behalf of Prof. Joseph Flora, who prepared the text but was unable to attend.

Prof. Lensing responded graciously, concluding with this advice for the Council: “In our zeal to seek for perfection, let us never make the perfect the enemy of the good.”

Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

Chancellor Thorp commented briefly on the difficult situation we have been experiencing in our state budget appropriations. He reminded the Council that in March 2009, we instituted cuts in state-funded expense lines totaling 5%. This was followed by an additional 5% reduction in appropriations, and then by a reduction of 5% in the amount of state funds authorized to be spent in the first quarter of the 2009-10 fiscal year. The chancellor said that we have been able to manage these reductions by planning ahead; it has not been necessary to reduce classroom seats, nor to discharge faculty members. He complimented the faculty for “taking up the slack,” and observed that overall faculty and staff morale is better here than at many of our peer institutions. He urged the faculty to help our employees get through these difficult times.

On the bright side, Chancellor Thorp said that state appropriations account for only 25%, or $500 million, of the University’s $2 billion budget. He pointed out that this year the faculty have generated $716 million in contracts and grants, which is a 5% increase over last year, and that we received $271 million in gifts in 2008-09, which is the second highest total ever—exceeded only by the final year of the Carolina First Campaign.

Chancellor Thorp commented on the public scrutiny being focused on the growth in the number of administrative positions in the University, not only here but across the nation. He said that the attention being paid to this issue is not inappropriate because our objective is to provide research, teaching, and service in the most cost-effective manner possible. Nevertheless, the extent and intensity of the attention being paid to the issue has increased the stress on employees already adversely affected by cuts in state funding. He asked the faculty to help reassure employees that their work is vital and appreciated.
The chancellor concluded by saying that the matter of status, rewards, and career paths of fixed-term faculty is one of his priorities. He said that two years ago, while he was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, he had asked Senior Associate Dean William Andrews to chair a committee to address these issues and make recommendations. He said that he looks forward to the committee’s report and to getting even more input into seeing how we can make fixed-term colleagues a more valued part of our community.

Hettleman Prize Winners

Chancellor Thorp recognized the winners of the 2009 Hettleman Prizes. The Hettleman Prize, which carries a $5,000 stipend, recognizes the achievements of outstanding junior tenure-track faculty or recently tenured faculty. Phillip Hettleman, who was born in 1899 and grew up in Goldsboro, established the award in 1986. He earned a scholarship to UNC, went to New York and in 1938 founded Hettleman & Co., a Wall Street investment firm. This year’s winners are Norman Sharpless, Associate Professor of Medicine and Genetics; Brian Strahl, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics; Andrew Perrin, Associate Professor of Sociology; and Jeff Whetstone, Associate Professor of Art.

Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

Interim Provost Bruce Carney said that when he accepted his position earlier this year he began work by assembling and analyzing data on faculty productivity in teaching and research, student graduation and retention rates, and similar measures of how well we are accomplishing our basic mission of teaching, research, and service. He said that this was a very satisfying exercise in that our faculty and students measure up very well indeed.

Provost Carney then reported briefly on four major items that will occupy much of his time in this academic year:

  • Enrollment Excellence Task Force. This group, chaired by Director of Admissions Steve Farmer and Prof. Steve Reznick, was created in 2008 by then-Provost Bernadette Gray-Little. She charged the task force with “developing comprehensive strategies that will improve our ability to enroll a talented and diverse student body” and “making specific recommendations about new programs we might develop, or existing programs we might strengthen, in order to ensure that the University remains a compelling choice for outstanding students—especially from North Carolina, but also from around the nation and the world.” In his installation address, Chancellor Thorp called upon the task force to “strengthen the Carolina undergraduate experience,” so that the University might continue to “attract and inspire the best students” despite the pressures generated by enrollment growth and by increased competition from other schools. The task force has submitted its final report and an implementation committee (also chaired by Farmer and Reznick) has been set up. It is anticipated that implementing the task force’s recommendations will improve the yield of the most highly-qualified applicants.
  • Task Force on Future Tenure and Promotion Policies and Practices. Also in 2008, Provost Gray-Little appointed a task force chaired by Prof. Jane D. Brown charged to study and make recommendations to ensure that the criteria used to confer permanent tenure are up-to-date, clear and applied fairly. The task force has submitted its final report. Executive Associate Provost Ronald Strauss is in charge of considering and implementing its recommendations. Provost Carney said that the task force’s recommendations mirror a 2008 Job Satisfaction Survey conducted by the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE).*
  • Tuition.Although the General Assembly restricted our authority to increase in-state tuition, we will be permitted to consider tuition increases for non-residents.
  • Academic Plan. The academic plan adopted in 2003 was intended to cover a five-year period and needs updating. Senior Associate Dean William Andrews has been asked to co-chair a task force to develop a plan for the next five years (the other co-chair has not yet been selected).

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

Prof. Joseph Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty, presented to the General Faculty Resolution 2009-3, amending the Faculty Code of University Government. He explained that the purpose of this resolution is to correct a clerical error in the June 2007 edition of the Faculty Code. At its meeting on January 17, 2003, the General Faculty adopted on first reading Resolution 2003-3 which created the Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure. As introduced and passed on first reading, the resolution assigned to the Advisory Committee responsibility for review of school and departmental statements of criteria for appointment, promotion, and tenure. On second reading on February 7, 2003, Resolution 2003-3 was amended to transfer this duty from the Advisory Committee to the APT Committee. Due to a clerical error in the Office of Faculty Governance the February 7 amendment was not incorporated in the enacted version of Res. 2003-3. Later that year, the enacted version was used as one of the source documents for Res. 2003-11, a comprehensive revision and restatement of Articles 1 through 4 of the Faculty Code. Subsequently, Res.2003-11 was used as one of the source documents for the comprehensive revision of the entire Code that was issued in 2007.

Resolution 2009-3 was adopted on first reading without dissent and remains on the calendar for consideration on second reading.

H1N1 Flu Planning

Executive Associate Provost Ronald Strauss, Director of Environment, Health, and Safety Mary Beth Koza, and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Campus Health Services Mary Covington briefed the faculty on current strategies for dealing with the H1N1 influenza outbreak in the context of the university’s larger efforts (ongoing since 2005) to develop plans for dealing with pandemic flu. The current Pandemic Influenza Emergency Plan has four levels:

  • Level 0 – No current hazard
  • Level 1 – Some infections
  • Level 2 – 20% of the campus population infected
  • Level 3 – Infection level requires closing the University

Ms. Koza said that we are currently at Level 1. Dr. Covington said that cases of flulike symptoms among students have been on the increase, but she noted that those symptoms often mimic those of other upper respiratory illnesses. She said that present treatment recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control dictate self-isolation from the onset of symptoms until at least twenty-four hours after fever has subsided without use of fever reducing medications (usually about 3-5 days total for a healthy young person). It is not usually recommended that people be either tested for H1N1, hospitalized, or treated with antiviral medications.

Exec. Assoc. Provost Strauss said that we are working on how to keep the academic program running during epidemic conditions. The greatest challenge will be what to do about students who are sick for three to five days and miss examinations or other work required for successful course completion. He said that University policy is to be compassionate and kind under such circumstances. He asked that faculty members notify their department heads when they are out sick, and that students let departments know when they are unable to attend class. He said that plans are not yet in place as to how we would respond if there is a major outbreak during final exam week.

Prof. Rachel Willis (American Studies) asked whether we need to identify sick students and report that information to the local health department. Ms. Koza said that is not necessary for this particular epidemic. Provost Strauss added that we will also be experiencing a normal flu season and that it will not be easy to identify who has the H1N1 strain.

Prof. Rebecca New (Education) asked for comment on faculty and students who have continuing contacts with the public schools. Provost Strauss pointed out that the public schools are having the same problems as we; Ms. Koza added that we are in close contact with state and county health agencies.

Prof. Susan Bickford (Political Science) asked whether we would be testing for H1N1. Ms. Koza replied that this would probably not occur as the test costs about $300 and results are not available for 48 hours. She said that when H1N1 anti-virals become available, they will be reserved for people who are hospitalized or are members of high-risk groups.

Faculty Council Priorities for 2009-10

Chair of the Faculty McKay Coble mentioned several initiatives that she hoped to address this year:

  • Issues of concern to fixed-term faculty. Coble noted that she serves on a committee within the College of Arts and Sciences that is developing a set of policies to guide fixed-term faculty hiring and career progression. She thanked Chancellor Thorp and Senior Associate Dean William Andrews for their support of these efforts. She also noted that the Faculty Council Committee on Fixed-Term Faculty would soon be reconstituted.
  • Issues of concern to emeritus faculty, especially relating to ways in which they can serve as a resource for the university. Coble said that she would be working closely with the Center for Faculty Excellence on these matters.
  • Textbook ordering. Coble expressed her hope that better communication between the textbook ordering division of Student Stores and the faculty could improve faculty understanding of the reasons they are asked to order books early and reduce the animosity that sometimes exists between Student Stores and the faculty.
  • Communicating with the Office of Faculty Governance. Coble encouraged faculty to contact her with their concerns and said that she would soon be starting a blog as a way to open lines of conversation between her and the faculty at large.
  • Examining ways for academic units in the School of Medicine to encourage crossover work with other academic units both in the Division of Health Affairs and the Division of Academic Affairs, and to allow undergraduate students to participate in exciting work being done in the Medical School.
  • Further development and expansion beyond the sciences of the research search engine being designed by Assoc. Vice Chancellor Andrew Johns and promoted by the Faculty Committee on Research, chaired by Prof. Ken Bollen
  • Global initiatives under way on campus. Coble said that a panel discussion including practical information on getting involved in international work would be held at an upcoming Faculty Council meeting.

Adjournment

Its business having been completed, the Council adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty


*The COACHE survey sampled tenure-track non-tenured faculty opinion at 120 United States universities, including Carolina. The report suggests areas that Carolina could improve upon to further the careers of junior faculty members, but it also reveals there are a number of areas in which Carolina is perceived more positively than our peer institutions. The report will be found at http://gseacademic.harvard.edu/~coache/reports/20071205.html.

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