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Meeting of the Faculty Council and General Faculty

Friday, April 15,  2011
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  Remembrance of Deceased Faculty

  • Prof. Joseph Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty

3:20  Update on Academic Plan, “Reach Carolina”

3:45  Annual Report:  Faculty Council Committee on Fixed-Term Faculty

4:00  Resolution 2011-4. On Endorsing the Rank of Master Lecturer

4:10  Annual Report:  Educational Policy Committee

4:20  Resolution 2011-3.  On Reporting Contextual Grade Information on Undergraduate Student Transcripts

  • Prof. Andrew Perrin, Chair, Enhanced Grade Reporting Implementation Subcommittee of the Educational Policy Committee

4:30  Election of Secretary of the Faculty

  • Prof. Lissa Broome on behalf of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee

4:35  [intlink id=”3214″ type=”post”]Chair of the Faculty’s Remarks[/intlink]

  • Prof. McKay Coble, Chair of the Faculty

4:45  Faculty Council Year-End Assessment

5:00  Adjourn


The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened April 15, 2011, at 3:00 p.m. in the Hitchcock Multipurpose Room of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.

The following 56 members attended: Bachenheimer,  Bechtel, Brice, Carlson, Chen,  Coble, Copenhaver,  Cornell, Crowder, DeSaix, Eaker-Rich, Earp, Ferrell, Fuchs-Lokensgar, Gerhardt, Gilland, Gilliland, Greene, Guskiewicz, Hayslett, Irons, Janken, Koomen, Leonard, Linden, Lund, Maffly-Kipp, Mayer,  McMillan, Mieczkowski, Milano, Milone, Morris-Natschke, Morse, New, O’Shaughnessey, Palmer, Papanikolas, Paul, Renner,  Richardson, Schoenbach, Schoenfisch, Shea, Starkey, Stearns, Steponaitis,  Stewart,  Szypszak, H. Thorp, Thrailkill, Tisdale, Tobin, Wallace, Webster-Cyriaque, and Yankaskas, . The following 24 members were granted excused absences:  Anderson, Bagnell, Balaban, Blalock, J. Brown, Cohen, Egan, Gallippi, Gehrig, Gerber, Heenan, Hess, Kramer, Krome-Lukens, Lee, Lopez, Lothspeich, Miller, Persky, Rodgers, Swogger, Toews, Troster, and Van Tilburg. The following 11 members were absent without excuse: Chapman, Dilworth-Anderson, Friga, Gulledge, Moracco, Powers, Shanahan, Stotts, Sunnarborg, J. Thorp, and Verkerk.

Call to Order

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

Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

Chancellor Holden Thorp thanked Prof. Coble for her outstanding service as chair of the faculty over the past two years. He had high praise for her commitment to the University and the well-being of its faculty.

The chancellor noted that the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education had reported its proposals for the 2011-13 state budget, and that President Ross has registered the appropriate level of alarm about the proposals, which add up to a disproportionate cut for the UNC System of almost $483 million, or 17.4 percent. At Carolina, state funds primarily support undergraduate instruction, so absorbing a cut of this magnitude—more than $75 million—would inflict long-term damage. We would have no choice, he said, but to reduce the number of course sections and to increase class size. Chancellor Thorp said he is thankful that the House committee recognizes the importance of keeping tuition revenue on campus, fully funding enrollment growth, and allowing F&A receipts to remain on campus, but he is concerned about a number of specific line-item reductions and will ask the General Assembly to allow the University full flexibility in managing cuts in state funding.

Chancellor Thorp reported that the University has reached a settlement with Prof. Bonnie Yankaskas through a successful mediation process.

The chancellor said that this afternoon a lawsuit seeking to compel the University to release certain records pertinent to the NCAA football investigation had come on for hearing before Judge Howard Manning. The plaintiffs have submitted 85 public records requests, many with multiple subparts. The University has turned over about 6,400 documents, totaling more than 23,000 pages and has spent more than 2,000 hours to satisfy the plaintiffs’ requests. At issue is in the lawsuit at this point is whether certain records and certain information in other records are protected from disclosure by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) or provisions of the North Carolina Public Records Law. The chancellor said that this is an important case that will give guidance on how to mesh North Carolina’s public records laws with FERPA.

The chancellor said that there has been some concern among students about when and in what modality AlertCarolina is invoked. He said he has asked General Counsel Leslie Strohm to convene the executive group that is activated during a campus emergency to review our AlertCarolina policies and procedures

Prof. Tom Linden (Journalism & Mass Communication) asked three questions: (1) why not go directly to the people and ask them to support an increase in taxes rather than see drastic cuts in education funding; (2) why not increase the number of out-of-state students as a means of generating additional tuition revenue; and (3) what is the current status of Carolina North. The chancellor replied as to the first question that both he and President Ross have endorsed Governor Perdue’s recommendation to continue the ½% sales tax which is set to expire, and that he did not think he could do much more than that. As for increasing the number of out-of-state students, the chancellor said that would have been impossible a year ago, but now there are some legislators who are thinking about the possibility. He said it would be premature to take a position on that issue at this time. As for Carolina North, the chancellor noted that a new hangar for our medical operations is being constructed at Raleigh-Durham Airport, which leaves the University with an airport that serves the community, not the University. He noted that plans are in progress to build office space at Carolina North to be financed by funds that are currently being used to pay for rented space off-campus. Both of these steps are financially prudent and do not commit us to future costs.

Prof. Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology & Immunology) asked for comment on whether there is a move to restrict the University’s freedom to raise tuition. Chancellor Thorp replied that there is a special provision in the House budget proposal that would prohibit tuition increases. He observed that this is definitely at odds with the thinking of the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Berger, about tuition increases as a means of responding to higher education budget cuts.

Remembrance of Deceased Colleagues

Prof. Joseph Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty, read the names of faculty colleagues who have died in the past year. The Council stood in a moment of silent tribute.

Academic Plan

Dean Bill Andrews and Prof. Sue Estroff, co-chairs of the Academic Plan Steering Committee, presented a brief overview of the plan which has now been approved by the Board of Trustees. Chancellor Thorp said that the trustees were “captivated” by the plan. Prof.  Andrews’ remarks were guided by a PowerPoint presentation which is posted on the Faculty Governance website.

Prof. Victor Schoenbach (Epidemiology) asked for comment on the role, if any, that the Academic Plan envisions for distance education. Specifically, he asked whether frequent use of the term “the campus” excludes distance education. Dean Andrews replied that several recommendations in the plan call for maximizing available technology, but when the plan refers to “the campus” is does in fact mean the physical campus in Chapel Hill. Using that terminology does not, however, negate distance education in appropriate contexts, he said. Prof. Shoenbach replied that we should not be taking the position that students are not really members of the University community unless they actually reside in Chapel Hill. Dean Andrews reiterated that even as we look for additional means to reach beyond the campus, we still value residential education and the plan embodies that preference.

Prof. Bachenheimer observed that online instruction is likely to increase, even for students who reside in Chapel Hill. Even though are online course offerings are much fewer than is the case on other campuses of the UNC System, there will be an explosion of interest in them, he said. Prov. Bachenheimer asked whether the plan anticipates that likelihood. Prof. Estroff said that the plan does envision that opportunity.

Prof. Virginia Shea (Cell & Molecular Physiology) observed that the Friday Center is mentioned in the plan only in passing. She thought that odd. Prof. Estroff replied that many units on campus are not specifically mentioned in the plan, but omission does not imply being overlooked.

Annual Report of the Committee on Fixed-Term Faculty

Prof. Jean DeSaix (Biology), chair of the Faculty Council Committee on Fixed-Term Faculty, presented the committee’s annual report. Her remarks were guided by a PowerPoint presentation which is posted on the Faculty Governance website.

Resolution 2011-4. On Endorsing the Rank of Master Lecturer.

In the absence of Provost Bruce Carney, the secretary of the faculty laid before the Council a resolution endorsing an amendment to the Trustee Policies and Procedures Governing Academic Tenure to add Master Lecturer to the list of authorized title designations for fixed-term faculty appointments. The resolution was accompanied by a letter from Provost Carney explaining that the rationale for the change is to provide for lecturers, most of whom hold appointments in the College of Arts and Sciences, a three-tiered appointment track that recognizes seniority and accomplishment. He wrote that proposals for three-tiered lecturer appointments have been recommended by two separate committees of Arts and Sciences faculty members, beginning in 2008.

Prof. Tim McMillan (African & African-American Studies) asked where the term “Master Lecturer” had originated. Prof. Ferrell replied that this is the title preferred by Provost Carney.

Prof. Kay Lund (Cell & Molecular Physiology) asked whether anyone had considered the fact that the term “master” has gender implications that some women find offensive.

Prof. Jane Thrailkill (English & Comparative Literature) agreed with Prof. Lund and urged that some other title be used instead.

Prof. John Carlson (Nursing) wondered whether people outside the University would understand that Master Lecturer is a higher rank than Senior Lecturer.

Prof. Thrailkill moved to amend the resolution to strike the word “Master” and substitute “University,” so the top tier would be entitled University Lecturer. Chancellor Thorp expressed reservations about that because of confusion with the title “University Professor.”

A member of Council suggested that the top rank could be “Distinguished Lecturer.” Chancellor Thorp expressed reservations about that idea as well because the title “Distinguished Professor” has a clear statutory definition—it signifies that the professorship qualifies for matching funds from General Administration.

Prof. Sally Stearns (Health Policy & Management) moved to amend the resolution to call for the ranks of Junior Lecturer, Lecturer, and Senior Lecturer.” A Council member remarked that this would appear to result in confusion about the status of faculty members currently holding the rank of Senior Lecturer. After further discussion, Prof. Stearns asked consent to withdraw her amendment. There being no objection, the amendment was withdrawn.

Dean Karen Gil (Arts & Sciences) said that extensive discussions had gone on as to the appropriate title for the new third tier. None of the ideas put forward had gained consensus support. The proposal now before the Council seemed the best approach in the end. She hoped the Council would support the resolution as presented because the College wants to move forward with a new three-tiered lecturer rank in the upcoming academic year. Delaying the proposal in a search for a more widely acceptable title seems unnecessary, she said.

Prof. Jean DeSaix (Biology) and Prof. Jan Boxill (Philosophy) said they had preferred other titles, but in the end thought it more important to move on with a three-tiered ranking system.

Prof. Lund concluded the discussion by saying she hoped that in the future more consideration would be given to gender neutral language.

Resolution 2011-4 was approved without audible dissent.

Annual Report of the Educational Policy Committee

Prof. Andrea Biddle, chair of the Educational Policy Committee, presented the committee’s annual report.

Prof. Biddle reported that in early April the committee had received from Dean Karen Gil a request to consider a proposal for English 105, a new course on writing and oral communication. The proposed course was approved by the Administrative Boards of the General College and the College of Arts of Sciences in response to last year’s review of the Making Connections General Education curriculum. The review endorsed a one-semester four-credit writing and oral communication course to be required of all entering students, without regard to scores on AP, IB, SAT, or ACT tests. The new course would replace the current six-credit English 101/102 sequence. It would be required of all undergraduate students except community college transfers admitted under the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement or those admitted with transfer credit for a comparable course. Dean Gil said that the administrative boards devoted considerable time to discussing the merits of a three-credit versus four-credit version of the course. In the end, she said that she is recommending a three-hour version.

In response to questions, Prof. Biddle said that AP students would not be exempted from the new course, and that it does not replace or affect English 100. A Council member asked why community college transfer students would be exempted. Dean Bobbi Owen replied that those students are deemed to have completed all general education requirements.

Prof. Biddle said that the proposal had reached the committee too late for the drafting of a formal resolution for action by the Council at this meeting. She moved instead that the Council endorse the recommendation in principle, and that a formal resolution be prepared for final action by the Faculty Executive Committee in time for implementation in the fall semester 2011. The motion was approved.

Resolution 2011-3. On Reporting Contextual Grade Information on Undergraduate Transcripts.

Prof. Andrew Perrin, on behalf of the Educational Policy Committee, laid before the Council Resolution 2011-3. He briefly summarized the reports and previous Council resolutions leading up to the proposal, noting that the plan had been described in detail and discussed at some length at the April 23, 2010, Council meeting. Since that time, the Educational Policy Committee and the University Registrar have been working to refine the proposal which is now before the Council for final action.

Prof. Tom Linden (Journalism & Mass Communication) said that we place too much emphasis on grades as it is, and that the level of detail proposed to be reported on undergraduate transcripts goes far beyond what reviewers of graduate school applications need. He said he actually would prefer that we move toward using the same grading system for undergraduates as is now employed for graduate students. He said he disagreed with the entire proposal.

Prof. Joy Renner (Allied Health Sciences) said that the current grading system does not work well for criterion reference grading. Prof. Perrin replied that the proposal is based on a preference for transparency. It does not make any change in existing expectations for grading or grading standards; it only places the grade received in context.

Prof. Victor Schoenbach (Epidemiology) asked three questions: (1) why the percentile rankings to be reported are listed from top to bottom rather than the other way around; (2) how are courses with a mix of graduate students and undergraduates handled; and (3) what is meant by the term “section.” Prof. Perrin said that student representatives had requested that the percentiles be ranked from top to bottom; that any course which enrolls at least ten undergraduate students will be included; and that he did not have a working definition of “section.” University Registrar Christopher Derickson said that the department determines which offerings are deemed sections of the same course.

Prof. Jeffrey Greene (Education) spoke in opposition to the resolution. He said that more time is needed to evaluate the basic idea. Prof. Rebecca New (Education) also opposed the resolution on pedagogical grounds.

Prof. Perrin remarked that the history of the proposal dates back to a report from the Educational Policy Committee in 1999. This is the third Council resolution on the subject, he said.

Prof. Stearns spoke in support of the resolution.

Discussion having concluded, the question was put. Resolution 2011-3 was adopted by a vote of 21 for, 13 against.

Election of the Secretary of the Faculty

Prof. Lissa Broome, acting on behalf of the Advisory Committee, reported that the term of the incumbent secretary of the faculty, Prof. Joseph Ferrell, ends June 30, 2011. The Faculty Code provides that the Council elects the secretary of the faculty for a five-year term. The Code calls for the Advisory Committee to place in nomination one name, and that an opportunity is then given for additional nominations from the floor. She nominated Prof. Ferrell for election to a five-year term beginning July 1, 2011. Prof. Coble called for other nominations. There being none, Prof. Ferrell was elected by acclamation.


Prof. Coble said that this being her final Council meeting as chair of the faculty, she would take the opportunity to list some of the things that had been accomplished during her term:

  • Emeritus faculty have been recognized as valued members of the University community;
  • Fixed-term faculty have made great strides;
  • The Council has finally acted definitively on the issue of contextual grade reporting;
  • The Committee on the Status of Women has achieved ongoing study of salary equity;
  • The Faculty Information Technology Advisory Committee has been resuscitated;
  • The Copyright Committee has been refocused;
  • The Administrative Board of the Library has been restructurer; and
  • The Council established the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award.

The Council responded to Prof. Coble’s valedictory with a sustained standing ovation.


Its business having been completed, the Council adjourned.

Respectfully submitted
Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty


Pdf of meeting materials

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