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Meeting of the Faculty Council & the General Faculty

Friday, February 18, 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 Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

  • Provost Bruce Carney

3:30 Annual Reports

Undergraduate Admissions Committee

  • Prof. Bobbi Owen, Chair
  • Mr. Steve Farmer, Associate Provost and Director of Undergraduate Admissions

Scholarships, Awards, and Student Aid Committee

Committee on University Government

4:45 Faculty Council Closed Session: Honorary Degree Nominations for 2012 Commencement

  • Secretary of the Faculty Joe Ferrell

4:50 Other questions or discussion

5:00 Adjourn


The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened February 18, 2011, at 3:00 p.m. in the Hitchcock Multipurpose Room of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.

The following 62 members attended: Anderson, Bachenheimer, Bagnell, Betts, Blalock, Brice, Brown, Carlson, Chapman, Cohen, Copenhaver, Cornell, DeSaix, Earp, Egan, Ferrell, Friga, Gallippi, Gehrig, Gerber, Gerhardt, Gilland, Greene, Gulledge, Guskiewicz, Hayslett, Heenan, Hess, Irons, Janken, Koomen, Kramer, Krome-Lukens, Leonard, Lopez, Lund, Maffly-Kipp, Mayer, McMillan, Mieczkowski, Milano, Miller, Milone, Morris-Natschke, Morse, New, O’Connell-Edwards, O’Shaughnessey, Palmer, Powers, Richardson, Schoenbach, Schoenfisch, Steponaitis, Stewart, H. Thorp, J. Thorp, Toews, Van Tilburg, Verkerk, Wallace, and Webster-Cyriaque. The following 24 members were granted excused absences:  Thrailkill, Bechtel, Bowdish, C. Brown, Catellier, Coble, Eaker-Rich, Fuchs Lokensgar, Lee, Linden, Lothspeich, Papanikolas, Paul, Persky, Renner, Rodgers, Shea, Starkey, Stearns, Stotts, Sunnarborg, Swogger, Tisdale, and Yankaskas. The following 7 members were absent without excuse: Balaban, Chen, Crowder, Dilworth-Anderson, Moracco, Shanahan, and Szypszak.

Call to Order

Secretary of the Faculty Joseph Ferrell called the Council to order at 3:00 p.m. Prof. Ferrell announced that Chair of the Faculty McKay Coble was unable to attend due to illness.

Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

Chancellor Holden Thorp reported that the Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of Dr. Jane Weintraub as dean of the School of Dentistry. Dr. Weintraub is currently a dental health researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. Before accepting that position, she spent seven years on our faculty. Dr. Weintraub is especially well known for her work to reduce oral health disparities. She takes up her new duties on July 1.

The chancellor said that last week Carolina participated in the Atlantic Digital Town Hall, a live online event sponsored by The Atlantic magazine that focused on the economy and jobs. Two universities—Carolina and Miami of Ohio—were invited to send students and Chancellor Thorp also participated on a panel.

Chancellor Thorp said that earlier this week President Obama announced his new budget proposals and the news was good for higher education. Specifically, the president seeks budget increases for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Campuses everywhere are hopeful that his proposal for keeping the maximum Pell Grant at its current level will be successful.

The chancellor reported that Governor Beverly Perdue’s budget proposals, on balance, treat the UNC System well. She proposes that the System absorb slightly more than 6 percent in additional permanent state budget reductions. That puts our campus in a fairly good position since we are already implementing a campus-wide reduction of 5 percent. The governor would fully fund new enrollment growth and need-based financial aid, and she calls for no additional tuition increases beyond the campus-based proposals recently approved by the Board of Governors.

Chancellor Thorp reported that at last week’s Board of Governors meeting Carolina discontinued four degree programs and merged another as part of a biannual review that identifies programs with low productivity. The doctoral programs in Linguistics and Slavic Languages and Literature were discontinued, and the B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature was merged with the program in Germanic Languages. The chancellor said that when programs serve only a handful of students, we must consider dropping them even though they may be distinguished. This was the case with the programs just mentioned.

The chancellor reported on some of the responses being made by academic units to accommodate budget reductions already announced:

  • Social Work has decided not to accept two new classes of candidates for the degree of Master of Social Work in distance education programs serving western North Carolina in Hendersonville and Winston-Salem, a decision that affects 41 applicants.
  • Nursing is reducing undergraduate enrollment by 25 percent in order to preserve the quality of the degrees is can offer, a decision that affects candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing. About 200 students have been completing this degree each year.

Prof. Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology & Immunology) noted that Governor Perdue’s budget is based on the assumption that the ½% sales tax will continue in place, and that the governor  appears not to have recommended that the State recoup any of the Facilities & Administration (F&A) funds that accompany federal grants. He asked whether the F&A issue is off the table, or whether the General Assembly is likely to revisit it. Chancellor Thorp replied that the sales tax extension will have a difficult time in the General Assembly. As for F&A funds, he said that before 1997, the State retained most of those funds. In 1997, we were able to convince the General Assembly that we should be permitted to reinvest F&A funds in the research enterprise at Carolina. At that time, research funding was about $300 million annually; now it is $800 million. Keeping F&A funds on campus has been crucial to faculty recruitment, capital facilities, and the infrastructure needed to attract grant funding. He said that it is critically important that we retain this revenue stream. “This is the most important call of the session,” he said.

Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

Provost Bruce Carney echoed Chancellor Thorp’s remarks on the important of F&A funding.

The provost said questions have been raised as to why the School of Nursing cannot increase class size rather than restrict student admissions. He said that the reason is that increasing class size to the extent required by budget reductions would threaten the school’s accreditation status.  

Provost Carney said that budget hearings with the deans and other unit heads will begin in March. Each unit head will be asked to report how they will respond to budget cuts of differing percentages. He said that the University has gone almost as far as we can in terms of budget cuts in non-instructional units, such as human resources and finance, until the savings projected by moves in response to Carolina Counts are fully implemented. The instructional budget is now at serious risk. Provost Carney said that there are a few potential sources of new funding to offset budget cuts, tuition being one. He pointed that that undergraduate tuition remains in the bottom quartile of our peer institutions, as does tuition in each of the professional schools.

Prof. Alexander Troster (Neurology) asked why Carolina appears to have been penalized for enrolling too many out-of-state students. Chancellor Thorp replied that this happened because the rules allowing scholarship athletes to be classified as in-state had changed after the first year class was admitted. He said that we did not intentionally or even knowingly go over the limit. However, some members of the Board of Governors insisted on assessing the $158,000 penalty, so we said that if it was that important we would accept it. “It was unfair, but we did the right thing,” he said.

Prof. Shielda Rodgers (Nursing) said that the accreditation issue leading to reduction in undergraduate admissions in Nursing has to do with maximum class size in clinical instruction. She said the school can increase class size in theoretical courses.

Annual Reports of Standing Committees

Undergraduate Admissions. Dean Bobbi Owen presented the Annual Report of the Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Admissions. She said that Carolina is being encouraged to join in a move toward a common application process with other major universities, and that is being studied. She acknowledged that the transition to Connect Carolina has been “tough,” but that good progress is being made. On the whole, the students we admit are getting better and better, she said.

Prof. Victor Schoenbach (Epidemiology) asked for comment on why the number of African-American students being admitted appears to be in decline. Mr. Steve Framer, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, said that some of the decline stems from a change in reporting standards, but that he feels that our results have been very good overall. We said that Carolina aggressively recruits students in under-represented categories.

Scholarships, Awards, and Student Aid. Prof. Charles Daye, chair of the Committee on Scholarships, Awards, and Student Aid, presented the committee’s Annual Report.

Prof. Suzanne Gulledge (Education) asked for comment on the work-study program. Ms. Shirley Ort, Director of Scholarships, Awards, and Student Aid, replied that work-study is a small but important part of our program. Working on campus helps many students to stay enrolled. She added that we have no information on how many students work at part-time jobs in other settings.

Prof. Bachenheimer asked for comment on the connection, if any, between tuition increases and increases in student debt load and the need for financial aid. Prof. Daye replied that a portion of each tuition increase is funneled to student aid in an effort to “hold harmless” those who need assistance.

Prof. Paul Friga (Business) suggested that the work-study program should be expanded.

Special Report of the Committee on University Government

Prof. Vin Steponaitis, chair of the Committee on University Government, reported that the committee recommends adoption by the General Faculty of two amendments to the Faculty Code of University Government. The first amendment would create a new voting division for the Faculty Council composed of retired members of the Voting Faculty. The division would elect two voting members of the Council.

Prof. Steponaitis said that this proposal had arisen in 2008-09 in the context of discussion of many issues that affect retired faculty, such as access to parking, library privileges, gym cards, and the like. One of the concerns was whether, and how, to afford some kind of official recognition to the Retired Faculty Association (RFA). That concern was successfully addressed by administrative support for the RFA facilitated by the Office of Faculty Governance. The discussions led the Committee on University to start thinking about a possible role for retired faculty in faculty governance. He said that the committee learned that retired faculty are eligible for election to the Faculty Senate at North Carolina State University, and that the RFA has been sending observers this year to attend Faculty Council meetings. Prof. Steponaitis said that the committee developed a tentative proposal to create a new electoral division for retired faculty with two elected representatives. This idea was discussed with the Faculty Executive Committee who unanimously encouraged the Committee on University Government to move forward with the proposal.

Prof. Steponaitis explained that the proposal creates a new Faculty Council electoral division comprising all emeritus faculty who retired in the service of this University and were members of the Voting Faculty immediately before retirement. Eligible retirees wishing to participate will be required to register with the Office of Faculty Governance in accordance with procedures established by the secretary of the faculty. He said that the proposal does not confer voting privileges for any other faculty positions, nor voting privileges in school and departmental faculty meetings. He concluded by saying that the committee sees the University as a community of scholars both active and retired. This proposal is a way of recognizing that.

Prof. Tim McMillan (African-American Studies) asked how the committee arrived at two members. Prof. Steponaitis said that currently the RFA is sending two observers. The committee thought one was not enough, and two sounded about right.

Prof. Emeritus Andy Dobelstein (Social Work) thanked Prof. Steponaitis for bringing this proposal forward. He said that the RFA is pleased.

Prof. Tom Linden (Journalism & Mass Communication) asked how candidates for the new division would be chosen. Prof. Steponaitis replied that the Faculty Nominating Committee would oversee the nomination process as it does for all other divisions.

Prof. Lloyd Kramer (History) asked whether the proposal contains any provision for distributing candidates among the various schools and departments. Prof. Steponaitis replied that it does not; all retirees are in one electoral division.

There being no further questions, Resolution 2011-1 On Amending the Faculty Code of University Government to Provide Voting Representation for Retired Faculty was adopted on first reading without dissent. The resolution remains on the calendar for consideration on second reading at a subsequent meeting of the General Faculty. The text of the resolution as adopted on first reading is posted on the Faculty Governance website.

Prof. Steponaitis next explained Resolution 2011-2. This amendment corrects an inadvertent oversight in the Code that bars fixed-term faculty from voting on appointments and promotions to fixed-term ranks. He said that the committee had found that the policy and practice all across campus is to include fixed-term faculty among faculty who vote on issues that affect fixed-term faculty.

There being no questions or discussion, Resolution 2011-2 On Amending the Faculty Code of University Government to Allow Fixed-Term Faculty to Vote in Personnel Matters Affecting Other Such Faculty was adopted on first reading without dissent. The resolution remains on the calendar for consideration on second reading at a subsequent meeting of the General Faculty. The text of the resolution as adopted on first reading is posted on the Faculty Governance website.

Honorary Degree Nominations for Commencement 2012

On motion of the Secretary of the Faculty, the Council went into closed session to consider nominees for honorary degrees to be awarded at Commencement 2012.

Prof. Ferrell, acting on behalf of the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards, presented five nominees for honorary degrees. Each nominee was approved without dissent and will be presented to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

The Council returned to open session.


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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