Skip to main content

Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, December 12, 2014
3:00 p.m.
Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Wilson Library

Chancellor Carol Folt and Professor Bruce Cairns, Chair of the Faculty, presiding

Room diagram for seating

Twitter hashtag: #FacCouncil


3:00  Chair of the Faculty’s Remarks and Discussion Period

  • Prof. Bruce Cairns, Chair of the Faculty

3:10  Chancellor’s Remarks and Discussion Period

  • Chancellor Carol Folt

3:30:  Provost’s Remarks and Discussion Period

  • Provost Jim Dean

3:40  The Faculty Elections Process:  A Conversation

4:10  Update from the Faculty Athletics Committee

4:30  Committee Chairs’ Minutes (Lightning Updates from Faculty Committees)

5:00  Adjourn

Storify of Tweets and Media Coverage

For a sense of how the meeting unfolded live, please see our Storify of tweets and immediate media coverage of this meeting.

Journal of Proceedings of the Faculty Council

The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on December 12, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room at Wilson Library.

The following 68 Council members attended: Able, Aikat, Anthony, Baumgartner, Beck, Beltran Lopez, Berman, Birckhead, Boettiger, Brown, Cairns, Caren, Chavis, Cox, Cuddeback, Day, Dean, Dobelstein, Drake, Edwards, Ferrell, Filene, Fisher, Folt, Furry, Gilligan, Guscavas-Calikoglu, Hannig, Heitsch, Hobbs, Houck, Howes, Irons, Ives, Jones, Koomen, Koonce, Kurtz-Costes, Larson, Leonard, Levine, Loehr, Mclaughlin, Melehy, Metz, Mitran, Mohanty, Moon, Moracco, Moreton, Palmer, Persky, Pruvost, Rodgers, Salyer, Stenberg, Steponaitis, Sturm, Swift-Scanlan, Swogger, Tepper, Thompson, Waterhouse, Watson, Weight, Welty, Williams and Yaqub.

Members absent with excuse: Boxill, Bunch, Chera, Divaris, Dolan, Fry, Gerhardt, Giovanello, Gulledge, Guskiewicz, Hackman, Halladay, Hirsch, Hobbs, Hsu, Joyner, Kang, Kim, Kris, Mayer-Davis, McClanahan, Miller, Parise, Paul, Pertsova, Pryal, Rial, Segars, Stavas, Viera, Walker, Wang, Webster-Cyriaque, Willett and You

Members absent without excuse: Chapman, Cook and Parker

Call to order

Professor Bruce Cairns (Surgery), chair of the faculty, called the meeting to order at 3 p.m.

Chair of the Faculty’s remarks

 Professor Cairns welcomed the faculty to the last meeting of 2014. He thanked the Council members for their service and invited the faculty to join him at winter commencement.

Professor Cairns briefly commented on the Board of Governor’s review of centers and institutes across the UNC system. He took a moment to acknowledge the excellent work of center directors, including Dr. Lynn Blanchard, Dr. Joseph Jordan, Ms. Christi Hurt, Professor Ted Shaw, Professor Gene Nichol and Professor Barbara Entwisle. The Council members applauded.

Professor Cairns gave a short update on the implementation of the contextual grading policy. He said there are some technical issues with the new transcripts, and the registrar has decided to delay the roll out of the new transcripts until he is confident there won’t be any errors.

The Faculty Executive Committee has met with Athletics Reform Group members, Peter Mucha, chair of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee, and Joy Renner, chair of the Faculty Athletics Committee. Professor Cairns said that the conversations have been productive, and the groups will have ongoing discussions. He also reported that he is working with Faculty Governance staff to respond to the recent letter received from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) requesting more information in the wake of the release of the Wainstein report.

Professor Cairns showed a short video clip that he viewed at a recent town hall meeting. Students in the Kenan-Flagler School of Business produced the video to highlight the experiences of students of color and to suggest strategies for white allies to raise awareness about race discrimination. The video is online at

Professor Cairns followed up on the discussion about faculty values with Professor Jim Thomas at the previous Faculty Council meeting. He said that the Faculty Executive Committee is working with the Provost on how to best capture ideas about faculty values. Professor Cairn’s full comments are in Appendix A.

Chancellor’s remarks

Chancellor Carol Folt welcomed the Council members. She reflected on the founding of the University on December 11, 1789. She said that centers and institutes have a mission of service, education and research that can be traced to our founding. She said that the Board of Governors had previously believed that centers existed to fund research. The chancellor and provost used the center review opportunity to talk about the services the centers provide to the state and community.

The chancellor said that the review of centers provided an opportunity for students to show their support. She said she met with students a number of times about this issue. Students are concerned about recent national and local events, including a series of posts on a popular app called Yik Yak. The chancellor sent an email in response to the posts, which expressed racist views that are antithetical to the spirit of inclusion to which Carolina is committed. She apologized that her email did not specify the details of the comments or the social media platform on which the comments were posted. She explained that she didn’t want to attract more attention to the comments.

Professor Shielda Rodgers (School of Nursing) said she noticed comments on social media from students who were uncomfortable with the posts after the mass email was sent.

Chancellor Folt replied that the world of social media is difficult to control and she wanted to students to know she was aware of the posts, but not attract more attention to them.

Professor Cairns asked the chancellor what she thinks the outcome of the Board of Governor’s center review will be.

Chancellor Folt replied that she is not sure. She believes that the Board of Governors is within its rights to have a review, but it’s important to define the goals of the review. Her opinion is that the chancellor should be able to decide where funding cuts are taken. She is working with the Board of the Trustees to keep them informed about the review.

Professor Deborah Stroman (School of Business) said that some universities have responded to pressures on students by postponing exams for those who have been affected by racial comments such as those posted on Yik Yak. She said that the university should develop a uniform response.

Chancellor Folt said that part of the response will be a campus-wide dialog next semester. Since Carolina is a public university, we do not have the same flexibility as private institutions with respect to responses such as cancelling classes or postponing exams.

The chancellor gave a short update on the implementation of Title IX training. She said that while the national conversation about ways colleges can respond to sexual assault is still evolving, Carolina has decided to make training mandatory. She said that UNC Chapel Hill is one of the first universities to put in mandatory training for students, faculty and staff. She reported that a bystander training module is also under development.

Chancellor Folt responded to Professor Harry Watson’s question from the previous Faculty Council about confirming the employment status of Professor Jan Boxill. The chancellor said that a judge ordered the parties to go into mediation to determine what information the university will give about personnel actions related to the Wainstein report, and that information recently released to the public about disciplinary actions brought against four named employees was a result of that mediation.

Provost’s remarks

Provost Jim Dean said that the relationship between the Board of Governors and the chancellor has improved under Chancellor Folt’s leadership. He explained that there has been a lot of work behind the scenes to build relationships.

Provost Dean said that he is planning to form a task force to address binge drinking among students. He needs a group to review literature on interventions, and he plans to appoint members in January.

The provost commented on the impact of the Wainstein report and pointed out that conversations about athletics reforms are still happening across campus, including in the Faculty Executive Committee and Faculty Athletics Committee. He announced that the Student-Athlete Academic Initiative Working Group will release a compendium of processes that affect student-athletes.

Professor Charlotte Boettiger (Psychology) said that most people don’t know what binge drinking is or realize how the quantity of alcohol consumed affects younger people more than older adults. The level of alcohol exposure on the adolescent brain kills frontal lobe neurons.

Provost Dean said he plans to work with experts across the university who can bring that kind of knowledge to the task force.

Professor Cairns thanked the provost for his support of faculty governance.

Faculty elections process conversation

Professor Cairns invited Professor Hassan Melehy (Romance Studies) to read a statement about the faculty elections process. The full statement is included in Appendix B.

Secretary of the Faculty Joseph Ferrell said he is open to any change the faculty wants to institute with regard to elections. He said that many will not volunteer to run, and he wished we had a more open process in which people self-nominate and are elected by the majority of ballots Cast. Professor Ferrell said that he welcomes suggestions from the faculty on how to improve the current process. For changes to be to be implemented, we would need a resolution asking the Committee on University Government to examine the process and draft an amendment to the Faculty Code.

Professor Vin Steponaitis (Archaeology and Anthropology) said that he has given thought to a senatorial system, but the university is too large. If the Council increased in number, there would be a number of practical problems that would follow.

Professor Ferrell said when he joined the faculty at Carolina, there were only four electoral divisions: Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Health Affairs. Members of the professional schools in Academic Affairs were assigned to the Social Sciences Division and rarely got elected. Health Affairs schools were apportioned a fixed number of seats on the Council that bore no relation to their faculty numbers. The old system concentrated power in the College. The current system, in which Council members are apportioned on the basis of faculty strength in the voting divisions,  gives the professional schools more power. A senatorial system would change that balance.

Deputy Secretary of the Faculty Anne Whisnant presented data about the previous years’ elections. Voter turnout across demographic groups and ranks was consistent with eligibility, except that fixed-term faculty and Asian faculty had a slightly lower rate of turnout.

Professor Cairns added that he wants to ensure that the process works for everyone and the faculty governance is responsive.

Professor Diane Leonard (English and Comparative Literature) said that she appreciated Professor Melehy’s efforts to start a discussion on the nomination process. She said that if a committee is formed to recommend changes, she would like to serve on it.

Faculty Athletics Committee update

Professor Cairns introduced Professor Joy Renner (Allied Health), chair of the Faculty Athletics Committee, to give a brief update on the committee’s work. He said that he recently received a concern about allowing a fixed-term faculty member to chair the committee. He reminded the faculty that fixed-term faculty share a wide range of roles and responsibilities. In particular, Professor Renner directs the Division of Radiologic Science and runs and teaches in three professional programs that include undergraduate and graduate students. She lobbies in Washington, D.C. on issues related to efficient, cost-effective delivery of medical imaging services and has raised over a million dollars to fully fund her Division’s lab.

Professor Renner distributed a survey to the faculty to identify issues they think the committee should investigate. She presented the committee’s work plan for 2014-15.

Professor Renner said that she has heard concerns from faculty about “soft absences,” or absences that students accrue due to their sport, but are not official absences. She said that student-athletes may miss class to travel for games, and student-athletes may also have absences as a result of sickness. She explained that health-related appointments such as surgeries, clinic appointments, diagnostic testing and rehab must not conflict with class time unless the injury is acute. Surgeries are scheduled around university breaks.

Professor Renner presented an overview of the procedure for Faculty Athletics Committee input, review and outcome.

Professor Andy Dobelstein (Retired Faculty Representative) said the discussion surrounding academic misconduct has been focused more on academics, not athletics. He asked whether the Faculty Athletics Committee should look at a broader range of academic issues.

Professor Renner said that the committee will discuss its role and charge because of how broad it is. They want issues to be addressed by the appropriate actors. The committee is an elected faculty committee that should be investigating issues and documenting the outcomes.

Chancellor Folt said that there should be an audit to find out how people report concerns. She would like to have the equivalent of an ombudsperson for academic issues.

Professor Renner noted that the committee is planning to offer a brown bag lunch and open forum event to host conversations about athletics with faculty in the spring.

Professor Harry Watson reiterated that conversations between the Faculty Athletics Committee and Athletics Reform Group have been productive and encouraging. He suggested that the Faculty Executive Committee discuss the jurisdiction of the Faculty Athletics Committee.

Professor Renner said that splintering off could duplicate efforts.

Committee chairs’ updates

Professor Cairns invited committee chairs in the audience to give a short update on their committee’s work.

Professor Tim Ives (School of Pharmacy) said that the Faculty Welfare Committee has collaborated with the Status of Women Committee, the Fixed-Term Faculty Committee and the Community and Diversity Committee. The committee discussed campus safety and security issues; adjunct faculty recruitment, retention, and development; and family care issues.

Professor Don Hornstein (School of Law) said that the Scholarships, Awards and Student Aid committee has been concerned with access and affordability. He said the White House will generate a ranked list of affordable colleges. Carolina should rank high on the list, but staying on top is going to be difficult with the recent “cap and freeze” policy that prevents diversion of tuition dollars for need-based aid. Carolina is currently the only public university that has a need-blind policy and meets 100 percent of students’ demonstrated need.

Professor Rumay Alexander (School of Nursing) said that the Community and Diversity Committee is concerned about promoting diversity in the faculty nomination and elections process. The committee would also like to work on a well-designed faculty diversity plan with the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. The committee has been discussing fixed-term faculty issues as well.

Carol Hunter (University Libraries) said the University Committee on Copyright is working on a revision of the university’s copyright policy.

Professor Nancy Fisher (Microbiology and Immunology) said that the Fixed-Term Faculty Committee is developing a mission statement and a list of best practices to help the university promote and support fixed-term faculty. The committee would also like to standardize fixed-term faculty titles in the College.

Professor Steponaitis (Archaeology and Anthropology) said the Committee on University Government oversees the Faculty Code of University Government. The committee improves the Code and makes sure it conforms to current practice. The committee is currently working on improvements to how seats are apportioned.

Professor Gary Cuddeback (School of Social Work) said the Research Committee advises Vice Chancellor for Research Barbara Entwistle and finds ways to stimulate research.

Chancellor’s final comments

Chancellor Folt said that the administration is working on submitting its response to SACS before the beginning of next semester. The administration is making sure we are in compliance with SACS’s policies and reviewing what policies have been put into place.

Professor Watson asked how the administration is planning to respond to questions about academic integrity following the Wainstein report.

Chancellor Folt said that SACS is concerned with how the university is operating currently, not about academic misconduct that happened in the past.

Closed Session

On motion of Professor Ferrell, the Council went into closed session to consider nominees for Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards to be presented on University Day 2015.


The Council returned to open session.

Having completed its business, the Faculty Council adjourned at 5:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathryn Turner
Executive Assistant

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty

 Appendix A: Chair of the Faculty Full Comments

Thank you Professor Ferrell – good afternoon everyone and welcome. On behalf of Chancellor Folt and Provost Dean- I would like to welcome you to our last Faculty Council Meeting of the 2014 calendar year.

You may have noticed that this is the third Faculty Council meeting in six weeks- while that may seem like a lot, as you know we have had a lot going on and we have much more to address.

So with that, I would first like to say is thank you for your service to the faculty and to the University. I realize this is the last day of exams for many of you- thank you for your dedication to our students and congratulations on a well-deserved break. Please keep in mind that many of us in the University, (including the Burn Center and others in the hospital) the holiday break can be one the busiest times of the year. Please help us by doing what you can to be safe and have joyous holiday season- but of course we will be there if you need us.

I would just like to mention a couple of other things before I give the floor to the Chancellor and the Provost.

First, please note that Carolina’s mid-year commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday, December 14th at 2:00 p.m. at the Dean E. Smith Center.

As has been campus tradition, one of our own, Dr. James (Jim) H. Johnson Jr., the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of strategy and entrepreneurship and director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center will be speaking at December commencement.  Jim is a dynamic speaker who always gives an incredibly insightful and entertaining presentation – something that should not be missed!

Whether or not you have regalia, we invite you to participate in the faculty procession.

Faculty members will assemble at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday in the Press Room of the Smith Center. It would be great to see you there- please come see me, Anne Whisnant or Katie Turner if you need additional details.

Also, please remember that the University has a new Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct. Faculty will have two more opportunities to hear about the new policy and ask questions with Jenn Scott, the EOC Title IX Programming Coordinator this Wednesday, December 17 at 4pm and Thursday December 18 at 1pm, both in Toy Lounge at Dey Hall. The Provost’s Office should be sending out an email about the Title IX training soon.

I am sure you all know that yesterday, the Board of Governors finished their third level of review of centers and institutes in the UNC System. Of the 240 centers in the system, Carolina has 80 center and institutes, 26 of which went through the second phase of review and 9 underwent the last phase of review yesterday.

The Chancellor and the Provost can provide additional details but from my perspective we should all be very proud of the outstanding work done in our centers and acknowledge the incredible compelling presentations our colleagues gave to the Board of Governors yesterday.

These include

Lynn Blanchard from the Carolina Center for Public Service

Christi Hurt, from the Carolina Women’s Center

Joseph Jordan from the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Ted Shaw, from the Center for Civil Rights

Eric Muller, from the Center for Faculty Excellence

Judith Rizzo from the Hunt Institute

Gene Nichol, from the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity

Barbara Entwistle, from the Institute on Aging

 Please let’s give them a round of applause for a job well done….

Second, you may recall last meeting we had a wonderful presentation by Professor Andy Perrin on the implementation of contextual grading for undergraduate transcripts. Due to a number of technical limitations, and after meeting with students, the FEC and CAC, the Chancellor has delayed implementation of this policy. Jennifer Coble, the current Chair of the Educational Policy Committee will be working with all involved, including Andy and Chris Derickson the Registrar, to address the issues so we can get back on track. I know Chris  is here to answer questions and perhaps the Chancellor can comment further- but I just wanted to let you know where we wstand

Also, the FEC, along with Joy Renner, Lissa Broome and Peter Mucha as Chair of the Chancellor Advisory Committee continue to meet with members of the Athletics Reform Group– in fact we just met a few days ago- and I think those meetings have been quite educational and productive – we are definitely continue to continue them. If there is  time during the Committee Chair update,  I can go into some more detail.

Many in Faculty Governance are working with the administration on the response to the SACS letter- we are on a tight deadline, but we are making a lot of progress.

Finally, I would like to highlight a couple of wonderful and educational events I have been to this past week.

 On Wednesday, the University held their first celebration of faculty diversity, achievement and success on Wednesday– presented by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, the American Indian Caucus, the Carolina Black Caucus and the Latina/ Latino Caucus. Chancellor Folt, Provost Dean, Vice Chancellor Washington, Taffye Clayton and many others were there. It was a tremendous event and I felt very honored to be there and see these outstanding faculty be recognized.

And finally, earlier this week the MBA students at Kenan Flagler held a “Race Matters Town Hall” event to discuss how the recent events in Ferguson, NY, Cleveland elsewhere relate to members of the Carolina Community. This standing room only was only the latest of several events Carolina students from the College, the Medical School and elsewhere have held to discuss this important issue. I just wanted to finish by showing this 5 minute video that the students made- these are the kinds of conversation the faculty need to have as well.

Now, please take a couple of minutes to stand, greet each other- talk about the things that matter most to you at this moment.

Thank you- one last additional update from our last meeting. In the coming year, we will follow up with you about Jim Thomas’s discussion about who we are and what we stand for. The Provost and the FEC has been discussing the best way to capture this idea- so we will be getting back to you about this soon.

 Appendix B: Comments on the faculty elections process by Professor Hassan Melehy

 I’d like to speak of the problems I see in the way Faculty Governance on our campus works, mainly its lack of representation for large portions of the faculty and the insider culture the current system fosters. I’m going to begin with my own department, Romance Studies (formerly Romance Languages) and my own experience, but I don’t intend these statements and questions as a complaint bearing on a single individual or group: please bear with me, and you’ll see how my concerns pertain to all members of the faculty.

1. The Dept. of Romance Studies has a total of 61 full-time faculty, of whom 21 are tenure-track and 40 fixed-term. Yet we are practically unrepresented in Faculty Governance: there are two tenure-track and three fixed-term faculty on Faculty Council, two of the same fixed-term faculty serve on appointed committees, and no faculty serve on elected committees. Last spring, when the volunteer e-mail went out, our Director of Graduate Studies sent an e-mail urging all of us to volunteer, since we’re seriously underrepresented. I was among many faculty who responded by saying that every year we volunteer for numerous assignments. How can it be that we almost never receive any?

2. I’ll speak from my own experience. This is my eleventh year at UNC — I began in fall 2004. Beginning in spring 2005, every year, except in spring 2012 when I was approaching a one-year research leave, I’ve volunteered for every service assignment I thought I could stomach — which is just about every service assignment. So far, I’ve been asked to do two tasks: in 2011 to run for Faculty Council — my opponent was from English, a larger department, so I lost; and in 2013, again to run for Faculty Council — my opponent from English withdrew from the election, so I won. I have two questions:

3. I’ve spoken with several current and former members of the Nominating Committee, and each said that familiarity is a factor in the decision. If that’s true, how can the Faculty Governance system avoid fostering an insider culture?

4. If candidates from larger departments tend to win elections, what can be done to assure that entire departments, such as my own, aren’t almost entirely left out of representation?

5. Though I haven’t done a systematic study, when I’ve gone through the faculty governance rosters, a few of the same names turn up repeatedly — often on multiple committees, and at no time not on one or more committees. If this isn’t an insider culture, what is it?

6. There are obvious problems with both an insider culture and a non-representative system. One is that dissent is severely curtailed — had more people been willing to point out what was severely wrong over the years, the damage UNC has sustained would likely be less, maybe considerably less. I’ll illustrate a related problem with an example, though doing so runs contrary to my aversion to finger-pointing: over ten years at UNC, it became clear to me that Jan Boxill was an exemplar of insider culture, and that she used her position as cover to play a major role in what went severely wrong.

7. I’d like to suggest possible ways to address this non-representative system, in which whole segments of the faculty are pretty much left out of the process, and an insider culture forms. I’m interested in your opinion on each:

  1. A more open nominating system, where a faculty member’s nomination doesn’t depend on his or her familiarity to members of the Nominating Committee.
  2. An elected rather than an appointed Nominating Committee.
  3. A limit on the number of assignments any one person can hold at one time.
  4. A required pause in service: after six consecutive years in University service assignments a period of two years of no service.
  5. Do you or anyone else have any other suggestions?


Pdf of meeting materials


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.