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Meeting of the Faculty Council and General Faculty

Friday, March 20, 2015
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 Call to Order and Chair of the Faculty’s Opening Remarks

  • Chair of the Faculty Bruce Cairns

3:10  Chancellor’s Remarks

3:20  Provost’s Remarks

  • Provost Jim Dean

3:30  The COACHE Survey: A Reminder

  • Executive Vice Provost Ron Strauss

3:35 Informational Presentation: The Library Research Hub

3:50  Open Access Task ForceFinal Report and Presentation on Proposed Resolution 2015-9. On Endorsing a University Open Access Policy (Will be voted on at April meeting)

4:05  Proposed Academic Commons Demonstration

Background Materials:

  • Prof. Jim Porto, Chair, Faculty Information Technology Advisory Committee

4:15 Proposed Faculty Code Amendments (Second Reading)

  • Prof. Vin Steponaitis, Chair, Committee on University Government

4:20  PeopleSoft: An Update

PeopleSoft Powerpoint

InfoPorte Slides

Connect Carolina and InfoPorte Contacts List

Faculty Council Questions Regarding PeopleSoft

  • Mr. Chris Kielt, Chief Information Officer, and Members of the PeopleSoft Team

4:55  Committee Annual Reports By Title

5:00 Adjourn

Storify of Tweets and Media Coverage

We’ve collected the tweets with the #FacCouncil hashtag and some media coverage of the March 20, 2015 Faculty Council meeting in a Storify compilation you can read here.

Journal Of Proceedings Of The Faculty Council

 The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on March 20, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room at Wilson Library.

The following 71 Council members attended: Able, Aikat, Anthony, Beck, Beltran Lopez, Birckhead, Boettiger, Brown, Cairns, Caren, Chera, Cook, Cox, Divaris, Dobelstein, Dolan, Drake, Edwards, Ferrell, Filene, Fisher, Folt, Fry, Furry, Gilligan, Giovanello, Gucsavas-Calikoglu, Gulledge, Hackman, Halladay, Hannig, Hirsch, Howes, Hsu, Irons, Jones, Joyner, Kim, Koomen, Larson, Loehr, McClanahan, Melehy, Metz, Moon, Moracco, Moreton, Parise, Parker, Paul, Persky, Pertsova, Porto, Pruvost, Rial, Rodgers, Salyer, Stavas, Stenberg, Steponaitis, Sturm, Swift-Scanlan, Swogger, Tepper, Wang, Watson, Webster-Cyriaque, Weight, Williams, Yaqub and You.

Members absent with excuse: Baumgartner, Berman, Bunch, Day, Provost Dean, Gerhardt, Heitsch, Houck, Ives, Kang, Koonce, Kris, Kurtz-Costes, Leonard, Levine, Mayer-Davis, Miller, Mohanty, Palmer, Pryal, Thompson, Waterhouse and Willett.

Members absent without excuse: Chapman, Chavis, Cravey, Cuddeback, Driscoll, Guskiewicz, M. Hobbs, S. Hobbs, McLaughlin, Mitran, Segars, Viera, Walker and Welty.

Call to order

The Secretary of the Faculty Joseph Ferrell called the Faculty Council to order at 3:02 p.m.

Chair of the Faculty’s remarks

Professor Bruce Cairns welcomed the Faculty Council members and invited them to attend commencement exercises on May 10. He reminded the faculty to vote in the upcoming faculty elections in April. He reported that the Nominating Committee is in the process of identifying potential candidates. He thanked the committee members for their work. Professor Cairns briefly recognized Professor Rumay Alexander (Nursing), chair of the Community and Diversity Committee, and congratulated her for winning a 2015 Faculty Diversity Award. The faculty applauded her accomplishment.

Professor Cairns invited a local resident and former UNC employee Kathy Atwater to comment on the University’s recent collaboration with the residents in the Northside neighborhood. She explained that the expansion of student housing and rising real estate prices have caused this historically African-American neighborhood to start losing its identity. Ms. Atwater said that the Northside initiative will help long-time residents, including the families of past and present university employees, stay in their homes.  She noted that her grandfather was once employed by the University to carry water from the Old Well to the dormitories. Her grandmother was a housekeeper for UNC faculty members. She thanked Chancellor Folt for helping preserve the history of the Northside community and for celebrating the legacy and ancestry of those who shaped the University.

Chancellor’s remarks

Chancellor Carol Folt said that she is proud of the Northside project. She attended a number of celebrations recently, including “Match Day” at the School of Medicine and the awards ceremonies for the 2015 Diversity Awards, the University Awards for the Advancement of Women, and the Public Service Awards. She recently flew to England to present an Honorary Degree to Professor Peter Higgs, a physicist who postulated the existence of  the Higgs boson, an elementary particle whose existence was recently confirmed by experimentation. She said that Professor Higgs drafted the paper in which he made the discovery 48 years ago when he was taking a sabbatical in the UNC physics department.

The chancellor reported that the University has launched the Carolina Conversations initiative. Carolina Conversations is intended to promote structured, civil discussions on race, identity and politics. Carolina Pulse is a program that identifies issues that are important to students.  She invited the faculty to attend the discussions.

The chancellor introduced Joel Curran, vice chancellor for communications, to present information about Sunshine Week and public records requests. He reported that the University has had a surge in public records requests, and the communications office is trying to process the requests more quickly and with more transparency. In order to create a more efficient response to records requests, the communications staff researched other universities’ practices, spoke with journalists about how to be more efficient and consulted with faculty about the records laws. The office launched, where all records requests are posted and members of the public can check their status.

In 2009-10, the University had 213 public records requests, and last year the communications office received 354 requests. Mr. Curran said that the records requests are becoming more complex and sometimes span years of emails, charts and documents. The process to fill the requests involves staff manually locating the records and reviewing the records for compliance with FERPA, HIPPA and other laws that protect the confidentiality of certain  information. In some cases, there may be delays in complying with requests. In order to fill the requests, the office has two full-time records processors and a number of reviewers, which costs $600,000 in salaries and benefits. He said their office will continue to evaluate new technology to more quickly fulfill requests.

COACHE survey reminder

Executive Vice Provost Ron Strauss reminded the faculty to fill out the COACHE survey. This important survey is the only available measure of faculty job satisfaction for both tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty.

Informational presentation: The Library Research Hub

Ms. Jill Sexton, head of Digital Research Services at UNC Libraries, presented information about the new Library Research Hub. In 2013, UNC Libraries created a five-year strategic plan to further the research goals of the campus community. Out of the planning process, three goals emerged: to provide strong collections and develop new mechanisms for delivering them to researchers; to provide researchers with the space, tools, and information assistance they need to successfully conduct research and manage research results; and to support the dissemination and preservation of research results and the measurement of their impact.

The Research Hub features technical support, training and events pertaining to research. Librarians offer course-based instruction, consultations by appointment, and public programming.  There are three places where students and faculty can go for research support: Davis Library, Kenan Science Library and Health Sciences Library. Each location offers space, equipment and staffing for research support.

The Davis Library Research Hub houses a GIS lab, a liquid galaxy display, collaborative workspaces and presentation space. The Health Sciences Library has work spaces and videoconferencing capabilities. The Kenan Library Research Hub has 3D printing, a makerspace and entrepreneurship support. The Carolina Digital Repository is a digital archive that faculty and students can use to retain their work.

Open Access Task Force:  Final Report and Presentation on Resolution 2015-9. On Endorsing a University Open Access Policy

Professor Todd Vision (Biology) and Professor Julie Kimbrough (Law), co-chairs of the Open Access Task Force, presented an overview of the objectives of the Task Force: to help faculty disseminate research, protect intellectual property rights, respect the diversity of scholarly research and create an open access policy. To that end, the task force developed an open access policy that will be voted on at the next Faculty Council meeting.

Resolution 2015-9 On Endorsing a University Open Access Policy, received approval from the Faculty Executive Committee. They gave an overview of the policy development process. The task force studied similar policies at other universities, held open access forums and events, and invited guest speakers to present on the topic of open access.

Professor Harry Watson (History) said that he had serious questions and reservations about the policy when it was discussed at a previous Faculty Council meeting. At the time, he was concerned that the policy would undermine subscription-based journals in the humanities. Since then, he has contacted journal editors who said that an open access policy like the one proposed won’t negatively impact their journal subscriptions. Professor Watson said that since compliance is voluntary under the proposed policy, he endorses the proposed open access policy.

Chancellor Folt thanked the Open Access Task Force for its work.

Professor Joseph Ferrell, secretary of the faculty, explained that the resolution will be presented for a vote at the April 24, 2015 Faculty Council meeting.

Professor Cairns thanked Professors Kimbrough and Vision for their service.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics and Operations Research) asked how long it will take for faculty to comply with the policy and how they will submit their research.

Professor Vision responded that manuscripts could be uploaded online to comply with the proposed policy.

Proposed Academic Commons demonstration

Professor Jim Porto (Public Health), chair of the Faculty Information Technology Advisory Committee, presented a mock-up of a proposed virtual faculty commons website. He said that he, Dr. Anne Whisnant and Professor Tim Ives are proposing the project because some of the faculty committees are concerned with improving communication with and among faculty constituents. The Academic Commons would provide an electronic forum for faculty and staff that is similar to the CUNY Academic Commons.

Professor Porto explained that CUNY provides the Academic Commons web template for free. The Academic Commons would allow faculty to set up discussion groups, individual blogs, wikis, and store meeting minutes and agendas. He said that the startup costs are minimal, but they are worried about who will be in charge of updating the content.  He has been working with Kate Hash in ITS. They would like to test out the Commons this spring with faculty governance groups. If it is successful, they would like to roll it out to the rest of the university. The site would provide a forum for faculty and staff to discuss issues when they arise.

Resolution 2015-1. On Amending the Faculty Code of University Government to Change How Elected Seats in Faculty Council Are Apportioned

Professor Vincas Steponaitis (Archaeology and Anthropology), chair of the Committee on University Government, presented the second reading of Resolution 2015-1 to amend the Faculty Code. He explained that the resolution would allow for a technical amendment to the Code that brings it in line with current practice. The amendment would decrease the amount of time between apportionments from five years to one year.

There was no discussion or debate. The resolution was adopted without dissent.

Resolution 2015-2. On Amending the Faculty Code of University Government to Establish the Committee on Fixed Term Faculty

Professor Vincas Steponaitis presented the second reading of Resolution 2015-2. He explained that the resolution would make the Committee on Fixed-Term Faculty a permanent committee of the General Faculty, rather than an ad hoc committee. The committee would be appointed by the Chair of the Faculty.

There was no discussion or debate the resolution was adopted without dissent.

PeopleSoft update

Mr. Chris Kielt, chief information officer, gave a brief update on the status of PeopleSoft and changes that have been made since its implementation in October 2014. He recalled that the 2005 decision to replace the legacy computer systems came about because of issues with security compliance in student spaces. In 2007, the campus decided to adopt PeopleSoft through Campus Solutions. In 2008, the University licensed human resources, finance and payroll systems. In October 2014, the HR, finance and payroll systems went live. The campus adopted Infoporte for financial and human resources reporting. Some of the legacy systems were nearly 40 years old.

As part of the implementation, the university changed several processes, including the chart of accounts for departments, processes in human resources systems and grant administration. PeopleSoft allows for enhanced data analytics and dashboard capabilities.

Mr. Kielt explained that some staff and faculty are frustrated with the complexity of the new system. He said that communications about changes and have not been as strong as they should be and the financial reporting hasn’t been up to standards. A new version of Infoporte was launched in late February to help with reporting. The PeopleSoft team is fixing system bugs and correcting errors in payroll. They are prioritizing urgent help tickets and expanding small-group training.

Professor Nancy Fisher (Microbiology and Immunology) said that PeopleSoft seems to be written for accountants, which makes it difficult for non-accountants to navigate. She asked if the system could be made more user-friendly.

Mr. Kielt responded that they are working on making these changes to Infoporte.

Professor Sherry Salyer (Exercise and Sports Science) said that we need to have a reliable degree audit system for students because academic advisors are having difficulty with Tarheel Tracker, the degree audit software.

University Registrar Christopher Derickson said that the new system requires departments to make manual updates. His office is collaborating with Academic Advising. They have created a ticket system for those who need help, and they have a working group in place to seek out improvements.

Professor Peter Mucha (Mathematics) asked if the PeopleSoft team is equipped with the resources to fix recurring problems.

Mr. Kielt said that resources have been made available, and his team is fixing issues as they arise.  The annual raise process that occurred after the PeopleSoft launch create unanticipated problems. In January, the labor distributions were incorrect. After going live, the team shifted the financial reporting strategy. The team is continuing to solicit feedback from faculty and staff.

Professor Mucha said that his department has been having problems with determining how much grant money is available to hire postdocs.

Mr. Andy Johns, associate vice chancellor for research, said that there have been problems with overspending grants in the past so PeopleSoft puts limits on the expenditure of certain funds. In response, the PeopleSoft team has made changes to the way multi-year grants can be spent. Approximately 630 grants with more than$87 million now have more flexibility. A new tool was released this week that keeps salary and fringes from continuing to accrue. There have been 450 retroactive salary adjustment requests submitted. Because past labor encumbrances have been incorrect, they have removed them from the system and are developing reports for labor costs through the end of the fiscal year.

Professor Joseph Templeton (Chemistry) said that he appreciated their presentation and the work the team has done to troubleshoot problems.

Professor Steponaitis thanked the PeopleSoft team for their work. He said that the problems may be due to restructuring the workload for financial transactions and reporting. He said that before the PeopleSoft implementation, the accounting expertise was higher up in the chain of of activity. Since them, the workload has been pushed down to the lower levels without the capacity or expertise. Down at the grassroots, people are saying the system isn’t working. The design level and user experience seems to be disconnected.

Professor Jim Porto said that given the large number of changes that have occurred, he is surprised there haven’t been more problems.

Professor Joy Renner (Allied Health) said that the inability to report fund balances is impacting development in some segments of the university.

Mr. Kielt said that if faculty continue to have issues, they can contact his team for additional help.

Annual committee reports by title

The reports for the following committees were accepted by title: Administrative Board of the Library; Committee on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure; Faculty Welfare Committee; and the University Committee on Copyright.

Closing remarks

Professor Cairns thanked Mr. Kielt and his team for their presentation. He announced that faculty governance staff are investigating a new meeting venue for the coming year. He said that he will be late for the next Council meeting on April 24, 2015.


Having completed its business, the Faculty Council adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathryn Turner
Executive Assistant

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty


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