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Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, November 21, 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 Call to Order

3:00  Chair of the Faculty’s Remarks

  • Prof. Bruce Cairns, Chair of the Faculty

3:10  Table Discussion: Articulating Faculty Values: Who We Are and What We Stand For 

  • Facilitated by Chair of the Faculty Bruce Cairns and Prof. Jim Thomas, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Director, MEASURE Evaluation, Carolina Population Center

3:40  Chancellor’s and Provost’s Remarks and Discussion Period

  • Chancellor Carol Folt
  • Provost Jim Dean

4:00  Update on Contextual Grading Project Rollout

4:15  Standing Committee Reports

4:30  Vote:  Resolution 2014-12: On Endorsing a Campus-Wide Two-Year Theme: Feeding a Hungry World

4:45  General Announcements

  • Chair of the Faculty Bruce Cairns

4:50  Closed Session/Vote:  2015 Distinguished Alumnus/a Award Nominees (Faculty Council members log in to Sakai to view)

  • Prof. Sue Estroff, Chair, Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards

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.

Meeting Minutes

Journal of Proceedings of the Faculty Council and General Faculty

The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on November 21, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room at Wilson Library.

The following 74 Council members attended: Able, Aikat, Anthony, Baumgartner, Beck, Beltran, Birckhead, Boettiger, Brown, Bunch, Cairns, Chavis, Chera, Cox, Cuddeback, Day, Dean, Divaris, Dobelstein, Dolan, Drake, Edwards, Filene, Folt, Fry, Gerhardt, Gilligan, Gucsavas-Calikoglu, Gulledge, Halladay, Hannig, Hirsch, Hobbs, Howes, Hsu, Irons, Ives, Jones, Joyner, Kang, Kim, Koomen, Koonce, Kris, Kurtz-Costes, Larson, Leonard, Loehr, Mayer-Davis, Melehy, Metz, Moon, Moreton, Palmer, Parise, Parker, Persky, Pruvost, McClanahan, Rodgers, Salyer, Stenberg, Steponaitis, Sturm, Swogger, Tepper, Walker, Watson, Weight, Welty, Willett, Williams, Yaqub and You.

Members absent with excuse: Berman, Boxill, Caren, Chapman, Cook, Ferrell, Fisher, Furry, Giovanello, Guskiewicz, Hackman, Heitsch, Hobbs, Houck, Levine, McLaughlin, Miller, Mitran, Mohanty, Moracco, Paul, Pertsova, Pryal, Rial, Segars, Stavas, Swift-Scanlan, Thompson, Viera, Wang, Waterhouse and Webster-Cyriaque.

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 comments

Professor Cairns reflected on the impact of the Wainstein report and the faculty’s response to the report’s findings. He said that the Faculty Executive Committee has met with Professor Harry Watson (History) and other members of the Athletic Reform Group to discuss recommendations for reforms. (Professor Cairns’ full comments are included in Appendix A.)

Professor Harry Watson (History) said that the Faculty Executive Committee and the Athletic Reform Group had a productive meeting. He will not offer a resolution at this meeting, but looks forward to discussing the group’s proposals further with the Faculty Executive Committee.

Professor Cairns reviewed the structure of faculty governance and responded to concerns raised at the previous Faculty Council meeting about the nominations and elections process for faculty governance bodies. He advised the faculty to contact the Committee on University Government and its chair, Professor Vin Steponaitis (Archeology and Anthropology) about suggested changes to the Faculty Code of University Government.

Articulating faculty values: “Who We Are and What We Stand For” 

Professor Cairns introduced Professor Jim Thomas (Epidemiology), who spoke about his experience forming a group of epidemiologists to articulate a values framework for their profession. He said that the faculty could benefit from a similar discussion. Professor Thomas asked the Council members to identify a value that brought them to Carolina and keeps them here.

Professor Brian Sturm (School of Journalism and Mass Communication) said that honesty should be a core value because it leads to a sense of trust.

Professor Suzanne Gulledge (School of Education) said that her group thought honesty is important because it is an individual and collective value. She said that scholarship, academic rigor, and integrity will keep faculty at Carolina.

Professor Susan Irons (English and Comparative Literature) said that her group’s core values are service to the community and education. Educators should be selfless and have freedom of inquiry to fulfill the mission of the University and the state.

Professor Leslie Parise (Biochemistry and Biopsychics) said that faculty are responsible for pursuing and sharing new knowledge and pursuing truth, here and globally.

Professor Gary Cuddeback (School of Social Work) said that faculty should be responsible for producing excellent scholarship, speaking the truth, maintaining integrity and forming relationships with students. He said faculty should produce knowledge with a purpose and for the sake of producing knowledge, take responsibility for mentoring students, and encourage a sense of equality among students, faculty and staff.

Professor Joel Tepper (School of Medicine) said that the core values should be education and research with honor and integrity.

Professor Amelia Drake (School of Medicine) said that her group thought service to civil society, nationally and globally, is a key value. Faculty should promote a culture of collaboration and humility in the pursuit of knowledge.

Professor Vin Steponaitis (Archeology and Anthropology) said that the role of faculty should be to act with personal integrity, to seek knowledge, to teach and make sure every student thinks critically.

Professor Michael Gerhardt (School of Law) said his table discussed excellence, service, integrity, collaboration and intellectual curiosity. He said faculty should commit to fostering “a collegial, rigorous pursuit of the truth.”

Professor Laura Loehr (Public Health) said the core values of the faculty should be preeminence, integrity, giving back, humanism, development, scientific inquiry and curiosity.

Professor Jim Thomas (Epidemiology) recommended that the next steps be to engage more faculty to help define the faculty’s core values.

Professor Cairns introduced Professor Jim Hirschfield (Art), chair of the Council of Chairs of the College of Arts and Sciences. He read a statement on behalf of the Council. (See Appendix B for the full statement.)

Chancellor’s and provost’s remarks

Provost Jim Dean thanked Professor Cairns for bringing the faculty and administration together. He said the Kenan Flagler School of Business participated in a values workshop a few years ago, and they identified excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork as their core values.

Provost Dean reported that the Board of Trustees met this week. The trustees heard presentations on services that Carolina provides to the military and veterans. He said that the university has been working to understand the unique challenges that student veterans face and the resources that are available to them.

The provost recalled a recent experience he had meeting a group of alumni who came to visit a former faculty member (Professor Jerry Cashion) who is facing terminal cancer. He said he enjoyed hearing stories about how Professor Cashion had inspired his students and taught them lifelong lessons. He said that experience demonstrated that Carolina is about inspiring students to reach their full potential.

Chancellor Carol Folt said she is glad that faculty governance and the Athletics Reform Group are working in partnership. She said the statement from the Chairs of the College and the values that the Council members articulated were moving.

To highlight the reasons Carolina is special to her, the chancellor described a trip she took earlier in the day with Steve Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions. They visited the Reedsville High School Carolina Advising Corps, a program that works to promote college access and affordability.

The chancellor said that she grew up in an Albanian immigrant family and dreamed about attending university because she knew the greatest discoveries are made there. She said the reason she is at Carolina is to make others’ dreams to go to college a reality.

The chancellor noted that she had received a letter from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools regarding the Wainstein report. The letter requests that the university examine its processes and reforms again to ensure institutional and academic integrity. The chancellor said that the letter presents another opportunity to review the reforms that have implemented to see if they are working and identify further reforms that might be necessary.

Professor Cairns thanked the chancellor and provost for their remarks. He also thanked Felicia Washington, vice chancellor for workforce strategy, equity and engagement, for sponsoring a recent lunch to honor veterans at Carolina.

Professor Harry Watson (History) expressed appreciation for Chancellor Folt’s recognition of the Athletics Reform Group and inquired about the employment status of Professor Jan Boxill (Philosophy), the former chair of the faculty.

Chancellor Folt responded that she would not disclose information about the situation because she believes it is an ethical and process issue. She said that confidentiality around personnel issues ensures the right to appeal actions in privacy. She feels strongly about respecting the process, but would not confirm whether or not a process is taking place.

Professor Hassan Melehy (Romance Languages and Literatures) thanked the chancellor for recognizing the Athletics Reform Group and helping to dispel myths that they are fringe group of faculty who hold unreasonable views. He said that the Wainstein report showed that other departments may have had questionable practices. He asked if there would be further investigation of those departments.

Chancellor Folt said the investigation did not find other fraudulent courses. The Faculty Athletics Committee has created a process for reporting unethical activity, investigating and publicizing their findings.

Ms. Eliza Filene (Undergraduate Representative) thanked the provost for sharing his story about faculty personally affecting students. She noted that the Wainstein report has generated new conversations in the student community about the experiences of black students and student-athletes.

Chancellor Folt said that she has attended several student group meetings. She observed that students feel their identity has been impacted and more student-athletes are sharing their stories.

Mr. Andrew Powell, student body president, said that student government has been working to support students in the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies and student-athletes. The students are planning a day in support of student-athletes.

Update on contextual grading project rollout

Professor Andrew Perrin (Sociology) presented an update on contextual grading. He explained that the contextual transcripts are the result of discussions held over the past 10 years, and the new transcripts will be available this fall. He displayed a sample transcript and explained the newly added contextual information.

Professor Perrin explained that the goals of the contextual grading initiative are to balance academic freedom and diversity with quality, to reduce incentives for “grade shopping,” to evaluate academic performance over the course of students’ careers and to allow for fair cross-department comparisons. He noted the process has been almost entirely faculty-driven.

Professor Cairns thanked Professor Perrin for his work on the project.

Mr. Wilson Parker (Undergraduate Representative) asked if the cumulative reported average will be included for junior and senior students, and he asked how the average will be determined on mixed transcripts.

Professor Perrin responded that the cumulative average will be based on the courses in which there is contextual information available.

Professor Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque (School of Dentistry) asked if graduate and professional schools will be included.

Professor Perrin said that there are no plans to do so currently.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics and Operations Research) noted that the percentiles seemed to be switched, with low percentiles meaning worse performance and higher percentiles meaning better performance.

Professor Perrin said that the Faculty Council previously discussed this issue.

Professor Cairns noted that the issue was discussed and not resolved.

Professor Larry Chavis (School of Business) said that the contextual transcripts could have the impact of marginalizing minority students who have lower retention rates.

Professor Perrin responded that there are plans in place to assess grading patterns over time. He asked why Professor Chavis believes the impact will be disproportionate on minority groups.

Professor Chavis clarified that students who are toward the bottom of their class may decide that Carolina is too competitive.

Professor Perrin responded that the transcripts may show that students are performing better than they think they are.

Reports received by title

The Faculty Hearings Committee’s annual report, filed by Professor Diane Juffras (School of Law), and the Faculty Research Committee’s annual report, filed by Professor Gary Cuddeback (School of Social Work), were received by the Council. There were no questions or comments.

Faculty Grievance Committee’s annual report

Professor Andy Bechtel (School of Journalism and Mass Communications) and Dr. Libby Chenault (University Libraries), co-chairs of the Faculty Grievance Committee reported observations from some of the cases the committee has heard over the past year.

Dr. Chenault said that the committee has observed cases involving outdated departmental ranking and promotion documents and breakdowns in inter-departmental communication. She suggested that department chairs spend more time mentoring and communicating with junior faculty.

Professor Bechtel said that the committee may work on amending processes for filing EEO appeals. Currently, the Faculty Grievance Committee hears these cases, but the committee does not have the staffing or resources thoroughly investigate complaints.

Resolution 2014-12: On Endorsing a Campus-Wide Two-Year Theme: Feeding a Hungry World

Senior Associate Dean Terry Rhodes, co-chair of the Water Theme Steering Committee, presented a resolution to endorse a new two-year campus theme titled “Feeding a Hungry World.” She explained that the theme is intended to address a global challenge while highlighting Carolina’s strengths.

Dean Rhodes said that the theme was selected because of the central importance of food quality and security, the seamless transition from last year’s water to this year’s food theme, the range of course offerings on food-related topics that are already available, the range of food experts conducting research at Carolina, and interest from the community, local businesses and students.

Professor Hannig asked what the positive and negative impacts of the water theme were. He asked if the university secured outside funding through the theme. He asked if food is the best theme.

Dean Rhodes said that the water theme has joined groups across campus for collaboration on water-related projects.

Professor Shielda Rodgers (School of Nursing) said that as a large public institution, we have an ethical imperative to look beyond the university and serve the state and world.

Mr. Kyle Villemain, student body vice president, said that the water theme enabled students to raise awareness about water issues and bring together student organizations.

Professor Joseph Templeton (Chemistry) said that Carolina has resources and expertise in many different areas around campus related to food.  The theme presents a good opportunity to bring people together in different disciplines to address an important issue.

Professor Marcie Ferris (American Studies) said food is an important issue for the university and the state. The students and faculty are excited about the opportunity.

Professor Melinda Beck (Nutrition) said her department supports the theme.

Professor Tim Ives (School of Pharmacy) suggested that Dean Rhodes discuss the food theme with Professor Steve Leonard, chair of the Faculty Assembly, to get system-wide support.

Ms. Susan Swogger (Health Science Library) said that there is interest in the sale and purchase of books written on the topic of food.

Professor Beth Mayer-Davis (School of Public Health) said that she is impressed with the number of people working on food issues, and this is a great opportunity to work together to make an impact.

Professor Carl Stenberg (School of Government) said he recently co-authored a piece on food insecurity to help local nonprofits and government agencies in North Carolina. He said this collaboration could help serve the state.

Mr. Bob Anthony (University Libraries) said the library has hundreds of books on southern food culture and several upcoming events on the topic of food.

Professor Michael Gerhardt (School of Law) said that this is an interdisciplinary endeavor intended to bring people together from many different parts of the university. He suggested that Professor Hannig help with statistical analysis as a part of the food theme.

Chancellor Folt said that the university has received money from water theme events, and the campus theme can be used as a fundraising tool.

The resolution was adopted with one dissenting vote.

2015 Distinguished Alumnus/a Award nominees

The Faculty Council went into closed session to consider the nominees for the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Awards. On behalf of the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards, Professor Sue Estroff (Social Medicine) presented five nominees. All of the nominees were approved.


The Council returned to open session. Having completed its business, the Faculty Council adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathryn Turner
Executive Assistant

Appendix A: Chair of the Faculty Remarks

Good afternoon and welcome everyone. On behalf of Chancellor Folt and Provost Dean- I would like to call to order the third Faculty Council Meeting of the 2014-2015 academic year.

Unfortunately, Secretary Ferrell is unable to make it to today’s meeting- as he has another commitment.

However, he has done the best he has can on educating me on how to run these meeting so please bear with me…. And perhaps, I can ask you keep in mind as Phyllis Theroux, a colleague of Jim Lehrer once said- “mistakes are the bridge to wisdom”.

These  are important times for the University so I would like to first thank you for your service on the Council and your willingness to work together to help address some of the really challenging and difficult issues we are facing.

Since the release of the Wainstein Report, we have had a number of opportunities to digest what is in the Report and what it means for the University.

We have had numerous University wide conversations – including a University wide town hall, several listening sessions with the Faculty Athletics Committee and I am sure you recall we dedicated our last Faculty Council meeting to issues surrounding the report.

In addition, I know there have been countless of conversations among yourselves, in departments, schools, units, departments and among that have addressed one aspect or another of the report.

Also, a number of you have written some outstanding and thoughtful letters to me the Chancellor and the Provost with your thoughts about what all of this means to you as a faculty member and as a member of the University community- it is clear that people are disappointed and in pain, and frankly angry.

Please continue to write- I greatly appreciate hearing from all of you.

In addition to the personal letters, I know many of you have have published thoughtful opinion pieces in the local papers and elsewhere- please continue to do so.

All of these are modes of communication are important.

With all of this going on, I hope you believe Faculty Governance has been responsive.

For example, last week the same day a letter was published in the DTH, the Faculty Executive Committee met with the authors including Professors Watson, Colloredo-Mansfield, Tomaskova, and Weiler and discussed the relevant issues. I think the conversation was informative and productive for everyone involved and I know the Faculty Executive Committee looks forward to further discussions with this group and others- that is one of the major reasons why we are here.

I don’t know if Professor Watson or his colleagues would like to comment on this meeting and our plans?

The Agenda Committee for the Council met earlier this week and came up with a slightly different structure for month’s meeting.

First, are going to begin with a brief discussion of the structure of Faculty Governance and how we can make the process better.

We are then going to have Professor Jim Thomas from the School of Public lead a discussion that examines our core beliefs and values- this going to be an exercise that all of the Council will participate in.

Jim gave this presentation to the FEC last week and there was universal agreement that we should have him present at this week’s Council meeting.

After our faculty discussion, the Chancellor and the Provost will speak- they can respond to what we have said as well as take questions from the Council or general faculty.

I hope to have this part of the meeting completed by 4pm because we have some important Faculty Council business- beginning with an update on contextual grading from Professor Perrin, receive reports from the Research, Grievance and Hearings Committee,

Vote on a resolution supporting a new University Wide initiative presented by Associate Dean Terry Rhodes. We will finish with some general updates and then go into close session for discussion of the Distinguished Alumni Awards.

I believe will have plenty of time to discuss issues that are important to you- but please keep in mind we have several important items of business to discuss.

Before Jim comes up I would like to take a few minutes to discuss a couple of issues that have came up in the past Faculty Council meeting related to faculty governance.

To quote this brochure published by the Office of Faculty Governance, shared governance between faculty, administrators and trustees at the University is based on the principles first outlined by the American Association of University Professors in 1920 and set forth in the Faculty Code of University Government, first issued in 1950.

Much of what is in the Faculty Code outlines our roles and responsibilities as Faculty and how the Faculty Council and various committees function.

If we are to change the charge or composition of a committee we would have modify the Code

Appendix B: Statement from the Council of Chairs of the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill

As the Chairs of the Departments and Curricula of the College of Arts and Sciences, we are charged by the Dean of the College to oversee the academic units responsible for the instruction of students at the University of North Carolina.  We write today to acknowledge that the failures chronicled by the Wainstein report, including a shadow curriculum of sham courses perpetrated on the academic community, represent a betrayal of our most fundamental obligation to our students.

We specifically note that this could only occur because a Department Chair failed in his responsibility to his – and our — students.  We deplore this breach in responsibility, and we apologize to the students who were deprived of the opportunity for inspired learning in all their courses.

While we represent the full variety of disciplines in the College of Arts and Sciences, we share a common goal – to provide a rigorous, effective, and sophisticated education to every student enrolled in our courses.  This is not just our job: it is our mission.  We are firmly committed to this goal and we welcome the assistance, oversight and recently-implemented reforms provided by our Dean, Provost, and Chancellor, as well as accrediting bodies, to help us in this mission. Moreover, we understand from experience that no merely bureaucratic system of reporting and evaluation will succeed without the vigilance of Chairs and faculty alike.

Finally, we admire and support our colleagues, the many faculty members in our departments who have dedicated their careers to higher education in Chapel Hill and look forward to working at their sides to build a better Carolina.  We are intent in pursuing our mission, and we invite the UNC community to join us in this.


Pdf of meeting materials

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