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Meeting of the Faculty Council

Chancellor Carol Folt and Acting Chair of the Faculty Peter Mucha presiding

Friday, October 30, 2015
3:00 p.m.
New Location! Kerr Hall Room 1001 (Eshelman School of Pharmacy)  Map here

Twitter:  Follow @UNCFacGov or use hashtag #FacCouncil

Watch remotely at this link


3:00 Chancellor’s and Provost’s remarks and question period

3:20 Update on Student Stores Request for Proposals (RFP)

  • Mr. Matthew Fajack, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration

3:30 Faculty Recruitment and Retention Report

3:45 Diversity Syllabus: Update from the Ombuds Office

  • Mr. Wayne Blair, University Ombuds, and Prof. Rumay Alexander, Community and Diversity Committee chair
  • Prof. Alexander’s PowerPoint
  • Reading materials: “Walking on Eggshells: Fear of Talking about Differences in the Workplace,” Part I and Part II. (Please note that these are copyrighted materials; clicking links will require Faculty Council members to log in to Sakai to read.)

4:15 VOTE: Resolution 2015-13. On Appreciation for UNC Faculty Winners of Nobel Prizes

  • Presented by the Agenda Committee, Prof. Mucha will introduce

4:20 VOTE: Resolution 2015-12. On Revising the Pass/D+/D/Fail Option

  • Presented by the Educational Policy Committee, Prof. Jennifer Coble, Chair

4:35 VOTE: Resolution 2015-04. On Fully Integrating All Academic Support Services (Referred in February 2015 to the Student- Athlete Academic Initiative Working Group)

4:50 VOTE in CLOSED SESSION: Report from the Honorary Degrees and Special Awards Committee on 2016 Distinguished Alumna/us Award Nominees

5:00 Adjourn

Journal of Proceedings of the Faculty Council

Link to view meeting:

The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on October 30, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. in Kerr Hall, room 1001.

The following 69 Council members attended: Aikat, Ammerman, Babb, Beltran Lopez, Berman, Boettiger, Cairns, Caren, Chavis, Cook, Cox, Cravey (AAUP Representative), Cuddeback, Day, Provost Dean, Divaris, Dobelstein (Retired Faculty Representative), Drake, Estigarribia, Filene (Undergraduate Student Representative), Fisher, Chancellor Folt, Fry, Furry, Gilchrist, Gilligan, Gucsavas-Calikoglu, Hall, Halladay, Hart, Irons, Ives, Jones, Joyner, Kang, Koonce, Kris, A. Levine, C. Levine, Loehr, Mauro, Metz, Miller, Mitran, Moracco, Moreton, Nelson, Osterweil, Palmer, Parise, Perelmuter, Persky, Polk, Pruvost, Pukkila, Ramaswamy, Rial, Salyer, Savasta-Kennedy, Segars, Steponaitis, Sturm, Tepper, Thompson, Thorpe, Wallace, Willett, Williams and Foster.

The following two members participated via teleconference: Larson and Porto.

Members absent with excuse: Able, Baumgartner, Beck, Birckhead, Chapman, Dolan, Edwards, Ferrell (Secretary of the Faculty), Gerhardt, Giovanello, Gulledge, Hannig, Hill, Kim, McBride, Melehy, Neta, Platts-Mills, Stavas, Thompson Dorsey, Upshaw, Viera, Webster-Cyriaque, Weight, Welty and You.

Members absent without excuse: Hobbs and Livingston (Graduate Student Representative).

Call to order

Professor Peter Mucha, chair of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee, called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. Professor Mucha presided over the meeting while Professor Bruce Cairns recovered from a cardiac procedure.

Chancellor’s remarks and questions

Chancellor Carol Folt welcomed the Faculty Council members and congratulated Professor Kevin Guskiewicz (Exercise and Sports Science), on being named Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The chancellor also congratulated Professor Aziz Sancar (Biochemistry and Biophysics) for receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The chancellor announced that the Board of Governors selected Margaret Spellings to become the UNC-System President. She said that early applications for undergraduate programs have increased 12 percent so far this year. Carolina has recently launched Carolina Square in partnership with the City of Chapel Hill. Carolina Square is a collaborative artspace. The chancellor said that one of her goals is to ensure that every building on campus has a space for the arts.

The chancellor noted that UNC alumna and President of the University of Michigan, Mary Sue Coleman, has been elected the President of the American Association of Universities (AAU). The chancellor said that she is excited about Coleman’s leadership because she has demonstrated a commitment to promoting public research universities during her time spearheading the Lincoln Project.

Chancellor Folt also noted that she is wearing a pink blazer to commemorate the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Week. She said that she was inspired by Bruce Cairn’s University Day speech during which he said that he owed his life to the University. Chancellor Folt noted that several of her relatives are breast cancer survivors, and she wanted to highlight Carolina’s groundbreaking cancer research. She congratulated scientists at the School of Public Health for receiving a five-year, $11 million grant by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to work to eliminate cancer-related health disparities for African-Americans in North Carolina.

Provost’s remarks and question period

Provost Dean gave an overview of a website ( produced by the Student-Athlete Academic Initiative Working Group. The website documents academic processes for student-athletes at Carolina. The provost said that the working group aimed to have “a deep and comprehensive understanding of what happens in the lives of student-athletes from recruitment to graduation.” Rather than producing a report, the working group presented the information via a website that everyone could access upon recommendation from the Faculty Executive Committee. He invited the Faculty Council members to review the website and email him with suggestions for improvement. He said that the working group will continue to meet every semester to update the website’s materials where necessary.

Professor Vin Steponaitis (Archaeology and Anthropology) asked how many of the processes have changed since the working group started.

Provost Dean said that when the working group began, there had been four years of reforms already put in place. They reviewed the processes and found that about 80 percent did not need to be changed. The working group made changes to some processes to add clarity about the roles of certain groups.

Chancellor Folt said that the website is a model for other universities that have contacted her because they are interested in documenting their processes for student-athletes.

Professor Rosa Perelmuter (Romance Studies) asked Chancellor Folt if she wanted to meet with Margaret Spellings before the Board of Governors announced Spellings’ appointment.

Chancellor Folt said that during her own hiring process for the chancellorship, she was interviewed without a public forum. She believes the closed nature of the process is typical for high-level positions to keep the candidate pool confidential.

Professor Altha Cravey (Geography) asked the chancellor to respond to a recent statement from the Faculty Assembly that claims that shared governance across the UNC-system has deteriorated over the past five years.

Chancellor Folt said that she routinely talks about shared governance. In her statement to the campus about the new UNC-System President, she used Margaret Spellings’ words to convey what her vision is for the system.

Professor Rosa Perelmuter (Romance Studies) asked the chancellor if there are conversations going on with the legislature about faculty raises.

Chancellor Folt said that both faculty and staff raises are a huge priority when she speaks with members of the legislature. She said that there is flexibility to give raises, but the budget will have to be realigned to find money for that purpose. She said that faculty raises are critical, and last year the administration used money from reserves to give an increase for both faculty and staff.

Update on Student Stores Request for Proposals (RFP)

Matt Fajack, vice chancellor for finance and administration, explained that in August 2015, he received a letter from Follet claiming they could provide $3 in scholarships and occupancy costs to the university in exchange for taking over Students Stores’ operations. He said that in 2015, Student Stores gave $400,000 to scholarships. He said that over the past 10 years, Student Stores has averaged $400,000 in annual giving to scholarships. He spoke with a representative from Follet who called to follow up on their proposal. The representative then said that Follet could contribute $4 million in scholarships annually.

Mr. Fajack said that he did some preliminary research and called several large and small universities that use Follet’s services. He said that for the most part, the large universities were happy with Follet’s services, whereas smaller universities had mixed experiences. Mr. Fajack said that he believed Follet had to cut costs more at smaller universities, which explained varying levels of satisfaction with their services. Since large universities had mostly positive experiences, he and Brad Ives, associate vice chancellor for campus enterprises, decided to move forward with drafting a RFP. They are considering a number of different scenarios, such as keeping Bulls Head Book Shop independent from Follet.

Mr. Fajack said that he has been involved in drafting the RFP, and he expects to send it out sometime over the following two weeks. A committee will convene to review responses. That review committee will have two representatives from Student Government, two representatives from Faculty Governance, two representatives from the Employee Forum and at least one representative from the Student Stores staff. He emphasized that a decision has not been made about outsourcing and that the purpose of the RFP process is to explore options. He said that their goals are to protect employees while maximizing contributions to financial aid.

[unidentified] asked how students would be employed if an outside company were to take over operations.

Mr. Fajack replied that he believes outside companies would continue to hire students. He cited the Follet-run bookstore at the University of Florida as an example.

Professor Vin Steponaitis (Archaeology and Anthropology) said that Student Stores is currently making money, and the argument for outsourcing is to increase profits. He explained that the University has endured budget cuts since 2008 and weathered them because of committed workers. He said that he worries that the RFP process sends a message that the University isn’t as commited to its workers as they are to the University. He asked whether whatever savings could be achieved by outsourcing are worth the cost of employee morale.

Mr. Fajack said that maximizing revenue is only one of their goals. They also want to explore the possibility of outsourcing while keeping employees in the state system.

Faculty recruitment and retention update

Dr. Ron Strauss, executive vice provost, provided an annual update on tenured/tenure-track faculty retention and recruitment. He reported that the number of faculty who accepted external offers decreased slightly last year to 16. Fifty-three faculty members received external offers. The Provost’s Office made 43 counteroffers, and 37 of them were successful. The overall retention success rate for 2014-15 was 68 percent. Of the 16 who left, two were recruited through the targeted hire program, one Native American and one Latino/a.

Dr. Strauss reported that the University recruited 89 faculty last year. Nineteen of those faculty were tenured at their previous institution. Two were recruited through the targeted hire program and two were spousal hires.

Professor Deborah Thorpe (School of Medicine) asked if he has retention information broken down by department.

Dr. Strauss replied that he keeps that information private so that individual faculty cannot be identified.

Professor Thorpe said that she believes that some faculty are missing from the data, and there is a lack of transparency around who gets counteroffers and who doesn’t.

Dr. Strauss said that she might be thinking of fixed-term faculty that aren’t included in his figures. He verified his figures from payroll data.

[unidentified] asked if there are exit interviews. She said a colleague left due to the political climate in North Carolina.

Dr. Strauss replied that exit interviews are offered, but not everyone participates. He reaches out personally to retain some faculty, but the personal circumstances of the individual faculty member sometimes trump the counteroffer.

Diversity syllabus: Update from the Ombud’s Office

Professor Rumay Alexander, chair of the Community and Diversity Committee, introduced University Ombuds Wayne Blair.

Mr. Blair explained that Professor Alexander (School of Nursing) had invited him to the Community and Diversity Committee to discuss some of the trends and patterns that he has observed from faculty seeking advice from the Ombud’s Office. He explained that as an Ombuds, he hears concerns and issues from conversations with people in the Carolina community that aren’t always reflected in formal data collection. Postdocs, researchers, students and faculty share many of these concerns.

Mr. Blair said that much of the conflict between colleagues is generated by poor communication and avoiding difficult conversations. Some feel that Carolina doesn’t have an environment where people can have open dialog, or they are afraid they will make a mistake and will be labeled as someone who insensitive to difference. Because of self-censorship, we lose the opportunity to learn and educate about people with different backgrounds. He added that Carolina Conversations is a great program for opening up dialog on difficult issues.

Faculty members and postdocs have told Mr. Blair that they have been impacted by assumptions that Carolina has lower standards of rigor for minorities. He said that these assumptions undermine the accomplishments and challenges that minority faculty and postdocs experience. Some minority and women-identified faculty feel that they have to prove to their colleagues that they belong at Carolina, which creates tension in departments and units. Mr. Blair said that he hears complaints from minority postdocs that they are questioned and challenged about research more frequently than their white counterparts.

Mr. Blair suggested that “multicultural competency” that includes an understanding of complex identities shaped by race, regional differences, language, class and gender and other identity categories, is key to avoiding cultural faux pas or misunderstandings. He noted that not all black faculty or students at Carolina are African-American and not all share the same cultural history.

Another difficult issue Mr. Blair said that people at Carolina are uncomfortable discussing is class and regional cultural differences within the United States. He said that some black scholars don’t feel connected to the black community at Carolina because they were raised outside of the South and did not attend the University as students. Questions about where one receives his/her academic credentials can also signal class or regional differences.

Mr. Blair raised the issue of mentoring and professional development for women and faculty of color. He said that some supervisors are hesitant to hold accountable a minority person who reports to them. He said that this is a particularly difficult topic to discuss, and that some supervisors fear being called racist if they discipline a minority faculty member or postdoc who reports to them. In turn, some minorities and women miss opportunities for professional development and feedback on their performance. In addition, this lack of accountability affirms the perception that Carolina lowers standards for minorities and women. Rather than confront an underperforming employee, deans or chairs may ask a minority colleague to unofficially hold someone accountable.

Professor Deborah Stroman (School of Business) expressed her appreciation for the students who are taking the lead in having campus-wide diversity conversations, and she thanked the 280 faculty and students who have completed anti-racism training.

Professor Vin Steponaitis (Archaeology and Anthropology) asked Mr. Blair if he believes conditions have gotten better or worse since he’s been at the University.

Mr. Blair replied that despite the challenges that he’s described, people are attracted to Carolina and are happy being here. He said that many embrace the values of the public university. He hopes that Carolina Conversations can be brought into departments. He said it is important that the institution is self-reflective and that people are comfortable talking about the things we’d like to change.

Professor Leslie Parise (Biochemistry and Biophysics) thanked Wayne Blair for his work and encouraged departments to reach out to him when they have concerns.

Professor Bruce Cairns (Surgery) thanked Mr. Blair and Professor Alexander and asked what people should say to others who think that diversity issues don’t impact them. He asked what faculty can do to take the lead in diversity discussions.

Mr. Blair said that the faculty are role models for the students, and the faculty can show that we can have difficult and emotional conversations about sensitive topics while also disagreeing on some points.

Professor Alexander presented a series of promising practices that faculty can implement to address communication across difference. She said that increasing awareness and communication could contribute to improving the work climate in departments and units for everyone. She asked the Faculty Council members to reflect on the climate in their own departments and units.

Professor Alexander said that at the next Faculty Council meeting, Professor Nancy Fisher will present data from the 2014-15 Committee on Fixed-Term Faculty survey as it relates to the experiences of faculty of color.

Resolution 2015-13. On Appreciation for UNC Faculty Winners of Nobel Prizes

Professor Peter Mucha invited Professor Bruce Cairns, chair of the faculty, to present Resolution 2015-13.

Professor Cairns thanked the Faculty Council and the administration. He said that the faculty should be thankful that Carolina has a strong shared governance system that allows the faculty to have open and frank discussions with the administration. He then read Resolution 2015-3 aloud, and the faculty rose in applause. The resolution was adopted with dissent.

Professor Aziz Sancar graciously thanked that faculty for honoring him.

Resolution 2015-12. On Revising the Pass/D+/D/Fail Option

Professor Jennifer Coble (Biology), Educational Policy Committee chair, explained that Resolution 2015-12 proposes that the current Pass/D+/D/Fail Option policy be amended to a simpler pass/fail option.

Professor Coble explained that the resolution would allow students to take courses using the pass/fail option over their typical academic load. The benefit of using the pass/fail option is that students can experiment with taking courses in an unfamiliar subject area without impacting their GPA.

Professor Coble explained that under the proposed resolution courses in a student’s major or minor department cannot be taken pass/fail, and students cannot use the option to fulfill general education requirements. If adopted, the resolution would allow students to take more courses pass/fail. They would not be able to use the option to retake a course they have previously failed.

Professor Joy Renner (Allied Health Sciences) asked why the policy was changed to pass/D+/D/fail in the first place.

Professor Coble said that she did not know.

Professor Rosa Perelmuter (Romance Studies) said that there were too many students passing courses with a D and the pass/D+/D/fail option raised standards for many students who didn’t want a D to show on their transcripts.

Professor Sherry Salyer (Exercise and Sports Science) said that the proposed resolution only allows students to take one course pass/fail so if they are taking a co-requisite like a lecture and lab, they will have to decide which course to take pass/fail. She asked if the committee had also considered the possibility that students could drop their major, take the course pass/fail, and then redeclare the major to get credit for the course.

Professor Coble replied that the committee hadn’t considered co-requisite courses, but since students cannot take courses in their major pass/fail the committee didn’t think it would become an issue. She said that if a student takes a course using the pass/fail option and then declares a major in the same department, he/she can only receive credit for one course in their major/minor requirement.

[unidentified] asked if gateway and prerequisite courses could be taken pass/fail.

Professor Coble replied that those courses could be taken using the pass/fail option unless the program requires a particular minimum grade.

The Faculty Council adopted the resolution with two opposed.

Resolution 2015-04. On Fully Integrating All Academic Support Services

Professor Andrew Perrin (Sociology) presented a response to Resolution 2015-04, referred to the Student-Athlete Academic Initiative Working Group. He said that the working group opposed adoption of the resolution because the services provided for student-athletes complement the advising services they receive in Academic Advising. The Academic Support Program for Student Athletes (ASPSA) offers convenient times and a central location for students receiving services.

Professor Perrin noted that advising in the College only applies to a portion of student-athletes since there are also student-athletes who receive advising services in the professional schools. He added that the ASPSA provides support for scholarships, recruiting information, eligibility and NCAA compliance. One advantage of having two offices is that there are two separate modes of oversight over academic support.

Professor Mia Kang (Anesthesiology) said that she felt the resolution is written in a punitive way and would increase pressure on student-athletes.

Professor Jay Smith (History) said that the intention behind the resolution is not punitive. The intention is to act on the principle of full integration of student-athletes in campus life. He is concerned that the segregation of athletics advising allows a culture to flourish in which keeping student-athletes eligible becomes the primary concern. He said that separation keeps them from having the same academic experiences as their peers. He said this resolution is an opportunity to tear down a wall the separates student-athletes from the rest of the student population.

Professor Perrin replied that all academic advising remains the responsibility of Academic Advising in College or professional schools. Academic advisors report up to the College or deans in the professional schools.

Professor Altha Cravey (Geography) said that the resolution is not punitive and she supports it.

Professor Rudy Coloredo-Mansfeld (Archaeology and Anthropology) said that he worries that creating special services for different populations carves up the campus community. He said that we are creating silos for our students.

Professor Vin Steponaitis (Archaeology and Anthropology) said the certain students have different requirements, and student-athletes have extreme demands on their time. He said that we cannot bring students here to be athletes and not give them the support they need to succeed academically.

Professor Mia Kang (Anesthesiology) asked why the resolution focuses only on services for student-athletes and not special services for other students.

Professor Deb Stroman (Business) said that rather than thinking of the ASPSA as a wall, it is more fitting to think of it as a ladder.

Professor Andy Dobelstein (Retired Faculty Representative) said that the Retired Faculty Association wrote a letter that recommended that support activities become integrated into one unit. For that reason, he supports the resolution.

Professor Peter Gilligan (Pathology and Laboratory Medicine) asked Provost Dean to clarify the advising roles of the ASPSA and the Academic Advising program in Steele building.

Provost Dean said that all advising services are provided by the professional schools or the College. There have been funding challenges in Academic Advising that have produced a shortage of advisors. Student-athletes have unique needs and travel requirements. He said that there is a high level of collaboration between ASPSA in the Loudermilk Center and academic advisors in Steele building.

Professor Gilligan asked if the services under discussion are tutoring services that are only available to student-athletes.

Professor Abigail Panter said that there are many services available that are open to all students including the writing center and center for academic success.

[unidentified] said that she doesn’t understand all of the consequences of voting for or against the resolution, and she would prefer to have a report that focuses on how things would change if the services were combined.

Chancellor Carol Folt said that the University is continuously trying to find ways to personalize services for all students depending on their needs. The ASPSA is only one tool that is being used to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body. The University also wants to meet the needs of working parents, military personnel, covenant scholars, minority males and others. She said that it is premature to get rid of the ASPSA, but if the goal is to integrate services for student-athletes, the administration can examine some best practices.

The resolution failed with only four voting in favor.

Closed session: Consideration of 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award nominees

Professor Peter Mucha made a motion to go into closed session to consider nominees for the Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards to be presented at University Day in 2016.

On behalf of the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards, Professor Steve Matson (Biology), chair of the committee, nominated five people for the Distinguished Alumnus or Alumna Awards. Each nominee was approved and will be submitted to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

The Council returned to open session.


Having completed its business, the Faculty Council adjourned at 5:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathryn Turner
Faculty Programs Specialist

Storify Summary of Tweets Covering Council Meeting

We’ve published a “Storify” summary of the (mostly) live-tweets covering the October 30, 2015 Council meeting.  Check it out for a minute-by-minute overview of what transpired.

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