Skip to main content

Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, December 16, 2016 from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Kerr Hall, 2001 (Eshelman School of Pharmacy)


3:00 p.m. Chair of the Faculty remarks

  • Professor Bruce Cairns

3:05 p.m. Chancellor’s and Provosts remarks

  • Chancellor Carol Folt and Provost Jim Dean

3:15 p.m. Strategic Framework presentation

4:15 p.m. Curriculum review process update and discussion

  • Professor Andrew Perrin, chair of the General Education Revision Working Group

4:45 p.m. Sponsored Research Code of Conduct update

  • Professor Kim Strom-Gottfried, director of ethics education and policy management

4:50 p.m. Resolution 2016- 15. On Calling for the Repeal of a Portion of HB 562

  • Professor emeritus Andrew Dobelstein, retired faculty representative, and Professor emeritus Jonathan Kotch

5:00 p.m. Adjournment

Video of proceedings

Watch the full video [Streaming]

Journal of proceedings of the Faculty Council

The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on December 16, 2016, at 3:11 p.m. in Kerr Hall, room 2001 at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

The following 54 members attended: Anksorus, Arnold, Bangdiwala, Baumgartner, Berkowitz, Berman, Boettiger Cooney, Brewster, Cairns, Chapman, Cox, Cuddeback, Dobelstein, Drake, Duqum, Edwards, Fisher, Folt, Furry, Giovanello, Hall, Hobbs, Ives, Jones, Joyner, Khan, Kireev, Koonce , Kris, Lee, A. Levine, Lithgow, Mayer-Davis, McBride, Melehy, Mizzy, Moracco, Nelson, Perelmuter, Persky, Pruvost, Pukkila, Renner, Salyer, Scarlett, Steponaitis, Sturm, Thorpe, Tuggle, Upshaw, Wallace, Willett, Yaqub and Zvara.

Others in attendance: Provost Jim Dean, Filene (Undergraduate representative), Jabati (Undergraduate representative) and Jaramillo (Graduate representative).

The following 32 member were absent with excuse: Aikat, Ammerman, Babb, Coyne-Beasley, Daughters, Estigarribia, Estrada, Felix, Fry, Gilland, Halladay, Hannig, Hill, Hornstein, Kang, Kim, Larson, C. Levine, Lundberg, Malloy, Metz, Neta, Osterweil, Parise, Platts-Mills, Savasta-Kennedy, Tepper, Thompson Dorsey, Weight, Welty, Williams and You.

The following members were absent without excuse: Ansong, Gilchrist, Hastings, Hunter, Mauro, Mayer, Meyer, Oehler and Song.

Call to order

The secretary of the faculty called the meeting to order at 3:11 p.m.

Chair of the Faculty remarks

Professor Bruce Cairns (Surgery) welcomed the faculty. He encouraged them to attend winter commencement and noted that Professor Paul Caudros (Media and Journalism) will deliver the commencement address. The Retired Faculty Association has offered to lend regalia to faculty who do not want to rent or purchase them.

Professor Cairns announced that the annual faculty interest survey will be deployed before the next Faculty Council meeting. He encouraged faculty to express interest in serving on faculty governance committees.

Last, Professor Cairns said that he is aware of the discussions on campus surrounding academic freedom and a recent incident in which Professor Enrique Neblett (Psychology) was listed on Turning Point USA’s “Professor Watchlist.” He said that the concept of naming professors on lists is not a new one, and the faculty will continue to support academic freedom.

Chancellor’s remarks

Chancellor Carol Folt thanked the faculty governance staff and faculty who serve on the Council and committees for their work. She said that she recently received a letter from faculty addressed to her and Provost Jim Dean requesting that they expand access to childcare on campus. She said that she and the provost plan to work on the issue.

Chancellor Folt encouraged the faculty to attend winter commencement. She said that Professor Paul Caudros is a fantastic speaker, and there is interest on campus in how we can support our Latino/a students.

The chancellor announced that Kiplinger’s has ranked the University the number one greatest value in higher education again this year. She said that Kiplinger’s weighs not only affordability, but excellence, graduation rates and accessibility. She said that Carolina has also joined the American Talent Initiative, a program financed by Bloomberg that encourages universities to commit to attracting more low-income students. The program began with 10 universities and has since expanded to 30. The program calls on Carolina to increase Pell Grant-eligible students over the next five years, bringing the percentage of Pell Grant-eligible students at Carolina up to 25 percent from 22 percent of the student body. She noted that 20 percent of our undergraduates are first-generation college students.

Chancellor Folt said that she recently attended the National Competitiveness Forum, an event that brings together university representatives, private industry and labor leaders, to discuss jobs of the future and remaining competitive in a global economy. Former Chancellor Holden Thorp joined the Council on Competitiveness during his tenure as chancellor. They discussed the role that education can play in partnerships with industry and business, as well as the future decline of manufacturing jobs due to technological advances, including self-driving cars and robotics. The chancellor said that industry is looking toward universities for solutions to replace lost jobs, which will create changes in the ways that universities operate in the near future.

The chancellor noted that UNC alumnus Raj Panjabi received the 2017 TED Prize to assist his work in social entrepreneurship. He is the CEO of Last Mile Health, a company devoted to restructuring the Liberian health system and training healthcare practitioners.

Strategic Framework presentation

Chancellor Carol Folt explained that the Strategic Framework represents the first time the University has attempted to create a comprehensive plan to direct decision-making and priorities over the next five to 10 years. Many parts of the University have their own plans, and the Strategic Framework is designed to complement rather than supersede them. The Strategic Framework is intended to leverage cross-University research partnerships and engage the campus in envisioning how the University can be more responsive to change. She borrowed the phrase “certain uncertainty” from Professor Jim Johnson (Business) to describe the current environment in which research universities operate.

The chancellor said that while Carolina is a truly public university and receives its greatest source of funding support from the state, many activities are funded through other means. Funding from some areas is used to support activities in other units, so it is important that the University builds sustainable systems and budget models.

Chancellor Folt discussed how the Strategic Framework can help to address the University’s response to changing demographics. Technology, access to information and globalization have changed opportunities in education. For the typical residential high school student, zip code is the greatest predictor of lifelong income and opportunity to attend college. She said that Carolina can find ways to expand opportunities to educate North Carolinians, especially those who have had some college and want to complete their degrees. Faculty can also work to ensure student success in their classrooms to help close education gaps and disparities. Greater access to education can also help minimize health disparities.

Carolina faces unique challenges and opportunities for recruiting faculty. The chancellor noted that 35 percent of faculty are at retirement age. The University will need to attract and recruit faculty from different age groups with differing child and elder care needs. At the same time, the state faces a shortage of doctors in the future with 25 percent of North Carolina physicians within five years of retirement age.

The chancellor said that to compete globally, the University must attract more global students, provide more opportunities for online education and collaboration and attract partners. Declining state funds to universities means that public-private partnerships will take on increasing importance as public universities educate 80 percent of the country’s students. Meeting the need and demand for public higher education will also require external fundraising through initiatives such as the Capital Campaign.

The chancellor reviewed the pillars of the Strategic Framework, beginning with the University’s focus on the public. She said that the University will continue to serve the people of North Carolina and the nation, while maintaining a global outlook. Carolina will maintain its commitment to staying need-blind in admissions to maintain and expand college accessibility. Programs like UNC Core that serve non-traditional students will continue to be offered to assist students with degree completion. Chancellor Folt said that the Strategic Framework also emphasizes the work that the University does to promote democracy and the public good.

A second pillar of the Strategic Framework, “Innovation made fundamental,” addresses ways that the University can be more efficient in its operations within the boundaries set by the General Assembly, state and federal law. The chancellor said that encouraging basic research, as well as translational research, is key to enriching the innovation pipeline. Creative arts and performance is another way in which the University contributes and shapes culture in the American South. The University is currently reviewing its curriculum to put innovation at the core of learning in addition to research. To be a cutting-edge research university, Carolina must invest in technology and increase access to resources for entrepreneurial innovation. The University has begun to invest in maker spaces and incubators for faculty, staff and students and is examining ways to make time for faculty to translate their research.

The chancellor discussed the idea of convergence, or when disciplines collaborate and sometimes a new field emerges. A recent example of convergence is the blending of computer science and information technology with several other fields, especially in life sciences. Cancer research has led to the development of new departments in the areas of applied physical science and biomedical engineering. Creativity hubs in a few key areas can help foster convergent thinking and work against siloing. The Arts Everywhere Initiative is an attempt to connect the arts and sciences. Another area of convergence that is developing is in health sciences. Universities are attempting to address urban-rural medical disparities in their communities across the country.

The chancellor paused to invite the Council members to break into groups and respond to the one-page Strategic Framework draft. She asked them to consider the items and provide feedback on whether the framework is missing anything.

Professor David Zvara (Medicine) said that his group found the Strategic Framework affirming, and they were encouraged by the focus on accessibility.

Professor Frank Baumgartner (Political Science) said his group discussed accessibility and felt that was important to emphasize, alongside research excellence. They also discussed the importance of recognizing the value of research within disciplines as the University increasingly rewards interdisciplinary research. The group wanted to see more value placed on creativity and the liberal arts.

Professor Beth Mayer-Davis (Public Health) said her group was put off by the language “no barriers to a great education” because it may not be both aspirational and achievable. They instead suggested changing the language to “optimizing opportunity.” They also discussed the importance of college readiness and helping K-12 systems prepare students for an undergraduate education.

Chancellor Folt replied that she has been resistant to ideas in the past that the University get involved in K-12 education, but she realizes it’s important to define the University’s role in shaping K-12 standards. She thanked the group for their feedback.

Professor Marcia Hobbs (Medicine) said that her group discussed “no barriers to a great education” and the role of the community college system. The group talked about collaborating with community colleges to interact with them more meaningfully.

Chancellor Folt said that collaboration with community colleges is another challenge because we receive funding for our specific mission. The Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP) has enabled more community-college students to transfer to and graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill. She said that it is great that faculty want a closer partnership with community colleges and that commitment to the state is what makes Carolina a unique place.

Ms. Eliza Filene (Undergraduate representative) said that her group discussed the importance of creating a culture in which researchers can respond quickly to crisis, of providing opportunities for students to address disparities post-graduation and of being vigilant about conflicts of interest with public-private partnerships.

Professor Benny Joyner (Medicine) said his group talked about supporting alternative means of entry to the University, considering income diversity as well as gender and ethnic diversity in admissions, encouraging interdisciplinarity, and providing faculty training and development to respond to the changing structure of higher education.

Professor Jennifer Arnold (Psychology and Neuroscience) said that her group discussed the importance of supporting basic research in addition to translational research. She said that universities are the only places where basic research can thrive. They also talked about the importance of critical thinking and the liberal arts.

Chancellor Folt said that she believes in the importance of critical thinking and thanked the group for their input.

Professor Shrikant Bangdiwala (Biostatistics) said that his group discussed the importance of living in an information era and helping the public make sense of the information they receive. The group also talked about supporting diversity, rather than embracing diversity, and promoting health and prosperity at the local, national and global levels.

The chancellor thanked the faculty for their feedback and invited them to submit additional comments to

Curriculum review process update and discussion

Professor Andrew Perrin (Sociology), chair of the General Education Revision Working Group, presented an overview of the 2019 Curriculum Revision Working Group. The group has been working to articulate the goals and values that will underlie the revised general education curriculum in the College. Professor Perrin said that group is revising the current Making Connections curriculum because of concerns that it is difficult for students to navigate, and it does not easily incorporate study abroad, research and service-learning experiences.

The group organized a series of meetings with different constituencies on campus where they asked people to think about the broad vision and goals for the general education curriculum. The general education curriculum is the set of requirements for all undergraduate students. The group asked their constituencies to articulate the knowledge, capacities, behaviors, values and attitudes that they would like students to emerge with because of their experiences with the general education curriculum.

The main idea that the group came up with is “alumni as thinkers.” Professor Perrin said that this idea emerged because of discussions about the importance of critical thinking for gaining employment and being a good citizen. The group identified several different skills that students should master through their general education, including being able to frame research questions and generate evidence-based claims; to collect, analyze, interpret and consider evidence; to consider diverse perspectives and make sound ethical judgments; and to communicate and implement ideas. He said that all departments contribute to teaching these skills.

Professor Perrin said that many people favored fewer specific requirements in the service of a more flexible curriculum to allow students to work with advisors and career services to plan for service learning experiences, study abroad and internships. The group is also working to draft a set of assessment tools to understand if the new curriculum is working well both in the short and long-term. That report will be brought to Faculty Council for feedback and discussion.

In the spring 2017 semester, a larger group will be engaged in turning the goals and ideas into a specific curriculum. That group will propose the structure of the new curriculum and identify necessary resources for implementation. Smaller working groups will convene to determine strategies for meeting the goals of the new curriculum. A draft proposal is expected to be developed during the summer of 2017 in preparation for passage by the Educational Policy Committee in November 2017. The final proposal will be sent to the Faculty Council for approval in December 2017. There will be a year and a half to prepare for implementation that is scheduled for fall 2019.

Professor Brian Sturm (Information and Library Science) said that the idea “alumni as thinkers” seems limited. He said he recently watched a TED talk called “Do schools kill creativity?” by British author Ken Robinson that argues we educate students “from the shoulders up” rather than focusing on the students’ feelings and emotions.

Professor Vaughn Upshaw (Government) said that teaching interpersonal skills, alongside cognitive skills, is important for teaching students to self-manage.

Professor Hilary Lithgow (English and Comparative Literature) said that she is struck by a lack of ability among first-year students to read critically and understand arguments outside of their own perspectives. She said an important part of the general curriculum is helping students with critical reading skills. Understanding the history of place and context is also key for inculcating an appreciation for diverse perspectives.

Professor Perrin said that each of the pieces of the cycle contain lots of different skills and approaches.

Professor Cairns said that he likes the idea that students are holistic and have feelings as well, but they must learn how to think critically before all else. He questioned why the timeline for implementation of the general curriculum was two years.

Professor emerita Pat Pukkila (Retired faculty representative) asked how the general education curriculum inspires first-year students to recognize their roles as “vital members of an intellectual community.” She suggested revising the language to reflect the excitement and uniqueness of the resources and experiences that the university offers to its undergraduates.

The faculty applauded.

Professor Charlotte Boettiger (Psychology and Neuroscience) suggested that the curriculum facilitate students’ abilities to recognize gaps in their own knowledge and train students in how to get information to fill knowledge gaps.

Ms. Danianne Mizzy (University Libraries) said that the curriculum should also focus on teaching self-efficacy and engaging in a community of scholarship.

Sponsored Research Code of Conduct update

Professor Kim Strom-Gottfried, director of ethics education and policy management, announced briefly that the University is working on a Code of Conduct for Sponsored Research to comply with NIH requirements. The draft code is under review with a subcommittee of the Research Committee and will be presented to the Faculty Council at its next meeting in January 2017.

Resolution 2016-15. On Calling for the Repeal of a Portion of HB 562

Professor emeritus Andrew Dobelstein (Retired faculty representative) presented Resolution 2016-15 On Calling for the Repeal of a Portion of HB 562. He explained that HB 562 contains a recently passed provision that allows people with conceal carry permits to remove a firearm from their vehicle on campus if they feel there is a deadly threat. The resolution calls for the repeal of that specific portion of HB 562. Professor Dobelstein explained that the resolution is supported by the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Public Safety and the Faculty Executive Committee.

There were no questions or debate. The resolution passed unanimously. Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis explained that the resolution will be sent to the General Assembly, Board of Trustees and the chancellor.


Its business having been completed, the Council adjourned at 5:01 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Katie Turner
Faculty Program Specialist

Vincas P. Steponaitis
Secretary of the Faculty

Print Friendly, PDF & Email