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Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, March 24, 2017 from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Kerr Hall, 2001 (Eshelman School of Pharmacy)

Live-stream link:


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

3:10 p.m. Chair of the Faculty candidate introductions

  • Professors Leslie Parise (Biochemistry and Biophysics) and Lloyd Kramer (History)

3:20 p.m. Provost’s remarks

  • Provost Jim Dean
  • Faculty recruitment and retention update (PowerPoint or as a .pdf)
    • Presented by Executive Vice Provost Ron Strauss

3:50 p.m. Committee on Student Conduct amendments to the Instrument of Student Judicial Government

4:05 p.m. Scholarships, Awards and Student Aid Committee annual report

4:15 p.m. Annual committee reports by title:

4:20 p.m Educational Policy Committee report on contextual grading

4:35 p.m. Informational

  • Update from University Ombuds Wayne Blair

4:55 p.m. Open discussion

5:00 p.m. Adjournment

Video of Proceedings

Watch the full video

Journal of Proceedings of the Faculty

The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on March 24, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. in Kerr Hall, room 2001 at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

The following 51 members attended: Ammerman, Anksorus, Ansong, Arnold, Babb, Berman, Brewster, Cairns (Chair of the Faculty), Dobelstein, Estigarribia, Fry, Furry, Gilland, Halladay, Hannig, Hastings, Jonathan, Hobbs, Ives, Jones, Joyner, Kang, Kim, Kireev, Larson, Lee, Levine, Mayer, Mayer-Davis, McBride, Melehy, Metz, Meyer, Moracco, Nelson, Parise, Perelmuter, Persky, Pruvost, Pukkila, Ramaswamy, Renner, Salyer, Savasta-Kennedy, Scarlett, Steponaitis (Secretary of the Faculty), Tuggle, Wallace, Weight, Willet, and Yaqub.

The following 27 members received excused absences: Aikat, Baumgartner, Boettiger Cooney, Coyne-Beasley, Cox, Cuddeback, Daughters, Drake, Duqum, Edwards, Estrada, Gilchrist, Hunter, Joyner, Koonce, Kris, Malloy, Mizzy, Neta, Platts-Mills, Sturm, Tepper, Thompson Dorsey, Thorpe, Upshaw, Welty, and Zvara.

The following 16 members were absent without excuse:  Berkowitz, Chapman, Fisher, Giovanello, Hall, Hornstein, Khan, Levine, Lithgow, Lundberg, Mauro, Oehler, Osterweil, Song, Williams, and You.

Others in attendance: Dean (Provost), Filene (Undergraduate Representative), and Rubin (Undergraduate Representative).

Call to order

The secretary of the faculty called the meeting to order.

Chair of Faculty remarks

Chair of the Faculty Bruce Cairns welcomed the faculty to the penultimate Faculty Council meeting of the 2016-2017 academic year. The faculty elections will be held in a few weeks. He introduced the two chair of the faculty candidates Lloyd Kramer, Professor and former Chair of the Department of History, and Leslie Parise, Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

Professor Cairns reminded the faculty that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) will visit the University as a part of the 10-year reaffirmation process. He thanked everyone who was involved in preparation for this meeting and for developing a comprehensive Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

Professor Cairns shared some exciting news. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved Resolution 2017-3, On Authorizing the Titles “Teaching Assistant Professor” and “Teaching Associate Professor” for Fixed-Term Faculty. He thanked everyone who was involved in addressing this issue, including Professor Nancy Fisher, chair of the Fixed-Term Faculty Committee, and Professor Adam Persky, the committee’s previous chair. He also thanked Provost Jim Dean and Dean Kevin Guskiewicz for their partnership.

Professor Cairns reflected on his time as chair of the faculty and his time as a faculty member at the University. He said Carolina is a great place to be a faculty member because of the mutual respect for shared governance. At the last University Affairs Committee meeting, Chancellor Folt recognized two faculty members, Professor Aziz Sancar and Professor Melina Kibbe, who were inducted into the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Melina Kibbe is the new Chair of the Department of Surgery, and she helped to ensure that all proposals from the National Institute of Health include sex differences. Dr. Paula Miller is the cardiologist who saved Professor Cairns life after he went into cardiac arrest. He said his mother passed from cardiac arrest 12 days ago. He said what kept him going was his family, the University, and the people who work here like Professor Kibbie and Professor Miller. He then asked Professor Kibbie to stand be recognized for her service.

Chair of the Faculty acknowledged the national climate of fear and uncertainty. He said the University must be the light on hill for others. Professor Cairns read part of a speech by Professor Brian Sturm’s brother, a faculty member at Ohio State University. He said members of the faculty must continue to work together with purpose, focus and compassion. Professor Cairns mentioned a handout from the Carolina Center for Public Service. The center has taken students to places in North Carolina still affected by Hurricane Matthew. Professor Cairns ended with words from his late mother “Remember to live your life in the service of others, not just for yourself.”

Ms. Eliza Filene (Undergraduate Representative) said a student who attended All Rise: An Institute for the Arts and Humanities’ Arts and Social Justice Project thought the event was a useful model for collective conversation. Professors, graduate students and undergraduate students attended this event, and were split into groups based on their age, race, gender, and conversation style. This discussion was important because it was voluntary, groups were small and heterogeneous and attendees talked to people who they usually would not talk to.

Professor Cairns invited the chair of the faculty candidates to make remarks.

Professor Lloyd Kramer said was honored to be a candidate for Chair of the Faculty. He thanked Bruce for his leadership and took a few minutes to describe how he envisioned the position of Chair of the Faculty and its connection to the work of the faculty. He has great respect for his colleagues’ service to the University. He believes that faculty governance empowers the faculty to affirm and protect their professional lives. Professor Kramer said that he is committed to the liberal arts and humanities and believes that it is important to affirm the value of both in the current political climate.

Professor Kramer believes that the Chair of the Faculty can serve as a public advocate for liberal arts education. He believes that the faculty must stand firmly for tolerance and openness to people of all backgrounds. Professor Kramer is committed to public service and public education. He wants to emphasize the faculty’s engagement with the whole state and how the faculty makes contributions in the arts, humanities, social sciences, the natural sciences, health affairs and the professional schools. He also wants to help defend academic rigor of the University.

Professor Kramer believes that the Faculty Chair must explain why thoughtful and engaged classroom teaching is imperative to intellectual growth. He believes that the Chair of the Faculty must explain why advanced research and graduate programs shape the University’s role in the UNC system. Interpreting this research mission is important as we launch a new fundraising campaign and implement new strategic plans. If elected as Chair of the Faculty, Professor Kramer said that he would advocate for core intellectual values and the work of the faculty.

Professor Leslie Parise offered condolences to Professor Cairns. She started her career at Carolina in pharmacology. After 18 years, she almost left the University because there were no leadership positions available at UNC. She found that UNC does many things right compared to other universities. Professor Parise has experience sheparding faculty and staff through budget cuts. In addition, she said she has a lot of experience in dealing with student, faculty and staff issues. Starting in 2011, she served two terms on the Faculty Executive Committee. There were challenging times in the past and challenges to come in the future. She said scientists are concerned about the devaluation of the sciences.

Professor Parise said it is important to remind people about leaders who have diverse careers. She attempted to get the story out about the importance of science and tried to convince the legislature about the value of basic science. Liberal arts education can lead to better policy decisions and quality of life. Professor Parise helped to initiate the Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program, and she co-chaired the Quality Enhancement Plan Implementation Committee. She has hired faculty within the School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Sciences. She said it is important to maintain those types of interactions.

Provost’s remarks

Chancellor Folt was not in attendance because of the Sweet 16 tournament game. Provost Jim Dean revisited the topic of student athletics. He attended a meeting of the Student-Athlete Academic Process Review Group whose goal was to understand processes affecting student-athletes. He said most people outside the University are concerned with student-athletes’ athletic ability, but the people in this room are concerned with how they perform in their courses. Provost Dean asked the communications group in the Athletics Department to increase communications about the academic achievements of student athletes. At least one of the basketball starters is on the dean’s list.

The SACS delegation will come to campus next week. The University is well prepared for the visit, which will be over a three-day period. Provost Dean said that accreditation is a long process, and he received his briefing materials electronically. The visit will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

Provost Dean said a resolution was introduced in the Board of Governors recently that would prohibit centers or institutes, particularly the Center for Civil Rights, from participating in litigation activity. University leadership is working with the Board of Governors and President Margaret Spellings to address this issue. The Board of Governors meeting asked the University to answer a series of questions. A team within the Law School is answering the questions, and then they will go to another committee for review and polishing. The provost said that they are acting as advocates for law students, the University and the Center for Civil Rights. They are trying their best to ensure that the center continues to offer legal training and advocate for underprivileged people in North Carolina.

Faculty Retention and Recruitment update

Executive Vice Provost Ron Strauss presented an update on faculty retention and recruitment for tenure-track faculty. This update included information on the number of tenure and tenure-track faculty who receive external offers; the percentage of counter offers; the number of faculty that the University retained; and the number of tenure and tenure-tracked faculty that the University recruited. Professor Strauss said that the University exists within a competitive academic market. External offers decreased last year and more counteroffers were successful in retaining faculty members with external offers.

Professor Colin Wallace (Physics and Astronomy) asked why similar statistics on recruitment and retention are difficult to compile for fixed-term faculty.

Professor Strauss said that fixed-term faculty are on time-limited contracts, which makes it difficult to compare them with tenure-track faculty.

Professor Maria Savasta Kennedy (School of Law) said it is useful to think about the possibility of the Center for Civil rights closing in terms of student enrollment and faculty retention. The Center advocates for low-income residents in NC on voting rights and environmental justice. She said some members of the Board of Governors are attempting to silence the Center and stop advocacy under the guise that it does not further the mission of the University.

Professor Cairns asked where new faculty recruits came from.

Professor Strauss said that the University had more than one hire from Duke University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. New hires came from Kansas, Rochester, Indiana, UC Irvine, Ohio State, UT Austin, Michigan, USC, VCU, Boston College, Washington University, Baylor and Rutgers.

Professor Beth Moracco (Public Health) said her department received information that the Provost’s Office will no longer provide funding for start-up packages. She asked if this was temporary because they are in the process of recruiting faculty.

Provost Dean replied that the Provost’s Office is providing less funding because they are running out of funding. Future budgeting will determine whether start-up packages will increase again. Provost Dean said it takes a lot of effort to retain faculty. The University is not able to pay at the high end of the pay scale, so to have a high retention rate is great, but it limits the amount of money they can provide to onboard new faculty. The UNC system faculty retention budget has become almost depleted.

Professor Cairns asked how well we are doing with peers in terms of graduation rates and quality of faculty. When we look at faculty compensation, the University is not as strong there, but the faculty is committed to unique mission of the University.

Provost Dean said that the University compares itself with the top public universities in the country and some private ones. UNC is in the middle in graduation rates with high four-year and six-year graduation rates. The University is challenged in the area of faculty compensation. Compensation is in the middle for full professors, associate professors are in the 25th percentile, and assistant professors are at the bottom. This year the ability to increase tuition was further constrained. There is also a limit on the amount that tuition can be increased. In the past, the state has filled the gap, but state funding has eroded consistently. Relative to other states, funding is still fairly high, but it has decreased. If we want to have low tuition for students, the money has to come from some place. The University exists in a faculty market, and we have to compete with all top public and private universities.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics and Operations Research) asked about graduate funding and stipends.

Provost Jim Dean said that departments that pay the minimum stipend are at the bottom of compared to peers. Graduate stipends have increased twice since his time as provost. He said they are currently conducting a university-wide survey to find out more information on graduate stipends. Provost Dean and Chancellor Folt intend on raising the stipend, but it will depend on future funding.

Resolution 2017-4. On Amending the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance

Mr. Frank Jiang (Undergraduate Student Attorney General) and Ms. Katie Bartholomew presented changes to The Instrument of Student Judicial Governance. Before the instrument can be amended, the Faculty Council has to approve the changes. The first proposal clarified the definition of cheating. The second proposal clarified the penalties for possessing and using marijuana.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics and Operations Research) said that most states are moving toward decriminalizing marijuana, but it seems like the proposal moves the University in the opposite direction.

Mr. Jiang said that these proposals do not change current practices. The assumption is that a student must possess drugs in order to use them. The addition of “using” helps add clarity. The honor court did not want to only punish students holding drugs at the moment.

The third proposal is a wording change to add clarity to the language. The fourth proposal added a sanctioning charge for academic violations. Some charges include intent descriptors. Determining intent created difficulty with some cases because it created a more subjective evaluating process. The sanction chart is intended for the honor court to use as a starting point.

Professor Bruno Estigarribia (Romance Studies) asked about the wording of the sanction charges. He asked Mr. Jiang to clarify the differences between moderate and major academic violations.

Mr. Jiang said there is no clear numerical distinction between the two categories in terms of the weight of the assignment relative to the course grade that distinguishes academic work from substantial academic work. He thinks that will become clear when the honor court evaluates the nature of the assignment.

Professor Estigarribia said that the moderate category includes the major category so they are not mutually exclusive.

Mr. Aisha Pridgen, director of student conduct, said that she did not understand the question asked by Professor Estigarribia. She asked if the question was whether they were capturing non-substantial academic work in the chart.

Professor Estigarribia said that it seemed like the description of the moderate category does not exclude the major category. He realized that he misread the chart.

Professor Rohit Ramaswamy (School of Public Health) said he interpreted the chart as the moderate violations having more severe punishments than major violations. He suggested underlining probation to be clear.

Professor Hannig asked what would happen if a student smoked something legal in another state and a video emerges. He asked if they could be charged.

Mr. Jiang said that the honor code only binds them to examine cases with distinct University interest that occur on campus or the immediate surrounding community.

Professor Strauss said that study abroad is treated as an extension of campus.

Professor Jennifer Larson (English) asked if the changes to the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance would affect the student-instructor alternative resolution option.

Mr. Jiang said that the Student-Instructor Alternative Resolution should apply the same sanctioning chart when reaching an agreement on what sanction is most appropriate.

Professor Heidi Anksorus (School of Pharmacy) said that she went through the student-instructor alternative resolution process, she was given a recorder but there was no mediator. She thinks a third party should attend the meeting between the student and instructor.

Mr. Jiang said that their hope is that an honor system member would serve as a third party informational resource. The member could stay and facilitate the conversation if needed.

Resolution 2017-4 passed with one abstention.

Scholarships, Awards and Student Aid Annual Report

Professor Donald Hornstein (School of Law) introduced Rachelle Feldman, associate provost and director of the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid. She received a standing applause. Professor Hornstein said that the University gives financial aid to students to reward academic merit. This simultaneously supports the University’s goals of access, excellence and diversity. UNC is the last public university that is need blind. The Board of Governors enforced a cap and freeze on the university system, which puts a limit on our ability to use tuition dollars for financial aid. President Trump’s budget proposes reductions in three programs in which the University receives funding. Professor Hornstein said the University’s funding will depend on our success in the upcoming capital campaign.

Professor Hassan Melehy (Romance Studies) said in terms of graduate student stipends, he suspects that we are actually worse because of student fees, which are $2,000. UNC may actually be further behind other universities than the chart suggests.

Educational Policy Committee report on contextual grading

Professor Kristin Reiter (School of Public Health) said in 2011, the Faculty Council passed legislation requiring UNC registrar to put contextual data on undergraduate transcripts. These implementations were delayed for many years. Most members of the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) thought it was inadvisable to offer an opinion without data. The EPC requested a formal process to evaluate the technological challenges. Christopher Derickson, former university registrar, convened a 12-member working group to examine challenges with implementation. Numerous technological challenges remain, specifically with revisions made by the working group. ConnectCarolina cannot currently support the contextual transcript, and the University would have to provide two official transcripts. It would cost approximately $250,000 to develop and test the original prototype and another $250,000 to $500,000 to develop the revised version. Additional funds would be required to maintain the transcript. Professor Reiter said the EPC believes that generating the contextual transcript is impractical at this time.

Professor Andrew Perrin (Sociology) said that in 2009, he presented a contextual grading report with Professor Donna Gulleskie. The following spring, the Faculty Council endorsed transparency around grading. He believes that the current grading practice impedes our ability to provide excellent education. Contextual grading is an innovative step toward addressing these issues. He said that we were leading the way, our innovation lead to media features and requests by other universities to help them implement contextual grading. He said he disagreed with the EPC’s assessment. He said that making us a national leader on a major educational issue is worth the funding. He encouraged the EPC to monitor and recommend policy to improve grading patterns at Carolina.

Professor Theresa Rapheal Grimm (Nursing) commended Professor Perrin for his work in trying to curb inflation. She said that the committee had a difficult decision to weigh advantages and disadvantages of contextual grading.

Professor Leslie Parise (Biology) asked whether software could be borrowed from other universities that have implemented contextual grading.

Professor Allison Legge, interim university registrar, said ITS could develop software using PeopleSoft, but it would be costly. She said something could be developed at some point, but there are unknown factors like data integrity and opportunity costs.

Professor Parise said she attended an entrepreneurial conference where undergraduate students started companies that were used to fill needs. She said that this sounds like a need that could be filled in another way outside the University.

Professor Cairns said there are philosophical issues that need to be considered in regard to contextual grading.

Update from the University Ombuds Office

University Ombud Wayne Blair focused on issues that have been increasingly affecting the faculty. He hopes to come to the Faculty Council on an annual basis to share information. He extended a challenge to the faculty to ask themselves what they are going to do with the information her provides. There has been a rise in concerns about job insecurity among tenure-track and fixed-term faculty, especially among people whose salaries are funded externally. It is important to think about the impact on staff members—changing job responsibilities, workloads and expectations.

Concerns have become heighted around Title IV, discrimination, harassment, hiring and retention. There are problems involving discourse around political and religious views and perspectives on diversity and immigration. There is also nervousness surrounding scholarship and research. There are questions about what academic freedom means at Carolina.

Mr. Blair said that his office has seen an increase in poorly managed conflicts and confrontations. Tempers are short and patience is lessening. People are avoiding conversations. Adversarial positions are being taken among students, faculty, staff and administrators. He said there is a distinction between listening and hearing, and that people need to learn to listen. People are taking disagreements personally and leaving information vacuums, in which people fill with whatever they feel is accurate. Social media has exasperated disagreements and people are trying to manage disagreements over email.

Mr. Blair said there have been increases in disputes between faculty and students, mostly graduate students. These conflicts are becoming complex because colleagues and peers are pulled into them. There have been increases in ancillary conflicts in departments, committees and labs.

The next issue he described is “the circle of life of a career.” This issue is significantly rising because of current economics and demographics; this issue is not going away. There have been questions about managing the diminishing productivity of colleagues and peers. This issue is difficult because it involves people who have been respected and accomplished former mentors and teachers. People are agonizing over how to manage conversations around decreasing productivity. There is fear about ageism. There are some recurring general concerns, one being that we do not know how to disagree well, and we do not appreciate how we role model civil disagreement for students. Mr. Blair said that these issues contribute to shopping for violations. People are going to different areas when their issue does not rise to level of a policy violation.

Professor Christopher Willett (Biology) asked why these issues are increasing.

Mr. Blair said that there is no single factor. There are fewer people doing more things, so people are worried about their job security. He said that the culture of Carolina is to avoid conflict, and this exasperates the situation.


Having completed its business, the Faculty Council adjourned at 5:01 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kadejah Murray
Student Assistant

Vincas P. Steponaitis
Secretary of the Faculty

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