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Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, November 18, 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

3:10 p.m. Chancellor’s and Provosts remarks and Strategic Framework presentation

4:10 p.m. Diversity syllabus: Women and Minorities in STEM from Pipeline to Retention (as a .pdf)

Presented by Professor Rumay Alexander and the Community and Diversity Committee

This panel discussion will bring together faculty and administrators from across campus to discuss efforts to attract women and minorities to (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) STEM fields. Panelists will discuss strategies and programs at Carolina for diversifying and attracting applicants to STEM, efforts at recruiting and retaining a diverse STEM faculty, and campus-wide support networks for women and minority faculty and postdocs. We will also discuss ways that the University is working to highlight the achievements of women and minority faculty in STEM fields. The panelists will speak for 20 minutes and will allow for 10 minutes of question and answer time.

  • Professor Susan Girdler, professor of psychiatry and psychology and president of the Association of Professional Women in Medical Sciences
  • Professor Kevin Jeffay, Gillian T. Cell distinguished professor of computer science and chair of the Department of Computer Science
  • Professor Sheila Kannappan, associate professor and associate chair for diversity in the Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Professor Mike Crimmins, executive director of the Chancellor’s Science Scholars
  • Layla Dowdy, director of communications in the Office of UNC Research (Women in STEM project lead)

4:40 p.m. Introduction of the curriculum review process (discussion will be continued in December)

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

4:50 p.m. Closed session: Special report from the Honorary Degrees and Special Awards Committee

  • Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis on behalf of the Honorary Degrees and Special Awards Committee
  • Closed session materials (ONYEN login required)

5:00 p.m. Adjournment

Video of proceedings

Full video forthcoming

Journal of proceedings of the Faculty Council

The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on November 18, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. in Kerr Hall, room 2001 at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

The following 51 members attended: Ansong, Arnold, Baumgartner, Berkowitz, Berman, Brewster, Cairns (Chair of the Faculty), Cox, Daughters, Dobelstein, Drake, Estigarribia, Estrada, Fisher, Folt (Chancellor), Gilchrist, Halladay, Hannig, Hill, Ives, Jones, Khan, Kim, Kireev, Koonce, A. Levine, C. Levine, Lithgow, Malloy, Melehy, Metz, Nelson, Neta, Parise, Platts-Mills, Pruvost, Pukkila, Renner, Salyer, Savasta-Kennedy, Song, Steponaitis (Secretary of the Faculty), Sturm, Thorpe, Tuggle, Upshaw, Wallace, Weight, Willett, Williams and Zvara.

The following 31 members received excused absences: Aikat, Ammerman, Anksorus, Babb, Bangdiwala, Boettiger, Chapman, Coyne-Beasley, Cuddeback, Duqum, Edwards, Felix, Fry, Furry, Giovanello, Hall, Hornstein, Hunter, Joyner, Kang, Kris, Larson, Lee, Lundberg, McBride, Mayer, Mayer-Davis, Mizzy, Oehler, Perelmuter, Persky and Rini.

The following 12 members were absent without excuse: Gilland, Hastings, Hobbs, Mauro, Moracco, Osterweil, Scarlett, Tepper, Thompson Dorsey, Welty, Yaqub and You.

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

Call to order

The secretary of the faculty called the meeting to order.

Chair of the Faculty remarks

Professor Bruce Cairns (Surgery) welcomed the faculty. He said that our University and our country have experienced several developments over the past several weeks. He positioned a two-foot tall statue of Ramses at the front table and said that he would explain why soon. He touched on three themes in his remarks: remembrance, elections and leadership. He reminded the faculty that they would soon elect a new Chair of the Faculty.

Professor Cairns said he was honored to speak at the Tar Heel Tribute on Veterans Day. He quoted President John F. Kennedy’s speech from 55 years ago when he visited Carolina:

We must distinguish the real from the illusory, the long-range from the temporary, the significant from the petty, but if we can be purposeful, if we can face up to our risks and live up to our word, if we can do our duty undeterred by fanatics or frenzy at home or abroad, then surely peace and freedom can prevail. We shall be neither Red nor dead, but alive and free–and worthy of the traditions and responsibilities of North Carolina and the United States of America.

This is a time of national maturity, understanding, and willingness to face issues as they are, not as we would like them to be. It is a test of our ability to be far-seeing and calm, as well as resolute, to keep an eye on both our dangers and our opportunities, and not to be diverted by momentary gains, or setbacks, or pressures. And it is the long view of the educated citizen to which the graduates of this university can best contribute.

Professor Cairns observed that President Kennedy’s words are still relevant. He served in the United States Navy for 19 years under four presidents: Reagan, Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush. He took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, regardless of the political party of the leaders in charge.

A couple of weeks ago, Professor Cairns met President Barack Obama. President Obama spoke at Veterans Day at the Arlington Memorial Cemetery. Professor Cairns quoted President Obama’s address:

[Military service] the example of the single-most diverse institution in our country — soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coastguardsmen who represent every corner of our country, every shade of humanity, immigrant and native-born, Christian, Muslim, Jew, and nonbeliever alike, all forged into common service.

Veterans Day often follows a hard-fought political campaign — an exercise in the free speech and self-government that you fought for. It often lays bare disagreements across our nation. But the American instinct has never been to find isolation in opposite corners. It is to find strength in our common creed, to forge unity from our great diversity, to sustain that strength and unity even when it is hard.

Professor Cairns thanked the chancellor and others who were involved in coordinating the Tar Heel Tribute event. He shifted his focus from remembrance to leadership and showed a photograph of the chancellor with faculty at the Jaycee Burn Center, which he currently directs. President Barack Obama had signed the photograph. He pointed out that his faculty are extremely accomplished and from diverse ethnic backgrounds. He thanked the chancellor and the provost for supporting diversity and being committed to nondiscrimination, as well as supporting vulnerable populations on campus.

Professor Cairns reminded the faculty that faculty governance elections are coming up in the spring. He said Professor Richard Myers (Law) is chairing the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee and putting into place a fair and transparent process for nominating two candidates to run for Chair of the Faculty. He concluded that robust participation in faculty governance is one of the best ways for the faculty to serve the University and community. He encouraged faculty to use current structures to engage in civil dialog and address challenging issues. He noted that Carolina is one of the few universities where the provost and chancellor attend all of the Faculty Council meetings.

Professor Cairns acknowledged, “We face a number of serious challenges that affect not only the faculty, but everyone in the University community and beyond.” He said that it is not a time to be discouraged, but a time to “step up and show the world how effective and thoughtful the oldest and greatest public university in the land can address some of the most challenging problems of the day.”

He turned to the statute of Ramses and explained that ROTC cadets gave it to him when he gave a talk. He asked the faculty to notice that Ramses’ expression is serious, and he is posed to defend the University. He asked the faculty to join him in upholding the principles for which Carolina stands.

Chancellor’s and provost’s remarks

Chancellor Folt thanked Professor Cairns and said that meeting President Obama was a wonderful experience. Professor Cairns; Charles Streeter, Employee Forum chair; Bradley Opere, student body president; and the chancellor greeted the president when he visited campus. The chancellor said that President Obama loves students and brightens up when he sees them. She said that the event had the largest turnout of students of any of his campus visits. She thanked the president for supporting science and evidence-based research. Student Body President Bradley Opere greeted the president in Swahili and told him about his background. Mr. Opere and President Obama concluded that they were cousins after tracing their family origins in Africa.

Chancellor Folt said that she is going to present the Strategic Framework at the December Faculty Council meeting to free time on the agenda to discuss current events nationally and their impact on the Carolina community. She thanked Professor Cairns for accepting an invitation to be the speaker at the third annual Tar Heel tribute, an event that honors veterans on campus. She noted that we now have more active duty military and veteran students on campus than we have had since World War II.

The chancellor discussed the opening of the Carolina Hall exhibit. She visited the exhibit with Professor Jim Leloudis (History), chair of the History Task Force. She described the exhibit as a “first intentional step trying to do a much better job of telling the full history of our University.” She noted that while the Board of Trustees put a 16-year moratorium on changing building names, they encouraged better contextualized of history on UNC-system campuses. She played a short video clip of the exhibit and thanked History Task Force members Amy Locklear Hertel, director of the American Indian Center; Winston Crisp, vice chancellor of student affairs; Jim Leloudis, professor of history; and Cecelia Moore, university historian.

Chancellor Folt reiterated that the Carolina Hall exhibit is part of a larger effort to understand and embrace the entire history of the University. She said that the country cannot truly progress if we are not willing to admit, understand and move beyond our history. She is proud of the exhibit and believes that a broader, more inclusive telling of our history leads to a broader, more inclusive future. She said that we cannot be fully the “University of the people” without telling the stories of all groups.

At University Day, Stephen Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions, unveiled a series of new scholarships and grants named for 21 pioneers at Carolina. The History Task Force is planning to create a portrait gallery for these pioneers if they can find photographs for each of the pioneers. The chancellor attended the Pioneer’s Process Series at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History and praised the event. She encouraged all faculty to attend the Process Series events in the future and explained that the audience is invited to participate. The most recent process series told the stories of 12 African Americans who were the first people to come to Chapel Hill from 1952 to 1972. Our students researched oral histories to create a performance that included alumni and stage actors from New York.

Provost Jim Dean recognized faculty and leaders on campus who have won awards recently. He congratulated Dean Bob Blouin (Pharmacy) for receiving the Paul F. Parker Medal from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. Professor Bo Li (Chemistry) won a Packard Fellowship for unlocking the chemistry of bacterial genomes, Professor Amy Gladfelter (Biology) became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar, and the University had eight recipients this year of the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER awards.

The provost announced that the Board of Trustees honored outgoing Associate Provost and University Librarian Sarah Michalak with a proclamation in recognition of her service. She is retiring at the end of the calendar year, and Dean Kevin Guskiewicz is chairing the search committee charged with selecting her replacement. The provost thanked Ms. Michalak for her years of service and invited the faculty to provide input on the search process.

Provost Dean noted that the University is undergoing its 10-year reaffirmation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). He said that the reaffirmation process had been delayed by one year due to academic probation. He said that the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA), led by Dr. Lynn Williford, assistant provost for institutional research and assessment, crafted and submitted a lengthy document responding to all of the reaffirmation standards. The SACS reaffirmation team will visit Carolina in the spring.

In preparation for the SACS team visit, the University has been working to implement its Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). The provost explained that Carolina’s QEP focuses on improving academic quality and outcomes in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). He thanked Executive Vice Provost Ron Strauss, Professor Greg Copenhaver (Biology) and Professor Adam Persky (Pharmacy) for their work on the QEP Steering Committee.

The provost explained that SACS is now requiring that Universities document faculty credentials to show that faculty teaching courses have taken course work in their area of teaching. The University is collecting transcripts for all faculty to demonstrate that the University meets this requirement. He said that administrators understand the difficulties of acquiring faculty transcripts, especially from foreign universities.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics and Operations Research) asked what would happen if a faculty member has been teaching a course that they do not have on their transcript.

Provost Dean responded that SACS would do an auditing process and choose transcripts at random. If a transcript is selected that does not align with the instructor’s courses, SACS will ask the University to explain the situation.

Professor Vaughn Upshaw (School of Government) said that some faculty consider themselves life-long learners and continue to explore new areas of research throughout their careers. During that process, some design courses in their new research areas. She asked how SACS would account for this example.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Ron Strauss said that it is likely SACS will follow up with questions if that example were to occur. He said that the University tried to change this requirement because of these concerns, but we were unsuccessful. He assured faculty who have social security numbers on their transcripts that they would be held in confidential files in OIRA.

Professor Hassan Melehy (Romance Studies) asked what would happen if there were not a match between the transcript and courses taught.

Provost Dean said that the University would be asked to respond to questions about the faculty member’s qualifications to teach the course.

Professor Cairns thanked the provost for acknowledging faculty award winners. He also mentioned that Professor Tim Crothers’ book Queen of Katwe has been adapted to film by Disney and is now showing in theaters. He recommended that the faculty take their families to see it over Thanksgiving break.

Chancellor Folt said that she is aware that emotions on campus are running high after the recent elections. She noted that this is the first major national election that some of our students have voted in and the first contested election they have experienced. Many faculty have found themselves facilitating difficult conversations in the classroom and trying to make sure all students are included, regardless of how they voted. She is also aware of some instances of students feeling excluded. She acknowledged that undocumented students and their family members are understandably concerned about the possibility of deportation. Some other students are feeling stereotyped or targeted based on identity. She noted that the University has dealt with recent cases of vandalism.

The chancellor reassured the faculty that “we are the same Chapel Hill we were before the election that we are after the election,” and the University will not change its policies on freedom of thought and expression or nondiscrimination. She noted that we are still fighting in court to uphold our policy of using race as a consideration in admissions to increase diversity. University Counsel has written case studies about the educational value of diversity at places like Carolina. The University is committed to improving Title IX policies and compliance, while maintaining student confidentiality under federal privacy laws.

Chancellor Folt said that our campus police department and the Chapel Hill Police Department do not routinely gather information about citizenship or immigration status, and there are no plans to change that practice. She invited discussion and questions from the floor.

Ms. Eliza Filene (Undergraduate representative) thanked the faculty and staff for taking time to meet with students and create spaces for conversation.

Professor Valerie Pruvost (Romance Studies) said that she is aware there is a petition circulating that calls on the provost and chancellor to declare UNC-Chapel Hill a sanctuary campus for undocumented students. She asked the chancellor to comment on the petition.

Chancellor Folt responded that she does not have the authority under state law to declare UNC-Chapel Hill a sanctuary campus. She said that she would use her authority as chancellor to ensure compliance with our nondiscrimination policy and to work with our campus police force. She invited Chief Jeff McCracken and Derek Kemp, associate vice chancellor for campus safety and risk management, to answer questions.

Associate Vice Chancellor Kemp said that the Department of Public Safety does not monitor immigration status. He encouraged students and faculty who feel unsure, unsafe or threatened to contact DPS or the Office of Student Affairs.

Chief McCracken said that campus police do not enforce federal immigration law or detain people to determine their residency. The only times when immigration status is requested is during a criminal investigation following a felony arrest. The Chapel Hill Police Department follows the same protocol.

Professor Hassan Melehy (Romance Studies) asked Chief McCracken and Associate Vice Chancellor Kemp how the campus police would respond if a state law were passed that made being undocumented a crime and required local police to charge undocumented students and residents with trespassing.

[Unidentified] said that the University does not keep lists of undocumented students on campus. We comply with federal requirements for employment, but offices on campus do not maintain records with students’ immigration status. If faculty encounter federal immigration officers on campus they should contact University Counsel’s Office or the Chancellor’s Office.

Professor Melehy said that his question was meant to understand what would happen if laws were changed, not what happens under the current laws in place.

Professor Cairns said that the faculty should not get into a speculative discussion.

Chancellor Folt added that it is not appropriate for her to speculate about what would happen if the University broke federal law.

Ms. Christi Hurt, chief of staff in the student affairs, said that her office serves all students regardless of immigration status. She has heard from many students that this is a time of great concern, and our students have been going through a lot of stress and strain about the dynamics of the country and the different identity politics on campus. She thanked the faculty for being touch points for our students. She reminded the faculty that Student Affairs offers counseling and psychological services. The department has started a new program that coordinates care teams to help students of concern. Student Affairs has 15 different departments that provide help to students in a variety of ways, including through targeted outreach.

Professor Joy Renner (School of Medicine) said that she has seen students in clinical practice who have been subjected to denigrating remarks from patients, and she was not prepared ahead of time to address her students’ feelings of being unsafe in the community. She said she is now having those conversations with her students.

Professor David Zvara (School of Medicine) asked if there has been an increase in students seeking assistance.

Ms. Christi Hurt said that requests for services have increased over the past two years, which has created a need for more staffing, especially in counseling and psychological services.

Professor Frank Baumgartner (Political Science) said he received a phone call from an angry parent because he teaches diversity in his classroom. He suggested that when the chancellor and provost reach out to campus with messages supporting diversity and inclusion, that they do not immediately follow the statement with language reminding the campus that they support first amendment rights. He said that we are aware of the right of people to hold bigoted views, but it is less reassuring to those vulnerable populations and has the effect of diminishing a message that is intended to calm fears.

The chancellor said that she sometimes contacts members of the public who reach out personally. She encouraged faculty who receive those kinds of communications to contact her office because her team can offer support.

Professor Tim Platts-Mills (School of Medicine) said that Trump’s election signaled an acceptance of racist ideas and an increase in vandalism and hate speech. He asked how the University responds to these types of incidents.

Chancellor Folt said the type of incident matters in terms of the response.

Chief McCracken said that the University has and could pursue charges for facilities damage, clean up, and hate crimes. He said that the University is not always able to determine who is responsible for the crime.

Ms. Christi Hurt said that some vandalism can be a violation of the Honor Code and that disciplinary action can also be taken through the Equal Opportunity and Compliance (EOC) Office. She said beyond criminal charges there are policies in place that have consequences when violated.

An undergraduate student reporter with Campus Connection asked the chancellor to discuss the University’s commitment to academic freedom in the wake of media reports that Professor Jay Smith’s history course that is critical of UNC athletics has been removed from the department’s course offerings.

Professor Cairns said that the University has both elected faculty governance and administrative governance that deals with the issues related to courses and how they are approved. Faculty have strong opinions about the courses they teach, so we have a structure in place that is fair and just for everyone. The Faculty Council has engaged in long discussions about academic freedom, particularly after 2011. Since then, the University has created the position of Director of Ethics Education and Policy Management and put into place a number of mechanisms to ensure academic freedom while acknowledging the responsibilities and accountability of the faculty.

Provost Dean said that questions about what courses are taught and when they are taught are made at the departmental level within the College of Arts and Sciences. Professor Smith taught the course in the past and is scheduled to teach it in the future. His course is not being censored, but the department needs other courses to be taught. The provost said the issue is with course scheduling, not academic freedom.

Professor Cairns said that we will continue to stand for the principles that we have always stood for as a University. He invited Professor Rumay Alexander (Nursing), chair of the Community and Diversity Committee, to introduce the next agenda item.

Women and minorities in STEM: From pipeline to retention

Professor Susan Girdler (Psychiatry and Psychology), president of the Association of Professional Women in Medical Sciences, gave an overview of two initiatives in the School of Medicine, as well as one cross-campus seminar, which are designed to support, retain and promote the advancement of women in science. The first initiative is co-led by Professor Amelia Drake (Medicine) and funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The program is called Caregivers at Carolina. Its goal is to retain strong physician scientists early in their careers when research productivity is threatened because of substantial caregiving demands at home. The foundation provides supplemental research funds so that the scientists might hire a research assistant or buy themselves out of clinical time so their research program can be maintained. The program is gender-neutral but 90 percent of its participants are women. UNC-Chapel Hill is one of 10 Universities with a medical school to be provided with these funds.

Professor Girdler explained that the Association for Professional Women in Medical Sciences (APWIMS) was founded several decades ago out of the need for women in the School of Medicine to come together, share information and support each other. She said the organization is active and maintains a website and listserv for sharing information. The organization would like to sponsor more opportunities for awards on campus. APWIMS holds formal meetings twice a year. In fall 2016, facilitators from the Center for Physician Resilience held a daylong leadership development event targeted specifically on members’ needs. One hundred and thirty women attended the event. Through the Carolina Seminar series, Professor Girdler convened a three-year seminar series on the attrition of women faculty from the STEM. The focus of the second year is to bring in early career women from diverse backgrounds who have been successful in the sciences to develop best practices for mentoring.

Professor Kevin Jeffay (Computer Science) said that the discipline of computer science has been negligent in addressing a long-standing diversity issue that exists in the field. When he was an undergraduate in science in the late 1970s, there was gender parity. Throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s computer science was the only science field in which participation by women and minorities went from near parity to around 10 percent. With the help of Chancellor Folt, the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Computer Science has received funds to restructure the curriculum, shift the perception of computer science, improve the pipeline for women and minorities, outreach to communities and provide opportunities for K-12 students to become interested in computer science.

Professor Sheila Kannappan (Physics and Astronomy), associate chair for diversity in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, gave an overview of some of the programs in her department that support women and minority students. The department has adopted a diversity statement, created a webpage with support resources and launched an undergraduate women’s physics club. The department has some pipeline programs and research experiences for undergraduates, as well as a new partnership with the American Physics Society Bridge Program. These programs help students get interested in research and make the transition to graduate school.

Professor Kannappan said that the physics department has overhauled its graduate admissions process and raised awareness about mitigating unconscious bias in hiring. The department created a mentoring program for first-year graduate students, designated a diversity liaison and created a departmental listserv for diversity-related topics. She said that despite these advances, women and minorities still face a number of issues: sexual harassment, a chilly climate, lack of mentoring opportunities and roadblocks to promotion and tenure. She said that one policy at Carolina that could be improved is allowing a faculty member veto power over one member of their promotion and tenure review committee.

Professor Mike Crimmins (Chemistry), executive director of the Chancellor’s Science Scholars (CSS), gave an overview of the program and its goal of addressing undergraduate retention in the STEM disciplines. The President’s Council on Science and Technology report from 2012 found that 40 percent of students nationally who start in a STEM major actually graduate with a degree in a STEM field and for underrepresented minority students that statistic drops to 15 percent. The CSS was started four years ago to address these issues at Carolina. The program focuses on excellence, community, research and culture change. CSS recruits highly qualified students with the help of Steve Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions, and invite them to a six-week summer program where they participate in workshops on diversity, professional development, study skills and communications. The program also encourages faculty in STEM fields to focus on creating inclusive classroom environments. Chancellor Folt doubled the size of the program, and CSS recruits 40 students per year.

Ms. Layla Dowdy, director of communications in the Office of UNC Research, gave an overview of the Women in Science Wednesday (WSW) program. WSW is a series that profiles a different female researcher scientist at the University. The profiled researcher answers five questions about how they became interested in their field and how they describe their research. So far, scientists in 29 departments have participated. WSW has also featured post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduate students. Ms. Dowdy said that WSW has become very popular on social media and may continue through 2017 due to its success.

Professor Rumay Alexander thanked the panelists for all of their work and encouraged the faculty to reach out to them if they have questions or comments.

Professor Cairns apologized that there was no time for questions and said that the discussion of the curriculum review will have to be moved to December.

Closed session: Report from the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards

On motion of the secretary of the faculty, the Council went into closed session to consider nominees for a 2017 Honorary Degree and the 2017 Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards.

On behalf of the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards, Professor Steponaitis nominated five persons for Distinguished Alumnus/a Awards and one person for a 2017 Honorary Degree. Each nominee was approved.

The Council returned to open session.


Its business having been completed, the Council adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Katie Turner
Faculty Program Specialist

Vincas P. Steponaitis
Secretary of the Faculty

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