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E-mail Survey Shows Faculty Split Over Qatari Campus

The survey was sent to the 42 participants of the Nov. 2-5 trip to Qatar, as well as 802 faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences and 104 faculty members in the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Among trip participants, 69 percent responded "definitely yes" when asked if UNC should establish the program, and another 26 percent indicated a somewhat positive reaction to the program. Of the trip participants, 2 percent were undecided and another 2 percent indicated a somewhat negative reaction. No one responded that the University should "definitely not" pursue the venture.

The survey, conducted by the UNC Office of Institutional Research, was sent via e-mail last Friday requesting faculty to respond by Tuesday.

Among faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences and the business school, reaction was mixed.

In the College of Arts and Sciences, more respondents, at 29 percent, said "definitely not" to the program compared to the 25 percent that said "definitely yes."

While 31 percent of faculty in the business school answered "definitely not," 31 percent responded with "definitely yes."

Despite the mixed message of these results, Faculty Council Chairwoman Sue Estroff said she is not at all surprised by the results of the survey. "This survey basically confirms for us what we already knew," Estroff said. "It is still not clear whether we have a definitive take on the issue."

Business Professor Jennifer Conrad, who attended the trip to Qatar, said she believes the survey might help Chancellor James Moeser form an opinion on the issue but thinks that more could be done.

"In the end, it will be the chancellor's decision, and how he interprets the information provided by the survey," she said. "But I think (the survey) is not the only way to collect the reactions of the faculty."

In total, almost 98 percent of the trip participants responded to the survey, while only 33 percent of faculty from both the College of Arts and Sciences and the business school responded.

Estroff said she expected such results.

"I am not surprised that more people who went on the trip responded and responded positively because actually going to Qatar was able to make participants more supportive," Estroff said.

Estroff said she believes that the survey's findings will help influence the decision. "How wide or how deep faculty reluctance or acceptance of the program is will have an impact on the decision," she said. "To me, in order to go ahead, one would like to have a critical mass of enthusiasm and participation. What the Qataris want is our faculty, so if we have no faculty support there is no deal."

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