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A controversial policy governing salaries and paid leave for administrators took a step forward Thursday after months of stalls.

The personnel and tenure committee of the UNC-system Board of Governors passed the “retreat rights” policy for chancellors and presidents, which means the full board can discuss it at its next meeting in January.

The policy dictates leave time and pay for chancellors and presidents when they resign from their administrative positions and opt to return to their university’s faculty.

Committee Chairwoman Gladys Robinson said it was imperative that the policy pass the committee Thursday because it is likely that N.C. State University and UNC-Pembroke will be hiring new chancellors in the next year, and the policy needs to be in place before then.

Board members agreed to pass the policy with UNC-system President Erskine Bowles’ recommended changes: cutting paid leave time from one year to six months and awarding a salary comparable to faculty salary, rather than 60 percent of their administrative salary.

Committee members also added a provision that would allow Bowles to negotiate a payback of salary if the administrator goes on paid leave then chooses not to return to a faculty position at the university.

New programs approved

The educational planning, policies and programs committee approved a set of programs at several campuses knowing that they might not have funds to implement them.

The board approved bachelor’s degree programs in intelligence studies at Fayetteville State University, genetics at N.C. State University and entrepreneurship at UNC-Greensboro — if the funds are there to support them.

Bowles said the best option was to approve the programs contingent on the availability of funds, given the economic climate.

“The days of absolutely being sure we’re gonna have the enrollment money are over,” Bowles said. “There is a dollar amount attached to each one of them.”

The programs comply with the UNC Tomorrow initiative, which focuses on creating programs that address the demands of the state.

The committee also approved a motion to begin planning doctoral programs in physical therapy at Western Carolina University and Winston-Salem State University.

Elizabeth McDuffie, director of grants, training, and outreach for the UNC system, reported that the N.C. General Assembly has voted to repeal the Future Teachers of N.C. Scholarship Loan Program due to a lack of student interest.

Two students at UNC-Chapel Hill were on the scholarship in 2008-09.

The scholarship provides loans to students working to become math, science, special education, or English as a second language teachers.

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