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Jan Boxill elected to lead the UNC Faculty Council

Jan Boxill said she never expected to gain prominence when she joined the UNC community 26 years ago.

But on Monday, she was elected to succeed McKay Coble as chairwoman of the Faculty Council, making her the first to assume the leading faculty role as a fixed-term faculty member.

“This is an accomplishment I never would have thought about,” Boxill said. “It is an amazing honor to be elected by my colleagues and peers.”

About 37 percent, or 1,320 faculty members, of eligible voters took part in the election, marking the largest voter turnout for the position in more than a decade.

Boxill defeated Vincas Steponaitis, an anthropology professor.

“I was a little disappointed, but I know she will be terrific,” Steponaitis said. “She has great experience and is a great communicator.”

Boxill’s three-year term will begin July 1.

Once she begins, Boxill said she will encourage administrators to pay attention to academic centers on campus that enhance University academics despite budget cuts.

She also plans to tweak the names for the three-tiered fixed-term faculty ranking system the council passed during Coble’s term.

Boxill, who teaches philosophy, said her diverse background will allow her to bring new ideas and perspectives to her role as chairwoman.

Boxill, who has served as associate chair of the philosophy department for 10 years, has been the director of undergraduate studies and is a director of the Parr Center for Ethics.

She is an academic adviser and radio commentator for the women’s basketball team and is a member of different activities’ boards on campus and within the community.

“In serving all these roles, I have a clear idea of the teaching responsibilities, both of fixed-term and tenured professors,” Boxill said.

“I know what the demands are, and I know what the pit falls are.”

Boxill said she is already looking ahead.

She said the budget crisis will be her first concern, and she plans to involve more faculty in budget planning to lessen the cuts’ impact on any one group.

“I want to build on the faculty that voted,” she said.

“I want to get more faculty involved to have a voice in the budgetary crisis.”

Coble said she has confidence in her successor.

“Boxill is a good leader, and a good listener,” Coble said. “That is really half the battle.”

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