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Student task force will present faculty retention data

Faculty retention has been at the top of the UNC administration’s agenda for months, and student leaders have started contributing to the discussion.

The student task force on faculty retention will present data that members have collected to the joint meeting of the student affairs and academic affairs committees of the Board of Trustees Wednesday.

Student Body Vice President and head of the committee Zealan Hoover will present a slideshow to the committees introducing his committee and its plans and will answer questions, he said.

“If we can improve the Carolina experience for our faculty, then we can positively affect retention rate,” he said.

The task force was formed last summer and just finished surveying every faculty member in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences. It succeeded in getting responses from one out of three faculty members, Hoover said.

In administering the survey, the task force sought to gauge the attitudes of faculty on a wide array of issues, including what measures the University could take to keep faculty members at UNC.

“The key is finding actionable data,” Hoover said. “One of the challenges is finding ways to increase faculty retention that is not revolved around increasing salary.”

So far, Hoover said he is pleased with the support he and his committee are receiving

“We’ve been incredibly well supported in this endeavor. I know the provost is very excited to see the results,” he said.

Alston Gardner, chairman of the academic affairs committee of the board, said in an email that he is interested to see the group’s results.

“I like the construction of their survey instrument and will be interested to see the results and their analysis,” Gardner said.

Hoover said the task force will submit a draft report to the Faculty Council in April and a final report to the board in May.

Gardner said the committees will also hear from Provost Bruce Carney, Chairwoman of the Faculty Jan Boxill, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp and representatives from the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Although the task force is a special project of the Cooper administration, Hoover said Student Body President-elect Will Leimenstoll has been supportive of the task force and is excited about the future.

“Faculty retention is something that Will has taken very seriously. He has a lot of great ideas,” Hoover said.

Leimenstoll said his administration will definitely continue working on the task force next year.

“I think it’s going to be really incredible to have that data,” Leimenstoll said.

“And hopefully be able to build off that data.”

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