UNC faculty members said they want better communication between them and Chancellor Carol Folt in the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee’s first independent meeting of the year Monday.
As her second year at UNC begins, Folt said she hopes to relate with staff in a more personable way.
“It’s not always easy to get people’s attention when they’re always busy,” she said.
Folt said she was able to receive plenty of feedback last year but felt she was not as effective as she could have been.
Bruce Cairns, faculty chairman and a professor in the medical school, agreed there needs to be a two-way dialogue between faculty members and Folt.
“We are still trying to figure how to be an effective voice of the faculty that really addresses the issues that affect us all,” Cairns said.
One of the key issues they will discuss this year will be the nominal raises and increased health care coverage some faculty will receive this year.
“I think (the raises) are positive, and it may not be the easiest thing to get to following years of cuts, but we are trying to do everything we can to make that process fair,” Folt said.
She said she also looked forward to hearing professors’ feedback to UNC’s new sexual assault policies.
Cairns believes the committee can be utilized best if they identify important issues, new ideas and challenges.
They can become an effective force once they focus on those goals Cairns said.
As well as giving advice to Folt, the committee looks to address problems by giving feedback on campus policies.
Communicating internally and externally is a goal Folt and the committee have this year.
“I would love it if we had a way to involve this group in thinking through some of the ideas that we have,” Folt said.
Joseph Ferrell, faculty secretary and professor of public government and law, said he believes the committee should be an institutional body that helps and works with Folt, especially when it comes to controversial topics.
“When things are going well and there’s no crisis in the air, there’s not much need for candid advice,” Ferrell said. “But when things aren’t going well, we want to know what the faculty think.”
As well as discussing projects the committee wants to engage in, Folt hopes this committee can be more of an open-discussion format where there is free flow of opinions without the pressure of placing those opinions in immediate practice.
“We have a real chance to build on great things and take advantage of our strengths,” Folt said.
Folt and the committee members all plan to create a better environment for all the University by connecting the faculty members and informing them about events happening on campus.
“I am thinking almost whenever I can about the future,” Folt said. “I am thinking of it as a positive.”
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