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Faculty online Title IX training expected to go live in a few days

As the national conversation about sexual assault on college campuses continues, Provost Jim Dean told faculty Monday that their newly-required online Title IX training will go live in a few days. 

“I think we’re at a critical moment in time around the issue of sexual assault in general and Title IX in particular,” Dean said at the Faculty Executive Committee meeting. 

He invited faculty to weigh in on how to approach introducing the required training to faculty. 

“It’s clear that sexual harassment training, to me, falls in the same category of obligation associated with having the privilege of working in this environment because it is such a major issue for our students and for our community, " said Bruce Cairns, faculty chairman.   

Dean said handling sexual assault as a University is challenging, but the training could help.

“I mean, I think that this is one of the hardest things we face now,” Dean said. “It’s really important that we get it right and it’s really hard to get it right.” 

The training, customized for UNC by an outside organization, aims to teach faculty to navigate situations such as a student approaching them and reporting a rape. 

Dean introduced a scenario of a young woman coming up to a professor after class and saying she’d been raped, and asked, “What do you do?”

Nursing professor Shielda Rodgers said many faculty wouldn't have a clear strategy.

“You think that you would know how to respond, but you really don’t know how to respond," she said. 

Faculty members who do not complete the training will receive email reminders until they finish. 

Committee members believe that participation in the training is a good way to show their support and understanding of the initiative, as well as their willingness to be involved. 

The FEC also discussed issuing a Title IX task force resolution to show the faculty’s support but decided that a statement from the chairman endorsing the Title IX policies would be a better approach.

“I think it’s about something, a statement, that kind of says we’re ready to face this difficult issue and take all this information and work to make our campus a safe place for everybody,” said Mimi Chapman, a professor in the UNC School of Social Work.

“I think this is just bigger than us,” said constitutional law professor Michael Gerhardt, “And we are certainly fully on board, and we can say that.”

The provost also unveiled a website that will eventually be available to the public and will measure academic performance within the University. 

Dean said the site will be used for self-evaluation rather than publicity.

“The point of the exercise is really not ‘Aren’t we great?’" Dean said. "The point of the exercise is ‘Where are we?'"

The website is intended to group various metrics about the University into four categories: student quality and outcomes, campus environment, faculty quality and outcomes, and public benefits. 

Many of the metrics will be presented as comparisons to schools identified as peers by the UNC system. Some schools included in the set of peers are Duke, University of Washington, University of Texas and University of Pennsylvania. Other data points will be presented longitudinally, comparing UNC's progress over time.

The website also contains a "top 10" section that displays the top metrics among all four categories, such as admissions selectivity, four-year and six-year graduation rates, and percentage of underrepresented minority faculty and students. 

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