Board members presented the plan at the forum, hosted at the Center for School Leadership Development in Chapel Hill, then opened up discussion to the public on the plan’s five themes — access, student success, affordability and efficiency, economic impact and community engagement, and excellent and diverse institutions.
“It’s important to bring a voice to the faculty and to the strategic plan, especially the fixed term faculty,” said Nancy Fisher, professor of microbiology and immunology at UNC-Chapel Hill.
She said nearly half of the faculty across the UNC system, including at UNC-CH, are not on tenure track.
Andrew Kelly, UNC-system senior vice president for strategy and policy, said while the UNC system has been responsive to student issues, it hasn’t heard as many faculty opinions.
“We don’t just want to produce diplomas, we want them to mean something,” Kelly said at the forum.
He said surveys and campus forums will improve community engagement and provide a medium for responses from faculty and staff, current and former students and other community members.
James Peacock, a former anthropology professor at UNC-CH, said fixed terms leave faculty with low benefits, low pay and insecurity. He also said faculty are critical in producing the research the UNC system is pushing for.
Kelly said the UNC system is interested in producing more graduates with credentials in health sciences, STEM and teacher education.