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Attendance resolution, application increase, and university government discussed Faculty Council Meeting

Friday’s Faculty Council meeting covered everything, from the Arts Everywhere campaign to the passing of a resolution on University-approved absences. Here’s what you need to know: 

1) The Faculty council approved a resolution which updated the current policy originating from 1957 on class attendance and university-approved absences. 

Passed unanimously by the Educational Policy Committee on Jan. 18, the first resolution of 2018 said the original policy was vague and incomplete for current law, educational technology capability and student population changes. 

The updated policy gives a clear process for how a University-approved absence is approved and communicated, and also provided a timeline through email notification for preliminary alternative plans for both instructors and students to follow. This change will alter the language from "excused absence" to "University-approved absence," and create a central office for handling university approved absences, rather than the student going directly to the professor. 

Professor Joy Renner, who presented the proposed policy before the vote, said the Educational Policy Committee is proposing one additional position to the Office of the Deans of Students to help implement the new policy. 

“We in no way, with this policy, want to stop the wonderful communication and collaboration that goes on between faculty and students now, this just gives some structure to how it can happen and taking away some of the ambiguity from both the students and faculty,” Renner said. 

2) Provost Bob Blouin addressed the Faculty Council about Arts Everywhere and the implications of the steady increase in applications, and also answered questions regarding a new budget model and the boycott of UNC fundraising campaign by a Black alumni group. 

Due to flu-like symptoms, Chancellor Carol Folt was unable to attend the meeting, so Provost Bob Blouin gave remarks on her behalf in addition to making his own. 

As part of the Arts Everywhere campaign at UNC, Carolina Performing Arts opened the new CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio on Feb. 2. Blouin urged faculty to visit the center and said it had “The potential to serve as a very nice bridge between the University and the community.” 

Blouin also spoke about the budget model UNC is exploring, and said he believes UNC could “Carolina-ize” a Responsibility-Centered Management model — a budget model which prioritizes academics and gives operational authority to specific schools within an institution. Blouin said the change would be welcomed by the community, and plans to have a final decision made by the end of this fiscal year. 

In addition, Blouin addressed questions about the boycott of UNC’s fundraising campaign by a Black alumni group. 

“I think the concerns that have been raised is that as a University we have not been doing enough primarily in the recruitment of African-American faculty and African-American students,” Blouin said. “If you look at the data it is, I think, revealing. You can start off with, ‘Well, what is the percentage of African Americans in the state of North Carolina, and does this University look like the state of North Carolina? It doesn’t.” 

Blouin said UNC ranks first or second among its peers in recruiting African-American faculty, but the data “is what it is.” 

3) The first reading of a resolution on amending the Faculty Code of University Government to update names within the code was passed. 

A new resolution was introduced to the Faculty Council to allow for technical corrections by amending the faculty code. The proposed amendment would allow the council to avoid meeting twice to approve changes such as names of units or titles of officers reflected changes made by the University. 

The motion passed its first read unanimously and will be read again at the next meeting in order to be approved. 

4) Tinu Diver, associate director of the Offices of Ethics Education and Policy Management outlined the new University Policy on Policies. 

Diver outlined the principles used to establish the new Office of Ethics Education and Policy Management, and said the office began a monthly newsletter to help update faculty on new or changing policies. 

She said the office is working on establishing a central repository for UNC policies, to help ease the challenge of decentralization and inconsistent implementation around policy and procedures.

“If we expect people to follow the policies, we need to make sure that they’re able to find them,” Diver said.


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