The committee also discussed North Carolina State University’s discontinuation of the Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering due to their joint degree program with UNC in biomedical and health sciences engineering.
In addition, NCSU is also requesting consolidation of two master's degrees in education: one in mathematics and one in technology. They are creating a new master's degree in STEM education, which will absorb those two degrees.
“This is a very important national trend in which the ways people think about teaching in those STEM disciplines are integrative,” said Kimberly van Noort, the senior vice president for academic affairs and academic officer for the UNC system. “It is very important to think of a STEM approach to education rather than just STEM disciplines, and this is how this masters of education has been designed.”
The motion passed for both of NCSU’s requests.
Michelle Solér, director of competency-based education and assessment, and Kevin Nathanson, senior director of product management and technology information for UNC Online, gave an update about the Military Affairs Database, which will allow military veteran students to easily transfer their military courses as credits at UNC-system schools. Solér and Nathanson expect this tool will be ready in July.
The committee also discussed how the UNC-system enrollment has gone up 1.8 percent this year.
At the conclusion of the meeting, BOG member Joe Knott presented an idea to create a new college that would encourage “vibrant, living, real, honest debate” among not just students, but universities. He said these debates are missing from discussions at UNC-system universities.
“There is a lack of viewpoint and diversity,” Knott said. “The university world has sort of become, especially in the arts and sciences and humanities, has become essentially an echo-chamber. Everybody agrees with everybody, and there’s really no debate. This is not what academics are supposed to be.”
Joint Meeting of the Committee on Personnel and Tenure and the Committee on Historically Minority-Serving Institutions
The UNC-system average positive rating by employees is 63 percent, according to the UNC-system Employee Engagement Survey, which had a 50 percent participation rate in 2018.
Christopher Chiron, an administrator in the UNC-system Office of Human Resources, presented the data from UNC-system Minority-Serving Institutions: Fayetteville State University, Elizabeth City State University, Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina Central University, UNC-Pembroke and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Among the MSIs, UNC-Pembroke had the highest positive rating at 65 percent with a 52 percent participation. ECSU had the lowest positive rating at 48 percent with a 59 percent participation.
The survey was conducted in response to issues raised by UNC-system MSI chancellors during a committee meeting in August 2018. One key obstacle, the chancellors said was “difficulty attracting, retaining and developing faculty and administrative talent."
Following the presentation of the data, BOG members stressed the importance of actively using the survey results to make systemwide improvements.
“There’s the challenge of once you set up a survey systemwide, what are you going to do with it? That’s the big question that comes into the next year,” Chiron said. “If we can’t demonstrate that we’re doing this actively, then that takes away our credibility and takes away some of the usefulness of the survey data.”
A similar survey will be conducted in 2020, Chiron said.
Lynn Duffy, senior associate vice president of leadership and talent development, presented a proposal to establish a UNC-system Leadership Institute.
The Institute would aim to strengthen the executive branch of the UNC system by creating a 10-month executive education program. Learning modules would be interactive and conducted both face-to-face and online. Eligible participants would have to have a minimum of five years of experience at an executive-level professional role and would have to be employed by the UNC system for at least three years.
“We want to really accelerate and prepare our leaders for the complexity of the senior-most leadership jobs in the system,” Duffy said. “I think we have the opportunity to do this and really make an impact on the quality and effectiveness of our leadership programs.”
The Committee on Personnel and Tenure and the Committee on Historically Minority-Serving Institutions voted in favor of the institute.
In its first year, one-third of the program slots would be reserved for executives from HMSIs. If approved by the full BOG, the Institute is estimated to be up and running by the first quarter of 2020.
Committee on Personnel and Tenure
Candidates have been identified to interview for the chancellor position at Western Carolina University.
Interviews will take place from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2. The new chancellor is expected to be announced in April or May.
An interim replacement for UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt, who will leave her post at the end of January, was not discussed at Thursday's meetings. A closed session report of the BOG's Committee on Personnel and Tenure is scheduled for Friday, as is a meeting of UNC-Chapel Hill's Faculty Executive Committee.