Campus may be shut down, but the UNC Board of Trustees continued to meet via Zoom on Thursday to consider immediate items on their agenda.
Under the circumstances, Chairperson Richard Stevens said the meeting would be narrowed down to just necessary items.
Stevens opened the meeting by expressing gratitude for everyone’s hard work and resilience over the past few weeks, specifically noting students' and professors' ability to quickly adapt to remote learning.
Board members recognized student body president Ashton Martin for her work over the past year and presented her with a resolution of appreciation.
Jonathan Pruitt, vice chancellor for finance and operations, also introduced Finance, Infrastructure and Audit motions, which the Board approved.
The first two included designer selections regarding renovations to the Undergraduate Library and upgrades to University parking decks. The upgrades to parking decks would include a license plate recognition system, Pruitt said.
The third item was an amendment to an existing lease at Carolina Square.
Bob Blouin, executive vice chancellor and provost, offered updates regarding data science initiatives.
A draft proposal written by the Classroom Policy Steering Committee was sent to all members of the board. The 14-member Steering Committee began working toward this proposal in May 2019, with the goal of beginning a data science school on UNC’s campus.
“Many changes are driving not only our student interest and student demand for more and more academic opportunities in a rapidly growing field we now call data science, but also an explosive interest on the part of different industries that really require talent at the baccalaureate degree level, Master’s, and Ph.D. graduate levels — as well as innovation and new ideas in the area of data science,” Blouin said.
Gary Marchionini, dean of the School of Information and Library Science, talked about the vision for this new program.
“We imagine a school that really would be unique to the Carolina talent, culture and the — as Chancellor Guskiewicz has said — the Carolina way” Marchionini said.
No vote was cast regarding the proposal. Stevens said Board members will vote on the creation of the school at a more appropriate time.
The last open discussion in the meeting was about the History, Race, and a Way Forward Commission.
The discussion focused on three main subjects regarding the commission: research and duration, curriculum development and teaching and engagement with underrepresented communities in North Carolina.
Patricia Parker, chairperson of the department of communication, co-chairs the task force with history professor James Leloudis.
“The chancellor’s charge provides clear direction to explore, engage, and teach the University’s history with race and provide recommendations to the chancellor on how we, as a university community, can reckon with the past in order to move forward,“ Parker said.
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