The UNC Faculty Executive Committee met with Provost Bob Blouin and pharmacy professor Tim Ives on Monday to discuss the decision-making process for reopening UNC’s campus in the spring and the Board of Governors’ decision to give the UNC-System president the power to choose a finalist for the role of chancellor.
“There are a number of important questions that have to get answered before we can go totally all-in in terms of our preparation,” Blouin said in reference to planning for the spring.
These questions include whether the University will continue remote learning or move toward partial re-entry, whether mandatory testing will be implemented for students and how either method will impact students with financial hardship.
“I think we’re all still trying to figure out some semblance of what this new normal is,” he said.
Blouin explained the decision-making process:
- Groups such as the Campus and Community Advisory Committee and theroadmap implementation team will advise Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz on the best course of action,
- The chancellor will make a decision in consultation with a leadership team and
- Then the Implementation Team will apply said decision.
“We would expect to make some of those critical decisions, with regard to the (semester start) date and the mode of re-entry by the middle of October,” Blouin said.
Blouin said one of his main goals is to ensure students know exactly which classes will be in-person and which classes will be remote well before returning to campus.
“What we want to make sure we don't do is have a bait and switch to our students,” Blouin said. “We just need to be clear this time.”
New BOG policy
After Blouin left, Professor Ives joined the meeting to discuss the recent decision by the Board of Governors to grant the UNC System president the power to mandate a finalist in the selection of a chancellor.
“The Faculty Assembly sent a letter to (UNC System President Peter Hans) outlining our issues, and we had a number of them,” Ives said. “What impact this was going to have on individual Boards of Trustees on usurping even the students, staff and faculty, who are now a part of many chancellor searches.”
Later, in response to a question from Faculty Executive Committee Chairperson Mimi Chapman, Ives outlined the qualities in a potential chancellor preferred by students and faculty — which he is concerned may be ignored due to this new rule.
“They’ve got to, first and foremost, be from the academy,” Ives said. “You can’t just use words. You have to have some experience.”
Faculty Executive Committee member Rumay Alexander asked about the consideration of minority representation in this decision. In response, Ives cited the UNC System Equity Task Force and how this group is beginning to provide leadership development opportunities for faculty of underrepresented groups.
In terms of pursuing both competent leadership and equitable representation in the UNC administration, Ives stressed the importance of participation in the discussion.
“I think the biggest thing,” Ives said, “is getting to the table.”
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