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Thursday May 6th

Faculty Executive Committee discusses fixed-term faculty, COVID-19 monitoring app

The Faculty Executive Council meets virtually on April 12, 2021.
Buy Photos The Faculty Executive Council meets virtually on April 12, 2021.

UNC’s Faculty Executive Committee met Monday to discuss fixed-term faculty concerns and a new COVID-19 tracking app developed by a professor in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. 

Fixed-term faculty updates

  • Tonya Van Deinse, a clinical associate professor in the School of Social Work, presented a report created by the Committee of Fixed-Term Faculty, on which she serves as a board member. 
    • She said that in the fall, several fixed-term faculty members at the University expressed concern to the Committee of Fixed-Term Faculty about job security, salary compression, contract length and general feelings of frustration with mistreatment by tenured colleagues. 
      • In response, she said the committee gathered information from questionnaires about the status of fixed-term faculty on campus and translated the findings into a multi-page report outlining concerns mentioned in the responses. 
  • Of the 235 questionnaire respondents, 45 percent were concerned about furloughs and contract non-renewal, 36 percent were concerned about one-year contract lengths and 25 percent were concerned about general job security.
    • Van Deinse said several respondents mentioned feeling undervalued, isolated and unsupported. 
  • Van Deinse said immediate next steps involve disseminating results, partnering with the Center for Faculty Excellence and creating networking opportunities for fixed-term faculty.
  • Following the presentation, several members of the Faculty Executive Committee shared their concern for fixed-term faculty members.
    • “It’s not an HR issue," Rumay Alexander, a clinical professor in the School of Nursing, said. “It's a decency issue, and it's a trust issue.”
    • “Talk is cheap,” Sue Estroff, a professor of social medicine, said. “If we are offended by this, and if we think this is wrong, we have to speak up.”

Saferways app

  • Rohit Ramaswamy, a professor in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, discussed a new COVID-19 monitoring app called Saferways. Ramaswamy is a co-creator of the app. 
  • Based on user input, Ramaswamy said Saferways shows reports of a particular location's community safety standards concerning COVID-19.  
    • “Part of what we're trying to do is to have a recap of the general spirit of, 'We're all in this together,'” he said. “We want to be supportive for our community. The app allows for the COVID reporting to take place without, you know, all of this kind of shaming and conflict behind it.” 

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