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Jill Moore becomes first woman elected to secretary of the faculty at UNC

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Associate Professor of public law and government Jill Moore speaks at a Faculty Executive Committee meeting on Apr. 26, 2021. Moore was recently elected as the first woman to be UNC's secretary of the faculty.

The UNC Faculty Council voted to elect Jill Moore, associate professor of public law and government, as the University’s new secretary of the faculty on April 16. 

Moore is the first woman to be elected to this position in UNC’s history.

“I’m honored and I’m humbled to be a part of that group of firsts,” Moore said. “I honestly never expected to be, but I understand that, as we’re still opening some doors for women in different positions, it’s not surprising.”

The secretary of the faculty serves a five-year term within faculty governance. The secretary serves on a number of committees, including the Faculty Council and the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. 

Among other responsibilities, the secretary keeps minutes for Faculty Council and General Faculty meetings and conducts elections for these groups. Additionally, the secretary serves as an interpreter of the Faculty Code and runs the Office of Faculty Governance.

Vin Steponaitis, the outgoing secretary of the faculty, said the position is one that is not only time-consuming, but requires a specific skillset and knowledge. 

“A lot of what the secretary faculty does is about process and kind of being the steward of the processes of faculty governance,” he said. “It requires a tremendous amount of time to do the job well.”

Candidates for the secretary of the faculty position are first sought out by the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. Candidates can either be self-nominated or nominated by other faculty members. 

Once the Advisory Committee has a group of potential candidates, its members evaluate the pool and select one to present to the Faculty Council. The Faculty Council then votes to ratify the candidate to the position. 

Moore will begin her term on July 1. She will work closely with Steponaitis over the next few months to ensure an easy transition to her new role. 

Moore said she felt well suited for the secretary position, given her extensive time at UNC and in the School of Government. 

“I think it’s probably one of the best ways that someone with my particular skills and temperament can serve faculty governance,” Moore said. 

Mimi Chapman, chairperson of the faculty, has worked with Moore for years. She agreed that Moore’s background gives her an advantage in the secretary role. 

“In many ways, people from the School of Government are quite well situated to do a job like this,” Chapman said. “Many people there are lawyers and they’re used to interpreting language, so interpreting the Faculty Code becomes something that she’s very familiar with doing.”

As a student, staff member and now faculty member at UNC, Moore said she has seen a lot of women "firsts."

“I was a student here when we elected our first woman student body president," she said. "I was a faculty member when we got our first woman as chancellor, so I know firsthand that the history of women in different University roles is relatively recent and is still being made." 

Although she is the first woman to become secretary of the faculty at UNC, Moore said she looks forward to the day when women no longer have to make history through achieving certain positions. 

“I’ll be glad when we’ve reached that point in our history where it’s unremarkable," Moore said.

Moore’s goal in the position is to allow faculty voices to be heard and provide a platform for faculty concerns. 

“That’s more important to me than being a strong voice myself," she said.

Both Chapman and Steponaitis said they were pleased Moore was chosen for the position, and they look forward to working with her in the future. 

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"Jill and I have known each other since we were graduate students, and have worked together in various capacities," Chapman said. "It’s going to be a really great thing to work together, so I’m excited about that.”