The UNC Faculty Council met Friday to discuss a new health research center, graduate student stipends, changes between online learning systems and affirmative action.
UNC RESPTC Site Designation
- The University was selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as one of three new sites researching national response tactics to emerging pathogens.
- These sites are called Regional Emerging Special Pathogen Treatment Centers and were first developed after the Ebola epidemic, said Dr. David Wohl, a professor in the Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases and one of the experts leading the new center. Originally, there were only 10 sites, but with developing diseases like COVID-19 and monkeypox, three new sites have been added.
- “Given the pandemic that we just went through, the monkeypox outbreak recently and the likelihood that we'll see more of these types of infections, (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) wanted to expand,” Wohl said.
- UNC was designated as a site because of its "critical" geographic location. Wohl said this is due to a large military presence, various humanitarian and governmental organizations and the confluence of major interstates. He added that it is a growing area with people from a variety of countries moving to the region.
- Wohl said this designation is important for UNC’s position as an epicenter for global health research.
- In previous years, UNC Hospitals was labeled as an assessment site for the program, meaning that when a patient developed an infection, UNC had 96 hours to stabilize the patient before sending them to one of the 10 centers, Wohl said.
- “With this grant, we would level up to be able to not have to send any patients; we have the equipment, the training and the staff in order to be the terminal center for the management of these patients,” he said.
Graduate Student Minimum Stipends
- Theodore Nollert, president of the UNC Graduate and Professional Student Government, presented on increasing graduate student stipends.
- Nollert said the current stipend creates recruitment challenges for graduate students. Additionally, as costs such as energy, rent and groceries increase in Chapel Hill, the stipend needs to update to reflect this.
- “We hope to be able to implement what will be the biggest one-time increase in graduate students' minimum stipend in the history of this institution,” Provost Chris Clemens said. “We may not get all the way to our shared goal in one job, but it's my hope that we'll be able very soon to announce a big step in the right direction.”
- The faculty council unanimously passed Resolution 2022-07 on Supporting Increases in Pay for UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate Students.
What else is new?
- The University will officially switch from Sakai to Canvas soon, Clemens said.
- He said he is in the process of creating a schedule to move the campus to Canvas as the sole learning management system.
- “I know that this is going to cause some trepidation, there is not a deadline set yet," Clemens said. "And so nothing's going to happen suddenly, but I wanted to bring it up now because I want everyone to be aware."
- On Monday, UNC appeared in the Supreme Court of the United States in a case that puts the University’s affirmative action policy in jeopardy. The legal team of the case spoke at the meeting.
- “Obviously, we can't control the outcome of this thing, but other things that we felt like we could control, we think that UNC did pretty well," Steve Keadey, associate vice chancellor and senior University counsel, said. "We're proud of the evidence that the University marshaled, we're proud of the case we presented."
- Keadey thanked the former students and the United States Solicitor General who argued in support of the University.
- “I think it's just worth pausing to say something that you all probably picked up in the media, but Carolina was not in there alone,” he said.
- The Master of Applied Professional Studies (MAPS) program is scheduled to launch next semester.
- Laura Kuizin, director of MAPS, said the program allows students to create their own concentration in their own curriculum.
- The faculty council will meet again on Dec. 2 in a joint meeting with the General Faculty.
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