On Wednesday at the Carolina Inn, the UNC Board of Trustees University Affairs Committee gave a statement on the June 29 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned affirmative action, discussed improvements on class registration and approved an increase in salary ranges for UNC professors.
Edits were also made to Non-Salary and Deferred Compensation policies for employees exempt from the Human Resources Act (EHRA).
- Dr. Perrin Jones, chair of the University Affairs Committee, said the University will comply with the Supreme Court’s decision regarding affirmative action and will evaluate its own admissions process to set a standard for other universities to follow.
- Jones said UNC will assess prospective students first as individuals, evaluating personal accomplishments and character rather than membership of a specific group.
- “This individualistic approach is predicated on the belief that true inclusivity cannot be achieved by dividing people into groups,” Jones said. “Achieving true inclusivity is much more difficult because it requires a discovery of the common thread, a shared interest that unites people regardless of their outward differences.”
- John Preyer, chair of the BOT, said plans for an effort led by Jones to investigate holistic aspects of the admissions process such as student gender ratios are also under consideration.
- Rachelle Feldman, vice provost for enrollment, presented new methods to improve full-time enrollment and class registration for students at UNC.
- Feldman said there was an increase of approximately 800 undergraduate students between fall 2022 and fall 2023, with more transfer students and students enrolled in Carolina Global Launch.
- She said the University has redesigned undergraduate student registration to be more equitable and less stressful through improvements like maintaining reserved seats for majors and streamlining the waitlist process. Feldman added that there was also some confusion among some other students regarding things like not enrolling in enough credit hours.
- “Some of this could be solved by having a tighter bridge between when students first are admitted, orientation, advising and the registration process,” Feldman said. “We’ve proposed that we have a work group that will look at student onboarding.”
- Feldman said future goals include investing more in technology, such as a developing a new chatbot with 24/7 availability and software to allow for multi-term planning for students.
- The board approved a motion introduced by University Affairs Committee vice chair Jennifer Halsey Evans to increase salary ranges for tenure track and tenured professors within the College of Arts and Sciences.
- She said the University’s methodology was to target the lowest average assistant professor salary ranges from the Association of American Universities Data Exchange in order to base their new salary range estimates.
- “This body has received several of these requests over the course of the past year, as faculty salaries across the institutions have not been adjusted for several years,” Evans said.
- She said the associate professor minimum salary will be 20 percent more than the assistant professor minimum and the full professor minimum salary will be 20 percent more than the associate professor minimum salary.
- Edits were also made to the EHRA Non-Salary and Deferred Compensation policies, with changes made to housing expenses and performance-based bonuses to faculty members.
- Housing allowances and moving expenses are considered when hiring new employees to the University. The board approved removing rigid numerical guidelines for housing allowances to instead reference UNC’s finance policies.
- Evans said the policies will be linked rather than including numerical guidelines since UNC’s finance policies are updated periodically.
- The board also approved an edit clarifying that performance-based bonuses for EHRA employees will be paid in installments.
The BOT University Affairs Committee will meet again on Nov. 8.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the adjusted full professor minimum salary as 20 percent more than the assistant professor minimum salary. The full professor minimum salary will be 20 percent more than the associate professor minimum salary. The article has been updated to reflect the correct information. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.