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Faculty Council discusses affirmative action, chancellor search at February meeting

Faculty speak during the Jan. 19, 2024 Faculty Council meeting.

The UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Council and General Faculty held a joint meeting on Friday in Kerr Hall to discuss various updates regarding the UNC System, the University's compliance with affirmative action, the chancellor search committee and faculty governance.

Here’s the rundown:

Foundations of American Democracy proposal

  • Faculty Chair Beth Moracco opened the session by discussing the feedback collected from faculty about the Foundations of American Democracy proposal.
  • The proposal for the curriculum was updated based on recent UNC System feedback, and the BOG’s Committee on Educational Planning, Policy, and Programs will vote on the updates Wednesday. If that vote passes, the full BOG will vote on the proposed amendment during their meeting in April.
    • In the updated version, all references to a new three-credit hour course requirement were removed. There are only two student learning outcomes, which will be evaluated per campus process, as well as the removal of some language of the founding principles.
  • Wade Maki, the chair of the Faculty Assembly, said the Faculty Assembly’s goal was to preserve faculty control over the curriculum using pre-existing courses. He said the judgment on institutional fulfillment of SLO criteria will come from institutional approval of courses from the Faculty Council and its committees.

Regulation on faculty workload policy

  • Provost Christopher Clemens said the Office of Faculty Affairs has been collaborating with UNC-Chapel Hill deans and school leaders to implement and adjust the newly formalized faculty workload policy. The faculty workload policy is what the UNC System uses to define the course load faculty members take on.
    • “We want to document what’s happening, not prescribe new formulas or recommend new distributions of effort, and so we’ve given broad latitude to each dean," Clemens said. "School leaders are beginning that work and will need the input of faculty as they develop these policies."
  • Maki said the new workload policy will include data unique to the UNC System to better ensure accurate and individualized workloads for faculty.

Students for Fair Admissions

  • Amy Locklear Hertel, the executive vice provost, reviewed the consultative model and phases of the SFFA process to comply with the Supreme Court's decision to remove affirmative action from admissions processes. Phases one through three looked at the University's application across graduate and professional schools, review of these applications and recruitment and pipeline programming. The University is currently in phase four of the model, which concerns student aid, scholarships and awards it plans to distribute.
  • The SFFA and their development colleagues and officers will meet with each school to talk about planned scholarships and awards, Hertel said.
    • “We’re following the philosophy of not over-interpreting the decision as we remain true to our values of access and diversity and all of its forms — of equity and inclusion at Carolina,” she said.

The Graduate Student Experience Initiative

  • The GSE Initiative, presented by UNC Graduate School Dean Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, works to assess graduate and professional experiences at UNC to ensure there are appropriate policies to foster academic rigor, student success and wellbeing. The GSE Initiative is focusing particularly on the full spectrum of graduate working conditions.
  • There are four recommendations, which were delivered to and endorsed by the provost. These recommendations include a digital platform for campus resource navigation to support graduate student wellbeing, teaching assistant and faculty mentor training and an assessment of services for mental health.
    • “This is a long-term process that we’ll need to be following to really ensure our graduate education,” Mayer-Davis said.

Chancellor search committee

  • Last spring, the policies concerning the search process for a permanent chancellor was updated. The original process stated the UNC System president would consult with the UNC Board of Trustees to select the search committee, but the update gives the president authority to select the 13 members of the committee.
  • Maki said the typical process includes the committee going on a listening tour after its members have been named to receive feedback from students and faculty at UNC.
  • Typically, to select the chancellor, three chancellorship candidates from the committee will go to the BOT, and three candidates from the BOT will go to the president. After this, the president will take one candidate to the BOG for a final vote. Throughout the process, the search will remain confidential.
    • “Governors have said to me, and in public, that there may be the opportunity for small groups of faculty to meet candidates under a non-disclosure agreement,” Maki said.

What’s Next?

The Faculty Council is scheduled to meet again next month on Friday, March 22.

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