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UNC Faculty Council discusses chancellor search, future of student athletes

20231116_Skvoretz_File-south-building-old-well-3.jpg

The Old Well and South Building sit on E. Cameron Avenue on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2023.

The UNC Faculty Council met on Friday to discuss the latest updates on the search for a permanent chancellor of UNC, efforts to support UNC athletes, issues between copyright and AI as well as the role of the council on the creation of the statements it issues at UNC.

Chancellor search advisory committee update

  • Anita Brown-Graham, professor in the School of Government and special advisor to the chancellor search committee, informed the council of the committee’s latest updates.
    • The committee convened for the first time on March 21 and discussed the search firm assisting them in finding potential candidates for the chancellorship, as well as opportunities for stakeholder input. The committee hopes to have the search firm engaged by early April before the next committee meeting on April 16.
    • The search firm will develop a leadership profile from surveys and listening sessions that allow stakeholders, like students and faculty, to offer unique viewpoints and opinions about what is important to them.
  • Brown-Graham asked that members amplify and spread the word about the surveys when they are sent out so that the committee can hear from as many voices as possible.
    • “We have front-ended some important stakeholder input opportunities into the process even before the firm is on board so that they hit the ground with a good sense of what’s important to stakeholder groups across this campus,” she said.
    • Brown-Graham also refreshed the council on the process for selecting a new chancellor and outlined the key components of selection. The search committee will conduct interviews and send their recommendations to the Board of Trustees, who will vote on the candidates to send to UNC System President Peter Hans. Hans then recommends one candidate to the Board of Governors, which will vote on the permanent chancellor.
    • The committee will accept nominations, conduct interviews and screen candidates throughout August and September with the goal of naming a finalist by November or December, Brown-Graham said.

Efforts to support student athletes

  • Faculty Athletics Committee chair Erianne Weight presented information about efforts the University can make to support athletes at UNC. 
    • The committee is recommending programs to help integrate athletics and academics at UNC, she said. One idea is to establish for-credit courses for athletes that other peer institutions have, like onboarding programs, sports psychology and personal finance courses. As of right now, a one-credit onboarding course is the only class being proposed at UNC because of the rigorous requirements courses must go through before being offered to students.
    • The committee conducts an annual focus group with athletes and Weight reported that the biggest change the students ask for is more mental health resources. Weight said there are not enough resources to support athletes to the fullest extent and more help is needed to fully address their needs.
    • “Our athletes do not live normal lives," Weight said. "However, they’re asked to live the normal athlete life. As we just heard, the pressures and demands have increased significantly.”
  • Lissa Broome, UNC’s faculty athletics representative to the Atlantic Coast Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, shared information with the council about lawsuits concerning collegiate athletics that could have larger implications for the University.
    • Many of the cases debate whether athletes on college teams are employees of the universities they attend. Broome said there is also a question about whether or not athletes are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which would determine hours they can work and wages they can be paid.

What else is new?

  • Anne Gilliland, chair of the University Committee on Copyright and the scholarly communications officer for UNC Libraries, spoke to the council regarding online publishers and their concern whether their materials are being used by AI technology.
    • “We received notifications from two of our largest e-journal publishers, Elsevier and Springer, that they wanted to put in place contract amendments that would really, really restrict our faculty, staff and students’ ability to use their content in AI situations and in the case of Elsevier, also in social media at all,” she said.
    • The copyright committee was informed of the publishing company’s wishes in December and have been negotiating with them since.
  • The council’s newly created ad hoc committee will develop recommendations about the process of the council's discussions and deliberations. The committee will also make recommendations on the nature and types of statements the council can make.

What’s next?

  • The Faculty Council will meet again on Friday, April 26 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

@dailytarheel | university@dailytarheel.com

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