Current as of 08/22/2012

1. Theme 1, Recommendation 1 – Pilot innovative lecture courses.

– Two models for innovative lecture course types have been generated by this subcommittee:

a. 1 credit hour, large-scale, evening courses that are co-taught by faculty and other guest lecturers and that are based around a current societal issue of note.

b. 3 credit hour courses that can be large or small but are interdisciplinary in nature with the responsibility for teaching being shared between departments.

– Some of the big issues that we face in creating these types of courses are how to assign credit to faculty and departments, course structure and grading mechanisms, mixing graduate and undergraduate students effectively, cross-listing and the potential need for a designated registrar, as well as finding space for these types of courses in light of current budgetary shortfalls. Our group has identified several topical areas we would like to explore with these courses including: Water, Ethics & Social Justice, Entrepreneurship/Econ. Development, New Media, High Tech Life, School Reform, Poverty/Income Inequality, and Food. Jan Boxill has recently come forward and agreed to serve as a course coordinator for an Ethics & Social Justice course during Spring 2013. The most recent development in this subcommittee’s work is that a draft proposal and budget has been completed and sent to the full committee for review prior to submission to the Provost.


2. Theme 1, Recommendation 3A- Create Bachelor’s to Master’s degrees that can be earned in four or five years of combined study.

3. Theme 1, Recommendation 3B – Develop direct-entry undergraduate-professional school matriculation programs.

– This committee met for the first time in early February of 2012 to discuss its first steps in establishing programs of this type. Chery Junk from Academic Advising met with members of our group to begin mapping out templates to describe how students who enter the University with 30 or more credit hours might matriculate towards a terminal graduate degree of some kind. Next, Shirley Ort and Phil Asbury from the Office of Scholarship & Student Aid were consulted to discuss the financial aid ramifications for students who may choose the pathways that we are looking to create and/or define. From there, a letter is being drafted that will be sent to the deans of Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, and Public Health that includes information about likely interest in direct-entry programs drawn from the applications of top candidates for Fall 2012 admission. These letters will also request a brief meeting with each dean to discuss whether his or her school would like to explore participating in the initiative. Research on peer institutions that have programs similar to the ones we hope to create will also be done to ensure that we are aware of all of the potential benefits and pitfalls of this effort.

4. Theme 1, Recommendation 3 – Support the expansion of the Honors Program and develop alternate opportunities to Honors.

– As of Fall 2011, 291 first-year students were admitted to the program, just shy of the prediction of 300 for that year. That number had risen to between 350 and 375 for this past fall semester. By the fall of 2013, the Honors program is expected to enroll 400 students, or 10% of the entering first year class. This number also does not account for the 50 – 75 students who are added after the first semester of their freshman year, as well as the estimated 50 who are brought on during their sophomore year. Fundraising efforts on the part of the College of Arts and Sciences has also allowed for the creation of 15 new faculty positions for the Honors Program, which has allowed for the absorption of this student influx.


5. Theme 1, Recommendation 4 – Establish a Provost’s committee of students, faculty, and administrators to examine existing academic regulations.

– This working group has met several times and included faculty members from a number of University sections including Academic Advising, Medicine, the Registrar’s Office, Arts & Sciences, Student Affairs, as well as several undergraduate students to name a few. Some of our early discussions have centered around the following topics:

  • Cross-school regulation coordination
  • Double-majors and the time to degree completion
  • The first-year guide for incoming students and its contents
  • Junior year preparation for majors and graduation
  • Communication of academic regulations to students
  • Part-time and transfer student concerns and issues

This subcommittee will continue to communicate with Student Government, the Center for Faculty Excellence, Faculty Council, the Provost’s Office, and others to identify issues and generate feedback around this topic. One short term plan of this group is to create a survey for both students and faculty and staff members that asks them to give feedback on their perceptions of University academic regulations, which should help to illuminate the direction in which we should point our efforts.


6. Theme 2, Recommendation 3 – Reinstate the spousal hiring program.

– As of October 2011, the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost has agreed to match funding in order to assist departments and the various academic units throughout the campus in recruiting and employing qualified and credentialed spouses of new tenure track or tenured faculty to the University. The funding for the position in which the aforementioned spouse is hired is available for a period of three years with the continuation of appropriated monies falling under the jurisdiction of the department in which they work. For more information, please consult the Spousal Hiring Program memo document at the following address:


7. Theme 2, Recommendation 7 – Ensure that salaries and compensation are equitable through continuous monitoring of faculty and staff salaries.

– The Faculty Salary Equity Task Force has nearly completed its (13-month long) effort. This team of individuals has gathered data on salaries for all persons with full-time faculty positions (tenured/tenure-track and fixed term) as of September 2010 as well as on the progression through ranks of the cohort of faculty members who were appointed as Assistant or Associate Professors in the period 1994-2003. A statistical analysis of these data was subsequently produced which identifies what characteristics (e.g. years at UNC, faculty rank, discipline, gender) result in deviations from the “model faculty member” (taken for the purposes of this study as a newly-appointed white male Assistant Professor in History). This analysis also produces a predicted salary for each faculty member based on these characteristics, from which the Task Force was able to identify “outliers” whose salary deviates significantly (in either direction) from that predicted by the model. The rank progression analysis has allowed us to determine differences in promotion (and resignation) rates among groups (by school, gender, race/ethnicity) and note differences in time to promotion. The findings of this study will be rendered to the Provost in a report that is being drafted currently by the staff in the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.


8. Theme 2, Recommendation 8 – Endorse and support faculty research and study assignment provisions across the University.

– In an attempt to level the playing field with our peer institutions in terms of opportunities for extended research and professional development periods, a survey was conducted to poll faculty members about where they stand on this issue and to offer suggestions on how to make extending these periods more feasible for all involved parties. That survey has since been completed and will be used to inform the decisions that are made around this topic going forward.


9. Theme 2, Recommendation 10 – Create a pilot Faculty-Student Mentoring Program

– The subcommittee that was convened for this issue has met a number of times and generated a preliminary proposal for an online mentoring hub for the University managed by a “Champion” that we identify as having a vested interest in seeing this type of a program flourish. A meeting with campus budget officer Dwayne Pinkney was held to discuss general budgetary questions, as well as a gathering of leaders from other campus mentoring initiatives to generate meaningful feedback. From there, a student focus group was held which aided in giving us a crucial perspective on mentoring needs directly from students. The proposal and budget for this initiative was revised and re-drafted several times before being submitted to the Provost for consideration within the last several weeks. Final approval for this program has yet to be given pending the completion of University budget review.


10. Theme 3, Recommendation 3 – Coordinate and expedite collaborative teaching efforts across departments, schools, and disciplines.

a. Co-funding mechanisms. – The College of Arts and Sciences has committed a total of $60,000 for the academic year July 1st, 2012 – June 30th, 2013 to encourage and fund the development of interdisciplinary teaching and research initiatives in three areas: Conferences, Research Initiatives, and Team Teaching Initiatives. Proposals are due by April 1st, 2012 and grants will be awarded no later than July 1st, 2012.

11. Theme 3, Recommendation 4 – Facilitate interdisciplinary activities

a. Annual interdisciplinary conference. – The Global Research Institute, in conjunction with the Institute for the Environment and the UNC Water Institute, have taken a grand step towards accomplishing this recommendation by presenting a proposal to Faculty Council for a two-year campus theme on water. That proposal was unanimously approved and a steering committee has been convened which will help drive that theme for the duration of its term. The theme, titled “Water In Our World,” was unofficially launched on March 22nd, 2012, which also happens to be Global World Water Day. Highlights of the theme thus far include the release of an official logo image, the approval of a distinguished professorship on the topic of water, and the inclusion of the University as a founding member of the US Water Partnership, an initiative led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to address water and health issues worldwide. Challenges for the steering committee going into the summer include the approval of an official budget, collection and compiling of the ideas and suggestions for programs and activities from across the University and surrounding community, and finalizing an event schedule for the first few months of the fall semester.


12. Theme 4, Recommendation 1 – Implementation and communication of our values, expectations, and resources.

a. Broaden the mandate and resources of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. – Discussions with newly appointed Vice Provost Taffye Clayton have already begun and an additional senior director position will soon be authorized and posted.


b. Create and maintain a central inclusion and equity website that highlights specific successful programs, such as the Provost Council for Diversity Pipeline (PCDPP), while providing links to related resources from the entire campus community including the various centers and professional school initiatives. This website should be prominently linked to the University’s home page to ensure visibility and ease of access. – The Office of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs has been working diligently to compile this information and have already identified more than 100 programs to include in this project. A report to Provost Carney was slated to be submitted by the end of 2011 with creation of a functional information site set to happen before the end of 2012.


g. Establish a task force to examine whether a student ombubsperson is needed. – In November 2011, this subcommittee met with the campus Ombuds office staff (Wayne Blair and Laurie Mesibov) to inquire about their progress on this issue. As a result, a memo was drafted and submitted to the Academic Plan Steering Committee Co-Chairs and Provost Carney endorsing the Ombuds office in their efforts to widen their scope of campus influence and offering our support in any way possible. Since that time, a formal proposal was submitted to the Provost for review and it was subsequently approved. The Ombuds office will begin accepting undergraduate students as of July 1st, 2012.


13. Theme 4, Recommendation 2 – UNC-Chapel Hill and the State of North Carolina.

a. All academic and enrichment programs should offer and advertise application fee waivers so that no potentially qualified applicant is discouraged from applying due to financial constraints. – Through research on the part of Melinda Manning, it was discovered that the only academic program that does not actively advertise a fee waiver is the Master’s of Accounting Program in the Kenan-Flagler Business School. In the spirit of transparency, our plan going forward is to reach out to the Chairs, Deans, and Directors of departments and schools to implore them to make this information clear and prominent on the front pages of their respective websites.


14. Theme 4, Recommendation 3 – Retention and Graduation.

b. Establish priority registration for students who have significant commitments outside the University. – The Priority Registration Advisory Committee, chaired by Chris Derickson of the University Registrar’s Office, announces at the beginning of each Spring Term (for the subsequent Fall Term Early Registration) and the beginning of each Fall Term (for the subsequent Spring Term Early Registration) the process and timeline for submitting requests for priority registration on behalf of student groups. An application form must be submitted which outlines the need and reasoning for priority registration based on the demands of the student’s circumstances and/or activities. An annual report is submitted to the Educational Policy Committee by this group that outlines the previous year’s approvals and denials to ensure that priority registration is serving its intended purpose. For more information, please consult the following address:


15. Theme 5, Recommendation 1 – Recognize and reward engaged scholarship and activities.

a. Include engaged scholarship and activities in tenure and promotion criteria for tenure-track and fixed-term faculty, as well as and revise appointment, promotion, and tenure manuals for each school. – In May, 2011, the Provost’s Office asked all of the deans to provide a comprehensive update to their written policies, with a December, 2011 deadline. Two schools’ policies are complete enough for legal review while others are continuously being revised or developed.


16. Theme 5, Recommendation 1 – Expand the purview of the Carolina Center for Public Service

a. Launch a UNC-Chapel Hill Engagement Council. – Spearheaded by Lynn Blanchard, a proposal for the aforementioned council was drafted and recently forwarded to the Provost for review. Otherwise, this program is virtually ready for a campus launch. A preliminary list of names has begun to be compiled for the executive group of the Engagement Council and will be circulated to the Engagement subcommittee for review and comment prior to an in-person meeting with the Provost for final approval. The goal for the aforementioned executive group is to convene by the end of spring with an optimal first meeting taking place by early fall.


17. Theme 6, Recommendation 3 – Augment global learning opportunities for students.

– In late 2011, the Global University Committee of Student Government conducted a survey of 78 global undergraduate students out of the estimated 300 enrolled at the University. Results of this poll indicated a desire for the following action items:

  • The formation of a Global Student Organization
  • A housing preference check-box option for all entering UNC students
  • An international student handbook to describe campus academic assistance resources in detail
  • A living-learning residential community for global and U.S. students to live together

In early January 2011, a meeting was convened by Dr. Ronald Strauss along with the Department of Housing and Residential Education and other campus stakeholders with a vested interest in this issue regarding creation of global themed housing options. A large-scale student discussion led by Dr. Strauss with international and other interested undergraduates was also held in January of 2012 to further discuss the findings of the survey and begin formulating a plan of action. A plan is also in place for a living/learning community for global and other interested undergraduate students and discussions about a campus orientation session designed specifically for global students is being revised. Also, implementation of new opportunities for low-income students is ongoing.