Faculty Senate has first meeting of new semester

Alumni House_Faculty Senate_News

Christian Carter-ross/The Carolinian

Zachary Weaver
    Staff Writer

UNCG’s Faculty Senate met last Wednesday to discuss a miscellany of topics including the Provost-Faculty-Fellow Program, the Public Access Policy and an Ombuds Office, among others.

The meeting opened with remarks from Chancellor Gilliam and Provost Dunn. Gilliam noted that this autumn will mark the 25-year-anniversary of the Faculty Senate. He also stated that his intention in appearing at the meetings (which is not required) was to “imbue it with a sense of intentionality.”

Provost Dunn spoke on the launching of the Provost-Faculty-Fellow Program. The Program will act as a bridge across the faculty-administration gap, aiding easy communication.

This will include a Post-Tenure Review Training Module. The process went smoothly this year, she said, with widespread satisfaction, though not without questions.

The Public Access Policy was next. Beth Bernhardt described how it would aid research, allowing work to be more freely shared without publisher requirements. Writers would retain rights to their works.

This service will be accessible for student, scholarly, or public usage.

The meeting was interrupted briefly upon Chancellor Gilliam receiving word of rising controversy over racially-charged flyers. These flyers promoted the UNC-Greensboro College Republicans, and featured racially-prejudiced quotes from past Democrats.

These quotes were accompanied by #YouDeserveBetter and promoted the associated organization.

“We should be a campus of tolerance and enlightenment,” Gilliam said before his departure.

Gilliam expressed uncertainty about the flyers’ intent, whether they were a call to action or simply inflammatory. He emphasized that either way, differences in political opinions are to be respected.

“I feel like the president on 24!” Gilliam quipped before vacating the room.

The meeting resumed with Spoma Jovanovic presenting the Faculty Assembly Report.  This report indicated increasing levels of oversight, owing to the recent change in UNC presidents.

    The NC Guaranteed Admissions Program (GAP) was a point of concern. The GAP has certain students seeking degrees who attend three years of community college before attending a UNC school. This spot is held for them, which precludes another students from taking the spot in the interim.

This idea has attracted controversy from within the faculty, with faculty members drawing attention to a recent Charlotte Observer Opposite Editorial article criticizing the policy.

Also under this report was the Boston Consulting Group, which aims to streamline public administration.

It could “gut public education,” Jovanovic said.

Of concern to the Senate was the $1.1 million dollar anonymous donation to the Group. The individual’s interest is unknown, as is how it might guide the Group.

The Senate’s last segment was occupied primarily by a discussion of an Ombud Office’s addition to the faculty. This acts as a way for faculty to address grievances without needing an official channel. It is anonymous, allowing staff to seek assistance without reprisal.

Additionally, the office will have no binding power.

“It will be knowledgeable, not powerful,” Anne Wallace said.

Its purpose is to inform, not act (illegal activity will be reported, however).

The Ombuds facilitate confidential inquiry and offer advice, acting as mediators if necessary. It will answer only to the Chancellor’s Office, allowing it to be accountable while remaining above those it may deal with.

The establishment proposal followed several years of calls for such an office. The current proposal was made by the Inclusive Community Committee, which interviewed staff over a three-year period.

The proposal was endorsed with 28 ayes, no nays and one abstention.

The final point of business was the establishment of an ad hoc committee on the GEC Approval for KIN 220.

This focuses on resolving a controversy over a perceived-improper GNS marker on the course, designating it as a Natural Sciences General Education course. Many believe that Kinesiology 220 should not be marked as a Gen Ed, while others support the marker.

The situation is unprecedented, so a committee, which includes five members with undergraduate and Gen Ed experience, was formed to determine whether a violation had occurred.

The group will make recommendations based on its findings, with more details available in the future.

The remainder of the meeting consisted of discussion on the preceding topics. Discussion focused on the Ombuds Office with other topics interspersed.

Faculty Senate meetings are open to any who wish to attend. The next meeting is March 2 in the Virginia Dare Room, Alumni House.

Categories: News, Uncategorized, UNCG Faculty & Staff, UNCG Students

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