The UNCG Faculty Senate held its last meeting of the semester on Wednesday, May 4, discussing resolutions on HB2, class expulsion appeals, and work conflict of interest guidelines, among other assorted topics.
Dr. Anne Wallace, Faculty Senate Chair, commenced the meeting by remarking on recent statements on House Bill 2 (HB2). She noted that because of the university’s nearunanimous commitment to nondiscrimination, little extended discussion was needed in the meeting.
Wallace commented on UNC System President Margaret Spellings’ recent visit to campus. She states that the visit shared themes with Spellings’ previous statements, including the deleterious effects of NC Guaranteed Admission Program (NCGAP), HB2’s chilling effect and conflicts with anti discrimination laws, and Spellings’ determination to deal with the drought of faculty salaries.
Wallace also stated that Spellings was asked if she would meet at length with the senators. Spellings declined, saying that she would be back at a later date. Wallace noted that an invitation would be extended to Spellings in the future.
Provost Dana Dunn spoke on negative impacts resulting from HB2 on UNCG, including a student’s droppingout, jeopardizing an unspecified NC conference, and the feared repercussions on university recruitment.
Dunn also remarked that UNCG recently placed in the top 14 colleges nationally in Pell Grant recipients and completion rate. Susan Shelmerdine, Chair of Academic Policies and Regulations Committee, presented two committee resolutions for approval.
The first was the Resolution to Approve Academic Calendars, altering the calendars of the 2017 18 through 202122 school years. It aims to synchronize UNCG Academic Calendars with A&E’s to eliminate ‘pseudo days,’ like Tuesdays behaving as Fridays, as well as making the semester 77 days long and ensuring that holidays and breaks align. It also moved Reading Day to Thursday for both semesters, with the exams beginning on the following Friday.
The second was the Resolution to Revise the Students’ Right to Appeal, aiming to amend the current procedure for students to appeal ejection from a class by a professor for unruly behavior.
The current process requires students to discuss the dismissal with their department head, the College or School Dean, and the Provost, in this order. Shelmerdine noted that this occupies enough time that an ejected student is unable to rejoin the class even if they win the appeal.
The policy’s revisions aim to streamline the process. “If the student wishes to appeal the instructor’s decision to withdraw the student from the class, he/she should deliver that appeal in writing to the instructor within 3 business days of removal from the classroom,” stated Shelmerdine. The decision can be appealed further at the department head level, whose pronouncement is final. The policy will take medical and psychological conditions into account.
John Lepri, Lead Delegate of the Faculty Assembly, presented the Faculty Assembly Delegation Report. He stated that the Board of Trustees were attempting to help resolve the issue of faculty salaries and nontrack tenure, as well as the numerous definitions of ‘faculty.’ The issue of numerous definitions of faculty was addressed, as was the faculty’s role in university operations, regarding donations, courses, and other like aspects.
Lepri also stated that a resolution was forthcoming from the Faculty Assembly about NC GAP. Wallace, Lepri, and Spoma Jovanovic presented two resolutions. The first, Resolution to Endorse UNC Faculty Assembly Resolution 20163, dealt with recognizing the assembly’s recommendations regarding NCGAP.
A March 6, 2016 report prepared by UNC General Admission and NC Community College System (NCCCS) indicated that NCGAP was unlikely to increase degrees awarded, would result in negative economic effects, and increase overall costs for the UNC and NCCCS, which would be borne by low income, rural, and minority students.
The resolution endorsed the recommendation of the UNC Faculty Assembly to postpone the implementation of NCGAP until 2018 and continue research and improvement of admission and student access initiatives. NCGAP remains unpopular among faculty, and is perceived to allow students in who would not have merit otherwise. “It is a blunt solution to a nuanced problem,” stated Jovanovic.
The second resolution, To Reaffirm University NonDiscrimination Policies and Endorse UNC Faculty Assembly Resolution 201601, “On Legislative Abrogation of University Responsibilities.” The resolution is a statement of criticism against HB2 by restating the UNC
Faculty’s commitment to gender/sexual tolerance and nondiscrimination. “Be it further resolved, that we commend all efforts by Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam and other members of the UNCG community to uphold the integrity of our university mission and its ongoing commitment to nondiscrimination,” as written in the Faculty Senate agenda.
Nora Bird, Chair of the Faculty of Teaching & Learning Commons Committee, delivered her report. It focused mainly on their scholarship presentation, which was awarded to 4 out of 75 applicants. She noted that more applied, but were rendered ineligible because of missing application components, such as recommendations or essays. Dr. Marianne LeGreco presented the Sustainability Council Report, which dealt with the Green Fund, among other topics.
The UNCG Green Fund is a small fee on tuition to be used for sustainability research and efforts on campus, run by UNCGreen. Applications for the fund are available for anyone interested on the Green Fund website.
The Sustainability Council has also been working on tying together disparate offices and persons to promote collaboration. LeGreco stated that progress has been made towards this goal, with the aim of facilitating focus on the ‘fourleafclover’ of sustainability (equity, environment, economy, and aesthetics).
The final presentation was the Update on External Professional Activities for Pay, Conflict of Commitment, and Conflict of Interest, presented by Julia Jackson Newsom and Lisa Goble. The update stated rules and guidelines for work outside of the university, and on university resource usage for such activities.
Guidelines included no more than 20% of time be taken by work and submission of a statement of intent. These remain under review, with revisions focusing on criteria, processes, and procedures regarding conflicts of interest. These will be informed by other campus policies.
The Faculty Senate’s first meeting of the 201617 school year will be held on August 31, 2016 in the Virginia Dare Room, Alumni House from 35 PM.