The UNCG Faculty Senate met on October 5 to discuss new policy, including Title IX, grants and tenure.
The meeting opened with remarks from Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Anne Wallace, who hoped that the Senate would be able to address the priorities before them and determine the best way to move forward.
Wallace stated that their “continuing work today [would] be in part to identify actions to get these important issues forward.”
A brief period was taken to address worries about UNCG’s new strategic plan, as many members felt left out from the process. Reassurances were given that all efforts to include faculty in the process had been made, with forums created for staff to present both concerns and ideas. A Board representative had accepted an invitation to come to the faculty forum on October 19 to more directly address their concerns.
UNCG Provost Dana Dunn then presented budget changes, including the creation of four new administrative positions in the office of student affairs, among which were a communications director and an online degree director.
Yearly grants were also discussed, with a total amount of $200,000. These funds are restricted for use in projects involving multidisciplinary research, community engagement, or innovative teaching efforts. $100,000 is reserved for multidisciplinary efforts and $50,000 for each of the other two initiatives. Applications for the grant are due by early December, with the review process being from then until the approval release date in February.
Next was the presentation of a resolution from the Faculty Assembly addressing the recent passing of Carolina Session Law 2016-94, which mandates the opening of eight lab schools on UNC campuses for K-12 students in troubled areas. This was stated to violate State General Statutes by bypassing the Board of Governors and other education system regulation bodies in favor of directly ordering the UNC campuses to make the lab schools. The Assembly had drafted and passed a resolution speaking out against the action and asked the Senate to pass it as well to give it more weight, which it did unanimously.
Also up for approval was a change to the regulations for hiring professors, namely the availability of tenure. Under previous iterations of the policy, incoming professors of associate rank would not be given tenure as a rule, and will have to undergo a probationary period before tenure eligibility.
Given feelings that this would discourage educators from applying at UNCG, the new changes would mean those already with tenure would be given such at UNCG, with the probationary period held as a measure for unusual circumstances or for those without previous experience.
There were some concerns that it would make tenure seem like an entitlement and wouldn’t press professors to do their best at UNCG, but those members were assured the hiring process was concurrently being made stricter to ensure equal standards.
UNCG Title IX Coordinator Murphie Chappell presented changes being made under her department. This included the designation of certain faculty as ‘responsible’ or ‘confidential.’ The former is obligated to report incidents of sexual assault or harassment brought to their attention, including but not limited to deans, department heads, and faculty formally advising a student group. The latter have the reverse obligation, being responsible for keeping matters confidential without permission of the reporter.
Also created was a dual-investigation system being implemented to ensure reports are investigated by both the Title IX office and the overseeing institution in order to guarantee a fair investigation. To support the initiative to create a safe environment at UNCG and ensure all hostile environs are dealt with, a series of training modules were stated to be soon released for staff, complementing ones taken by incoming students.
The meeting was called to a close with a small activity to encourage participation of the Senate members by reviewing a number of minor policy changes and issues and submit their proposals to the main board for review.
The next Faculty Senate will meet on November 2 at 3 p.m. in the Alumni House’s Virginia Dare Room, and will be open to the public.