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Faculty Council meeting rescheduled to January 29

Due to the weather and suspension of most university activities, the Faculty Council and General Faculty meeting originally set for Friday, January 22 has now been moved to Friday, January 29, 2016. It will be held at the same time (3:00 pm) and place (Kerr Hall Room 2001) as originally planned.

The agenda and materials are online here.  Most important are votes on three amendments to the Faculty Code. See agenda for details.

Faculty Athletics Committee to hold listening session March 2

The Faculty Athletics Committee (FAC) invites the University community to join them for their spring listening session, to be held March 2, 2016, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm in Toy Lounge, Dey Hall. Members of FAC look forward to hearing concerns and responding to comments and questions regarding athletics and academics at UNC. Contact committee chair Joy Renner at with questions.

Ferrell to retire as Secretary of the Faculty

Secretary of the Faculty Joseph Ferrell presents the Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards and Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award during 2015 University Day at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Secretary of the Faculty Joseph Ferrell presents the Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards and Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award during 2015 University Day at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Professor Joseph Ferrell, the second longest-serving secretary of the faculty in the history of Carolina, will leave that office upon the expiration of his current five-year term on June 30, 2016. He has served as secretary of the faculty since July 1, 1996. Ferrell received his undergraduate and law degrees from Carolina and a master of laws degree from Yale. He joined the Carolina faculty on June 1, 1964.

In his capacity as secretary of the faculty, Ferrell has served as a member of the Faculty Council, the Faculty Executive Committee, the Faculty Nominating Committee, the Committee on University Government, the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee, the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards, the Commencement Committee, the Commencement Speaker Selection Committee, and the University Day Committee.

Under Ferrell’s leadership, the Office of Faculty Governance has overseen a number of changes from strengthening its digital presence to modernizing elections. Ferrell also oversaw a reorganization in the Office’s staffing that brought Anne Whisnant, deputy secretary of the faculty, and Katie Turner, faculty programs specialist, on board.

To read more about Professor Ferrell’s retirement, click here for a recent interview in The Daily Tar Heel.

Summary of December 2015 Faculty Council actions

In December, the Faculty Council heard a presentation about the Thrive@Carolina program. Over the past year, the program opened four student success positions, expanded transition courses for new students, awarded grants for active-learning classes, launched student success tools, and convened a student retention working group. The goal of the program is to encourage student success based on a number of factors that include, but are not limited to GPA, retention and graduation. Thrive@Carolina seeks to train faculty and staff to identify and reach out to students who can benefit from being referred to student success services on campus. The Faculty Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2015-15. Statement on Thrive@Carolina to express their support for the program.

No other resolutions were introduced or voted on. A complete summary of the meeting and recording of the proceedings are available here.


Nominations open for 2016 Thomas Jefferson Award

The faculty’s Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards invites nominations for candidates for the 2016 Thomas Jefferson Award.  

This award, established in 1961, is given annually to “that member of the academic community who through personal influence and performance of duty in teaching, writing, and scholarship has best exemplified the ideals and objectives of Thomas Jefferson.”  Any active member of the faculty is eligible, including those participating in the phased-retirement program.

Full information about the award (including criteria, eligibility, a list of past recipients, and directions for how to submit a nomination) is available here on the Faculty Governance website.

The deadline for nominations is March 21, 2016.   The award will be presented at the September, 2016 Faculty Council meeting.

The chair of the faculty Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards this year is Prof. Steve Matson.  Please contact Prof. Matson or Dr. Anne Whisnant in the Office of Faculty Governance at 919-962-1671 or if you have questions about the award or the nomination process.

Nominations for 2017 Honorary Degrees due February 1, 2016

The faculty’s Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards invites your nominations for candidates for UNC honorary degrees to be awarded at the 2017 May Commencement ceremony.

A maximum of five of these prestigious awards will be given to recognize individuals who have rendered outstanding service to humanity in the world arena, in our nation, in the American South, or our State of North Carolina; people who have made outstanding contributions to knowledge in the world of scholarship; people whose talent and creativity in the world of the arts has enriched our lives; and people whose devotion to and support of our University merits our highest recognition.

It is important to note that members of the Board of Governors or staff of the University of North Carolina or any of its constituent institutions are not eligible. These persons become eligible two years after termination of such status. Awards are not conferred in absentia or posthumously.

The deadline for nominations this year is February 1, 2016.

Full information about this award, including criteria, eligibility, past winners, and the process for submitting a nomination is available on the Honorary Degrees page of the Faculty Governance website.

If you have any questions, please contact Anne Whisnant in the Office of Faculty Governance at 919-962-1671 or

Advisory Committee seeks candidates for Secretary of the Faculty

The (Chancellor’s) Advisory Committee invites nominations (including self-nominations) for the position of Secretary of the Faculty, which will be open as of July 1, 2016, when current Secretary Joe Ferrell will step down. A position description and instructions for how to apply and/or nominate a candidate may be found here. All questions regarding this position should be directed to Prof. Peter Mucha, Chair, Advisory Committee (Email:

The deadline for receipt of nominations is Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.

Cairns resumes duties as Chair of the Faculty

cairns_bruce_400As anticipated by the resolution passed at the September 30 Faculty Executive Committee meeting, Prof. Bruce Cairns resumed his duties as Chair of the Faculty as of December 1st.

We in the Office of Faculty Governance are grateful to Prof. Peter Mucha, chair of the Advisory Committee, for stepping into the breach and serving as Acting Chair of the Faculty for two months while Prof. Cairns recovered from his September 18th cardiac arrest incident. We also appreciate the leadership of Prof. Michael Gerhardt, who chaired the Faculty Executive Committee meetings in Prof. Cairns’s absence.

Faculty Council meets Friday, December 11

IMG_5364The Faculty Council will meet Friday, December 11, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. in 1001 Kerr Hall (Eshelman School of Pharmacy).

Prof. Bruce Cairns will return to the podium this month to chair the meeting.  He resumed his duties as Chair of the Faculty as of December 1st.

The agenda this month includes a presentation on a new initiative for student success called Thrive@Carolina, the next installment of the “Diversity Syllabus” (this month focused on gender issues), and an update from the co-chairs of the new History Task Force.

All members of the faculty are welcome to attend.


December 2015 Commencement Information for Faculty

Carolina’s mid-year commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at the Dean E. Smith Center.  Faculty members are invited to join the processional, either with or without regalia.

Participating faculty will assemble at 1:30 p.m. in the Press Room of the Smith Center. Use Entry D and take the elevator down to the court level.

Faculty parking will be in the top tier of the Manning Lot.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Stacey Warner at so your name can be added to the parking list.

To access the top tier of the Manning Lot, enter via Skipper Bowles Drive by the Ernie Williamson Athletic Center.  The Manning Lot top tier is located beside the Smith Center. See map here.

As has been the campus tradition, a member of our faculty, Dr. Kelly Hogan,  Director of Instructional Innovation for the College of Arts and Sciences and Senior STEM Lecturer in the Biology Department, will be the commencement speaker.

More information on winter commencement is available here.