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Steponaitis named new Secretary of the Faculty

Vin Steponaitis at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Prof. Vin Steponaitis, professor of anthropology, Director of the Research Laboratories of Archaeology, and chair of the curriculum in archaeology, will become Secretary of the Faculty as of July 1, 2016. He will succeed longtime Secretary Joe Ferrell, who is retiring after twenty years in the position. Steponaitis was nominated by the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee and officially elected by a vote of Faculty Council on April 15.

2016 faculty elections results posted

We’ve posted the results of the 2016 faculty elections here. This year’s turnout rate was about 41%, down a little from previous years but still strong. Thanks to all who expressed interest in serving, all who ran for various offices, and all who voted!

Faculty invited to attend Commencement Weekend events

To:      UNC General Faculty
From: Chair of the Faculty Bruce Cairns & Faculty Marshal Terry Rhodes

Dear UNC Faculty Colleagues:

We write to remind you to join us for the joyous events of Commencement Weekend 2016 on Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8.

Our students’ accomplishments are remarkable, and their friends and families value our roles as teachers, mentors and scholars. Commencement honors our collective commitment to learning and building a sense of community within our University. You’re invited to participate in both events wearing academic regalia if you have it, but you are welcome regardless.

The Doctoral Hooding ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 7, at 9:30 a.m. in the Dean E. Smith Center. During the ceremony, each graduate will be called to the stage to receive the doctoral hood from his or her advisor. The featured speaker is Carolina alumnus, Dr. Samantha Joye, the Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Arts and Sciences in the University of Georgia’s marine sciences department.

Non-hooding faculty members who wish to march in the academic processional should arrive at the Smith Center (Entrance D) no later than 9:00 a.m. and gather in the Press Room on the lower level (take elevators or stairs down to the first floor). Marshals will direct you to the line-up site. Parking for faculty will be in the Smith Center/Manning Lot.

University Commencement will be held, rain or shine, on Sunday, May 8 at 9:00 a.m. in Kenan Memorial Stadium. If it rains during the ceremony, the ceremony may be shortened; in the event of dangerous severe weather, it will be delayed or cancelled. Faculty participating in the processional should park in the Bell Tower deck and gather on the second floor of the Kenan Football Center at 8:30 a.m. Faculty Marshal Terry Rhodes will lead the faculty processional.

This year’s Commencement speaker is Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America; Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University.  The ceremony will honor our graduating students and the following outstanding recipients of honorary degrees: Sandra Cisneros, Paul Fulton, Nell Painter, Sister Helen Prejean and Anne-Marie Slaughter.

Many of you have attended Commencement in the past, and we welcome you again. For those who have yet to participate in this venerable academic tradition, please join us. We look forward to seeing you there.

Please email LaTosha Smith in the office of University Events by Monday, April 18th if you plan to attend either ceremony at This will guarantee that your name will appear on the parking lists for admission to the faculty parking lots at the events you are attending.

More information about Commencement is available at

Sincerely yours,

Bruce Cairns, Chair of the Faculty
Terry Rhodes, Faculty Marshal

March ‘diversity syllabus’ explores race and privilege

Last month’s installment of the Faculty Council’s “diversity syllabus,” a year-long program to highlight diversity and inclusion efforts at the University, featured Professor Elizabeth Dickinson from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business. Professor Dickinson led an activity and discussion on race, gender and socioeconomic privilege.  View the recording of her TED-style talk below.

March Faculty Council "Diversity Syllabus" from Kathryn Turner on Vimeo.

Final Faculty Council and General Faculty meeting of the year, April 15

IMG_5364This year’s final Faculty Council meeting will be held Friday, April 15, 2016 at 3:00 pm in Kerr Hall 2001. As per our custom, this meeting will also be a meeting of the General Faculty, and several General Faculty resolutions will up for votes.

The emerging agenda is here. Additional materials will be added as they become available.

All members of the faculty are welcome.

February ‘diversity syllabus’ emphasizes link between financial aid and diversity

Over the past year, the Community and Diversity Committee has organized a series of briefings for Faculty Council members on diversity initiatives at Carolina. In the video segment below, Professor Rumay Alexander (Nursing) introduces Professor Don Hornstein (Law), chair of the Scholarships, Awards and Financial Aid Committee, who gives an overview of the link between financial aid and diversity. Following his presentation, Mr. Chris Faison, director of Men of Color Engagement, facilitates a panel of students who share their experiences as men of color at Carolina.

Summary of actions from the February 19 Faculty Council meeting

Summary of resolutions presented to the Faculty Council and their outcomes:

For a full account of the meeting, see the Storify of tweets, video or minutes available here.

March 11, 2016 Faculty Council agenda posted

The Faculty Council agenda for the March 11, 2016 meeting has been posted here.

The agenda this month includes another installment of the “diversity syllabus,” reports from six standing faculty committees (three presentations and three accepted by title) and a discussion of the Ethics and Integrity Working Group’s report. All materials and background readings are linked from the agenda page.

All members of the faculty are welcome to attend.

Spellings responds to Faculty Council resolution on LGBTQ academic initiatives

Chair of the Faculty Bruce Cairns has shared the response he received last night to Faculty Council Resolution 2016-4 (“On Supporting and Sustaining LGBTQ Academic Initiatives”) from new UNC system President Margaret Spellings and Interim President Junius Gonzales.

Below you will find Prof. Cairns’s reply to President Spellings and Interim President Gonzales, sent via email this morning (March 1, 2016):

Dear President Spellings (Margaret) and Interim President (Junius) Gonzales:

On behalf of the general faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill, thank you for your thoughtful and timely response to Resolution 2016-4. On Supporting and Sustaining LGBTQ Academic Initiatives  that was passed unanimously by the UNC-CH Faculty Council on February 19, 2016.

We greatly appreciate the reaffirmation of the core principles of our University, particularly as they relate to the issues addressed in our resolution.

Thank you also for reiterating the need for us to continue to work with Chancellor Folt and Provost Dean in order to properly address LGBTQ academic initiatives at UNC-CH.

I will forward your response to my faculty colleagues and keep the institutional leadership informed of any new developments.

Thank you and once again, President Spellings-on behalf of the faculty at UNC-CH-welcome to UNC! And of course, I can’t resist-GO HEELS!


Bruce Cairns

Bruce A. Cairns, MD

Chair of the Faculty, UNC- Chapel Hill
John Stackhouse Distinguished Professor of Surgery/ Microbiology and Immunology

Faculty elections will be April 18-25

This year’s faculty elections will take place via electronic ballot emailed to all members of the Voting Faculty on April 18th. The deadline for voting will be April 25th, with results released on the 27th. More information about the elections process may be found here.