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Nominations sought for campus’s O. Max Gardner Award candidate

The nominations period is now open for candidates to be selected as UNC-Chapel Hill’s nominee to the UNC system for consideration for the 2016 O. Max Gardner Award, given by the UNC Board of Governors to “that member of the faculty of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, who, during the current scholastic year, has made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.”

This nomination process proceeds in two stages:  First, campus constituencies nominate candidates for consideration by our local faculty Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards (HDA) before the initial campus deadline of December 7, 2015. Second, the HDA committee selects one local nominee for whom to develop the more elaborate nomination packet that must be put forward from this campus (by January 7, 2016) to the system for consideration in the larger competition.

Details on this award and how to submit a name for campus consideration are here.  All that is required at present are basic nominee details and a brief letter of nomination.

The local deadline is midnight, December 7, 2015.

Faculty Council will meet Friday, November 13, 2015 at 3:00 pm

IMG_5364The Faculty Council will meet Friday, November 13, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm in its new, UPSTAIRS, location in Kerr Hall Room 2001 (Eshelman School of Pharmacy). A map to the building is included on the agenda link below. All members of the faculty are welcome to attend.

Here is the agenda.

Prof. Peter Mucha, who continues to serve as Acting Chair of the Faculty in Prof. Cairns’s absence, will join the chancellor in presiding over the meeting.

The agenda this month includes as a centerpiece consideration of the final one of the four resolutions presented last spring regarding issues around athletics. This resolution had to do with admissions standards, and was referred to the Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Admissions. Their response and recommendations are appended to the agenda and will be discussed before the vote. There will also be another installment of the diversity syllabus, this one focused on issues around fixed-term faculty, and a vote on a resolution affirming the faculty’s understanding of academic freedom.

Council members should try to arrive by 2:45 and take seats towards the front/middle of the room in the areas marked by the table signs. Non-Council members should take the remaining seats around the perimeter.

REMOTE PARTICIPATION: The new room permits remote viewing via a web-based (easy) platform called Blue Jeans. The link to join the presentation is on the agenda. You are welcome to use this if you cannot be there in person.

LIVE-TWEETING: The Office of Faculty Governance will be live-tweeting the meeting from @UNCFacGov under the hashtag #FacCouncil–joined by several in-Council tweeters! Your tweeting constituents may want to follow along.

Faculty Council meets Friday, October 30 in Kerr Hall

The Faculty Council will meet this Friday, October 30, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm in our new location in Kerr Hall Room 1001 (Eshelman School of Pharmacy).  A map to the building is included on the agenda link below.  All members  of the faculty are welcome to attend.

Here is the agenda.

Prof. Peter Mucha, who continues to serve as Acting Chair of the Faculty in Prof. Cairns’s absence, will join the chancellor in presiding over the meeting.

Notable items on the agenda include conversation with Chancellor Folt and Provost Dean; an update on the Student Stores Request for Proposals; a report on faculty recruitment and retention; an update from the Ombuds Office as part of the “Diversity Syllabus” conversation; and votes on four resolutions: one honoring our faculty Nobel Prize winners, one making changes in the Pass/Fail policy, one focused on academic support services for student-athletes (originally brought to Council last February) and one to approve 2016 nominees for Distinguished Alumnus/a Awards.

The new location has plenty of room; all interested members of the faculty and university community are welcome to attend.

Statement about faculty governance during Prof. Bruce Cairns’s recovery

The announcement below was sent to the General Faculty on September 30, 2015:

Acting in its capacity as the body holding the faculty’s delegated legislative power when quick action is needed, the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) Monday afternoon approved a plan for carrying on faculty governance activities while Chair of the Faculty Bruce Cairns recovers from his recent episode of cardiac arrest.

In consultation with members of the Advisory Committee who were able to attend the FEC’s regularly scheduled meeting, FEC voted unanimous adoption of the following motion, made by Prof. Vin Steponaitis and seconded by Prof. Erianne Weight:

In light of Faculty Chair Bruce Cairns’s illness and until the end of November 2015 or Prof. Cairns’s return, whichever comes first, the chair of the Advisory Committee, Prof. Peter Mucha, will serve as Acting Chair of the Faculty; the vice chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, Prof. Michael Gerhardt, will chair meetings of the Faculty Executive Committee; and the Secretary of the Faculty, Prof. Joe Ferrell, will chair the Faculty Council Agenda Committee.

The Faculty Code of University Government, which is the guiding document for the operation of campus-level faculty governance at UNC, provides in Section 3-1 that “interim vacancies in the office of chair of the faculty are filled through appointment by the Advisory Committee.”  The Advisory Committee also has responsibility every three years for identifying candidates to run for faculty chair.  There is, however, no explicit provision for how faculty chair duties are to be addressed during a chair’s temporary absence. The solution adopted represents a short-term distribution of the chair’s key duties to other current faculty leaders familiar with ongoing initiatives led by Prof. Cairns.

While Prof. Cairns recuperates, faculty members are urged to send any questions or concerns to, from which account emails will be routed to the appropriate respondent.  As always, full information about faculty governance may be found at

Faculty urged to join University Day processional, October 12

A drawing of UNC’s first building by one of its early students. Drawing by John Pettigrew in the Photographic Archives, North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A drawing of UNC’s first building by one of its early students. Drawing by John Pettigrew in the Photographic Archives, North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

University Day 2015 will be celebrated on Monday, October 12, at 11:00 a.m. in Memorial Hall. Classes are cancelled from 10 AM-1 PM.

All members of the University community are invited to attend the celebration commemorating the laying of the cornerstone of Old East and the official founding of the University. This is Carolina’s 222nd birthday!  Faculty participating in the processional will gather at the Old Well beginning at 10:30 a.m. In case of rain, faculty and staff should gather in Gerrard Hall.

This year for the first time, as faculty and staff process into Memorial Hall, each school will be identified with a gonfalon style banner, and faculty and staff will process behind their respective banner.  The procession will be organized by the date of the establishment of the school.  Please ensure that your school is well-represented in the processional and at University Day.  It is our goal that each banner will be proudly displayed with a prominent following.

The lead speaker for 2015 will be Chancellor Carol Folt who will be presenting on emerging strategic directions for UNC.  Since 1971 the University has awarded Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards on this day.  This year’s recipients are:

  • Jacqueline Charles – B.A. Jour. 1994
  • Mona Carol Frederick – B.A. Educ. 1976
  • Betty Debnam Hunt – B.A.1952
  • Sarah Elizabeth Parker – B.A. Educ. 1964; J.D. 1969

Also honored will be the recipient of the 2014 Edward Kidder Graham Award, Peter White – Professor of Biology.

For faculty, academic regalia is welcomed but not required. Please notify the Office of University Events ( or 919-962-2821) regarding your participation.

Additional information can be found on the web at

Faculty Council & General Faculty meet Friday, September 25 in Kerr Hall

kerr1001The Faculty Council and General Faculty are set to meet this Friday, September 25, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm in a new location in Kerr Hall Room 1001 (Eshelman School of Pharmacy).  All members  of the faculty are welcome to attend and participate.

The agenda is available here.


Notable events include the launch of a yearlong diversity conversation under the leadership of Prof. Rumay Alexander and the Community and Diversity Committee, and discussion and vote on two of the four resolutions put before Council at last February’s meeting by the Athletics Reform Group.  The Faculty Athletics Committee and Faculty Athletics Representative will present annual reports, and there will be a discussion and vote on a resolution in support of Prof. Neel Ahuja’s “Literature of 9/11” course.

Council members should arrive by 2:45 and take seats towards the front/middle of the room in the areas marked by the table signs. Non-Council members may take the remaining seats around the perimeter.

The new room will permit remote viewing and participation via a web-based (easy) platform called Blue Jeans.  The link to join the presentation is here.  There is a limit of about 95 “outside” participants in the meeting via this platform and Council leadership will be experimenting with how best to use it going forward.

The Office of Faculty Governance staff will also live-tweet the meeting from @UNCFacGov under the hashtag #FacCouncil–joined by several in-Council tweeters.

Faculty Handbook: A portal to UNC faculty policies

In 2014, the Office of Faculty Governance and the Faculty Welfare Committee drafted a new electronic version of the UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Handbook, which was last issued in print in in 1994. The handbook does not repeat policy information given elsewhere, but rather is designed as a one-stop entry point to guide faculty to pertinent policies and the extensive resources for instruction, research and work-life balance that UNC-Chapel Hill offers.

Consult the handbook here.

Faculty Council moves to Pharmacy’s Kerr Hall for fall 2015 semester

Thanks to the efforts of faculty and staff at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Faculty Council will move its meetings for the Fall 2015 semester to Pharmacy’s Kerr Hall, which is south of the McCauley St./South Road intersection with S. Columbia St., sort of across from Carrington Hall (Nursing School).

The meetings will be in either room 1001 or 2001.  The rooms are new and modern: equipped with U-shaped, tiered seating, mics at every seat, extensive projection capabilities, even remote conferencing/streaming capabilities.  Below is a map showing the location of Kerr Hall:


The 2015-16 Faculty Council meeting schedule (as well as the related Agenda Committee meeting for each Council meeting) is online here.

Distinguished Alumnus and Alumna Award nominations due September 28, 2015

The September 28th deadline is approaching for nominations for the university’s 2016 Distinguished Alumnus and Alumna Awards.

Nominees for these awards are selected by the faculty’s elected Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards, and they will be presented at the October 12, 2016, University Day ceremony. These awards recognize UNC-Chapel Hill alumni/ae who have made outstanding contributions to humanity in any walk of life.

Nominees must be alumni of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This includes all persons who were registered for at least one full academic year as a student in residence in any college or school of the University. In general, anyone listed in the General Alumni Association’s Alumni Directory is eligible except members of the UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, staff, and administration. They become eligible two years after separation from the University.

Full information about this award, including criteria, eligibility, past winners, and a link to the simplified process for submitting a nomination online, is available at the Distinguished Alumnus and Alumna Awards page of the Faculty Governance website.

If you have any questions about the awards or the nomination process, please contact Anne Whisnant, Deputy Secretary of the Faculty, at 919-962-1671 or

Cairns: 9/11 class is part of UNC traditions

Faculty Chair Bruce Cairns published the following letter to the editor in the Daily Tar Heel on September 3, 2015:


As a 19-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and Chair of the Faculty, and in reference to an article in Wednesday’s edition of The Daily Tar Heel, I am writing with the strongest support for Professor Neel Ahuja and his first-year seminar course, English 72: Literature of 9/11.

As the oldest and greatest public university in the nation, created by veterans of the Revolutionary War and founders of our country, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has stood for the principles of freedom in the classroom and the public square. Students at the University have long embraced the opportunity to tackle difficult and controversial subjects.

In fact, the storied colors of our University represent the oldest student organizations at Carolina, the Dialectic and Philanthropic literary and debate societies, where the most challenging issues are addressed. As we approach the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, I believe this is a time for reflection and understanding, not for making a case that we should not learn.

As someone who lost a friend in the World Trade Center attacks, I will be visiting the UNC 9/11 Memorial Garden off the brick walkway along Stadium Drive, grateful to live in a nation that secures the rights of all and to work at a University that staunchly defends academic freedom.

Bruce A. Cairns, MD
Professor of Surgery
Chair of the Faculty

Read more:
Quoted from The Daily Tar Heel