On Friday, February 17, 2023 the UNC-CH Faculty Council met to address the “bucket of chaos” created by yet another incidence of trustee (BOT) governance overreach. In its most recent overreach actions, the BOT failed to consult, or even inform, the faculty, chancellor, students or staff–normally charged with making such decisions– about a proposed new degree granting “School of Civic Life and Leadership”. Instead of working with the faculty and staff, the BOT paid a PR agency $50,000 to mount a national campaign to sell the proposed school on right wing media with the promise that the school will inject more right wing viewpoints onto campus. Below is a video of the entire Faculty Council meeting.
During the meeting the council passed two resolutions. One of the resolutions made clear that the previously approved “IDEAS in Action Curriculum” is different from the proposed new school and should not be used to confuse the public or justify the recent governance overreach. Here is the full text of that resolution:
“Resolution 2023-1. On Supporting the Implementation of the IDEAS in Action Curriculum
The Faculty Council resolves:Submitted by Professor Harry L. Watson (History)
The College of Arts and Sciences should be fully supported in implementing the IDEAs in Action
curriculum. We maintain that implementing the IDEAs in Action curriculum and establishing the
proposed School of Civic Life and Leadership are conceptually separate undertakings that should not be
entangled. The Faculty Council supports the adequate provision of resources to the College for the
purpose of implementing all aspects of the IDEAs in Action curriculum.”
The second resolution directly addressed the recent overreach actions and made clear the faculty’s role in creating new schools.
“Resolution 2023-2. On Disapproving the Creation of a New School at UNC-Chapel Hill
The Faculty Council finds:
1. On January 26, 2023, the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees adopted a resolution requesting the administration of UNC-CH to accelerate its development of a School of Civic Life and Leadership with a goal of a minimum of 20 faculty members and degree opportunities for undergraduate students. During the Board’s meeting, the resolution was described as an outgrowth of a budget request for $3 million to implement the existing requirements of the IDEAs in Action curriculum.
2. On February 5, 2023, the Faculty Executive Committee received a copy of an undated budget
memo requesting $5 million in recurring funds to create a new School of Civic Life and
Leadership within the College of Arts and Sciences. The initial funding would be used to support
“development of the school, hiring of leadership, faculty, programming, staff, and expansion of
the curricular work of the existing Program for Public Discourse.” The budget requirements of
the proposed new School were projected to grow to $12.6 million by the 2026-27 fiscal year.
3. Section 2-6 of The Faculty Code of University Government empowers the Faculty Council “to
determine the educational policies of the University and the rules and regulations under which
administrators and faculty will conduct the educational activities of the University” and “to
prescribe the requirements for admissions, programs of study, and the award of academic degrees
by the University in the context of the basic educational policies of the University and the special
competencies of the faculties of particular colleges and schools.”
4. The faculty has not been consulted about the creation of a new degree-granting school at UNC-
Chapel Hill. Until the Board of Trustees’ public adoption of its January 26 resolution, faculty
leaders were unaware that any such school had been proposed.
Based on these findings, the Faculty Council resolves:
The creation of a new degree-granting school on the UNC-CH campus is a matter for which faculty are
responsible. The proposal for a new School of Civic Life and Leadership did not originate with the
faculty, was not communicated to the faculty in advance, and has not been studied by the faculty. Faculty
members’ questions about the vision for the new program–such as the sequencing of coursework, the
scholarship that supports the discipline, any overlap with existing courses or programs, and the utility of
the program to our graduates—have gone unanswered.
Moreover, the Faculty Council anticipates that the proposed school will consume badly needed resources
for the University’s existing programs and facilities.
For these reasons, the Faculty Council recommends no further action on this new school until such a time as a proposal from the faculty towards this school is developed and then properly discussed.”Submitted by Professor Harry L. Watson (History)