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 ADMINISTRATION


* * Academic Plan makes statement about Carolina’s values
* * Approved transportation and parking plan spreads costs among users
* * Trustees endorse raising Greek students’ GPA average by fall 2012
* * UNC system proposes personnel flexibility

Academic Plan
makes statement about Carolina’s values

* *


In the wake of ongoing budget constraints, maintaining the status quo and waiting out the bad times would be understandable. But Bruce Carney believes this is a good time for the University to act boldly and craft an academic roadmap for the next decade.

“We have to keep our eyes on the future,” he told the Board of Trustees last week.

Carney initiated the process to create a new Academic Plan in 2009 when he was interim executive vice chancellor and provost. He wanted not only to design a framework for Carolina’s academic future and a guide for the allocation of resources, but also to prepare his successor – “who turned out to be me,” Carney said, referring to his permanent appointment to the position last year.

The 2011 plan, subtitled Reach Carolina, reflects input from the entire Carolina community and is designed to inspire and direct the University’s vision for the next decade.

“I like to think of this as an antidepressant for the campus,” said Sue Estroff, professor of social medicine in the School of Medicine. “The plan belongs to all of us. It’s our hope that everyone on campus can recognize themselves in it.”

Estroff and Bill Andrews, senior associate dean for fine arts and humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences, co-chaired the Academic Plan Steering Committee, which received 85 proposals for consideration.

The committee chose six overarching themes:

* *Transformative academic experiences;
* *Faculty prominence, composition, recruitment, development and scholarship;
* *Interdisciplinary teaching, research and public engagement;
* *Equity and inclusion;
* *Engaged scholarship with the challenges of state, national and global communities; and
* *Extension of Carolina’s global presence.

“The Academic Plan makes a statement about where our priorities lie,” Andrews said.

While a better economic picture will boost success in many areas – for example, in bringing faculty salaries to the 80th percentile of Carolina’s peers – the plan has many aspects that do not rely on funding, but, Andrews said, require a new way of thinking or re-engineering current facilities.

Even more important than money for faculty is time, Estroff said. It is crucial to support faculty research and study assignment provisions to provide time to think, create and write.

“There is zero cost, but it would give something precious to the faculty,” she said.

Fostering opportunities for collaborative research and teaching is another such area.

For example, Andrews and Estroff want to develop a new master’s degree in medical humanities, but they said the University has to make it easier for both faculty and students to work across disciplines.

“It’s a credit to our University that we have so many centers and institutes,” Estroff said. “That’s where true interdisciplinarity occurs.”

Engagement
Engaging students in the academic life of the University from the outset is a fundamental part of transforming their academic experiences. For that reason, the plan calls for every first-year student to have an opportunity to learn in a small-group setting and connect with faculty and graduate students who can inspire and mentor them.

It also calls for departments to propose four-year bachelor’s-to-master’s programs for students who come to Carolina with many AP courses under their belts.

And engaged scholarship, which goes beyond public service, involves a variety of collaborative, creative activities for the public good – locally, nationally and globally.

The plan encourages not only supporting students’ efforts, but also making engaged scholarship part of the tenure and promotion criteria for faculty, while expanding the capacity to engage in global research.

Implementation
Chancellor Holden Thorp said the plan makes a strategic statement about the University’s objectives and priorities and will be key in making decisions about the future.

He ticked off a list of tangible outcomes of the 2003 Academic Plan: global health-care and research initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia; leadership programs in the Institute for the Arts and Humanities; changes in student advising; the new undergraduate curriculum and first-year seminars, which he said have had a dramatic impact on undergraduate education, as has growth in the Honors Program and expansion of undergraduate research opportunities.

“These are some of the important things that came out of the last plan,” Thorp said.

The next step is to appoint an Implementation Committee to carry out these recommendations during the next decade.

To read a draft of the 2011 Academic Plan, refer to provost.unc.edu/academicplan.

To see the PowerPoint presentation given to the Board of Trustees, refer to www.unc.edu/depts/trustees/agendas.html.



Approved transportation and parking plan
spreads costs among users

* *


The University’s new five-year plan for transportation and parking that was approved last week by the Board of Trustees was shaped by two realities.

First is the need for additional revenue to meet rising expenses. By the 2015–16 academic year, the University’s annual transportation and parking costs are expected to increase by $6.1 million.

The second is the need to create a new funding formula that would not only generate revenue but also would spread the costs of parking and transportation services more equitably among all users.

Currently, daytime permit holders subsidize night parking and the Chapel Hill Transit system. The plan introduces new permits for night parking and park-and-ride lots, both based on a sliding scale related to income, similar to daytime permits.

The majority of the cost increases come from transit ($2.6 million for the University’s share of the cost to offer fare-free service for Chapel Hill Transit riders and $270,000 to subsidize Triangle Transit and vanpool costs) and capital construction ($2.2 million in annual recurring funding for the debt service on two parking decks for additional employee and patient/visitor parking, as previously approved in the University’s development plan for growth negotiated with the town).

Of the $6.1 million needed, only $5.5 million will be met by additional revenue because the Department of Public Safety expects an annual savings of $602,000 from several cost-saving measures. These include a remote cashiering system in pay lots, LED lighting in parking structures and an online method to issue temporary-use permits.

The plan was developed based on feedback from students, employees and the campus-wide Advisory Committee for Transportation. The final version included 10 modifications in response to concerns raised.

Those include delaying the night-parking program to 2014–15, changing the student contribution so students pay with fees rather than pay for a permit, and exempting first-year students from paying for night parking.

Despite these changes, Student Body President Hogan Medlin objected to the plan because he felt that students had not been involved at the beginning of the process. He said it was frustrating to see costs increase without adding new services and advocated that students have a voice on the Chapel Hill Transit Board.

Chancellor Holden Thorp said everyone involved in developing the plan had done a good job weighing available options and thanked Medlin for his suggestion to re-examine some of the issues in the future.

“There is no good option across the board,” Thorp said. “You can see why there are only a few things in University life more unpleasant than the budget.”

The University worked with Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. to develop the plan.

Intentionally, the increases for daytime permit holders were limited because they currently subsidize the costs for the park-and-ride lots and night parking, and therefore are already at the high end of the range for universities.

Daytime permit prices will increase by 2 percent in 2013–14. Employee permit holders will pay an additional $5.70 to $16.13 per year, based on a sliding scale that is tied to income.

Park-and-ride permits will be implemented in 2013–14, and night-parking permits in 2014–15. Both will be based on a sliding scale related to income, ranging from $227 to $390.

Although Chapel Hill and Carrboro share the costs of providing fare-free service with the University, UNC bears some 60 percent of the total. About one-third of students report using transit as their main means of transportation and students account for 75 percent of ridership.

Beginning in 2011–12, student transportation fees will increase an average of $7 per semester.

Net revenues from parking tickets are not available to ease the funding burden. By state law, that money must go to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund to support the N.C. public schools. UNC sends an average of $675,000 each year to this state fund.

Information about the plan is posted on the BOT website, http://bit.ly/g3M9Ji.



Trustees endorse raising Greek students’
GPA average by fall 2012

* *


By fall 2012, fraternities and sororities that engage in fall rush for first-year students will have to maintain a GPA average equal to that of the overall student body.

Currently, the GPA average among Carolina students is 3.15, whereas the average required for Greek students is 2.5. The Board of Trustees approved the resolution to bring the two in line at its March 24 meeting.

The decision followed an update about changes to fraternity and sorority life given the day before by Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs, to the trustees’ University Affairs Committee.

Crisp was responding to the trustees’ call in November to create a vision for fraternity and sorority life based on Carolina’s culture and values and to chart ways to improve the overall quality of academics and behavioral standards.

“I have a great deal of optimism and excitement about transforming the Greek experience at Carolina,” Crisp said.

He outlined several changes to enhance performance-based rush, including the requirement that chapters engaged in fall rush also offer spring rush opportunities and that they maintain the new standards of excellence.

“It’s a privilege, not a right, to engage first-year students in the recruitment process,” Crisp said.

Crisp had proposed boosting the required GPA for Greek chapters to 2.9, but the trustees said sorority and fraternity students should hold the same academic standards as the general student body.

Other changes Crisp described include expanding the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and moving it to the South Wing of Granville Towers. Funding for new staff positions and the office relocation will come from the reallocation of existing funds and a fee for Greek members. In addition, the director’s position is being expanded to add oversight of off-campus student life and community service initiatives to the overall responsibilities for overseeing fraternity and sorority life.

Although the board endorsed the proposals, trustee Roger Perry said he was disappointed that they did not incorporate some of the creative approaches of other universities.

Last fall, trustees on the University Affairs Committee, who were concerned that fall recruitment might force new students to make a significant decision too quickly, worked with Student Government and alumni from the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council to interview administrators and students at comparable institutions about their practices.

Those findings and Crisp’s PowerPoint presentation are available on the Board of Trustees website, www.unc.edu/depts/trustees/presentations.html.



UNC system proposes personnel flexibility

* *


Earlier this year, the N.C. General Assembly asked UNC General Administration to look at ways to increase operational effectiveness and efficiency across the UNC system.

One of those proposals is to consolidate all UNC system employees under the authority of the Board of Governors. This would be a departure from the current system, where SPA employees are under the authority of the State Personnel Act as overseen by the State Personnel Commission and Office of State Personnel, while EPA employees (both faculty and non-faculty) are under BOG authority.

“The intent of this proposal is to simplify personnel administration for all of the UNC campuses by providing consolidated authority for personnel matters under the Board of Governors,” said Brenda Richardson Malone, vice chancellor for human resources.

“It will also provide the UNC system with the ability to tailor our personnel programs in a way that better responds to the unique needs of higher education, which would benefit both employees and the individual campuses.”

A brief overview of the proposal is available on the Office of Human Resources website at hr.unc.edu/faculty-and-staff/personnelflexibility/index.htm.

“I understand that employees will have many questions about this proposal,” Malone said, “but because no legislation has been written or introduced, there are no further details at this time. As we get additional information from GA, and as legislation is considered, we will continue to keep you informed and add new details to our website.”

Employees can submit questions about the proposal to hr-personnel-flexibility@unc.edu. While OHR will not directly answer each submitted question, all questions will be considered for addition to a Q&A document as additional information becomes available.

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INSIDE THE PRINT EDITION: March 30, 2011

March 30, 2011 Gazette PDF

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