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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Guskiewicz weighs in on curriculum revision at Faculty Council

Speaking at Faculty Council, Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said he is planning a “listening tour” of campus, meeting with deans, faculty and staff outside the College.

Speaking at Faculty Council, Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said he is planning a “listening tour” of campus, meeting with deans, faculty and staff outside the College.

At his first Faculty Council meeting as interim chancellor, Kevin M. Guskiewicz gave his opinion in an exchange about the ongoing development of a new general education curriculum, IDEAs in Action. 

As dean of the College of Arts & Sciences for the past three years, Guskiewicz oversaw the revision of the curriculum. When some faculty members at the Feb. 8 meeting expressed concern that the approval process was moving too quickly and that their concerns about the curriculum weren’t being addressed, the interim chancellor assured them that there was no rush.

“There’s nothing that says we have to vote in March,” he said in a question-and-answer period following an update on the curriculum revision by Andrew Perrin, chair of the general education curriculum coordinating committee. 

As an interim step, Guskiewicz said, two key components of the proposed IDEAs in Action curriculum have been piloted: the Ideas, Information and Inquiry, or Triple I, and first-year launch classes. Triple I courses are large classes led by teams of three faculty members designed to teach the power of interdisciplinary thinking. A first-year launch course, an alternative to a first-year seminar, is a small class that introduces students to a discipline or field of study related directly to a major offered at Carolina. The plan is to adopt the revised curriculum in academic year 2020–21. (To learn more, visit https://ideasinaction.unc.edu.)

A resolution calling for a delay on a vote on the revised curriculum until March was itself postponed for a vote in March.

In his opening remarks, Guskiewicz reported progress in two key personnel searches, saying that the University is “close” to naming a permanent global officer and should announce an interim dean for the College of Arts & Sciences in the next week. The new interim chancellor is also planning a “listening tour” of campus, meeting with deans, faculty and staff outside the College. 

“I want to try to find ways that the culture of collaboration continues,” he said.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Robert A. Blouin asked faculty members to support and unite behind the interim chancellor during this transition period. 

“We are in a very critical place in the history of this University,” Blouin said. “Kevin is going to need all of our help moving to that next level. This is not an easy time. Although there are some problems that have perhaps been somewhat addressed, just know that there are many, many, many challenges that are ahead of us. And I think we as a University can achieve so much more if we think of ourselves as one University, rather than elements or factions of the University.”