Faculty Council applauds historic stipend boost
Members heard updates on raises for graduate students, campus safety, the all-funds budget and student-athlete mental health.
Faculty Chair Mimi Chapman opened the Faculty Council’s Dec. 2 meeting by congratulating the graduate and professional student government and the faculty body on an official graduate student stipend increase, which begins in January.
Combined with a fall increase, the new annual stipend for doctoral students is $20,000, reflecting a 25% jump. For master’s degree students the new stipend is up 37% to $16,000.
That’s the largest single-year increase in the history of The Graduate School, said Provost and Chief Academic Officer J. Christopher Clemens.
“Your work of teaching, service and scholarship enriches the life of the academy. It helps our undergraduates to succeed, and when we work together, I think we can do great things,” Clemens said.
Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz reflected on fall semester, saying he was thankful to see smiling faces back on campus and for the hard work of faculty.
Regarding recent news that the Campaign for Carolina has raised $5 billion, the chancellor noted how the University surpassed its original goal of $4.25 billion almost a year in advance.
“It speaks volumes about you, our world class faculty, [and] our staff that work tirelessly to be sure that we can deliver on our mission every day,” he said. “So, we’re grateful for all that you do. People believe in Carolina. They believe in you.”
Guskiewicz spoke about Michael Andreasen, who will succeed David Routh as vice chancellor for development on Jan. 23 and lead plans for what’s next after the campaign ends.
Regarding safety updates, Guskiewicz called Carolina’s emergency preparedness planning “critically important” and referenced the University’s emergency management policy launched July 1, 2022. New information will go out to deans and department chairs about active shooter training and classroom lockdown information for faculty ahead of the spring semester.
During a Q&A session later in the meeting, Guskiewicz said each classroom will have a QR code that can be scanned to access an individual emergency awareness plan for each room and building. Guskiewicz said he is pushing for this to be completed before the first day of spring classes.
Provost Clemens explained the “generous migration period” from Sakai to Canvas, saying Sakai would be available for hosting through spring 2024. He directed those with questions to information from ITS.
Clemens also announced that Kenan Distinguished Professor of Social Medicine Giselle Corbie would become vice provost for faculty affairs in January.
“We wanted a leader in our office who would examine our practices in faculty advancement at the department level, the school level and the provost level to make sure our practices are fair, equitable and unbiased,” Clemens said.
Nate Knuffman, vice chancellor for finance and operations, gave a brief recap on fiscal year 2022-23 and explained new elements of the budget process for next fiscal year.
In what Knuffman called a “big jump forward in transparency,” Carolina’s first all-funds budget approved by the UNC System Board of Governors and the University’s Board of Trustees is now published online.
“It’s great to be in front of you in a place where we’re on stronger financial footing and in a place where we’ve even leveraged that tool to publish an actual budget on campus,” Knuffman said. “We’re really proud of this work.”
Understanding student-athlete mental health
The meeting’s final presentation came from the Faculty Athletics Committee: Lissa Broome, law professor and faculty athletics representative; Erianne Weight, sports administration professor and committee chair; and Jeni Shannon, director of the Carolina Athletics Mental Health and Performance Psychology Program.
Shannon said Carolina’s mental health services for athletes have “grown tremendously” since January 2017, from one full-time provider to three full-time providers, one contract employee and two practicum students.
Student-athlete representatives from the football team appeared on video and provided faculty with insights into the challenges they face, including schedules, body image issues, stigmas and high expectations.
View a recording of the full Dec. 2 Faculty Council meeting.