Remarks of Professor Philip B. Carter, Chair of the Faculty
Introduction of new faculty:
(All new faculty were asked to stand and be recognized.)
Introduction of the ROTC Professors of Military Science and cadre:
I would like to especially recognize Captain Ed Sager, the Marine ROTC coordinator who arrived in the spring semester, and LTC Michael Wawrzyniak, Army Professor of Military Science, who has just joined us. Colonel Wawrzyniak is a native Hoosier from Lebanon, IN and a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point. Former UNC president Bill Friday enjoys saying that NC State has more generals in the Army than West Point. Clearly, based upon the distinguished military careers that many of our graduates have had, we’re doing something right in the way we educate and train future military officers at NC State. The leadership skills our ROTC contingents provide our students are as important as the generous scholarships that they offer.
A more congenial place:
This university can do a better job of being a community, of being a more congenial place, a place where, in spite of being the largest university in the state, we can do a better job of greeting people we pass on campus and in our daily interactions. What a tragedy it would be if faculty colleagues from New York and New Jersey should assert that Southern hospitality is just a myth at NC State.
One way of helping to improve relationships within our community is to eat lunch together. In spite of the fine facilities of the University Club, its location off from the main campus impedes its general use as a common site for faculty luncheon get-togethers. To facilitate faculty interaction, and afford more direct information exchange with the Faculty Senate and the Chair of the Faculty, I shall host a brown-bag lunch every Wednesday during the academic year at 12:15 PM in the Faculty Senate Chambers. I shall supply the soft drinks and the cookies. No reservations are needed. So, if you’re looking for someone to eat lunch with, if your usual luncheon group is getting boring, just come by the Senate Chambers and meet colleagues from other departments and colleges. There will be no planned program, just good conversation. At least I hope so;
I wouldn’t want "Wednesdays with Phil" to be as moribund as "Tuesdays with Morrie"1. The first such luncheon will be one week from tomorrow. All faculty members are welcome, including those presently serving the university in various administrative positions. The possibility of hosting the luncheon now and then at the EGRC or the College of Textiles will be investigated. But, for those with offices on Centennial Campus or at the Vet College, the Wolfline provides easy transportation to the D.H. Hill Library.
Following on this theme, and striving to find ways of enhancing this community of scholars to become even more of a university rather than a collection of colleges, I am asking for representatives of the faculty to meet with representatives of Student Government to propose the framework for what may be called the NC State Lyceum: A special lecture on a contemporary topic of importance to the entire university community, delivered by a person of national or international standing. The objective will be to create an atmosphere in which the end of the lecture will be the beginning of the discussion, from different perspectives, in every classroom on campus. Depending upon my ability to obtain funding, we may be able to host both a fall and a spring lyceum.
Life-Long Faculty Involvement:
The Senate needs to work closely with the university committee on Life-Long Faculty Involvement to identify how best retired faculty can continue to contribute to teaching and advising and have representation. One challenge is to improve communication between the departments and the Senate office. A review last year showed that a number of the retired faculty on mailing lists were deceased. It thus appeared that three groups of faculty exist: The regular faculty, the life-long faculty, and the eternal faculty. Efforts will be made to keep lists current, improve communication, and facilitate the involvement of retired faculty who may wish to continue an active association with the university.
Chair vs. Head:
Last year two Faculty Senate committees joined in a study of faculty governance at the department level at NC State and at a number of peer institutions nationally. It was learned that the term department chair and department head were frequently used interchangeably, with the function of the departmental leader, whatever the title, varying across a wide spectrum. The committees found that the turn over of leaders at the department and college level at NC State was virtually identical to the national average of 4.9 years. That means that, on average, we change 20% of our deans and department heads/chairs each year. (Assuming most of those serving as administrators stay at the university following such service, these findings, suggest that people in these positions should take an active interest in Faculty Senate affairs since the Senate may soon be representing your direct interests. So, again, come to lunch.) Considering the requirement for greater involvement of faculty in the reappointment, promotion and tenure procedures, as well as in the so-called post-tenure review, the joint committees’ report recommended that each college engage in a discussion this academic year on the most appropriate way for their constituent departments to structure administration to maximum benefit.
Honorary degree nominations:
The university administration and its Board of Trustees strongly support and encourage active faculty participation in the nomination process for honorary degrees. We are now at the point where each college could potentially be able to host annually an outstanding individual in a discipline represented within their college as an honorary degree recipient. I would encourage the faculty to work to institutionalize a process within their college so that outstanding nominees are proposed on a regular basis.
Competitive salaries are not the only attractions in the recruitment of excellent faculty; benefits need to be competitive as well. Addressing childcare needs, health, educational, and retirement benefits cannot be allowed to fall further behind peer institutions and, even in these difficult fiscal times, these needs have to be communicated to university and state leaders. The Faculty Senate will work with the Staff Senate, the Council on the Status of Women, the administration and other interested parties to develop responsible recommendations for addressing our benefits needs.
Broader Faculty Involvement:
Those elected to represent the faculty in the Senate cannot do it all. The few senators who serve may not possess the talents and knowledge required to develop the studies needed to address all of the important issues facing our faculty and university. It is hoped that faculty who may not be able to afford the time to serve on the Faculty Senate at this point in their careers will respond to requests for their special talents in addressing discrete needs. This may be done by serving on "white paper" committees to help the Senate develop responsible resolutions and recommendations. Please communicate your willingness to serve in such a capacity to your Senate representative or to me.
Lastly, this semester I shall ask the Faculty Senate to fulfill one of the requests of the final report of the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, entitled "A Call to Action"2, and pass a resolution in support of its recommendations. Since its publication in June, people have complained that the Commission’s most recent recommendations are unrealistic, out of touch with the times. One Washington Post writer even took the criticism to the personal level, questioning whether the co-chairs of the Commission, Mr. William Friday and Father Theodore Hesburgh, both holders of NC State degrees, were out of touch with modern reality. Well, let me say to those who would nod in agreement that they weren’t out of touch when, as university presidents, Bill Friday dealt firmly with the Dixie Classic when a gambling scandal tainted its proud history at NC State or when Ted Hesburgh reined in the Frank Leahy juggernaut to bring balance between football and academics to his university. These men were not out of touch then and they’re not out of touch now. The issues were difficult then just as they are difficult now. What is required is the same fortitude exhibited by Friday and Hesburgh and a commitment to the proper balance of athletics and academics, the commitment to create and sustain an environment that appropriately balances the development of the minds and bodies of young people. It will be difficult but it can be done. Contemporary examples of university leaders who have made the hard decisions are President Miles Brand of Indiana and our own Professor Hal Hopfenberg, a Holladay medallist, who, while serving as our Director of Athletics, declined ESPN’s offer of funding if NC State would change its homecoming game to an open evening slot. Hal declined saying it would disrupt the Homecoming Dance. Lest some think that I am not supportive of college athletics or would tolerate a mediocre program, let me say that I cherish my experience competing in track on the intercollegiate level and I would no more defend mediocrity on the athletic field than I would in the classroom. I also am particularly sensitive of the pressures and sacrifices our coaches face, all of whom I respect and support, because I served several years as a high school track and field coach. I know there are no easy solutions to the challenges facing university athletics but, at NC State, we must try to identify the right approach and work to implement it. We should recruit student-athletes who want to be students as well as athletes and then we must educate them to be successful and happy in life after their knees give out. Only then can we all, students, faculty, and coaches derive full satisfaction from our athletic programs. Toward this end, I am accepting Lee Fowler’s invitation to discuss what we can all do together. I shall ask Lee, the Faculty Senate, our student leaders and our faculty representatives on the athletics council to come up with suggestions on how we might best engage our university community in the "Call to Action" and decide on the best "course of action" for NC State. My own preference is to propose a roundtable discussion, chaired by our distinguished alumnus, Bill Friday, perhaps with an edited version carried on WUNC-TV, to get the ball rolling.
Now if these points haven’t stirred your interest in faculty affairs, I don’t know what will…come, have lunch, let’s talk.
1 Reference to the book "Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young
Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson" by Mitch Albom, 1997, Doubleday; ISBN: 0385484518
2 Copies available from: