UNC System board wants to know what individual campus trustees have delegated to whom

·4 min read

The UNC Board of Governors on Thursday ordered trustees at the public universities across the system to list all the duties they have delegated to others over the years — so it’s clear who’s responsible for decisions on each campus.

Schools have until Nov. 1 to send a report to UNC President Peter Hans under the directive issued during the Board of Governors’ July meeting in Chapel Hill.

The order came out of the board’s Committee on University Governance, which discussed it Wednesday as a way to bring clarity to the patchwork of decision-making processes that exist from one campus to the next.

Committee Chair David Powers said knowing who decides what, and when, at each school “is just good governance,” and that trustees, chancellors, employees and students should be glad to have the information.

‘Not a power grab’

The patchwork developed over decades, governors said during the discussion. When the legislature consolidated 16 universities into the UNC System in 1971, schools came into the system with different management processes and have made changes since.

Along the way, chancellors and Boards of Trustees have delegated many of their tasks to campus groups, committees or task forces. Powers said campuses now are being asked to review what tasks have been delegated and why.

With that information, Powers said, chancellors and trustees can determine whether they want to continue to delegate those tasks in the same way, a different way or reclaim authority for certain tasks themselves.

Regardless, Powers said, the Board of Governors would not be taking any authority from chancellors or trustees.

“This is not a power grab,” he said.

The Board of Governors sets policy, he said, and it’s up to chancellors and trustees to run their universities because they know what’s needed.

Campuses were first asked for some of the information sought in the resolution in March. If they don’t provide it by Nov. 1, decision-making authorities delegated to others on their campus automatically will revert to trustees.

Board of Governors member Leo Daughtry asked the board to push the deadline back to Jan. 1, but that was voted down.

UNC System offices to consolidate

Also during the meeting, Hans announced that UNC System employees, now scattered across three buildings, will consolidate into one — now known as the N.C. Center for School Leadership Development — which will be renamed in honor of former president C.D. Spangler, who died in 2018, and his wife, Meredith Riggs Spangler.

Hans said the move into the one building, on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, would improve collaboration and free up money or space for other uses.

A provision in the state Senate budget last month had sparked some speculation that the UNC System headquarters could be moved from Chapel Hill to downtown Raleigh. The provision called for a study of the future of the downtown Raleigh state government complex.

It said it would consider “available options for consolidating the facilities of the Department of Commerce, the University of North Carolina System Office, the Community Colleges System Office and the Department of Public Instruction into a single location.”

But the UNC System offices consolidation will now happen in Chapel Hill.

The UNC System also announced Thursday it had received two $1 million grants to help with a new program at UNC schools of education that will improve the way teachers teach children to read.

The state legislature has ordered that teacher education programs use the “Science of Reading” to improve student reading abilities especially in early grades. The techniques will be incorporated into redesigned curricula, courses and field experience for teacher candidates.

The grants will be used to take the program into five education schools within the UNC system, at Appalachian State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Fayetteville State University, UNC Charlotte, and UNC Pembroke.

Announcing the grants, Hans said in a statement that, “Students who cannot read on grade level by the end of third grade are far less likely to graduate from high school, enroll in college, and realize economic success later in life

“We’ve got to do more to ensure that graduates of our teacher preparation programs are prepared, on day one, to help more students learn to read.,” Hans said.

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