Save the G 


Petitioning to reconsider program elimination at UNCG.

🚨 Recent events 🚨

4/26: discontinuation and teach-out forms have been advanced to the next phase, despite being voted down by the university-level curriculum committee.

4/17: Update: apparently after admins made very minor changes to address the C&T committee's request for more detail, the committee passed the documents through to the next phase. The ol' tired, "our hands are tied" is getting a workout in this process. 

4/8: STG has gotten word that the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum and Teaching Committee has rejected the discontinuation proposals, asking administration for additional detail specific to each program proposed to be eliminated rather than copy/pasted boilerplate text for all. We hope they also asked for citations of budget numbers, especially given the forms are the first reporting of what projected "savings" will be.

Tips & Reader comments

stg tips

📰 Latest News: UNCG in the press 📰

Science is for everyone* 

(*if you're at Chapel Hill or NC State)

DEI in NC has been turned into deipshittery: Diversity and Equity Included in my Portfolio by SHIfting Thoroughly ThiEved Resources to Yt institutions. 

Acronym pronounced, are we really doing this in this year of our lord twenty-twenty-four? Yes, and it appears to have been in the works for a very long time. 

From the headline, the piece looks like good news, overall. Then, you read on to learn, "A teacher with 25 years or more experience would make $56,510" per year (...WHAT?!!!) and there are provisions for a new school of applied sciences at UNCCH that costs about what the budget crunches at UNCG and UNCA have been presented as. Interesting.

A blow for STEM at UNCG

From what STG has heard, the Chancellor justifies this as "we aren't producing Einsteins here."

"UNCG will eventually recover from its budget problems, but it will not recover from such shortsighted and damaging actions of the administration."

STG note: the budget problems were overblown to the point of near falsification, and the result of bad management.

"The unprecedented program closures initiated in February by UNC Greensboro Chancellor Frank Gilliam are said to be a done deal. However, many decisions associated with how programs are closed are completely in the hands of the administration and go far beyond the trimming of low-producing programs. Closures in science and math, in particular, are leading to decisions that will constitute a serious blow to the ability of UNCG to be competent in the STEM areas. One of the best examples of this is the far-reaching impact of the elimination of the entire Department of Physics and Astronomy. On the surface, it appears that UNCG is removing a degree program with few students. In reality, there is much more at stake for the future of STEM education at UNCG.

Starting this fall, there will be no courses in physics or astronomy for nonscience majors at UNCG by decision of the administration. Last year, 739 students took highly popular courses in astronomy and 60 more took conceptual physics. Those are now gone — at a university that is the most ethnically diverse in the UNC system.

Someone will still need to teach introductory physics courses for science majors, which were taken by 539 students last year. The administration has made it clear that it has no intention of keeping the professors currently in the department, even those with tenure. So, how will those courses be taught? Apparently, in another department by professional track faculty. It is very difficult to find qualified candidates to teach courses in physics and even harder to hire them, given the very low pay and minimal one-year contracts. Yet the administration is casually waving goodbye to the excellent faculty they now have.

There has been silence about what will become of the Three-College Observatory, which is managed by the department. The observatory has a high-quality telescope that is available to researchers at nearby institutions and is used by the three UNCG astronomers and their students. The department regularly holds public observatory nights that are attended by children and young people through school and club events. In addition, the department hosts shows at its planetarium on campus. These public events will no longer take place once the department closes.

To further understand the severity of the loss of the department, consider that UNCG is a “Doctoral University with high research activity” or R2 university. There are 92 public R2 institutions that serve undergraduates, of which only three offer no physics program. Of those, two are small (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore) and one is medium-sized (University of Texas at Tyler). This means that, with the loss of the physics program, UNCG will be the only large public R2 university in the U.S. with no physics program.

In 2011, when Texas made the decision to remove physics majors at several universities, the major became available through a consortium. Physics departments were retained, lower-level courses were kept, and schools cooperated to provide upper-level courses. Texas universities recognized that eliminating physics departments was a truly bad idea, a fact that seems to be beyond the comprehension of UNCG leadership.

The loss of the Department of Physics and Astronomy is in fact a devastating blow to the university’s ability to offer a STEM curriculum worthy of respect. Coupled with the elimination of graduate programs in mathematics, these decisions have negative reverberations across all STEM departments. UNCG will eventually recover from its budget problems, but it will not recover from such shortsighted and damaging actions of the administration."

Feeling "upbeat" and "energized"

That makes the Chancellor the only one. 

He may "still have a few years left in" him, but the University may not given disastrous leadership. The Chancellor's continued unwillingness to simply acknowledge the vast harm done to the campus community and the uphill path laying before us to rebuild trust and communication indicates he is unfit to serve "a few [more] years."

What, precisely, is the vision of the future being enacted here?

What will UNCG be when the dust settles?

As I write, I am completing my 23rd year as a member of UNC Greensboro’s faculty. For nine of those years, I have served as department head of communication studies. It has been my honor to work with a remarkable faculty who care deeply about their students, about UNCG, and about our community. During my time here, I have served three chancellors, five Provosts, and three deans.

On Wednesday, I read the most remarkable missive I’ve seen from any administrator in all that time. In her letter to the faculty (and in her op-ed in this paper), Provost Debbie Storrs revealed her cancer diagnosis for the first time publicly and announced her resignation. It was a sad punctuation mark in this tumultuous time. I feel great empathy for her.

But then she took a moment to chastise the faculty, claiming that some took the Academic Portfolio Review (APR) as an opportunity to “stage rage, attack leadership, question integrity, and critique change when confronted with a decision not to their liking.” I have rarely seen a clearer example of mismatched perceptions.

Provost Storrs appears to have interpreted the no-confidence vote in her leadership as a personal attack. But most of us saw it as a chance to express our disapproval not of her, but of her actions. I saw no attack on leadership but a lot of dismay at what was going on. I saw faculty not questioning integrity but questioning the process. And frankly, it seems quite natural to critique change when a clear and compelling rationale for the changes, a strong sense of how decisions are being made, and a road map for the future don’t seem to exist. In an early meeting on the APR process, Chancellor Gilliam said, and Provost Storrs later repeated: “It’s not personal. It’s just business.”

However, clearly it becomes rather personal when you are directly targeted. One could reply that the no-confidence vote wasn’t personal. It was just business.

As a scholar trained to observe people in action, what I saw during the last two years was a faculty deeply concerned about the future of UNCG asking a lot of questions — many of which have gone unanswered — as we stood on the brink of historic decisions being made, largely without our input. I saw shared governance circumvented. I saw a rush to the finish line. I saw curricular decisions removed from the purview of the faculty (their traditional home). I saw tenure trampled on. I saw friends and colleagues losing their livelihood. I saw no rage, though I did see hurt. After all, some among us were being told directly that their contributions to UNCG were no longer valued. Nobody should be surprised that people are upset over losing their jobs; nor should anyone be outraged when they ask the simple question: Why us?

In all of the meetings I’ve attended, I heard no one arguing that these are not difficult times for higher education. “Headwinds” indeed. I also heard no one arguing that we should not examine our institution, and no one saying that we had to stick to the status quo. What I heard was people expressing real concern about the way the process was unfolding. We still do not know how these particular decisions were made, or why. And nobody I know at UNCG — students, faculty or staff — feels a basic sense of security. Scholars across many disciplines have demonstrated that, in order to be well, humans need a sense of security, a feeling of belonging, the esteem of their community, and opportunities to reach their full potential. They also need hope. Sure, humans can survive without hope, but they cannot thrive.

The saddest part of all this is that it did not have to be this way. On our campus, we have a large group of smart people who were largely left out of the decisions about our own future. We could have collaborated to construct innovative solutions to very real problems. It did not have to be done by a “divide and conquer,” top-down management style. While chancellors and provosts may believe that they have “ultimate decision-making authority,” there is no requirement to make decisions that way.

Most of us do not doubt that change is needed. What we disagree with is what is being changed, and how. Since most of the cuts came to the College of Arts & Sciences, it’s not really a stretch to assume that the liberal arts are under fire. There seems to be a broad questioning of the value of a liberal arts education, despite considerable evidence that such an education is just as valuable as any specific professional preparation program. In fact, when you meet one of our graduates, it’s not hard to discern that they are very good at critical thinking, creative problem solving, and clear communication. And employers have repeatedly stated that these are the qualities they look for in prospective employees.

Mostly, I believe that the faculty want to know, in much more detail, where we are heading as an institution. The purpose and the process—and the intended outcomes — have always seemed murky at best. And surely, as I have pointed out in many open forums on the subject, leaders should be prepared to answer our questions. After all, it should come as no surprise that we ask questions. It is what we are trained to do. It is what we teach our students to do. And when we ask questions, we expect our students and our leaders to answer with clear evidence and specific information. Many questions remain:

What, precisely, is the vision of the future being enacted here? What will UNCG be when the dust settles?

What specific strategic objectives are being met by the closure of these particular departments and programs (and the firing of faculty)?

How, precisely, were these particular decisions reached?

What principles and values governed the decision-making process? And how will decisions be made in the future?

If money is the issue, and transparency is the goal, when will we get a full accounting of how much money was saved by these cuts—and where will these funds be reinvested?

Like it or not, if you’re going to claim to run UNCG like a business, you’ll need to report to your stakeholders the process, intent, the value and the outcomes of your decisions.

Parting words

The UNCG community was stunned today to learn that Provost Storrs will be stepping down for disability leave as she takes on managing stage four cancer.

We wish her the best.

(if you'd like to read the Provost's loving parting message of hope and inspiration to the UNCG community, click the image to the left.)

Meanwhile, we have to ask, what is the timing of this announcement meant to draw attention away from?

We can't forget that every move of this administration is being guided by a PR firm, and their specialty is dominating narratives through platform and timing. So what are we supposed to be distracted from by this bombshell news?

Earlier this month, the College of Arts & Sciences committee on Curriculum and Teaching saw and voted on program discontinuation and teach out plan forms (that were prepared by administration on behalf of, and submitted without the knowledge of, programs up for closure). At first, they voted to reject the forms, requesting additional information. By weeks' end, they were strong-armed and intimidated into voting to pass the forms through to the university-level curriculum committee. They were told the discontinuation forms were not their purview, and, effectively, that the closures would go through regardless the outcome of their vote.

This week, STG has learned that the university-level committee has pushed back on administration's narrative and voted against approval of any of the teach out and discontinuation forms. The Provost's spiteful narrative about obstruction from a minority of faculty falls in the face of standard procedures of shared governance rejecting this process time and time again.

STG update: faculty are reporting that the forms were advanced despite the curriculum committee's objections, and now we have the answer to our question above!

Professor assembles stunning list of 110 institutions (and growing!) nationwide that have implemented program cuts and/or portfolio reviews since August 2023

Higher ed national day of action

Awkwardly, falls on same day as UNCG's annual giving campaign kicks off. We'd hope this might bring some introspection and scrutiny as to the purpose of higher education and UNCG's role as an institution: what do donors believe they're supporting by contributing? Maybe this year by giving to specific programs, they think they may help prevent their eventual closure as APR processes get chop-happy.

In short, STG wonders what Believe in the G stands for, when the G is currently having a crisis of identity and mission?

Way back Wednesday...

Remember when the Chancellor was worried that 94% of UNC system undergrad programs having a positive ROI would make the APR seem unnecessary? Yeah, neither did we- but the internet never forgets:

Gilliam said he was worried public perception will be that if the return-on-investment study shows almost all UNC system programs provide a good return on investment, there is no need for program reviews like the one now underway at UNCG.

“We’re doing well in North Carolina but there are going to be headwinds,” Gilliam said. “I’ve been doing this almost 40 years. The environment is changing at a sea change level. It’s not just little changes. And they’re not going anywhere. So I’ve argued we need to sharpen our focus. It’s not about cutting programs. It’s about meeting student demands and labor market demands.”

It's not just UNCG...

"Realignment" plan at SUNY-Potsdam leads to elimination of 18 academic programs, unknown number of contract non-renewals. Process, as also happened here at UNCG, reveals multi-year efforts at "starving and carving" programs: systematic, long-term removal of resources specifically aimed at reducing programs' ability to perform, thus justifying cuts later. 

In a mirrored playbook, faculty at SUNY-Potsdam voted to censure, petitioned to slow the process, demanded actual facts and supporting data, and were denied at every turn.

While years in the making, the waves of cuts being seen now are often tied back to the pandemic:

"...decline in funding combined with the pandemic-era enrollment declines created the perfect opportunity for authoritarian administrators to impose their increasingly corporate visions of higher education onto their institutions. While faculty and staff members scrambled to educate their students during a pandemic, administrators sharpened their knives, shamelessly seizing the opportunity to gut programs, the faculty, and faculty governance."

If you had any questions about the intellectual honesty of these processes, doubt no longer.

"It’s time now for UNC Greensboro administrators to reverse plans for cutting 20 academic programs"

We knew from line 1 that this letter was going to be great. Clear, direct, and immediately to the point: this process has been a disaster opposed every single step of the way. "But STG," you might say; "what about the people who support the administration?" Well, dear reader, we haven't actually seen support of the administration as much as we've seen people worried about damage to institutional reputation or in fear of retaliation and losing their jobs. We wouldn't call that support for what's been forced through. We digress: back to the letter in progress.

Administrators derived the plans from a highly controversial Academic Portfolio Review (APR) process, saying a “structural budget deficit” and declining enrollment amid changing demographics necessitate cuts. However, the administration was unjustified even in starting the APR (which is the faculty’s role) and evidence shows that no grave financial crisis exists.


"...programs being discontinued are either low-cost or generate several millions of dollars in revenue. Cutting them would not help to close the seemingly non-existent budget deficit, but only add to it because of fewer students and less external funding. Moreover, this will deprive the UNCG student population, which consists of two-thirds women and underrepresented groups, from studying STEM disciplines. All these do not align with the UNCG Strategic Plan’s statement: “… we stand ready to become an exemplar of the 21st century research university.”

As you might be able to guess by now, administration's response to this disagreement between the Strategic Plan and their actions is ... to create a new Strategic Plan. Or, at least, to make a committee to start thinking about making a new Strategic Plan. 

As to enrollment, it dropped only 1.3 percent in 2023-24, the smallest decrease in the last four years, while the National Center for Educational Statistics projects an upward trend of high school graduates in NC for the next few years. 

This is also true: there is no enrollment cliff in the state of NC, but the national trends have been hyped to fear monger the way into austerity measures.

We recommend reading the letter in full; Prof. Miroshnichenko also points out that UNCG is missing out on investments in new demographics unique to the Triad (and really, investments in general). He also points out the top 3 paid employees at UNCG (Chancellor, Provost, and Basketball coach) earn almost double the salaries of the entire faculty of the Physics and Astronomy department. 

We'll close by pointing out that historically it has been seen over and over and over again that we can't cut our way to prosperity.

4/8 Event: Total eclipse of the (liberal) arts! Thank you to all who stopped by Petty building on Monday and said hi to our Astronomers before UNCG cans them/forces them out!

Science everywhere but here! And, You be You, but just ... not that you, if you're going to be you here

UNCG administration continues to lay low, pretending the no confidence votes didn't happen while university advertising ramps up ahead of 2024 Believe in the G annual giving campaign. Anyone can be themselves here as long as they're interested in approximately 20 fewer things than students here previously could have been interested in (plus whatever UNCG cuts next).

Meanwhile, this is International Dark Sky Week, a total solar eclipse is happening on Monday, and the NC Science Festival is coming with Science Everywhere on campus. Heavy advertising of astronomy-themed events is appearing, but will those attending events be made aware that UNCG has eliminated their physics and astronomy program? That they've canceled astronomy courses, effective Fall 2024? We're gonna guess no on that one.

STG update: wait a minute, when did the E in STEAM become Esports? Only at UNCG, folks... we can't even make this stuff up.

STG exclusive: sneak peek at some of our work in progress

It'd be funny if it weren't so ridiculous

Strategic plan to be rebooted - after catastrophic changes made

Step 1: form a committee to let us know how the plan's development is progressing! Perfect.

Interesting wording choice: "...we will show [groups] that we are fulfilling their needs efficiently and effectively." Again, why are we deciding what communities need rather than asking them what they need? Last we checked, that's what "engaging stakeholders" means.

That definitely wasn't in response to this... 

"First of all, since there has been no complete, clear explanation of a problem they are attempting to solve it is implied that they do not have a clear understanding about what the problem is."

Or this, from last week:

“The most important question to me is what the plan will be beyond cutting programs that will generate net revenue leading to survival and thriving of the university,” said Coleman. “If a chancellor can’t explain the plan, and the provost can’t explain the plan, and the chief financial officer can’t explain the plan, then there is a serious flaw in leadership.

Forming an advisory committee after the fact is not a plan. And a plan is distinct from a solid sense of who this University is for, what we do here and why.

Time for a change

Increasingly it’s become apparent that senior leadership at UNCG is of the opinion that everything they do is beyond reproach and anyone who disagrees with them is, at best, an obstructionist.

Based on their statements, it is of no consequence that the Faculty Senate censured both the chancellor and the provost, nor does it matter that the faculty registered a vote of no confidence in the provost.

Though these are the only formal ways the faculty and senate have to voice their concerns as a collective body, senior leadership has communicated that this effort by the faculty body to communicate its concern was a waste of time. Additionally, senior leaders have yet to explain their strategic plan except through their actions of cutting people and programs.

Not long ago, Guilford College went through something similar to what UNCG is experiencing. In that case, senior leadership was replaced and Guilford College, collectively, worked through its problems.

It’s time for UNCG to do the same.

Joel Shaw


The writer is a UNCG alumnus, Class of 1995.

First general faculty no confidence vote in UNCG's history

Since we already read Jim Coleman's blog response to the Chancellor's response, we weren't surprised to see such quotes as: 

“He does not mention that it was one of the largest number of voters in any UNCG general faculty meeting, ever. And that had there been more faculty, and less fear among non-tenured and professional track faculty, the vote margin might have been bigger,” Coleman said.

or this banger: 

“The most important question to me is what the plan will be beyond cutting programs that will generate net revenue leading to survival and thriving of the university,” said Coleman. “If a chancellor can’t explain the plan, and the provost can’t explain the plan, and the chief financial officer can’t explain the plan, then there is a serious flaw in leadership.

While the 20 programs up for elimination have been the main headline since January, this article--importantly!--closes with another entirely disastrous decision made by the Provost. Disregarding the faculty vote on variable length contracts for professional track faculty, the Provost unilaterally decided every PT faculty member would only be on year-to-year contracts. 1-year contracts and low salaries remove the prospect of stability that is a basic draw for any job. Disallowing departments the authority to offer longer contracts is micromanagerial and conveys lack of trust on the part of the administration in the faculty to make good decisions. (That wasn't the point, we realize; the point was foresight of the forthcoming APR and the need to quickly get rid of faculty.) 

These decisions are leading UNCG to a future of narrowed options for students and lower quality of education. The overall tone of administrative messaging is that the cuts will continue until morale improves, but cuts are not a plan: they are short term actions with long-term consequences, none of which have been addressed.

Where's the plan, fam?

STG note: article is paywalled; article clipping provided below.

STG response, talking point by talking point

(We know, the rapid release of this statement was psychological warfare meant to crush the hopes of those opposed to how the process was conducted. And, an attempt to maintain control of a narrative that is starting to get away from administration as opposition shows no sign of giving up. We're taking the bait, anyway.)

Select members were invited to collaborate.  Everyone else was invited to scramble to review and respond in extraordinarily tight turnaround times while still performing all of their ordinary job duties.

No academic or financial justification has been provided. The Provost has said the cuts will not address budgetary issues. No projections have been made regarding negative repercussions, even though it is known that other universities following this path saw decreases in enrollment as a result. Curriculum committees were not even consulted in the process (see also, numerous resolutions in Unshared Governance).

To call the process nuanced is insulting: the data were gathered by an external broker with no knowledge of higher education, much of the data were wrong and removed from context. This process was as nuanced as taking a weedwhacker to a bonsai tree.

A lot of jargon, here. The strategy has still not been shared with the university community, whatever it is. If we have a mission, we are unaware of it. Likewise, core values remain to be identified. Previous statements present an identity crisis: R2 university, or liberal arts college? The cuts are consistent with neither.

"Exploring efficiencies" looks like delicately wrapped "who can we fire first."

Were students even asked how they could be better served? Or are we deciding for them?

I think we thank Provost Storrs approximately 350,000 times per year.

Does this backing from the University Deans  include the one who resigned? And the one thrown under the bus in last week's statement (who already has another job lined up elsewhere)?

Those who voted opposed represent even fewer still of the eligible voters. Grasping at straws, here.

The vote wasted little time if the only thing to come from it is continued gaslighting of the entire university community that everything with this process was fine. 

And what of the invaluable contributions of the people whose careers are being thrown in the garbage can without even basic explanation and justification? What of the contributions and potential of students whose programs are being eliminated, their completion threatened by the rapid pace of getting rid of faculty and the duct tape and a prayer approach to developing actual teach out plans?

From yesterday's general remarks:

"We need your talents and ideas to get us beyond just tinkering around the edges. 

We need your insights to reimagine what our university looks like — 

to bring about the fundamental change that will help empower the generations to come." 

What of the people whose talents UNCG administration has proclaimed unnecessary, disposable? Or the untapped talents of generations to come who will not have a chance to receive the education UNCG promised, and used to stand for? What of the immense harm that has already been done to a community wherein, in majority votes, no confidence has been repeatedly and clearly expressed in this leadership?

"I am willing to work with those of you willing to work with me."

So far, the only ones you deem willing to work with you are those who agree. This is not leadership, this is autocracy. 

That went about as expected.

Fake News Frank strikes back: doubling ... tripling ... quadrupling...  ♾️-ing down, Gilliam claims vote not representative due to 181 faculty members being only a small fraction of the 800 eligible voting faculty. 

(Gilliam did not comment on what fraction those 158 voting opposed are of the total faculty.)

During the General Faculty meeting yesterday, Gilliam claimed UNCG faculty had reached out to the Provost's former employer (University of North Dakota) to dig up dirt. He was either repeating (or fabricating) a rumor to smear those in favor of the no confidence vote, or we may be seeing some interesting news soon. 

"How the administrators of boards react [to a vote of no confidence] says a lot about them," --David Amabras, NC State AAUP President

"...[he] accepted that the faculty did not feel heard and vowed greater communication." --Randy Woodson, NC State Chancellor's response to faculty no confidence vote

"It's deeply disappointing that Provost Storrs has come under personal attack over programmatic decisions ... The University must move forward, and we are." --Chancellor Gilliam, 7 March 2024

In last-minute propaganda effort to influence tomorrow's no-confidence vote, administration emails out enrollment boogeyman once more

Hallmark of UNCG's APR process: deflect any and every question about budgetary issues by waving hands and repeating, enrollment! Enrollment! Enrolllment! If you say it three times while looking in the mirror, you'll fall off a cliff, Wile-e-coyote style.

The administration continues to fail to provide any other budgetary justification with the apparent goal of convincing everyone that universities have no other options for revenue. (See also the note here about UNCG declining to account for projected future sports betting revenue: only the bad projections need apply.) And certainly don't ask them to cut spending outside of the college of arts and sciences and core academics they so stridently claim to wish to protect: truly, they have been backed into a corner and the path they chose was the only option.

For a full picture rather than artfully cropped and heavily photoshopped scene, check out Jim Coleman's blog post; excerpt to the left.

Sports betting arriving in NC may profit UNC system

...but don't count on UNCG to include potential revenue sources in any projections presented to the public: it would damage the Doom Narrative!

"Once betting begins, those universities will receive 20% of the yearly tax revenue from these legal wagers. That figure is expected to be at least $300,000 annually per school, but may increase to more than $1.5 million. These funds must go to athletics rather than other departments or programs. 

In the Triad, these funds will go to N.C. A&T State University, UNC-Greensboro, and Winston-Salem State University."

UNCG receives 85% of its athletic funding from the $405.50 per semester athletic fee that all students pay regardless of whether or not they attend games, use the gym, or participate in sports programs. YES! Weekly asked Kimberly Osborne, UNCG vice chancellor for strategic communications, if the new revenue from sports betting could decrease that fee. 

“The UNC System provided a range of $300,000 to $1 million for each of the schools,” wrote Osborne on Feb. 29. “We, and the other institutions, will not know what funds sports wagering will generate until it is in place for a significant amount of time. Thus, at this time UNCG has no plans to reduce fees.

1,096 miles apart, but the stories are the same: comparing "data-driven" austerity measures at UNCG to Emporia State

"...the restructuring here at ESU was simultaneously decontextualized from larger attacks on higher education, and then recontextualized as a reinvestment that we must make, and that, eventually, every university will have to make. But I think decisions are rarely motivated by an objective analysis of the direction history is moving; instead, they’re often ideologically motivated and use data to explain those decisions after the fact."

"I see language which is lacking in explanation. I see language which seeks to deprive its listeners and readers of the ideological background which is being used to justify poorly explained and rubricked data. 

I see language which is lacking in moral clarity, instead couching it in rhetoric of a supposably inevitable future which is reinforced by the decision that these cuts make."

Text of the Faculty Senate resolution of no confidence in the Provost has been shared with STG, to be voted on next week:

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Faculty Senate Resolution #03132024.1 Alice Haddy, Faculty Member 

Preamble: The past two years have been characterized by a devaluation of professional track faculty, a breakdown in shared governance, and low faculty and staff morale. The APR process, as managed by the Provost, has provided no clear plan for the university’s financial security or vision for the university’s future. While we applaud the goals of transparency and collaboration with faculty, the APR process did not deliver on those promises. The Provost did not reveal her own justifications for cuts or allow to be made public and transparent her part in pushing for certain programs to be eliminated. Her lack of transparency can be seen in the concentration of cuts at CAS, which was the result of the Provost targeting the college, a move that should concern all faculty as we now consider the future of regular APRs. 

Whereas, Professional Track Faculty were moved to one year contracts through a unilateral decision of the Provost, thus contributing to an atmosphere of insecurity on campus; 

Whereas, The Provost has shown a clear disregard for the faculty senate as a legitimate partner in shared governance, as outlined in Senate Resolution 01312024.2; 

Whereas, The cuts demonstrate favoritism by the Provost for certain programs and units in the university. Other departments and programs throughout the university scored lower than the programs (such as Anthropology, which “met expectations”) that were eventually cut, and as former Associate Dean of CAS Charles Bolton’s resignation letter points out, this discrepancy is not the result of CAS’s internal process but rather the result of the Provost’s pressure on the Dean of CAS; 

Whereas, the Faculty Senate's recommendations regarding the APR process, as articulated in resolutions #11012023.2 and #01.24.2024.1, have been denied and ignored; 

Whereas, Many of the tenured and tenure track faculty whose programs have been cut have not been offered the opportunity to be rehoused, undermining the meaning of tenure at UNCG; 

Whereas, In the face of real, long-term budget issues, the elimination of small academic programs contributes little to our fiscal health and bears the serious risk of leading to further enrollment declines and difficulty in recruiting top-tier faculty; 

Whereas, The Chancellor and Provost disregarded the Senate’s censure by arguing, in a response, that the vote to censure came from “some members of the Faculty Senate (not a vote of the General Faculty)”; 

Be it Resolved: The faculty of UNCG no longer have confidence in the leadership of the Provost.

NEW, 3/8: STG has obtained a copy of the Chancellor's response to the votes of no confidence held by the College of Arts and Sciences last week.

You can read for yourself, but our tl;dr for each paragraph is: 

(praise salad)

Requesting actual numbers, well-reasoned argument, and a careful process collectively done by the entire university community is "personal attack" on the Provost. Also, the Chancellor claims responsibility for decisions that, to date, no one in administration has actually been able to explain or justify when asked, including him. The invitation to collaborate with him is an interesting one, when overall his language indicates there will be no further discussion: "The University must move forward," after all.

(procedural notes indicating this will be the only official response)

CAS Resolution - FDG Response 3.7.24.pdf

Communication studies professor and department chair sees hallmarks of poor communication in UNCG's APR process.

Facts: 2, UNCG administration: 0

Basic fact-checking reveals the foundational arguments behind cutting programs at UNCG are both false. 

Direct link above; excerpts to the left. Susan Dennison, professor emerita, sounds the alarm for the entire UNC system. If this process is allowed to go through here, it's only a matter of time before other schools follow suit.

Letters to the editor

Pointing out that faculty do a lot more than people think, and an alum feels ashamed by higher education's shift toward diploma mills that value profits over actually learning something.

Update: the second letter has been shared, in full, by @UNCG_AAUP; both letters were shared by the Greensboro Student Organization on Instagram.

In this enlightening blog post, Jim Coleman gives us at least 11 solid reasons and detailed explanations of the myriad points of failure in UNCG's APR process.

"My list is long with respect to how poorly I believe the provost has managed the campus, managed the deans, retained faculty, supported research and scholarship and micromanaged the Faculty Senate leadership. To me, she seems to be  unable to, or at least won't, articulate, a strategy that can create a compelling academic reason to attend UNCG or to inspire faculty. She also seems unwilling to foster innovation, entrepreneurism and careful risk taking with the budget (e.g., being unwilling to think of predictable sources of revenue like F&A recovery, and predictable sources of reduced expenditures like university-wide turnover of faculty and staff, or incentivizing units to develop programs that will bring in new students)."

*nb. bold font face added by us

Retired faculty mourn institution they believed in

Tudge and colleagues make a powerful case for why the programs to be eliminated are not as irrelevant as university administration may imply.

"UNCG's administration talks the talk of diversity and inclusion but acts to exclude programs that expose UNCG's students to diversity."

Update: @UNCG_AAUP on instagram shared the letter here.

A hard place of one's own making

Media outlets are quite attached to the "cuts were inevitable" narrative, not realizing much of UNCG's woes have been self-inflicted by years of administrative bloat and deliberately deferred maintenance on the health of academic programs themselves.

Physics professor did the math

...and the numbers show a program that pays for itself is on the chopping block.

"...what does this university actually value? Do they really value upward mobility? Do they value it in places where it has traditionally been inaccessible?”

UNCG is watching you...

A tale of two headlines, and a "correction" that contains numerous dubious assertions. Original headline was incorrect, until today: STG has received word that the first faculty member has heard today they will be non-renewed for the Fall. The word "may" is doing a lot of work in Osborne's statement, considering faculty already have been told they will not be allowed to teach gen ed courses in the Fall (see our announcement archive for updates on that). The remaining "choices" in Osborne's list are all ways of making changes to personnel, which administration had previously claimed would take "years."

Let 'er FRIP

Faculty in impacted programs have been offered lump sumps to get lost, despite administration's claims of no immediate changes in staffing. Students have yet to be invited for the discussions promised in program elimination notifications. If faculty are pushed out, teach out will be more teacher out, leaving students stranded and unable to finish.

Funeral service for eliminated programs was held 2/15

Faculty, students, and staff from impacted programs spoke about what these programs have meant to them over the years.

STG will share photos and statements from attendees as we receive them.

Tale as tired as time

Administrators like to frame austerity measures as a "shake up" to the status quo and liken themselves to revolutionaries. It's a boring, and damaging, story they're telling themselves. Jim Coleman makes the case for fundamentally changing up the conversation.

Programs' APR dissent erased from department websites

In a move only surprising because they admitted they did it, UNCG administration has deleted mentions--and critique--of the APR process from departmental webpages.

Unrepentant Chancellor has no regerts, clothes

Writing for the esteemed authority on transformative pedagogical innovation, University Business, Gilliam reports process for which first implementation actions were taken 12 days ago is a rousing success. He celebrates the "indispensable feedback" of the Faculty Senate, particularly their vote of censure, their resolution condemning the entire process, and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee's resolution pointing out they were never consulted about any of this.

Letter in News & Record in response to "time... to move forward," below:

UNCG: Answers lacking

Today’s opinion column “Now’s the time for UNCG to move forward” (Ideas, Feb. 11) glosses over a few important details. Faculty and students at UNCG have questioned this process, not because we question the premise that we need to adapt, but because of the way the process was executed.

Chancellor Frank Gilliam and Provost Debbie Storrs have offered vague responses to serious questions along the way. Concerns raised by faculty, staff and students (at least in part) have to do with clarity of purpose, as well as, later in the process, clarity about how particular decisions were made.

Along the way, our reputation in the community and in the eyes of students, alumni, parents and donors has suffered. All of this could have been avoided with much clearer communication, more direct consultation with faculty, a vivid and complete explanation of the problems being solved and the goals being met; a clear and purposeful statement of a vision for the future; and consistent fidelity to the process as it was laid out.

While we now understand what “solutions” were chosen, the logic of those choices has yet to be explained. Further, while moving forward sounds enticing, we are still left wondering: What is the plan for moving forward? What’s the vision for UNCG? Where are we heading? What specifically did we gain from this exercise? What is the clear and executable plan for salvaging/healing our reputation in the community and morale on campus?

We have many questions. Perhaps we should receive some clear answers.

Christopher Poulos, Greensboro

Call for unity intended to stifle dissent

Click image, if you dare. Note the opinions expressed are those of current and former Board  of Trustees members who appear to be entirely unbothered by the lack of both academic justification for the cuts and zero provision of budgetary numbers.

Chronicle of Higher Education highlights folly of UNCG's APR

Featured quotes warn future administrations to be less transparent and exclude university community for longer in the process so as to avoid pushback seen at UNCG.

Lack of cuts to ballooning administrative costs noticed

News & Record reader submits an interesting take on where we could look to recoup funds that doesn't touch core academics.

UNCG Alumni angered, embarrassed by announced program cuts

Featured alumni point out the value of a degree can't be measured by whether your job title contains the name of your undergraduate major.

"Frustrating is an understatement."

(Yes. What she said.)

All proposed programs on final cut list

Despite 16 days of frantic information-gathering, meetings, and pleading with the administration, no mercy was shown.

University community, incoming Fall 2024 students notified of cuts

With astonishing speed literally never seen in academic bureaucracy, emails went out within moments of each other to all UNCG communities. 

Faculty were alerted by Deans around 2:20pm. Students had already received messages almost an hour earlier. Many faculty found out, mid-class, from their students. 

Most troublingly, incoming students were told at the same time that they would not be allowed to major in these topics beginning in the Fall. Departments have reported to STG that they received emails from upset parents and students within hours of the messages going out.

Triad City Beat covers cuts and days leading up to 2/1 announcement

Well-formulated arguments about the lack of budgetary solutions offered by cuts and the high cost to student opportunities were for naught; final list only an expanded version of the original.

Coverage of the cuts...

Emphasis given that it will be a "years long process" to teach-out and wind down programs. Posting this after the fact, we can share that as of mid-February, enough faculty have been offered lump sums to leave that, should they accept the deals, teach-out will neither take years nor will it happen at all.

FINAL cuts announced

"University officials said they couldn’t yet say how much the cuts will save the university."

T'was the day before cuts,

...and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, definitely not even some accountants actually running the numbers on all this.

Cutting mathematics programs "disastrous"

The Provost indicated cutting graduate programs would allow the department to "focus on undergraduate success." It will actually decrease ability to support students by eliminating graduate student teaching and tutoring assistance and will further lose money for the university due to loss of external grant funding.

Religious Studies program resoundingly supported by alums, donors, community

Religious Studies came to the Faculty Senate meeting on 1/31, the campus' apparent final chance to make the cases to save their programs, with a truly overwhelming amount of support.

UNCG faculty senate votes to censure Chancellor, Provost

Despite claims to the contrary in following days (as well as cries of racism), the aye vote was a clear majority (75%).

If we know who we are and what we value, we can act toward goals that support those values

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes reflects on the serendipitous experiences at universities that can serve to shape us later.

Oh boy, we made a list!

Wait a second... 

Dubious distinction of being on a list of foreseen program cuts in 2024

"The bottom line: cuts to higher education may be necessary. But before any action is taken, administrators need to get the numbers right. The embarrassing flubs at UNCG make one wonder whether it's the administration that needs trimming, rather than the faculty."

History didn't take long to repeat

Despite early assurances there was no list of programs to be cut, there apparently was totally a list the entire time. McDowell compares UNCG to WVU, points out administration's deception in APR process.

If bash=ask good questions, then yes

Students put their critical thinking skills to the test on their own leadership; the latter did not take it well.

Associate Dean resigns in protest

Chuck Bolton indicates APR process was not as data-driven as it was purported to be: cites a lack of transparency and orders from the Provost to add more programs to be eliminated.

"The Deans decided" turns out to be untrue

In a jaw-dropping letter, Chuck Bolton decries "egregious" behavior of administration, lack of transparency. Gave examples of programs that were never on the table for elimination being added last-minute apparently on order of University administration.

Full letter included below.

resignation letter.pdf

Campus community rallies against cuts

There was another way to do this, all along

Guilford College set an incredible precedent in 2020, but UNCG decided to ignore that.

Must be doing something right...

When students are getting up and asking the good questions! The Chancellor gave the appearance of being moved by students' pleas to save Korean language courses.

Narrator: he did not move.

Campus forum, 1/23

Content warning: belittling and verbally abusive behavior from those in power toward the students. 

A flawed process very publicly reports erroneous data

In an attempt to score points by looking at current numbers of majors, the Chancellor tries twice and still fails to report accurate numbers. He insisted those numbers had nothing to do with the decisions so it doesn't actually matter that he got them wrong. Twice.

Student forum, 1/19

Content warning: belittling and verbally abusive behavior from those in power toward the students. 

Proposed cuts

As covered in NC Newsline: Killian highlights numerous errors already evident within moments of first emailed announcement

Students speak out against cuts

“We know that rpk is flawed,” said UNCG museum history graduate student Azariah Journey. “They destroyed WVU; they destroyed Emporia. They have a history of looking at departments as businesses instead of the incredible students that are in them.”

Proposed program cuts announced 1/16

In his initial error-sprinkled email, the Chancellor announced 19 programs--some not even evaluated by College committees and added to the surprise of all--that he said were "carefully developed suggestions" to eliminate.

(Later, the accused Deans could not answer how these suggestions were carefully developed or why the choices were made.)

Take me back to the simpler times, the Before Times, to BC!

I don't want a retrospective, I want to see into the future! 

Save the G, founded 2024 

Copyright and whatever rights unreservedly reserved and all that.

No; unfortunately for us, none of this is satire.