Provost's Messages

October 12, 2020  | Various Updates

This message is being sent by Sharon Lindgren on behalf of Provost James J. Winebrake.

Dear Colleagues,

As we cross the mid-point in this unusual and challenging semester, I want to express my sincere appreciation for all that you have done to build continuity in our learning environment this fall. We have implemented a very complex “fall reopening” that required Herculean efforts from faculty and staff across the institute. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to support our students and our university!

I also want to use this email to provide brief updates on various activities ongoing in Academic Affairs. Here goes:

I encourage faculty to attend the Faculty Senate forum on the Black Lives Matter banners this Tuesday (10/13, 2:00 PM). John Scherer will be there to help explain the new banner policy (found here:,-posters,-and-temporary-outdoor-signs.pdf), and I know more than a few faculty have questions about how that policy will be implemented. Academic Affairs has partnered with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI) and the Division of Student Affairs (SA) on a number of initiatives — ranging from building out our 1898 curricular and scholarship activities, to standing up an Africana Studies degree and Learning Community, to improving faculty and staff recruitment processes to increase diversity. Dr. Donyell Roseboro and I can share updates about the progress of those initiatives at an upcoming faculty forum. OIDI, SA, and Academic Affairs have also collaborated to help place Black Lives Matter banners on campus through student organization sponsorship. This is an important time for our Black faculty, staff, and student communities, and Academic Affairs stands in solidarity with them. Black Lives Matter.

The BOT meeting is later this week, and I will present on various topics at the Education Planning and Programs Committee (EPPC). In addition to my usual updates to the Board, we are excited that Dr. Nikki Fogarty will also present her research to the BOT on coral spawning. This will be an exciting opportunity to share with the Board an example of the type of significant research faculty and students are conducting at UNCW. Clearly, working together, we can help solve some of the world’s biggest problems!

Academic Affairs has been working to complete the budgeting process for this fiscal year. We have granted deans approval to begin searches for new hires, and the deans will be working with search committees on those searches. (Note that UNCW has moved support for faculty searches from Human Resources to Academic Affairs under AARM. Under the leadership of Nate Miner, AARM is working to improve our search processes in a number of ways.) We also informed colleges and other units of their Enrollment Growth Funding, and we are in the process of finalizing one-time budget requests this week. 

The UNCW COVID dashboard remains active and Dr. Katrin Wesner’s team has done a terrific job in keeping the community informed. We also appreciate the comments received by faculty and staff to help make the dashboard more informative.  For the latest dashboard information, see:  The administration is working with public health officials and others to identify appropriate testing protocols for spring term. The university will share more information about any new protocols as they develop in the coming weeks.

A number of faculty, staff, and administrators met with me and others from Academic Affairs last week to discuss barriers to implementing interdisciplinary programs at UNCW. The meeting was very productive, and Academic Affairs will continue to work to remove such barriers. We ought to position UNCW as a national leader in interdisciplinary education and research. To do this, we need to identify barriers and address them as a community. More information will follow regarding next steps in this area, but I invite you to share any input you have regarding challengers to interdisciplinary teaching, scholarship, and program development with your dean or me at any time.

I have enjoyed working with our governance groups over the past few months to identify areas where policy revisions seem appropriate. Some of these revisions are well-along in the revision process — for example, we expanded on a policy that allows for extensions to RTP deadlines that is currently under consideration by governance groups.  But there are a host of other policies that we are reviewing to improve clarity and transparency. Dr. Carol McNulty is the point person in Academic Affairs on most of these polices, and I invite you to send Dr. McNulty any thoughts about policies that are unclear, cause confusion, and need revision. (Of course, you can alert the appropriate governance bodies and their committees with these requests as well!) 

We started our spring planning, and departments are in the process of populating our course schedules. You are likely aware of the spring calendar, which has been updated here: Thank you to the many people involved in spring scheduling — especially our scheduling officers, program coordinators, and department chairs. This is a heavy lift, and we appreciate your help. I will share additional information about course modalities as the spring calendar takes its shape.

I continue to be amazed by the incredible scholarly work of our faculty. We intend to find ways to support this work, which is important as we expand our research portfolio and embrace our new status as a Doctoral University — High Research Activity. Several initiatives are in development or have been launched related to supporting our faculty engaged in sponsored research, scholarship, and creative works. These efforts include new funding mechanisms to support faculty research and mentoring, enhanced SPARC operations, and additional support for graduate students and postdoc scholars. Dr. Stuart Borrett is leading many of the efforts in this area and more information on these and other programs will be announced under separate cover in the coming weeks.

That’s it for now. Thanks again for all you do and please stay well!

Best regards,

James J. Winebrake, Ph.D.
UNCW Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Pronouns: he, him, his