Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"

September 21, 2021


To: UNCG Faculty

From: Provost Debbie Storrs

RE: Announcing Two Provost Faculty Fellows

I am delighted to announce two new provost faculty fellows are joining the UNCG academic leadership team. Professor Regina McCoy will serve as Provost Fellow for Student Success, and Professor Tracy Nichols will serve as Provost Fellow for Faculty Development.  During this academic year and summer of 2022, the fellows will ensure UNCG makes progress on two important areas of priority:

  • increasing student retention and student success, and
  • supporting and advancing faculty development.

Our success in advancing these priorities will depend on everyone’s engagement in these two important areas of campus life. Each of us brings expertise and experience that can further our shared goals and enhance UNCG. I invite, encourage, and ask that each of us, along with our provost fellows, engage as fully as possible towards these efforts. Everyone’s voice, ideas, experience, and commitment matter. Individual and collective contributions will create a more inclusive, stronger culture at UNCG where our students and faculty can thrive.

Both fellows will devote 50 percent of their time as provost fellows while focusing the other 50 percent on their home department, research, and teaching.

Regina McCoy will work with Provost Storrs, academic deans, department heads, directors, and chairs, Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Andrew Hamilton, faculty senate, and others to heighten and support faculty engagement in our student retention efforts.

Tracy Nichols will collaborate with Provost Storrs, Chancellor Fellow for Campus Climate Andrea Hunter, Senior Vice Provost Alan Boyette, academic deans, department chairs, heads, directors, faculty senate, and others to advance faculty development initiatives. This work will help lead efforts regarding faculty development including advancing the work that emerged from faculty senate on best practices to recognize equity, diversity, and inclusion in annual, promotion, and tenure processes; and how to equitably recognize the work and contributions of our professional faculty.

They both have extensive experience with advancing equity and inclusion. Their efforts in student retention and faculty development will be infused with a diversity and inclusion lens. I am looking forward to working with them over the next year.

Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"


September 1, 2021



To:       UNCG Faculty

From:  Debbie Storrs, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Sarah Daynes, Chair, Faculty Senate

RE: Call for Faculty Liaison for UNC System Free Expression Survey

The University of North Carolina System office is replicating an independent survey of Carolina students on the topic of free expression that was conducted by UNC Chapel Hill scholars several years ago (see results here).  The original research team will engage with faculty researcher liaisons from campuses across the system to replicate the survey, with an opportunity to ask institution specific questions. We seek a UNCG faculty liaison to serve in this capacity.  The duties include gathering input from UNCG campus and sharing findings from the study with institutional leadership and faculty at large.  Liaisons will receive a modest honorarium provided by the system office.  If you are interested in serving in this capacity, please send your name and a short paragraph of your relevant expertise to Jenny Johnson at by noon on September 6th.    We must submit a name to the System by September 7th.

We’ve attached more details of the call for research partners.

Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"

August 13, 2021



TO:  UNCG Faculty & Staff

RE:  Call for Nominations James E. Holshouser, Jr. Award for Public Service

The James E. Holshouser Award for Public Service, formerly known as the Public Service Award, was created in 2007 to encourage, identify, recognize, and reward public service by faculty of the University of North Carolina system.  Each year, UNCG puts forth a campus nominee to the Board of Governors for consideration for the award.  The selection criteria include sustained, distinguished, and superb achievement in university public service and outreach and contributions to improving the quality of life for citizens of North Carolina.  The creativity and impact of such achievements should be beyond the normal accomplishments of productive faculty.

The Gardner/Holshouser award committee is currently seeking nominations for this distinguished award.  In honor of their achievements, the nominee will be recognized at the 2022 Faculty Awards ceremony.

To submit a nomination, or learn more about the award, please visit  Nominations are due on Friday, September 24th.




Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"

August 13, 2021


To: UNCG Faculty & Staff

From: Provost Debbie Storrs and the Teaching Awards Selection Committee

RE: Call for Nominations for the 2021-22 BOG Award for Excellence in Teaching & Alumni Teaching Excellence Awards

Provost Storrs and the Teaching Awards Selection Committee invite members of the UNCG community to nominate individuals for the 2021-2022 Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, or for one of three Alumni Teaching Excellence Awards described below. Recipients of these awards receive an honorarium and university-wide or, in the case of the Board of Governors award, state-wide recognition. Self-nominations are encouraged. Click here for the nomination form. Eligible faculty members who received a 2020-2021 teaching award from their School or College will be nominated automatically.

The nomination period closes Monday, August 30. Nominees will be reviewed to ensure basic criteria are met.  Eligible nominees will be invited to submit dossiers. Completed dossiers are due by 5pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021. Award recipients will be notified in spring 2022. The dossier cover sheet and submission instructions will be available at the BOG / ATEA Site by August 30.

UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award (for Tenured Faculty) is open to tenured faculty members who have completed at least seven years of teaching at UNCG. The BOG Award is the highest post-secondary award in the state and carries the expectation that applicants will be exceptional teachers who have extended their pedagogical activities beyond the classroom. The award recognizes outstanding teaching (including online or blended instruction, mentorship and educational service) that has resulted in the advancement of the profession. The Board of Governors presents one faculty member from each UNC school with this award every year. The award brings statewide recognition.

Mary Settle Sharp Alumni Teaching Excellence Award (for Tenured Faculty) is open to tenured faculty members who have completed at least three years of teaching at UNCG. The award recognizes outstanding teaching (including online or blended instruction, and mentorship) at UNCG.

James Y. Joyner Alumni Teaching Excellence Award (for Untenured, Tenure-Track Faculty) is open to untenured, tenure-track faculty members who have completed at least three years of teaching at UNCG. The award recognizes outstanding teaching (including online or blended instruction, and mentorship) at UNCG.

Anna Maria Gove Alumni Teaching Excellence Award (for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty) is open to any full-time non-tenure-track faculty member (lecturer, academic professional, clinical faculty, etc.) who has completed at least three years of teaching at UNCG. The award recognizes outstanding teaching (including online or blended instruction) at UNCG.

For questions, contact: Marisa Gonzalez at  (


Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"

August 9, 2021

RE: 2021-22 Faculty Fellow Opportunities

I know firsthand how faculty support, mentoring, and professional development opportunities can broaden experience, open career pathways, and enhance one’s ability to impact the institution and profession in new ways. I am committed to supporting such opportunities for faculty and staff at UNCG. As one avenue, I am inviting applications from faculty to serve in one of two open Provost Fellow positions. Fellows will work to shape strategies and guide activities in one of two key priority areas:

  • Faculty development
  • Integrated student success

Fellows’ work, among other things, will include providing additional professional development opportunities for faculty and staff across campus and will hold the expectation that equity, inclusion, and diversity considerations will be central and interwoven throughout each of these priorities.   More specific descriptions of each of the two fellow positions are provided at the end of this letter.

Provost Fellow

A Provost Fellow is a faculty member of any rank or status interested in administrative leadership who will partner with the Provost and other administrative leaders to develop and implement actions tied to these priority areas. The experience will provide fellows with opportunities to help lead these priorities, and their work will integrate faculty perspectives with an overall institutional perspective purposed to strengthen faculty and student experience and UNCG as an institution.

Terms of appointment:

  • Fellows will continue to engage in departmental activities, but will be provided up to 50% release time from research, teaching, and/or service responsibilities, as agreed upon by the fellow, dean, and Provost.
  • Fellows will receive professional development funds to attend a professional development conference/activity approved by the Provost.
  • Fellows whose work continues through the summer will also receive one month of summer salary.
  • The fellowships are flexible in terms of timing and length of service and will be negotiated with the fellow, dean, and Provost. Given the timing of this announcement, adjustments to teaching in the fall 2021 semester are unlikely; if course releases are required, they would likely occur in the spring semester.
  • Fellows will not be permitted to teach course overloads during the fellowship period.
  • If the fellow is released from teaching, funds will be provided to the fellow’s home department for course replacement at the unit’s standard per-course rate.

Application Process: Prospective fellows should discuss their intent to submit their application with their department/program/school head, chair, or director as well as with their dean; submissions should include a letter of interest (no more than two pages) and a current CV. Please submit these materials to Jenny Johnson at by Friday, August 27th.

Review Process: The Provost, in partnership with senior administrative leadership, will evaluate all applications and make decisions by Wednesday, September 15, 2021.

Descriptions of the two fellowship opportunities follow.  Please contact me or Ms. Johnson if you have questions.

Provost Fellow for Faculty Development

The Provost Fellow who will work to infuse EDI in all aspects of faculty professional life will report to the Provost and work closely with the Chancellor’s Fellow, Andrea Hunter, and others on campus.

Working in consultation with the Provost, the Fellow will make meaningful contributions such as the following:

  • In coordination with the Faculty Senate EDI Committee, engage faculty, heads/chairs, and deans in the discussion and development of policy improvements at the department, program, and unit levels designed to ensure that faculty members whose work fosters EDI are credited for their achievements in annual evaluations and promotion & tenure reviews.
  • Develop additional faculty affinity groups among historically underrepresented populations within UNCG designed for networking, community building, and research/teaching collaboration.
  • Conduct research on best practices from other universities that have examined diversity and inclusion with respect to faculty life. This will include cultivating relationships for the purposes of applying lessons learned to UNCG with the goal of making our community even more inclusive.
  • Review existing UNCG data to identify action strategies to further cultivate an enriched and inclusive faculty experience; in the process of reviewing existing data, identify faculty data gaps that the institution should consider collecting for more effective faculty success.
  • Identifying and facilitating related faculty training and development opportunities.

Provost Fellow for Integrated Student Success

UNCG is committed to an integrated, institution-wide approach to student success. The Fellow will provide academic leadership experience in support of the Integrated Student Success Plan, a campus-wide effort to help students achieve best-in-class outcomes in access, excellence, and impact. While giving special attention to issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, the Fellow will work to integrate faculty engagement and activities into the Integrated Student Success initiative at UNCG. The Provost Fellow will report to the Provost and work closely with the Associate Vice Provost for Student Success and Dean of Undergraduate Studies and ACE Fellow Dr. Tammi Vacha-Haas.

Working in consultation with the Provost, the Provost Fellow will make meaningful contributions such as the following:

  • Integrate faculty perspective into a phased plan to improve undergraduate student retention.
  • Assist with drafting and facilitating communications with faculty regarding activities they can engage in to improve student retention, including, but not limited to, use of early alert and midterm reporting in Starfish.
  • Identify specific actions to support faculty as they work to lower DFW rates in gateway/high enrollment courses while maintaining academic rigor and quality.
  • Join new efforts to support the incoming first-year class, the sophomore class, and our incoming cohort of transfer students, which may be disproportionately affected by pandemic-related disruptions in their prior learning environments.



Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"

August 9, 2021

I write to you today regarding a significant change in circumstances that can have a large impact on our student-athletes. As you may know, a recent opinion issued by the U.S. Supreme Court allows students-athletes to use their name, image, and likeness (NIL) and be compensated. Although this action has no direct impact on faculty, I wanted to provide information that may be of interest to you and make you aware UNCG representatives will also discuss the matter with the Faculty Senate.

The opinion states that neither the NCAA nor its constituent institutions may prohibit student-athletes from receiving compensation for using their name, image, and/or likeness. Student-athletes’ compensation is now subject to the market, and student-athletes may enter into agreements for the use of their NIL for actions such as starting a business and using their name to advertise it, posting ads on social media, providing athletic lessons, making compensated appearances, and signing autographs.

UNC Greensboro has some discretion to provide guidance related to NIL activities, with a few exceptions, including:

  • the University cannot directly pay student-athletes to play or provide NIL compensation contingent on enrollment or athletic participation/achievement, and
  • current student-athletes cannot sell UNC Greensboro issued apparel, equipment or awards.

The University has made an initial determination that student-athletes cannot compete with existing University sponsorships, wear or use UNC Greensboro marks or logos to promote their NIL, or use University facilities during NIL activities.  Interim guidelines for student-athletes, developed by a working group appointed by the Chancellor’s Council, are available here for your information.

Although this court decision does not place any additional responsibilities or obligations on you, I have asked representatives from the Department of Athletics and the Office of General Counsel to join me in meeting with the Faculty Senate for discussion about any potential indirect impacts the court’s decision may have on faculty.  Such impacts may be related to:

  • compensating UNC Greensboro student-athletes who are in classes, labs or other instructional locations,
  • developing appropriate University regulations, if any, and
  • managing the University’s obligations for compliance with federal regulation related to international students’ status in regard to NIL.

I look forward to working with you as we support our student-athletes throughout all facets of their collegiate experience.

Required UNCG syllabus language

Approved by Faculty Senate on July 29, 2021


As we return for fall 2021, the campus community must recognize and address continuing concerns about physical and emotional safety, especially as we will have many more students, faculty, and staff on campus than in the last academic year. As such, all students, faculty, and staff are required to uphold UNCG’s culture of care by actively engaging in behaviors that limit the spread of COVID-19. Such actions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Following face-covering guidelines
  • Engaging in proper hand-washing hygiene when possible
  • Self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19
  • Staying home if you are ill
  • Complying with directions from health care providers or public health officials to quarantine or isolate if ill or exposed to someone who is ill.

Instructors will have seating charts for their classes. These are important for facilitating contact tracing should there be a confirmed case of COVID-19. Students must sit in their assigned seats at every class meeting and must not move furniture. Students should not eat or drink during class time.

To make it easier for students to hear their instructor and/or read lips and if conditions permit, instructors who are fully vaccinated and who can maintain at least six feet of distance from students may remove their masks while actively teaching if they choose, but will wear a mask at all other times while in the classroom, including during the periods before and after class

A limited number of disposable masks will be available in classrooms for students who have forgotten theirs. Face coverings will also be available for purchase in the UNCG Campus Bookstore. Students who do not follow masking requirements will be asked to put on a face covering or leave the classroom to retrieve one and only return when they follow the basic requirements to uphold standards of safety and care for the UNCG community. Once students have a face covering, they are permitted to re-enter a class already in progress. Repeated issues may result in conduct action. The course policies regarding attendance and academics remain in effect for partial or full absence from class due to lack of adherence with face covering and other requirements.

For instances where the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services (OARS) has granted accommodations regarding wearing face coverings, students should contact their instructors to develop appropriate alternatives to class participation and/or activities as needed. Instructors or the student may also contact OARS (336.334.5440) who, in consultation with Student Health

Services, will review requests for accommodations.

Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"

July 28, 2021

TO: UNCG Faculty

FROM: Provost Debbie Storrs

RE: Fall 2021 Instructional Update

In the first few weeks as your new provost at UNCG, I’ve been immersed in learning about the diverse academic programs and the outstanding work occurring in each of the colleges and schools. I am excited to welcome our students to the fall semester and support our faculty and staff as they return to campus and we venture into our “new normal.”

I refer to the “new normal” because we clearly must continue to adjust, plan, and be proactive in preventing the spread of COVID-19. You recently received a university-wide email about campus COVID protocols for the fall term. I’m writing now with more information and details related to in-person instruction. I would first like to acknowledge your continued flexibility and responsiveness to the summer request to consider mode-of-instruction changes for the fall semester in an effort to serve our students better. You approached the issue with thoughtfulness and a sense of urgency, ensuring that process went smoothly. Thank you.

Below are updates and requests for fall instruction, all of which will help us manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Seating Charts

UNCG will require the use of seating charts for face-to-face courses to facilitate contact tracing. Facilities and the University Registrar’s Office are working together to provide seating-chart templates for instructor use. These templates are intended to make record keeping easier for instructors, but you may use a seating chart of your own design. Revised Fall 2021 seating charts for all General Purpose classrooms—those scheduled by the Registrar’s Office—are available at this link. We cannot provide templates for rooms not scheduled centrally, but we would happily provide advice and support for instructors who teach in those spaces. Those with questions should contact Andrew Hamilton ( who will coordinate responses.

Face Coverings

The Fall 2021 COVID protocols make face coverings optional for fully vaccinated instructors while teaching if they can maintain six feet of distance from students. Students must wear face covering in the classrooms at all times regardless of the instructor’s decision to wear a face covering. I recommend, however, that all instructors enter the classroom for the first time wearing a face covering and then explain to their students why they are removing it for instruction (if they so choose) and remind students that they are required to wear face coverings in the classroom. Instructors should remember to put their face coverings back on at the end of class so they are wearing it should they engage with students at a distance of less than six feet.

The libraries will have designated instructional spaces in which the face covering rules will apply. This will include labs, conference rooms, and service desks.


The University of North Carolina System has reviewed relevant legal and policy considerations regarding vaccine mandates. Based on its review of state law, the UNC System and the constituent campuses (including UNCG) are not legally permitted to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for faculty, staff, or students as we are technically agencies of the State. However, we will continue to encourage vaccinations through continued communications, and an incentive program, and by ensuring they are easily accessible on campus.

It’s important to note that some external learning sites (e.g., clinical settings) may require vaccination. Instructors should encourage students to consider this as their vaccination status may impact their access to clinical/external placements.

Attendance Policies

For the last three semesters, the watchwords have been ”grace” and ”flexibility.” As a result, many instructors have been hesitant to enforce their attendance policies. University policy leaves attendance requirements to instructors in most cases. While some continued flexibility will be necessary in the upcoming term, I encourage instructors to adopt and enforce attendance policies that best serve their chosen pedagogy, facilitate student engagement, and address mastery of course content. The more connected our students are to their courses and instructors, the better they will do.

Required COVID-19 Syllabus Statement

A syllabus statement again will be required this year. Faculty Senate is currently revising the statement to make it consistent with new safety protocols. The revised statement will be circulated to all instructors, as well as to deans, heads, chairs, and directors before the start of the fall semester.

Mode-of-Instruction Changes 

As most of you are aware, we completed nearly 500 mode-of-instruction changes in June, notifying affected students as the changes were made. In the last few days, more mode-of-instruction change requests have come in, mostly as a result of faculty working to accommodate student requests to participate remotely in face-to-face class sections. While I very much appreciate the active attention to helping these students, I ask that any further mode-of-instruction changes at this late date be very carefully considered and that they are approved at the department and dean levels before they go to Dean Hamilton for review. Asking students to further shift their schedules may generate considerable frustration and given the challenges of the past eighteen months, could lead to students to question their commitment to remain enrolled for the term.

Thank you again for your commitment to students and your hard work. This year promises to bring both challenges and opportunities. You have my pledge to work closely with you and your deans to accomplish our goals.

UNCG Provost Debbie Storrs

The following Chancellor message was sent out to all faculty, staff, and students on May 19, 2021.

Dear Campus Community,

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Debbie Storrs will be UNC Greensboro’s next Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and Professor in the Sociology department as confirmed today by the Board of Trustees. She begins on June 30, 2021.

Dr. Storrs is an accomplished teacher, scholar, and leader. For the past year, Dr. Storrs has served as the Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of North Dakota (UND), where she helped lead academic affairs through its COVID-19 response and commissioned a faculty-led task force to look at the future of UND post-pandemic. As Provost, she facilitated efforts across UND to provide high-quality and innovative educational programs; recruited and supported outstanding faculty and staff; advanced diversity, equity, and inclusion outcomes; and prioritized  and prioritize student success. Dr. Storrs also helped lead the development and execution of the UND Strategic Plan.

Dr. Storrs joined the University of North Dakota in 2013, where she served as Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences for five years before her appointment as Senior Vice Provost. As Senior Vice Provost, Dr. Storrs created and supported great teams who collectively worked on enrollment and student success initiatives. Under her leadership, Dr. Storrs and her team maintained academic quality, enhanced academic advising, and improved student support, all of which led to a 3% increase in the first-year student retention rate. As Dean, she led the college through a strategic planning process; implemented a new university-sponsored budget model within the college; helped secure philanthropic funds for scholarships, faculty support, and special projects (exceeding her fundraising goals); and implemented several student success initiatives.

Dr. Storrs previously worked at the University of Idaho where she joined as an Assistant Professor and rose through the ranks to Professor, Interim Department Chair (in two different departments), and Associate Dean. A first-generation college student, Dr. Storrs earned a BA in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from the University of Alaska, and a MS and PhD in Sociology from the University of Oregon.

Dr. Storrs earned a number of awards for her excellence in teaching and commitment to student learning. She embraces the teacher-scholar model and has conducted research and published on the scholarship of teaching and learning, community action, and on the experiences of students of color in higher education. She has engaged many undergraduate students in the discovery process, and co-authored conference papers and peer-reviewed publications with students.

In all of my conversations with her, I have been impressed by her commitment to public higher education and its transformative power; and how her compelling journey as a woman of color and first-generation community college student has impacted her as a university leader. Moreover, she has a proven track record of integrity and excellence, and has demonstrated her dedication to equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts. Dr. Storrs’ colleagues confirm what we observed during her campus visit – namely, that she is an energetic, collaborative, and transparent leader with the ability to get things done.

My deepest appreciation goes out to the search committee, led by Professor Greg Bell, who worked extremely hard this semester to develop an impressive pool of candidates with our partners at Isaacson, Miller, and brought this national search to a successful conclusion. And, a huge thank you to Vice Chancellor Terri Shelton, who has been serving admirably in the interim. She looks forward to working with Dr. Storrs to ensure a smooth transition.

I have every confidence that Dr. Storrs is the right person at the right time for UNCG as we aspire to be a national model for how to blend access and excellence to transform our students, the institution, and the community.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Storrs to the Spartan family.


Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.