With a record voter turnout, Bruce Cairns has been elected to succeed Jan Boxill as UNC Faculty Chair.
This comes at a time when faculty governance has become increasingly important as past internal problems have continued to put the University under close scrutiny.
“This is an important time for the University. We have a number of issues to address, and the faculty is very engaged. I think that they see this as an opportunity for us to continue to move forward,” said Cairns, a Professor in the Department of Surgery and Director of the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center.
Cairns defeated Professor of Sociology Andrew Perrin in the bid for Faculty Chair, with a record-setting number of more than 2,000 UNC faculty members casting their ballots, according to the University.
The voting period ended Monday evening.
“As far as my perspective on the role as Faculty Chair, it is really to serve the faculty and to help identify the issues that we think are important. [We can] then move them forward with the administration, the Board of Trustees, and then ultimately the citizens of the state,” Cairns said.
Having grown up in Chapel Hill as the son of a UNC faculty member, his said his passion for the University is what led him to seek the leadership position.
Cairns will begin a three-year term on July 1 and will oversee more than 25 standing committees on issues which include the relationship between academics and athletics.
He said his immediate priority would be keep all members of the faculty better informed about developments impacting the University and disseminate information quickly and concisely.
“The more people you can involve, the better solutions, the better answers, the more thorough a job you’ll do in evaluating the problem and coming up with a solution.”
As the transition process begins, Cairns said that it is an honor to follow Boxill as Faculty Chair. He praised her leadership and service during some of the most challenging times in the University’s history.
“Jan, at great personal sacrifice, has handled the issues with style and grace. I don’t think we could have handled them any better during this very tumultuous time,” he said,
Cairns said is he currently working with Boxill, learning from her experiences as Faculty Chair. He credited her for laying a framework for how the University will move forward from past missteps.
Boxill is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the UNC Parr Center for Ethics.