Appreciative Inquiry & Positive Psychology Resources: About AI at UNC

Resources for the AI Community at Carolina.

Why an AI Guide?

This guide and the companion blog, Appreciative Inquiry at UNC, were an outgrowth of the three-day Strengthening Faculty Voice through Appreciative Inquiry workshop for the UNC faculty, sponsored by Carolina’s Office of Faculty Governance, Center for Faculty Excellence and Institute for the Arts and Humanities, May 19-21, 2010, held in Chapel Hill, NC.

Barbara Fredrickson, UNC Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology, speaks at December, 2011, Commencement.

Barbara Fredrickson, who "studies positive emotions and human well-being" and is author of the book, Positivity, spoke at UNC's December 2011 commencement.

Authored by Barbara Fredrickson (in UNC Catalog)

  • a selection of books and chapters authored by Barbara Fredrickson, along with several theses or dissertations she supervised

Faculty Council, September 10, 2010

From Meeting of the Faculty Council and the General Faculty Friday, September 10, 2010, Agenda.
Retrieved from (accessed 1-15-11):

Using "Appreciative Inquiry" to Consider the Role and Work of the Faculty Council

  • Chair of the Faculty McKay Coble
  • Dr. David Kiel, Leadership Coordinator, Center for Faculty Excellence

What is "Appreciative Inquiry"?

Beginnings at Carolina

As reported by Chair of the Faculty, McKay Coble (July 19, 2010), in her Appreciative Inquiry Workshop Study, 1. Executive Summary, p. 1.
Retrieved from (accessed 1/15/2011):

The Executive Committee of the Office of Faculty Governance (2009-10) studied and adopted the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) method as a way of strengthening the faculty's voice in determining the University's future, enhancing faculty vitality, and implementing positive change. As a companion piece to the Bain Report (now Carolina Counts) which is generally instructive based on the needs of the University, Appreciative Inquiry methodology is asset/strength based and may well prove beneficial in this period of financial stress which has led to severe material cutbacks and lowering of morale across campus.

A Novel Use of AI at UNC's Health Sciences Library

The Health Sciences Library at UNC Chapel Hill is using AI principles in it's "I Love My HSL" blog. 

In this blog, users share their stories about the ways in which the librarians and staff of the Health Sciences Library have helped them achieve success.  

SOAR Workshop with Sallie Lee Octoboer 10, 2010

CFE Appreciative Inquiry Follow-up Meeting Features an Alternative Model of Strategic Planning
(D. Kiel, personal communication, 10-18-10)

The Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE) sponsored a lunch-and-learn session on Appreciative Inquiry (AI) on October 10, 2010 in Wilson Library. Participants included UNC faculty and staff from CFE, the office of Undergraduate Research, the Office of Human Resources, the Health Sciences Library, the School of Government, and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

AI Consultant Sallie Lee of Shared Sun Studios in Asheville discussed the SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, results) approach, an AI model of strategic planning. (More information on SOAR)

  • Workshop participants, most of whom had attended Sallie’s May 19-21 training program sponsored by the CFE, Office of Faculty Governance and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, reported on the use of AI on campus since May including:
  • UNC Departments of Dramatic Arts, Public Policy, and Religious Studies used AI approaches in their start-of-year faculty retreats. While each unit had very different retreat agendas and goals, the AI model of paired interviews focusing on positive experiences related to the topic on hand, followed by small group discussion, and then whole group sharing of key lessons and success factors seemed to work in each setting.
  • The Office of Faculty Governance is using an AI approach to improve participation in faculty council sessions. Faculty Chair McKay Coble reports good results in the first two sessions despite tension-filled agendas.
  • The Health Sciences Library is developing a blog of successful customer interactions and other applications of the AI model [and resource guide]
  • The Program for New Associate Professors in the College of Arts and Science sponsored an AI-based session to help faculty access positive past experience as a way of re-launching their faculty careers post tenure.
  • An AI approach was successfully used as part of a mentoring workshop for new faculty at the national meeting of Journalism and Mass Communications Educators.

For additional information, please visit the Appreciative Inquiry at UNC blog, November 9, 2010, post.

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