The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a leading public institution of higher education. As the oldest public university in the United States, Carolina has a long tradition of producing highly engaged citizens and leaders, driven by an abiding ethos of service to community, and has played a pivotal role in building a stronger, more diversified economy for the people of North Carolina and beyond.
The Blueprint for Next
To ensure continued excellence in a fast-changing world, we must keep our sights set high while also making decisive choices about which challenges and opportunities we will tackle. Envisioning the decade ahead, the University created a framework to guide our decision-making and investments. We embraced a process of strategic thinking, gathering ideas and input from a wide range of students, faculty, staff and alumni. We then conducted market research and gained endorsement from the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in 2017 of The Blueprint for Next — a unified, university strategic framework.
The Blueprint for Next identified two principles to guide our future: Of the Public, For the Public and Innovation Made Fundamental. These two principles recommitted Carolina to its historic role of service to North Carolina and its people, and to a fundamental quality essential to Carolina’s success: an unwavering commitment to continually reinvent itself, building on its strengths, while acknowledging and addressing shortcomings.
Guided by the Blueprint for Next, over the past two years, the University launched a range of initiatives, including Creativity Hubs to encourage innovative research collaborations; Arts Everywhere to make the arts ubiquitous on the campus and in all students’ lives; and the Global Guarantee to ensure a global experience for all students.
This Document: Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good
In 2018, Provost Bob Blouin convened a group of administrators and faculty members to develop a strategic, yet concrete plan of implementation and assessment in keeping with the vision set forth in The Blueprint for Next. This group also took account of developments during the past two years, including the Campus Master Plan and the University of North Carolina System’s strategic plan. The result is the present document, Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good. This document serves as the guide for University strategic investment and decision-making during a three-year horizon, with the understanding that its initiatives will be assessed and refreshed semi-annually with an eye toward change as work is completed and new opportunities emerge.
What is the purpose of Carolina Next? The strategic plan aims to turn the University’s vision and aspirational goals into readily understood, significant, implementable, measurable, strategic initiatives and opportunities. We want to be clear what we mean by strategic. In short, Carolina Next is focused on important challenges and areas where we believe the University has the greatest chance to create change and shape the future. This document does not attempt to capture all of the great work happening across the campus, nor does the exclusion of any activity suggest that it has become less important to the University. Rather, this document prioritizes where we can achieve the largest delta of change and, thereby, have the greatest impact.
Carolina Next belongs to all members of the University community and is a transparent, working guide that lets everyone see where and why we are making strategic investments. It also shows where we have made progress.
We begin the document by restating our vision, mission and values, followed by a simple graphic showing the continuous process of strategy setting, implementation, assessment and recalibration.
Carolina Next is framed around eight strategic initiatives. The strategic initiatives represent the core areas of focus across the University. We will make targeted investments that enable our community to: (1) Build Our Community Together, (2) Strengthen Student Success, (3) Enable Career Development, (4) Discover, (5) Promote Democracy, (6) Serve to Benefit Society, (7) Globalize and (8) Optimize Operations. These strategic initiatives are elaborated on later in the document.
We conducted an environmental scan for each strategic initiative. Each scan considers: the external macro-environment, both nationally and globally; the emerging trends, threats and opportunities in higher education; the competitive landscape; and, importantly, the strengths and opportunities for change within the University. For each strategic initiative, we consulted with multiple stakeholders as part of a systematic, thoughtful, fact-based process of determining where we are now, and where our greatest potential for achieving impact exists. The environmental scans enabled the refinement of each strategic initiative.
Three strategic objectives capture the major goals within each initiative. The strategic objectives represent the practical means of steering the University toward a shared vision. Each strategic objective opens the door to strategic opportunities, which can be pursued to bring about change and impact. Strategic opportunities are created in one of two ways: (a) they are existing and ongoing programs within the University that align with a particular strategic objective (several of these are outlined in Carolina Next) or (b) they are identified over time by the campus community and University leadership as new opportunities emerge.
Each strategic opportunity (whether existing or new) will be described in greater detail to provide appropriate context and will include a set of key performance metrics for monitoring of progress, as well as a timeline for implementation and reporting.
Progress toward achieving the goals articulated in Carolina Next will be assessed regularly and reported to the campus community on an annual basis, with updates provided more frequently, when available. The University’s website will include a page dedicated to sharing the progress toward achieving the goals of the strategic plan. While most strategic initiatives will likely hold steady over a period of years, environmental factors can (and do) change over time, as objectives are realized and new opportunities emerge, thus requiring constant examination and refreshing of Carolina Next. As we refresh the strategic plan, we will share and discuss updates with our community.
The ultimate value of Carolina Next will come as a result of its implementation and successful execution, which will require a significant, sustained and unified effort. This document gives us the context and direction we need to achieve our aspirational goals.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill aspires to be the leading global, public research university in America providing an outstanding, accessible and affordable education; conducting game-changing research and undertaking innovation for the public good; and bringing health and prosperity to the citizens of the state, nation and beyond.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, serves North Carolina, the United States, and the world through teaching, research and public service. We embrace an unwavering commitment to excellence as one of the world’s great research universities.
Our mission is to serve as a center for research, scholarship, service and creativity, and to educate a diverse community of undergraduate, graduate and professional students to become the next generation of leaders. Through the efforts of our exceptional faculty and staff, and with generous support from North Carolina’s citizens, we invest our knowledge and resources to enhance access to learning and to foster the success and prosperity of each rising generation. We also extend our knowledge-based services and other resources of the University to the citizens of North Carolina and its institutions to enhance the quality of life for all people in the state.
With lux, libertas — light and liberty — as its founding principles, the University has charted a bold course of leading change to improve society and to help solve the world’s greatest problems.
(Approved by the UNC Board of Governors, November 2009 and February 2014.)
We lead as a proudly public institution, seeking ways to serve and collaborate with the people of North Carolina and our partner organizations in the state, nation and across the globe.
We celebrate and embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion and their benefits for our campus, the people of North Carolina and the broader communities we serve.
We are dedicated to providing an accessible, affordable and excellent education to students, while giving them the tools they need to succeed through college and beyond.
We strive for excellence in all we do.
We are committed to operating effectively, sustainably, ethically, nimbly, with technological sophistication.
We welcome change and possibility; we seek wisdom in art; we are aspirational, energetic, creative and willing to take risks.
Above all, we care for one another, provide for each other’s well-being, build a highly capable community, and facilitate personal success.
Operationalizing Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good
The following diagram illustrates the process of strategy setting, implementation, assessment, reporting and recalibration that we expect to follow. While most strategic initiatives will likely hold over a period of years, environmental factors can and do change over time, as objectives are realized and new ones emerge, thus requiring regular examination and refreshing of Carolina Next. As this strategic plan is refreshed, updates will be discussed and shared openly, and refinements made accordingly.
STRATEGIC INITIATIVES AND OBJECTIVES AT-A-GLANCE
- 1. Build Our Community Together
- 1.1 Together create conditions on campus that enable each other to thrive and feel like we all belong
- 1.2 Enhance the educational benefits of diversity and inclusion through effective retention, recruitment and enrollment
- 1.3 Prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in teaching, research and service as well as in hiring, evaluation and promotion
- 2. Strengthen Student Success
- 2.1 Provide a student-centered experience, strengthen success for all students and foster equity in success across student populations
- 2.2 Facilitate learning that is experiential and collaborative, develops individual strengths and encourages the understanding, use and application of data
- 2.3 Expand digital technologies to increase access and opportunities for all North Carolinians and beyond
- 3. Enable Career Development
- 3.1 Fully integrate career preparation into all students’ experiences, and extend career development opportunities to alumni
- 3.2 Provide University staff with systematic professional development opportunities, enabling them to continuously advance their careers
- 3.3 Create opportunities to develop the careers of faculty and address the changing conditions affecting the professoriate
- 4. Discover
- 4.1 Pursue creative collaborations in research and scholarship
- 4.2 Encourage artistic practice and artist-scholar synergies
- 4.3 Lead in solving the world’s most challenging problems
- 5. Promote Democracy
- 5.1 Actively engage as diverse citizens responsible for the institutions of American democracy
- 5.2 Work constructively across differences in society, starting by promoting respect and listening
- 5.3 Explore how humanity’s highest purposes and potential can be realized through democracy and can help the democracy thrive
- 6. Serve to Benefit Society
- 6.1 Engage with communities and local governments to solve problems and improve lives
- 6.2 Achieve impact for North Carolina by supporting faculty who conduct results-driven research on problems with critical implications for the state
- 6.3 Grow partnerships with businesses, nonprofits and government to translate and implement discoveries into practical applications and public use
- 7. Globalize
- 7.1 Guarantee that a global education is available to all students
- 7.2 Bring the world to North Carolina with strengthened partnerships and enhanced campus-wide international programming
- 7.3 Increase impact abroad and at home by scaling select global initiatives
- 8. Optimize Operations
- 8.1 Transform the administrative operations that support
the University’s mission of teaching, research and public service
- 8.2 Implement a robust data governance structure and process to inform decision- making and drive change
- 8.3 Create and maintain world-class physical facilities and infrastructure in support of our institutional mission
- 8.1 Transform the administrative operations that support
Strategic initiative 1: Build Our Community Together
We are developing a curriculum with a deeper understanding of Carolina’s past and strengthening research on the American South through several initiatives, starting with the Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward.
We are investing in a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment through a $5 million Build our Community Together Fund that will draw from the experiences and ideas of
people across our community.
How well we meet the extraordinary challenge and promise of our time will hinge, above all else, on our ability to understand and work together with people of varied backgrounds and experiences. All around us – across our campus, state, country and world – are causes and controversies, opportunities and obstacles, and potential and predicaments that require creative thinking, different perspectives, and rigorous and respectful debate. The last several years reveal fundamental challenges in our civic life, in the form of real and urgent concerns about issues involving race, religion, identity, culture and intellectual diversity. Throughout history, events and circumstances arising across the country, including some in Chapel Hill, have sparked important discussions about discrimination, bias and equity. Members of our community have expressed concerns and frustration with the prejudice they have experienced or witnessed on campus and across the state, nation and world.
Carolina is committed to creating and sustaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive community of students, faculty and staff. Our differences are our strength. Our diversity enhances our educational programs, promotes the development of our students, brings different problem-solving approaches to bear on difficult challenges, creates vibrant workplace environments and enables us to achieve our mission as a leading public university.The University strives to put into practice what a significant and growing body of educational and organizational research has established: that diversity and inclusion enhance learning, foster discovery and strengthen service, especially in a community in which all individuals are valued for the unique combination of attributes that make them who they are.
As the nation’s first public university, our mission is to “teach a diverse community of undergraduate, graduate and professional students to become the next generation of leaders.” Diversity and inclusion are integrally and inextricably connected to excellence in service to the people of North Carolina and beyond.
Together create conditions on campus that enable each other to thrive and feel like we all belong
- Reimagine the role and structure of the University Office for Diversity and Inclusion
- Establish the UNC-Chapel Hill Commission on History, Race and A Way Forward
- Develop and deliver a series of campus/community seminars on the topic of anti-Semitism
- Launch new shared learning initiatives that focus on history, race, reckoning and the South
- Make strategic investments in culture and identity centers at the University
- Promote cultural events and celebrations broadly on campus and encourage attendance
Enhance the educational benefits of diversity and inclusion through effective retention, recruitment and enrollment
- Sustain the work of the Provost’s Working Group on the Educational Benefits of Diversity and disseminate the results of the assessments
- Engage the University community — students, faculty and staff, as well as alumni and supporters — in discussion and discovery of the rich diversity of the student body, as a means of fostering community, dispelling stereotypes and enhancing understanding and dialogue
- Enhance recruitment and enrollment experiences to foster a sense of belonging and equity in achievement across different populations
- Develop paths for UNC-Chapel Hill’s international students to enable them to contribute to building our community and enriching the community together
- Explore innovative approaches to admissions and evaluate its capacity to foster excellence and help the University provide the educational benefits of diversity
Prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion, in teaching, research and service as well as in hiring, evaluation and promotion
- Systematically evaluate the University’s current diversity training programs, assess best practices in diversity training, evaluate contemporary instruments to support diversity training, and develop a strategy to implement and execute diversity training at UNC-Chapel Hill
- Develop leadership pathways and mentoring for underrepresented faculty who aspire to assume leadership roles within higher education
- Develop strategies to recruit and retain diverse faculty, staff and students
- Reevaluate and rename the University’s waivered hiring program (formerly Targeted Hiring Program) to the VITAE Program (Valuing Inclusion to Attain Excellence)
Strategic Initiative 2: Strengthen Student Success
We are reimagining how we educate students through bold transformation of student-centered curricula and digital offerings.
We are creating a new school of data science.
Carolina has long sought to offer a great education while remaining accessible and affordable to outstanding students from North Carolina and beyond. That commitment requires constant reinvention to provide an educational experience that prepares students “to become lifelong learners, approaching the world with curiosity and open minds” (IDEAS in Action Curriculum).
Today’s world and workplace demand that university graduates demonstrate the following skills: resilience, self-sufficiency and self-awareness; the capacity to think critically and to solve problems not just in isolation but within complex, real-life situations; the ability to communicate effectively, be culturally competent and work well in teams; and the facility to use and understand data. While it remains essential for students to acquire substantive knowledge through a foundational liberal arts education, we must also adapt and refine curricula and pedagogies to foster the development of skills that workplaces demand. Central to this idea is the need to design experiences, both in and outside the classroom, that foster creativity. To achieve all of this will require that students engage in more active and applied learning, personalize their learning in ways that both reveal and build upon their unique strengths and talents and take advantage of experiential learning opportunities.
Further, we believe that all admitted students can and should thrive in college, graduate and grow into lifelong learners. For students to succeed they must be able to take full advantage of the breadth and depth of our curriculum, set academic and personal goals, and take responsibility for their education, choices and decisions. This means that, as a University, we will need to integrate and enrich the overall student experience to help students thrive at Carolina and beyond. We must empower our students to act on behalf of their own development to experience all that a Carolina education offers. Likewise, we must design systems and processes to integrate the academic, life skills, care services and other aspects of student development; and we must ensure easy student access to timely and accurate information about academics, support and careers. Opportunities also abound to improve the student experience through effective use of digital education technologies.
We also must continue to reach students who seek, but cannot gain access to, an excellent education. We share the UNC System’s commitment to increase enrollments and degrees earned by low-income and rural North Carolinians and to enroll a diverse student body. Carolina has a strong tradition of offsetting tuition expenses for low-income and rural students, but many qualified students still cannot participate in a traditional residential education because of life circumstances. At the same time, the rapid evolution and application of digital technology is transforming how universities can reach students, and Carolina embraces its obligation to provide technology-enhanced learning to North Carolinians and others whose career, location or schedule requires it.
Provide a student-centered experience, strengthen success for all students and foster equity in success across student populations
- Evaluate and implement recommendations from the Modernizing Student Support Working Group
- Incentivize and support faculty engagement for student success
- Develop innovative, shared and comprehensive processes and systems that include student success and degree audit tools
- Address student mental health issues and implement recommendations of the Mental Health Task Force
- Integrate Carolina Excellence, a student engagement tool in the Office of Student Affairs, with Modernizing Student Success
- Deploy the My Course Analytics Dashboard, an inclusive teaching tool, to all faculty who teach undergraduates
- Launch the Master’s in Applied Professional Studies program
Facilitate learning that is experiential and collaborative, develops individual strengths and encourages the understanding, use and application of data
- Launch the Digital Residential and Non-Residential Strategic Opportunities Lifelong Learning Initiative
- Implement the IDEAs in Action General Education Curriculum
- Create new school of data science
- Implement a data science Professional Science Master’s program
- Assure that every graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill is data literate
Expand digital technologies to increase access and opportunities for all North Carolinians and beyond
- Launch the Digital Residential and Non-Residential Lifelong Learning Initiative
- Assess and select an Online Program Management partner to fast-track the digital residential and non-residential needs of UNC-Chapel Hill
- Develop and implement the plan of integration with Carolina Courses Online and the Carolina Office for Online Learning
Strategic Initiative 3: Enable Career Development
We are developing opportunities in lifelong learning to advance careers.
We are recruiting and retaining top talent at all levels of faculty and staff.
Our greatest asset as a University is our people. Developing our people must be at the heart of what we do as an organization. We strive to foster professional development and growth opportunities for our students, staff, faculty and alumni, and to create a culture where all feel welcome, embrace the mission of the University, and make meaningful contributions to their communities and beyond.
Career exploration, internships and work experiences for undergraduate, professional and graduate students must begin much earlier than for previous generations of students. As employer expectations of career readiness rise, students are expected to pursue, and universities are expected to provide, more professional development support and experiences. Income mobility for graduates from lower-income backgrounds is especially important.
The University seeks to better prepare students for success beyond Carolina. Thus, our work on behalf of students must be student-centered, concerted, integrated, intentional, and focused across the University to improve and modernize student support. Students at Carolina – undergraduate, professional, and graduate – currently navigate a maze of decentralized offices to obtain basic services to support their path to graduation and career preparation. Although skilled and caring professionals are deployed across campus to support students, efforts are not centrally organized or seamlessly delivered in a way that effectively supports students and aids employers.
We must also help our faculty and staff reach their full potential. Over the last five years, large and small employers have established many new facilities and industries across the region that inevitably will compete with Carolina for top faculty and staff talent. We must improve our operational efficiencies to create a smarter working environment and foster staff development for the evolving University workforce to recruit, develop and retain the very best. Professional staff development must be purposeful, accessible, delivered via multiple platforms and modalities, monitored and tracked, aligned with day-to-day work and performance evaluations, and strategically designed to foster career growth and development of staff. Professional development is viewed as a coveted benefit within the workplace, particularly among millennials (who constitute an increasing proportion of the workforce) and is a strong driver of retention of key talent. It is imperative that we create the opportunities for employee development, processes that support employees taking increased ownership of their development, and managers creating a culture of inclusion, engagement and ongoing guidance.
Similarly, it is increasingly more difficult and expensive to attract, develop and retain faculty. High start-up costs and the significant time and effort required to develop faculty capacity makes faculty retention a top priority. It is important to assist faculty in reaching their full potential through improved and consistently applied annual reviews and career development planning as well as mentoring. Awarding tenure is essential to maintain a stable, high-quality professional faculty. Consequently, the criteria used to confer tenure must be up to date, clear and applied consistently. At the same time, changes affecting all universities have resulted in more fixed-term faculty positions. In the health science schools, clinical, research and teaching faculty play an increasingly crucial role in faculty life. The tenure-track and fixed-term faculty experiences, privileges and rewards must be re-evaluated and harmonized.
Concurrently, the University is a resource to the people of North Carolina and, to that end, aspires to educate the workforce needed by the state today and into the future. Encouraging learners to use their talents and education to address challenges faced by our population creates meaningful work for our graduates and contributes to North Carolina’s overall prosperity and well-being. In the spirit of lifelong learning, we must also help our students after they graduate. We must provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to grow, adapt and thrive in an evolving world.
Fully integrate career preparation into all students’ Provide University staff with systematic
experiences and extend career development professional development opportunities,
opportunities to alumni enabling them to advance their careers
- Adopt Modernizing Student Support recommendations for student career preparation, i.e., develop more efficient and integrated partnerships between and across units, such as between the College of Arts & Sciences Advising and University Career Services, to optimize all aspects of student navigation from matriculation to graduation
- Develop digital offerings in lifelong learning to advance careers of alumni
Provide University staff with systematic professional development opportunities, enabling them to advance their careers
- Recruit and retain top talent at all levels of staff employment
- Implement the Talent Management System proposal from Office of Human Resources
- Develop digital lifelong learning programs and other professional development opportunities to facilitate career advancement for staff
- Encourage and promote work-life balance
Create opportunities to develop the careers of faculty, and address the changing conditions affecting the professoriate
- Recruit and retain top talent among the faculty ranks
- Create leadership pathways and mentoring for our underrepresented faculty who aspire to assume leadership roles on campus or within higher education
- Promote and integrate the Center for Faculty Excellence and Carolina Office for Lifelong Learning for course development and teaching strategies, and coordinate with Office of Human Resources and Academic Personnel Office to provide more management training opportunities for faculty
- Assess the effectiveness of, and update or change, the policies and practices associated with both tenure-track and fixed-term promotion and tenure
- Encourage and promote work-life balance for faculty on campus
Strategic Initiative 4: Discover
We are leading in the cure of rare diseases, neurological diseases, HIV and cancer through Carolina’s culture of collaboration.
We are addressing compelling problems through convergent, innovative, team-based science that will speed the impact of new discoveries.
We look to faculty to help us comprehend and solve immediate challenges. We rely on them to inspire us through imagining new works of art, music, literature, theater and creative expression that remind us of human grace. And we need them for discovery: for exploring new ideas, solving problems, imagining different ways of seeing, working to fill gaps in human knowledge and for the simple reason that we do not know what knowledge we will need next.
Premier universities create conditions for discovery by sustaining robust, multi-stranded, creatively adaptable research, scholarly and artistic missions. Carolina is one of a small number of such universities. Today, UNC-Chapel Hill is the 11th largest research university in the United States, ranks fifth in federal research expenditures, and first in the nation for federally funded social and behavioral science research and development. About 150 Carolina faculty are members of the National Academies and other prestigious learned societies.
Increasingly, multifaceted approaches to discovery are prized. In the sciences, federal research funding agencies set the United States research priorities, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Carolina’s top funding source, favors highly nimble and collaborative teams spanning multiple universities and research centers for funding that addresses national priorities. Carolina has significant opportunities to compete for grants by expanding its own partnerships internally and with other universities, industries and external organizations as well as continuing to diversify its funding sources. Toward this end, Carolina has established six institutional research priorities aligned with those of national funding agencies, such as NIH and the National Science Foundation: Precision Health & Society; Brain & Neuroscience; Cancer; Data Science; Environment; and Opportunity, Well-Being & Culture.
At the same time, Carolina’s literary scholars, historians, geographers, anthropologists, religious studies scholars, and others have sustained long-term inquiry in North Carolina, across the United States and abroad. They pursue systematic, empirical understandings and careful analyses of the shifts taking place, and in doing so secure highly competitive resources from both private funders, such as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and federal agencies including the National Endowments for the Humanities and the Arts. New initiatives, as well as long-standing programs including the Humanities for the Public Good, Carolina Performing Arts and the Ackland Art Museum, build constituencies on campus and beyond to enjoy the expanded horizons that art brings and to join the debates that humanities spark.
Pursue creative collaboration in research and scholarship
- Invest in and implement the following institution-driven priorities:
- Data Science: Create a new school of data science designed to accelerate data science research and collaboration
- Brain Neuroscience: Initiate studies to explore focus areas and enhance capabilities
- Clinical Research Support Implementation: Design and implement organizational structure and tools to enhance clinical research and clinical decision support
- Implement the Southern Futures Initiative
Encourage artistic practice and artist-scholar synergies
- Implement IDEAs in Action General Education Curriculum’s Focus Capacity – Creative Expression, Practice and Production
- Broaden our expectations of research teams to include foundational contributions from artists, creative humanists and performers
- Update the concept of Arts Everywhere
Lead in solving the world’s most challenging problems
- Develop and implement the three lanes of the Institute for Convergent Science: Convergent Commons, Pre-commercial Demonstration and Commercial Launch
- Enable faculty-driven interdisciplinary projects such as creativity hubs and other campus and unit-based initiatives
Strategic Initiative 5: Promote Democracy
We are inspiring conversations that engage students, faculty, staff and our community in rigorous public discourse and examination.
As a leading global, public research university, we play a key role in the exchange of ideas and the education of informed citizens. Carolina is exceptionally well positioned to address contemporary issues and challenges through education, research and service. Furthermore, as a higher education institution rooted in the American South, a frank confrontation with our region’s history of racial and ethnic violence and exclusion is a necessary part of inclusive democratic citizenship.
Carolina’s commitment to education for the public good is embedded in the 1789 Act establishing the University to “endeavor to fit [the rising generation] for an honorable discharge of the social duties of life, by paying the strictest attention to their education.” At the time of that Act and for nearly two centuries later most of the rising generation were not welcome at Carolina, whether for reasons of race, ethnicity, gender or class. Even now, the University continues to work towards inclusion and is fully committed to serving the people of North Carolina. This commitment continues with Carolina’s pledge to support and improve democratic citizenship in the state, the nation and around the globe.
Today, as in times past, humanity faces many challenges including the rise of populist and nationalist movements, political polarizations, pollution and climate issues, poverty, public health crises, food and water insecurity, violence, terrorism and income inequality. These are global challenges and they are all brought home to us in North Carolina.
A Carolina education must focus on the skills needed for public engagement, including listening, perspective-taking, civil discussion, and frank disagreement, along with critical evaluation of evidence, probabilistic thinking and analysis of causal pathways. This rigorous academic training must be paired with participation in the political and civic sphere. We will build on our strong foundation of student self-governance and high rates of community and civic engagement for the betterment of our campus, our state, our nation and our world.
Actively engage as diverse citizens responsible for the institutions of American democracy
- Coordinate a “Carolina Votes” initiative. Involve Faculty Governance, Employee Forum, Student Government, Graduate and Professional Student Forum, Campus Y and Carolina Center for Public Service, among others, to organize educational events, voter registration and voter education. Measure student, staff and faculty understanding and participation in the 2020 primary and general elections
- Provide opportunities for students to intern in, or work with, democracy-related community organizations including electoral campaigns, social movement organizations and government offices through the Carolina Center for Public Service and the Campus Y
Work constructively across differences in society, starting by promoting respect and listening
- Provide opportunities for conversations on and off campus that bring students and faculty into respectful dialogue with people they disagree with; facilitate campus forums to promote honest, frank discussion and dissent on major campus and public issues; build the capacity to engage constructively across differences, disputes, and conflicts around social justice and conflict management. Involve the Institute of Politics, Roosevelt Institute, College Democrats and Republicans, Black Student Movement, Campus Y, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Philosophy, Politics & Economies, Program on Public Discourse, Southern Futures and other campus units
- Develop a faculty expert response system to provide evidence-based context for visiting speakers, along with mechanisms for audience feedback, to promote greater speaker quality and audience participation (possibly link with IDEAs in Action’s General Education Curriculum’s Campus Life requirement)
- Develop the Communication Beyond Carolina capacity requirement in the IDEAs in Action General Education Curriculum to provide all undergraduates with strong skills in communication and listening with different audiences and publics
- Conceptualize and develop the UNC Program for Public Discourse, emphasizing respectful dialogue in classes and public event
Explore how humanity’s highest purposes and potential can be realized through democracy and can help the democracy thrive
- Convene a Summit on the University’s Responsibility to Democracy to coordinate and develop research, educational and service contributions to democratic renewal
- Develop and support a Democracy Track in the IDEAs in Action General Education Curriculum to allow students to focus on democratic competencies regardless of major
- Develop and support a Democracy Training Program/Certificate available for graduate students across all units
- Develop and support a Center for Information, Technology and Public Life
- Develop a community engagement model for the school of data science, focusing on data for democratic and policy improvements
- Study and document news deserts in North Carolina and the nation and the implications for citizens without access to local news and information; propose innovative models for renewing access to news, information and ideas in North Carolina and the nation
Strategic Initiative 6: Serve to Benefit Society
We are implementing the Provost’s Initiative on Rural Engagement and Partnerships to bring together stakeholders and encourage authentic, effective and sustainable collaborations for the public good.
UNC-Chapel Hill embraces with pride its status as the nation’s first public university and its call to public service — to North Carolina as well as to the nation and the world. Our mission statement makes it clear that we are to serve as a center for service and to extend our “knowledge-based services and other resources of the University to the citizens of North Carolina and their institutions to enhance the quality of life for all people in the state.”
The guiding principles for the Carolina Next — Of the Public, For the Public and Innovation Made Fundamental — also express our commitment to service for the benefit of society. Our citizens and our communities, at home and beyond, are expecting us, are depending on us, to honor that commitment.
While North Carolina daily attracts new residents and successfully recruits and launches new businesses, it also faces many extraordinarily complex and interrelated challenges that contribute to being ranked among the least healthy economies in the United States. Most small-town and rural economies are struggling to transition from the economic drivers of the past — furniture, textiles and tobacco — to the technology- and knowledge-based economy of the present and future. An increase in natural disasters has affected cities and towns across the state, leaving many communities still in recovery when the next disaster hits. Opioid-related overdose is one of the leading causes of accidental death in North Carolina. The state’s poverty rate is the 15th highest in the nation.
These and other challenges also affect communities, regions and nations throughout the world. Our University has an important role to play to help address these problems and find solutions that lead to improved health and prosperity of people and places.
To that end, the University extends expertise in direct ways that provide immediate assistance to communities across North Carolina and throughout the world. The University’s faculty, students and staff from medicine, public health, dentistry, pharmacy, law, government, business, media and journalism schools, and centers and institutes offer professional services to citizens and communities through a variety of clinical, outreach and training programs. Carolina also forges deeply collaborative partnerships to understand and address local challenges, respecting and involving the community in ways that develop sustainable local solutions to complex problems. Our world-class museums provide public education opportunities for a wide range of North Carolinians.
Carolina also is uniquely positioned to drive innovation, as well as economic and social development. As an engine of innovation, Carolina develops entrepreneurs, enables the creation of new companies and job growth, and translates basic science into solution-oriented products, technologies and services to solve problems for the public good. Social and economic potential can be realized when academic research findings are translated effectively.
Carolina’s commitment to service must remain strong, evolving in new and innovative ways to meet the needs of the state and beyond.
Engage with communities and local governments to solve problems and improve lives
- Bring together UNC-Chapel Hill’s unrivaled Southern expertise and resources for transformative impact on campus, in the state and across the South through the Southern Futures initiative
- Provide high-level organizational leadership and support that encourages and supports public service focused on addressing community challenges and opportunities
- Provide recognition through promotion and tenure policies and procedures for faculty who apply their scholarship and experience in ways that address community problems
- Document and assess ongoing community-campus partnerships, especially those in distressed communities, to identify best practices for joining community and University assets to address community priorities
- Continue the Tar Heel Bus Tour
- Create a hub for community-based participatory research
Achieve impact for North Carolina by supporting faculty who conduct results-driven research on problems with critical implications for the state
- Launch the Provost’s Initiative on Rural Engagement and Partnerships
- Advance the Interprofessional Education and Practice Initiative
- Apply the learnings from international collaborative research activities to problems facing the state of North Carolina
- Increase participation in the Pathways to Impact, an online “mini MBA” for faculty interested in entrepreneurial endeavors
- Develop channels for sharing Innovate Carolina’s County Mapping that illustrates UNC-Chapel Hill’s engagement in North Carolina
Grow partnerships with businesses, nonprofits and government to translate and implement discoveries into practical applications and public use
- Develop major corporate partnership strategies to enable physical infrastructure in wet labs and other research facilities
- Expand the number of investors in the Carolina Angel Network
- Expand the number of investors in the Carolina Research Ventures Fund
Strategic Initiative 7: Globalize
We are launching the Global Guarantee to expand global opportunities for all students as we bring the world to Carolina.
North Carolina is impacted significantly by global business, demographic and economic trends. As such, the state increasingly needs a university operating at the forefront of global teaching, research and service to generate maximum impact and influence on campus, in North Carolina and the United States and throughout the world. Moreover, our graduates must demonstrate global competencies and skills to thrive as engaged citizens and successful professionals.
Carolina is a leading global public research university, home to excellent researchers and scholars from nearly 80 countries. Many are members and leaders in some of the most prestigious academies and professional organizations in the United States and around the world. In 2017, our faculty conducted sponsored research in or related to over 100 countries and are helping to solve many of the world’s most pressing problems.
Currently, Carolina students can take advantage of a successful study abroad program and nearly 40 percent of undergraduates choose to study abroad for academic credit. Even more are engaged in non-credit global activities and experiences, including research, community service projects and professional internships. Increasingly, departments and schools offer specialized global content or have global issues and themes integrated throughout degree programs in order to provide students with a compelling and relevant disciplinary higher education and continued professional training.
Despite impressive global programs and enhanced student mobility, Carolina lags peer institutions in percentage of enrolled international students, rate of increase of international student enrollment and percentage of full-time faculty who are international. In recent years, other top-tier research universities have grown their global operational and support capacities, facilitating deeper international teaching, research and public service commitments by their faculty and students as well as increased opportunities for scalable, in-country impact. Likewise, peer institutions are building substantive collaborations with international university and corporate partners that are extending their research capabilities. In a global and heavily interconnected world where talent, economies and diverse experiences are interdependent and enrich the whole, it is imperative for us to build and strengthen our partnerships and presence globally.
No one university can excel in all aspects of global higher education. At Carolina, we seek to align our global strategy with the University’s core values – primarily access and affordability for student global opportunities and an enduring commitment to public service in the communities where we are engaged and where we lead significant research efforts and projects. Moreover, we are committed to long-term, sustainable institutional partnerships abroad as opposed to stand-alone efforts or isolated infrastructure.
Guarantee that a global education is available to all students
- Launch Global Guarantee to expand global opportunities for undergraduates
- Expand global opportunities for graduate and professional students
- Develop, market and track a portfolio of Global Immersion Experiences (short-term international opportunities) for undergraduates who cannot participate in traditional study abroad experiences
- Launch targeted fund-raising to increase resources available for students who wish to participate in a transformative global experience but lack the financial means
Bring the world to North Carolina with strengthened partnerships and enhanced campus-wide international programming
- Identify and develop strategic partnerships to innovate in global programming and research
- Enhance campus-wide programming (e.g., cultural events, speakers) to further internationalize the student experience
- Develop and execute initial phase of institutional strategy for Asia
- Enhance global branding of the University; support global initiatives and elevate to university-wide recognition
Increase impact abroad and at home by scaling select global initiatives
- Establish global operations support infrastructure and institutional policies that streamline and strengthen global research and programming in overseas locations, including the hire of a director of global operations
Establish a Global Seed Fund to support new global research, teaching and public service efforts with emphasis on distinctive collaborations with strategic partners
Strategic Initiative 8: Optimize Operations
We are transforming administrative operations through a new budget model, realigning spending authorities and implementing campus-wide lean management training.
We are coordinating critical functions related to providing a comprehensive approach to institutional compliance and risk management.
Optimizing operations is essential to creating an effective and sustainable organization. Moody’s and S&P, the two primary bond rating agencies, recently downgraded the outlook for higher education, citing subdued operating revenue growth and expense growth increases. Our own state is facing increased competition for finite resources. Carolina is pressured on every one of its primary revenue sources: tuition, state appropriations from the North Carolina General Assembly, patient revenues, research funding and investment income.
The current decentralized and fragmented operating environment at the University overemphasizes individual and historic preferences and makes decision-making based on a whole-university perspective difficult. The University’s current administrative operating environment is outdated, not scalable and has limited funding for strategic priorities. This environment hinders our ability to do the work of the University in a productive, efficient and effective manner. Meanwhile, the UNC System Board of Governors and UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees are asking for — and expecting — greater financial and operational transparency and accountability.
At a time when major universities nationwide struggle with the same challenges, achieving operational excellence can be a differentiating factor for Carolina. In 2018, the University launched Operational Excellence, a multifaceted initiative that seeks to transform the University’s administrative functions and business processes. The Operational Excellence initiative created an opportunity for the campus not simply to catch up, but to surpass its peers and work at the forefront of operational change in higher education.
Transform the administrative operations that support the University’s mission of teaching, research and public service
- Implement new budget model
- Create an Office of Institutional Integrity and Risk Management
- Continue to support the Campus Safety Commission
- Advance and expand the Operational Excellence initiative
- Create a Lean Management culture through the development and implementation of a Lean Management training program
- Realign spend authority policies
- Reduce costs and increase research flexibility by adopting a multi-cloud systems and services strategy
- Create a nimble approach, inclusive of distributed technology units, in planning and executing institutional technology projects
- Enhance “compliance-readiness” by aligning routine operations with suitable routine process and procedures
- Leverage automation of student support services, freeing staff for critical face-to-face interactions
Implement a robust data governance structure and process to inform decision-making and drive change
- Reengineer the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment to become the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment, furthering its role in planning, program evaluation and university metrics
- Modernize administrative data governance workflow and tracking to expedite internal and external acceptable use agreements
Create and maintain world-class physical facilities and infrastructure in support of our institutional mission
- Create a working Master Plan from the existing 2019 Campus Master Plan
- Identify and prioritize facilities to be renovated or replaced
- Secure funding to renovate or replace prioritized facilities