Carolina’s Major Accomplishments:
A Quick Sampling, 2000-2007
Since August 2000, when Chancellor James Moeser took office, the University of North Carolina has made significant progress as a campus committed to becoming the nation’s leading public university. Following is a summary of some of the University’s noteworthy achievements over the past eight years.
Articulated the vision of becoming America’s leading public university. That modified previous statements about the “best” public university. The focus is making the University the best that it can be to help make North Carolina as successful as possible. “Leading” is defined in part by setting an example for the higher education community on issues such as early decision admissions, and affordability. In ending binding early decision admissions, for example, Chancellor Moeser believed Carolina should lead on an issue that had unfairly favored campus interests over those of students.
Launched the Carolina Covenant for deserving low-income students. Under the program, a first for a major public university, qualified low-income students admitted under regular admissions standards become eligible to graduate debt-free. This concept began a movement in U.S. higher education. Other universities and at least two states have begun about 40 similar initiatives. The University will graduate its first class of Carolina Covenant Scholars next May. To date, about 1,400 students have benefited from the program, which includes a mentoring component featuring volunteer faculty and older Covenant students. Last September, the University hosted a conference, "The Politics of Inclusion: Higher Education at a Crossroads," seeking national solutions to the complex issues surrounding access and affordability. More than 150 state and federal policymakers, economists, researchers, foundation and business leaders and educators from across the country exchanged ideas intended to help shape national policy and practice. The Carolina Covenant has been a springboard for two innovative programs funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to help low-income students in community college and high school settings. North Carolinians are directly benefiting from both efforts.
Strengthened the University’s commitment to North Carolina’s people and communities. In 2004, Chancellor Moeser began his “Carolina Connects” initiative to further strengthen those relationships between the University and the state’s people and communities. Through more than 70 visits across the state to date, Moeser has been highlighting and enhancing the University’s focus on education, health and economic development – the issues identified as the most important by state citizens during listening sessions conducted by the University. “Carolina Connects” visits continue this year. The initiative also draws from the findings of a task force focusing on North Carolina that Moeser convened in 2005 after concluding Carolina could do an even better job for the state. To help coordinate our efforts Moeser created the Office of Vice Chancellor for Public Service and Engagement. Now the University is working to increase the number of science and mathematics teachers for public schools, expand the professional health workforce and reach out to businesses, especially entrepreneurial companies. Carolina is partnering with Elizabeth City State University to respond to the critical shortage of pharmacists in North Carolina. The partnership aims to increase the number of pharmacists representing minority and underserved populations and stimulate economic growth in northeastern North Carolina.
Conducted the most successful private fund-raising campaign in University history. Carolina First has far exceeded the $440 million raised during the Bicentennial Campaign in becoming one of the most ambitious and successful fund-raising efforts ever for a public university. As of September 2007, Carolina First had raised more than $2.23 billion, surpassing its final $2 billion goal six months ago. Alumni and friends have exceeded the goal of creating 200 new distinguished professorships, as well as 544 new undergraduate scholarships and 188 new graduate student fellowships (toward a goal of 1,000). The push for student scholarships includes a new emphasis on merit-based awards. The campaign, which ends in December 2007 and is led by volunteer alumni, also supports research, strategic initiatives, facilities and the University’s endowment. As the campaign winds down, one goal is to meet a special $100 million target set for faculty resources last February.
Carried out an unprecedented physical transformation of the main campus. This ambitious building program was made possible by North Carolinians’ overwhelming approval of the $3.1 billion bond referendum for higher education in 2000. The referendum was the nation’s largest higher education bond package. The bonds have meant more than $515 million for renovations and new buildings at Carolina. The University is also investing in growth using gifts, faculty research grants and other campus sources. The resulting capital construction program – now at $2.1 billion – is among the largest under way at any major U.S. university. The program involves 165 projects, 72 of which have been completed and are valued at $764 million. Of the 49 projects related to the bond referendum, 80 percent are completed and only one remains in design. The bond projects are scheduled for completion in January 2009 – within two months of the original projection. In all, the building program is adding 6 million square feet of facilities to the main campus. Goals include making the campus pedestrian friendly and incorporating innovative sustainability features as part of a campus master plan.
Developed and adopted an academic plan. The plan, adopted in July 2003, outlines six major academic priorities, identifies related strategic areas of opportunities, presents recommendations, links strategic planning to resource allocations and assigns administrative units to be accountable for follow-up action. The plan, endorsed by the Board of Trustees, is dynamic and has proven to be a great tool for making the University’s top priorities clear to the campus community. In setting seven University priorities after the plan was completed, the Board of Trustees added an additional priority: completing the campus development plan and beginning Carolina North, a planned mixed-use campus on UNC property north of the main campus in Chapel Hill.
Determined strategies to reallocate resources to the University’s highest priorities as reflected in the academic plan. Campus tuition revenue will provide $5.5 million in support for faculty this year. This tuition has accounted for more than $30 million in salaries and benefits since the University was authorized to use those funds in 2000. Over the past eight years, the University has reallocated and targeted funding to make possible efforts to increase the overall number and percentage of small classes and decrease large classes. Trustees approved a plan to reallocate trademark licensing revenues to support merit-based scholarships to help address North Carolina’s growing “brain drain.” Trustees also approved a plan to increase the student athletic fee to support the Olympic sports program and its competitive position. The University also has begun the process of replacing enterprise computing systems to streamline business processes with new technology. These are examples of a systematic effort to match funding with University priorities.
Nurtured growth in faculty research funding. Faculty attract federal and private research dollars to support efforts to cure diseases, improve technology, bring innovation to industries such as biotechnology and spin off new businesses that create jobs and diversify the state’s economy. Total research grants and contracts rose by almost 3 percent in fiscal 2007 to exceed $610 million – more than double the level from a decade ago. Key areas include a genome sciences initiative, an Institute for Advanced Materials, Nanosciences and Technology and the Renaissance Computing Institute. Cancer is another major emphasis enhanced with the construction of the North Carolina Cancer Hospital, which will provide a clinical home for the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The General Assembly just created a new fund for cancer research for the University at a permanent level of $50 million annually. Last year, the chancellor set a goal for the University to reach $1 billion in sponsored research by 2015.
Improved faculty salaries – the University’s number one priority. The University’s goal for average pay for tenure and tenure-track faculty is to match the 80th percentile of the Board of Governors-approved peer group. Carolina expects to reach the 50th percentile of its peers this year. With another strong legislative session and additional campus-based tuition revenue, the University may be within striking distance of the 80th percentile soon, depending on raises awarded by peers. The University currently ranks 26th among the 85 top public and private research universities for average salary at the professor level, 30th at associate professor and 28th at assistant professor. Last year, state appropriations and campus tuition revenue made possible average faculty raises exceeding 7 percent. This fall’s average faculty pay increase will not be known until the September payroll is completed. The legislative increases and tuition revenue enabled the University to slice about $10 million from the gap between current average salaries and the 80th percentile.
Reversed a negative faculty recruitment and retention trend. In 2006-07, the University retained 72 percent of faculty who received outside offers and to whom the campus made counter offers – the best performance in five years. That compared with rates of 52 percent in 2006 and 40 percent in 2003. Major factors were two consecutive years of excellent faculty salary appropriations from the General Assembly and a new recruitment and retention fund made possible by legislators last year at UNC President Erskine Bowles’ request. Carolina received nearly $1 million from the UNC system from this fund, which helped recruit nine nationally known scholars and keep six key faculty who received outside offers.
Enhanced undergraduate education. Last fall, the University implemented a newly revised general education curriculum. This is a once-in-a-quarter-century event for most campuses. The new curriculum was the focus of a three-year review designed to create courses that were more integrated. The goal is to foster in graduates the curiosity, integrity and adaptability required to be successful in today’s world. Changes included an emphasis on small classes, global issues and research experiences.
Set new four- and six-year graduation rates. Last fall, in his annual “State of the University” address, the chancellor proposed two goals later endorsed by the Board of Trustees and the UNC Board of Governors. Those goals were to match the six-year rates of Berkeley, UCLA and Michigan by 2010. Last year, theirs stood at 87 percent compared to UNC’s 84 percent. The four-year goal is to improve from 71 percent to 75 percent by 2010. This year, that rate rose by nearly 2 percentage points to 73 percent. This push ties in with efforts to tell students they are expected to graduate within eight semesters, with rare exceptions.
Strengthened the focus on internationalization and a global mission. Examples include completion of the FedEx Global Education Center, intended to be a vibrant hub of international studies, academic services, research, public service and cultural exchange. The University now has more than 300 study abroad programs in 70 countries, ranking second among public U.S. research universities for the rate of undergraduates going abroad at 35 percent – up from 15 percent in 2000. The chancellor traveled to China last year when the University co-sponsored a conference on health-care reform with Peking University as part of a global health forum that will include a similar event in Chapel Hill next year. A chancellor-led delegation also visited Singapore, leading to a new joint undergraduate degree program with the National University of Singapore believed to be the first of its kind for undergraduates outside a professional school setting among peer campuses. Last May, Carolina dedicated the European Study Center in Winston House in London, augmenting a relationship with King’s College, London, to help support study abroad. In the research arena, the University has expanded its significant presence in global health. Researchers are active in Malawi, China, Madagascar, India, South Africa, Russia, Thailand, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, South America and the Caribbean.
Championed the University's longtime commitment to diversity. A campus task force produced the University's first diversity plan, which began implementation last fall. Carolina has also marked progress in several key areas. For example, the Carolina student body has become dramatically more diverse since 2000. Through an admissions policy that evaluates each candidate individually and comprehensively, both the diversity and the academic preparation of the entering class have significantly improved. Carolina has had the highest percentage of African-American students in the entering class six times in eight years (through fall 2006) among the top 50 national universities.
Defended freedom of speech. The chancellor vigorously defended free speech and academic freedom, particularly highlighted in 2002 when a lawsuit challenged a Summer Reading Program book selection, and again in 2003 when the book selection also was the subject of debate.
Revitalized planning for Carolina North. Carolina North is envisioned as a mixed-use academic development on the University’s 900-plus-acre tract. The most recent planning efforts have focused on seeking broad community input. Activities have included a well-attended series of community meetings to present an evolving series of draft concept plans developed by consultants. This followed the deliberations of the Leadership Advisory Committee, appointed by the chancellor to provide advice about guiding principles the University should follow for the new campus. The Board of Trustees will consider a final draft concept plan at its September 2007 meeting.
Made a major commitment of resources to support the performing arts. Through the renovation to Memorial Hall, planning for the Arts Common and a reorganized management model for the arts, the University has positioned itself as a performing arts destination for patrons and an excellent cause for donors to support. The Memorial Hall renovation was made possible by the state bond referendum and gifts. Progress on the Arts Common is now highly visible, with renovations under way for Person and Gerrard halls, along with Playmakers Theatre, a National Historic Landmark, and with construction on a new music building.
Convened Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace, resulting in 34 recommendations to improve working conditions for employees. Highlights included establishing an ombuds office – the number one priority of the report – that quickly earned a reputation as a national model for its successful approach.
Protected and enhanced the athletic program’s key objectives for overall excellence. The University has regularly contributed to national debate about NCAA academic reform. The chancellor participates in CEO Group of Six discussions about athletic and academic issues. He served on the NCAA’s Presidential Task Force on the Future of Division I Intercollegiate Athletics and the fiscal responsibility subcommittee. Carolina consistently finishes near the top of the annual Directors Cup competition for overall program excellence. Last year, Carolina finished third, marking the sixth consecutive top 10 finish.