University News

Board of Trustees endorses new University strategic plan

Over the past eight months, the Board of Trustees, members of the Chancellor’s leadership team and several faculty, staff and student groups across campus, provided feedback on the plan and checked for consistency and alignment with individual school and unit strategic plans.

Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz speaks at a podium.
Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz presents Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good during the UNC Board of Trustees full board meeting held at The Carolina Inn. January 30, 2020. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

The UNC-Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good, Carolina’s new strategic plan Thursday. Seeking to turn the University’s vision and aspirational goals into readily understood, significant, implementable, measurable goals and outcomes, the plan aims to guide the University’s decision-making and investments next for the next three years.

“This is a bold roadmap — a roadmap that is going to help us reach our goal of being the leading global public research university in the nation,” Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz told the Board of Trustees. “It’s a roadmap that is actionable, measurable and most certainly impactful.”

Board members praised both the plan and the process through which it was developed.

“You engaged each member of this board in discussions about the plan in depth over several weeks and months. You engaged students, staff, faculty, alumni. You put a lot of work into this,” Board of Trustees Chair Richard Stevens said. “This is a great blueprint for this University, not many universities have done this already, and it will be a tremendous tool moving forward.”

Over the past eight months, the Board of Trustees, members of the Chancellor’s leadership team and several faculty, staff and student groups across campus, provided feedback on the plan and checked for consistency and alignment with individual school and unit strategic plans.

Carolina Next operationalizes the direction set by the Blueprint for Next, an important vision document adopted in 2017. In 2018, Provost Robert A. Blouin began the development of Carolina Next, building on the two core tenants of the Blueprint: “Of the Public for the Public” and “Innovation made Fundamental.”

“The beauty of the Blueprint for Next was embedded in its simplicity,” Blouin told the board.

However, as University leaders began thinking about executing on the ideals of the Blueprint, they realized they needed actionable goals to guide decision-making.

“As we think about many of the elements that were in the Blueprint for Next, we extracted many of them into the form of very specific strategic initiatives,” Blouin said. “We wanted to make sure the initiatives were clear, that the words would mean something, particularly to our community.”

The resulting document is framed around eight strategic initiatives, which represent the core areas of focus across the mission of the University: (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.

A comprehensive environmental scan and resource assessment provide the rationale for each strategic priority.

Within each of the eight initiatives are three strategic objectives – more specific goals that will steer the University toward a shared vision. Each strategic objective has several strategic opportunities, some of which are underway across campus, such as Creativity Hubs to encourage innovative research collaboration, 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.

The first initiative  — “Build Our Community Together,” which is about bringing the diverse voices to the table and having conversation — is the keystone for the plan, and the other seven initiatives are not in any priority order.

Additional information about the plan is available at carolinanext.unc.edu, which also has a copy of the full strategic plan available to download. The site will be used to share updates, monitor progress and track impact.

Each initiative will be led by a captain who is responsible for implementation, monitoring progress, gathering feedback and presenting updates to the Steering Committee. The captains are:

  • Build Our Community Together — Amy Locklear Hertel, chief of staff, Office of the Chancellor
  • Strengthen Student Success — Abigail Panter, senior associate dean for Undergraduate Education
  • Enable Career Development — Becci Menghini, vice chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance
  • Discover — Terry Magnuson, Vice Chancellor for Research
  • Promote Democracy — Andy Perrin, director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities
  • Serve to Benefit Society — Judith Cone, vice chancellor for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
  • Globalize — Barbara Stephenson, vice provost for global affairs and chief global officer
  • Optimize Operations — Rick Wernoski,  senior vice provost for business operations

“Today’s announcement is just the start of a multi-year, unified effort to create change at Carolina for the greater good,” Guskiewicz and Blouin wrote in an email to campus. “The plan’s execution, like its development, will be a collaborative process.”