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 GOVERNANCE


Academic Plan continues to evolve

In 2003, when the University crafted its first Academic Plan, money from the 2000 Statewide Higher Education Bond Referendum and the record-setting Carolina First Campaign combined to fuel sorely needed campus repairs and renovations, infrastructure upgrades and new construction for classrooms and re- search facilities.

As the University revises the Academic Plan for 2011, it faces a very different financial climate, the result of three consecutive years of significant budget cuts.

What remains unchanged is the goal of the Academic Plan: to provide both a framework for Carolina’s academic future and a guide for the allocation of resources. The 2011 plan, subtitled Reach Carolina, is designed to inspire as well as direct the University’s vision for the next decade.

Though it is still in draft form, the plan calls on the entire Carolina community “to reach, that is, to extend our aims and vision beyond our current grasp, to reach the future greatness that beckons us.”

An 18-member steering committee, led by Bill Andrews, senior associate dean for fine arts and humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Sue Estroff, professor of social medicine in the School of Medicine, has worked throughout much of last year to draft the plan.

“The entire steering committee is focused on making students’ campus experience the primary goal we want to invest in and continue to improve,” Andrews told the Faculty Council at its Dec. 17 meeting.

The initial draft of the plan, completed in the fall, includes input from faculty, staff, students and administrators who were asked, “Does this plan reflect UNC as you want to see it moving forward in the next 10 years?”  

The Academic Plan is a work in progress, Andrews said. As he and Estroff receive comments and suggestions for improvements and refinements, the plan continues to evolve. Next, they will meet with faculty members about specific aspects of the plan and with undergraduate, graduate and professional student groups about the plan as a whole.

Engagement is one central theme of the updated plan, Andrews said during the Faculty Council meeting in response to a question from Lloyd Kramer, professor and chair of history, about whether the Academic Plan exemplifies initiatives for entrepreneurship and innovation.

“To the extent that engagement is about the application of ideas to communities outside the University, I would say there’s a connection between the Academic Plan and the idea of innovation,” Andrews said. “Engagement is one aspect of innovation.”

The steering committee based the plan’s six priorities on enhancing the quality of the educational experience for all Carolina students through:

* *Transformative academic experiences that will attract, challenge and inspire students;

* *The recruitment, development and retention of a faculty that is second to none;

* *Interdisciplinary teaching, research and public engagement;

* *Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at Carolina;

* *Enhancing scholarship with real-world application that links the University’s intellectual resources with society’s issues and problems; and

* *Expanding the University’s global presence in research, service and teaching.

Andrews said the committee expects to finalize the 2011 Academic Plan later this spring. To read the fall 2010 draft, refer to www.unc.edu/faculty/faccoun/reports/2010-11/specrepts/2010AcademicPlanPublicDraft.pdf.

People may submit suggestions to academicplan@unc.edu.

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JANUARY 12, 2011

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