Monday, December 20, 2010

A University with a Plan

By Chancellor Philip L. Dubois

(This column is reprinted from the Q4 2010 edition of UNC Charlotte magazine,published in December 2010)

North Carolina’s looming fiscal crisis is old news to anyone who followed the recent elections or read the headlines in the newspapers in the past few weeks. A projected $3.7 billion deficit in FY12 against a total state budget of approximately $19 billion is sobering and, most assuredly, will have an impact on us at the University.

Notwithstanding what we expect will be tougher times ahead, we’ve enjoyed terrific progress in the past few years toward establishing UNC Charlotte as North Carolina’s urban research university. Total enrollment crossed the 25,000 mark, we awarded a record number of 95 doctoral degrees last year and, in just two-and-a-half years, we will play the first intercollegiate football game in our history.

These are great times to be a Niner. We cannot afford to allow the State’s fiscal issues to slow our momentum.

Since July 1, 2008, the permanent reductions to our State appropriations have totaled over $15 million and undoubtedly, further cuts are looming. Clearly defined campus-wide priorities and objectives will help us make the difficult decisions over the next few months to ensure our progress as a university in this era of fiscal constraint. For that reason, we are mid-way through a 12-month planning cycle aimed at producing an institutional plan that will guide the University through 2016.

We’ll use this planning process to restate our institutional goals so they more clearly reinforce our revised Mission Statement, identify key strategies to pursue over the next five years in a constrained economic environment, and revise assumptions about our overall planning process. We expect the final plan to be reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees by early summer, 2011.

Two other external factors make the development of this plan especially timely. “UNC Tomorrow,” the ambitious effort by President Erskine Bowles and the system Board of Governors to aggregate and focus local campus planning to meet the needs of the State, will be continued through the transition from the Bowles administration to that of President Tom Ross. Second, UNC Charlotte’s reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is scheduled for 2013. Our plans for the future will form an important element of that examination.

The University has already launched a revision of the campus Academic Plan, the college academic plans, and the plans of academic support units. My Cabinet will similarly assess each administrative division within the University. Several goals and major implementation strategies have already been approved for discussion with faculty, staff, students, and off-campus constituents, including alumni.

A draft of our planning assumptions as well as our draft institutional goals and strategies are available in the Chancellor’s Outbox at

Resolutions are useful. As we begin a New Year at UNC Charlotte — one that will surely be full of unknown challenges and opportunities — we will do so with a new plan for the future and the resolve to fulfill goals established collaboratively with our growing community of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends.
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A Giving Institution

By John D. Bland

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. It leverages its location in the state’s largest city to offer internationally competitive programs of research and creative activity, exemplary undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, and a focused set of community engagement initiatives. UNC Charlotte maintains a particular commitment to addressing the cultural, economic, educational, environmental, health, and social needs of the greater Charlotte region.

What you have just read is the mission statement of UNC Charlotte. What it promises is that our University is committed to making the Charlotte region a better place. Ours is a public university and thus it is must give back to the public value that validates the public’s investment in UNC Charlotte. (This past Saturday, we delivered unto the community almost 3,000 new graduates during our cmmenecement ceremonies; may the job market provide them with the opportunities they are seeking.)

In challenging economic times such as these, with new leadership taking the helm in our state and a reorganization of state government in the offing, it’s important to remember that the University adds incredible value to our community; it is a giving institution.

In the edition of the UNC Charlotte magazine, available digitally at the URL below, you’ll see prime examples of how the people of UNC Charlotte are addressing the needs of the Charlotte community. Ross Meentemeyer and his associates are studying how a fast-growing metropolis like Charlotte still retains some of the pastoral spaces of bygone days – and what that means for future development. You’ll read a moving account of how a husband-wife team of researchers are making breakthroughs locally in the fight against a heartbreaking disease – Alzheimers. Also in those pages are articles about UNC Charlotte’s Freedom School and our work in presenting the Women’s Summit.

The Freedom Schools program provides summer and after-school enrichment that helps budding CMS scholars fall in love with reading, increases their self-esteem, and generates more positive attitudes toward learning. The Women’s Summit provides a forum and concerted effort for local women to help solve the region’s challenges and ensure that women leaders stay engaged in leading our community.

There’s much more in this edition that shows how invaluable UNC Charlotte is to the Charlotte region. Take a look and find out. Thanks for your investment in UNC Charlotte and your continuing support. And never hesitate to stake your claim to your share of a great urban research university.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Despite cold and rain, campus open for final exams

UNC Charlotte will be open on a normal schedule and exam schedules remain in place for Thursday, December 16. Come Saturday, the campus will host commencement ceremonies in Halton Areana at 10 am and 3 pm. Almost 3,000 will graduate.