When Chancellor James Moeser came to UNC, he vowed to make it the top public university in the nation. But that goal has become more difficult to reach after withstanding several years of substantial budget reductions.
Officials hope that with a comprehensive five-year financial plan, the University will be able to continue moving toward that goal despite an uncertain economy.
In June, the UNC Board of Trustees suggested that in light of recent state budget shortfalls, UNC should focus on long-term financial planning around major issues on campus rather than on a yearly assessment by individual departments.
Shortly after, Provost Robert Shelton and Nancy Suttenfield, vice chancellor for finance and administration, divided the University's goal-based needs into 16 plans, each overseen by a team of officials.
Over the past few months, the committees have made lists of their top priorities for the next five years -- along with projected costs and sources of finance -- that will help the University meet its goals of advancement and stability.
All of the committees have presented their final products to the vice chancellors. Now the budget office has to sift through the phone-book-sized documents to prepare for a BOT presentation in March.
Bob Knight, assistant to the vice chancellor for finance and administration, described the five-year financial plan as a "rainbow of planning," with academic planning on top, followed by equally important -- but not as prominent -- types of planning, such as financial, human resources and information technology.
"The financial plan is meant to integrate the planning activities that are going on all over campus," Knight said. "People all over campus have to be involved because it touches so many people and places."
Already this fiscal year, UNC has had to cut permanently almost $13 million from its budget to help make up for a $1.8 billion state shortfall. Last fall, UNC was asked to cut another $8.2 million temporarily, although many administrators aren't optimistic the school will see that money again.