“(Vice Chancellor for Communications and Public Affairs) Joel (Curran) and his team continue to create good stories, but we are still waiting for people to come to the website and see them,” said Vice Chancellor for University Development David Routh.
While Wednesday’s Board of Trustees meeting was highlighted by the University Affairs committee’s public conversation on the renaming of Saunders Hall, the Board’s other committees discussed the campus master plan, UNC’s social media improvement and alumni investment, among other topics.
The finance and infrastructure committee meeting began with Routh’s presentation on the state of donations and gifts for this financial year at the University.
Routh said despite 225 people working in some capacity for the development office, it’s the extra effort from deans and faculty that help push them over the top. He cited a speech that Provost Jim Dean gave to his staff, which Routh described as inspiring.
As for the development website and personalized newsletters for donors, Routh said some tinkering might be needed.
The development office, however, has had no problem raising money this year. Routh said gifts have increased from $105,555,309 in the previous financial year to $114,669,894 this year, an 11 percent increase.
Routh attributed some of this growth to new hires in the development, but said he was “not close” to filling out his team.
“While we are still building and hiring out, we are still putting out some pretty good numbers,” he said.
Routh was followed by Matt Fajack, vice chancellor for finance and administration, and Anna Wu, assistant vice chancellor for facilities operations, planning and design, who discussed the impending campus master plan, which will examine how the University can best utilize its space.
Wu is the main driver of the plan and is hoping to have it up for review and approval by fall 2016, something she called “an aggressive schedule.” Wu hopes to bring Baltimore-based consulting group Ayers Saint Gross to help with the plan.
The committee approved the firm choice in a vote at the end of the meeting.
Most of the external affairs committee meeting was spent in closed session, but in the time when the proceedings were open, the UNC media team presented on the improvement of both the website and the University’s social media accounts.
According to a presentation given to the committee, UNC has seen a huge rise in its Twitter, Instagram and Facebook engagement. Since January, the University’s verified Twitter account has gained 8,000 followers, and its Instagram profile has gone from just under 12,000 followers to more than 16,000.
The Board’s innovation and impact committee met Wednesday afternoon to look at how UNC compares to educational peers in federal research spending and alumni investment and spending on the state level.
Judith Cone, interim vice chancellor for commercialization and economic development, presented information on alumni involvement with technology start-ups.
“It’s important to remember that we live within a region, and we live within a state,” Cone said. “We have to see what we’re contributing on both of those levels.”
Cone’s research concluded that UNC had contributed to several technology start-ups in the state, but Chancellor Carol Folt and other trustees were concerned about how the University’s involvement compared to other state schools.
“We’re probably on the low end when you compare us to other schools,” said trustee Jefferson Brown. “I wouldn’t be surprised by that at all.”