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Board of Governors committee discusses five-year plan

The UNC Board of Governors Committee on Strategic Planning met Monday to discuss increased access, lowering the achievement gap and degree completion in the UNC system as part of their five-year plan.

The plan outlined by the committee focused on five themes: access, student success, affordability and efficiency, economic impact and community engagement, and excellent and diverse institutions. Each theme is composed of multiple draft goals, totaling 13. 

Chairperson of the Board Louis Bissette said one of the committee’s main tasks during the meeting was to streamline the draft goals. 

“I want as few as we possibly can," Bissette said. "Eight, nine goals that we can really work and really go to the legislature and say, 'You need to help us fund these.'”

The committee agreed to combine two component draft goals that focused on increasing timely degree completion and reducing achievement gaps.

Andrew Kelly, UNC-system senior vice president for strategy and policy, said the two goals were combined because the committee is looking to increase degree completion while specifically targeting students with an achievement gap between themselves and their peers. 

Kelly said the reason for streamlining the goals is to give all UNC institutions a compatible framework for success. 

“Let’s spell out the overarching goals and then let’s work with our constituent institutions that at the end of the day are the ones that have to do the work,” he said.

Craig Souza, vice chairperson for the committee, said at the meeting the plan must focus on goals affecting all UNC institutions, but must also recognize the plan will affect institutions in different ways. 

“I really see this as high-level planning as opposed to micromanaging,” he said.

Bissette said the committee’s work is far from over. He said the members will take the comments raised and will continue to edit the plan until it is reviewed by the entire Board in December. The Board will vote on the plan in January. 

Since the committee began assembling the draft goals in October, it has facilitated multiple platforms for all UNC-system constituents to provide feedback on the five main themes.

The committee has conducted campus forums at 16 of the 17 UNC institutions in the past month. The committee also established an online survey regarding the plan, which 7,500 people have completed. 

Kelly said the feedback from UNC-system constituencies has been generally positive and enthusiastic toward the five themes, though there were many questions regarding the UNC system’s role in providing better access.

Joe Knott, a member of the Board, said at the meeting he is concerned increasing access would entail UNC-system schools lowering admission standards, which was one of the concerns often raised in the survey and campus forums. 

Souza said the plan is not to increase raw admissions numbers, but to reach out to well-prepared students the UNC system might have missed.

Kelly said the system has missed many students who might have been well prepared for higher learning, but lacked proper access to gain admittance to a university.

“That’s one place where we have to improve our data collection efforts and our understanding of who is out there,” he said. 


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