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Saturday May 28th

'Who do we aspire to be?': Guskiewicz discusses new strategic plan at faculty meeting

Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz hears from the Chancellor's Advisory Committee in the conference room of South Building in Chapel Hill on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019.
Buy Photos Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz hears from the Chancellor's Advisory Committee in the conference room of South Building in Chapel Hill on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019.

Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz discussed a strategic plan for the University during Monday's Faculty Executive Committee meeting in South Building. 

The plan, entitled Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good, is divided into eight initiatives: building community together, facilitating student success, promoting career development, discovering, renewing democracy, serving to benefit society, optimizing operations and globalizing.

The first initiative revolves mainly around the importance of diversity and inclusion at UNC. Guskiewicz said that UNC cannot be a leading global public research university unless everyone’s voice is heard and everyone knows they belong. 

The University must do more than make one or two changes in order to enhance and promote diversity, he said.

“It’s not just about the number of new faculty of color. It’s not about teaching three more courses with a certain tag on it,” Guskiewicz said. “Those are steps toward this.”

The second initiative outlines ensuring student success through modernization, including possible future renovations of the Undergraduate Library. Guskiewicz emphasized that the University must prepare today’s students for jobs and careers that may not even exist yet.

Guskiewicz then transitioned into the third initiative, centered around the concept of facilitating student success. The initiative promotes career development and would help students, alumni and faculty reach their full potential. 

“I think including staff and faculty in this is such an important piece,” said Nancy Fisher, a committee member representing the School of Medicine. “Technology, science — everything continues to progress. Who is going to teach students the new things if faculty aren’t up to date?"

The fourth initiative of the plan dealt with discovery. This initiative refers to everything from expanding the Arts Everywhere initiative to changing the way research happens at UNC, such as through evolving virtual research networks called Creativity Hubs.

Next on the list of initiatives was renewing democracy. This refers to inspiring a culture of listening, respect and civil discussion at UNC, Guskiewicz said. 

“It’s about helping to ensure students leave here with a sense of what civic engagement is, what honest, open public debate is about,” he said. “Renewing democracy — I can’t take credit for the name, but it resonated with a lot of people, faculty included.”

Guskiewicz briefly summarized the final three initiatives: serve to benefit society, globalize the University and optimize its operations. These last three initiatives revolve around serving the people outside of the University, strengthening UNC's global impact and transforming business operations, facilities and infrastructure.

Guskiewicz said that although UNC is already a highly regarded institution, he thinks there is still room for improvement and hopes these initiatives will have a positive impact on the University. 

“We’re bringing in $1.1 billion a year, we have a new Gen Ed curriculum and that's all great,” Guskiewicz said. “But at the end of the day, who do we aspire to be?”

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