On Thursday January 27, there will be a Chancellor’s Forum held in Talley Student Center in which the strategic planning initiative launched by Chancellor Randy Woodson will be discussed. The new initiative is a vision and action plan, which will be put in place to guide the university for the next five to ten years. Attendees of the forum will have the opportunity to review a draft that has been made of the plan and have the chance to provide feedback for possible changes that they would like to see.
On this past Friday, white task force papers were posted to the University’s planning website, which will give students and faculty a chance to look over the potential plans before the meeting. In examining options of dealing with the upcoming budget cuts, the Chancellor promises to make decisions based on five principles: (1) to protect to the extent possible instruction and student support (2) maintaining and enhancing the strength of the faculty (3) building on our reputation as a leading research university (4) ensuring well maintained facilities and a campus that supports a safe learning environment and (5) combining quality and affordability in delivering a strong return on the investment of students. With the upcoming budget cuts, students may see an increase in consolidation of course offerings as well as the elimination of several underutilized majors and courses. Decentralized campus services will be consolidated into service centers distributed around campus and will report centrally. In addition, delivery of student support services across campus will be reviewed in order to make sure that they are providing adequate service, which promotes student success. This means that some faculty members may be losing their positions as the huge budget cuts arrive, but it is unsure at the moment which departments may receive these cuts. However, the chancellor mentioned in a letter to the University that the three biggest business expenditures are labor-related. Institutions of the UNC System have been asked to prepare for budget cuts of as much as 15 percent. In this university’s terms this means the loss of close to 80 million dollars. The proposed cuts may affect the university for a lengthy period of time and the fear is that this will not be a one-time occurrence.
The Chancellor hopes to receive the finalized plan on his desk by March 15. The proposed date for the launch of the strategic plan is July 1. Students and staff will be informed of the ongoing process of the plan through campus wide messages and the University Budget news website. The Chancellor’s hope is that the upcoming changes will continue to affirm the university’s commitment to be a “world-class, research extensive, comprehensive university.” This is an issue which will have an effect on all of the students and faculty of the university as well as potential incoming students in the future.