Strategic Planning Updates

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

As the co-chairs of the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC), we are pleased to provide an update on the status of the strategic planning process. 

The strategic planning process has three stages: discovery and analysis; building and testing the plan; and refining, vetting and finalizing the plan. We are nearing the completion of the discovery and analysis phase, with the SPC having engaged the campus community to solicit feedback about three critical questions: What are UNC Charlotte's strengths upon which the strategic plan should be built; in what strategic areas we should focus over the next two to three years to advance the institution; and what three big, overarching goals should UNC Charlotte have accomplished ten years from now. The level of campus participation in the engagement activities was very high. The SPC held three discovery sessions, one each for students, faculty and staff. It also conducted 28 focus groups and individual discussions with faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni, donors, corporate and university partners, and trustees. In all, 480 individuals participated in these focus groups and discussions. The SPC also administered an online survey and received 2,829 responses that are representative of our campus community relative to race/ethnicity, gender and college/department. 

Feedback from both the engagement sessions and survey revealed the top five responses for the important strengths, focus areas in the next two to three years, and long-term goals as follows: 

Most Important Strengths

  1. Commitment to diversity, equity & inclusion
  2. Quality undergraduate academic programs
  3. Affordable tuition
  4. Connections to the greater Charlotte community
  5. Commitment to excellence 

Focus Areas in the Next 2-3 Years

  1. Quality undergraduate academic programs
  2. Commitment to diversity, equity & inclusion
  3. Affordable tuition
  4. A strong reputation
  5. Hiring and retaining quality faculty

Longer-Term Goals

  1. Strengthen research success
  2. Increase engagement in the greater Charlotte region
  3. Improve identity/branding and visibility
  4. Rise in national rankings
  5. Grow enrollment

The SPC is now working with Dr. McDade, our consultant facilitator, to identify and develop strategic plan themes based on the feedback received. The next step will be to build the initial strategic plan, including metrics. We anticipate that a draft plan and metrics will be ready to be vetted with the campus community in late February or early March. Chancellor Gaber intends to present the final plan to the Board of Trustees for approval in April. 

One question that was raised by a number of stakeholders and that we believe is important to address is why we are engaging in strategic planning now given the financial and operational impact of the pandemic on the institution. The answer that Chancellor Gaber has given more than once is that we cannot navigate our way out of this situation by sitting back and waiting for it to pass. It is important that we proactively and strategically plan now to create and achieve the future for UNC Charlotte that we desire. This 10-year plan will extend beyond the immediate COVID crisis and position UNC Charlotte for success in a post-COVID world. 

We are very pleased to be part of the process that will shape the future of our beloved university. On behalf of the SPC, we extend our thanks to everyone who participated in the process. We will be in touch with another update in February. We wish you a safe and restful winter break. 

Sincerely, 

Pinku Mukherjee
Irwin Belk Distinguished Professor of Cancer Research and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education
Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee

George Banks
Associate Professor of Management
Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee