UNC Campus

Ask the President


Q: With all of the gloom-and-doom talk surrounding higher ed, is there reason to believe UNC will be here 125 years from now?

Absolutely—but UNC will look as different from today as we do from 1889. Birthdays are nice to celebrate, but what I like best about them is the opportunity to look to the future. I see great things ahead for UNC. I base my optimism not only on what we have to celebrate about our first 125 years, but also on what is happening here right now. Over 125 years, UNC has changed many things, but it has never changed its core promise to provide students the opportunity for transformative education at the intersection of academics, community building and research. The essence of what we do must not change, but we will continue to change the way we go about it. This is why you hear the word “innovation” often around UNC.

Last fall we launched Innovation@UNC to invest $1 million in innovative ideas to keep UNC on the leading edge of public higher education. We asked people to think beyond the confines of our current campus, students and programs, to consider how we offer transformative educational experiences to more students than ever before. Faculty and staff submitted 74 proposals for new programs, new teaching techniques, ways to reach new learners, and innovations in student support. Ten projects will be implemented beginning this summer, and there will be more next year. You can follow our progress at www.unco.edu/innovation.

Another example of innovation at UNC is our plan for a building reflecting our commitment to students, alumni and community. The Campus Commons will be a hub for comprehensive, integrated student support services, a place to welcome campus visitors, and a showcase for student, faculty and alumni accomplishments. Together with the University Center, at the heart of campus, it will be a place where everyone can literally see us deliver on our promise of transformative education.

The Campus Commons will bring together student support services in a way that goes beyond providing students transactional convenience to offer them truly transformative opportunities through things like study abroad, community engagement and career counseling. We are integrating our support operations so that, with a single conversation, a student can access a full range of opportunities. Frontline staff will be cross-trained to provide a breadth of assistance and will connect students with experts to help with more complex issues.

Our journey has crossed 125 years, and it is just beginning. We honor best those who have gone before us by continuing our leadership in what higher education should be in the future.


Ask the President

UNC President Kay Norton answers questions related to higher education in each issue. Email your question for consideration to northernvision@unco.edu

Fast Fact
UNC’s 2014 spring/summer graduating class was the largest in history. For details on the class and profiles of graduates, visit www.unco.edu/news/