When I arrived at UNC last summer, we all knew that our campus was struggling with enrollment and resources. The themes that quickly emerged as I began talking with people were that we need to focus on student success, resolve our $10M structural deficit, better articulate what makes UNC special, and work more collaboratively and transparently. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about those four things.
UNC’s first priority remains our students and their success. UNC staff, faculty and administrators are critically important to fulfilling our promise to students. These two concepts are fundamental to all of our work, including the difficult decisions to be made regarding the budget.
Next fall, we will come together as a campus to affirm our values and articulate a vision for the future of UNC, including how we will differentiate ourselves from Colorado’s other universities, which really aren’t like us. Our work this year to realign budgets to address our $10M structural deficit is a stepping stone to thinking about the long term.
I am working to be collaborative and transparent, and many of you have given me the benefit of the doubt in these early months, for which I am incredibly fortunate. I am grateful that so many people have stepped up to genuinely engage in working together to support our students and address these challenges. You really do love UNC as much as I thought you did when I accepted this job.
We have made good progress in thinking about how to eliminate our structural deficit by July 2021, and now it is time to act. The purpose of this document is to explain the decisions I have made to move us forward.
As you know, we considered a number of university-wide cost-saving options and explored 13 in depth. I appreciate the input of the President’s Leadership Council (PLC) and the more than 4,000 comments that the campus provided at the Jan. 14 forum and through the online form. I read and considered all of the feedback, and have decided to implement variations of three of the university-wide options: 1) increase the faculty and exempt staff contribution to health insurance, 2) modify our employee/dependent tuition waiver benefit, and 3) offer a faculty retirement incentive. These changes and other budget adjustments should generate about $1.5M per year over the next few years.
We will identify the remaining $8.5M in savings at the division level, guided by these questions.
- Are we making students and their success a priority?
- Have we made every effort to limit the human impact?
- Have we considered the effect on the rest of the university?
- How will this affect our work to support diversity, equity and inclusion?
- Is this sustainable?
- Have we done enough homework?
- Have we engaged the right people?
This document explains the details of the three university-wide cost-saving options to be implemented and the thinking that underpins the division-level cost-saving goals.
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