As we approach the end of the semester, I want to thank you for another successful academic year and reflect on what we have worked together to accomplish.
We will soon celebrate the approximately 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students completing their degree requirements this spring or summer. Earning a degree is a milestone in the lives of individuals, their families, and their communities, and I know everyone at UNC looks ahead with excitement to all that our graduates will accomplish in the future.
When a student enrolls at UNC, we commit to seeing them make their way across the graduation stage. Our dedication to being Students Firstmeans that we seek to transform lives and empower students to realize their dreams. This year, we have enhanced the student experience through efforts such as offering more robust orientation and welcome programming; introducing innovative new academic programs; and expanding retail dining in the University Center with the addition of four new restaurants, a remodeled dining area, and a soon-to-be open outdoor patio. Additional work is underway to remodel the first floor of the University Center to create a more vibrant and welcoming environment.
This year, we have also introduced a number of new programs and services to help support the success of our students. For example, a new Success at UNC site consolidates helpful resources for students in the classroom and beyond. We also implemented new structures specifically tailored to support English Language Learners and piloted the financial literacy platform, iGrad, to better assist students in managing the finances associated with attending college. Additionally, the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning both offer an array of professional development opportunities designed to prepare faculty and staff members to work effectively with our increasingly diverse student body.
Philanthropy also plays an important role in our ability to support students. I am particularly pleased with the generosity of faculty and staff through our third Annual Bears Give Back giving day. During the 24-hour event, we raised over $100,000 for students and programs at UNC. This is one example of the work underway to prepare for the launch of a comprehensive fundraising campaign in support of our strategic priorities.
The success of our students – and the recruitment and retention of excellent faculty and staff – requires an ongoing and shared commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. To better understand the experiences and perceptions of students, faculty, and staff, we recently completed a climate survey. Thank you to everyone who participated. We are now working to analyze results, and I look forward to sharing more in the fall about ways the campus climate data can shape our collective efforts to foster an inclusive environment at UNC. We are also in the process of assessing our physical campus as we develop a facilities comprehensive plan that will define our shared vision for the future of UNC.
As we look ahead to the next academic year, UNC's applications and admitted student numbers are promising, especially among new, first-time students. Our most recent data show increases in the number of students who have applied and been admitted. We have also seen significant increases in housing deposits for the fall and have had record attendance at Destination UNC events this spring. These are strong indicators of a positive trajectory for enrollment. The success we are seeing is the result of tremendous efforts by everyone involved in developing a strategic enrollment management plan.
We must also continue to keep UNC a desirable place to work by investing in faculty and staff. This includes planning for a fifth pay increase in two years with a compensation adjustment to be implemented in July and preparing for another summer of 1:00 p.m. closure on Fridays, beginning May 12. I also recently shared steps being taken to implement recommendations following a review of the Administrative Service Centers model, which Provost and Executive Vice President Kirsty Fleming and I initiated following college open forums we held throughout the fall.
As part of our commitment to providing regular performance feedback and ongoing professional development, Provost Fleming and I charged a task force to focus on the comprehensive review of senior executives reporting to us. We have accepted their recommendations and will begin implementing a new process in the fall. This parallels my work with the Board of Trustees to finalize a process for an annual and comprehensive assessment of my leadership.
I am pleased with the progress we continue to make to establish an osteopathic medical college at UNC. The Board of Trustees approved the college’s inaugural mission statement in March, and we have also developed vision and value statements. This new information is included on an updated webpage about the project along with a recently released program plan that contains renderings to support discussions about our facility needs.
We are nearly one year into the second phase of UNC’s strategic plan, Rowing, Not Drifting 2030, and these are just a few highlights of all that has been accomplished. I look forward to continuing this momentum and working together to position UNC as the institution that Colorado looks to as the future of higher education.
Thank you to every member of the UNC community for your continued hard work and dedication. I hope that many of you will join me in celebrating our graduates at Commencement this weekend.
Rowing, Not Drifting,