Fellow Bears:

As another semester comes to a close, there are numerous accomplishments and successes to reflect upon—so many in fact that it’s impossible to list them all in this email. That being the case, I want to share an important update with you in this message and will also invite you to read more about our accomplishments as a community in the 2021 Year in Review, which is linked below.

Six months ago, many of us were working from home and preparing to welcome our students back for an in-person campus experience in August. Doing so safely and effectively was not an easy feat, but it is one the UNC community came together to do incredibly well this year. Good things happen when our community works together in the pursuit of placing students first. This weekend, we will see nearly a thousand examples of that good work as our December graduates receive their UNC degree in four Commencement ceremonies.  

Placing students first is more than a tagline in our strategic plan. It is at the core of who we are. Each of you do this every day and for that I am very grateful. This past year has had its fair share of challenges—most of which the majority of other universities are facing—but that does not discount the burden it has placed on our employees at various times. In order to continue to be an outstanding students first university, I know it is important for us to invest in you—the faculty and staff who make their education and experience possible.  

Beginning January 1, 2022, we will be implementing compensation adjustments for all faculty and staff. Full-time faculty and staff will receive a $1,500 increase to their base salary; this increase will be prorated for part-time employees. The minimum wage for staff will be increased to $15/hour and the minimum wage for student employees will be increased to $14/hour. Adjunct faculty and graduate teaching assistants will receive a one-time payment of $250 as well. Additional investments will be made in units that support the health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff – those details will be developed in the spring. The total investment in faculty, staff, and student employee compensation increases is approximately $3.2M. We have created an FAQ page with more details.  

This additional investment in our employees is one that I believe is critical to make, and it does not signal the end of our work in continuing to elevate the pay of our faculty and staff. We are fortunate to be in a financial position that allows us to make this investment while remaining fiscally responsible in accordance with our FY22 budget. Despite a decrease in the university’s overall enrollment the last two years, a variety of factors has led to UNC remaining on a good financial footing. In fact, our overall financial health is better than it has been in over a decade. Thanks to the difficult, yet necessary work we have done across campus since the beginning of my tenure, we have put ourselves in a position to be able to make important investments like this. And, there is more to come.

Although we are in a sound financial position now, we still need to work to build our enrollment to ensure our future success. Recruiting the next class of Bears is a top priority and we are very excited to welcome Pete Lien, our new Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, on January 3 to lead this work. Next week, Pete will send a message to our community to introduce himself and share some of his thoughts on how each of you can be supportive of our recruitment efforts.  

There is much to celebrate this weekend with our outstanding graduating class at Commencement and as I reflect on the past year, there is much to celebrate across the university overall. I encourage you to share with me in this reflection by reading UNC’s 2021 Year in Review, which includes some of the many highlights and successes from the past year.  

Thank you for all you do for our university and the students who entrust us to support them in the pursuit of their dreams. I hope each of you is able to enjoy a restful and healthy winter break.  

Rowing, Not Drifting,  

andy feinstein signature

Andy Feinstein