In higher education, it is important for institutions to meet the evolving needs of students and our communities. This applies at UNC, where it is our responsibility to continue to offer a meaningful, high-quality educational experience to our students that is aligned with their interests and ambitions while also meeting the broader needs of society.
Part of our commitment to maintaining responsiveness and relevancy at UNC requires that we assess – on an ongoing basis – our academic portfolio and everything that supports our students’ success. This assessment allows us to ensure we are best serving our students and our communities.
Earlier this semester, we made the difficult decision to close three of our language programs – French, German, and European Languages and Cultures – due to longstanding issues with single-digit enrollments. To the credit of our faculty, they worked hard to be creative with curricular offerings for some time before this decision was made. Unfortunately, very few students choose these majors, and this fact is borne out in the enrollment picture. When we have such low enrollment in any given program, it is difficult to provide a high-quality educational experience to the students in the program. Supporting low-enrolled majors also takes scarce resources away from programs that are in demand. Overall, this dynamic diminishes the experiences of students and hampers our ability to make strategic investments in areas of potential growth.
As we have increased our ability to make data-driven decisions, we have also increased our capacity to build schedules that align with anticipated student demand. This has resulted in difficult decisions to not renew some contract renewable (CR) faculty or reduce their teaching loads. In some cases, these individuals are long-time employees at UNC who have contributed to our educational mission for years. These are painful decisions with real human impacts, and I want to acknowledge this challenging aspect of our current reality.
Over the last several weeks, I have heard a number of questions and concerns from faculty, staff, and students as difficult decisions are implemented across campus. Laura Connolly, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), shared answers to some frequently asked questions related to these decisions with HSS faculty and staff yesterday. In an effort to ensure that our entire university community understands why these changes are being made, I am sharing her FAQs, as well as some additional answers to questions that have been posed to me. You can find both sets of FAQs via the links below. It is always my intention to not only be transparent with our community, but also to listen and respond when questions and concerns arise. Thank you for taking the time to read this information.
Dean Connolly message
FAQs related to Enrollment, Budget, and Resource Allocation Decisions