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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates | Fall 2021 Plans

Our Process

Setting a new university vision began in the fall of 2018 when UNC President Andy Feinstein delivered his first State of the University address. In his remarks, he called upon the motto of the Class of 1910, “Rowing, Not Drifting,” referencing the quote etched in the column of the Horace Mann Gates along 10th Avenue.

Since that time, the university community has come together to develop and refine the strategic plan and key actions in order to create a shared purpose and direction for UNC over the next decade. The collaborative nature of the work over the past three years has instilled a sense of unity, pride, and commitment toward our goals.

Horace Mann Gates
Horace Mann Gates

Strategic Planning Feedback

President Andy Feinstein speaks with students about the university's Strategic Plan during a town hall in October 2019.

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Vision Elements Feedback

  • 383 participants provided survey feedback regarding the vision elements
  • 123 feedback sheets were collected during a town hall

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 Additional Data

  • Fall 2018 task forces included more than 170 participants
  • Approximately 800 participants at Budget 101 sessions

From Vision to Action

Rowing, Not Drifting 2030 is a living document, divided into five two-year phases that will guide and establish a broad foundation for UNC
to build upon. In 2020, the university transitioned from visioning work to establishing key actions and tactics for the first two years, ensuring institutional alignment with the strategic plan at all levels of the organization

  • Phase I

    July, 1 2020 -
    June 30, 2022

  • Phase II

    July 1, 2022 - 
    June 30 2024

  • Phase III

    July 1, 2024 - 
    June 30 2026

  • Phase IV

    July 1, 2026 - 
    June 30 2028

  • Phase V

    July 1, 2028 - 
    June 30 2030


Dick Monfort

UNC sets the standard and models innovative strategies focused on the holistic growth, development, and lifelong success of our students — this is how we define a Students First university. Rowing, Not Drifting 2030 guides our direction and aspirations for the next decade of serving students and our community.
-Dick Monfort ’76 Chair, UNC Board of Trustees

Development of Key Actions and Tactics (2020)

  • Five key action task forces formed to include more than 55 participants comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff
  • Board of Trustees reviews draft of key actions and tactics
  • University community participates in University Forum
  • Online survey regarding key actions and tactics sent to faculty, staff, and students
  • Finalized strategic planning document after compiling feedback from Board of Trustees, university community, alumni and friends

Strategic Planning Process and Timeline

Rowing, Not Drifting 2030 was developed following an extensive, collaborative process with university stakeholders. Since that time, UNC has developed the university's vision composed of the vision statement, five vision elements, and the 2030 outcomes that will serve the institution over the next decade. Phase I and its supportive key actions and tactics were endorsed by the UNC Board of Trustees in February 2021 and is now being implemented.

August – November 2018


  • President Feinstein announces formation of the President’s Leadership Council
  • State of the University address calls upon Class of 1910 motto “Rowing, Not Drifting”
  • Formation of task forces to assess UNC’s academic portfolio, student affairs, and student success
  • UNC begins developing a new strategic enrollment and student success plan
  • President Feinstein and CFO Michelle Quinn host Budget 101 information sessions

January - May 2019

June - August 2019

  • SESS action teams begin implementing changes to UNC’s enrollment and student success operations
  • UNC begins organizational design review to recommend operational efficiencies
  • President’s Leadership Council is charged as the planning steering committee, with President Feinstein and Provost Mark Anderson serving as planning co-chairs

September 2019 

  • State of the University address invites participation in planning process
  • Forums, meetings, and an online survey collects feedback regarding UNC’s future
  • The Social Research Lab (SRL) compiles summary of feedback that the President’s Leadership Council uses to begin drafting vision

October 2019 

  • University community receives the results from UNC’s organizational design review with recommendations for operational improvements and efficiency
  • President’s Leadership Council completes draft vision and shares document with university community
  • Town hall and online survey collects feedback on draft vision
  • President’s Leadership Council receives feedback summary to review and revise the draft vision, five vision elements, and 2030 outcomes in the now titled Rowing, Not Drifting 2030 vision document

November 2019 

  • Planning co-chairs and President’s Leadership Council refine draft vision
  • Board of Trustees and university community receive final draft ahead of November board meeting
  • Board of Trustees approve and adopt UNC’s Rowing, Not Drifting 2030 vision document

January - March 2020 

  • President’s Leadership Council and task forces begin to identify key actions
  • Strategic planning work is paused in March 2020 due to the university shifting strategic priorities and focus to the global pandemic

September - November 2020 

  • President’s Leadership Council redeploys task forces to review 2030 outcomes and determines the need for five, two-year phases
  • Task forces refine key actions and identify the supporting tactics for Phase I of Rowing, Not Drifting 2030
  • The President’s Leadership Council presents the key actions, tactics, and Phase I document at the November Board of Trustees meeting

December 2020 - February 2021 

  • President’s Leadership Council conducts virtual forum regarding Phase I key actions and tactics to solicit feedback and answer questions
  • The Social Research Lab (SRL) conducts survey and compiles feedback, which the President’s Leadership Council uses to revise and further develop Phase I key actions, tactics, and the strategic planning document
  • Board of Trustees endorses final Rowing, Not Drifting 2030 Phase I key actions and tactics at February meeting for immediate implementation

March 2021 - June 2022 

  • Enact Phase I key actions and tactics
  • Share ongoing progress and updates with the university community regarding Phase I
  • Begin developing Phase II key actions and tactics

Common Planning Terms

Common planning terms are defined in many ways. We are using the following definitions: 

  • Mission: An enduring statement of why UNC exists
  • Values: Enduring core beliefs that guide our actions 
  • Vision: The foundational guide the brings together the vision statement, vision elements, and 2030 outcomes to set a course for a specific length of time
  • Vision Statement: An aspirational statement of what we want UNC to become 
  • Vision Elements: The major building blocks of our vision, each of which describes an institutional priority 
  • 2030 Outcomes: An achievement that will move us toward our vision and is noted as part of each vision element
  • Key Action: An actionable set of steps within one of the five phases of the strategic plan. The key actions support the Vision Statement, Five Vision Elements and the 2030 Outcomes.
  • Tactics: A specific task that will be implemented as part of a key action.