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Strategic Planning Process and Timeline

A Graphic of UNC's Strategic Planning Process Timeline

Our planning process focused on UNC’s vision and goals. It both honored our historical mission and acknowledged that we have become much more. We may need to revisit our mission when this work is done. Similarly, we may find it necessary to update the language of our university values. 

Fall 2019 work was focused on developing a draft vision to take to the Board of Trustees in November. In the fall of 2020, we will finalize draft goals for the Board of Trustees to consider.

The planning process began in September 2019 with a series of campus forums and external discussions, facilitated by the president and provost, to discuss what UNC should aspire to be in 10 years. Campus forums invited participants at tables of 8-10 to discuss visioning questions and record their responses on easel paper to post on the walls. Participants were grouped so responses could be segmented by the following roles: undergraduate students, graduate students, classified staff, exempt staff, tenured faculty, tenure-track faculty, and contract renewable and adjunct faculty. The same (or similar) visioning questions were used for external discussions, as well as for an online survey available during the same time. Feedback was summarized by UNC’s Social Research Lab, a campus-based data collection and analysis service staffed by professionally trained researchers led by Sociology professor Josh Packard.

Strategic Planning Forum

The PLC used this feedback to draft a vision that includes five to six vision elements reflecting UNC’s highest priorities for 2020-2030. We shared the draft with campus and online survey collected feedback, which the Social Research Lab summarized. In consultation with the PLC, the president and provost used the feedback to refine the draft vision. The Board of Trustees considered it in November 2019. 

At the start of the spring semester, the PLC formed a subgroup for each vision element—adding non-PLC members as needed—to discuss the goals but this work was paused due to the pandemic. In fall 2020, the PLC and the subgroups will revisit each vision element and finalize the draft of goals to discuss with the PLC. The PLC will identify synergies among potential goals and develop a draft to share with campus. Feedback will be collected, summarized and used to refine the draft just as it was in 2019. Work will be completed by the end of the spring semester, and the Board of Trustees will consider the draft goals in June. 

Recap of Planning Timeline - 2019

August 26 - September 10

Prepare for and launch planning process

  • Charge President’s Leadership Council (PLC) as planning steering committee 8/27 
  • Launch planning website and begin publicizing forum dates 8/28 
  • State of the University Address 9/10

September 10 - 28

Collect and summarize feedback to be used to develop draft vision

  • Staff/faculty forum to collect feedback for draft vision 9/10 (3 - 4:30 p.m.) 
  • Survey to collect feedback for creating draft vision opens 9/11
  • Student forum 9/11 (5 - 6:30 p.m.) 
  • Staff/faculty forum 9/12 (9-10:30 a.m.) 
  • Staff/faculty forum 9/16 (2-3:30 p.m.)
  • Student forum 9/17 (6-7:30 p.m.) 
  • Staff/faculty forum 9/18 (9-10:30 a.m.) 
  • Survey to collect feedback for creating draft vision closes 9/18 
  • Social Research Lab (SRL) works to analyze/summarize feedback 
  • Alumni Board discussion with co-chairs 9/28 

September 30 - October 8

Develop draft vision 

  • SRL provides summary to co-chairs and PLC 9/30
  • PLC begins work on draft vision (1st of 2 discussions) 10/3 
  • PLC completes draft vision 10/8 

October 9 - 27

Collect and summarize feedback on draft vision

  • Share draft vision electronically with campus 10/9
  • Town hall to collect feedback on draft vision 10/14 (10-11:30 a.m.) 
  • Survey to collect feedback on draft vision opens 10/14 
  • Survey to collect feedback on draft vision closes 10/18 
  • SRL works to analyze/summarize feedback

October 28 - November 5

Refine draft vision 

  • SRL provides summary to co-chairs and PLC 10/28 
  • PLC discusses feedback and suggests refinements to draft vision 10/29 
  • Co-chairs refine draft vision 11/1-4 
  • Co-chairs discuss refined draft vision with PLC 11/5

November 6 - 15 

BOT considers draft vision 

  • Share draft vision electronically with campus and BOT 11/6 
  • Include draft vision with materials for 11/15 BOT meeting 11/8 
  • BOT considers draft vision 11/15 

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: 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 
  • Goal: An achievement that will move us toward our vision