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Year 1 Updates

Highest Priorities for New Strategic Investments

(Objectives 2.1, 2.2, 3.3 and 5.1)

Headed by the Provost, the enrollment management leadership team, the Academic Advising Council, the Student Success Working Group and Student Affairs, numerous activities and initiatives currently are addressing this highest priority:  

  • Every college and academic advising unit on campus has developed a preliminary plan for professional academic advising and faculty mentoring. 
  • Starfish (a web-based tool for students, faculty and advisors) usage campaign has resulted in more early academic feedback and interventions than ever before. 
  • Ocelot (chat bot and text messaging platform) implemented across campus to support retention and student success efforts. 
  • Transfer direct admit program created with Cape Fear Community College called “Pre-Hawks.” 
  • Transfer-friendly UNCW campaign started with all colleges engaged. 
  • Campus-wide definition of student success written. 
  • 9 Student success policy updates through Faculty Senate. 
  • 4-year academic degree plans near completion with plans to launch in summer 2024.  
  • Additional transfer housing identified to support the recruitment of transfers. 
  • New strategic investments have been and will continue to be made, primarily through revenues from the Campus Initiated Tuition Increase. 
  • Data show notable improvement in fall-to-spring retention. 

(Objectives 2.4 and 2.5)

  • New strategic investments have been and will continue to be made (e.g., additional counseling positions) addressing this priority, primarily through revenues from the Campus Initiated Tuition Increase. 
  • A presentation on initiatives in this area was shared with the Board of Trustees at the February quarterly meetings, with an additional presentation planned during future quarterly meetings.

Career readiness and services (Objectives 3.2 and 7.2) 

High impact practices (Objective 3.1 and 16.5)

  • Both a self-study and an external review of UNCW’s Career Center have been completed during the past year; a review of recommendations (e.g., enhanced experiential learning opportunities; alumni mentoring; new staff hires; etc.) is in progress. 
  • The Provost and Deans are addressing career advising within each college and school, while the High Impact Practices Council continues its work as well. 

(Objectives 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4)

  • The 2023 session of the NC General Assembly provided the largest salary increases in recent years for both FY24 (4%) and FY25 (3%); these were supplemented at the institutional level with additional funding for salary adjustments; the General Assembly also provided contributions for employee benefits (State Health Plan; retirement systems). 
  • New ranges for SHRA employees have been received from the UNC System; new ranges for EPS (Exempt Professional Staff) employees are expected in FY24; implementation is being planned, to be funded partially through new enrollment growth general funds. 

(Objective 7.1, 8.2, 10.1 and 13.2)

  • The 2023 session of the General Assembly also provided $8 million to UNCW for research and programs in critical workforce areas, formerly known as “R2 funding.” 
  • The provost, deans and campus colleagues are moving forward initiatives related to these objectives, including implementation of recently approved degrees (such as a doctorate in physical therapy and bachelor in biochemistry) and possible new degrees (such as a master's in physician assistant studies, bachelor's in software engineering and more). 

(Objectives 9.1, 9.2 and 8.3)

  • Both the New Hanover Community Endowment and Novant Health announced significant funding for health programs at UNCW, CFCC and other community partners working to address healthcare workforce shortages. 
  • The College of Health and Human Services, guided by the dean, is engaged in numerous community partnerships. UNCW Athletics recently announced a partnership with Wilmington Health that emphasizes comprehensive services for student-athletes.

High Priorities for Planning and Design, Starting the First Year

(Objectives 10.2)

  • The Office of University Relations has developed a request for proposals related to this branding campaign, with funding approved for this purpose. 
  • OUR also received funding for additional staff related to marketing. 

(Objective 14.1)

  • The Populous consulting firm, which specializes in sports facilities, has worked closely with Hanbury, the firm coordinating UNCW’s overall campus master planning process, to develop plans for needed improvements to or replacement of athletic facilities. 
  • Discussions about this goal are on the agenda for the April Board of Trustees meetings. 

(Objectives 16.1, 16.2, 16.3 and 16.4)

  • With oversight from the Provost and VCBA, the university continues to focus on data governance, an enterprise data warehouse (with HelioCampus as a strategic partner), data analytics, the Seahawks Insights Portal, artificial intelligence, information security and unit-specific data needs (e.g., admissions, research and innovation and university advancement); new positions (e.g., data architect) and new hires in existing positions are in place. 
  • Enrollment reporting enhancements are in place, including weekly updates and dashboard, and increased functionality in the Slate enrollment data management system. 

(Objectives 17.1 and 14.2)

  • During current and previous funding cycles, the General Assembly provided support for UNCW’s capital priorities, including renovations, modernizations /or expansions of: Randall Library; Center for Marine Science; Cameron Hall; Deloach Hall; and Kenan Auditorium. Where required, monies to match state funding have been identified; in addition, planning/design funds were provided for the next new academic building. 
  • The revised campus master plan will be on the agenda for the April meetings of the Board of Trustees. 

In-Progress High Priority Objectives Slated for Continued Emphasis

(Objectives 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 18.4)

  • With leadership from the Provost, Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs and the entire enrollment management team, UNCW continues to be successful in recruitment, retention and graduation. The Chancellor’s Cabinet receives regular reports about these topics and participates in relevant discussion.The university is known for continued affordability (i.e., no increases in resident undergraduate tuition for eight years) and increased financial aid (i.e., from both adjustments to allocations and from new resources from the successful Like No Other comprehensive campaign). 
  • Specific achievements to date include: 10-year strategic enrollment plan created; 10-year enrollment project model created; financial aid optimization project fully implemented; financial aid offer transparency project is being implemented. The university has invested over $1.5 million so far in need-based aid, with Provost awards implemented to improve admissions yield, College pipeline programs have grown and are working collaboratively, including Roots, Upward Bound, College Advising Corp, MICASA, iHeal and more.  

(Objectives 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4)

  • UNCW continues to diversify its workforce; in the most recent data available and reported to the Board of Trustees, approximately 58% of employees were female, 21% were minorities, 4% were protected veterans and 3% were individuals with disabilities. 
  • Actions across the entire campus contribute to UNCW’s welcoming environment, which will be assessed again soon through the UNC Engagement Survey and other tools. 
  • Increased collaborations and partnerships are in place between enrollment management and the cultural centers, including hiring of a joint position (OIDI and Admissions) and plans to offer academic advising in the cultural centers. 

(Objectives 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 8.1)

  • Under the direction of Dr. Beverly McGuire, implementation of the QEP is SAILing forward, in part through multiple large team and individual grants. 
  • Students will have opportunities to work on faculty-led projects across colleges and units – a hallmark of interdisciplinary research. 

(Objectives 2.3, 18.1, 18.2 and 18.5)

  • In addition to usual annual initiatives and events, University Advancement participated in both the 2024 CASE Insights on Alumni Engagement survey and the 2024 National Alumni Engagement Survey by Ruffalo Noel Levitz to provide baseline data and a better understanding that will inform future efforts and partnerships across campus. 
  • In 2024, UNCW surpassed the stretch goal of $125 million for Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW, with more than 35,000 donors participating. 

(Objectives 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 14.1 and 14.2) 

  • Following recent restructuring in the community engagement office, the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs charged a workgroup from Academic Affairs and Student Affairs with review of additional steps to enhance community engagement. 
  • Across the university, numerous units and thousands of individuals continue to demonstrate their commitment to community engagement in all its various forms. 

(Objectives 8.1, 9.2 and 18.3)

  • The 2023 session of the General Assembly provided $8 million to UNCW for research and programs in critical workforce areas, formerly known as “R2 funding.” This appropriation will ly enhance UNCW’s efforts in research, innovation and commercialization. UNCW’s sponsored research and associated activities are on an upward trajectory (e.g., new awards for sponsored programs have more than doubled in the last 5 years). The new investments are expected to facilitate continued expansion. 
  • The Office of Research and Innovation initiated a new Research Hubs internal funding and support program to accelerate growth, impact and competitiveness of UNCW research in strategic areas. Proposals are encouraged especially in Human Health, Coastal Resilience, Security and Artificial Intelligence. 
  • UNCW’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization and others on campus are working with NC Innovation, a new state initiative to assist in the commercialization of university research. 

(Objectives 3.3, 13.1, 13.2 and 13.3)

  • UNCW’s Office of Global Partnerships and International Education continues to expand and enhance the 1,000+ education abroad programs available in over 50 countries, as well as grow the number of international faculty, staff and students at UNCW. 
  • The annual Intercultural Festival helps connect both UNCW and the Wilmington community to the world. 
  • The Chancellor's International Committee (a group of community leaders and friends of the institution committed to working with the Associate Provost and Office of Global Partnerships and International Education to advance international initiatives for students, faculty and staff) was reconstituted and has been meeting regularly since December 2023. 

(Objectives 15.1, 15.2, 15.3, 15.4 and 17.2)

  • Some of the data modernization initiatives the university has implemented or plans to initiate will assist with effectiveness, efficiency and transparency; the strategic plan dashboard and metrics also contribute to transparency. 
  • The institution is working on specific policies, procedures and practices related to these objectives (e.g., Institutional Research and Planning is revising the assessment support model for campus). 
  • UNCW regularly is recognized as a leader, within the UNC System and beyond, for sustainability programs, practices and outcomes, such as energy efficiency and recycling.