Message from Chancellor Sartarelli: Welcome to the Spring 2022 Semester

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Dear Seahawk Community:

As we welcome new and returning students to UNCW to begin the spring semester, we have many opportunities to dive into new experiences. New courses to take and teach, research and learning activities to explore, friendships to make or renew, and arts and cultural events to discover. We also look forward to supporting our student-athletes, engaging with our community, and focusing on projects that inspire us, both as individuals and as a campus community.

For nearly two years, you have taken a committed approach to following the university’s COVID-19 guidelines. Thank you for caring so much about each other and our campus community. The pandemic remains a significant challenge – one that will continue to affect our daily lives for an indeterminate amount of time. Given the transmissibility of the latest variant, there likely will be a high number of cases on campus at times this spring. The university’s leadership team will continue to monitor conditions and consider several factors when making decisions to alter COVID-19 guidance, including CDC, NCDHHS and UNC System policies; the level of transmission in North Carolina; and the overall vaccination rate in our state.  

Please read on for several useful updates and resources to help our campus community have a strong start to the semester.

We look forward to welcoming our new and returning students to live on campus this spring. Our residential students always bring energy and enthusiasm to our campus. Providing in-person learning and on-campus living experiences connects today’s Seahawks to the generations who came before them in special ways.

To help students settle in, the Division of Student Affairs has put together a collection of opportunities to create connections. Any student can complete the Involvement Compass to receive a personalized involvement report, learn more about our 230+ student organizations on Wavelink, or plan to take part in the Spring Involvement Carnival on Monday, Jan. 31.

Bonuses and Pay Raises for Faculty and Staff
The state budget approved last fall included well-deserved bonuses and a 5% legislative increase for eligible EHRA and SHRA employees (2.5% per year for the next two years). The one-time bonuses were included in employees’ December paychecks, and the first 2.5% raises are scheduled for inclusion in January paychecks.

Thanks to the hard work of our faculty and staff combined with careful management of resources, UNCW is in a strong financial position. We have set aside funding for an additional 2.5% salary pool to recognize eligible employees’ resilience, dedication and service. We anticipate moving forward with these discretionary salary adjustments in February. (More details were included in correspondence from Business Affairs and Human Resources).

Chief Diversity Officer Search Update
Last fall, UNCW actively engaged in the vital work of identifying and selecting the university’s next Chief Diversity Officer. We reviewed many applications and interviewed several distinguished candidates, but we were unable to determine a permanent leader to take on this critical role at this time. Fortunately for UNCW, interim CDO Donyell Roseboro has agreed to continue guiding our efforts. Please join me in thanking Dr. Roseboro for helping us focus on creating a campus climate that is more inclusive, diverse and equitable so that every Seahawk will feel they belong and are valued.

On the Horizon for UNCW
Looking ahead, 2022 has the potential to become a pivotal time in UNCW’s history. The university, founded in 1947, marks its 75th anniversary this year. A new chancellor will take the helm of this great institution following my retirement in June. Campus teams are involved in the important work of developing new strategic and quality enhancement plans, two efforts that are vital to UNCW’s future growth. Innovative academic degrees are scheduled to launch this year, including our latest undergraduate degrees in cybersecurity and intelligent systems engineering* and our newest doctoral degree, a Ph.D. in Applied Coastal and Ocean Sciences. Our research and community engagement endeavors are gaining momentum, and our campus life and athletics programs have much to offer students now and in the future.

The next steps in a multi-year, wide-ranging construction and renovation effort are taking shape, from completion of the coastal engineering building to further development of our plans to renovate and expand Randall Library. In addition, UNCW is slated to receive planning funds for replacement of the current Isaac Bear Early College High School facilities, in partnership with New Hanover County Schools.  

The philanthropic support generated by Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW, publicly launched last spring, buoys our scholarships, professorships, programs and other university priorities. Thanks to the generosity of thousands of alumni, students, employees and donors, we are moving closer to our goal to raise at least $100 million for UNCW. We look forward to bringing many of these Seahawks together soon for Homecoming Feb. 7-13.

The pandemic as well as other concerns will undoubtedly affect this year's progress – that is expected in the complex world in which we all live, work and learn. Challenges and opportunities often disrupt our lives, but they also inspire imagination and innovation. The Seahawk community clearly knows how to rise above life’s storms. Whatever 2022 brings, I encourage you to keep soaring forward.  

Best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy spring semester.

Go Seahawks!  

Jose V. Sartarelli  

* These programs are slated to start in fall 2022, pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.