University Planning

University Planning and Quality Council


February 24, 2009

Members Present: Vice Provost Steve McFarland, Mr. Charlie Maimone, Ms. Pat Leonard, Mr. Steve Demski, Dr. Debra Saunders-White, Dr. David Cordle, Dr. Cathy Barlow, Dr. Susan Pierce, Dr. Robert Roer, Dr. Bruce McKinney, Dr. John Fischetti, Dr. Rob Burrus, Mr. Max Allen, Mr. Mark Lanier, Ms. Nancy Jones and Dr. Kenneth Spackman.

Others Attending: Dr. Johnson Akinleye, Dr. Jose Hernandez, Ms. Cindy Lawson and Dr. Nathan Lindsay.

Vice Provost McFarland called the meeting to order at 2:00 pm.

The minutes of the January 27 meeting were approved as posted on the Web.

The Council heard progress reports on the Strategic Priorities for 2006-08 as follows.

  1. Improve the first year experience in order to promote retention and graduation.
    The freshman retention rate for the cohort entering Fall 2007 was 85.4%, an increase from 84.6% in the prior year and just under UNCW's target of 86%. Four-year and six-year graduation rates have not yet been finalized, but preliminary estimates show little change from the prior year in each case.

  2. Revise the Basic Studies program, increase student-faculty interaction, and strengthen procedures to assess student learning.
    The Faculty Senate Basic Studies Committee has submitted its report, Revising General Education at UNCW, to the Faculty Senate for consideration at its march meeting. Student-faculty ratio, a measure of the capacity for student-faculty interaction, improved from 16.7 to 1 in Fall 2007 to 15.8 to 1 in Fall 2008. The Provost's Basic Studies Assessment Committee is nearing completion of its work, which will provide a detailed blueprint for assessing learning in our general education core. The evidence collected by SACS Fifth-Year Interim Report committees shows that program-level assessment of student learning in each degree and certificate program has progressed well over the past three years. A Learning Assessment Council was established in Spring 2008 to make recommendations on university-wide student learning assessment policies and procedures.

  3. Strive for fair and competitive salaries and improved benefits for all UNCW employees.
    In the 2006-08 biennium, SPA employees received average legislative increases of 5.5% and 4%, respectively, in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Faculty received average increases (from funds provided by the legislature, campus-based tuition increases and the Board of Governors) of 7% in 2006-07 (the largest increase in 15 years) and 6% in 2007-08. In 2008-09, SPA employees received an average increase of 2.75% (or $1100, whichever was larger) and faculty received an average increase of 3.5%. UNCW is more competitive in salaries than in benefits; low total compensation is the number one deterrent for faculty applicants.

  4. Through a strengthened Diversity Council, evaluate results of a campus diversity climate survey and make specific recommendations for enhancing diversity throughout the university.
    The Diversity Council has 40 action items, many of which have been accomplished, and is considering another climate survey to compare with baseline data. Minority representation among first-time, full-time freshmen has increased from 7.5% to 11.6 % in the period 2000 to 2008. New IPEDS reporting rules will, however, make future comparisons difficult. Among all employees, the percentage who are minority increased from 17.6% to 20.4% in the past year. In addition to headcounts, the Diversity Council is working on other ways to measure diversity progress, including minority retention and graduation rates, support, climate, curriculum, engagement and programming.

  5. Implement the quiet phase of the comprehensive campaign.
    The quiet phase of the comprehensive campaign began on July 1, 2005, and is continuing to date. The fundraising success during the quiet phase is on target for a $60-75 million goal. With gifts and pledges received through 1/31/09, we are on target with 49-61% toward the goal. To ensure the campaign 's success, the total of gifts and pledges should be approximately 70% of the goal as the public phase begins. The original projection indicated the quiet phase would conclude in 2009 and the 'kick-off' of the public phase would occur, with a successful conclusion in 2012. As a result of the current economic environment, a decision has been made to remain in the quiet phase at least until the first quarter of 2010. The economic conditions will be monitored throughout the coming months to determine an appropriate schedule for the public phase. Given the current economy, being in the quiet phase is considered beneficial for the campaign.

The Council then discussed establishment of an updated set of strategic priorities, with the following purposes in mind:

  • In these challenging budgetary times, we need updated strategic priorities to help make sound decisions where to invest,

  • We need to more intimately tie planning and budgeting together,

  • We need to bring more focus to the process that produced $25 million in budget requests last year, and

  • Because it may be unrealistic to expect incremental progress in all areas, we need to set priorities to ensure incremental progress in selected areas.

The following answers were offered to the question, "In times of budget-cutting, why set priorities when we won't have any new resources?"

  • The General Assembly will both give and take (e.g., we will receive new enrollment growth funds),

  • The federal economic stimulus may provide opportunities not yet known,

  • Campus-based tuition increases continue to be authorized, and

  • The reverse question, "What must be preserved as we make cuts?" requires agreed-upon priorities.

The Council established the following procedure for developing strategic priorities for 2009-11. Each Planning Council member will be asked to submit suggestions for the 2-3 highest priority areas for the university in the coming biennium. The format of each submission should be a single imperative sentence for each priority together with a parenthetical reference to sources. Sources of priorities to consider include specifically identified components of these documents (all of which were developed with broad input and will remain in full effect): the mission, core values, goals and objectives of the UNCW Strategic Plan, UNCW's Priority Progress Measures, and UNCW's UNC Tomorrow Priorities. The Council suggested these principles to consider as individuals select their top priorities:

  • Advancing, not just preserving, UNCW's quality;

  • The potential to see measurable improvement as a result of applying resources to the priority;

  • Moving UNCW farthest the fastest;

  • Selecting an area that will require multiple strategies across divisions of the university;

  • Considering the economic climate, not as a constraint to advancing quality, but as but as a reason for doing so; and

  • Contributing toward preparation for the approaching SACS decennial accreditation review

Members were requested to submit electronically their top 2-3 priorities to Steve McFarland by Tuesday, March 10, with a copy to Ken Spackman. Steve and Ken will compile all the proposals and communicate a summary to the Planning Council prior to the March 24 meeting. At that meeting we will attempt to distill the proposals to a short list of priorities as our response to the Cabinet's request that we recommend updated strategic priorities for the next two years.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:20 pm.

Future Meetings (At 2:00-3:30 pm in AL 215)


March 24, 2009


April 14, 2009


May 5, 2009

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Last Updated: March 16, 2009