University Planning

soaring to greatness

Reports of Planning Council Subcommittees
reviewing proposed progress measures
June 2005

Progress measure #1 Student-faculty ratio
Sue McCaffray, Bob Russell, Nelson Reid

RECOMMENDATION: That UNCW adopt a goal of establishing a FTE student to FTE faculty ratio of 16:1 by 2009 and of reaching 15:1 by 2020. It is critical that improvements in the overall student/faculty ratio not come about by eroding faculty quality. UNCW must commit to these gains while holding the line on the percentage of faculty members holding the terminal degree and the percentage of full-time faculty.

1. Rationale:

Quantitatively, UNCW currently (Fall 2003) ranked 15th out of 16 constituent UNC institutions in student/faculty ratio and 12th out of 15 benchmark institutions. While UNCW's ratio improved slightly from 2002 to 2003 (19.3 to 18.7), it was still higher in 2003 than in 2000 (18.7 vs. 18.1). What these figures suggest is that UNCW is not doing very well in this measure compared to its competitors and is not making significant or sustainable progress.

Even more significant than quantitative rankings, however, are the qualitative realities these figures represent. The benefit of adding full-time faculty members is not fully captured by the statistical changes in the ratio. The addition of one full-time faculty member in the English department, for example, may mean that three sections of English composition will be taught by Ph.D. holders rather than by graduate students pursuing an M.A., or, that each section is reduced in size. The addition of one full time faculty member in any department can result in the addition of two additional sections of a senior capstone research seminar, reducing the number of students in each seminar from an unwieldy 20 to a manageable 15. The effect of reducing class sizes at both the basic studies and the senior seminar levels upon instructors' teaching options is profound. Instructors will be able to assign more writing assignments and other exercises that require extensive grading time. They will be able to comment more thoroughly on student work. They will be more available for instruction in interdisciplinary, Honors, MALS and LC courses outside their departments. They will be better able to undertake time-consuming independent studies, research projects and internships.

Improvements in teaching technology at UNCW have been significant and have likely produced a positive effect on students' education. At the end of the day, however, faculty resources are also required to make these investments worthwhile. Regardless of new instructional technologies, grading of written work, research consultation, and familiarity with new literature require sizeable investments of faculty members' time. Technology is not a substitute for faculty.

The primary reason, therefore, for aspiring to quantitative gains in this measurement is to enhance the quality of students' education.

2. Resources:

Achievement of this goal will be expensive. Dr. Spackman has calculated that to achieve the 16:1 ratio right away would require the addition of 88 full-time positions, at a cost of ($60,000 per person) $5.28 million. He will present figures showing the inputs necessary to reach this ratio incrementally, factoring in projected enrollment growth.

The expense involved suggests that real progress in this area so fundamental to the quality of student education can only come if it is the fundamental institutional priority for several years to come.

The resources that must be invested in full-time faculty lines must come from a variety of sources, including the "buying back" of flexed faculty lines; the commitment of an increasing share of enrollment growth funds to faculty lines; and significant investment from any equity funding received from the UNC system. We believe that near-term tuition increases should be the last resort for two reasons. First, current students have shouldered significant and painful tuition increases in recent years and reasonably expect to see real improvement in student/faculty ratio from past increases. Second, the commitment to improving the student/faculty ratio should be an institutional commitment at the highest level and be reflected in a realignment of priorities and budgets.

3. Progress Measures

To track progress toward this goal the Planning Council must track three numbers annually:

Average student/faculty ratio
percentage of faculty who are full time
percentage of faculty with terminal degree.

Planning Council must receive this report every ________ (pick a month.) and review for adequate yearly progress toward goal of 1:16 by 2009 and 1:15 by 2020.

Council must recommend measures to improve progress toward goal as necessary.

Progress measure #2 Student-staff ratio
William Fleming, Ron Core, Bob Tyndall

In response to our charge to assess the feasibility of the progress measure recommended by the Progress Measures Subcommittee of the University Planning and Quality Council on student-staff ratio, we have concluded that while UNCW should make every effort to continue to improve the student-staff ratio, it is not feasible to make the 8.2 ratio a specified progress measure at this time.

Clearly, UNCW has suffered from funding inequities that have resulted in placing UNCW at the bottom of the rankings for student-staff ratio. Based on our analysis, to move from the current student-staff ratio of 10.9 to 8.2 by 2010 while the university is growing from a total head count of 11,900 to approximately 13,300 (which translates to an FTE of 13,289 x 91.5% = FTE of approximately 12,200 - see 11 Year Enrollment Projection submitted to BOG for Long-Range Planning) would require UNCW to add approximately 460 positions over the next five year.

Currently, UNCW employs 215 EPA staff and 807 SPA staff for a total of 1,022. To meet the 8.2 student-staff ratio would require 1,482 staff or an increase of 460 employees over the next five years. Based on a rough salary estimate of $35,000 per position in today's dollars, this would require approximately $16 million new dollars or $3.2 million new dollars each year. As the positions are added, the total continuing dollars would move from $3.2 million in year one, to $6.4 million in year two, to $9.6 million in year three, to $12.8 million in year four and would reach a total of $16 million dollars in continuing funding by year five. Our sub-group would recommend consideration of a more selective approach that targets staff growth areas tied to the strategic goals of the university; thus moving us "further, faster" through strategic investments. The categories of staff employment at UNCW that reveal the greatest deficits based on peer analysis are Office Support, Services and Maintenance, and Professional Support. These three areas are significantly behind the other four categories relative to UNC averages for student population.

Further, if these areas were analyzed with regard to their impact on "teaching and learning" and a "clean, inviting and safe campus," both of which are stated in UNCW's strategic goals, reasonable growth targets could be established that might prove feasible. We would recommend that Human Resources and the Budget Office analyze the three categories in the context of the two strategic goals stated above (and others if appropriate) and develop a position distribution plan that would most impact the stated strategic directions. This model could be reviewed by the Planning Council and then a targeted budget plan could be established that might prove more feasible. We might, for example, define a plan to add 205 new positions and, if possible, target other funds that might have gone to position creation to make the salaries of current employees more competitive. The receipts versus state appropriations mix in both instances would also need to be analyzed to determine how this might impact our model.

Progress measure #3 Diversity
Denis Carter, Tom Schmid, Steve Demski

Improve the ratios in retention, graduation and educational achievement between majority and minority student populations.

To serve the higher education needs of southeastern North Carolina, to respond to the changing demographics of North Carolina's high school graduates, and to uphold diversity as a core value, UNCW must monitor those indicators that have historically shown gaps in achievement between traditionally underrepresented groups and the general student population. A nationwide 2003 study found that at 146 competitive colleges and universities, the six-year graduation rate is more than 20 points higher for white students than black students, and it is seven points higher for non-Hispanic white students than Hispanic students. The minority achievement gap in graduation rates is nearly not that severe at UNC institutions, and even less pronounced at UNCW. Yet it exists. The following table shows a comparison of the average 6-year graduation rate for students entering 1994-97 (and graduating 2000-2003) in three categories, for UNCW, all UNC institutions, and all 146 institutions.

Average 6-year graduation rate

All students

Black (non-Hispanic)






All UNC Institutions




All 146 Institutions




The next table shows the freshman retention rate comparisons for UNCW, for all UNC institutions and for all 146 competitive institutions for students entering in fall 2002 (and returning fall 2003) in three categories.

Freshman retention rate

All students

Black (non-Hispanic)






All UNC Institutions




All 146 Institutions




Progress measure #4 Retention and graduation rates
Pat Leonard, Terry Curran, Cathy Barlow, Carol Pilgrim

By 2010, increase the freshman to sophomore retention rate…

Appropriateness - Being that the objective was selected based on peer institutions and the gradual increase based on the UNCW Freshman Retention Rate bar graph information, the target appears appropriate. The review team would like to reserve the opportunity to adjust pending receipt of data not available at this time such as freshman exit information, etc.

Reasonable - Again, with no other data to enter into our data-based decision making, it appears reasonable.

Achievable - The team would like to gather data such as freshman exit interviews, SAT scores, demographics, etc. to determine achievability.

Timeline - The timeline appears appropriate due to basing information on the steady increase represented on the bar graph mentioned earlier. However, the same information is needed to confirm the timeline.

…the six year graduation rate from 61% in 2004-2005 to 63%

Appropriateness - Since we do not have a steady increase as indicated by the UNCW 6-year Graduation Rates bar graph, it is difficult to determine if a move from 61.2% to 63% is appropriate. If we base our decision on the average of our peer institutions, it APPEARS appropriate. The team requests information regarding the students tracked during that 6 year period and the variables that influence the peaks indicated by alternate years 2000, 2002, 2004. Also, we need analysis by program.

Reasonable - Again, the target of 63% appears reasonable based on only peer institutions. It would be helpful to have that percentage computed reflective of the target enrollment figures. The university decision has been to reduce numbers of entering freshman and increase transfer (especially community college associate degrees). This variable alone would change the target percentage.

Achievable - As indicated previously, the target percentage appears achievable but too little information is known.

Timeline - The timeline appears to be appropriate. However, the requested data might influence that target.

Progress measure #5 Undergrads housed on campus
Pat Leonard, Ron Core, Brad Reid

University Strategic Plan

Priority Progress Measures - #5


New Beds

Total Beds

% of Undergraduates



Coming On-line


Housed On-campus

Fall 2005





Fall 2006


Phase I - 524 Beds



Fall 2007


Phase II - 524 Beds



Fall 2008





Fall 2009


Phase III - 500 Beds



Fall 2010





Fall 2011





Fall 2012





Fall 2013





Fall 2014





Fall 2015





Note: The university must increase the number of beds to 4,673 to serve 40% of the projected undergraduate

population by the year 2015. This equates to adding 765 beds beyond Phase III. The demand for additional

beds after Phase III will be evaluated at that time and plans will be developed according to unmet needs.

Progress measure #6 Faculty salaries
Mark Spaulding, William Fleming, Cathy Barlow, Bob Russell

From: Spaulding, Robert
To: Spackman, Ken
Subject: FW: Planning Committee small group assignments - Faculty Salaries

...I think UNCW will move "farthest the fastest" in goals related to faculty by judicious use of merit pay increases. As long as the legislature continues to insist on identical raises for all employees, it will be up to UNCW to see to it that extra effort (which has carried us through $20m in cuts) is rewarded. That seems to me far more critical to faculty than statistically "average" pay.

From: Steelman, Mark
To: Steelman, Mark; Barlow, Cathy L.; Siko, Janice; Russell, Bob; Spaulding, Robert
Subject: RE: Planning Committee small group assignments - Faculty Salaries

Human Resources conducts an analysis of faculty salaries against the group III peers. In October 2004 we analyzed salaries against peer averages, not peer 80th percentile. It appears that OP is setting the 80th percentile as our benchmark, so we will likely use that instead for future analyses (if we can get the data).

Our experience indicates there is considerable variation in average salaries based on discipline. We analyze salary competitiveness by discipline first and rank second.

The general pattern we've seen is that Assistant Professors are the most market competitive (95.1 % of market ave.) and that market competitiveness decreases with rank. (i.e. Associate Processors are 91.0% of market ave; Professors are 86.5% of market ave).

The Office of the President is currently reviewing the peer groups for the UNC campuses. It is unknown if that will make our market position appear better or worse.

Progress measure #7 Research expenditures
Bob Roer, Mark Galizio, Mark Lanier

7. Increase total R&D expenditures from $13 million in 2003 to $17 million by 2010.

Research and development expenditures are primarily funded through federal research grants awarded to faculty, with the Center for Marine Science leading the way. R&D expenditures not only measure faculty research activity, but also the capacity to offer undergraduate and graduate students opportunities for involvement in research projects with faculty, as well as facilitation of collaborative research partnerships with local industry and government and applied research that benefits regional development. The Benchmark Study 2003 revealed that UNCW offers a rare combination of high quality undergraduate education with a research university's opportunities for student involvement in significant faculty scholarship. This is an institutional identity worth preserving and cultivating. The graph below shows UNCW's research expenditures from 1991 through 2003. Among the 15 Benchmark Study 2004 institutions, UNCW (at 10.4%) was second only to the College of William and Mary (at 19.4%) in total R&D expenditures as a percentage of total expenditures. The next highest percentage of 4.4% was achieved by UNC Charlotte.

UNCW's research expenditures doubled during the years 1991-1997, and doubled again between 1998 and 2003. It is unlikely that this exponential trend can continue in the next five years, however. Precedent to and coincident with the last major increase, UNCW saw construction and occupation of Dobo Hall and the Center for Marine Science with an accompanying influx of new science faculty. The current faculties in the sciences are already achieving high rates of grant submission and award. Without expansion of the faculty and without increased funding for the NSF and NIH, growth in grant receipts in the sciences is likely to slow. Science faculty hires are limited by space and infrastructure.

Another contribution to the rapid increase in extramural funding between 1998 and 2003 was the arrival of a new dean in the Watson School of Education. Her efforts propelled the school to a prominent position in accrual of outside support. Further growth here will occur but not at the same rate.

There is the potential for substantial growth in submission and receipt of grants in the social sciences, arts and humanities. There are numerous opportunities and sources for funding, but the size of the awards in these fields is generally much lower than that in the sciences. Consequently, an increase in grant and contract expenditures of 25-30% is expected between 2005 and 2010.

Progress measure #8 International students and study abroad
Larry Clark, Virginia Adams, Kim Sawrey

From: Adams, Virginia
To: Sawrey, Damon Kim

Thank you for the response. I agree that we are able to send students abroad and that we can attract students. The issue is always resources. We may need to examine the meaning of international experience. Is there a length of time that qualifies as an international experience?

The priority progress measure seems to be adequate at the moment unless you have data from last year that suggest otherwise. When Adrian gets here, we have to talk about how to recruit international students.

-----Original Message-----
From: Sawrey, Damon Kim
To: Adams, Virginia

My inclination is to leave the figures as they are. Our incoming Assistant Provost for International Programs, Dr. Adrian Sherman, suggested to me that "those goals seem reasonable to me." I think he is cautiously optimistic about attracting 3% international students and confidently optimistic about sending 5% of all students abroad.

Under Dr. Sherman's direction, I believe that we may send 5% of our students abroad before 2010. International students can be difficult to attract, but their recruitment should remain a top university priority.

Progress measure #9 Endowment for scholarships
Mary Gornto, Mark Lanier, Emily Bliss

From: Gornto, Mary M.
To: Spackman, Ken

Cc: Lanier, Mark; Bliss, Emily
Subject: RE: Progress measures and strategic action plans

Ken, Mark, Emily and I are fine with the changes made to strategic goal #9 (the data in the narrative is the most current until September) and I am ok with goal #10. Thanks. Mary

Progress measure #10 Alumni giving rate
Mary Gornto

From: Gornto, Mary M.
To: Spackman, Ken
Subject: Reasonableness of progress measure #10

Ken, I'm fine with the measure and the rationale. As we have not made any projections beyond 16% by 08, I would suggest leaving it at that. The intention was to exceed the then public benchmark average within 5 years. We will certainly re-evaluate as we go along, but I'm not prepared to do so at this time. Thanks. Mary