UNCSA Forward: Institutional Sustainability

Dear Campus Community,

As we approach the end of the academic year and look forward to our commencement ceremonies, I am sending the final installment of the email series about UNCSA Forward: Our 2022-27 Strategic Plan, focusing on Institutional Sustainability. This core strategy seeks to reinforce the university’s foundation and make everything we do and aspire to do possible. In this area, we’ve identified various actions that will maximize our limited resources and explore new resources to address essential needs for personnel and operations. We also expanded this core strategy through the feedback process to include the continued evolution of our living and learning environment. 

UNCSA has benefited from increased funding from the state over the past two years based on increases in our enrollment. Overall, UNCSA enrollment grew to 1,372 (per our fall 2021 census), up 2.5% from 2019. That growth has been helpful in some respects but also has put more pressure on our already taxed personnel and physical resources. Even before the enrollment growth, we had substantial needs across practically every area of our operations, and even with the new appropriation, we cannot meet all of those existing and continuing needs. To resolve this, I have been working with the Executive Team and deans to prioritize how we will address this in the following four categories.

The first category is Personnel Sustainability. It is imperative that we bring compensation levels higher to combat problems in equity and compression and ensure that we can recruit and retain the incredible faculty and staff that have made this institution what it is today. As we begin to do that, we are adding at least three new faculty positions to address workload and are planning to bolster funding to support faculty rank promotion increases. On the staff side, we are committing resources in areas that are understaffed or reliant on temporary grant funding. To address salary equity and compression, we have also committed additional funding to handle as many of our most significant cases as is possible.

For the second category, Enrollment Sustainability, we plan to increase scholarships to recruit in-demand students competitively. To create the capacity to meet that goal, we need to invest in establishing permanent resources for the Advancement Division that have previously been temporary and grant-funded. We are also working to increase the retention rate of first- and second-year students, and making additional investments in mental health and wellness services is just one of the many actions we will take to reach that goal. 

The third category, Facilities Sustainability, highlights ongoing needs and initiatives for our living and learning environment. While major projects have been completed, such as Artist Village, Alex Ewing Performance Place, and the Semans Arts & Administration Building, many other facilities projects identified in the Campus Master Plan need to be addressed in the coming years. During the timeframe of this strategic plan, our most important capital project will be funding and completing the Stevens Center renovation.

The fourth category, Fiscal Sustainability, lays out actions to reinforce a campus culture of assessment to increase efficiencies and find new revenue opportunities through partnerships and alliances that can enhance our ability to achieve our mission for years to come. We've started by centralizing some arts and academic administrative support needs within the provost's office and have identified opportunities for shared services, particularly in budget management and forecasting.

These are ambitious goals for the Institutional Sustainability core strategy; however, I want to assure you that we will make incremental progress by moving these needs forward in phases each year. While our recent comprehensive campaign success positions us well for the future, now is the time for us to make smart and sustainable plans that will position us well to respond to our upcoming challenges and exciting new opportunities.


Brian Cole 

May 5, 2022