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Update on Strategic Planning Efforts

One year after the formation of a realignment plan for the university–a plan that follows a framework set by the university’s strategic plan–numerous strides have been made in streamlining NC State. Now, a number of recently announced initiatives continue to put that plan into action.

The new initiatives–which include a number of student success and faculty investment measures and an enrollment plan for the year 2020–bring shape to strategic planning and realignment, invest in priorities and put the university in position to become a stronger, more efficient and more effective institution.

Focus on Faculty

The Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program invests $5 million in about three dozen new tenure-track or tenured faculty in a dozen multidisciplinary cluster areas like environmental health science or personalized medicine. Investing in new faculty in targeted areas is an important part of the strategic plan and is one of our main priorities.

The Chancellor’s Innovation Fund provides seed money for researchers to help bring ideas and inventions to the marketplace. Four faculty projects received funding last summer; more awards will be granted later this year.

The University Faculty Scholars Program, slated to go into effect in the 2012-13 academic year, will recognize and reward up to 20 faculty members with $10,000 annually for five years for program support.

Solidifying Student Success

A task force appointed to study undergraduate student success noted that supporting students for optimal success–which means retaining students after their freshman year, timely graduation and educational and personal growth–requires a more coordinated, integrated and flexible administrative structure that emphasizes both the academic and nonacademic student experience.

Merging the Undergraduate Academic Programs office and the Student Affairs office into one unit–the new Division of Academic and Student Affairs, or DASA–is on track for full implementation by July 1.

The new division consolidates a number of programs into four main sections: academic programs and services, Arts NC State, campus life, and student development, health and wellness. A search for a vice chancellor to head DASA is under way.

In another important change, full-time, on-campus students will no longer need to pay an additional fee for taking one or more distance education classes. Students enrolled in a distance education degree program will be charged on a per-credit-hour basis, consistent with UNC system policy. These changes will go into effect in the fall semester.

An Enrollment Plan for 2020

Replacing a previous enrollment plan that projected faster growth, a recently approved long-range plan calls for student enrollment to grow to 37,000 by the year 2020. The new plan replaces a previous enrollment growth plan that projected 40,000 students by 2017.

The new enrollment projections better fit the framework provided by the university’s strategic plan and aim to improve the quality of academic programs while maintaining access for North Carolinians.

Much of the proposed growth over the next eight years–from the current total student population of more than 34,000–will be in graduate student populations, especially doctoral students.

Investing in tenured and tenure-track faculty to mentor and train graduate students is critical to the plan. In the last decade, the total student body grew by more than 20 percent while tenured and tenure-track faculty grew by just 1 percent.

The full 2020 enrollment plan can be found here.

Past Realignment Activities

The new initiatives aren’t the first steps in realigning the university. A number of offices have already been streamlined–including the consolidation of two equity and diversity offices into the new Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and the discontinuation the Office of Extension, Engagement and Economic Development–and an extensive review of all policies, rules and regulations to further cut red tape has been undertaken.

Additional Realignment Activities

In the coming weeks and months, you will hear more about other strategic reviews wrapping up, including the review of academic programs, and recommendations stemming from reports by the Academic Science Program Task Force (PDF file) and the Business Operations Realignment Steering Team (PDF file).

For more information about strategic planning, check out the new website with all the information and updates you’ll need as the strategic plan continues to evolve into an action plan.

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