CHAPEL HILL — UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp Thursday announced a yearlong planning process to create a “21st century vision” of the university and a fund drive that does not yet have a dollar-figure attached to it.
Thorp said it’s important to refocus the university at a time when higher education, especially public higher education, faces growing revenue stresses.
“This is a pressing moment for higher education,” he said. “People are asking questions about how it’s paid for, whether we’re doing the right things for students, whether our research is effective and efficient as it can be and is focused on the pressing needs of the country.”
Several groups on campus will take a year to study how to balance cost and quality while maintaining the university’s commitment to teaching, research and service.
Among the areas of focus:
• Undergraduate education.
• College access and completion.
• Using research to solve the world’s problems.
Matt Kupec, vice chancellor for university advancement, said it was time to consider the next multiyear fundraising campaign. The last large drive ended in 2007 and brought in $2.38 billion.
He said as the economy improves, the university can position itself well.
“I think the psyche of donors is getting better,” he said. “They’re feeling comfortable.”
Thorp said the next campaign is likely to zero in on a new set of priorities.
“Are we going to have to think differently about how we raise money for scholarships because of the pressure on tuition and the pressure on student debt?” he asked. “Are we going to have to think differently about how we raise money for research so that we can bring teams of researchers together in more effective ways? Are we going to have to raise money differently because we’re going to be teaching differently?”
These are the issues to be hammered out in the months ahead, he said. The plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees next May.