YOURS AT CAR OLINA
UNC Tomorrow — Began Yesterday
‘UNC Tomorrow begins today.” These are the clos-
ing words of a compelling video capturing 11
community listening forums conducted last fall by
the UNC Tomorrow Commission and attended by an esti-
mated 2,700 North Carolinians. Between us, Tar Heel Net-
work Chair Tom Lambeth ’ 57 and I attended 10 forums. At
each, a video was shown that conveyed interesting
and sobering facts, including:
■ In 2006, Charlotte, the Triangle and the Triad
accounted for nearly 62 percent of the state’s population and 64 percent of all N.C. jobs.
■ In the past 15 years, the state’s Hispanic population has grown almost 600 percent.
■ By 2014, North Carolina will need an addi-
tional 41,000 nursing professionals, 34,000 teach-
ers, 23,000 computer and technology professionals,
10,000 accountants and auditors and 3,300 social
workers. The state will need 400,000 new workers with at
least a bachelor’s degree; the state’s public and private colleges
and universities are expected to produce 254,000 of those.
■ Out of every 100 eighth-graders, 58 graduate from
high school, 38 attend college, 28 return for a second year
and 18 graduate from college.
■ By 2017, 80,000 more students are expected to be
enrolled on UNC System campuses.
■ Also by 2017, 30,000 more students are expected to
graduate from public high schools, and 22,000 of them are
expected to be Hispanic.
Conceived by UNC System Board of Governors Chair
Jim Phillips ’ 79 and UNC System President Erskine Bowles
’ 67, the UNC Tomorrow Initiative is determining how the
system can better identify and address the state’s challenges
and opportunities. At each event, Bowles and Phillips
affirmed that “the outcomes of UNC Tomorrow will guide
and shape current and future priorities, resource allocations,
existing and future programs, and strategic plans and missions
of the University System.”
Commission members and Bowles visited each campus in
advance of the forums; after they were held, nearly 1,000 faculty, staff and students attended one of 11 faculty forums, and
approximately 6,700 people completed an online survey.
Among the commission’s findings are:
■ System campuses should promote increased partnerships
among campuses and with international universities.
■ Campuses should increase access to higher education
for all North Carolinians, particularly underserved regions
■ The system, the N.C. Community College System, the
N.C. Board of Education and the state’s private colleges and
universities should continue to work closely together to
develop a more seamless relationship.
■ Campuses should be more actively involved in addressing the shortage of science and math teachers and in helping
lower the high school dropout rate.
Many at Carolina have been involved with this initiative
for nearly a year. Mike Smith ’ 78 (JD), vice chancellor for
engagement and dean of the School of Government, serves as
campus liaison; faculty members Jim Johnson and Tom Rick-etts ’ 70 serve on the UNC Tomorrow Scholars Council; and
Norma Houston ’ 86, on loan from the School of Government, is director of UNC Tomorrow. Under the leadership of
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bernadette Gray-Little, faculty from across campus are working now on how our
campus can best address the priorities outlined in the report.
Serving and addressing North Carolina’s challenges has
long been the enthusiastic focus of our University. For many
years, we have partnered with other campuses, and recently
the School of Medicine announced plans to enlarge the
entering class while collaborating with medical centers in
Charlotte and Asheville. Our dental school is expanding and
working with East Carolina University to establish a new
school in Greenville. UNC and ECU also will be working
together to help cancer patients in Eastern North Carolina.
The Area Health Education Center Program, launched at
Carolina in 1972, coordinates with medical schools at ECU,
Duke and Wake Forest to bring training and care through 10
AHEC centers across North Carolina. Our pharmacy school
is working with Elizabeth City State to provide North Carolina with more pharmacists. UNC and NCSU marine sciences faculty helped launch the marine sciences program at
Carolina’s statewide focus is a rich part of our history and
remains central to our mission, with many more initiatives
involving the schools of nursing, public health, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, social work, government, law, education, information and library science, journalism and mass communication, business, the College of Arts and Sciences, and our centers
and institutes. The UNC Tomorrow Initiative is appropriately
insisting that all UNC System campuses work together and
reaffirm our commitment to addressing 21st century challenges. In Chapel Hill, UNC Tomorrow began yesterday.
Yours at Carolina,
Douglas S. Dibbert ’ 70
For more about the UNC Tomorrow Initiative, call (919)
962-4231 or visit