YOURS AT CAROLINA
Teach, Learn and Discover
Aexactly the perfect time — and every one of us is correct. Each of us simply uses different criteria to arrive
ll Carolina alumni believe that we attended Carolina at
at that conclusion. For some, we assess our classroom experiences and relationships with revered faculty. Others reflect on
our life-changing experiences outside the classroom through
various student organizations, fraternity or sorority
life and study abroad experiences. We cherish special
friendships that originated during our Carolina student days and continue today.
Last summer, then-student body President J.J.
Raynor ’09 and trustee John Ellison ’ 69, with
encouragement from Chancellor Holden Thorp
’ 86 and trustees’ Chair Roger Perry ’ 71, launched
an effort to develop a strategic plan to improve
Carolina’s quality in the face of limited resources
and often-noted calls to increase enrollment. Elli-
son and Raynor held more than 200 meetings soliciting the
thoughts and suggestions of more than 1,000 Carolina stu-
dents, faculty, administrators, staff and alumni. In late March,
they presented their “Best Place to Teach, Learn and Discover
Report” to the UNC Board of Trustees.
Building upon consultant’s findings released a year ago,
Raynor and Ellison emphasized how challenging it will be
for Carolina to grow our first-year class by 750 students and
maintain high quality. For instance, in 2008, of the 1,422
N.C. high school seniors who scored 1400 or higher on the
SAT, more than 86 percent applied to Carolina. While UNC
admitted more than 78 percent of these students, only 51. 7
percent enrolled. UNC must increase our yield of these
high-achieving students, but even if all of the remaining 195
who didn’t apply had applied, that is a small fraction of that
target 750 new students by which the UNC System encourages us to grow between now and 2017.
The consultants also noted that, to prompt these high-achieving students to continue to apply and enroll, Carolina
must maintain the high quality that these top students are
looking for in their potential classmates. These students also
express concerns about the perceived size of Carolina, access
to faculty, personal attention and class size.
As noted in the March/April issue of the Review, the
Office of Undergraduate Admissions is aggressively recruiting
the “best and the brightest” and also is taking initiatives to
increase the yield among those admitted. Chancellor Thorp is
regularly contacting top students by phone and, when possible,
in person, and he has spent time with top students at several
N.C. high schools. The Carolina Covenant is attracting the
most qualified financially disadvantaged students and also is
bringing greater diversity to our student body.
Ellison’s and Raynor’s report also encourages the expansion of merit scholarships, the continued training and use of
alumni, current students and faculty as well as the involvement of students who have committed to Carolina to recruit
high-achieving students. These initiatives will be aided by a
consistent emphasis on Carolina’s 18,000 undergraduates
who live and are taught on a single campus.
Raynor and Ellison emphasize the importance of expanding our recruitment of graduate students, and they note that
undergraduates greatly benefit from the presence of gifted
graduate students. Additional resources are especially important to assist graduate students with tuition remissions; graduate student fees; summer research stipends; and one-year, no-service obligations fellowships for first-year doctoral students.
Vital to making Carolina the best place to teach, learn and
discover is retaining and recruiting outstanding faculty. The
UNC System wants each campus to rank at the 80th percentile of their peers with non-medical school tenured and
tenure-track faculty. Currently, Carolina is at 53 percent of
our peers by rank across all disciplines. To achieve the 80th
percentile will require a recurring increase of $11.5 million
for salaries and benefits. The needed funds to achieve this
would have to come from private gifts, state appropriations,
endowment earnings, increased tuition and overhead receipts.
Finally, Ellison and Raynor report that there was a consensus among those with whom they met and from whom
they heard that Carolina also should improve the academic
experience. Among their recommendations: Continue to
reduce class size by expanding the first-year seminars and the
honors program; implement the recommendations of the
2008 Report of the Academic Advising Implementation
Committee; expand opportunities for undergraduate
research; establish a “ 3+ 1 Master’s Program” for students who
can finish their undergraduate degree in three years; and
launch a minor in “Solving the World’s Problems.”
While today’s economic challenges are serious, the “Best
Place to Teach, Learn and Discover Report” provides an
exciting blueprint for the future. It will form the basis for
updating the academic plan and largely shape fundraising priorities. Today’s students have every reason to believe that they,
too, are attending Carolina at the perfect time.
Yours at Carolina,
Douglas S. Dibbert ’ 70
The “Best Place to Teach, Learn and Discover Report”
is available online on the UNC Web site from a link at