UNCG Campus Weekly

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Considering meta-narrative and more at Strategic Planning forum

Photo of Foust Building with fall foliageChancellor Franklin Gilliam Jr. presented some initial thinking regarding UNCG strategic planning at a forum Oct. 5.

He preceded his remarks by saying, “None of this is set in stone.” He offered the metaphor “It’s a first draft of the framework of the manuscript.”

He told the faculty and staff attending the forum, “One of the things this university needs is a meta-narrative – a story of what we’re about.”

He added that those at UNCG’s Bryan School may say that in a different way: “What’s our value proposition?”

He laid out three items for consideration – three things that help define UNCG – in this meta-narrative:

Opportunity for all He spoke of the Woman’s College legacy, our support of first-generation students, our campus’ diversity and UNCG’s strong online presence providing access.

Research intensive He cited the world-class research at UNCG and the wealth of research opportunities for undergraduates and graduate students.

Student-oriented UNCG has a strong emphasis on faculty teaching, to pedagogic innovation and to experiential learning.

A “concept of place” was also explored. Many of our students come from the crescent from Charlotte to Wilmington. Many alumni are in that crescent. And our current students are heavily engaged in our community.

“We are of a place,” he emphasized, giving examples of notable universities around the nation that have little sense of place.

A summary? “A world-class university with a sense of place” he said. That is not a line, just a concept or potential summation.

He also presented three focus areas or “buckets”:

  • Healthy lives (including physical, mental, population/public and as one speaker suggested, environmental)
  • Vibrant lives (including dimensions of community engagement, economic development, cultural enrichment)
  • Global connections (such as cross-cultural engagements and our student exchanges and internships)

“We want to take out what does not make sense and add more that does,” he told the faculty and staff.

Dr. Julia Jackson-Newsom, a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, served as a facilitator for the first part of the remaining 1 1/2 hours of the forum. “We want to get your feedback,” she said.

The next forum for the campus community will be Oct. 27, 5:30-7:30 p.m., in the EUC Auditorium.

By Mike Harris