Chancellor Carol Folt joined the Employee Forum at its Dec. 7 meeting in the Sonja H. Stone Center for Black Culture and History. The Chancellor was present to honor recipients of the Carolina Family Scholarship, awarded to children of UNC-Chapel Hill employees to attend any UNC System or North Carolina community college (see picture). This year, the Chancellor provided $25,000 from her Unrestricted Fund to provide scholarships to sixteen children of UNC-Chapel Hill employees, ten of whom were first-time winners.
Folt spoke on the University’s Strategic Initiative, noting that everyone on campus has a part to play in this process. She envisioned the process as unifying the University in its position as a force for good. She said that the strategic plan will work to address longstanding issues related to the “siloing” of different University functions. She also praised cross-unit initiatives such as the Lineberger Cancer Center’s use of IBM Watson to cull through and generate clinical insights from massive amounts of data, an innovation that has become a best practice in only a couple of years.
Folt said that similar innovations are necessary to address the exponential rates of change facing the world in the coming years. She said that a major challenge will be to address the University and State bureaucracy to find what works and what does not. These areas of seismic shift will dramatically affect the University workforce, as UNC-Chapel Hill works to maintain its mission of providing need-blind aid and the lowest tuition possible to its students.
The University must develop its expertise for the State of North Carolina and beyond, working to expand its foundation of grant dollars that maintain its juggernaut of research. The University must work for the public good and for democracy. She noted a quote from a great North Carolina politician, “if not Chapel Hill, then whom?”
The University will work to develop and improve its bureaucratic processes and systems, Folt said. She noted that the University must thoughtfully embrace this change to bring new technology to campus while retaining the commitment to its great research enterprise. The University must perform the job of supporting those in the new economy more efficiently, all while planning for less state support each fiscal year.