Two reports released recently by UNC Pembroke summed up the findings of Chancellor Kyle R. Carter’s nine-stop regional road trip and the results of a stakeholders survey.
The “Scholars Council Report on UNCP Listening Tour” was released in late January by the Office of the Chancellor, followed by the “Report on UNCP Stakeholder Surveys” by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness in February. Both may be found at www.uncp.edu/chancellor/news/.
Chancellor Carter, who took office on July 1, 2010, said the road trip revealed a University that is held in high regard by a region that would like to see more academic programs and even greater civic engagement on the part of the University.
The tour, staged in October and November 2010, stopped on community college campuses in Scotland, Robeson, Hoke, Moore, Richmond, Columbus and Bladen counties and at UNCP and Fayetteville State University.
The survey also was conducted in late 2010 in an online format. More than people, including students, community, faculty and staff, took part in the survey.
Chancellor Carter summed up the responses received from both information gathering initiatives.
“I embarked upon a listening tour last fall throughout UNCP’s service region to learn about what we are doing well as well as how we can improve and/or take advantage of new opportunities,” he said. “This report and the stakeholders survey will be utilized as we move forward in our strategic planning effort.
“You will be pleased to learn that your University is well regarded,” Chancellor Carter continued. “At all nine stops, we heard over and over again about how the UNCP faculty and staff provided great service and helped change lives. We also learned about a few challenges and opportunities along the way.
“I urge you to read the report and learn about the success of your University as well as the opportunities that await us as we move into the future,” he said.
Faculty members from across campus accompanied Chancellor Carter on the tour. They included: Dr. Mark Canada, professor in the English and Theater Department and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Eric Dent, a business professor; Dr. Warren Eller, an associate professor in the Department of Public Administration; Dr. Angela Holman, an assistant professor in the Administration and Counseling program; and Dr. Patricia Sellers, assistant professor of biology. In addition to these faculty members, vice chancellors, deans and other administrators were available to field questions at each stop on the Listening Tour.
The report is organized into six chapters: 1) Feedback on UNCP’s Performance, 2) Suggestions for Program Offerings, 3) Ways to Promote Student Success, 4) Ideas for Regional Engagement, 5) Ways to Strengthen Partnerships with Community Colleges, and 6) Other Remarks.
“Perhaps the most important lesson we have learned is the extent to which this University has added to the quality of life of its constituents through educational programs, continuing education and outreach, business development as well as cultural and athletic events,” Chancellor Carter said. “At every site, we heard how the institution has provided educational opportunities for those who might not have had them otherwise. Second, we were asked to do more!”
The two reports will be a resource for UNCP’s future strategic planning as the institution works toward four broad goals outlined by Chancellor Carter during the tour: 1) UNCP will be an institution of choice for students in the region and beyond; 2) UNCP and its community college partners together will ensure that every student has an educational pathway to success; 3) UNCP will continue to reach out to its service region and engage its people in meaningful ways; and 4) UNCP and other public universities in North Carolina will accomplish their missions in an environment of leaner financial resources, or a “new normal.”
UNCP provides important professional degrees, and participants at Listen Tour events suggested new programs in health care, including physical therapy, pharmacy, occupational therapy, public health, gerontology and health information management. Others suggested programs and outreach in public affairs with government and non-profit organizations. More online programs and training in engineering and technology for industry also were cited. Listening tour participants asked the University to reach out to develop small business and support economic and community development. Building partnerships with the region’s 13 hospitals and other healthcare agencies and youth development programs were also priorities identified in the report. Creating stronger ties with community colleges to facilitate student transitions to UNCP and building faculty relationships were also priorities stated by listening tour participants.
The survey was directed at stakeholders inside and outside the University. All respondents identified the University’s strengths as affordability, small classes and caring faculty and staff.
Sixty-four staff members responded to the survey and advised the University to keep students first and not to forget the American Indian heritage of the institution. Faculty made up the largest group of respondents; they asked for greater communication and transparency inside the University and to “raise the bar” for student expectations and academic quality.
Chancellor Carter was pleased with the Listening Tour and survey.
“The UNC Pembroke community was gratified by the large number of people who attended the Listening Tour and offered their ideas about the future direction of the University,” Chancellor Carter said. “I am committed to taking all of these ideas under advisement as UNCP moves forward in ongoing planning to meet the needs of the region it is dedicated to serving.”