Campus News

Measuring a year of progress for Carolina Next

The first report issued since Carolina’s strategic plan was approved last year shows significant progress across the plan’s eight initiatives.

Carolina Next 2020 Annual Report. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)
The Carolina Next 2020 Annual Report. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Carolina has made significant progress in working toward the goals outlined in its strategic plan, Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good, according to a new annual report.

The first report issued since the University’s Board of Trustees approved the plan in January 2020 highlights progress and accomplishments for 90 Strategic Opportunities initiated or advanced during 2020. While some of these activities were underway prior to the approval of the plan, Carolina Next focuses on important challenges and areas where the University has the greatest chance to create change and shape the future.

“This report describes a wide range of accomplishments across eight areas that we identified as having great strategic importance to Carolina’s future,” Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bob Blouin told the Board of Trustees’ University Affairs Committee last week.

Carolina Next aims to turn the University’s vision and aspirational goals into strategic opportunities and initiatives, prioritizing where the University can achieve the greatest impact. University leaders spent much of last year editing it in response to changes and challenges brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide racial justice movement.

“From the outset, it was always our intention that Carolina Next not be a comprehensive list of all strategic accomplishments but instead would function as a living, breathing document that would evolve to meet new opportunities and address new challenges,” Blouin wrote in a letter to the community with Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. “Our commitment to that model served us well this past year as we carefully considered the longer-term implications of the challenges faced on our campus and in society at large.”

Even as the University pivoted to remote operations and the landscape for everything from study abroad to research shifted, Carolina made meaningful progress in a number of arenas across all eight strategic initiatives: 1. Build Our Community Together; 2. Strengthen Student Success; 3. Enable Career Development; 4. Discover; 5. Promote Democracy; 6. Serve to Benefit Society; 7. Globalize; and 8. Optimize Operations.

“It has been an extraordinary, challenging year,” Blouin said last week. “And despite all the challenges we faced, we have tried very hard to stay focused on the mission of the University.”

Blouin also noted that more than 120 Carolina students, faculty and staff have been involved in the execution of the strategic plan.

“In the midst of this pandemic, the University stayed true to our strategic plan,” Trustee Gene Davis said. “In making these meaningful strides, our University is made better and stronger. Our state is made better and stronger.”

Read the full 2020 Annual Report.