We pursue innovative, research-based solutions to the most pressing problems of educational theory, practice, programs, and policy in North Carolina, the nation, and beyond.

We empower educators and scholars to lead; to think creatively, act with passion, and strive for excellence and equity for all.

Toward those ends, we welcome and actively seek productive partnerships across disciplinary and institutional boundaries, working closely with all stakeholders within and beyond formal institutions of education.

We are keenly aware of our rapidly changing landscape, which features disruptive forces and trends, both positive and negative. We face seemingly irreversible decreases in state investments in P-20 institutions of public education, and slow to flat growth in federal investments in basic and applied research. These changes have mandated new, fundamentally different funding models for institutions of higher education—models that could compromise the financial viability of academic units absent systemic adjustments.

Among positive forces and trends, we see an increasingly diverse society and a healthy emphasis on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Global skills and habits of mind are key 21st century educational outcomes in the midst of sweeping technological advancement. These trends will inevitably change the very nature of how we design, deliver, enact, and gauge success in teaching and learning within educational institutions.

Combined, these positive and negative forces require major and measured changes in how we conduct and support our work. We will not merely react to these challenges. We intend to reimagine our School of Education. We will thrive, further empower our collaborative community, deepen our impact, ensure our viability and sustainability, and continue to make strides toward realizing our goals. This plan is the first stage toward repositioning the UNC School of Education to stand strong and deliver on its promise for decades to come.

Five Goals

The UNC School of Education has evaluated the current landscape among our aspirational peers, especially those who have been working toward achieving equity in educational access and outcomes for all.

The School has also taken a hard look at its current position and capacity, including strengths and opportunities. We have explored ways to foster collaboration to advance knowledge through research; amplify and sustain meaningful impact; and empower innovative educators, professionals, and scholars to lead in their respective careers and institutions.

The following strategic goals are non-hierarchical and intended to work collectively. These goals are critical to the realization of the School’s Strategic Plan, which spans 2018-2022.

Goal 1

Lead in research, teaching, and public engagement to earn our position as one of the nation’s preeminent schools of education.

Goal 2

Reimagine and transform the preparation of educators, professionals, and scholars for the 21st century in both formal and informal learning settings and institutions.

Goal 3

Identify and cultivate core, distinctive initiatives to tackle persistent and emerging local, state, and national public challenges.

Goal 4

Achieve financial stability and sustainability to ensure substantial and lasting impact.

Goal 5

Foster shared understanding and commitment to the School’s stated goals, and nurture a community that promotes the well-being, professional growth, and productivity among faculty, staff, and students.

Five Strategies

Our focus on five specific strategies will create competitive advantage, drive success through times of uncertainty, and motivate the School’s key constituencies and stakeholders to collaborate to achieve our shared goals.

Implementing these strategies entails purposeful financial investment and the development of organizational, intellectual, and cultural resources. The following strategies work synergistically to achieve our goals:

Structural Reorganization

Reorganize and focus the School’s structure along three distinctive intellectual areas* (see Appendix A):

  • Culture, Curriculum & Teacher Education (CCATE)
  • Educational Policy, Organization & Leadership (EPOL)
  • Learning, Development & Psychological Sciences (LDPS)

The reorganization should ensure these areas are intellectually generative, financially sustainable, and nationally prominent.

Focused Initiatives

Expand faculty expertise, bolster research, build partnerships, and enhance fundraising, especially in the following school-wide initiatives: Education data sciences; equity; experiential education; improvement at scale; innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship; and whole education.

Hub and Catalyst

Position the School as the hub and leader for major discussions and initiatives on the future of education in North Carolina.

Innovation and Outreach

Provide leadership for the UNC Chapel Hill campus on educational and pedagogical innovation at the college, graduate, and professional levels, as well as outreach to B-12 and informal education settings.

Equity and Access

Build partnerships, and secure and utilize resources that improve access to high-quality learning opportunities and equitable educational outcomes for all diverse student populations and workforces in North Carolina and beyond.


*Program area titles subject to change

Targeted Outcomes

The dean’s office is charged with initiating efforts and monitoring progress to ensure the implementation of the vision and goals outlined above. The proposed timeline is January 2018 through June 2022 for the following measures of our effectiveness.

  • A top-20 ranking among graduate schools of education according to US News & World Report.
  • New and revised curricula to reflect cutting-edge scholarship in education and human development and Carolina’s new learning imperative.
  • Competitive career placement for ninety percent of our graduates in their fields of choice.
  • Recognition as a national/global leader in research and development in the areas of education data sciences; equity; experiential education; improvement at scale; innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship; and whole education.
  • Sustainability built upon successful stewardship of expenses, and growth in instructional, development, and grant revenues.
  • High satisfaction (85% or more) among faculty, staff, and students in their work and learning environment, with progress toward professional goals, and an overall sense of wellbeing.

Appendix A

Structural Reorganization — Three Program Areas*

vin diagram of 3 program areas

*Program area titles subject to change

Framework for Structural Reorganization

The School is organized into three program areas, each with several programs as outlined in Appendix A.

Faculty members have primary affiliations with a program area, and can have secondary and tertiary affiliations in the other program area(s) as needed and appropriate for purposes of serving the research, teaching, and service mission of the School. Faculty are expected and encouraged to collaborate across programs and program areas.

The program area restructuring does not eliminate the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC), which will continue to serve as the organizing structure for faculty governance in the School.

The three proposed program areas replace the current GURP and PLP divisions effective January 1, 2018.

  • The Spring 2018 semester will serve as a transition semester from GURP and PLP to the three new program areas.
  • Jeff Greene, Division Chair of GURP, and Suzanne Gulledge, Division Chair of PLP, will provide support to the three program area chairs during the transition Spring 2018 semester.

The work of each program area is coordinated by a Program Area Chair, who:

  • Is appointed by the dean.
  • Oversees the whole program area: Provides leadership and fosters positive intellectual collaboration, as well as oversees admissions and ensures viability of the program area and programs.
  • Coordinates one doctoral program (strongly preferred).
  • Receives two course releases per academic year (one course release if he/she does not coordinate a doctoral program).
  • Sits on FEC as representative of their program area (the three Program Area Chairs sit on FEC to replacethe GURP and PLP division chairs who sat on FEC.
  • Does not hold personnel responsibilities (appointment and annual review of faculty and/or staff performance, etc.).

The work of each program is coordinated by a Program Coordinator, who:

  • Is appointed by the dean in consultation with the respective Program Area Chair.
  • Receives one course release per academic year.
  • Does not hold personnel responsibilities (appointment and annual review of faculty and/or staff performance, etc.).