March 19, 2018

CHARLOTTE – “Pleased, but not satisfied” was University of North Carolina System President Margaret Spellings’ assessment of the System’s progress as she kicked off the 2018 State of the University Address Tour at UNC Charlotte’s Center City Campus.

President Spellings’ speech highlighted recent efforts to strengthen the university system such as increasing access to education, improving student success and limiting increases on tuition and fees.  Guided by the UNC Board of Governors’ ambitious Strategic Plan, Higher Expectations, and 17 institution-specific performance agreements, the UNC System is expanding opportunity for all North Carolinians, ensuring delivery of an education as free as practicable, and producing the ground-breaking research and highly trained workforce the state needs to move forward.

To highlight its progress tackling these issues, the UNC System has released a self-evaluation to coincide with the State of the University Tour. This concise booklet offers a compelling snapshot measuring how the University has progressed one year into its Strategic Plan.

“The state of the University of North Carolina System is strong,” said President Spellings. “Known as a world-class teaching and research enterprise, the System propels this state forward by empowering students, driving innovation, and enriching North Carolina’s communities. It’s an impact that will only grow in the years ahead.”

At the same time, the President’s speech previewed the change the UNC System must embrace if it is to fulfill its promise of benefitting every community and every family in North Carolina. Restoring the public’s trust in the power of higher education depends on the System’s ability to innovate and adapt. President Spellings also focused on key issues that the UNC System must confront and address in the years ahead to fulfill its promise of benefitting all of North Carolina:

  • Economic mobility: how do we bridge the urban, rural divide and reach low- and middle-income families who see higher education as their shot to work hard and achieve the American Dream?
  • Accountability: how do we build on the bold Strategic Plan the Board passed to use data and higher expectations to enable our institutional leaders to do more than they could otherwise have done?
  • Public good: how do we fulfill our public nature and our responsibility to uphold the core values of free expression, intellectual diversity, and patient engagement with new ideas?

“The people who come to work every day in our labs and classrooms, our police departments and maintenance crews, our hospitals and health clinics — they’re here because they want to make a difference,” President Spellings concluded. “Our job as a System is to enable that good work - to provide opportunity to every North Carolinian and ensure economic mobility, to hold ourselves accountable and set higher expectations for every institution, and to commit ourselves to our public identity and take ownership of our role advancing public discourse, debate and the public good.”

While the State of the University Tour kicked off in Charlotte, it will feature eight stops across North Carolina over the course of the spring. This tour will reach every region in the state, from Wilmington’s coastal dunes to Cullowhee’s mountain hollows, giving the UNC System multiple opportunities to reach every community and communicate the road ahead for a strong and essential pillar of our state’s economy and society.

The entire State of the University speech can be viewed online at:

The full transcript of President Spellings’ remarks can be viewed online at



UNC Charlotte

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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