UNC President Erskine Bowles pledged at his inaugural address in April 2006 that the University of North Carolina system “was going to operate more efficiently and effectively in order to redirect every single dollar we possibly can to the classroom and to the 200,000 students we’re responsible for educating.” To achieve that end, the UNC General Administration (UNC GA) and its 16-constituent institutions began a self-assessment in May 2006. An eight-member PACE Committee composed of external business leaders in the state was established to provide an objective perspective, occasional oversight, and feedback. UNC GA led by example, setting a 10% or $1.3 million goal reduction of its state support for AY 2006-2007. By July 2006, each campus had submitted expenditure data that assessed their administrative costs.
UNC GA formed seven system-wide work groups composed of campus operators and specialists in the targeted areas of Academic Administration and Support, Auxiliary Services, Construction/Leasing, Facilities Management, Human Resources, and Other Barriers to conduct a macro review of efficiency and effectiveness and to identify opportunities for improvement. These groups were charged to develop ideas that embraced established PACE principles and that would lead to substantive change, resulting in organizational improvement, efficiency, consolidation, elimination of redundancy, and promotion of best practices. While cost savings and cost avoidance were stated objectives of this self-assessment, continuous improvement and efficiency for the short- and long-term were the overriding foci of this initiative. The primary intent of identifying cost savings was to reallocate these funds to core functions of the university. Core functions were defined as instruction, research, and public service. Public service was further defined as community service programs, cooperative extension services, medical/veterinary affairs, economic development, conferences, institutes, and consulting.
From January through June 2007, UNC GA and the campuses continued to assess their organizations, finalize recommendations and supporting activities, and modify processes. In February 2007, each campus submitted an interim, preliminary report of its planned PACE actions, some of which had begun to be implemented. In June 2007, each campus is to submit its final report.