The UNC Policy Manual


Adopted 01/31/22
Technical Correction 06/07/22


Regulation on Mission Statements


I.             Purpose. The following regulation is designed to provide consistency and clarity regarding implementation of Section 400.2.1 of the UNC Policy Manual and Section 301 C of The Code, examination and determination of the mission and purpose of each University of North Carolina (UNC) System constituent institution.


A.            N.C. Gen. Stat. § 116-1 (hereinafter G.S.) identifies that each constituent institution of the UNC System shares in a single mission, “. . . to discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge to address the needs of individuals and society.” This overall mission is achieved in a coordinated manner by ensuring that each constituent institution is assigned a mission and function that is aligned with the overall needs of the state.


B.            G.S. 116-1 further notes that the UNC System mission is accomplished through instruction; research, scholarship, and creative activities; and public service. Teaching and learning are identified as the primary responsibility of each constituent institution. The relative importance and inclusion of research and public service varies by institutional mission.


C.            In order to ensure a well-planned and coordinated system of higher education, each UNC constituent institution has a mission that summarizes their unique and complementary role as part of the statewide System. That mission addresses teaching and learning, as well as the relative importance of research and public service.


D.            Mission statements shall reflect national, state, and regional needs, from the System perspective, so that the programs and resources of all institutions serve the state and its regions in a manner that complement each other, maximize resources, and avoid unnecessary duplication.


E.            The Board of Governors has sole responsibility for formally reviewing and approving the mission and associated mission statement of each constituent institution. Section 301 C of The Code notes that the “Committee on Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs shall receive the advice and recommendations of the president and make recommendations to the board in all areas pertaining to the development of a coordinated system of higher education in North Carolina, including (a) the definition of mission and assignment of functions of each constituent institution. . . .


II.            Definitions. The following operational definitions apply to this regulation:


A.                  “Mission.” The overall purpose of the constituent institution is articulated through the mix and level of academic programs offered, the range of colleges, schools, and departments on campus, and the scope and scale of teaching, research, and public service activities.


B.                  “Mission Statement.” The official document that broadly captures the core focus of the constituent institution and the distinctiveness of its approach to:  teaching; research, scholarship, and creative activity; and public service.


C.                  “Other Statement.” Institutions often develop and publish other related statements that provide additional history, context, and future objectives (e.g., vision statements). These statements do not require approval by the Board of Governors but cannot contradict the institution’s approved mission statement nor provide a broader or more expansive purpose than what is assigned to it through that statement.


III.           Requirements and Timeline


A.                  The president shall submit to the Board of Governors a review and recommendation on institutional mission statements on a periodic basis, typically at five-year intervals.


B.                  Chancellors shall be responsible for overseeing the institutional mission statement review process in accordance with the process identified by the president. This shall include review and consultation with faculty, staff, students, and the board of trustees.


C.                  While the mission statement is not intended to capture the full contribution of the constituent institution to the state, it should be specific and focused enough to provide a clear understanding of the distinctive role of each institution. The mission statement shall include, at a minimum the:


1.                Distinctiveness of the institution and its values;


2.                Role of teaching and learning at the institution, including the relative importance of research, scholarship, creative activity, and public service; and


3.                Full scope of educational programs and level of degrees offered at the institution


IV.           Other Matters


A.                  Effective Date. The requirements of this regulation shall be effective on the date of adoption of this regulation by the president.


B.                  Relation to State Laws. The foregoing regulation as adopted by the president is meant to supplement, and does not purport to supplant or modify, those statutory enactments which may govern or relate to the subject matter of this regulation.