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What is Carolina Counts?

Carolina Counts is a program initiated by the Chancellor to carry out the key recommendations prepared in July 2009 by a business consulting firm and funded by the UNC-Chapel Hill Foundation. The consultant study took a hard look at the campus operating structure, processes, staffing, and expenses and offered high-level ideas on how to make this complex organization more efficient. The report reflected input from hundreds of people from the campus community and was posted to the University’s Budget Information Web site.

In the last few years, many other universities have followed Carolina’s lead by launching similar initiatives to employ effective methods for advancing administrative excellence.


To make the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill the most collaborative, well-managed university in the country.


  • Streamline campus operations and provide more funding for academics and University’s core missions
  • Implement simpler, more responsive systems and processes that enable informed decision-making while complying with policies and laws
  • Reduce bureaucracy and create a more satisfying work environment for faculty and staff

Work Underway

Carolina Counts has been well into the hard work of identifying and assessing potential options, and helping implement the ones that offer the best overall payback. Leading those efforts are Joe Templeton, past faculty chair, former chair of the Department of Chemistry, and now part-time special assistant to the chancellor for planning and initiatives, and Mike Patil, former associate dean at the University’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and former vice president for processes and technology at Ericsson/General Electric.

In November 2009, Carolina Counts formally launched with the designation of champions who will lead the 10 areas identified for major improvements. Since January 2010, Templeton and Patil have engaged campus colleagues from schools, units and departments who could best delve into the main options identified in the consultant report and what they could mean for future University operations. Their focus the first three years has been on initiatives related to streamlining cost structures in schools and central functions, analyzing and making available comparative operational information, and developing a campus model for shared service centers.

Carolina Counts is currently working with the champions and campus leaders to identify best practices through its OpSmart comparative tool, to model efficiency improvements based on those practices, to design simplified administrative processes, and expand the use of shared services among academic units. The details of the projects identified by each area are under Improvement Projects. The projects completed so far have reduced recurring annual State costs by over $54 Million.


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