Sartarelli explains plans for UNCW


Chancellor Jose Sartarelli

Joe Lowe | News Editor

University of North Carolina Wilmington Chancellor Jose “Zito” Sartarelli, a man of various backgrounds, plans on implementing positive adjustments at UNCW for years to come.

Sartarelli stems from an ethnically diverse family, as he is 50 percent Italian, 25 percent Portuguese, and “25 percent unidentified”, while growing up in Brazil and participating in a high school foreign exchange student program in the United States. He earned his bachelor of administration in marketing from the São Paulo School of Business Administration in São Paulo, Brazil. He returned to the United States to earn his MBA in marketing and doctorate in business administration from Michigan State University. It’s needless to say, his background speaks for itself.

His varied involvements also extend to where he’s lived and conducted business. Sartarelli worked for three decades in management and marketing for international pharmaceutical companies including Eli Lilly Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Johnson & Johnson. These jobs landed him in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Canada and the U.S.

His exploits in academia stem from his previous jobs as both the Chief Global Officer and Dean of the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University. It’s this foundation that not only prepares Sartarelli to serve as UNCW Chancellor but tactically plan ways to improve the university as a whole.

Though he’s suffered adversity as Chancellor from the start, with the resignation of the financial aid director and petition to reinstate former UNCW professor Amy Schlag, Sartarelli displayed positive expansions in the case of the potential disbandment of the UNCW Track and Field program this year.

“The case of track and field is very clear,” Sartarelli said. “I think encouraging or asking the people interested in track to contribute was a demonstration that there was profound support from parent sources for the program…but are we out of the woods yet? No. But we’ll find the money.”

Sartarelli went on to cite the first Olympiad claiming, “The first Olympics in Greece was mostly track and field, it’s foundational to athletics.”

Upon Sartarelli’s appointment to Chancellor on July 1, 2015, he announced his desire to create a strategic plan for the university emphasizing certain aspects over several years. During the first UNCW Board of Trustees meeting, he took a chance to introduce some of his planned initiatives.

“I put together a draft and we’ve shared that with the faculty senate, the leadership council, the staff council, and the board of trustees,” Sartarelli said, “but the document is food for thought where I delineated the frameworks I’d like to work with.”

Part of the new additions include adding to the UNCW Leadership Council which is an extended version of the UNCW Cabinet. The leadership council extended from 40 to 60 individuals after including UNCW faculty.

“It is very important to extend that leadership council so there is a good balance between staff and faculty and administrators, Sartarelli said. “Faculty plays a key role in all of [university business] so it’s important to give them their voice.

 From there this group has been split into seven groups with specific duties in the hopes of improving the university. Five of those groups will look into “strategic priorities” such as attracting the most diverse global talent and enabling student success to promote them to obtain good jobs.

In addition, Sartarelli plans to engage the university on a local, state, and international level while gaining funding support, particularly increasing private fund raising. However perhaps Sartarelli’s largest initiative is increasing the online, transfer, and international student body on the UNCW campus.

“Every year we bring in around 1500 high quality transfer students from other universities and communities,” Sartarelli said. “We have about 1500 online students…I would suspect 20 or 30 years from now you are going to see huge amounts of education online. That’s the future.”  

According to Sartarelli, our study abroad program is excellent, however the inbounding of international students could use some aid. 350 international students currently attend UNCW, while the school offers over 500 international study abroad programs. He aims for at least 10 percent or 1000 to 1500 international students on campus to provide a richer classroom experience.

“I was watching the soccer game the other day where we beat the University of South Carolina 5 to 0.” Sartarelli said. “We have students there from Sweden, from Columbia, and that’s the type of diversity I’d like to see more.

Sartarelli is a glass half full type of guy, and believes in following the UNCW creed by treating UNCW students and faculty with dignity and respect. He says if that were not the case, he wouldn’t be in the position he is in today. With that in mind, he still pushes to complete his planning as quickly as possible.

“Hopefully we will have most of [the plan] done by the end of the year, but if it’s not, I’m not in a rush, Sartarelli said. “But I want to have a solid vision and priority set that will guide us into the future.”