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The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy has adopted an inclusive decision-making framework. In order to create transparency regarding decision-making at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, we have developed a Decision Matrix. To utilize the Decision Matrix, choose the domain and scope that best represents your new initiative or proposed change. From there, contact the individual or group who is responsible for driving any recommendation for approval in this area. The driver of the recommendation is responsible for ensuring all relevant contributors (i.e., subject-matter experts that can help inform the process and improve the final decision) have been consulted before presenting to the relevant approving body. The driver is also responsible for ensuring the proper individuals are informed (that includes anyone directly affected by the decision). Contributors and informed individuals or groups are determined by the driver of the recommendation. The table below is not intended to be inclusive of all who may present recommendations for approval but provides a framework for the process.

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The Dean’s Council (DC) is responsible for decisions regarding School policy and strategy and ensuring the execution of these strategies. Communication flows from the Dean’s Council to leaders of our divisions, units and the School Community. The DC has broken down its decision-making process into five steps: Decision Needed, Engagement & Feedback, Decide, Communicate, and Implement & Assess, and utilizes the DACI model below to streamline the terminology for roles and responsibilities.

Driver This is the person who will be driving the team to a decision. They’ll be responsible for ensuring all stakeholders know what’s happening, gathering information, and getting questions answered and action items completed.
Approver This person or group has the final say in approving the decision.
Contributor Contributors (stakeholders) are often subject-matter experts whose expertise can help inform the process and improve the final decision. While they may have no power to make the decisions, it’s their job to provide the information used by the Driver and Approver to facilitate decision-making.
Informed Anyone affected by the decision who isn’t directly involved in making the decision. These people and teams may need to change their work because of the decision made and will need to know the outcome. No matter what decision is being made, there will always be people outside of the core team who want to stay informed on the process.


1. Decision Needed

Identifying the decision that needs to be made is an important step. Utilizing the School’s Decision Matrix, choose the domain and scope that best represents your new initiative or proposed change. From there, contact the group(s) responsible for driving the recommendation for approval in this area. The decision-making process is initiated by a Driver, the individual who is the project leader or manager. The Driver is accountable for overseeing the project from its inception to completion.

The Driver’s first step is compiling all the background materials. This will allow clarity around the decision and allow for impactful feedback from stakeholders or Contributors. Contributors are anyone affected by, interested in, or has influence over the final decision. Involving Contributors in decision-making is a key skill for effective leadership. It can help gain buy-in, improve collaboration and generate better solutions. The Driver should consult with their team to ensure all relevant Contributors have been consulted before presenting to the relevant decision-making body.

2. Engagement & Feedback

Once the Contributors are identified, the Driver should engage and obtain feedback on the decision at hand. They can use channels such as emails, meetings, surveys, or workshops to communicate with Contributors and solicit their input.

After engaging with Contributors, the Driver needs to analyze and synthesize their input and use it to inform the recommendations for the final decision. They should review and evaluate the feedback received, identify common themes and patterns, and weigh the pros and cons of different options.

3. Decide

When the DC is an Approver, the Driver should contact the Director of Dean’s Operations to secure a time to present to the DC. They should share the agenda topic title, objective, a list of Contributors and provide some general background. Background pre-reads and slide presentations must be available for DC’s review at least three days before the meeting. At the meeting, the presentation will be limited to ~a third of the designated time and three to five slides. The remaining time will be left for discussion (e.g., 10 minutes for presentation with 20 minutes for DC discussion).

After the DC meeting, the decision rationale, discussion and next steps will be summarized in a DC report out that is shared with the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and Finance, Administration and Operations (FAO) Committee within a week of the decision being made.

4. Communicate

The ELT and FAO teams are an important part of the DC communication cascade process, as they are leaders within the School who have more face-to-face interaction with those who need to be Informed. Cascading information is vital in ensuring everyone at the School receives information accurately, from a trusted source, and in a timely fashion. School leaders play a critical role in communications within the School as it is their role to help employees understand how the actions and decisions integrate with individual teams and serve as a conduit for sharing information back to responsible parties.​

The DC representatives share the DC report outs (documents and discussion) with their direct reports, who are members of the ELT or FAO teams. From there, this leadership core can use their discretion to share information relevant to their faculty, staff and students. They socialize the decisions in smaller groups for clarity. They should encourage the Informed group to share feedback, questions, or concerns and then bring those back to the DC so information can be shared with the Driver as implementation and assessment occur.

If needed, the Driver or DC will provide written communication to the broader community impacted by a decision within one to two weeks. The School also has many different communication channels that will be used as deemed appropriate.

5. Implement & Assess

Once a decision is made and communicated, the Driver can start the implementation process. Once it is implemented, it is necessary to evaluate the decision and the steps taken to ensure the original goal is achieved. New decisions should be monitored, and a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) plan should be in place.