The Pathway to the Future: NC State’s 2011-2020 Strategic Plan

Posted 4/27/11 | PDF version

The 2011-2020 Strategic Plan was endorsed by the NC State Board of Trustees on April 22, 2011.

Introduction

North Carolina State University’s sense of mission is as solid as the brick that serves as the symbol of our campus. As a comprehensive research university in the land-grant tradition, we are dedicated to excellent teaching, the creation and application of knowledge, and engagement with public and private partners. Enhancing the economic, intellectual, and cultural life of North Carolinians is the basis of our quest for excellence and our aspiration to preeminence. In launching our 2011 strategic plan, we stand on this solid foundation as we lay a pathway to the future.

NC State was founded in 1887 to meet the needs of the people of North Carolina for a “liberal and practical education in the several pursuits and professions in life” and to make contributions to the economic development of the state of North Carolina. As the people’s needs have changed, NC State has changed, continuously evolving over 125 years to keep pace with the challenges and opportunities faced by an increasingly diverse citizenry in an increasingly interconnected world. By building on our roots in “agriculture and the mechanic arts” and embracing excellence in a comprehensive range of disciplines, we have created an academic powerhouse devoted to discovering and applying innovative solutions to societal problems at the local, state, national, and global levels.

But NC State is facing fundamental changes. We launch this strategic plan at a turning point in history. The financial crisis miring North Carolina and the nation is second in severity only to the Great Depression of the 1930s. While some might try to make incremental adjustments, ignoring the situation and hoping it goes away, we choose at NC State to confront the problem with courage and purpose. As problem solvers, we believe in Albert Einstein’s observation: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” We believe that if we focus on a consistent strategic vision, we can reinvent a university that is leaner, smarter, and stronger than before, elevating NC State to a new level of efficiency and impact.

What do we see as we look forward? We see an educational institution that nurtures graduates ready to enter productively into society with solid skills, an inquiring habit of mind, global awareness, and a sense of social responsibility. We see an innovative learning environment that provides a sense of boldness, innovation, and intellectual excitement. We see a research enterprise that assembles and facilitates interactions among extraordinary minds engaged with complex real-world problems. We see a willingness to think big about our opportunities and an energy to bring those opportunities to life.

Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work. That’s what NC State is all about.


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Our Foundation

NC State Mission

As a research-extensive land-grant university, North Carolina State University is dedicated to excellent teaching, the creation and application of knowledge, and engagement with public and private partners. By uniting our strength in science and technology with a commitment to excellence in a comprehensive range of disciplines, NC State promotes an integrated approach to problem solving that transforms lives and provides leadership for social, economic, and technological development across North Carolina and around the world.

NC State Vision

NC State University will emerge as a preeminent technological research university recognized around the globe for its innovative education and research addressing the grand challenges of society.

NC State Values

Consonant with our history, mission, and vision, North Carolina State University affirms these core values:

  • Integrity—in the pursuit, creation, application, and dissemination of knowledge
  • Freedom—of thought and expression
  • Respect—for cultural and intellectual diversity
  • Responsibility—for individual actions and service to society
  • Stewardship—in sustaining economic and natural resources
  • Excellence—in all endeavors

NC State Peer Institutions

  • Colorado State University*
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Iowa State University
  • Michigan State University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Purdue University—Main Campus
  • Rutgers University*
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Arizona*
  • University of California—Davis
  • University of Florida
  • University of Illinois—Urbana
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute

* The UNC Board of Governors approved a new set of peer institutions for NC State on October 7, 2011. Colorado State University, Rutgers University, and University of Arizona replaced previous peer institutions Cornell University, University of Georgia, and University of Minnesota.

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NC State’s Strategic Planning Process

The current cycle of strategic planning at NC State began with the arrival of NC State’s fourteenth chancellor, W. Randolph Woodson, in April 2010. Chancellor Woodson initiated the strategic planning process in July at a University Council retreat where participants identified NC State’s critical issues. Chancellor Woodson charged the provost and the chair of the faculty with directing the strategic planning process with advice from an eleven-member steering committee.

The provost and the chair of the faculty formed nine task forces in the content areas of the critical issues, and charged them with developing white papers that recommended broad university strategies, specific initiatives, and metrics. Composed of faculty, staff, and students, the task forces were

  • Undergraduate Student Success
  • Graduate and Postdoctoral Program Development
  • Faculty Excellence
  • Research and Scholarship
  • Comprehensiveness and Interdisciplinarity
  • Global Engagement and Competitiveness Partnerships, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
  • Campus Culture and Community
  • Resource Strategies

The next step was to form a larger strategic planning committee with membership comprising the steering committee, the task force co-chairs, and trustee and alumni representatives. The chancellor’s installation motto—Locally Responsive; Globally Engaged—provided a theme for a series of campus forums held by the Strategic Planning Committee on NC State’s strategic direction during the following fall and winter. Committee representatives also held conversations with the University Council, Board of Trustees, and Board of Visitors.

After the task forces completed their white papers, the papers were posted online, and the campus community posted comments on the white papers, which were directed back to the strategic planning committee. This institutional strategic plan is informed by the white papers and feedback from the community on the work of the nine task forces.

Our Goals

  1. Enhance the success of our students through educational innovation.
  2. Enhance scholarship and research by investing in faculty and infrastructure.
  3. Enhance interdisciplinary scholarship to address the grand challenges of society.
  4. Enhance organizational excellence by creating a culture of constant improvement.
  5. Enhance local and global engagement through focused strategic partnerships.

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Goal 1: Enhance the success of our students through educational innovation

While balancing access with quality, NC State must ensure that our students make timely progress toward an NC State degree, and along the way, must provide educational opportunities that inspire them to lead, to serve, to challenge, to take responsibility, to build problem-solving skills, and to engage with complex problems.

Strategies

  • Enroll a greater percentage of external undergraduate transfer students.
  • Increase geographic diversity by enrolling more out-of-state and international students.
  • Improve retention and graduation rates.
  • Facilitate intracampus transfer.
  • Explore a new proactive advising model for freshmen and students in transition.
  • Improve mentoring of graduate students.
  • Provide high-impact educational experiences for undergraduates.

Accountability guidelines

  • University enrollment profile
  • Demographic/academic profile of new students
  • Students’ academic progress
  • Student and alumni satisfaction

Academic Progress

To ensure that NC State’s students are well-prepared and capable of success, in the next ten years NC State will examine the composition of our core enrollment. While continuing to provide access to NC State programs that are unique in the UNC system, we will encourage the enrollment of well-qualified external undergraduate transfers. To broaden our students’ perspectives, we will increase non-NC resident undergraduate enrollment within the limits set by the UNC Board of Governors.

To the extent that we allow our enrollment to grow, our priority will be the expansion of professional and graduate education—particularly doctoral education. Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars provide the intellectual input and activities essential to advance research. When graduate students complete their training, they are both the work force of tomorrow and the ambassadors that help recruit the next generation of scholars.

But assembling a balanced and able student body is only the beginning. After those students arrive on campus, we must provide a nurturing environment and a clear path to graduation. To provide the support that first-year students and students in transition need to find their best academic and career fit as quickly as possible, we will explore a new advising model that uses additional professional advisors to provide proactive, hands-on advising as soon as students step onto campus. Housed primarily in colleges and departments, these professional advisors will receive basic, as well as cross-curricular, training and will coordinate with departmental and college undergraduate directors and faculty advisors. To smooth the path of students who choose to change majors while they are at NC State, we are revising our intracampus transfers regulations and procedures.

Retention and graduation rates are as important at the graduate level as they are at the undergraduate level. NC State can increase retention and generate stronger graduates and scholars by ensuring that our graduate programs are vibrant and relevant to societal needs, by offering adequate support, and by facilitating faculty mentoring.

High-impact educational experiences

To maximize the impact of each undergraduate’s experience, NC State will move deliberately to provide transformative educational experiences. In 2008 George Kuh identified ten high-impact educational practices that have a significant impact on undergraduate students’ educational and personal growth: first-year seminars and experiences; common intellectual experiences; learning communities; writing-intensive courses; collaborative assignments and projects; undergraduate research; diversity/global learning; service and community-based learning; internships; and capstone courses and projects.

Kuh does not privilege one type of high-impact activity over another, and we believe that students should be able to choose among the options. As Richard Felder and Rebecca Brent note in “Understanding Student Differences” (2005), “Opportunities to exercise responsible choice in the content and method of study encourage a deep approach [to learning by students].”

Over the years, NC State has launched initiatives in several of these high-impact areas. Requirements in intensive writing and diversity/global learning are already part of NC State’s general education program, and collaborative assignments and projects are integrated in many courses. Capstone courses or projects are required for graduation in many majors. Students can choose to take advantage of NC State’s offerings in undergraduate research and service learning—activities that are positively correlated with deep learning in assessments of graduating seniors.

To give our students the best possible start at NC State, we will intensify our efforts aimed at first-year students. Our First-Year Inquiry (FYI) courses provide students with a small class setting that enables them to develop a connection with a faculty member and a group of peers. FYI instructors are trained in a pedagogical approach tailored to develop critical thinking and communication skills and help students become independent learners. In the next ten years, we will expand our offerings in FYI and similar courses aimed at bolstering our students’ critical thinking, communication, and independent-learning skills.

We already house approximately 25 percent of our incoming first-year students in nine residential living and learning villages, which give incoming students a firm grounding in small, supportive academic and social communities. To extend the benefits of living in residential villages to more of our freshmen, we will develop more villages and expand existing ones.

As we move forward, NC State will provide opportunities for all undergraduate students to participate in as many high-impact educational activities as possible. We will examine the academic calendar to look for flexible options that will facilitate students’ participation in high-impact activities, and we will examine graduation requirements to ensure that students have the incentive to take advantage of the opportunities offered to them.

To maximize the impact of our graduate students’ experience and increase their employability, we will encourage internships and projects that address real-world problems from business and industry. We will explore offering new models of graduate education that connect students directly to industry, such as professional master’s degrees.

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Goal 2: Enhance scholarship and research by investing in faculty and infrastructure

NC State’s research culture permeates every aspect of our essence as a university. It structures our thought, informs our teaching, and directs our engagement beyond the campus. It is the foundation on which we build an innovative learning environment that engages our faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students alike. NC State’s research quality determines our impact on the work force, on the economy, on the advance of knowledge, and on the human condition.

Strategies

  • Increase the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty.
  • Recruit leading scholars whose work is influential in their fields and on the world.
  • Provide opportunities to facilitate faculty career development.
  • Build a robust research infrastructure.
  • Align research resources to advance the capacity of our researchers and partners.
  • Promote flexible, lean, and efficient administrative processes for research.

Accountability guidelines

  • Number and academic/demographic profile of the faculty
  • Faculty satisfaction
  • Faculty career development and professional achievements

Building NC State’s tenured and tenure-track faculty

The returns on a university’s investment in its faculty are multiplicative. World-class scholars attract world-class research colleagues and world-class students. Together they create a rich educational environment that fosters innovation and intellectual excitement. In the next ten years, NC State’s faculty hiring strategy will focus on increasing the number of our faculty who combine outstanding teaching with world-class research. A specific goal will be to recruit and retain leading scholars whose work is widely acknowledged as influential in their fields and on the world.

To attract and retain leading scholars, we must offer competitive startup packages, salaries, and compensation; a teaching workload in line with our peer institutions; committed and excellent staff support; and an open environment in which scholars can reach their full potential. Throughout their changing careers, research faculty need the university to provide a welcoming, supportive, inclusive, diverse, and stimulating work place. Top scholars need freedom—freedom to pursue curiosity-driven research, basic scholarship, and creative expression. They need career development opportunities and the flexibility to retool to meet the requirements of a changing research environment. As we move forward, NC State’s faculty-development efforts will include enhanced mentoring to match individual faculty with funded peers, leave time to allow faculty to focus on new research areas, or travel support to establish collaborations at other institutions.

In addition, faculty need to be confident that NC State will develop, recognize, and support faculty excellence. Although we recognize that assessment of faculty and units is ultimately the responsibility of the disciplines, NC State will develop field-specific metrics that are widely accepted by our peers and AAU members. Depending on the field, metrics might include faculty retention; percent of faculty involved/participating in research and scholarship; number of interdisciplinary grants (such as seed funding, multi-institutional sub-awards, or public or private planning grants); amount of federal research support; number, quality, and impact of peer-reviewed publications; positions obtained by students completing their doctorates and by postdoctoral fellows.

Building NC State’s research infrastructure

World-class research requires world-class facilities and support. To increase NC State’s research impact, NC State has recently made several changes to its research and innovation infrastructure. Our strategies have been to invest in opportunities, streamline processes, and improve accessibility and communication. As we go forward, we will focus on better aligning our resources to advance the capacity of our researchers and partners.

To ensure that we are making the best use of our infrastructure, our first step was to analyze and report on existing facilities, equipment, and instrumentation. To promote shared facilities, we have developed an online inventory and database of our existing physical infrastructure components so that researchers know what is available, where it exists, and whether it is available for use. On the basis of this inventory, we will develop a high-priority-needs list of facilities, equipment, and instrumentation and will develop an improvement plan to upgrade and optimize our inventory.

To ensure that researchers can concentrate their efforts on research rather than administrative red tape, we are streamlining administrative practices, processes, and procedures. Our driving principles are flexibility and lean, efficient processes. To decrease duplication of effort among research administrative units (e.g., purchasing, Technology Transfer, SPARCS, contracts and grants, legal counsel), we will promote collaboration and communication among these units. So that researchers know what to expect when interacting with administrative units, we will increase transparency and availability of information by improving the availability of standard operating procedures and timelines. We will also establish an online clearinghouse of research information and research alerts.

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Goal 3: Enhance interdisciplinary scholarship to address the grand challenges of society

The history and mission of NC State call for us to address the major challenges that confront the world. Addressing complex problems with many disciplinary aspects requires assembling teams of scholars with varied skills and diverse perspectives. We will maximize the impact of NC State’s research by concentrating our research resources in areas where we have strategic strengths and by creating a culture of collaboration and interdisciplinarity that will enrich not only our research activities, but also our teaching and engagement.

Strategies

  • Continually refine broad areas of emphasis in which NC State has strategic research strength.
  • Concentrate investment of university resources in identified areas of emphasis.
  • Lower the barriers between disciplines and departments.
  • Establish processes to facilitate and reward interdisciplinary research.
  • Reorganize graduate training into more flexible graduate fields of study.

Accountability guidelines

  • Academic activity in areas of emphasis and fields of study
  • Interdisciplinary teaching, research, and outreach
  • Faculty satisfaction
  • University contributions to addressing societal issues

Areas of research emphasis

The complexity of modern problems has profoundly influenced the nature of twenty-first century research. While the old model of innovation revolved around the individual, modern research is defined by collaborative problem solving. Over the last fifty years, almost all academic fields have experienced increased levels of teamwork and interdisciplinary cooperation. Collaboration is no longer an option—it’s a necessity.

Responding to this change in the research environment, in recent years NC State has established four problem-based areas of research emphasis: health and well-being, educational innovation, energy and the environment, and safety and security. Although each of these research areas is firmly grounded in our institutional strengths in agriculture, science, engineering, and technology, addressing them in the context of the complexity of twenty-first century challenges requires robust collaboration and a wide range of disciplinary perspectives.

To leverage our research resources, we will invest in the areas of research emphasis we have already established, refine their focus, and explore new areas where we have strategic interests and institutional strength. We anticipate that many of our areas of research emphasis will be interdisciplinary—at the intersections of disciplines and professional fields. However, in pursuing interdisciplinary research, our goal is not to hire scholars who are individually interdisciplinary. Rather, we will assemble teams of research scholars to work on focused complex problems that have many disciplinary aspects. Solving complex real-world problems requires knowledge that is both deep and broad. Interdisciplinary scholarship requires the assembly of a team of faculty, each of whom has deep disciplinary knowledge and the creativity necessary to contribute to a collaborative environment. Assembling and facilitating such expert teams is the best way to foster innovative solutions.

To encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, we will lower the barriers between disciplines and departments, develop academic programs of study across disciplines, establish mechanisms to bring faculty together, and establish processes to incubate, facilitate, and reward interdisciplinary research.

To identify and refine our areas of research emphasis, NC State will create advisory committees of research-active faculty. The advisory committees will identify areas of emphasis that are sufficiently restricted to allow research teams to make progress, but sufficiently broad to address pressing problems of the world today. The faculty committees will identify the skill sets required for clusters of new faculty positions, identify infrastructure needs, and recommend resource allocations.

Graduate fields of study

At NC State, graduate training is housed primarily in individual departments, which usually concentrate and coordinate similar expertise. Although instilling our graduate students with deep disciplinary expertise is crucially important, we also wish to ensure that our graduate students have the breadth required to succeed in the collaborative environments where they will spend their careers.

To broaden the graduate experience, NC State will reorganize graduate training into fewer, more flexible graduate fields of study that, where appropriate, transcend departmental structure. In some cases, these might be achieved by merging existing degree programs under a broad umbrella (e.g., biological science, climate science, food studies, or environmental science) with a set of core requirements that allow the student and graduate committee to tailor the graduate program to suit the student’s research and career focus.

While graduate fields may include multiple concentrations (some of which may reflect the university’s areas of research emphasis), there will be substantially fewer formal graduate fields than the number of graduate degrees in NC State’s current model. Broader fields will expose graduate students to more diverse topics and a collaborative environment, bring faculty together from across the university, and create opportunities for faculty in departments without doctoral programs to direct doctoral students.

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Goal 4: Enhance organizational excellence by creating a culture of constant improvement

An excellent university is pervasively excellent. The standard of excellence applies to all NC State faculty and staff and to all departments, institutes, centers, and units. But excellence is not a static target. Achieving excellence requires constant attention, self-assessment, inclusion, and the courage to change and adapt.

Strategies

  • Enhance institutional pride among all staff, faculty, and students.
  • Encourage diversity and inclusion.
  • Facilitate work/life balance.
  • Promote collaborations among faculty and staff.
  • Configure university support services for efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Align resource allocation with strategic priorities.
  • Diversify financial resources.

Accountability guidelines

  • University demographic profile
  • Resource allocations and expenditures
  • Staff and faculty satisfaction
  • Institutional effectiveness

Campus Culture and Community

NC State’s campus culture and community is a source of institutional pride: We enjoy a general climate of respect and appreciation; there is a strong work and service ethic; and students, faculty, and staff demonstrate strong commitment to the institution and a shared university spirit.

To enhance our culture, we will ensure that we maintain a diverse campus community and a welcoming environment. We will develop policies, practices, and symbols that demonstrate NC State’s recognition of the value and importance of a diverse population in achieving NC State’s mission. In particular, we will recognize that including diverse perspectives will improve learning outcomes, organizational effectiveness, decision making, and problem solving.

For our students, faculty, and staff to reach their full potential, they must strike an effective work/life balance. To create the best possible environment in which to live and work, we will look to a model right in our own neighborhood: The SAS Institute in Cary, NC, which had its origins in a project undertaken by NC State statistics faculty, consistently tops the Fortune list of Best Companies to Work For. So that faculty and staff can grow throughout their NC State careers, we will offer expanded training and leadership programs, and we will develop and promote shared spaces for social and intellectual interactions among faculty and staff.

An effective organizational structure

Over our evolution as an institution, NC State has created many excellent academic, student-support, and research and extension programs finely tuned to the needs of our students and the citizens of North Carolina. Many—indeed most—of these programs are still relevant and vibrant today.

If we are to be the best stewards of the resources that the state of North Carolina has entrusted to us, we must streamline our organization to ensure that each of our programs is relevant and efficient, serving a population with sufficient critical mass to justify continuation. We must examine each of our programs to ensure that each one is efficient, high quality, and consonant with our expertise and our students’ and the public’s greatest needs. We must eliminate or consolidate programs that do not meet those criteria. Consolidation has the advantage of removing cumbersome administration and encouraging collaboration among the people in the consolidated group.

We must also take a hard look at the business side of our campus services. Our decentralized organization has advantages in providing customized care, but areas like business services, human resources, information technology, development, and communications present opportunities to enhance our efficiency and effectiveness without losing focus on the end user. Although it may be possible for us to centralize some services, a more appropriate approach for others might be sharing and consolidation.

A final way we will look for efficiency gains is by reviewing and revising our university policies, rules, and regulations. We must strike a balance. We need rational policies and procedures that allow sufficient oversight for us to demonstrate that we are operating responsibly, but our administrative procedures should not tie our hands with red tape.

Although such administrative steps will result in significant and measurable savings for the coming fiscal year, most of the savings will be realized only over time. However, the most critical element of restructuring is not short-term budgetary advantage, but the establishment of a more effective, responsive, and resilient academic environment.

Resource allocation

If NC State is to implement its strategic initiatives and become an extraordinary university, it needs a flexible mechanism for allocating resources that will allow it to pursue and implement new strategic initiatives, adequately provide resources to high-demand and high-priority programs, and withdraw resources from programs and units that are no longer as efficient or relevant to the university’s mission.

NC State currently allocates resources to units based on their requests. Requests for additional funds are most often justified on the basis of increasing demand; less often by the contribution of the request to a strategic goal or to improving quality. To ensure that NC State’s allocation of resources appropriately balances demand with strategic priorities, future requests for resources should be accompanied by a justification that ties the request tightly and clearly to explicit demand-based and strategic goals and metrics.

Diversifying NC State’s financial resources

North Carolina’s commitment to higher education is grounded in the language of its constitution, which mandates “that the benefits of … higher education, as far as practicable, be extended to the people of the State free of expense.” North Carolina’s citizens and legislators have never wavered in their commitment to public education. In terms of the proportion of total revenue, North Carolina’s public universities are among the best funded of any public universities in the country. In the twenty-first century, NC State is grateful for North Carolina’s acknowledgment that education plays a vital role in the future economic vitality of our state and in our transition to a knowledge-based economy.

The current funding model at NC State relies heavily on state appropriations. Approximately 42 percent of the 2010-11 revenue budget comes from state appropriations; 18 percent from tuition and fees; 19 percent from research grants and contracts; 15 percent from sales and services; 4 percent from gifts and other sources; and 2 percent from federal appropriations.

However, our reliance on state allocations becomes a liability when the state’s budget faces a serious deficit. The current economic downturn makes it likely that state appropriations will not keep pace with growth. Diversification of funding sources is the best way for NC State to stabilize its financial systems by freeing them from large, cyclical variations tied to economic expansions and contractions and ensuring that we remain affordable and accessible.

Research grants and contracts

NC State is among the 2.2 percent of U.S. institutions of higher learning to be classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a very high research-activity doctoral university, and one of only two universities in the UNC system with that classification. In fiscal year 2010, extramural contract and grant funding totaled $268 million, a remarkable 30 percent increase over the previous year—and of the 30 percent increase, only 15 percent was directly due to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. NC State ranks seventh nationally in industry funding for all universities without medical schools.

Our initiatives to build our tenured and tenure-track faculty will increase our number of researchers and help us build resources from external funding, but we must also invest in our research environment and facilities.

Endowment and gifts

NC State relies heavily on corporations, foundations, and other organizations for its private funding. Funding from these organizations has been primarily in the form of restricted current-use dollars to support specific funding needs.

Building the endowment is a significant opportunity for NC State, over both the short- and long-term, to raise revenue for its strategic funding priorities. Increasing the size of our endowment would create financial stability, allowing us to be less dependent on unpredictable sources of revenue, such as research sponsorship, and state and national government aid. NC State tentatively plans a “quiet” launch of its next capital campaign on July 1, 2013, with a public launch expected around 2016-17, and completion on June 30, 2021.

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Goal 5: Enhance local and global engagement through focused strategic partnerships

As the world has changed, NC State’s reach has expanded beyond our borders and across the globe, challenging us to be locally responsive to the needs of our community and our state while globally engaged in solving the grand challenges facing our global community.

Strategies

  • Support and provide opportunities for increasing students’ civic and global knowledge, experience, and perspectives.
  • Support and provide incentives for faculty and staff to engage in collaborative global scholarship.
  • Enhance active and sustainable partnerships, locally, regionally, and globally.

Accountability guidelines

  • Student and faculty international and outreach activities
  • Partnerships and collaborative academic programs
  • Student and faculty satisfaction
  • Graduates’ global awareness and understanding, commitment to service

Civic and global awareness

NC State has a foundation of excellence in preparing our students for leadership in the community and around the world. We know through our alumni satisfaction survey that our graduates believe in the value of an NC State diploma, and according to a 2010 Wall Street Journal survey, recruiters rank NC State among the top 20 colleges and universities in the nation in terms of the job-readiness of our graduates. Through our initiatives to encourage high-impact educational opportunities for undergraduates, we will expand our offerings in areas including inquiry-based learning, diversity/global learning, service learning, community-based learning, and internships.

As we go forward, we will particularly encourage activities that will expand our students’ understanding of their place in the global community, including domestic and international service-learning trips; community-engaged study abroad and internships; meaningful workplace experiences through Cooperative Education (available at home and abroad); and student- and faculty-designed capstone projects with communities across the state and around the world.

Our overarching goal in all our international activities is to give our students and faculty rich opportunities to expand the range and depth of their global research and understanding. Over the years, NC State has established bilateral partnerships with over 150 institutions in more than sixty countries, most developed by individual faculty and departments. Our focus in the future will be on strengthening and developing partnerships with strategically selected, outstanding international universities that can provide our faculty and students with multifaceted, high-quality experiences.

Collaboration and partnerships

By focusing resources on the challenges of innovation and economic development, NC State has developed a rich variety of programs and partnerships aimed specifically at building working relationships among academia, industry, and government and fostering an environment of creative innovation. NC State’s research discoveries have resulted in more than 660 patents and over seventy companies that employ more than 13,000 people. NC State is deeply committed to collaboration and forming partnerships with other academic institutions, both domestic and abroad, and with private and public entities.

In the 1980s, NC State launched an innovative new concept in academic/industry/government partnerships, our Centennial Campus. Centennial Campus is a twenty-first century technopolis consisting of multidisciplinary R&D neighborhoods with university, corporate, and government facilities intertwined. Named Outstanding Research Park in 2007 by the Association of University Research Parks, NC State’s Centennial Campus is a concrete manifestation of NC State’s innovative vision of a new twenty-first century model for creating and extending applied research and scholarship for the betterment of North Carolina, the nation, and the world.

On Centennial Campus, research drives innovation daily as more than 1,800 corporate and government employees work alongside over a thousand NC State faculty, staff, post-docs, and students. Centennial Campus houses more than 130 companies, government agencies, and many NC State research and academic units.

NC State’s influence radiates out from our campus. By measures of industry-sponsored research, technology transfer, and licenses and patents granted, NC State is a leader in the state and nation. We can count more than $570 million annually in economic impact to the state in our Cooperative Extension, Industrial Extension, and North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center alone. Such activities are an integral part of who we are.

Our home in North Carolina’s Research Triangle gives us unique opportunities to interact with academic colleagues in other Triangle universities, including UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. Currently we share joint, dual, or 2+2 programs with UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Asheville, UNC-Wilmington, Campbell University, and several community colleges. In the next decade we will take purposeful steps to strengthen these bonds.

In line with our unique mission within the UNC system, NC State is the University of North Carolina’s undisputed leader in the delivery of extension and outreach programs. Our responsibility for extension and outreach extends statewide. The Carnegie Foundation has recognized NC State for its engagement of faculty and students through its curriculum, outreach, and partnerships.

In an increasingly interconnected world, we will expand our outreach efforts outward to the state, the nation, and the world.

Global influence

At its most basic level, global influence is no more than the inevitable outcome of institutional excellence. The world recognizes excellence, and excellence is the best way to be recognized by the world. As a doctoral research-extensive institution, NC State knows that that research capability is a potent force that drives innovation and economic development locally, statewide, nationally, and globally. Industry comes to North Carolina to tap into its educated workforce, but also for easy, collaborative access to the best research minds. Success in research brings international recognition to NC State and drives innovation and economic development locally, statewide, and globally. Our initiatives to strengthen our research faculty and our graduate and academic programs are fundamental to increasing our global range.

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The Pathway to the Future

NC State is in a time of transition. Citing the need for flexibility, greater efficiency, and enhanced effectiveness, this plan recommends sweeping changes in the way NC State is configured and pursues its mission.

Our next step will be to develop an implementation plan that specifies responsibility and a timeline for the initiatives associated with our five goals. As we go forward, we will continually assess our progress to ensure that the changes we have implemented deliver on the motivations that impelled them. We will define accountability measures and future targets based on peer benchmarks, best practices, and today’s baseline. If necessary, we will expand collection of data and information describing the outcomes and impact of our strategic initiatives.

Concurrent with strategic planning, NC State has been developing a strategic realignment plan informed by the draft strategic plan and the task force white papers. As we move forward, we will further coordinate the plans. Our goal is to ensure that our strategic goals and our operational structure are complementary. We will keep the campus community informed of our progress along the way.

The North Carolina motto, “Esse quam videri,” resonates at NC State. We know who we are, and we are committed “to be rather than to seem to be.” We are as solid as the brick that symbolizes our campus. Confident in our firm foundation of excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service, we reach out to our state and to the world.

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