Many thanks to UNC Wilmington for hosting the second stop of the 2018 State of the University Tour, followed by two days of productive Board of Governors meetings. We appreciate the hospitality shown by the Seahawks.
The Lumina Auditorium was packed with individuals who wanted to hear about the current state and direction of the System and how UNCW contributes to our overarching vision.
UNCW has long been an institution on the rise. Now 70 years old, UNCW’s story is one of growth in both size and quality. It is an institution defined by its close ties to the region and its tailored work to serve local needs, but its successes emanate far beyond the Cape Fear region.
Our Strategic Plan calls for strong partnerships with our community colleges, which will improve retention and graduation, drive opportunity, and build a college-going culture for all North Carolinians. UNCW is leading the way in building these partnerships with individual community colleges. As a result, UNCW is not only drawing growing numbers of transfer students, it consistently ranks in the top three in the System for graduation rates of those students.
We’ve signed customized performance agreements with each chancellor in the UNC System. Here at UNC Wilmington, Chancellor Sartarelli crafted a performance plan that will enroll nearly eight percent more low-income student and more than five percent more rural students; cut the achievement gap among low-income students by 50 percent; increase outside research funding by over 130 percent; and produce 34 percent more critical workforce credentials in areas like teaching, science and technology, and healthcare. Impressive gains – all by 2022.
The next stop on the State of the University Tour is Fayetteville, with five more stops in the next several weeks in Pembroke, Asheville, the Triad, Greenville, and the Triangle.
As I told the Board of Governors in my March remarks, this tour is also about raising expectations for what we should expect from one of the finest University Systems in the world.