Five-year Goals and Associated Interim Benchmarks

In January 2017, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina unanimously approved Higher Expectations, a five-year Strategic Plan for the UNC System. The Plan calls on the UNC System to achieve ambitious goals in access, student success, affordability and efficiency, economic impact and community engagement, and institutional excellence and diversity.

Progress on these goals and metrics will be achieved through the hard work and commitment of institutional leaders, faculty, and staff. In that spirit, North Carolina Central University has identified these contributions that North Carolina Central University aspires to make to the UNC Strategic Plan over the next five years.


Low-income Completions

By 2021-22, NCCU will produce 961 low-income graduates, an increase of 23.0% (180 additional low-income completions over a base of 781).

From North Carolina Central University: North Carolina Central University (NCCU) is a historically black university (HBCU), founded in 1910 to provide a liberal arts education for African Americans. NCCU is located in close proximity to the world-renowned Research Triangle Park. The university’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan, Charting a New Landscape for Student-Centered Success, aligns with the UNC System’s strategic plan metrics. NCCU’s mission is to provide underserved populations with greater access to higher education. In Fall 2021, there were 6,067 degree-seeking undergraduate students across all classes. Of that figure, 3,357 (63.1%) were Pell recipients; for first-time new undergraduates, 824 (72.9%) were Pell recipients. The university assisted more than 5,200 students during the 2020-2021 academic year by clearing over $10 million in outstanding tuition and fees and waived costs for its summer session. NCCU allocated approximately $8 million directly to 3,832 students, covering their unpaid balances.

In addition, a series of fireside chats with select cohorts of first-generation, low-income and rural students were planned and approved for implementation. These discussions are aimed at identifying barriers that prevent these students from matriculating to graduation. Strategies and recommendations from these sessions will be incorporated into the divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs’ operational plans. 

Rural Completions

By 2021-22, NCCU will produce 400 rural graduates, an increase of 16.3% (56 additional rural completions over a base of 344).

From North Carolina Central University: While NCCU’s academic programs attract students from across the state, a major objective is to attract and enroll students from rural areas and provide services to ensure their success. The university continues to focus on K-12 education and health care. NCCU’s health disparities outreach effort continues through the university’s Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute with Halifax County. For example, NCCU’s School of Education (SOE) established a unique licensure pathway in Person and Duplin counties to increase the number of qualified and diverse rural teachers. The first Person County Teacher Assistant to Teaching Professional (TA2TP) cohort will graduate in May 2022. Additionally, a variety of professional development opportunities have been provided to Warren County Schools and its teachers. These opportunities include Praxis II support and in-service training on classroom management and social-emotional learning. Finally, the SOE is in the process of an intentional recruiting campaign, exploring programming for rural school systems, including New Hanover, Onslow, Person, Wayne, Duplin, Warren, and Pender. 

Five-year Graduation Rates

By 2022, NCCU will improve its five-year graduation rate from any accredited institution to 51.5%. This is an improvement over a base of 43.8% for NCCU’s 2010 cohort.

From North Carolina Central University: Time-to-degree is the primary measure of student success at NCCU and the highlight of Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye’s The Eagle Promise, an initiative that guarantees students a degree in four-years if they successfully adhere to NCCU’s suggested pathway. To address the numerous student support and achievement issues that directly impact time-to-degree completion, NCCU has representation in Navigate, the Educational Advisory Board’s (EAB) Student Success Collaborative. This collaborative provides a platform that combines research, technology, and predictive analytics to assist NCCU in proactively managing student success and timely degree completion for our students. In addition, the university is strengthening its upper division academic advising process by providing more full-time, professional academic advisors. A number of student and academic success initiatives, including the First-Year Seminar and Sophomore Success Initiative, are designed to improve retention and graduation rates.  To ensure students matriculate in a timely manner, NCCU designed the Upper Division Academic Advising Initiative with the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities; College of Health and Sciences; School of Business; and School of Education. The program establishes a centralized advising model to better meet the needs of students as they exit University College. Under this new initiative that will launch in fall 2022, a coordinator for upper division advising will be hired along with 10 professional advisors to be placed in the various colleges and schools. This professional advising model will assist NCCU in improving and maximizing the full potential of academic advising. The recommendations from NCCU’s partnership with Georgia State University’s National Institution for Student Success will serve as a roadmap for this new initiative by identifying cost-effective, evidenced-based strategies to help remove barriers that hinder student success.

Undergraduate Degree Efficiency

By 2021-22, NCCU will improve its undergraduate degree efficiency to 20 over a base of 17.4.

From North Carolina Central University: The university continues to work to ensure that the number of students who graduate increases and that these students graduate in a timely manner. In addition to the onboarding process for first-year students in our University College, students also receive academic advising and support in their academic departments. Furthermore, NCCU has increased the number of transfer students who have applied to and enrolled in the university because of articulation agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with targeted community colleges in North Carolina and California. Transfer students take full advantage of the array of services offered in the Office of Transfer Services, which supports them from enrollment to graduation. NCCU continues to expand its partnerships with North Carolina Community Colleges, including Cape Fear Community College and Fayetteville Technical Community College. As part of North Carolina’s Pathways to Success program, NCCU signed a memorandum of understanding with Vance Granville Community College that established a streamlined process for graduates of Vance-Granville’s bioprocess technology Associate of Applied Sciences degree to transfer into NCCU’s baccalaureate program as juniors.

Achievement Gaps in Undergraduate Degree Efficiency

By 2021-22, NCCU will reduce by 50% the achievement gap in undergraduate degree efficiency between low-income and non-low income students.

From North Carolina Central University: As noted above, the number of students earning degrees at NCCU has increased overall; however, given the fact that nearly 63.1% of NCCU students receive Pell Grants, the university is looking at ways to ensure that students who are from low-income backgrounds earn degrees at a rate that is on par with the overall student population. NCCU has a number of support programs and initiatives targeting these students, such as the Aspiring Eagles Academy for low-income, first-generation students. This program includes leadership training, a living-learning community, cultural enrichment, study and travel abroad, intrusive academic counseling, and focused academic support. Additionally, the university utilizes the Men’s Achievement Center, which supports the success of male students from communities of color. This center strives to deliver academic, social, and personal support via the use of research, theory, co-curricular development, and experiential learning. Additionally, programs offered through the Division of Student Affairs include the Annie Day Scholars Program, which is a living-learning community that strengthens female students with mentoring and professional development. NCCU offers the Cheatham-White Merit Scholarship Program, a fully funded merit-based scholarship program created by the N.C. General Assembly for first-time freshman at NCCU and N.C. A&T State University. 


Low-income Enrollments

By fall 2021, NCCU will enroll 3,933 low-income students, a 6.2% increase over 2015 levels (231 additional low-income students over a base of 3,702).

From North Carolina Central University:

NCCU seeks to provide access to higher education to students throughout North Carolina. The challenge of promoting greater access to higher education is not only related to academic access, but also to financial access. Given the number of Pell-eligible students on campus, it is imperative that special attention is paid to tuition, fees, and other costs of attendance. The university will continue to find ways to present low-income students with opportunities to enroll in and graduate from NCCU. 

The University has implemented the “Before You SOAR” Initiative, which is a checklist designed to ensure students have completed and provided the university with information that is critical to their success prior to registering for orientation. The divisions of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, along with Information Technology Services collaborated to implement this initiative. Prior to launching the “Before You SOAR” Initiative. New Student & Family Programs hosted a series of peer-to-peer virtual sessions called Eagle Kickback where newly admitted students engaged with current students. 

Critical Workforces

By 2021-22, NCCU will produce 605 critical workforce credentials, an increase of 43.4% (183 additional critical workforce credentials over a base of 422).

From North Carolina Central University: As part of NCCU’s ongoing efforts for innovation across all spectrums of our campus, the university realigned its two largest colleges to be the new College of Arts, Sciences and Humanities and the College of Health and Sciences on July 1, 2020. This realignment positions NCCU for the growth and development consistent with the goals of the university’s Strategic Plan and the new and emerging market opportunities in the Research Triangle region and the state of North Carolina. 

NCCU continues to expand its undergraduate and graduate degree programs in several critical workforce areas associated with STEM disciplinesnursing, and education. In addition to current offerings, the university added new programs in information technology with an emphasis on cybersecurity and data analytics and sports medicine. NCCU continues to expand its online degree portfolio to meet the needs of current and future workforce demands. The university continues to award degrees in critical workforce areas.

Research Productivity

By 2021-22, NCCU will receive $21,611,020 in research and development sponsored program awards and licensing income, an increase of 10.2% ($2,000,294 additional over a base of $19,610,726).

From North Carolina Central University: NCCU is committed to providing innovative research in the area of health disparities. The Biomedical / Biotechnology Research Institute (BBRI) and the Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) lead the way in sponsored research at the university. Scientists affiliated with the institutes and faculty from STEM-related areas have earned research awards from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the National Science Foundation, and other prestigious agencies. The university has expanded its research infrastructure to promote and accommodate an increase in the number of research proposals. Workshops and seminars designed to introduce faculty to the common guidelines and procedures associated with federal funding agencies have contributed to an increase in the number of proposals being submitted by NCCU faculty. To support faculty research productivity, NCCU provides mini-grants and innovation funds specifically targeted to motivate junior faculty to write more competitive grant proposals. During the 2020-2021 academic year, the university generated $24.1 million in grants and outside funding sources for research activities, which is above the goal of $21.2 million. For example, NCCU and RTI International expanded a formal collaboration to increase sponsored research, provide training and exchange opportunities, and collaborate on workforce development initiatives. NCCU is also on track to again exceed the goal for the 2021-22 cycle. 


Rural Enrollments

By fall 2021, NCCU will enroll 1,881 rural students, a 4.7% increase over 2016 levels (85 additional rural students over a base of 1,796).

From North Carolina Central University: Both the enrollment and the academic success of students with rural backgrounds are of paramount importance at NCCU. The university has expanded private visits to rural high schools and community colleges. NCCU has also refocused its recruitment process at virtual outreach activities and college fairs in rural communities based on geographic analysis of applicants and admitted students from the fall 2020 and fall 2021 classes. As such, the university has made strategic investments in the recruitment of students from these underserved areas of the state. Thirty-seven percent of North Carolina resident students enrolled in the fall 2021 first-year class are from rural areas of North Carolina. The university’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions is focusing its recruitment efforts on students from rural counties by increasing contact with high schools, community agencies, current students, and alumni who reside in or near rural counties and areas. NCCU continues to prioritize recruitment of students from Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties.