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, University of North Carolina at Greensboro has identified these contributions that University of North Carolina at Greensboro aspires to make to the UNC Strategic Plan over the next five years.


Low-income Enrollments

By fall 2021, UNCG will enroll 8,161 low-income students, a 15.1% increase over 2015 levels (1,072 additional low-income students over a base of 7,089).

From UNC Greensboro: From our origins as a normal school for women, through our evolution into a co-educational university, UNC Greensboro has provided opportunity and excellence for students who are historically underrepresented among college populations. We currently serve a diverse student body and are recognized for providing not just access but also support to help all students succeed. In 2016, UNCG was one of 13 public universities recognized by the United States Department of Education for excelling in enrolling and graduating Pell grant recipients. In 2020 the Department of Education also renewed UNCG’s Student Support Services grant, carrying that program into its 50th year and beyond. UNCG is also part of a select group of colleges and universities in the Frontier Set, a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project aimed at eliminating racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in college attainment. New tools being utilized to attract, retain, and graduate more low-income students include specialized and intensive advising, online supplemental instruction, academic success coaching, and enhanced career counseling.

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Low-income Completions

By 2021-22, UNCG will produce 2,115 low-income graduates, an increase of 32.5% (519 additional low-income completions over a base of 1,596).

From UNC Greensboro: UNC Greensboro prides itself on having a collective and tenacious focus on success for all students. Student transformation – “the process of students developing the knowledge and skills needed to be informed and engaged members of society and successful in life and work” – is a core pillar of our institution’s strategic plan. UNCG is known for its supportive and rigorous environment, which promotes our students’ timely progress toward their bachelor’s degrees. For example, the Students First Office provides a one-stop shop for assisting students with academic advising, recovery from academic challenges, and graduation planning. Students First also coordinates an early warning system, which makes it easy for faculty to help students when they are beginning to encounter challenges that may have a long-term impact on their academic success. UNCG is receiving substantial recognition for its efforts. The University ranked as the top university in North Carolina for Social Mobility in the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings in 2019 and again in 2020. This new category highlights the institutions that are most successful in enrolling and graduating students who come from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. In addition to the number 1 ranking in the state, UNCG ranks 23rd nationally in this key category. UNCG also scored high for social mobility in Washington Monthly’s annual rankings. This publication also recognized UNCG for affordability and for high graduation rates among Pell Grant recipients. 

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Five-year Graduation Rates

By 2022, UNCG will improve its five-year graduation rate from any accredited institution to 62.4%. This is an improvement over a base of 56.7% for UNCG’s 2010 cohort.

From UNC Greensboro: UNC Greensboro is a federally designated as a Minority-Serving Institution, with approximately 44 percent of our students coming from underrepresented minority groups in Fall of 2020. Consistently, we are recognized for our success in closing achievement gaps between African-American and White students, including in a report by The Education Trust. For example, our graduation rate for African-American students is almost 20 percent higher than the rate for African-American students at our top 15 peer institutions. In addition to being part of the larger Frontier Set, UNCG is one of six institutions chosen by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities to serve in a leadership capacity to help other high potential universities work to promote timely graduation for students from underrepresented communities.

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Achievement Gaps in Undergraduate Degree Efficiency

By 2021-22, UNCG will reduce by 50% the achievement gap in undergraduate degree efficiency between underrepresented minority and non-underrepresented minority students.

From UNC Greensboro: UNC Greensboro’s commitment to student transformation begins at the point of enrollment, where ensuring that all qualified students have access to our university is critical. UNCG has one of the oldest TRiO programs in the county. TRiO provides dedicated academic support to first-generation students and those from low-income families. Programs like the UNCG Guarantee–a scholarship program for high-achieving, very low-income students–help make attending our university more possible. In addition to receiving a robust financial aid package, Guarantee students are provided mentorship, dedicated advising, and a variety of programming aimed at ensuring successful completion of their undergraduate degree in four years. For students who do not qualify for TRiO or UNCG Guarantee, Academic Success Coaching provides a mechanism for developing self-confidence, resilience, and problem solving skills while introducing students to a network of support services to aid in their success. UNCG CHANCE (Campamento Hispano Abriendo Nuestro Camino a la Educación/Hispanic Camp Opening the Path to Education) provides a six-day intensive college readiness experience for Latinx high school students. CHANCE was recognized as a 2019 Program to Watch by Excelencia in Education, a national non-profit supporting Latinx student success.   

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Critical Workforces

By 2021-22, UNCG will produce 1,544 critical workforce credentials, an increase of 19.5% (252 additional critical workforce credentials over a base of 1,292).

From UNC Greensboro: Home to strong and vibrant schools of NursingHealth and Human SciencesNanoscienceEducationBusiness, and  Arts and Sciences, UNC Greensboro has a long history of educating individuals who become high-quality nurses, scientists, health professionals, and teachers in our community and beyond. Several initiatives, like the Union Square Campus–developed in partnership with Cone Health, North Carolina A&T University, and Guilford Technical Community College–are expanding our ability to prepare strong candidates who can help North Carolina address the growing demand for highly qualified nurses. In 2020 UNCG added an SSS-STEM Health Sciences program to its TRiO offerings, bringing significant new investments from the Department of Education to support the academic success in STEM of students from low-income and under-represented minority backgrounds. A fully online Ed.D. program in kinesiology is meeting the growing need for advanced education in the rapidly evolving field of human movement. The School of Education has launched the Haggai Academy, a new scholarship program that complements the existing Teacher Education Fellows program, but which is designed to support non-traditional students who seek teacher licensure. And the new Moss Street Partnership school provides a rich environment for disseminating best practices in teaching.

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Rural Completions

By 2021-22, UNCG will produce 1,167 rural graduates, an increase of 12.9% (133 additional rural completions over a base of 1,034).

From UNC Greensboro: North Carolina is fortunate to have a strong community college system, which provides widespread access to post-high school education across the state. Given the community colleges’ greater geographic reach, many students from rural areas who seek bachelor’s degrees begin at community colleges, with the hope of transferring to a four-year institution. With that in mind, UNC Greensboro has created eight co-admissions programs to smooth the transition from the community college to the university. These programs give co-admitted students access to UNCG’s on-campus resources while they are earning their associate’s degree so that they are more comfortable in the university environment when they transition to working toward their bachelor’s degree. Students also have access to coordinated financial aid disbursement and on-site advising at our partner community colleges. UNCG has also joined twelve other institutions in the Southeastern Cluster of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) Powered By Publics initiative. The Cluster maintains a focus on improving transfer student success. Strong online programs also provide greater access to a four-year degree for students from rural areas. With the addition of recently launched programs in Professional Studies and Business Administration, UNCG now offers nine fully online bachelor’s degree programs.

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Undergraduate Degree Efficiency

By 2021-22, UNCG will improve its undergraduate degree efficiency to 21.7 over a base of 20.4.

From UNC Greensboro: Whether a student’s pathway to earning an undergraduate degree is non-stop and direct, or takes some twists and turns along the way, UNC Greensboro is committed to helping each student find a clear direction toward timely completion. For example, student veterans often bring an array of credits with them to UNCG and can find assistance with determining an efficient path to graduation in the Office of Military Affiliated Services. Because of services like this, UNCG has been consistently recognized as a veteran-friendly school. Tailored support is also available for transfer students, a group whose paths can be complex, both before and after enrolling. The Exploratory Majors program helps students who enroll before declaring a major. These students receive dedicated advising and a specially designed seminar course that shorten their decision and completion timelines. Students who fall behind in earning credits are encouraged to enroll in summer courses in order to stay on track, and they can apply for financial assistance to help them do so. All new students, whether first-time freshmen or students with associate’s degrees, participate in NAV1GATE, a day-long program that completes students’ preparation for success at UNCG. Additionally, in 2018-2019, UNCG launched a new Division of Student Success, offering services right in the heart of campus. The Division brings together a variety of resources and programs under one roof to better support students of all backgrounds. UNCG is also rolling out a new, streamlined General Education program that requires fewer hours than the previous curriculum while making sure that students acquire the skills and knowledge that are foundational for success in college and beyond. UNCG has also received over $5 million in grant support for student success initiatives over the past two years. A new initiative launched last fall, the Academic Success Coaching program, is designed to transform the first-year student experience by providing academic coaching to 150 first-year students. With generous funding from the Edward M. Armfield, Sr. Foundation and the Cemala Foundation, of $1.2 million and $250,000, respectively, the goal is to scale the program to support more students across campus.

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Research Productivity

By 2021-22, UNCG will receive $35,447,019 in research and development sponsored program awards and licensing income, an increase of 19.8% ($5,858,522 additional over a base of $29,588,497).

From UNC Greensboro: UNC Greensboro’s faculty, staff, and students are redefining the public research university as an inclusive, collaborative, and responsive institution that makes a difference in the communities we serve. UNCG is one of just 50 doctoral universities in the country classified by the Carnegie Foundation as having both “higher research activity” and a deep, broad, and sustained commitment to community engagement.  UNCG research makes a difference. We’ve helped develop strategies for using technology to promote global development and data to foster healthier neighborhoods. We’ve harnessed virtual reality to help stroke victims and developed a wearable device to help patients monitor heart health. UNCG continues to expand campus infrastructure and amenities to accommodate growth, fuel ongoing research productivity, and catalyze community-engaged partnerships. A new 180,000-square-foot Nursing and Instructional Building is now open, providing additional state-of-the-art space for cutting edge research.  The university is also exploring several new projects along its Millennial Campus corridor to help create facilitate public/private partnerships and research opportunities. Greater productivity will amplify our impact in many ways, allowing faculty to bring cutting-edge research to their classrooms, providing greater opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to engage in research, and bringing additional resources to help us address the complex problems of today.

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Rural Enrollments

By fall 2021, UNCG will enroll 5,436 rural students, a 9.4% increase over 2016 levels (469 additional rural students over a base of 4,967).

From UNC Greensboro: UNCG prides itself on being in the heart of the city of Greensboro, but we recognize that, to serve all North Carolinians, we must extend our reach far beyond the city limits. Our co-admission programs with community colleges will help us grow rural enrollment. In addition, we are investing in other strategies for expanding access to rural students. For example, 2018-2019 was the inaugural year for the Moss Street Partnership School, located in Rockingham County. Not only has this school begun to bring state-of-the-art education to elementary school students, it will also allow us to talk early and often with students and families about the benefits of pursuing a college education and the steps needed to do so. Together with our co-admission program with Rockingham Community College, students in the rural Rockingham County will have a clearer pathway to becoming Spartans in the future. In 2020, UNCG launched joined other System schools in offering Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), funded by the Department of Education. UNCG’s GEAR UP works with target high schools in low-income and rural areas in the state to assist students in their transitions to college and supports them academically and psycho-socially after matriculation.

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