The $30 million in the NC Connect Bond provides significant funding toward the design and construction of a new School of Business for North Carolina Central University, replacing a building that was constructed in 1956. The C. T. Willis Building was refurbished in early the 2000s, but still lacks critical facilities necessary to effectively support today’s collaborative instruction and research methods.
This investment would help the university engage additional talent and partnerships within high-growth industries critical to North Carolina’s workforce.
If approved, the new School would be built over a three- to four-year period and would ultimately allow NCCU to increase enrollment in School of Business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Currently, programs within the School are housed in three different locations.
Why is this particular project important to NCCU?
“Development of a state-of-the-art Financial Trading Room and Entrepreneurship Center would provide new opportunities for students to engage in a high-touch, interactive and innovative learning environment. The Connect NC Bond funding would also indirectly help NCCU attract top-quality faculty and academic professionals and expand collaborative teaching and learning initiatives aimed at raising the university’s student retention and graduation rates. Technology-enhanced open areas and other spaces would create a greater level of student collaboration and interaction.
The School of Business is engaged in a significant curriculum design to increase graduate and undergraduate program offerings, including new programs such as a Master of Accountancy, Human Resources Management and Entrepreneurship programs. The School also has the capability of expanding enrollment growth in Hospitality and Tourism Management and the interdisciplinary Computer Science and Business degree programs. Ultimately, the project would create a world-class learning center, allowing the university to better prepare leaders for success in the global business environment.”
How does the selected project help meet your stated educational goals?
“North Carolina Central University serves the 21st century techno-scholar — students who are technology trendsetters and leaders and understand how technology intersects with all disciplines, from STEM to the liberal arts, social sciences, business, education, law and nursing. Through our programs and activities, North Carolina Central University continues to be a first choice, regionally and nationally recognized comprehensive university, while maintaining the historical identity of its liberal arts college roots. Game-changing innovation throughout the university’s academic programs allows NCCU to be academically relevant and distinctive while providing rigorous offerings that cater to the needs of a diverse student body. Ultimately, we develop visionary and innovative global leaders.
A contemporary School of Business facility is expected to not only increase enrollment numbers within the program but also positively influence the university’s overall enrollment through expanded interdisciplinary programs of study, including the existing Entrepreneurship concentration. It is vital for the School of Business to expand visibility, enhance programs and provide increased opportunities for internships, career and graduate school placements. Interdisciplinary programs in entrepreneurship will also benefit students from the School’s K-12 partnership programs. The project as funded by the Connect NC Bond would benefit all of these areas.”
What impact will completion of the project have beyond the campus?
“North Carolina Central University provides an attractive geographic location in Durham, a thriving national hub for technology companies and entrepreneurship opportunities. In close proximity to Research Triangle Park, the School of Business affords a number of opportunities for students and faculty to engage in experiential learning through collaborations with corporate and community partners.
The new School of Business is estimated to deliver a $12.3 million incremental income boost to the state of North Carolina by expanding workforce productivity and improving skills training for workers. This benefit is in addition to the $563.7 million regional income the university currently delivers to five counties in the central region of the state. It is also estimated that the new School would generate approximately $2.5 million in business start-up impact and create nearly 475 new jobs. Programs offered through the School of Business address some of the North Carolina’s largest and fastest growing industries. For example, the Hospitality and Tourism program trains professionals for the growing tourism industry, which provides more than $19.4 billion in annual revenue to North Carolina.”
What other benefits of the bond passage would you like to discuss?
“The Connect NC Bond represents an opportunity for citizens of North Carolina to invest in the future and longevity of our state’s public higher education system and other critical infrastructure. To stay competitive locally, nationally, and globally, it is important to keep North Carolina at the forefront of educating scholars and leaders who contribute to the global marketplace.
NCCU has a partnership with Durham Technical Community College, Eagle Connect, one of the institutions receiving funding through the bond. Eagle Connect is the region’s first residential, dual enrollment, transfer admissions program in the Triangle region of North Carolina, and provides a pipeline of students into our institution. Additionally, it is imperative that we develop or renovate resources that enhance the well-being and livelihood of individuals who live in our state and those who will transition into our communities in the coming years.”