Above photo: The UNCP Entrepreneurship Incubator located in downtown Pembroke supports business growth across a 10-county region. Supporters joining Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings at the December 2015 ribbon cutting included Golden LEAF Foundation President Dan Gerlach, Rep. Charles Graham, Former Congressman Mike McIntyre and Sen. Jane Smith. The Entrepreneurship Incubator allows UNCP School of Business students to receive hands-on experience and observe real-world entrepreneurs every step of the way.
The bond would provide $23 million for a new School of Business facility at UNC Pembroke. The growing school delivers an innovative, distinctive and high quality regional program to more than 770 graduate and undergraduate students.
The School of Business currently operates out of a 35,626 square-foot building constructed in 1969 and lacks sufficient space and learning technology for our current and future needs. This facility cannot accommodate groups larger than 50 people, making it difficult to hold necessary meetings and conferences with students, faculty, business leaders and guests. While the current building was expanded in 1995, it’s the only building on campus of its era that has not been renovated.
The Connect NC Bond will help construct a new home for the School of Business offering sufficient classroom and meeting space as well as a full complement of technology necessary to prepare students to enter the business profession at a globally competitive level.
Why is this particular project important to UNC Pembroke?
“The School of Business at UNC Pembroke has experienced significant growth in recent years, with a 9.5 percent increase in enrollment between 2014 and 2015 alone.
The influx of students coincided with the school receiving external validation of the quality of its teaching, learning and scholarship. In 2013, the School of Business was accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the gold standard in the assurance of quality achieved by only 5 percent of institutions worldwide.
The opportunity for continued growth and development of the school is more promising than ever. However, the recent advances in program quality, breadth and enrollment have placed strains on an inadequate and outdated facility.
A new School of Business facility will accommodate today’s contemporary learning environment, which requires auditorium-style classrooms, conference rooms and gathering spaces designed to stimulate collaboration and teamwork -- hallmarks of the modern professional workplace.”
How does the selected project help meet your stated educational goals?
“The new School of Business will advance UNC Pembroke’s Strategic Plan by serving as a recruitment tool to help position the university as the institution of choice for students in southeastern North Carolina. The facility will provide an environment that fosters 21st century problem resolution, inviting more collaboration and engagement on behalf of the students and faculty.
The facility will also allow the school to expand its regional engagement by offering venues for students and area business representatives to connect and work together. The new facility will also make it possible for the school to host professional development opportunities, distinguished speakers and conferences that will benefit business leaders throughout the region, in addition to our students.
Finally, energy savings realized by a new School of Business facility will support UNCP’s goal of increasing efficiency and effectiveness of its resources.”
What impact will completion of the project have beyond the campus?
“The UNCP School of Business stands to expand its transformative role in one of the most economically depressed regions of North Carolina. Robeson County, home to UNCP, as well as neighboring Bladen and Columbus counties, were designated by the federal government as counties of ‘persistent poverty.’ Counties received this distinction if 20 percent or more of their populations were living in poverty over the last 30 years.
UNCP is working to spur job creation and investment by offering a comprehensive network of resources, including the Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship, the Small Business and Technology Development Center and the newly opened Entrepreneurship Incubator in downtown Pembroke. The new School of Business facility will serve as the campus hub for these assets, facilitating mutually beneficial relationships among business leaders, faculty and students.”
What other benefits of the bond passage would you like to discuss?
“In addition to expediting important infrastructure improvements at UNC constituent institutions, Connect NC will fund projects at each of the state’s 58 community colleges. UNCP partners closely with the community colleges in our region to ensure students can transfer seamlessly from two-year institutions to the university to continue their education. In the fall 2015 semester, 22 percent of UNCP’s undergraduate student body population was comprised of students who transferred from North Carolina community colleges. The projects that will benefit the community colleges will therefore likely have a positive future impact on the UNC constituent institutions as well.”