N.C. A&T On Point Newsletter

VOL. 2 / NO. 3 / MARCH 2019

Chancellor's Message
Chancellor's Message

A&T’s Commitment: Undergraduate Excellence
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N.C. A&T Chancellor Martin For nearly 130 years, North Carolina A&T has been a beacon of opportunity for undergraduate students.Our university has of course grown over the years to include master’s and doctoral programs; even so, our focus on those bachelor’s degree-seeking students is stronger today than ever before.

The more than 10,000 undergraduates studying at A&T this year enjoy significantly more choices than their predecessors did in the late 1800s, but our commitment to them is the same: To provide a rigorous education in a supportive campus environment that prepares them well for a lifetime of achievement.

Our measures of progress toward that goal are as diverse as the students enrolled at our doctoral, land grant, high research activity institution. As the nation’s largest historically black university for the fifth consecutive year and its no. 1 public HBCU, as designated by U.S. News & World Report, we both embrace the challenge of ensuring the success of all our students and recognize the obstacles many face along the way as they work toward completion of bachelor’s degrees.

That’s why the first and primary goal of our strategic plan commits A&T to excellence in teaching and student success, with sub goals around innovative pedagogy to enhance learning, focusing on academic programs tied to critical workforce needs and strengthening retention and graduation rates.

As we pursue those ambitions, we continue to be one of America’s top 10 producers of African Americans with bachelor’s degrees, as well as no. 1 in such disciplines as engineering and agricultural sciences. The latter are reflective of national leadership in critical STEM disciplines that continues to draw attention from major employers across the United States and beyond.

Prospective students and their families get it. That explains why applications to A&T are up an astonishing 32 percent over 2017-18’s record total, why we set an aggressive 2023 enrollment goal of 14,000 and why we attract growing numbers of high-achieving students in each entering class.

Far from “growth for growth’s sake,” this is illustrative of our commitment to expanding opportunity at the undergraduate level to a high-quality, competitive educational experience. I can think of no more appropriate aspiration for our university and for the students, families, community and state that it serves.

- Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

N.C. A&T students sitting on a bench on campus in front on Noble Hall

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Meeting Undergraduate Growth Needs
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N.C. A&T Student UnionN.C. A&T’s new 150,000-square-foot Student Center

North Carolina A&T’s continued growth at the undergraduate level means campus must grow along with our student body to meet its many instructional, living and social needs.

In 2018, that commitment included purchasing a collection of off-campus apartment buildings that will provide housing for nearly 400 students. Construction is expected to begin soon on a five-story, $32-million residence hall that will provide another 450 beds on campus, as well as retail and dining on its ground floor. The hall is scheduled to open next year.

Earlier this school year, the university opened its long-awaited Student Center, a 150,000-square-foot complex of meeting and study spaces, numerous dining options, recreation areas, a campus bookstore and a ballroom for large events. The eye-catching structure – the largest on A&T’s East Greensboro campus – teems with students and campus visitors and has quickly become the highlight of campus tours for prospective students and families.

Across campus, a new home is rising for the nationally recognized College of Engineering: The Engineering Research and Innovation Center, a $90-million structure that will expand the instructional and research capacity of America’s largest producer of African American engineering graduates. It is set to open in 2021.

All of the above is just the beginning of extensive construction and modernization work called for in the A&T campus master plan. Developments in and around the university promise to transform East Greensboro, even as A&T grows in enrollment, scope and impact.

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These Three Things

Measuring Undergraduate Student Success
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Students walking across N.C. A&T campus

North Carolina A&T’s commitment to enhancing the success of its undergraduate students is a job that’s never done. Nor is the commitment to measuring and reporting out the results of the university’s efforts toward that goal.

There are so many components that go into the idea of how colleges and universities measure student success, but these three have been consistently prominent in our focus as A&T:

Retention. Efforts to increase undergraduate student retention have been a matter of campus-wide focus at A&T, just as they have at many other campuses. In FY2009, A&T’s retention rate was 72.3 percent, but the institutional full-court press has pushed it close to 80 percent. Institutional panning calls for a rate of 85 percent by 2020.

Time to Degree. In a time of increasing costs to attend, the amount of time it takes for a student to complete a degree is critical, particularly for first-generation-in-college students, who make up the majority of A&T’s undergraduate population. That rate has dropped from a high of 4.72 years in FY2011 to 4.53 years in FY2018, while four-, five- and six-year graduation rates have ticked steadily upward.

Degrees Awarded. A&T’s strategic focus on increasing undergraduate degree production began in FY2012, when a total of 1,294 bachelor’s degrees were awarded. By the most recent fiscal year, that number had expanded to 1,680, half of them in critical workforce areas, including STEM disciplines. Some of the biggest growth has come such high-demand areas as information technology, applied engineering technology, biology and animal science.

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Serving Low-Income and Rural Students
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North Carolina A&T’s status as both a land-grant institution and a historically black university has given it deep experience over many generations in meeting the needs of deserving students who have not been served by other institutions.

When the University of North Carolina System created its five-year strategic plan, Higher Expectations, A&T and other system campuses entered into performance agreements tied to the plan. A&T’s agreement featured significant goals for, among other issues, enrolling and graduating low-income students and students from rural areas.

In its first year of participation in the agreement, A&T not only surpassed its first-year goals for low-income and rural student enrollment, it surpassed five-year targets in both areas. For low-income students, the five-year mark had been 5,048; A&T came in a 5,152, an increase of 300 over the prior year.

For rural students, the five-year target had been 2,422, which A&T again significantly surpassed with enrollment of 2,514.

While its success wasn’t as emphatic in graduation rates, A&T nevertheless breezed past first-year graduation goals in both categories with 470 rural student completions and 1,008 among low-income students.

In both areas, the university vividly demonstrates its abiding commitment to the founding idea of land grant institutions – to liberate higher education from being a privilege reserved for elites and make it available to working-class individuals and people of color.

Data Points
Data Points
N.C. A&T’s total of bachelor’s degrees awarded yearly has grown nearly 30 percent since 2012.

Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr.

Erin Hill Hart, Interim
Todd Hurst Simmons

Yvonne L. Halley

Tonya D. Dixon
Jordan M. Howse
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a land-grant university that is ranked by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Doctoral University: High Research Activity.

N.C. A&T does not discriminate against any person on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. For inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies, contact the Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator@ncat.edu.

N.C. A&T is an AA/EEO employer, and it is an ADA compliant institution; thus, facilities are designed to provide accessibility to individuals with physical disabilities.