When I joined North Carolina A&T just over 10 years ago as chancellor, I posed a simple question to faculty and staff in my first campus speech: Do we want to compete?
That was not rhetorical. Enrollment had been on a decline for several years and, though A&T has a storied history and tens of thousands of fervently supportive alumni, it was not on a sustainable path. We needed to embrace new challenges in higher education and step up to meet them.
The answer from my colleagues was a resounding and enthusiastic Yes. So we got to work.
A decade later, our university is in a far better place, not only competing with other research universities around the country, but winning. We are attracting new students in record numbers with increased academic profiles, graduation and retention rates are increasing, and we continue to earn support from private investors and corporate partners.
As we have moved into this new era for A&T, a new ambition has emerged: No longer content simply to compete, we are now positioning ourselves for transformation. The possibilities within that are exciting and energizing, to say the least.
We embrace the opportunity to become the model for what a 21st century historically black, land grant, research university can be. We are eager to build on our successes in social mobility, in enrolling and graduating students of color, and in educating students from rural and low-income backgrounds. We are working to build on our national leadership in STEM education and in graduation of more African American students in a range of disciplines than any university in America.
We are guided in this by a refreshed strategic plan that charts aggressive new goals, replacing many that we set in 2011 and surpassed years ahead of schedule. As with that plan, our assessment of progress will be continuous, and our reporting out, transparent.
Our commitment is stronger than ever. We look forward to what A&T will become as the diligent work that brought us this far targets new goals that will take us ever further down the road to preeminence.
Chancellor Martin addresses the Faculty & Staff Institute to start the fall term.
- Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.