N.C. A&T On Point Newsletter

VOL. 5/ NO. 1 / JANUARY 2022   

Chancellor's Message
Chancellor's Message

The Path to R1: A New Goal Emerges
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N.C. A&T Chancellor Martin Sr.It is a curious little abbreviation – a letter and a number that combine into a modest, two-character cluster: R1. It doesn’t seem to say much, yet the impact of those two marks is heavy as a stack of bricks within the industry of higher education.

As those familiar with the Carnegie Classification for Institutions of Higher Education know, R1 is the abbreviation for its most prominent category for doctoral institutions, “Very High Research Activity.” It communicates to others in higher education, scientific research and graduate education ideas of the breadth and productivity of the campuses so classified.

The Chronicle of Higher Education earlier this month took a look at historically Black universities that hold R2 status (High Research Activity) and that have shown interest in becoming R1 institutions and are “within striking distance” of the designation. That certainly includes North Carolina A&T State University, where in 2020, the A&T Board of Trustees and senior university leadership opened a strategic dialogue on what lies between our current state and an R1 listing.

There is of course a reputational dimension to all this. Despite the Carnegie Foundation’s efforts to position their categories as “basic definitions,” not rankings, in a highly competitive industry, R1 has emerged as Carnegie’s most sought-after designation.

But for A&T, the R1 classification is more about the substance it signifies than bragging rights. To be labeled R1 or R2, a campus must have awarded at least 20 research/scholarship doctoral degrees in the most recent year measured (2019-20 for current listings) and have research expenditures of at least $5 million – milestones we passed long ago. A&T awarded 62 doctoral degrees last year, for instance, and successfully competed for $78.2 million in research funding, with a total of $48.4 million in expenditures (the pace of expenditures was slowed by COVID).

A more complex calculation of aggregate and per-capita research activity yields two indices for each institution in Carnegie’s classification. Campuses that show up “very high” on either index are labeled R1. Those that meet minimal criteria for research campuses but do not land in the very high area of either index are classified R2.

Our continued graduate and undergraduate enrollment growth and advances in research portend well for A&T. We will surpass goals defined in our strategic plan for enrollment, and already exceeded a $75-million goal for research funding three years early. We recently launched the planning work for a strategic plan that will further raise those bars and bring us closer to an R1 reality.

The leading beneficiaries of this work will be dual: Our students, whose rich educational experience will be elevated via the research that enhances our academic environment; and the Peidmont-Triad region, which will see powerful new evidence of A&T’s economic impact. Of the $1.5 billion footprint we already have across North Carolina, the super majority is focused in the Piedmont Triad, and we will add to it significantly in the years ahead.

Exciting evolutionary changes in the life of a university that has seen plenty over its 130-year history. As is always the case here, the future is extraordinarily bright, one that will illuminate a horizon of opportunity and possibilities for the countless lives our university touches each year.

- Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

commencement at NCAT StIn FY21, North Carolina A&T awarded 62 doctoral degrees and conducted $78.2 million in externally funded research.

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High-Tech Companies Take the Road to N.C.
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Apple, Toyota and Boom Supersonic are investing millions in new North Carolina operations, and economic development say more big corporations are on their way, too, bringing with them jobs and major investment.A great migration is afoot – and the traffic is headed to North Carolina.

State and Piedmont-Triad economic development officials have ushered a parade of businesses into the state in recent months where some are setting up major operations that will bring enormous economic impact to North Carolina, including tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. In most every case, North Carolina A&T played a role in closing the deal.

Apple kicked things off last April with its announcement of a new technology campus in the Research Triangle Park – an expected $1 billion investment that will be accompanied by 3,000 jobs, each paying an average of about $187,000 at the three-year mark. Already a partner with Apple in multiple other collaborations, North Carolina A&T took part in the campus announcement at the invitation of Apple executives.

In December, Toyota followed Apple with plans to build a high-tech battery plant at the Greensboro-Randolph megasite. The operation will employ an estimated 1,700 – quite an impact for the community of Liberty, pop. 2,630, where the plant will be located.

Again, A&T’s extensive research and instructional work in the automotive industry, particularly on autonomous vehicles, was helpful in attracting an auto brand that will have major engineering, IT, computer science and systems educational needs for its workforce.

In January, Boom Supersonic joined the prosperous run with an announcement of a new flagship airliner “superfactory” that will be located at Piedmont-Triad International Airport. The company will bring an estimated 1,761 jobs to Greensboro at an average annual salary of $68,792 and pump $32 billion into the N.C. economy over the next two decades.

Boom President Kathy Savitt said the Denver-based company evaluated sites in Jacksonville, Fla., and Greensville, S.C., before choosing Greensboro, which stood out in part because of its higher education environment. She singled out North Carolina A&T for special attention at the press conference announcing the plant.

University leaders working in economic development say that A&T is increasingly recognized in the Piedmont Triad as a potent economic catalyst, a one-of-a-kind research institution that helps the region stand out in the eyes of big high-tech businesses looking to expand. They also recognize that its clout as a leader in STEM education is reassuring for companies that foresee ongoing development needs for their employees.

Economic development officials also say that as exciting as the past 10 months have been, the coming months promise more good news, with a significant and growing group of corporate entities assessing North Carolina as a potential location.

Lab Report

Biomedical Research Facility to Get $5.1M Upgrade
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The N.C. A&T Vivarium, a biomedical research facility, will get a redesign and technology upgrade via a $5.1-million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

One of North Carolina A&T’s core research facilities will receive a comprehensive redesign and significant upgrades in technology over the next 2½ years via a $5.1 million grant award from the National Institutes of Health.

The A&T Vivarium is a key research component of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the nation’s largest such college among historically black colleges and universities and America’s top source of Black agricultural science graduates. The vivarium is part of the college’s large and rapidly growing Department of Animal Sciences.

The 13,000-square foot biomedical research facility will be wholly redesigned to make better use of its space. As part of the project, equipment and technology will be enhanced, with investments in hardware and systems control.

The project’s design process will take place over the coming year, with renovation beginning in mid-2023. Projected completion date: mid-to late 2024.

Learn more about the project and the Department of Animal Sciences: https://www.ncat.edu/news/2021/12/nih-vivarium-grant.php

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A&T Patent Production Accelerating
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Among the total of 55 patents awarded to A&T research is a process for developing an allergen-reduced peanut, a potential game changer for individuals with peanut allergies.

As North Carolina A&T continues to mature as a doctoral, research university, its patent activity is on the rise. Faculty researchers earned another five patents in FY 2021, pushing to 55 the historic total of patents generated by university scientists.

A&T’s external research funding and research activity have taken off over the past few years, growing from just under $53 million in FY 2014 to $78.1 million in FY 2021, a leap of 48%. That has been fueled in large part by major growth in grant applications, which last year expanded to nearly 500.

That upward trend in applications and funding has yielded 24 new patents over the past five years alone. Of A&T’s patented disclosures, 40 are available for licensing and commercial development. Those innovations include advanced lithium ion batteries, a method of modulating stem cells to yield neural cells and multiple therapeutic health uses for ginger derivatives.

A&T’s nature as a land grant university means that it places a premium on applied research that provides practical solutions to real-world challenges, particularly those facing North Carolina. To learn more about A&T’s patented technologies available for licensing, contact Dr. Laura Collins, director of IP Development and Commercialization, at (336) 285-3188.

Data Points
Data Points

The University Innovation Alliance is a small. invitation-only consortium of some of America's most innovative and successful public universities. including Arizona State. Purdue. Ohio State
and University of California-Riverside. It now includes North Carolina A&T. too. Here's some of what UIA has accomplished in 
its six years of existence. 

A&T announced its membership in early June 
in the prestigious University Innovation Alliance. UIA has
gained major attention in higher education over the 
past seven years for isolating big student success goals and achieving them. 

13 institutions.
including new members NORTH CAROLINA A&T, 
University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Four MaJor Goals: 

In six years. surpassed its 10-year goal of graduating 68,000 more students surpassing 73,500 in 2020
lncreased grads from 
low-income backgrounds by 36%
Increased graduates of color by 73%

Creation of Completion Grant Playbook, based on UIA pilot that provided nearly 5,000 $3.6M in small grants  to help students complete degrees or remain enrolled

Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr.

Erin Hill Hart
Todd Hurst Simmons

Sandra M. Brown

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.