N.C. A&T On Point Newsletter

VOL. 5/ NO. 2 / dECEMBER 2022   

Chancellor's Message
Chancellor's Message

Our Narrative: We Speak A&T
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N.C. A&T Chancellor Martin Sr.One of the management essentials we are committed to at North Carolina A&T is maintaining a strong, up-to-the-minute understanding of where we stand among our peers and with our constituents. We must always know more than anyone else about our university, and always be in the process of learning more. Not just the basic facts and trends, but all of that in the context of a crowded and dynamic higher education marketplace and in connection to our mission, goals and outcomes.

That may seem like common sense for any competitive higher education enterprise, and to some extent, it is. But as we dive deeper into the facts and ideas that characterize North Carolina A&T, they continue to arm us with messages that help distinguish our university before prospective students and employees, the higher education industry and the world beyond.

What do I mean? Consider:

  • North Carolina A&T enrolls more African American first-year students each year than the top 10 national universities in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” issue combined. (Owing to ties within the top 10, it’s actually the top 11. And the claim still holds.)

That’s an extraordinary fact, given that the top 11 include Princeton, Harvard, MIT, Yale, Stanford, Chicago, Penn, Cal Tech, Duke, Johns Hopkins and Northwestern. (I share that list entirely without prejudice against any of those fine universities.) Furthermore, the claim offers an intriguing lens through which to see the whole of A&T, particularly in light of the following:

  • A&T has been America's largest HBCU for nine consecutive years and is now the largest that any HBCU has ever grown. At 13,487 students, we are nevertheless a medium-sized doctoral research university, albeit one that has a dramatically outsized impact on the STEM workforce and other career fields.
  • Our students have outstanding academic credentials – an average entering GPA of 3.77, and commensurate test scores. Out-of-state students, who are not allowed to displace in-state students who meet our admission standards for that enrollment cycle, come in with even higher grades and scores.
  • Aggies graduate from our university in striking numbers – nearly 5,000 of them over the past two academic years, including the most Black graduates of any university in America in Engineering, Journalism, Liberal Arts and Agriculture. Our graduates enter the workforce with salaries that rank 2nd among all universities in the UNC System, a little more than $54,900, per PayScale and U.S. News & World Report

We believe those claims combine to tell a fascinating story -- one that is unique in higher education. For those who care about academic rigor, the land-grant mission and representation and diversity in higher education, it’s particularly compelling.

We are committed to writing the next successful chapter this academic year and to exemplary education, service and discovery in the very best tradition of higher education. We invite you to watch this space as that chapter unfolds and we continue to take our university to places where no campus has ever been.

- Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

commencement at NCATNorth Carolina A&T graduated 2,600 students in 2021-22. They enter the workforce earning $59,000 on average with a strong emphasis on STEM disciplines.

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These Three Things

Growth, Development of Graduate Programs Expands
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Continued growth of A&T grad programs in STEM disciplines is complemented by new programs and others in development in professional and liberal arts disciplines.

North Carolina A&T’s maturation as a doctoral research university is being fueled by growth in graduate degree programs and other post-baccalaureate and post-graduate credentials.

Over the past three years, the university has launched new graduate degree offerings and has others in development toward launches in the near future. While STEM credentials have comprised the majority of the university’s grad programs to date, new degree in liberal arts and professional disciplines are growing, too. A&T’s total graduate student headcount is now nearly 1,700.

A&T’s very public aspiration to move into the R1 category in the Carnegie Classifications for Higher Education hinges in part on this development of the university. Doctoral degree production is a key measure in determining whether an institution is listed as R1 – Very High Research Activity or R2 – High Research Activity, A&T’s current classification. No HBCU currently holds the R1 designation.

The three programs below illustrate a university moving aggressively to meet students’ needs and to prepare them for employment or further study in new and developing career areas:

  • The Master of Science in Accountancy debuted in 2019 as part of the Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics. The following year, the Deese College’s five graduate programs moved into America’s top 100 in the U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools edition. A highly regarded program at an institution known for its strengths in accounting, the MAcc is one of many reasons why the Deese College is also ranked no. 1 among all HBCU public business schools.
  • Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences. A&T’s storied past as an agricultural institution established in 1891 is only rivaled by its present: Its College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences produces more African American graduates than any other university in America. This new doctoral program, the college’s first, enrolled its debut class in 2022, and its graduates are sure to be in high demand for teaching and research positions at other universities, major agricultural businesses and the family and legacy farms which constitute a large focus of the college.
  • In late October, the UNC System Board of Governors gave unanimous approval to a new Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. The university is now pursuing accreditation for the program, and expects to begin marketing for its debut class as soon as requirements are officially met. It is the latest new degree program for the John R. and Kathy R. Hairston College of Health and Human Sciences, which is now A&T’s largest college. The PA degree will become one of 11 undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Hairston College.
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Sponsored Research Charts 2nd Big-Growth Year
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Distinguished Professor of Functional Foods and Human Health Dr. Shengmin Sang earned a $2.65-million grant over the summer for research aimed at preventing Type II Diabetes.

North Carolina A&T faculty earned a second-consecutive year of double-digit growth in research income in FY22, hitting $97.3 million, a $19.2 million increase over the prior year.

The FY21 total of $78.2 million was $18 million more than the prior year, meaning that in back-to-back annual cycles, faculty have grown research funding at A&T by nearly 62%.

“Our faculty had another exceptional year marked by more applications for support, more support for those applications and more patent activity,” said Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, Dr. Eric Muth. “Together, they made an emphatic statement about the national competitiveness of their work among doctoral research universities and in partnership with federal agencies, the most competitive funding arena.”

The momentum continued into FY2023, the first two months of which saw A&T researchers land more than $50 million in new contracts and grants. The university’s awards throughout the last two calendar years feature some of the largest grants ever made to A&T faculty, among them:

  • A $9-million U.S. Dept. of Defense award through the Office of Naval Research to investigate how to create trustworthy, reconfigurable and secure artificial intelligence for cyber physical defense systems and how to bring greater diversity to the artificial intelligence and cybersecurity workforce. Computer Science Professor and Department Chair Kaushik Roy, Ph.D., is principal investigator on the project.
  • A $10-million, four-year award from the U.S. Dept. of Energy to launch the Center for Electrochemical Dynamics and Reactions on Surfaces or CEDARS. The clean-energy center will be led by Dhananjay Kumar, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Lab Report

Creating the Clean Energy Workforce of Tomorrow
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Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announces the new grant, while Assistant Secretary Alejandra Castillo (left) and N.C. Secretary of Commerce Machele Baker Sanders look on.

Most Americans agree that cutting greenhouse gases and pushing back against climate change by pivoting to clean energy is something the nation ought to do with haste. But a major impediment to making that happen is the shortage in highly educated and trained workers to meet the needs of the clean energy economy.

That’s where North Carolina A&T comes in. Already a national leader in engineering and environmental sciences, the university submitted a proposal to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce for a $23.7-million grant to fund a comprehensive clean energy workforce training program. A&T not only got the award, its program was identified as a national model by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in announcing the project at a major press event on the A&T campus in August.

“This is the first-ever Commerce Department initiative where we are totally focused on job training,” said Raimondo to strong applause. “That’s what this is about – real jobs, family-sustaining jobs that everybody can get.”

“We are on the cutting edge of the clean energy economy,” said N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper, flanking Raimondo at the media availability. “This transformative grant will invest in our state’s diverse workforce as we continue to create high-paying clean energy jobs and bolster North Carolina A&T’s reputation as a national leader in preparing students for the economy of the future.”

Led by co-principal investigators Balakrishna Gokaraju, Ph.D., and Greg Monty, Ph.D., the STEPS4GROWTH program was one of 509 applicants that Commerce received for 32 awards around clean energy. The programs are part of Commerce’s Good Jobs Challenge, funded by the American Rescue Plan.

More than 40 employers – including Strata Clean Energy, Enviva, Siemens, Duke and Blue Ridge Power – are already involved in STEPS4GROWTH and have committed to hiring 3,000 STEPs4GROWTH trainees over four years, then 1,500 trainees every year afterward.  

Data Points
Data Points

The East Greensboro neighborhood in and around A&T is being transformed. Enjoy seven highlights of what’s new and what’s coming soon.
Martin Engineering Complex – Gleaming $90M research/teaching facility opened February 2022
Bluford Hall – Ultra-modern 5-story, 429-bed complex; construction to start 2023
Bailey Village – 172-unit gated complex opened Oct. 15, across from Martin Complex
Community & Urban Food Complex – Construction to start 2023 on this $7M food development facility
The Resurgent - 70-unit, $60M residential/retail project at campus’ south entrance; construction: 2023
World War Memorial Stadium – Stately, National Register ballpark to be fully renovated over next 3 years 
Engineering Upgrades - $30M in older lab renovations, construction of two new interdisciplinary labs

Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr.

Erin Hill Hart
Todd Hurst Simmons

Sandra M. Brown

Yvonne L. Halley

Tonya D. Dixon

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.