N.C. A&T On Point Newsletter

VOL. 6/ NO. 4 / SEPTEMBER 2023   

Chancellor's Message
Chancellor's Message

Growing Investments in A&T’s Success
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N.C. A&T Chancellor Martin Sr.

When the North Carolina General Assembly recently passed its long-awaited 2023-25 biennial budget, there was good news for North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with regard to growing investments in our institution.

The budget includes significant new recurring funding for our colleges of Engineering and Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and North Carolina A&T athletics, in addition to planning funding for a significant new building for our Hairston College of Health and Human Sciences, A&T’s largest college. It also includes two years of needed raises for our faculty and staff, along with other employees of the State of North Carolina.

In two particular areas, A&T made important progress in support of critical aspects of our mission. Legislators appropriated approximately $10.7 million in agriculture research and extension funds – a figure that represents a 2-to-1 match of federal funding for A&T in this category.

Five years ago, A&T received less than a 1-to-1 match, none of it in recurring monies. Over the ensuing five years, legislators raised the level and permanence of funding. While the recently approved budget puts us in a much better position, our funding formula still lags our land-grant peers. However, we applaud the progress, and will continue our work in this area.

That sentiment carries over to another budget line, this one for “premier research institution funding.” In support of our pursuit of reclassification as an R1-Very High Research Activity institution in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the General Assembly appropriated $10 million in annually recurring funds and an additional non-recurring investment of $5 million in the 2023-25 budget.

This budget progress comes on the heels of moves by the governor, General Assembly and UNC System in recent years to significantly increase our cap on out-of-state students, provide $30 million to support continued development of our influential College of Engineering, enhance funding for campus renovations and prior support of our research competitiveness aspirations.

And let us not forget state leaders’ inclusion of A&T in a statewide bond issue that provided $90 million for construction of the engineering research complex we opened last year. The recent trendline in public appropriations for A&T matches the upward trajectory of our university.

It’s important to note this progress against the backdrop of recent letters to the governors of 16 states that are home to HBCU and non-HBCU land grant universities. The secretaries of Agriculture and Education, Tom Vilsack and Miguel Cardona, rightly urged the governors “to rectify decades of underfunding” of the HBCU land grants that total $12.6 billion, reported The Washington Post.

“This is a situation that clearly predates all of us. However, it is a problem that we can work together to solve,” the secretaries wrote. “In fact, it is our hope that we can collaborate to avoid burdensome and costly litigation that has occurred in several states.”

Our new budget illustrates the fact that the sort of successful collaboration on solutions that the secretaries advocate for is indeed possible. In fact, it is the only way that progress is ultimately made. Our students and the many constituents and communities we serve look to us to continue that work. We will not shy away from that responsibility.

For 2023-25, progress. And the work continues.

- Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

New enhanced funding from the State of North Carolina has significantly improved A&T’s financial position. The university has a $2.4 billion annual economic impact across the state.

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A&T Charts New Records in Enrollment
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A&T enrollment grew once again this year, driven by increases in North Carolina first-year students, transfer students, doctoral students and increased retention rates.

North Carolina A&T charted new milestones in enrollment this fall, with a student body that maintained the university’s status as largest historically black college or university (HBCU) in America for a full decade.

The enrollment of 13,883 was not only the largest in A&T history, it represents the largest student body ever enrolled at an HBCU. Enrollment management officials said strategic growth in populations ranging from North Carolina first-year students to new doctoral students helped drive the increase, but the most significant factor was a spike in retention: 80% of A&T first-year students returned for their second year.

Some 40,000 students applied for admission to A&T for 2023-24, as the university continued a strong pace of growth in applications. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reported earlier this year, applications to A&T grew by 246% from 2011 to 2021 – one of the highest growth rates among doctoral, research universities. Enrollment grew by more than 22% during the same span.

A&T now graduates more than 2,500 students each year, including the most African American graduates in America in engineering, communication/journalism, liberal arts and agriculture, according to federal data published by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

University officials project enrollment to exceed 15,000 by 2030.

Lab Report

National Genomics Center to be Launched at A&T
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The new center will use cloud computing to share educational resources for genomic data science to ensure its accessibility, including for institutions that may lack sophisticated computing facilities.

North Carolina A&T researchers will create a “genomics educational hub,” providing new educational and research opportunities nationwide for undergraduates and grad students who are underrepresented in biomedical sciences, with the support of a $5.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The Genomics Research and Data Science Center for Computation and Cloud Computing (GRADS-4C) will be led by Director Joseph L. Graves Jr., Ph.D., who holds the MacKenzie Scott Endowed Professor of Biology in the A&T College of Science and Technology. Serving as co-principal investigator will be Kristen Rhinehardt, Ph.D., an assistant professor of computational and data science engineering in the A&T College of Engineering.

Graves is an extensively published evolutionary biologist whose explorations of race, biology and genetics have won international acclaim in recent years. In particular, last year’s “A Voice in the Wilderness: A Pioneering Biologist Explains How Evolution Can Help Us Solve Our Biggest Problems” (Basic Books) and 2021’s “Racism, Not Race: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions” (Columbia University Press, co-written with biological anthropologist Alan H. Goodman) drew rave reviews by critics in higher education and the scientific community.

GRADS-4C will use cloud computing platforms to share educational resources for genomic data science to ensure its accessibility, including for institutions that may lack sophisticated computing facilities. Other A&T faculty to be involved in GRADS-4C include co-principal investigators Christopher C. Doss, Ph.D., electrical and computer engineering, and Perpetua M. Muganda, Ph.D., and Scott H Harrison, Ph.D., from the Department of Biology.

“GRADS-4C will have a transformative impact on genomic, data science, and cloud computing research and training at HBCUs and MSIs,” Graves said. “We will provide educational and hands- on research training and resources in computational genomics, data sciences, and cloud computing for the future workforce in these fields. This award is particularly important in that this is one of the first times that the NIH has awarded a project of this scope to a consortium where an HBCU is the lead institution.

“It further makes the case for the transition of North Carolina A&T to Research-1 status.”

+ Read More https://www.ncat.edu/news/2023/09/nih-grant-genomics-educational-hub.php.
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Chancellor to Retire at End of School Year
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Chancellor Martin will have completed his 15th year as North Carolina A&T’s leader at the end of this academic year.

Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr., the longest currently serving chancellor in the UNC System and among historically Black colleges and universities, announced that he would retire at the end of the 2023-24 school year, on completion of his 15th year as leader of North Carolina A&T.

Martin assumed the role in 2009 after serving for a combined decade as senior vice president for academic affairs of the University of North Carolina System and, prior to that, chancellor of Winston-Salem State University. Under his leadership, the university has risen to national prominence as a doctoral research land-grant institution and one of the country’s top HBCUs.

“Harold Martin is the very model of a devoted, effective public servant. He’s a brilliant thinker, a disciplined leader and a great man,” said UNC System President Peter Hans. “For more than three decades, he’s been a friend, a mentor and an inspiration to students and colleagues across the UNC System. 

“Under Harold’s leadership, North Carolina A&T has become one of the strongest and most impressive institutions in all of American higher education. He’s an Aggie legend — an alum who embodies the best of the A&T spirit and who helped grow his alma mater into a powerhouse of research, economic impact, and life-changing opportunity. It’s been a privilege to serve alongside him.” 

Hans said that a national search will be conducted for a successor, with search details to be released in the near future.

gray image line + Read more at https://www.ncat.edu/news/2023/09/chancellor-martin-to-retire.php

Data Points
Data Points

Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr.

Erin Hill Hart

Todd Hurst Simmons

Sandra M. Brown
Kevin Scalf

Yvonne L. Halley

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.

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