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3.1.1 Mission PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 06:18

3.1.1 Mission

The mission statement is clear and comprehensive, accurately guides the institutions operations, is periodically reviewed and updated, is approved by the governing board, and is communicated to the institution's constituencies.

Responsible Unit: Board of Trustees/Chancellor

Compliance Judgment



North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (A&T) has a current and comprehensive mission statement that has received approval from the Board of Trustees, that guides the activities and planning of the university, and that is widely disseminated to the university's constituents [1]. A&T is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina (UNC) and is governed by Chapter 116 of the General Statutes of North Carolina [2] and The Code of the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina (UNC Code) [3]. Section 116-11 of the General Statutes of North Carolina lays out the powers and duties of the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina (UNC Board of Governors) as the governing body of the UNC System [4]. (See SACS 2.4, Institutional Mission)

Part 3 of chapter 116 of the General Statutes (especially sections 116-31 through 116-36.4) requires each constituent institution to maintain a board of trustees, with members selected by the UNC Board of Governors and the governor of North Carolina, and including the student government president of the institution [2]. Section 403A of the UNC Code lays out the general powers and duties of the board of trustees of each constituent institution in the UNC System. Specifically:

"Each board of trustees shall promote the sound development of its institution within the functions prescribed for it, helping it to serve the people of the state in a way that will complement the activities of the other institutions and aiding it to perform at a high level of excellence in every area of endeavor. Each board of trustees shall serve as advisor to the Board of Governors on matters pertaining to its institution and shall also serve as advisor to the chancellor concerning the management and development of the institution [5]."

Consistent with these powers, the A&T Board of Trustees oversees the development and implementation of the mission of A&T.

A&T's mission statement directly addresses the UNC mission to "discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge to address the needs of individuals and society" through teaching, research, and public service [6]. The current mission statement was developed through an intensive and inclusive strategic visioning process initiated in fall 2000 by former Chancellor James C. Renick in his second year in office. The FUTURES initiative, as it was called, involved the formulation of a Planning and Resource Council including twenty-three members representing the campus and community, as well as separate internal scan, external scan, and values teams designated to analyze the current campus environment and develop three scenarios for discussion at numerous town meetings and during a two-day retreat held in April 2001. [7]

From these sessions, one scenario was selected in April 2001 to be implemented over the coming decade - the interdisciplinary university. The FUTURES Planning and Resource Council met throughout the 2001-2002 academic year to lay the groundwork for the implementation of FUTURES across the university. The FUTURES Vision was shared through the publication of "Uncompromising Excellence: A Blueprint for the Future," in January 2003. [8] This document provided the roadmap for the FUTURES initiative and has served as the operational guide for the university since then.

The current mission statement reads as follows:

"North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a public, doctoral/research intensive, land-grant University committed to fulfilling its fundamental purposes through exemplary undergraduate and graduate instruction, scholarly and creative research, and effective public service. The University offers degree programs at the baccalaureate, master's and doctoral levels. As one of North Carolina's three engineering colleges, the University offers Ph.D. programs in engineering, as well as two interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs in Leadership Studies and Energy and Environmental Studies. Basic and applied research is conducted by faculty and students in eight research clusters: Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, Computational Science and Engineering, Public Health, Biotechnology and Biosciences, Leadership and Community Development, Information Technology, Transportation and Logistics, and Agriculture, Energy and Environment." [9]

In addition to the new mission statement, the FUTURES initiative also included a vision statement that operationalized the mission with five strategic goals along with a timeline for completion:

The FUTURES Vision Statement: "Building upon a solid foundation in academic programs, the faculty, staff and students endorsed the FUTURES strategic vision toward an interdisciplinary university. The adoption of the vision statement and a set of five goals are aimed at enhancing the culture of high standards in all programs and facilities and for all stakeholders - students, faculty, staff, alumni, community, public and private sector friends of the University.

The FUTURES Goals: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a learner-centered community that develops and preserves intellectual capital through interdisciplinary learning, discovery, engagement, and operational excellence.

  • Goal One: Establish and ensure an interdisciplinary focus for North Carolina A&T that mandates overall high quality, continued competitiveness, and effective involvement of global strategic partners in marketing and delivery of programs and operations.
  • Goal Two: Deliver visionary and distinctive interdisciplinary learning, discovery, and engagement that include collaborations and partnerships as part of the learning experience.
  • Goal Three: Foster a responsive learning environment that utilizes an efficiently integrated administrative support system for high quality programs, research and collegial interactions, and effectively disseminates consistent information to University stakeholders.
  • Goal Four: Provides superior: readily available student services and programs that recognize and respond to diverse student needs.
  • Goal Five: Enhance and diversify the University's resource base through effective fund raising, entrepreneurial initiatives, enhanced facilities, and sponsored research programs [10]."

The FUTURES Strategic Visioning Process, which included the new mission and vision statements, was approved by the Board of Trustees on September 12, 2001. Assessment of progress toward the FUTURES mission and vision was done annually from 2003 through 2006 during spring campus-wide FUTURES retreats and is summarized in the annual FUTURES Report [9] [11] [12][13].

In addition, the mission and vision statements were reviewed biannually during the period 2001-2006 as part of the recurring UNC Board of Governors Long-Range Plan process, which provides five-year plans for the UNC System and each of its constituent institutions. The current long-range plan for the UNC System covers the period 2004-2009. [14] The 2002-2007 North Carolina A&T State University Long-Range Plan [15] indicated that the previous mission statement was undergoing change as a result of the FUTURES strategic visioning process. The 2004-2009 North Carolina A&T State University Long-Range Plan [16] included the new FUTURES vision statement and the 2006-2011 North Carolina A&T State University Long-Range Plan [17] included both the new FUTURES vision statement and a portion of the new mission statement.

A 2006-2011 UNC System long-range plan was not developed after the selection of Erskine Bowles as the president of the UNC System on January 1, 2006. In 2007, President Bowles initiated the University of North Carolina Tomorrow Initiative, which will guide the long-range plan of the UNC System.

"The purpose of the University of North Carolina Tomorrow Initiative was to determine how the University of North Carolina can respond more directly and proactively to the 21st century challenges facing North Carolina both now and in the future through the efficient and effective fulfillment of its three-pronged mission of teaching, research and scholarship, and public service. The outcomes of this Initiative will guide and shape current and future priorities, resource allocations, existing and future programs, and strategic plans and missions of the University of North Carolina, its 17 constituent institutions and its affiliated entities to ensure that UNC not only becomes more proactive and responsive to the needs of our state, but remains so in the years to come as the people of North Carolina continue to confront the myriad challenges of the rapidly changing, knowledge-based global economy and environment of the 21st century [18]."

As part of the Phase II Response to the UNC Tomorrow Initiative, each UNC campus was asked to review its mission statement for consistency with UNC Tomorrow priorities. Reviewing the current mission in light of the North Carolina A&T State University Phase II Response Plan (submitted in January, 2009), an A&T mission review action team determined that:

"...the three-pronged mission of teaching, research and scholarship, and public service of the University of North Carolina aligned very well with A&T's tripartite land grant mission of teaching, research and extension. A&T 's current mission and vision statements emphasize interdisciplinary programs and scholarly activities in a learner-centered community promoting collaborative learning (teaching), discovery (research and scholarship) and engagement (public service and extension). As such, A&T 's current mission and vision statements are in harmony with, and supportive of, the stated mission of the University of North Carolina. Moreover, our mission is appropriate to our specific, mandated (federal legislation has impacted strongly the mission of A&T ) and unique role as a land-grant university." [19]

As a result, only minor changes in the current mission statement have been recommended in the Phase II Response Plan. The proposed revised mission statement, which is only slightly modified from the current mission statement, appears below:

"North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a public, 'high research activity,' 1890 land-grant university committed to exemplary teaching, learning, scholarly and creative research, and effective public service. The University offers degrees at the baccalaureate, master's and doctoral levels and a commitment to excellence in a comprehensive range of academic disciplines. Building on our comparative educational advantages and our unique civil rights heritage, the University provides interdisciplinary and integrated curricula and co-curricula opportunities that develop and support the intellectual and cognitive competencies of our students. Our graduates are dynamic citizens of the diverse global community and are prepared for the 21st century." [19]

As noted in the narrative for SACS Principle 2.4, Institutional Mission. A&T is (summer 2009) undergoing a new strategic planning process that will bridge the FUTURES and UNC Tomorrow initiatives and provide an updated set of goals for the university. A wide range of faculty members, staff, and administrators are involved in this strategic planning process, which will operationalize the proposed mission statement above. [20]The anticipated completion date for the strategic plan and proposed mission statement is spring 2010, pending approval from the Board of Trustees.

In order to communicate A&T's mission to its constituents, the university publishes the mission statement in its online Graduate Catalog [21] and Undergraduate Bulletin [10]. In addition, hard copies of the Graduate Catalog and Undergraduate Bulletin are distributed to incoming students during the graduate and undergraduate orientation sessions, respectively. A special "Strategic Planning Edition" of The Aggie Report, outlining the 2009 strategic planning process, was also distributed to the university community in April 2009. [20]

Supporting Documents

[1] BOT, Meeting Minutes, September 21, 2001

[2] NC General Statutes, Chapter 116

[3] UNC-GA, Code, Chapter 100

[4] NC General Statutes, Chapter 116, Section 116-11

[5] UNC-GA, Code, Section 403A

[6] NC General Statutes, Chapter 116, Higher Education, Section 116-1

[7] Aggie Report, Special Futures Edition, April, 2001

[8] FUTURES, Uncompromising Excellence, 2003

[9] Undergraduate Bulletin, 2008-2010, p. 3

[10] Undergraduate Bulletin, 2006-2008, p. 3

[11] FUTURES, Strategy in Motion, 2004

[12] FUTURES, Progress in Action, 2005

[13] FUTURES, Vision Evolves . . . The Legacy Begins, 2006

[14] BOG, Long Range Plan 2004-2009

[15] Long-Range Plan, 2002-2007

[16] Long-Range Plan, 2004-2009

[17] Long-Range Plan, 2006-2011

[18] UNC Tomorrow, Final Report, December 2007

[19] UNC Tomorrow, Phase II Response

[20] Aggie Report, Vol. 10, No. 17, April 17, 2009

[21] Graduate Catalog, 2007-2008

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Last Updated ( Friday, 16 October 2009 14:28 )

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