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Strategic Plan 2017

Areas of Distinction

To begin an evaluation of the university as a whole and its contributions to its constituents locally and nationally, ECU has identified three Areas of Distinction that make it relatively unique in the UNC system.

These distinctions include serving as a Cultural Champion—enhancing the quality of lives through economic development and cultural enrichment; Social Mobility—being a leader in providing professional educational opportunities for students including those from distressed counties; and Transformative Engagement—developing and leveraging public and private partnerships to serve the region.

ecu art

Cultural Champion 

East Carolina University enhances the quality of lives of eastern North Carolinians through diverse offerings of cultural enrichment, academics, the arts, and athletics. Our School of Art and Design is the most comprehensive art school in North Carolina and one of the largest in the Southeast. People of varied ages and backgrounds come to ECU for sporting events, art exhibitions, performances, and scholarly lectures. These activities provide opportunities to discuss and share cultural experiences and educational opportunities with ECU students and other residents of North Carolina, while also boosting economic development in the community and region.

ECU further broadens its reach by encouraging students and faculty to explore global cultures via study-abroad and other experiences, while actively expanding opportunities for students from around the world to engage in an ECU education.

ECU remains committed to its role as the cultural champion of eastern North Carolina and strives to distinguish itself as a gateway to the world.

By 2022, East Carolina University aspires to:

  • design and construct a visual and performing arts center in collaboration with local and regional interests;

  • establish and build opportunities for sending 25 percent of ECU students on study-abroad or global experiences;

  • provide opportunities for student athletes to excel in the classroom and develop life skills through participation on the fields of competition (e.g., GPA, service learning, championships).

Social Mobility

East Carolina University graduates more students from distressed counties (tier one and tier two) than any other constituent UNC-system institution. ECU distinguishes itself in providing professional educational opportunities for North Carolinians through leadership in the development of teachers, business leaders, engineers, dentists, family physicians, nurses, and allied-health professionals. ECU accomplishes this through purposeful implementation of high-impact educational practices. We plan to build upon these successes through the establishment of the Miller School of Entrepreneurship, the accreditation of the School of Public Health, and the expansion of innovative inter-professional education. Creating opportunities for improving social mobility through the success of our students is an area of distinction for ECU.

By 2022, East Carolina University aspires to:
  • consistently rank in the nation’s top producers of family physicians (based on AAPF calculation) and other health professionals;

  • continued expansion of engineering to solve global challenges, including recognized excellence in coastal engineering (e.g., number of coastal scientists and engineers, volume of sponsored programs);

  • increase the number of our nationally ranked professional programs;

  • become a top 5 percent “Best Value” college (Educate to Career, Social Mobility Index); and

  • continue to lead the UNC system in the graduation of students from tier one and tier two counties, as designated by the NC Department of Commerce.

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Student working on Machine

Transformative Engagement

East Carolina University is one of 40 institutions classified as both a Community Engagement Institution by the Carnegie Foundation and as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) University by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). In 2012, East Carolina University received the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Award from APLU. In 2016, East Carolina University also received the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Award. 

ECU has a rich history of developing public and private partnerships with its larger community to serve the region. We leverage these relationships to create new ways of understanding complex issues, develop and operate innovative solutions, and drive change for people and organizations in our region and beyond. This transformative engagement, based on our unique collection of assets within the UNC system and a holistic approach to the global challenges of rural development, is an area of distinction for ECU.

By 2022, East Carolina University aspires to:
  • increase extramural funding for sponsored programs to $120 million annually;

  • improve student learning outcomes of students attending ECU Lab School (PK-5) through evidence-based best practices (e.g., DPI outcome measures);

  • expand ECU’s network of partnerships in advanced manufacturing, military, community health, and coastal environments; and

  • develop the East Carolina Research and Innovation Campus (e.g., volume of corporate partners).