Strategic Plan 2017

UNC Strategic Plan

The University of North Carolina system has identified a set of metrics, which it identifies as “shared goals—a set of promises to the people of North Carolina.” These metrics give each of the 17 constituent institutions in the system a uniform group of goals through which to identify strengths, measure progress, and identify areas where improvement is needed—and to take action in all of those areas over the next five years.

The nine metrics outlined by the General Administration include low-income enrollments, rural enrollments, low-income completions, rural completions, five-year graduation rate, undergraduate degree efficiency, achievement gaps in undergraduate degree efficiency, critical workforces, and research productivity.



  • Low-income enrollments: Increase enrollment of low-income students to reduce the existing participation gap

  • Rural enrollments: Increase enrollment of students from Tier 1* and Tier 2 counties to reduce the participation gap

  • Low-income completions: Encourage natural growth rate projections by increasing the number of low-income graduates
  • Rural completions: Increase the number of graduates from Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties

  • Five-year graduation rate: Increase the proportion of first-time, full-time freshmen who graduate with a bachelor’s degree from any accredited institution within five years

  • Undergraduate degree efficiency: Increase the number of undergraduate degrees awarded per 100 students

  • Achievement gaps in undergraduate degree efficiency: Improve timely degree completion for all and be a national leader in degree completion by groups with disproportionate achievement gaps

  • Critical workforces: Increase the number of high-quality credentials awarded in health sciences, STEM, K–12 education, and other emerging regional workforce needs

  • Research productivity: Strive for continuous improvement in research and scholarship, collaboration with UNC institutions and outside entities, and effective commercialization of technologies

Information and definitions from University of North Carolina Strategic Plan Definitions, Goals, Metrics, and Targets, January 2017.


The University of North Carolina General Administration tasked each institution with creating a unique, customized plan by organizing the nine metrics into the categories of “Prioritize,” “Improve,” or “Sustain.” Each institution was charged with identifying two of the metrics in the “Prioritize” category and assigning them the highest importance and urgency.

This framework serves as a tangible measuring tool for the achievement of the University of North Carolina system’s shared goals, communicating specific success in meeting the needs of the region and state to state leaders and the public. It will also show North Carolinians that ECU and other system schools are committed to keeping the promise of a high-quality university education system in the state.

East Carolina University’s plan is based on key priorities that align with its mission of service. ECU placed five metrics in the “Prioritize” category, including the top-tier priorities of research productivity and five-year graduation rate. See the chart below for ECU’s organization of the UNC system’s nine metrics.


  • Research productivity (top-tier priority)

  • Five-year graduation rate (top-tier priority)
  • Rural enrollments

  • Low-income enrollments

  • Low-income completions


  • Rural completions

  • Critical workforces

  • Achievement gaps in undergraduate degree-efficiency


  • Undergraduate degree efficiency