Strategic Plan 2017

Our Commitments

East Carolina University is resolute in honoring the values that have propelled its success over more than a century. As we consider our future, we focus on three commitments that we have identified as critical to our continued growth. 

We pledge that ECU will be a national model for Student Success, Public Service, and Regional Transformation. These three tenets are detailed below, outlined by specific goals within each of their parameters.

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Maximize Student Success

The success of our students is the ultimate measure of our university. We will support excellence, expand opportunity, and celebrate achievement.
  • We will leverage our leadership in distance education to improve accessibility for key student populations. We will establish targeted programs supporting seamless transitions to ECU for active military, veterans, and transfers. We will encourage the return of “part-way home” students to complete their degrees. We will lead the UNC system in the enrollment and graduation of students from rural counties.

  • We will improve retention and graduation rates. We will retain and graduate students at a rate that is consistently higher than our peer-average to achieve a five-year graduation rate that exceeds 67 percent.

  • We will be a national leader as a “best value” in undergraduate and graduate education while minimizing student debt and cultivating an institutional culture of timely graduation. We will develop programs to grow the number of enrolled and graduating low-income students and establish competency-based requirements for all degree programs. We will be a national leader in the assessment of learning outcomes and the use of innovative teaching strategies. Faculty will lead examination of general education requirements and pursue needed reforms that will be a model for others to follow.

  • We will reflect a global workplace and society by diversifying our faculty, staff, and students. We will increase the number of international students on our campus. We will provide 25 percent of ECU graduates with study-abroad experience and increase scholarship opportunities to improve accessibility. We will increase those with competency in a second language and leverage our success with the Global Partners in Education.

  • We will support the ECU Honors College and build it into one of the top programs nationally. We will leverage the impact of the Honors College by doubling its size over the next four years.

  • We will field athletic teams that lead in academic achievement, win conference championships, and compete on a national level.

  • We will foster a positive campus environment and culture that encourages a diverse, living-learning community to maximize student success.

  • We will expand service learning, undergraduate research, and creative activity across our entire campus.


Serve the Public

As demonstrated by our motto, Servire, service is at the heart of this university. We will inspire the next generation of leaders to carry this spirit of service into their professional lives. We will demonstrate this commitment to service to benefit communities in rural North Carolina and beyond.
  • We will inspire our students to be engaged citizens and be a national model for developing the leadership of faculty, staff, and students through engaged research and service.

  • We will refine our strengths as an “Engaged University” (as designated by the Carnegie Foundation) and as an Economic Prosperity University (as designated by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities) to benefit communities in eastern North Carolina and beyond.

  • We will be a national leader in the integration of health sciences instructional, research, and clinical programs. We will expand the number of Brody School of Medicine graduates who practice as primary care physicians and we will be ranked as the nation’s top producer of family physicians. We will leverage our network of Community Service Learning Centers to benefit dental health sciences and our patients. ECU will continue to lead North Carolina in the number and the quality of nursing and allied health professional graduates.

  • We will grow our Department of Public Health into a School of Public Health. We will emphasize rural population health and research as the principal focus of the school.

  • We will be a portal for professional development, continuing education, and lifelong learning opportunities that support the needs of our region’s people and businesses.

  • We will establish an innovative Lab School (pre-K through grade 5) in the West Greenville community to improve student learning outcomes through evidence-based best practices, and to provide comprehensive, community-based services.


Lead Regional Transformation

We embrace the challenges and resources of eastern North Carolina. We recognize that transformative leadership requires us to engage globally. Through partnerships and discovery, we will be a force for rural progress and growth to achieve global impact.
  • We will grow ECU into the third-largest research institution in the UNC system by investing in our people, tools, and facilities. We will seek solutions to the challenges of our region, including health issues, coastal community resiliency, rural development, advanced manufacturing, and assisting the military. 

  • We will triple the volume of clinical trials of promising medicines, treatments, and devices and be a national leader in patient-centered outcomes research and community- based behavioral medicine.

  • We will grow public-private partnerships through development of the East Carolina Research and Innovation Campus. ECU is “open to business.”

  • We will enhance the campus-wide culture of innovation at ECU by leveraging our assets including the Miller School of Entrepreneurship.

  • We will emphasize critical workforce needs in the region and beyond, including STEM, K-12 teacher education, and healthcare.

  • We will grow innovative and market-driven graduate programs including data science, mechanical engineering, and coastal engineering.

  • We will enrich the quality of life for our students and our region through our strengths in the arts. We will collaborate with local and regional interests to develop a performing arts center.