Fayetteville State University

In January 2017, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina unanimously approved Higher Expectations, a five-year Strategic Plan for the UNC System. The Plan calls on the UNC System to achieve ambitious goals in access, student success, affordability and efficiency, economic impact and community engagement, and institutional excellence and diversity.

Progress on these goals and metrics will be achieved through the hard work and commitment of institutional leaders, faculty, and staff. In that spirit, Fayetteville State University has identified these contributions that FSU aspires to make to the UNC Strategic Plan over the next five years.


Rural Enrollments

By fall 2021, FSU will enroll 4,429 rural students, a 9.2% increase over 2016 levels (373 additional rural students over a base of 4,056).

From Fayetteville State University: Consistent with our mission as an institution of opportunity and diversity, FSU is fully committed to providing increased access to higher education for residents of rural counties. To achieve our goal for rural enrollment, FSU will build upon the initiatives that have already helped the university attain high rural enrollments. These initiatives include expanding online programs and developing North Carolina Community College System articulation agreements, which provide seamless and affordable pathways to degree completion. The “10 K Degree Pathway Program,” which has been launched with nine North Carolina community colleges located in rural counties, enables students who have earned an associate degree to complete a four-year degree for a total, maximum cost of $10,000. This partnership will increase rural enrollments and completions. FSU’s Return2FSU Program supports UNC System efforts to increase re-enrollment of part-way home students, those who have earned significant credits but have not yet earned a degree.

Low-income Completions

By 2021-22, FSU will produce 853 low-income graduates, an increase of 30.0% (197 additional low-income completions over a base of 656).

From Fayetteville State University: Increasing degree attainment by low-income students is a high priority of FSU’s strategic plan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Frontier Set, of which FSU is a member. This priority is also consistent with our history of providing educational opportunities for students historically underserved by higher education. To facilitate student success, FSU offers a comprehensive set of support programs that have already helped many low-income students earn degrees. These programs include an Enrollment Services Center, the LEAP Scholars (summer bridge) program; the Freshman Center; academic support in mathematics and writing; supplemental instruction; and the Bronco STAR program, which assists students with learning differences.

Rural Completions

Rural completions: By 2021-22, FSU will produce 1,000 rural graduates, an increase of 25.3% (202 additional rural completions over a base of 798).

From Fayetteville State University: As an institution of opportunity and diversity and a member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Frontier Set, FSU is fully committed to increasing degree completions by students from rural North Carolina counties. These students consistently fall behind their counterparts from more affluent counties in degree attainment. The student success resources described above that are available to low-income students are also available to assist rural students. To further support student success, FSU has revised the structure of academic advisement so that all students have access to professional advisors, each dedicated to a specific department. The “10 K Degree Pathway Program,” which has been launched with nine North Carolina community colleges located in rural counties, enables students who have earned an associate degree to complete a four-year degree for a total, maximum cost of $10,000. This partnership will increase rural enrollments and completions.

Five-year Graduation Rates

By 2022, FSU will improve its five-year graduation rate from any accredited institution to 36.0%. This is an improvement over a base of 29.9% for FSU’s 2010 cohort.

From Fayetteville State University: This metric refers exclusively to students for whom FSU is the first postsecondary institution they attend after graduating from high school. Most, if not all, of these students are traditional-aged students. The FSU Strategic Plan, 2015-2020 identifies improving graduation rates of traditional, first-time students as our top priority. The “Finish in Four” Campaign encourages students to enroll in at least 15 credits each semester to facilitate timely degree completion. Posters and banners throughout the campus remind students of the financial and academic benefits of enrolling in 15+ credits each semester. The implementation of Degree Works, which helps students and advisors develop four-year plans, supports the campaign. In addition to the initiatives described above, we will achieve this goal by minimizing non-academic obstacles to completion by removing unnecessary registration holds and providing emergency financial assistance. A multi-year Career Pathways Initiative, funded by the United Negro College Fund, guides students in clarifying their career and life goals and developing plans to achieve them. The Office of Student Engagement supports increased retention by offering programs that increase residential student engagement in campus life.

Undergraduate Degree Efficiency

Undergraduate degree efficiency: By 2021-22, FSU will improve its undergraduate degree efficiency to 22.1 over a base of 19.8.

From Fayetteville State University: A significant portion of FSU’s students are transfer students and are not included in traditional graduation rates (priority metric 4). Hence, undergraduate degree efficiency, which is the number of undergraduate degrees awarded per 100 full-time-equivalent students, is a more appropriate measure of student at FSU than traditional graduation rates. Several initiatives have increased FSU’s undergraduate degree efficiency in recent years. FSU has developed degree completion plans for graduates of NC community colleges. These efforts have increased enrollment of transfer students, who arrive at FSU with a significant number of credits and increased odds of completing their degrees. The Student Veterans Center was established specifically to assist military students. Thanks to the work of this office, military affiliated student enrollment represents 22% of our total enrollment.


Low-income Enrollments

Low-income enrollments: By fall 2021, FSU will enroll 3,447 low-income students, a 11.2% increase over 2015 levels (346 additional low-income students over a base of 3,101).

From Fayetteville State University: Consistent with FSU’s mission as an institution of opportunity and diversity, the university has made access to higher education for low-income students a top institutional priority. Our tuition and fees are among the most affordable in the UNC System and the lowest when compared to our national peers. To meet the scheduling needs of low-income students who often have family and work responsibilities, we have increased our undergraduate online program offerings to ten, adding four in the past three years. As indicated in the narratives for priority metrics, FSU provides numerous support programs to ensure that we facilitate the success of our low-income students.

Critical Workforces

By 2021-22, FSU will produce 421 critical workforce credentials, an increase of 49.3% (139 additional critical workforce credentials over a base of 282).

From Fayetteville State University: With its inclusion of degrees awarded in education, STEM disciplines, and health, this metric encompasses top priorities for FSU. Founded as a teacher education institution, FSU has maintained its longstanding commitment to preparing teachers, principals, and other administrators, including superintendents. FSU graduates have received the region’s Principal of the Year award for six years in a row. In recent years, FSU has made significant investments in STEM education, adding two new STEM-related buildings, increasing financial aid for STEM students, and adapting our summer bridge program to attract STEM students. Programs in the health professions are now among our strongest programs. FSU now graduates more nurses than any other major, and the percentage of pre-licensure students who pass the NCLEX, the national nursing licensing exam, is consistently 92% to 100%. Our recently established health-care administration program will help meet regional needs in this area of expanding need.

Achievement Gaps in Undergraduate Degree Efficiency

Achievement gaps in undergraduate degree efficiency: By 2021-22, FSU will reduce by 75% the achievement gap in undergraduate degree efficiency between male and female student.

From Fayetteville State University: We are pleased that female students are performing well at FSU, but we will improve overall degree efficiency by providing targeted programs for males and improving academic support for all students. Bronco Men–a student organization that provides our male students with a supportive learning community –is already having a positive impact, as the degree efficiency rate for males has improved from 16.8 to 18.4 in one year. A peer coaching initiative will help males develop the skills and habits of successful students. The Bridge Builders mentoring program will connect male students with faculty, staff, and community role models to create relationships that will sustain students through the first two years. Faculty mentoring will be expanded to help guide male and female students through their junior and senior years.


Research Productivity

Research productivity: By 2021-22, FSU will receive $12,045,258 in research and development sponsored program awards and licensing income, an increase of 10.2% ($1,114,897 additional over a base of $10,930,361).

From Fayetteville State University: Research is not FSU’s primary mission, but we recognize that support for research is essential for sustaining our faculty’s professional development and helping our students prepare for graduate school. Given the limitations of state funding, we must seek external support for our research endeavors. Toward this end, we have established a Research Office and strengthened our grant writing assistance services. We have also established partnerships with external agencies, such as Oakridge Associated Universities (ORAU), the Department of Defense (DoD), NASA, and the Womack Medical Center; and we have forged productive relationships with major universities and industries, both national and local. A 2016 revision of the faculty workload policy now specifies the amount of time that faculty must devote to research. This policy includes a measurable research and grant productivity scale so that we can acknowledge our faculty’s and departments’ annual research output. As a result, the total amount of grant funding in 2016 ($13.7 million) has already surpassed our goal for 2021-22.


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