NCSSM 2030: Advancing academic excellence for all NC
With the monumental opening of the new Morganton campus in the summer of 2022, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics greatly expanded our institutional scope, presence, and positive impact within North Carolina. Diligently executing our previous strategic plans got the institution to this point. Now, as one school with two campuses and many programs, this new Strategic Plan guides NCSSM to sustainably optimize our capabilities, practices and resources. It leverages the many insights from students, parents, alumni, employees, boards, friends and collaborators – and the experience of building a campus from scratch – to catalyze a vision for extensive renovations on the century-old Durham campus. It redoubles our efforts to create efficient and sustainable operations involving our entire team and to care holistically for team members and students. As we build our partnerships strategically to magnify our impact on STEM education for students in all 100 North Carolina counties and beyond, we emphasize broad access to education and the active participation of alumni as keys to meeting our mission.
Strategic Plan 2024–2030
The mission of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, an innovative and collaborative leader in secondary STEM education, is to advance our state, nation, and world by creating opportunities for broad access to exemplary public education that fosters, challenges, inspires, and empowers students and communities to design their future.
NCSSM’s fundamental values and non-negotiable principles
We believe that:
- Our greatest resource is the capability and creative capacity of the human mind.
- Everyone is unique and has intrinsic value.
- Individuals are responsible for their choices, actions, and their impact on the community.
- Embracing challenges by learning from failures and successes inspires growth, exploration, and the pursuit of excellence.
- A passion for learning throughout life leads to success and fulfillment.
- A nurturing community develops the well-being of the whole person fostering strong social and emotional development.
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion deepens collaboration, ignites innovation, and cultivates community.
- Living high ethical standards as a community allows us to flourish.
- Equitable opportunity, support, and effort allow all people to realize their full potential.
- Service to others builds a strong community.
- Environmental stewardship and sustainability ensures a positive legacy for future generations.
- Access to high quality public education is essential to a free, democratic society.
Boundaries within which NCSSM will accomplish its mission
- The best interest of students will always be given the highest priority in decision-making.
- The scope of our program will always include learning in the humanities, social sciences, fine arts, student life, extracurricular activities, and service.
- Programs and services should be consistent with the strategic plan, and the benefits clearly justify cost.
- We will always provide safe, secure, equitable, supportive environments for living, learning, and working.
Goals that NCSSM will achieve through the Strategic Plan
NCSSM students will engage in transformative opportunities for self-discovery, where they can explore their passions, question, learn, and create; empowering them to design their future and positively impact others.
NCSSM will be an equity-minded community where all members including students, employees, and alumni flourish.
NCSSM will collaboratively develop and scale the impact of its educational resources with partners across the state to accelerate innovation and create opportunities for North Carolinians to thrive in the global environment.
We will expand transformative programs and collaborative partnerships that equalize opportunities for underserved students.
- Evaluate programs and identify those that are effectively meeting the needs of underserved students and communities.
- Modify and implement the NCSSM Partnership model to prioritize and expand collaborative educational partnerships that equalize opportunities for underserved students.
- Create or modify STEM programs to serve the needs of underserved middle and high school students and their communities.
We will expand the capacity to reach middle school students and their families, including targeted efforts toward underserved and marginalized communities, to inform them about the mission and value of NCSSM, and inspire them to prepare for a stronger academic future in STEM.
- NCSSM will develop and execute a more comprehensive marketing, advertising, and communications plan to help reach a broader number of middle school and high school students and families, with an added emphasis on underserved communities, to have them learn more about opportunities available through NCSSM and beyond.
- NCSSM will conduct informational and listening sessions with school and system staff (for example: Middle School and High School Counselors & Teachers/AIG Coordinators/Principals/College Access Counselors) at either an NCSSM campus, locations within their county or congressional district, or at a local UNC System campus.
- NCSSM will conduct research and gather secondary data to better understand how to reach, support, and inspire students from underserved and marginalized communities as well as address barriers that may discourage or hamper students from applying and increasing their opportunity for selection.
- NCSSM will engage with our constituents to identify opportunities and assist in promoting NCSSM and its programs both on campus and throughout the state and beyond.
- NCSSM will expand internal collaboration efforts to reach middle and high schools, especially those in marginalized communities, to share materials, research, and programs that promote student success in STEM.
We will foster holistic development by embodying an equity-minded approach to proactively meet the success and wellness needs of our students.
- Implement new and expand existing programs and systems that promote equity-driven practices and increase faculty, staff, and student intercultural competence and humility.
- Provide equitable access to mental health, wellness, and behavioral health services in the Durham and Morganton Clinics and Counseling Services to meet the increasing needs of students.
- Improve access to nutritious foods and exercise facilities to promote wellness.
- Increase collaborative efforts to provide and effectively communicate opportunities for students to create meaningful connections and gain a sense of belonging.
- Implement and expand systems of communication for students to provide and receive feedback about their academic experiences.
We will foster an equitable and supportive work culture that recognizes the value of each employee and prioritizes employee engagement, development, wellness, and empowerment.
- Leverage all available resources while pursuing additional resources to create and maintain competitive salaries, total compensation, and other incentives in order to attract and retain top talent to NCSSM.
- Investigate and identify resources and mechanisms needed to increase retention rates.
- Increase awareness of existing inequities within and across campuses arising out of differences and unconscious bias, and work toward creating more equitable policies, procedures, and practices within the organization so that employees are engaged, valued, supported, and heard.
- Foster and nurture collaboration and interpersonal connections between employees across campuses, departments, roles, and differences to build a more healthy and equitable culture that supports engagement, belonging, and wellness.
- Identify and provide equitable resources that support professional growth and opportunities for career development.
We will activate innovative public-private partnerships ignited by a passionate alumni and stakeholder network that fuels the growth and aspirations of NCSSM.
- Identify clear goals to define successful partnerships that benefit NCSSM and partners.
- Implement best-in-class processes and technology solutions to enable creating, sustaining, and monitoring effective public-private partnerships.
- Organize a framework to engage alumni and other stakeholders to drive program participation and achieve public-private partnership goals.
We will advance innovative processes, data usage, and infrastructure (physical and digital) that scale to need, ensure equity, enhance security, guarantee privacy, and facilitate improved governance in order to promote effective and efficient work.
- Modernize the capital projects apparatus of the institution with a primary focus on activating formal master planning cycles on each NCSSM campus.
- Formalize the campus safety infrastructure through the development of updated campus-based emergency operations plans, emergency response teams, and emergency drills.
- Engage external expertise in an audit of systems, resources, and practices deployed in support of business office and human resources activities.
- Activate a cutting-edge information technology program that anticipates evolving institutional needs and enables key strategic initiatives.
- Introduce training, systems, and support to employees and students to improve their data literacy knowledge.
We will create equitable access to transformational experiences by leveraging institutional flexibility to extend our interdisciplinary and experiential learning opportunities in and beyond the classroom.
- Increase access to the resources necessary for prospective and current NCSSM students to learn about and engage in experiential and interdisciplinary learning opportunities at NCSSM.
- Develop and implement a system that prepares, incentivizes, and supports student, staff, faculty, alumni and partner institutions for leadership and engagement in NCSSM’s transformational experiences in accordance with the institution’s learning outcomes.
- Establish structures in order to facilitate cross-campus / cross-program learning experiences.
- Identify a public platform to share, celebrate and recognize experiential learning at NCSSM.
Updated Dec. 5, 2023
Learn more about the Office of Institutional Effectiveness
The Office of Institutional Effectiveness provides leadership for the institutional strategic planning process as well as work with individual divisions and departments by request.