Rogers: Future Focused – Innovation Driven Strategic Plan 2023-2028

I hope this message finds you enjoying the summer months and perhaps carving out some intentional time for rest and renewal. My family and I were doing just that a few weekends ago by taking a walk together around our beautiful campus. As we strolled through the campus mall and wove our way throughout our many buildings, I couldn’t help but reflect on where we are as a university community and where we’re going together.

While challenges persist for much of American higher education, I remain confident and optimistic about the bright future we are building together for ECU. One high level example is the launch of our university’s refreshed strategic plan, which was endorsed by the Board of Trustees in April.

Thanks to the excellent work by so many people, the new plan was well received by the board and will guide the vision for ECU through 2028. Since that board meeting, we’ve celebrated our 114th Spring Commencement and started welcoming the newest undergraduate Pirates to campus during orientation sessions. Faculty members across campus have worked to elevate the university’s reputation by contributing to the public conversation as subject matter experts on topics of statewide and national importance. And I remain grateful to our staff, alumni, and other supporters who work to advance a relationship-rich culture for our university.

The launch of a new strategic plan is a moment of reflection and of hope. To chart our course, we should reflect on our history and understand the assets we can leverage into future successes. We must also have vision and an appreciation of what we can accomplish together as One ECU.

Through the hard work of the Strategic Advisory Committee and extensive input from faculty, staff and students, and with the endorsement of our Board of Trustees, we unveiled a roadmap for the next five years with our new strategic plan, Future focused — Innovation driven. This plan remains true to our core mission priorities of student success, public service and regional transformation, while also embracing vision priorities centered on social and economic mobility, workforce success, and rural health and well-being. Our goal is to be a national model across each of these dimensions. If we deliver on our mission and vision priorities with excellence and intentionality, we will elevate our brand while also transforming our region.

In the same way our founding faculty had a vision for what this place could mean to the people it served, today we have an opportunity to build on the successes of those who preceded us. While our journey will have challenges, there are also wonderful opportunities ahead. We must be bold to move the needle on providing transformative experiences for all learners, to prepare engaged citizens, to strengthen the regional workforce, to be an engine of change, to be a place that provides a culture of care for all, to enhance access to health care across the rural communities we serve, to leverage our research and creative activities, and to place innovation at the core of our efforts.

These are goals worthy of a world-class university with a rich history of placing our people and our region at the center of our work. Let’s do more than just imagine what ECU can achieve over the next five years; together, let’s get to work to make those aspirations a reality. It is our task to learn from the past and to put our energy into designing and realizing a more prosperous future.

In the coming weeks, there will be more information about the next phase of planning to align divisions and colleges with the institutional plan. For now, let us reflect on the growth in the research enterprise since the last strategic plan; the formation of ECU Health and the potential this clinical integration has for our region; and how we have evolved to provide all learners with access to excellence and opportunity — among many other achievements that were only possible because of YOU. Let us build on the momentum of the last couple of years and do what we have always done from our founding until today — rise to meet the moment.

Go Pirates!

— Chancellor Philip Rogers