NC Land-Grant Mission Statements

Mission statement 1 is from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina (United States). This is the land-grant university I attended for both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Food Science. Mission statement 2 is from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina (United States). This university serves as the second land-grant university for the state of North Carolina. It is a historically black college that was created when the second Morrill Act was enacted.

For my Master’s degree I minored (everyone tells you that you can’t minor in graduate school; well why not?) in Agricultural and Extension Education. Therefore, I was required to take classes dedicated to teaching students about the history of land-grant universities. I find it very interesting that some states only have one primary land-grant university while others have two. Historically, the addition of a second land-grant university was to create a separate institution pertaining to race. But now that we are a much more progressive society, how do two land-grant universities work together within the same state to fulfill their own missions, while still advancing research as a whole? My experience was that there was still conflict regarding what role each university served within the state.

In both mission statements there is an emphasis on science and technology, which is common for land-grant universities. The mention of their global impacts is something that stood out to me. I initially didn’t think of the products of universities in North Carolina having much of a global influence, however, even just thinking about the many different countries and backgrounds represented in the PFP class is quite amazing.

As far as differences go, it seems as though NC A&T University puts a greater emphasis on community. The term “community engagement” is used and later on, outreach programs are mentioned. Although the NC State University mission mentions engagement with public partners, I interpret this as more of an industry driven relationship rather than the general public itself. With land grant universities typically having such a strong commitment to the surrounding community, I’m surprised that NC State’s mission lacks this piece. On the other hand, NC State University points out excellent teaching, whereas NC A&T does not. I have noticed from my transition from NC State to Virginia Tech that the prioritization of teaching can be very different from one university to the next. NC State did not require nearly as many trainings for graduate teaching assistants and did not provide as many resources for student teaching/those interested in teaching as a career in comparison to Virginia Tech. I’m also curious about the groups of people that approve these mission statements. NC State’s mission statement was approved by the NC State University Board of Trustees and the UNC Board of Governors. NC A&T’s mission statement was approved by the UNC Board of Governors only. Who are these groups of people and do mission statements have to be approved?

North Carolina State University

(1) “As a research-extensive land-grant university, North Carolina State University is dedicated to excellent teaching, the creation and application of knowledge, and engagement with public and private partners. By uniting our strength in science and technology with a commitment to excellence in a comprehensive range of disciplines, NC State promotes an integrated approach to problem solving that transforms lives and provides leadership for social, economic, and technological development across North Carolina and around the world.”

Approved by:

NC State University Board of Trustees, 4/22/11

UNC Board of Governors, 6/10/11


North Carolina A&T State University

(2) “North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is an 1890 land-grant doctoral research university dedicated to learning, discovery, and community engagement. The University provides a wide range of educational opportunities from bachelors to doctoral degrees in both traditional and online environments. With an emphasis on preeminence in STEM and a commitment to excellence in all its educational, research, and outreach programs, North Carolina A&T fosters a climate of economic competitiveness that prepares students for the global society.”

Approved by the UNC Board of Governors, Feb. 21, 2014