The mission statement is current and comprehensive, accurately guides the institution’s operations, is periodically reviewed and updated, is approved by the governing board, and is communicated to the institution’s constituencies.

Compliance Judgment:  In compliance


Section 116-1 of the General Statutes of North Carolina lays out the general purpose of the University of North Carolina system, (hereafter UNC) which includes East Carolina University (hereafter, ECU or the institution) as a constituent institution. Specifically, subsection (b) of Section 116-1 states:

"The University of North Carolina is a public, multi-campus university dedicated to the service of North Carolina and its people. It encompasses the 17 diverse constituent institutions and other educational, research, and public service organizations. Each shares in the overall mission of the university. That mission is to discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge to address the needs of individuals and society. This mission is accomplished through instruction, which communicates the knowledge and values and imparts the skills necessary for individuals to lead responsible, productive, and personally satisfying lives; through research, scholarship, and creative activities, which advance knowledge and enhance the educational process; and through public service, which contributes to the solution of societal problems and enriches the quality of life in the State. Teaching and learning constitute the primary service that the university renders to society. Teaching, or instruction, is the primary responsibility of each of the constituent institutions. The relative importance of research and public service, which enhance teaching and learning, varies among the constituent institutions, depending on their overall missions.”

UNC is governed by a 32-member Board of Governors (BOG) which, in accordance with North Carolina General Statute 116-11, is responsible for the general determination, control, supervision, management, and governance of all affairs of the university’s constituent institutions, one of which is ECU.  As required by UNC, ECU’s mission and goals are aligned with UNC Tomorrow, UNC’s strategic plan; and ECU’s mission, goals, and results are regularly reviewed by the BOG.

Key recent events in the development, approval and review of ECU’s current mission statement:

Fall 2008       Chancellor’s Executive Council approval of draft mission statement submitted for the ECU Board of Trustees (BOT)    review  (November 17, 2008)

Fall 2008        ECU’s BOT approves mission statement (November 21, 2008)

Fall 2009        UNC BOG approves ECU’s mission statement (November 13, 2009)

Spring 2010   ECU’s Strategic Planning Committee adopts 2010-2013 Strategic Action Plan grounded in the mission statement

Fall 2011         ECU’s Strategic Planning Committee reviews mission statement; no changes were recommended


East Carolina University’s mission statement reads as follows:

To serve as a national model for public service and regional transformation by:

Preparing our students to compete and succeed in the global economy and multicultural society,

Distinguishing ourselves by the ability to train and prepare leaders,

Creating a strong, sustainable future for eastern North Carolina through education, research, innovation, investment, and outreach,

Saving lives, curing diseases, and positively transforming health and health care, and

Providing cultural enrichment and powerful inspiration as we work to sustain and improve quality of life.

ECU’s mission statement is current, having been approved by the UNC Board of Governors on November 13, 2009. It is comprehensive, in that it applies to all ECU constituents and guides the institution’s operations through both planning and implementation of plans. This mission statement is specific to ECU with regard to its particular foci of public service and commitment to transforming Eastern North Carolina. As explained below, the mission’s guidance of strategic planning is evidenced by the university’s 2010-2013 Strategic Action Plan. This plan establishes mission-specific goals that relate to undergraduate and graduate teaching and learning, that address reseach, and that place special emphasis on public service (ECU's Strategic Action Plan, 2010-13). Through its combined emphasis on globalization, leadership, sustainability and outreach, health, and cultural enrichment, ECU’s mission statement defines ECU’s unique role in higher education.

How ECU’s Mission Guides the Institution’s Operations

Strategic planning at ECU begins with a review of the current mission statement. ECU’s mission statement must first be approved by the Chancellor’s Executive Council, followed by the ECU Board of Trustees and, finally the UNC Board of Governors. Development of the 2010-2013 Strategic Action Plan began in spring 2009 (prior to the ratification of the mission by the UNC Board of Governors) with a review of ECU’s draft of its new mission statement. The final draft of the 2010-2013 Strategic Action Plan that implements and operationalizes ECU’s mission statement was approved by the ECU Board of Trustees on July 13, 2010. This strategic action plan contains five strategic directions, each of which derives from a corresponding part of ECU’s mission statement. Each strategic direction then has three to five goals, and each goal has three to eight sub-goals. Goals and sub-goals implement and operationalize corresponding elements of the university’s mission statement. For example, the first strategic direction is Education for a New Century, wherein ECU states that it will serve as a national model for public service and regional transformation by preparing students to compete and succeed in the global economy and multicultural society. Guiding ECU operations, this strategic direction has five goals, each of which has three to eight sub-goals. For example, the first implementation goal under this strategic direction is “Showcase the global competitiveness of our students and our institution by meeting head on the challenges of an increasingly global, culturally diverse, and rapidly changing society.” An operationalizing sub-goal under this implementation goal is Advance global awareness through the internationalization of premier curriculum, programs, students, staff, and faculty. Each of the remaining four strategic directions in the 2010-2013 Strategic Action Plan functions (as does the first), to implement and operationalize the university’s mission. The remaining four strategic directions are: The Leadership University; Health, Healthcare and Medical Innovation; Economic Prosperity in the East; and Arts, Culture, and Quality of Life. That each of these remaining strategic directions involve goals and sub-goals that implement and operationalize the university’s mission statement, as illustrated above, is evident in the alignment of ECU’s mission statement and Strategic Action Plan.

Ongoing Review of the Mission Statement

Between fall 1990 and spring 2010, the university’s mission statement was reviewed no less frequently than once every four years as part of the university’s overall strategic planning process and otherwise as necessitated by current events. Reviews were condicted in conjunction with the drafting of new plans for the next planning period. These activities were performed by the campus-wide Strategic Planning Committee under the direction of the office of Institutional Planning, Assessment and Research. The mission statement and associated strategic plans also underwent review and revision with the arrival of a new chancellor in the summer of 2001 and again in the summer of 2004. (See, for example, the attached September 2006 draft of an ECU vision, mission and strategic planning document that the Strategic Planning Committee had under development at that time). Currently, ECU’s Strategic Planning Committee is charged to review the mission statement annually (see the Strategic Planning Executive Committee Minutes, September 15, 2011).

A review of the  mission statement can be initiated for ECU’s Chancellor, the ECU Board of Trustees, or the UNC Board of Governors at any time. In spring 2008, in consequence of the publication of the UNC system’s strategic plan, “UNC-Tomorrow,” the UNC system required that all of the 17 constituent institutions review their mission statements to ensure that each is in accord with the goals of “UNC Tomorrow.”  In response, ECU formed a mission statement committee whose work guided the development of the current mission statement that was approved by the ECU Board of Trustees in November 2008 and by the UNC Board of Governors in November 2009.

Communicating the Mission Statement to All Constituents

ECU’s mission statement is widely available to institutional constituencies, being published in the undergraduate catalog and the graduate catalog, and being posted on multiple institutional web pages, including ECU Tomorrow and About ECU. The mission is discussed in further detail in CoreRequirement2.4.

In summary, ECU’s approved, current and comprehensive mission statement guides the institution’s operations and is communicated to its constituencies.  In his April 2012 State of the University Address, Chancellor Steve Ballard stated:

My theme today is simple and I hope powerful.  It is this.  ECU has a strong and authentic mission.  We live it every day.  It makes a powerful difference for North Carolina.  Help me deliver this message and commitment every chance you have.


Reference Title


Approved (Mission Statement) by ECU Board of Trustees


Approved (Mission Statement) by UNC Board of Governors


Approved (Mission Statement) by Chancellor’s Executive Council


Board of Govenors




Chancellor’s 2012 State of the University Address


Core Requirement 2.4


About ECU

East Carolina University - About ECU

ECU Tomorrow

3.1.1 Our Mission Statement

ECU’s Strategic Action Plan, 2010-13

SAP 2010-2013

ECU Vision, Mission, and Strategic Planning Document – September 2006

mission vision

Graduate Catalog


North Carolina General Statute 116-11


Strategic Planning Executive Committee Minutes, 9/15/11

SAP Committee Mission Review 9-15-11


UNC Tomorrow

UNC Tomorrow

Undergraduate Catalog

ugrad - mission