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Strategic Plan 2022-27


This plan is about playing big. It aims to inspire us all to step up, take action and shape the conversation to build a better future. 

Today’s challenges and rising inequalities come in many forms: political polarization, climate change, racial and social injustice, and increasing disinformation, to name a few. This landscape sharpens our resolve to underscore the important role the humanities and social sciences must play in our society — teaching all how to think critically, expansively and inclusively. 

As we endeavor to play big, we envision a just and sustainable world in which innovations and experiences are shaped by the questions and insights from the humanities and social sciences — and a deep concern for all people and our planet.

This is a vision for everyone: students, staff, faculty, stakeholders and the communities we serve. It’s a vision we hope our partners at NC State and beyond will share with us. All of us — regardless of our roles, responsibilities, disciplines, identities or backgrounds — have a duty to help bring this vision to life, and we must strive to bring it to life collaboratively.

At this pivotal point in human history, we know the humanities and social sciences are essential to producing and shaping solutions to complex problems facing our communities, North Carolina and society at large. This strategy will guide our college as we step forward with insights and ideas to create a better, more equitable and sustainable future.

Students make their way to class early in the 2022 fall semester across the Court of North Carolina, with the 1911 Building as a backdrop.

What sets our college apart?

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences is home to a dedicated, caring and collaborative community — one that works to push the boundaries of critical thinking, interdisciplinary teaching, research and innovation across a diversity of fields, roles and environments.

In an increasingly complex and interdependent world, the humanities and social sciences are at the heart of it all. Our disciplines, ideas and partnerships: 

  • Shed light on human societies of the past, present and future.
  • Equip students with vital knowledge and transferable skills, including effective communication, analysis and research, leadership, reasoning and problem-solving.
  • Inform and address complex problems to bring about a healthier, more just and prosperous society.

As a humanities and social sciences college at a STEM-focused university, we are integral during this time of rapid development and extreme political complexity. We, as scholars, as staff and as students, have an imperative to present our work and share our thoughts about the necessity of the humanities and social sciences. 

Right here at NC State — an outstanding STEM university, home to so much excellent innovation — our college must ensure that critical considerations regarding people and planet are at the center of all kinds of transformations, adding depth and richness to the work of the university as a whole by embedding critical thought and context.


A just and sustainable world in which innovations and experiences are shaped by the questions and insights from the humanities and social sciences and a deep concern for all people and our planet.

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To serve the residents of North Carolina and meet the challenges of the 21st century by supporting excellence in teaching, research and student success, and by educating our students to be future leaders and responsible citizens with a distinctive willingness to engage in the life of their communities, their state, their nation and the world.

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Call to Action

Shape the conversation to build a better future.

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+ Curiosity
+ Critical Thinking
+ Empathy
+ Diversity, Equity and Justice
+ Collaborative Innovation

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Strategic Priorities

  1. Be the nation’s most innovative humanities and social sciences college. It’s time to play big. Each of us must take initiative and pursue creative, entrepreneurial and collaborative actions to enhance the relevance of our teaching, research and student support; to improve our college’s financial sustainability and independence; and to shine a light on the vital importance of humanities and social sciences in our STEM-focused university, as well as in our state, our nation and the world beyond. 
  2. Design and build for collaboration to help solve critical challenges. Invite, create and support interdisciplinary and cross-functional collaborative opportunities to enrich our work and our ideas, to deepen knowledge and understanding within the university and beyond and to contribute to and shape new conversations and new solutions to the world’s grand challenges. 
  3. Take groundbreaking and effective action to promote equity, diversity and inclusion. As faculty, staff and students in the humanities and social sciences, we must lead the way in addressing the problem of inequality in our college and beyond. To that end, we must take groundbreaking steps to advance equal pay, diversity of representation at all levels and equality of opportunity, and to center the needs of our most vulnerable and underrepresented students and employees to create an environment in which we all can thrive. 
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About This Strategic Plan

This strategic plan was developed throughout 2021 and early 2022, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and during an extended period of challenging circumstances for students, staff, faculty and communities alike. 

Despite these realities, more than 100 college community members — including a diversity of graduate students, staff, faculty and alumni — contributed their voices and best ideas to the design of this strategic plan. They also contributed the ideas that now make up our aligned culture charter, which will help us further support all our people for years to come.  

This was an entirely new approach to strategy development for our college, and it empowered us to work collectively to define our vision, values and strategic priorities. The very nature of the process ensured that new voices — a diversity of voices and a plethora of perspectives — shaped the strategic plan. We are truly grateful to all those who invested their time and energy participating in this process. We trust that the product of this collaborative effort will form a strong connection across all our roles and responsibilities and will therefore be of deep relevance and resonance to our work across the college and NC State.