Eric Fotheringham

910 Raleigh Road
 Chapel Hill, NC 27514

(919) 843-6967

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A Conversation With University of North Carolina System

Serving the 17 campuses of North Carolina University across the state of North Carolina.

Why does this work matter; and why are you building a pathway locally for adults to come back and complete a degree?

Although North Carolina has experienced success with increasing the number of traditional aged graduates who complete college, higher education in the state must expand its attention on adult learners if we hope to meet the state’s attainment and economic needs, while also distributing job growth and economic development across the state.

Expanding pathways for adult to begin or return to complete their degrees is a focus of the UNC System because we feel tremendously obligated to support those with some credits yet no degree and to engage those who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree but wish to do so.

Who are your champions?

Every UNC institution is a champion for engaging adult learners.  Some of our institutions have developed programs to support returning adult students, as well as streamlined academic programs to assist in completing degrees, including East Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Pembroke, and Western Carolina University.  Additionally, we have received support from multiple foundations to engage in this work and expand opportunities, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ECMC Foundation, Goodnight Educational Foundation, John M. Belk Endowment, and Lumina Foundation.

What's your goal?

North Carolina adopted our first educational attainment goal in February 2019 with a target of two million North Carolina adults between the ages of 25 and 44 having a high-quality postsecondary credential or degree.  The UNC System believes that this attainment goal, and all the related work involved with achieving it, will position the state to be leading social and economic force in this country for many years to come.  With our focus on adults and innovative programs at different institutions to support these students, the UNC System is a leading voice in supporting learners that are “part-way home” to a degree and their personal educational attainment goals.

Why is your state an awesome place?

North Carolina is filled with social, economic, educational, and cultural opportunities.  With 17 constituent institutions in the University of North Carolina System, 58 public community colleges, and 36 private independent colleges and universities, post-secondary education is a driving force in the state.  North Carolina is a perfect blend of rural farmland and urban growth, mountain retreats and coastal beauty, creative arts and dynamic technologies.

North Carolina’s economy and population continues to thrive, diversify, and innovate.  Some of this growth is indeed focused in certain areas of the state and there is a continued focused on supporting all areas of our state to expand opportunities and develop collectively.