Strategic Plan

The College of Natural Resources fully embraces NC State's land-grant mission and its Think and Do attitude. Through strong academics, research and outreach programs, we create solutions that matter and generate economic value across North Carolina and the nation. Discover more about our strategic vision and future impact.

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A Message from Dean Mary C. Watzin

I am proud to announce that the College of Natural Resources has updated our strategic plan with bold new ideas for our future! We have a strong college – with a proud tradition in paper science and engineering, forest management and natural resource conservation, and park planning and tourism management. We will not diminish or step away from what we do well.

Our vision is to build on these strengths and leverage new partnerships and collaborations that will address the increasingly complex “grand challenges of society.” These challenges demand a systems approach, with transdisciplinary perspectives and methods of analysis. They form the basis for three bold new themes the College will pursue: sustainability solutions, land and water, and the intersection of built and natural environments. Our vision is to become the “go-to” place for solutions to natural resource challenges.

Achieving Excellence in Interdisciplinary Themes

Sustainability Solutions

We will develop practical approaches for quantifying, visualizing and analyzing alternative scenarios for a more sustainable future. With our partners, we will train a new generation of sustainability leaders and professionals that will bring real-world solutions to sustainability challenges and keep businesses profitable, contributing to economic growth and development in North Carolina and the world.

Land and Water

By establishing a Land-Water Synthesis Center to bring a landscape perspective to water resource issues and forming interdisciplinary teams across the NC State campus and beyond, we will focus new energy on the challenges of water security. Working across political, societal and economic boundaries, we will educate new integrated water resource managers and develop holistic solutions to the challenges of freshwater supply and management.

Built and Natural Environments

By building new transdisciplinary collaborations across our departments and the NC State campus, our research and engagement will address the challenges of urban communities and the wildland-urban interface providing practical solutions that improve urban ecosystem services and support resilient, just and healthy community development and environmental stewardship.

Strategic Goals and Objectives
  1. Enhance the success of our students through educational innovation.
    • Enhance undergraduate academic programs by emphasizing interdisciplinary opportunities for collaboration and engaged learning across curricula.
    • Enhance graduate programs by creating new opportunities that emphasize cross-campus collaboration.
    • Enhance mentoring and advising of undergraduate students across the college and create co-curricula programs designed to improve student outcomes.
  2. Enhance disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and scholarship in areas of core strength.
    • Strengthen research and scholarship capacity in areas of core strength.
    • Enhance interdisciplinary collaboration around the college’s three themes that build on faculty strengths, interests and emerging area of societal need.
    • Improve infrastructural capacity for research and scholarship.
  3. Cultivate excellence and enhance diversity among faculty, staff and students.
    • Develop, implement and continuously improve recruitment and retention plans to attract and retain diverse faculty and staff.
    • Enhance efforts to recruit and support a student population that reflects the demographic diversity of NC.
    • Integrate diverse perspectives and cultural understanding across the college.
  4. Strengthen and enhance infrastructural support and organizational excellence across the college.
    • Develop and implement a long-term comprehensive space plan for the college.
    • Clarify roles and responsibilities of business operations staff and provide proactive service to all parts of the college.
    • Provide budget transparency and accountability by regularly sharing budget information.
    • Implement a comprehensive and integrated communications plan that enhances the college’s reputation and improves our effectiveness.
    • Plan and implement a college advancement effort that significantly enhances external relations.
  5. Expand and foster local and global partnerships that create positive change and contribute to ecological and socioeconomic sustainability.
    • Increase opportunities for faculty, staff and students to work with local partners on applied problems.
    • Strengthen and expand our partnerships with the Cooperative Extension Service System and other state partners.
    • Facilitate, develop and enhance global partnerships that build the reputation of the college and support teaching, research and engagement priorities.
    • Enhance college capacity for translational research and engagement with local and global partners.

Read the Full Strategic Plan

This Strategic Plan is a living, evolving document. Through partnerships with you, we can reach our goals and make our college the very best it can be!

2016-2020 College Strategic Plan (PDF)