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Who we Are

Background and History  

UNC Rural was established in 2019 to align, promote, and support community-campus partnerships between UNC and rural communities across the state of North Carolina. Through a series of internal and external listening tours, the mission and vision of UNC Rural reflects the voices of stakeholders across the state related to rural partnership and engagement. The following strategic plan was informed through the input of community and campus leaders across sectors, reflecting the intersection of efforts to drive and create community well-being.  

Through this plan, UNC Rural supports the CAROLINA NEXT: INNOVATIONS FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD priority 6.2 to Serve to Benefit Society and the mission of UNC to be an institution of, and for, the people of North Carolina. A pan-University initiative, UNC Rural provides a coordinated and collaborative space for resources, dialogue, and convening to inform, share, highlight, and connect across campus around rural engagement partnerships with a focus on benefit to community.  UNC Rural engages in campus-wide relationships to better inform partnership and leverage resources across campus internally and highlight UNC’s commitment to partner for community well-being across the state.  

Our Why 

We believe mobilizing and leveraging collective strengths will lead to a thriving North Carolina reflective of the unique assets of each community and will support rural North Carolina communities in designing their own thriving futures.  

Our How 

  • Sustainability and long-term impact 
  • Recognizing and amplifying the strengths of rural North Carolina partners 
  • Facilitation of partnerships with equal ownership
  • Responsive and reflective of community voice 
  • Mobilizing resources for intentional and authentic partnerships through robust infrastructure 

UNC Rural Strategic Priorities are meeting the following Core Strategies for Carolina Next: 

Of the Public, For the Public…. 

Expertise brought to bear for the benefit of North Carolina and beyond 

Working for democracy: developing citizen-leaders and encouraging informed public discussion 

Innovation Made Fundamental…. 

Foundational research and creative practice 

The new learning imperative: personalized, experiential, adaptable, entrepreneurial 

Translating research into professional, commercial, and societal uses 

Adapting to evolving workforce and student needs