North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
(NCSSM) challenges academically talented students from across the state with a comprehensive curriculum including highly specialized courses in science, technology, engineering/computer science, and mathematics. NCSSM opened in 1980 as something of an academic experiment: Would something excellent happen if we gathered together a highly motivated and diverse student body with a critical mass of equally motivated, accomplished, credentialed, and diverse faculty within a space dedicated to the power of the scientific method? Nearly four decades later, NCSSM has built a firmly rooted reputation as an academic powerhouse, educating intellectually gifted students from every corner of the state, representing rural and urban communities, and all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Eleven states and several countries worldwide have since used NCSSM as the model for their own programs.
Today, as in 1980, the mission of NCSSM, an intellectually stimulating, diverse, and collaborative community, is to:
- educate academically talented students to become state, national, and global leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,
- advance public education in North Carolina,
- and inspire innovation for the betterment of humankind, through challenging residential and virtual programs driven by instructional excellence and the excitement of discovery.
Altogether, nearly 1,500 North Carolina students from all 13 congressional districts and nearly all 100 counties are enrolled in one of our three signature programs: our residential diploma program, our online certificate program or our interactive video conferencing (IVC) program. Our open enrollment courses expand local offerings to include enrichments and advanced coursework otherwise unavailable in students’ home communities. NCSSM instructors teach live to classrooms statewide daily, broadcasting more synchronous video than any other public provider in the state.
By 2021, NCSSM will expand to an additional campus in Morganton, NC. Funded primarily by the Connect NC Bond, the campus will initially accommodate 300 additional residential diploma program students as well as increased distance education enrollment.
NCSSM has over 10,000 graduates, nearly all of whom attended colleges and universities (a great majority within our own top NC public universities) and nearly half of whom have earned a graduate degree. Between 2000-2014, the latest period for which statistics are available, 68 percent of NCSSM graduates earned undergraduate degrees in a STEM field -- approximately 3 times the national average for the general population. During that same period, 61.1 percent of NCSSM’s underrepresented (URM) graduates earned an undergraduate degree in a STEM field -- more than 5 times the national average for URM populations. A 2009 economic impact study found that about 60% of our alumni continue to live and work in North Carolina, adding more than $500 million annually to the state’s economy. Many of our graduates, the oldest of whom are not yet 55, refer to their time at NCSSM as “life-changing” and continue to support their alma mater
with charitable gifts, volunteerism, and other purposeful engagement.
Our school functions as a full constituent of the University of North Carolina System and is governed and supported by the UNC Board of Governors, NCSSM Board of Trustees, NCSSM Foundation, NCSSM Alumni Association, NCSSM Parent Association, NCSSM Faculty Senate, NCSSM Staff Council, and NCSSM Student Government Association. Notably, a representative from each of our Faculty Senate, Staff Council, and Student Government Association serve as ex-officio, non-voting members of our Board of Trustees.
Though a UNC constituent, NCSSM operates as a free public school open to qualified NC students, regardless of financial means. We generate nearly 10 percent of our institutional budget from private sources, a ratio that will likely increase during our next comprehensive fundraising campaign.
Consistent with our founding and governance, the institution is guided by a standing strategic plan
. Though goals may shift from time to time, our core beliefs have remained fundamentally unchanged since our establishment:
- Our greatest resource is the capability and creative capacity of the human mind.
- Everyone is unique and has intrinsic value.
- Diversity enriches and strengthens lives and communities.
- Embracing challenge inspires excellence.
- Individuals are responsible for their choices and actions.
- Service to others builds and strengthens our community.
- Environmental stewardship and resource sustainability are everyone’s responsibility.
- With opportunity, support, and effort, all people can realize their full potential.
- Personal fulfillment and professional success require a passion for learning throughout life.
- Collaboration fosters learning, innovation, and community.
- Adhering to high ethical standards is essential for a community to function and flourish.
- A nurturing living and learning environment develops the well being of the whole person.
- Quality public education is essential to a free, democratic society.
- Science and mathematics education stimulates innovation and invention and is critical to the well being of our state, nation, and the world.
We invite and welcome all applications for employment within our institution. NCSSM is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as an individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.