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2025 Barton Bold and Connected Strategic Plan: Optimistic Future of Growth and Innovation

WILSON, N.C. — September 29, 2021 — Launched this fall, Barton College’s 2021-2025 Barton Bold and Connected Strategic Plan showcases the school’s ambitious plan for future growth and strategic direction. In the next five years, Barton will contribute toward North Carolina’s statewide “MyFutureNC” initiative of increasing degree credentialing beyond high school by 2030. Barton plans to increase undergraduate enrollment to 1,350, and substantially increase master’s degree and online programming by 2025.

In addition, the College aims to be an economic driver in the workforce development efforts in the region. According to the 2020 North Carolina County Attainment Report, Wilson County is projected to have 99,203 job openings between 2017-2026. Barton is at the forefront of providing workforce development education opportunities in training a highly-skilled workforce for Wilson County and beyond.

By focusing on three foundational pillars, radical innovation, pivotal partnerships, and distinctive identity, “Barton Bold and Connected” provides a springboard for an aggressive strategy to further position the College as an economic and regional driver in delivering quality, accessible, affordable and distinctive academic programs. Barton’s new strategic plan will align the College’s mission and strengths to expand its academic offerings to prepare skilled professionals in three additional labor markets: Health Sciences, Augmented Reality, and Data Analytics. The College’s location categorized as a Prosperity Zone sub-region, creates an opportune environment for these academic programs that are responsive to the constantly evolving workforce needs and challenges.

  1. Radical Innovation– Barton College will be the regional leader for delivering leading-edge academic programs and using current and emerging technologies to advance student learning, promote student engagement, and prepare students to succeed and lead in 21st century careers.
  2. Pivotal Partnerships–Barton College will cultivate impactful win-win partnerships with corporate and non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies to raise its national profile, deliver exceptional student experiences, and attain long-term financial viability.
  3. Distinctive Identity– Barton College will boldly deliver exceptional and distinctive student learning experiences while pursuing new revenue streams, exploring new markets, and consciously making decisions that demonstrate a clear return-on-investment that strengthens fiscal health and creates optimal student learning opportunities.

“The College is excited to explore several new academic programs that connect deeply with the expanding industry beyond our institution,” explained Dr. Douglas N. Searcy, President of Barton College. “Augmented reality is an excellent example. There is a great need for accomplished professionals in the area of digital communications and programming. Through burgeoning partnerships and through our well-established relationship with Greenlight, Barton has the capacity to offer this type of innovative curriculum. Faculty leadership and strong student interest are key drivers behind the development of this program of study. The confluence of synergy surrounding the proposal of this academic program suggests that AR could be an ideal addition to our academic offerings.”

Dr. Searcy added, “The School of Nursing is a cornerstone to the health sciences programs we offer at Barton. Through this strength, the College is in an optimal position to offer expanded health care programs such as respiratory therapy. There is an immediate and urgent need across the nation for respiratory therapy specialists. Through our continued institutional and corporate partnerships, and by building on the health science programs and systems across the state and beyond, respiratory therapy and/or public health administration could be perfect pathways to benefitting our communities, to support an increasingly aging population.”

The Barton Bold and Connected Strategic Plan was built on the metric successes of the College described in the recently released 2016-2021 Impact Report, leveraging the College’s resources to launch Barton into a new trajectory of innovation and technology. Another important initiative for the College is to build a hybrid learning space for its students. The College plans to reimagine the Willis N. Hackney Library learning space through renovation and revitalization. Barton plans to expand Hackney Library as a new hybrid facility with the Campion Center, incorporating a roof-top patio for the library, with high-tech spaces that will maximize the Barton Bold and Connected concept, bringing students together within a technology hub of activity.

The future of Barton is strong. The momentum of this academic growth will always be through the support of key stakeholders, donors, and partnerships. Barton educates bold thinkers and prepares bold leaders. For more detailed information or to download the strategic plan, visit here.

About the College —

Founded in 1902, Barton College is a four-year, private, liberal arts college located in Wilson, N.C. The Barton Experience focuses on academic excellence within a wide range of professional and liberal arts programs leading to baccalaureate and graduate degrees, including master’s degrees in Nursing, Kinesiology, Criminology and Criminal Justice Sciences, School Administration, and an MBA in Strategic Leadership. Barton celebrates innovation and bold thinking among faculty and staff as the College nurtures bold leadership development among students. Barton offers purposeful internships and practicums in academic disciplines; engaging co-curricular cohorts; meaningful international travel and study; opportunities to give back through community service; an impressive array of cultural events; and diverse athletic competition among 24 collegiate teams.