Chowan University – rising through the ranks

Published 9:19 am Monday, April 4, 2011

MURFREESBORO – At the 2011 annual meeting of the thirty-six Presidents of the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities held at Pinehurst last month, Chowan University showed an impressive rise in the ranks.

“Chowan is no longer hanging down at the bottom of their lists,” explained Chowan President Dr. Chris White. “We have made the tough move out of the bottom to now hold a place in the middle third in almost every category measured, including growth in enrollment.”

From one of the smaller schools only a few years ago, Chowan University, now with approximately 1,200 students, has grown more than 32 percent  in the last five years, the second highest percentage growth in all of the North Carolina schools in traditional student enrollment.

The university, originally founded in 1848, has also seen amazing improvements in facilities with a recent $12 million in renovations across the campus at little-to-no debt incurred, and in faculty pay over the last couple of years.

“We have made a dramatic improvement in our faculty salaries, like we have for our facilities,” said White. “Excluding the big private schools, like Duke and Wake Forest and others, nobody in the state gave bigger percentage raises last year, and we now have one of the highest instructor pay rates in the state as well.”

President White added that it is important in the local geographic area to get people to stay through competitive salaries that will lend a loyalty to the institution as well as the community.

“One of our goals has been to raise salaries to attract faculty and staff in the competitive education field,” White stated. “This will also raise the standard of living throughout the Chowan community.”

Associate Provost Dr. Larry Frazier is proud of the resiliency of the university that he has witnessed from the down days when he began with low enrollment, cuts in faculty and staff, and cuts in their salaries and benefits.

“Now I am witnessing the growth of Chowan University – enrollment over 1,200, improved infrastructure, additions to faculty and staff,” Frazier said. “But along the way, in the good and the lean, I have seen people willing to do whatever needs to be done – people who work hard and who do everything they can to meet the needs of the students.”

Chowan also boosted its rankings in various other categories such as academic quality and program expansion like with the founding of the new School of Graduate Studies offering a Chowan University Masters Degree, and in Athletics with three championships now under the Hawk’s belt in the CIAA for softball and volleyball.

“We are emerging as a school of much importance,” White concluded proudly.

Recently, the National Survey of Student Engagement released its official annual report for 2010 in which Chowan University also saw proof of its progress.

In surveying first-year students, Chowan saw a rise in the Level of Academic Challenge, Active and Collaborative Learning, Supportive Campus Environment and Enriching Educational Experiences.

In that same survey report, Chowan University, a Christian-based institution, saw 27 percent of first year students frequently engage in spiritually enhancing activities such as worship, meditation or prayer, like the Campus Bible Studies and Prayer in the Park. Also, by the time they are seniors, 77 percent of students have participated in community service or volunteer work, like through Chowan’s mission work and club organizations.

Through the NSSE report, 75 percent of first-year students reported a favorable image of Chowan and were satisfied with their overall educational experience, while 79 percent of seniors would choose Chowan again if they could start their college careers over again. Also, 78 percent of first-year students feel that Chowan has a substantial commitment to their academic success, and even 56 percent felt well-supported by Chowan regarding their social needs.

All these reports and meetings go to show what the Chowan community already knew: Chowan University is growing and improving at an unprecedented rate, with the whole campus – faculty, staff and students’- satisfaction at an all-time high.

For more information about Chowan University, visit or call 1-888-4-CHOWAN.