The Opportunity

Founded in 1887, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) serves 8,262 students from diverse backgrounds and offers 41 undergraduate programs and 18 graduate programs. Located in the southeastern North Carolina town of Pembroke, UNCP has a rich American Indian history and is one of the safest campuses in the University of North Carolina System. As a regional university, UNCP is known for small classes, close interaction with faculty, community involvement and diversity. Its mission is to change lives through education, guided by the values of collaboration, communication, accountability, integrity, innovation, and service. The 281-acre residential campus has grown significantly over the last decade, with additions that include the state-of-the-art Weinstein Health Sciences Building, well-appointed residence halls, and the downtown entrepreneurship center. The university’s diversity extends beyond race and ethnicity to include non-traditional students, first-generation students and military-affiliated students. UNCP believes learning is best when it is personal. This means university faculty and staff are prepared to meet each student where they are with the tools needed for success.

The Position

Role of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for UNC Pembroke

Reporting to the chancellor, the vice chancellor for student affairs (VCSA) promotes student learning and personal growth by providing strategic leadership and vision for programs, services, and opportunities that enable students to succeed in a diverse and global society. The VCSA will lead an experienced student affairs staff with oversight responsibilities for the career center; counseling and psychological services; community and civic engagement; housing and residence life; university center and programs; police and public safety; student conduct; student health services; campus engagement and leadership; campus recreation; student inclusion and diversity; environmental health and safety; and care team. The VCSA will continue the university’s commitment to integrating curricular and co-curricular elements of students’ lives by establishing and maintaining service-learning initiatives and enhancing leadership competencies that encourage an appreciation and respect for community and personal development; work closely with the office of the provost, faculty, and other partners to ensure the college experience, residential living and support resources offered are a vital part of the overall efforts to improve retention and progression of students and complements the academic experience; ensure the campus offers a safe and secure learning environment; and driving divisional operations to align with the university’s new strategic plan with the vision of becoming a top regional university. The VCSA provides leadership for a staff of about 110 and manages a more than $25 million budget.

Additional responsibilities of the position include:

  • Instilling a strong sense of community by working cooperatively and effectively to build and strengthen community relations with all stakeholders, as well as cultivating an atmosphere between university faculty, staff and students that is built on pride and school spirit;
  • Providing equitable, efficient, and effective management of human resources by creating both opportunity and incentive for professional staff development;
  • Managing fiscal resources including oversight of the university’s housing system using best practices in residential living within a coherent developmental philosophy that promotes retention and achieves financial health;
  • Advocating for student rights, issues, and concerns as well as serving as a university advocate by effectively interpreting institutional policies and procedures for students; serving as an advocate for all departments within student affairs ensuring the entire campus community values each office in relation to student success and retention;
  • Coordinating, implementing, and evaluating student support services, programs, and activities for a diverse student body in a way that supports shared decision making and consultation and ensures the amelioration of challenges that face students; and
  • Embracing the uniqueness of UNCP and its heritage through promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion as key campus values by strongly supporting cultural and ethnic celebrations, and creating ongoing strategic plans for the continued development of inclusion and diversity programming.

History of the Position

Dr. Lisa Lewis Schaeffer served as vice chancellor for Student Affairs at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke since January, 2017. At the time of her appointment, Schaeffer had served as interim vice chancellor since July 1, 2015. Schaeffer had more than 35 years of experience at UNC Pembroke and retired from the university at the end of 2020.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

In transitioning to UNCP, the vice chancellor for student affairs will also encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges as shared by university stakeholders in meetings with Spelman Johnson:

  • Facilitate the creation of division/unit level strategic plans that will be in alignment with the broader university strategic plan.
  • As the vice chancellor transitions into the position, it will be important to develop a strong sense of “team” amongst staff and build working relationships that emphasize a collaborative work environment. Transparency, communication, and flow of information were themes that repeatedly arose.
  • The VCSA will be courageous in advancing new ideas, think outside the box, and push the student affairs staff to address challenges—whether they be space-related, budgetary, or personnel—with creativity and ambition.
  • Stakeholders shared that there is a desire for increased focus on student mental health. Some of this focus recognizes national trends and a general emphasis on supporting students facing personal or academic challenges, while some of the attention stems from renewed concentration on providing education and support structures at UNCP.
  • The vice chancellor must demonstrate a leadership style that is credible and collegial while being highly effective. It is expected that the VCSA will develop strategic learning outcomes—and will shape student affairs into a high-functioning division while focusing on the academic and personal success of students.
  • UNCP has evolved from a primarily commuter campus to one with a significant population of students living on campus. The university continues to enhance its residential character through programs targeting on-campus students and services that connect them to the residential experience.
  • UNCP has a very diverse student population. Faculty and administrators must think creatively about how best to respond to the needs of varied constituents, including a significant population of Pell-eligible, first-generation and traditionally underrepresented students.
  • Earn the trust and confidence of student leaders by building a culture of accessibility, transparency and accountability.

Measures of Success

The following items will define the vice chancellor for student affairs’ success throughout the first year of employment:

  • The VCSA will have established a high profile at UNCP and actively engaged in dialogue and public relations with a broad group of constituents to build awareness of the issues facing students and the role that student affairs plays in enhancing the student experience.
  • The VCSA will have completed an appropriate assessment of student affairs’ mission, services, structure, and staffing.
  • The university plays an important role in the Pembroke and Robeson County communities. The VCSA will have connected with key stakeholders and be visible in the local community.
  • There will be a common understanding of the role student affairs staff should play in achieving the university’s priorities, and institutional mission will be evident across all stakeholders.
  • Trust will have been developed among staff across the division. Responsibilities will have been delegated to the appropriate departments, and leaders will have been held accountable for outcomes.
  • The new VCSA will have demonstrated innovative and entrepreneurial ideas related to student programs, activities and divisional efficiencies.

Qualifications and Characteristics

A master’s degree and at least seven years of increasingly responsible leadership experience in student affairs at the level of director, dean, or higher are required. The ideal candidate will possess a record of successful executive leadership in student affairs and a demonstrated ability to manage a large budget and a diverse organization; evidence of implementation, participation in, or significant knowledge of programs that engage first-generation college students and positively impact student retention; and documented accomplishments in creating and supporting a climate of inclusion, openness, understanding, and mutual respect with a demonstrated level of creativity, commitment, intellectual curiosity, collegiality, and personal integrity. A demonstrated commitment to engaged learning, including service-learning and other campus initiatives, that supports diversity and values inclusion; and an ability to foster a collegial and collaborative culture that capitalizes on the richness of the UNCP community and furthers its commitment to academic excellence are also desired.

Additional qualifications and characteristics of the successful candidate include:

  • Experience with policy development and strategic long-range planning.
  • A highly respected team player and community-builder with excellent communication, collaboration, and interpersonal skills.
  • An ability to lead on behalf of the university, in addition to the division of student affairs.
  • A keen working knowledge of contemporary student issues and approaches in higher education including trends in student development and an understanding of the legislative, regulatory, budgetary, and policy issues impacting higher education, particularly public four-year institutions.
  • Effective decision-making and crisis management skills with the ability to be adaptable and responsive to the needs of the students and the university.

Additional capabilities and attributes identified as important by UNCP stakeholders include the following:

  • highly collaborative—able to work with senior officers as well as faculty, staff, students, and partners in the local community
  • approachable, visible, and engaged in all facets of campus life
  • entrepreneurial—able to generate innovative solutions to complex problems
  • committed to ongoing efforts to enhance the integration of student affairs and academic affairs that support student success and transformation
  • be a visionary and possess the ability to translate institutional strategy into operational goals
  • a commitment to excellence demonstrated by the ability to set high goals, provide guidance and resources to achieve said goals, complemented by a broad understanding of the role of effective assessment to document, measure, and improve performance over time
  • possess a work style that invites collaboration and encourages team building
  • articulate a sophisticated understanding of current student affairs trends and best practices, and the key issues facing today’s college students
  • have an understanding of the current and evolving demographics of the UNCP student body and be passionate about student inclusion, access, and success
  • demonstrate a commitment to a diverse student body, including the needs of nontraditional, first generation and part-time students
  • demonstrated knowledge of student conduct, legal issues, and crisis/emergency management
  • high level of emotional intelligence, empathy, and concern for others, including the ability to navigate controversy with civility and respect
  • a willingness to take action when necessary based on the values and priorities of student access, social justice and equity, and student learning and engagement
  • and a commitment to professional growth and development for self and staff members.

Overview of the division of student affairs

The division of student affairs consists of 13 departments/offices, each of which is responsible for providing a variety of student support, services, educational programs and facilities.

Each department is designed to integrate students into the university experience and to enhance the total development of students.  The efforts of the division specifically work to emphasize intellectual, social, cultural, emotional, leadership, civic, and personal development within a diverse community. Staff members are dedicated to fostering student access and to sustaining a rich learning environment in a community of care and mutual respect that leads to student success.

Community & Civic Engagement

The office for community and civic engagement changes lives through education by enhancing civic engagement competency through high impact service-learning opportunities and community involvement. We provide opportunities for college students to recognize their civic potential and take initiative to develop it. Students enrich and enhance their education experience through active, engaged service

Campus Recreation

Campus recreation believes that physical activity and healthy life choices are vital to a person’s total well-being. Based upon this belief, a broad and diversified program of recreational activities are provided for the campus community. Students at UNCP have the opportunity to participate in intramurals, club sports, adventureships, and can make use of the Campbell wellness center and the aquatics center.

Counseling & Psychological Services

The mission of counseling and psychological services (CAPS) is to provide clinical mental health services to support the well-being and academic success of students and contribute to a healthy campus climate. This is accomplished by providing individual and group counseling, crisis management, consultation and referral services, and prevention education to the campus community.

Student Conduct

The mission of the office of student conduct is to administer a campus student discipline program that encourages students to develop as responsible adults. Through programming, advisement, and interaction, we seek to increase awareness of university expectations of student behavior, encourage civility, and promote self-responsibility. We believe in promoting an environment which encourages students to uphold community standards, enhancing community through education, and striving to provide a comprehensive student discipline program that encourages all students to develop into productive members of society.

Care Team

The UNC Pembroke CARE team provides faculty, staff, students, families or any other individual a resource to contact if they have concerns about a student’s well-being.

Housing & Residence Life

The office of housing and residence life offers residential students the opportunity to be part of a community that is clean, safe and respectful; a community that is interactive and conducive to academic, educational, and social development.

Police & Public Safety

The police and public safety department is a full-service law enforcement agency, whose primary responsibility is the protection of life and property on the university campus.

Student Inclusion & Diversity

The office of student inclusion and diversity values the opportunity to celebrate and showcase the institution’s rich diversity as reflected in community members’ race, age, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, faith, religion, national origin, citizenship, social and economic class, ideology and other identities.

University Center and Programs

The mission of the university center and programs department is to encourage and support the educational, social, and cultural enrichment of students by creating an environment of opportunity for student, faculty, staff, and community interaction.

Campus Engagement and Leadership

Campus engagement and leadership is committed to changing lives through education by realizing the division of student affairs mission goals of empowering students to succeed, facilitating active learning, developing cultural appreciation, promoting responsible citizenship, and ensuring a robust campus experience for student engagement.

Student Health Services

Student health services (SHS) is committed to providing affordable, accessible and high-quality health care services to those eligible through health promotion and disease prevention programs. SHS strives to meet the demonstrated needs of our diverse student population, in accordance with the core values, vision and mission of UNCP and the division of student affairs.

Career Center

The career center provides a seamless connection of career service professionals providing a life-long resource to both students and alumni. Whether they are interested in selecting the right major, exploring career fields and industries, looking for a part-time job or internship, preparing for an interview, or networking with alumni and employers, the career center team is here to help all students.

Environmental Health and Safety

The office of environmental health and safety (EH&S) is dedicated to the protection of human life and our campus environment. EH&S acknowledges the close relationship between the environment, work, and human health and safety.

Mission Statement

The division of student affairs empowers students to succeed, facilitates active learning, develops cultural appreciation, promotes responsible citizenship and ensures a robust campus experience for student engagement.

Vision Statement

The division of student affairs strives to transform students into lifelong learners who contribute responsibly to society.


Goal 1: Create a robust campus environment

We will re-imagine and create physical space to foster our campus environment. We will also champion partnerships with students, faculty, staff, and the greater community. We will articulate our contributions to the campus community in order to continuously develop our offerings that support student success.

Goal 2: Develop enriching student experiences

We will develop opportunities that connect students with self-defined purposes. Furthermore, students will interface with experiential learning to supplement current practice to meet the student’s learning objectives.

Goal 3: Provide a campus experience that encourages students to embrace ethical standards and values that are congruent with those of the university.  We will promote the understanding of the university’s core values in order to support the personal wellness of each student

We will make an assertive effort to create responsible, global student citizens, as well as to maintain a safe campus community. We will individually and collectively model communitarian values, ethical standards, individual responsibility and personal wellness.

Goal 4: Create an inclusive, diverse, and respectful campus

We will leverage the diversity of our community to develop a better sense of cultural appreciation and to teach and model cultural competency. We will infuse learning opportunities for respectful dialogue about cultural, ethnic, religious, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic, similarities and differences.

Goal 5: Cultivate a sustainable campus for student success

We will leverage staff, faculty, community talent, knowledge, and skills to support the professional development of our community. We will nurture and recognize the quality and commitment in our community to establish UNC Pembroke as an institution of choice for staff and faculty.

Institution & Location

Institutional Overview

On March 7, 1887, Croatan Normal School was established after legislation sponsored by Representative Hamilton McMillan of Robeson County was enacted by the General Assembly of North Carolina. The law, which was in response to a petition from American Indians of the area, established a board of trustees and appropriated $500 to be used only for salaries. The school was established to train American Indian teachers.

A clapboard, two-story building was constructed by local Indians at a site about one mile west of the present location, and the school opened with 15 students and one teacher in the spring of 1888. For many years, the instruction was at the elementary and secondary level, and the first diploma was awarded in 1905.

The school was moved to its present location in Pembroke, the center of the Indian community, in 1909. The general assembly changed the name of the institution in 1911 to the Indian Normal School of Robeson County, and again in 1913 to the Cherokee Indian Normal School of Robeson County. In 1926, the board of trustees added a two-year normal (teacher training) program beyond high school and phased out elementary instruction. The first ten diplomas were awarded in 1928, when the state accredited the school as a “standard normal school.”

In 1933, two-year college (junior college) coursework was added. In 1936, the third year of the normal and college curriculum was added, and, in 1939, a fourth year was added after the institution received a “senior college” rating. The first four-year degrees were conferred in 1940. In recognition of its new status, the general assembly changed the name of the school in 1941 to Pembroke State College for Indians. Between 1939 and 1953, it was the only state-supported four-year college for Indians in the nation. The scope of the institution was widened in 1943 when non-teaching baccalaureate degrees were added, and, in 1945, when enrollment, previously limited to the Indians of Robeson County, was opened to people from all federally-recognized Indian groups. In 1949, the general assembly shortened the name to Pembroke State College.

The board of trustees approved the admission of white students up to 40 % of the total enrollment in 1953, and, following the Supreme Court’s school desegregation decision, opened the college to all qualified applicants without regard to race in 1954. Growth of over 500 percent followed during the next eight years. In 1969, the general assembly changed the name again to Pembroke State University and designated the institution a regional university. Such universities were authorized “to provide undergraduate and graduate instruction in liberal arts, fine arts, and science, and in the learned professions, including teaching” and to “provide other graduate and undergraduate programs of instruction as are deemed necessary to meet the needs of their constituencies and of the state.”

Three years later, in 1972, the general assembly established the 16-campus University of North Carolina with Pembroke State University as one of the constituent institutions. The new structure was under the control of the Board of Governors, which was to coordinate the system of higher education, improve its quality, and encourage economical use of the state’s resources. The Board of Governors approved the implementation of the Master of Arts in Education program by Pembroke State University in 1978, as well as several new undergraduate programs. Since that time, additional baccalaureate programs have been added, including nursing, and master’s level programs have been implemented in Business Administration, Public Administration, School Counseling, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Pembroke State University celebrated its centennial in 1987. On July 1, 1996, Pembroke State University officially became The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

In 2000, a major in applied physics and four new Master of Arts programs were added. An Office of International Programs and the Esther G. Maynor Honors College were also instituted to enhance scholarship. Since then, the University has added new baccalaureate programs, including Spanish, environmental science, and geo-environmental studies, as well as new graduate degrees, including the Master of School Administration (M.S.A.), the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), and the Master of Social Work (M.S.W.). Many classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels are available through distance learning, including the Internet.

On July 5, 2005, North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley signed into law Session Law 2005-153, declaring The University of North Carolina at Pembroke as “North Carolina’s Historically American Indian University.”

Between March 2012 and May 2013, the university celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding.

Today, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has over 8,000 students from diverse backgrounds. The University offers 41 undergraduate programs and 18 graduate programs.

Pembroke, NC

With over 130,000 residents, Robeson County is one of the most diverse counties in the nation, and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is consistently one of the most diverse campuses in the state and nation.

In part because of its small community setting, it is also one of the safest campuses in the nation. The location – just off Interstate 95 and the mid-point between Boston and Miami – is convenient to all major metro areas of the Carolinas as well as world famous beaches and resorts.

The Town of Pembroke – incorporated in 1895 – is a proud community, rich in heritage. Pembroke is a  beautiful  place,  nestled  among  the  pine  trees  of  Robeson  County,  in southeastern North Carolina. The town is approximately 7 miles from the intersection of Highway 74 and Interstate 95 at Lumberton, two hours south of Raleigh, two hours east of Charlotte and just a little over an hour from several North and  South Carolina beaches.

Pembroke is a quaint but growing community, regarded as the social, political, cultural and commercial center for the Lumbee Tribe, the largest American Indian tribe east of the Mississippi River, with over 55,000 members. The  business  and  industry  of  the  town,  its’  surrounding  communities,  and  the  population  of  UNC-Pembroke  create  a  trade  market  that  numbers  well  over  70,000  shoppers.  In  addition,  Pembroke  hosts  a variety  of  events  during  the  year,  none  larger  than  Lumbee  Homecoming,  which  annually  brings  in  over 30,000  visitors  to  the  town.

Mission Statement

Founded in 1887 as a school for the education of American Indians, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke now serves a distinctly diverse student body and encourages inclusion and appreciation for the values of all people. UNC Pembroke exists to promote excellence in teaching and learning, at the master’s and undergraduate levels, in an environment of free inquiry, interdisciplinary collaboration, and rigorous intellectual standards.

Our diversity and our commitment to personalized teaching uniquely prepare our students for rewarding careers, postgraduate education, leadership roles, and fulfilling lives. We cultivate an international perspective, rooted in our service to and appreciation of our multi-ethnic regional society, which prepares citizens for engagement in global society. Students are encouraged to participate in activities that develop their intellectual curiosity and mold them into responsible stewards of the world.

UNCP faculty and staff are dedicated to active student learning, engaged scholarship, high academic standards, creative activity, and public service. We celebrate our heritage as we enhance the intellectual, cultural, economic, and social life of the region.

Vision Statement

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke will challenge students to embrace difference and adapt to change, think critically, communicate effectively, and become responsible citizens. Working from a strong foundation in the liberal arts, we will increase opportunities to infuse our curriculum with interdisciplinary innovation while promoting undergraduate and graduate research as well as international opportunities.

Core Values Statement

The faculty and staff of UNC Pembroke are guided by the following set of core values:

  • The commitment to serving the local region
  • The creation, exploration, evaluation, and articulation of ideas
  • The value of a liberal arts foundation as the basis of self-realization and lifelong learning
  • The importance of honor and integrity to learning and leadership as we educate students to be stewards of the world
  • The appreciation of the American Indian history of the university and local community
  • The appreciation of diversity and respect for the dignity and worth of every individual
  • The commitment to prepare graduate and undergraduate students to succeed in an ever-changing and increasingly technological global environment
  • The accessibility of education which leads to the enhancement of the economy and culture in the region
  • The maintenance of a sustainable, safe, healthful, attractive, and accessible campus

Institutional Distinctiveness Statement

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke distinguishes itself from peer institutions by offering an affordable, highly personalized, student-centered education to diverse students. Founded in 1887 as an American Indian institution to serve the Lumbee people, UNCP is now also comprised of students, faculty, and staff who possess differing attributes based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, national origin, age, political affiliation, religion, and other characteristics. Diversity grounds intellectual pursuits and provides us with opportunities for discovery and ways to integrate all individuals and groups into the larger community, respecting and valuing their uniqueness while simultaneously advancing the University’s historical tradition. UNC Pembroke thus prepares its students for life and leadership within a diverse society.

Strategic Plan

UNCP’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025:

Purpose. Promise. Possibility

In March of 2019, Chancellor Robin Cummings appointed Dr. Mark Milewicz, professor of political science, and Ms. Christie Poteet, director of the office of community and civic engagement, as co-chairs of a 27-member strategic planning and resource council (SPARC). The SPARC committee, whose membership represents different key constituencies of the university, was charged with developing a new strategic plan for the university.

The strategic planning process, spanning over 13 months (March 2019 – April 2020), was a comprehensive, time-intensive and inclusive effort. Drawing on structures from the previous planning cycle, the 2020-2025 strategic planning process was based on five distinct phases: (1) Organization; (2) Data gathering; (3) Making sense of the data; (4) Developing goals and objectives; and (5) Review, revision and approval. Through all five phases of the strategic planning process, the SPARC committee met over ten times.

The process formally began in March 2019 with SPARC developing the organizational components of the process such as developing a timeline and communication strategy. Prior to any data collection, and upon review of the existing strategic plan, SPARC determined that the existing vision, mission, values, and institutional distinctiveness statements in the existing plan were not in need of revision; however, significant time and energy would be needed in support of revisions to university goals and objectives.

Throughout the summer of 2019, the committee planned a detailed data collection effort that involved campus-wide forums, focus groups, community engagement efforts, and an online survey instrument. In all, 12 focus groups and forums were held from September to October 2019. The survey, which closed in early October, yielded over 1,700 responses and 300 pages of response data.

In October 2019, the committee began the third phase of the planning process, which involved data analyses. All members reviewed a significant volume of data and coded for themes that would help inform the goals and objectives, ensuring that they would also align with UNC system expectations. Common themes were identified, distilled into draft goals and objectives, and shared with the cabinet in November and December 2019, after which more advanced drafts were developed.

In the spring of 2020, a full draft of the 2020-2025 UNCP strategic plan was shared with the campus and campus governing structure. This process included review by the SGA, staff council, faculty senate, chancellor and cabinet, and finally the board of trustees in April of 2020.

SPARC’s proposed involvement in the strategic plan’s five-year implementation, most specifically in monitoring proposed strategic action plans that emerged from the data collection effort in the fall of 2019, was communicated to the chancellor’s cabinet in January and February of 2020. Understanding that strategic plans also need to be flexible and adaptive to changing environments, it is possible for alignment needs at the system level or long-term needs of the university to result in some adaptation of this plan’s goals and objectives. An implementation report and the re-establishment of the SPARC committee to revise the plan for the 2025-2030 strategic planning cycle is expected in 2024.

For more information on the strategic plan, visit


Robin Gary Cummings, MD, Chancellor

Robin Gary Cummings, M.D., took office as the sixth Chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke in July 2015 after being elected by the Board of Governors of the 17-campus University of North Carolina System.

Over the past five years, UNCP has increased access to a high-quality education through the NC Promise Tuition Plan, expanded academic opportunities through institutional partnerships, enhanced the university’s role in regional economic development and set records for philanthropic giving. With Chancellor Cummings’ vision for the university, UNCP is advancing its vision of  Changing Lives Through Education  and broadening its impact across southeastern North Carolina and beyond.

Chancellor Cummings earned his undergraduate degree in zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a James M. Johnston Scholar and founding member of the Carolina Indian Circle. He then attended Duke University Medical School as a UNC Board of Governors Medical Scholar and Henry J. Kaiser Merit Scholar, earning the Sandoz Award for Basic Science Research and the National Library of Science Award. After receiving his medical degree in 1983, he interned in surgery and completed residencies in general surgery and cardiac surgery at Duke University Medical Center. During this period he earned a National Research Service Award enabling him to complete a two-year research fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery.

Dr. Cummings practiced cardiothoracic surgery at the Pinehurst Surgical Clinic and Moore Regional Hospital, where he chaired the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Section of Cardiovascular and General Surgery. After retiring from surgery, he remained active in the work of the hospital, serving on the Moore Regional Hospital Board of Trustees and chairing the FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital Foundation. He subsequently served as medical director and executive director of Community Care of the Sandhills, a regional healthcare organization that case-managed 75,000 Medicaid patients across seven counties and coordinated services provided by more than 100 primary-care practices.

In March 2013, Dr. Cummings joined the NC Department of Health and Human Services as Director of the NC Office of Rural Health and Community Care. Six months later, he was named Deputy Secretary for Health Services and Acting State Health Director. In February 2014, he was given additional responsibility for the Division of Medical Assistance, overseeing Medicaid delivery for more than 1.8 million low-income parents, children, seniors and people with disabilities who cannot afford health care.

Active in professional and civic activities, Chancellor Cummings is a former chairman of the UNC Pembroke Board of Trustees, has chaired the UNCP Foundation board, and has served on the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Visitors. The founding chair of the NC American Indian Health Board, he also has chaired the Commission on NC Indian Health and served on the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities and the NC Rural Center board. He currently serves on the Institute for Emerging Issues National Advisory Board and the Southeastern Health Board of Trustees. His honors include the 2016 John. L. Sanders Student Advocate Award from the UNC Association of Student Governments, the 2014 Presidential Award from the NC Academy of Family Physicians and the Visionary Award from NC Prevent Blindness.

Given his background in health care, Dr. Cummings is leading UNCP in the development of a new College of Health Sciences, leveraging the university’s ability to address urgent workforce needs in health care in the region and beyond. The College combines existing departments of social work, nursing, counseling and kinesiology with the goal of adding occupational therapy, physical therapy, optometry and nurse practitioner programs. Established August 2018, the College is already making a difference in health outcomes by educating more than 1500 students who will become professionals qualified to meet the unique needs of Southeastern North Carolina.

Chancellor Cummings is married to Rebecca Godwin Cummings, a Pinehurst realtor, both are Pembroke natives and members of the Lumbee Tribe. They have four children: Amy, a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate practicing pediatric dentistry in Chapel Hill; Mark, a pediatric dentist in Chapel Hill; David, a UNC-Chapel Hill business graduate working as an investment analyst in Charlotte; and Adam, a dental student at UNC-Chapel Hill, and four grandchildren.

The Student Body

8,262 students (Fall 2020)

  • Undergraduate: 6,436
  • Graduate: 1,826

American Indian 13%

Black/African American 31%

Asian/Pacific Islander 2%

Hispanic/Latino 8%

White/Caucasian 39%

100+ Clubs and Organizations

NCAA Division II Athletics

Academic Programs and Faculty

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke gives its students a strong foundation in the liberal arts – the arts, humanities, natural, and social sciences – to help UNCP students become experts at learning. With 41 undergraduate and 17 graduate programs, as well as countless internship opportunities, you’ll be an active and engaged learner at UNCP. Your excellent critical-thinking skills, paired with sound reasoning, writing and communication abilities, will give you the confidence you need to navigate life’s adventures.

Student/Faculty ratio:  18:1

Average class size: 20

295+ Faculty

Colleges and Schools:

  • College of arts & sciences
  • School of business
  • School of education
  • College of health sciences
  • Maynor honors college
  • Graduate school
  • University college


  • Academic and Military Outreach
  • Aerospace Studies
  • American Indian Studies
  • Art
  • Biology
  • Chemistry and Physics
  • Counseling
  • Educational Leadership and Specialties
  • English, Theatre, and Foreign Languages
  • Geology and Geography
  • Global Engagement
  • History
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Kinesiology
  • Mass Communication
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Military Science
  • Music
  • Nursing
  • Philosophy and Religion
  • Political Science and Public Administration
  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Sociology and Criminal Justice
  • Teacher Education
  • Writing Intensive Program

Benefits Overview

UNC Pembroke provides a full range of benefit programs and services which support and enhance the employment relationship of faculty and staff.

Comprehensive benefit programs are an essential part of one’s total compensation and are designed to provide income security for future needs, assist with meeting the costs of health care and provide a program of paid time off to help balance the demands of work and family.

  • Medical & NCFlex Benefits
  • Retirement programs
  • Supplemental retirement programs
  • Income protection benefit plans

For a more detailed look at benefits, visit the website at

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Mark Hall at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the University of North Carolina Pembroke website at

UNC Pembroke is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The University prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals based on their status as protected veterans or individuals with disabilities, and prohibits discrimination against all individuals based on their age, race, color, genetic information, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and national origin. Moreover, the University takes affirmative action to employ and advance in employment individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability.