Chancellor's Cabinet

  • Dr. Heather Hulburt Norris
    Interim Chancellor

    Dr. Heather Hulburt Norris became Appalachian State University’s ninth leader on April 19, 2024. Previously, she had served as provost and executive vice chancellor of App State since May 2021, after fulfilling that role in an interim capacity since February 2020.

    She brings more than two decades of academic leadership, vision and expertise to her role as interim chancellor. Beginning her journey at the university in 2003 as a seasoned assistant professor in the Walker College of Business’ Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance, she was named assistant dean for undergraduate programs in 2005, associate dean for undergraduate programs and administration in 2008, senior associate dean in 2012, acting dean in 2014 and interim dean in 2016. In 2016, after a national search, she was named dean of the Walker College of Business. Her career has been characterized by her strong, collaborative leadership and service to both App State and the greater community.

  • Neva J. Specht
    Acting Provost

    Dr. Neva J. Specht was named acting provost of Appalachian State University in April 2024. Previously, she had served as senior vice provost of faculty policies, development and training in the Academic Affairs division since October 2021.

    From 2017–21, she served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She was the college’s senior associate dean from 2013–17 and associate dean from 2010–13. She has been a professor in the Department of History since 1996 and served as the assistant chair of the department from 2007–09.

    Specht has been a trustee and board chair on the North Carolina Humanities Council. Locally, she has served on the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum’s board, the planning board for the Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary project and on the Town of Boone’s Cultural Resource Advisory Board. For six years, she served as the university’s liaison to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Transforming North Carolina Faculty Research Award in 2010 and the Appalachian State University Board of Governors’ Teaching Award in 2009.

    Specht received her Ph.D. in United States history and material culture studies from the University of Delaware, where she also earned her Master of Arts in United States history with a certificate in museum studies. She received her bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College, with a double major in history and American studies.

  • Henry T. “Hank” Foreman ’95
    Vice Chancellor of External Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, Chief of Staff and Secretary of the University

    Hank Foreman was named vice chancellor and chief of staff for Appalachian State University in 2017. He oversees the areas of University Communications, Arts Engagement (An Appalachian Summer Festival, the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts and the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts), the Holmes Convocation Center, the Office of Sustainability, the Small Business and Technology Development Center and External Affairs and Community Relations. As the principal aide to the chancellor, he is the liaison to the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors, Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and community and university constituencies. Additionally, he assists in providing leadership and direction for institutional initiatives, special projects, critical, time-sensitive decisions, and policy development. Foreman has worked at Appalachian since 1993. He has held the positions of acting chief of staff, senior associate vice chancellor, special assistant to the chancellor for special initiatives, chief communications officer and founding director and chief curator of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. Foreman is a first-generation college student who earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1986 and a master’s degree from Appalachian in 1995.

  • J.J. Brown
    Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs

    J.J. Brown is Appalachian’s vice chancellor of student affairs. Previously, he served as the associate vice chancellor and dean of students of Student Development from 2010–17. Serving on other universitywide committees, Brown focuses on the challenges and support of today’s student in today’s complex learning environment. Prior to coming to Appalachian in 2010, Brown served for nine years as an associate dean of students at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Brown received his bachelor’s degree in speech communication and master’s degree in college student personnel from the University of Tennessee.

  • Patrick Billings
    Director of Special Projects - Finance and Operations

  • Matthew T. Dockham
    Director of External Affairs and Community Relations

    Matthew T. Dockham joined Appalachian State University in February 2016 as the director of external affairs and community relations. Dockham’s primary responsibility is fostering, supporting and expanding the university’s relationships with state, regional and local governmental and nongovernmental organizations in order to strengthen the university and its ability to deliver educational, service and research programs. Prior to his role at Appalachian, Dockham served as director of legislative and intergovernmental affairs for the Department of Environmental Quality (formerly the Department of Environment and Natural Resources) in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dockham served almost six years in increasingly responsible legislative support roles for former U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick and three years as legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Richard Burr. Dockham holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wake Forest University.

  • Alyson M. Ebaugh
    Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources

    Alyson Ebaugh was named Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources in April 2023, after serving in the role in an interim capacity since August 2022. She served Appalachian as Associate Director of Learning and Organizational Development in the Office of Human Resources from 2005 to 2009.

    Alyson has also worked in human resources leadership roles at Fortune 200 companies, an international non-government organization, and the University of North Carolina Charlotte. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a Master of Science degree in Human Resources from Western Carolina University. She is a native of Greensboro, North Carolina.

    As the University’s Chief Human Resource Officer she is responsible for comprehensive and strategic leadership of all aspects of human resource operations for the campus including affirmative action/equal employment opportunity compliance in talent acquisition, classification and compensation, position management, employee engagement, employee rewards and recognition, employee relations, performance management, and learning and organizational development with the goal of attracting, recruiting, onboarding, engaging and retaining a high performing, diverse workforce.

  • Doug Gillin
    Director of Athletics

    Doug Gillin joined Appalachian as director of athletics in April 2015. He is responsible for all aspects of the university’s intercollegiate athletics program, including developing, implementing and managing the expectations and vision for the athletics program; marketing and promoting the athletics program; and fundraising in partnership with University Advancement. He represents the university in matters relating to athletics and ensures compliance of all athletics department employees with the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Sun Belt Conference and Title IX regulations. Prior to joining Appalachian, Gillin was deputy director of athletics at the University of Missouri and spent a decade in North Carolina in leadership roles with ISP Sports/IMG College. A former student-athlete, four-year letter winner and ice hockey team captain, Gillin holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education with an emphasis on sport management from State University of New York College at Cortland and a master’s degree in physical education with an emphasis in athletic administration from Ohio University.

  • Megan Hayes ’97
    Senior Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Communications Officer

    Megan Hayes serves as associate vice chancellor and chief communications officer for Appalachian State University. She has a background in marketing and public relations work with university, corporate, civic and government leaders, particularly as related to regional economic development, brand management and positioning in regional and national markets, college markets and the local tourism economy. Her skills and areas of expertise include brand management; crisis management and communication; developing and executing organizational marketing and communication plans; and team development and project management for maximum productivity, efficiency and employee morale. She manages the Appalachian State University communications team and the university’s content management and marketing strategies. She also hosts the university’s SoundAffect podcast. For 11 years, she has also taught as an adjunct instructor at Appalachian, and currently teaches a course in the university’s Department of Marketing. Hayes is accredited in public relations with the Public Relations Society of America and is certified in crisis communications and media crisis interview and response training. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Appalachian State University and an MBA from Wake Forest University.

  • Dr. Troy Johnson
    Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management

    Dr. Troy Johnson was named vice chancellor of enrollment management at Appalachian State University, effective April 1, 2023. He is responsible for providing strategic enrollment management for the institution and coordinating campuswide student access and success initiatives. Overseeing the institution’s enrollment management plan, he works closely with the chancellor and the senior leadership team to establish enrollment goals and estimate annual resource generation, and supports the development of university marketing strategies that are managed and implemented by University Communications. He oversees the Office of Admissions, Office of the Registrar, Office of Transfer Admissions and Engagement, Office of Student Financial Aid and University Scholarships.

    Previously, Johnson served as vice president of enrollment management at The University of Texas at Arlington, where he led more than 200 staff working in a comprehensive undergraduate, graduate and international set of enrollment offices, managed community partnerships and oversaw federal TRIO programs. His career includes important contributions to increasing enrollment of international and underrepresented students. He has built a distinguished career working in Texas, California and Illinois, consistently leading enrollment operations that have established records for recruitment, retention and graduation rates. At Illinois State University, he led record enrollments, despite declining demographic circumstances in the state.

    His academic experience includes teaching in the graduate program at Texas Tech, teaching economics at Texas Tech and teaching as an honors adjunct faculty member at Illinois State University.

    Johnson holds a Doctor of Education in higher education administration, a master’s degree in economics and a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from Texas Tech University. He also completed graduate research and studies in finance and economics, as well as in education systems and policy, at Loughborough University in England.

  • Jason Marshburn
    Director of Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management

    Jason S. Marshburn joined Appalachian State University in 2014 as the director of environmental Health, safety and emergency management. Previously he was appointed as the inaugural director of emergency management at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro after serving for two years as safety coordinator, assisting with campus preparedness among other duties. Jason provides strategic guidance on EHS&EM initiatives, develops policies for senior leadership and coordinates safety and emergency operations for large campus events with more than 35,000 attendees.

    He has led App State’s response and recovery efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and was awarded the university’s W.H. Plemmons Medallion in spring of 2021 for his efforts in that arena.

    Before working in higher education, Jason was engaged in emergency and disaster services with the fire service and the American Red Cross. His experience in disaster response began with Hurricane Floyd in 1999 while serving in a shelter for coastal evacuees. Jason holds a Bachelor of Science in emergency management from Western Carolina University and a Master of Science in safety, security and emergency management from Eastern Kentucky University. He maintains several certifications related to emergency management and emergency services, which include his North Carolina emergency management certification and emergency medical technician (EMT) certification. Jason also leads Delta Sigma Phi fraternity as a chapter adviser and served as Staff Senate chair for the 2016–17 academic year.

  • Paul Meggett
    General Counsel

    Paul Meggett assumed his role as general counsel for Appalachian State University in June 2018. A former law professor and interim dean with the Charlotte School of Law, Meggett also served for 12 years in a dual, in-house counsel role as associate general counsel for the UNC Health Care System and assistant university counsel for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Meggett is an active member of the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) and North Carolina State Bar. He is a member and former chair of the NCBA Legislative Advisory Committee and a current member of the NCBA Law School Liaison Committee. He also served a three-year term as chair of the NCBA Joint Diversity Task Force. Meggett served on the Issues-Outreach Subcommittee and the Issues-Demographics Subcommittee of the North Carolina State Bar and as a consultant to the South Carolina Bar concerning its diversity initiatives. Meggett holds a J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law, a B.S. degree from North Carolina State University and is also an alumnus of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

  • Jamie Parson, J.D.
    Chief Diversity Officer

    Prior to being named chief diversity officer at Appalachian State University in May 2022, Jamie Parson was an associate professor in the Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance at App State, where she taught undergraduate courses in business law and insurance. In addition, she led the Walker College of Business’ Inclusive Excellence Team (formerly Diversity Advisory Team), as well as the Risk Management and Insurance diversity initiatives in the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center. She also serves on numerous boards and committees, including the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Accountability Team.

    Prior to arriving at App State, she served as a Title VII investigator for the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission and a special investigative unit liaison and fire claims representative at State Farm Insurance Co.

    Parson holds a Bachelor of Science in sociology-anthropology from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska College of Law in Lincoln, Nebraska.

  • Will Sears
    Interim Vice Chancellor for University Advancement

    Will Sears assumed his role as interim vice chancellor of university advancement at App State in May 2024. Previously, Sears served as senior associate vice chancellor of development (2020–24), and prior to that role, he served as director of development in the Walker College of Business (2012–20).

    Sears has a proven track record of successful fundraising and more than 15 years of success in pharmaceutical and real estate sales. Throughout his career at App State, he has developed strong relationships with hundreds of donors and alumni, with a focus on benefitting the university and its students, faculty and staff.

    In the last 12 years, he has been the lead fundraiser on five distinguished professorships and has worked closely with many donors who have exceeded $1 million in cash giving to the university. As senior associate vice chancellor of development, Sears supervised the fundraising staff, and the division experienced fundraising growth in each of the last five years he served in this role.

    During his time in Walker College, Sears secured six gifts of more than $500,000, doubled the college’s total giving to more than $3.5 million from 2013 to 2017, and directed a record year of fundraising in 2020, exceeding $4.2 million.

    Sears is an App State alumnus, holding a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with triple concentrations in finance, risk and insurance, and real estate.

  • Andy Stephenson
    Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police

    Andy Stephenson joined Appalachian in 2017, coming from Indiana University (IU), where he served as captain of operations with oversight of all divisions within their police department.

    Stephenson graduated first in his class from the IU Police Academy in 1996, earned his Master of Science in criminal justice from Boston University, and joined IU’s Police Department in Bloomington full time in 1997. Stephenson served for eighteen years as an Indiana Law Enforcement Academy instructor, certified to teach topics such as defensive tactics, law enforcement ethics, emergency vehicle operations, standardized field sobriety testing, patrol techniques, vehicle stops and community policing. In addition, Stephenson was a certified drug recognition expert. He is a graduate of the 260th session of the FBI National Academy, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrator’s (IACLEA) Executive Development Institute and the United States Department of State Dignitary Protection Program.

    Stephenson has more than 25 years of experience in policing and public safety at institutions of higher education. He has also served for sixteen years as an adjunct professor in the criminal justice departments at Ivy Tech Community College and Appalachian State University, teaching courses related to police and community relations, ethics in policing, introduction to criminal justice, criminal investigations and introduction to policing.

  • Keith Werner
    Chief Information Officer

    Keith Werner, serving as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at App State, leads an accomplished team of more than 100 IT professionals. His current focus is on steering the university's information technology policy, setting standards, ensuring robust information security, and driving the development of enterprise systems and applications. Werner's leadership underpins the strategic planning and operational continuity of IT infrastructure and services, enhancing App State's educational and research capabilities.