Remarks from the March 29, 2019 Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Friday, March 29, 2019

Board of Trustees Meeting
Friday, March 29, 2019
Plemmons Student Union, on the campus of Appalachian State University

Remarks by Sheri Everts, Chancellor

Good morning and welcome to Springtime in Boone!

I know many of you have been enjoying warmer temperatures and spring blooms for a few weeks, but we are just starting to see them in the High Country – and we are excited about seeing the daffodils bloom! As you may have seen on Facebook and Twitter, the campus ducks seem to be choosing this time of year to move into their new house – possibly they are nesting and we’ll see some baby ducklings soon.

Springtime means Commencement is just around the corner, and we have been busy on our campus this semester. I’d like to focus my report today on updating you about one key event: Appalachian’s hosting of the Board of Governors for their March meeting last week.

The Board of Governors’ visit to our campus was a tremendous opportunity for our campus. The Governors have not met on our campus since 1999 – a time when our enrollment was at 12,000.

We used this visit as a way to showcase how we have changed– not only in numbers but also in the ways we teach the leaders of tomorrow and serve the state of North Carolina today.

With help from Student Ambassadors, we took several members of the Board – as well as colleagues from other system campuses – on a campus tour.<?p>

  • We showed them Sanford and Wey Halls and their level of disrepair;
  • We took them to Levine Hall, so they can see how we deliver a building on time and on budget when given state resources, and
  • We showed them the site of the Innovation Campus, so they can envision what is in our future.

Through one-to-one and group interactions, our Board of Governors learned about our university from the perspectives of:

  • Students on our Solar Vehicle Team
  • Student Yosef Club members
  • Student Veterans
  • Student Police Cadets, and
  • The Appalachian Community of Education Scholars

Deans, students, faculty and staff took the opportunity of the public comments session to share accomplishments from their colleges, research, and updates on special projects. Notably:

  • Chief Sustainability Officer Dr. Lee Ball shared ways our university sustainability efforts are making economic, environmental and social impacts on our state.
  • Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Cindy Barr shared some data from our first-year admitted students for Fall 2019. Of that admitted pool, we have realized a 1.7% increase in admitted rural students, a 2% increase in admitted First Generation College students, and a 3% increase in admitted students who are racially underrepresented.
  • Dr. Robin Groce, who serves as Appalachian’s director of planning and implementation for the Appalachian State University Academy at Middle Fork, reported that the Academy 5th graders achieved an 81% increase from their 4th grade scores on their pre-assessments for the North Carolina End-of-Grade reading comprehension test. We are so proud of these students’ accomplishments, but as you will see shortly, we know test scores tell only part of the story of successes at Middle Fork.

We also made sure they knew our enrollment numbers, our retention rates and other accolades that support my assertion that we are the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state… and should be funded accordingly.

Finally, we shared with them this perspective of how Appalachian is helping shape the educations of young people in our state from Kindergarten through college:

I do not think it is an overstatement to say this was an enormously successful visit for Appalachian. We placed our university on the map for many of these individuals, who make critically important decisions about our future. They will now have a key frame of reference for making these decisions in the future.

Before I close, I would like to invite any of you who are staying the weekend to join us tomorrow morning for the App State Walk to Defeat ALS. In October 2017, our Dean of Libraries, Dr. Dane Ward, was diagnosed with ALS. Our university community has chosen to honor him by coordinating an event to increase awareness about ALS and fundraise to find a cure. We have raised more than $28,000 so far. If you would like to sponsor a team or a walker, please visit the website and look for the App State Walk to Defeat ALS event.

I would also like to quickly recognize the success of our Women’s Basketball team. They made it to the Final Four of the WBI Tournament, reaching 20 wins for the first time since the 2012-13 season. I know you all join me in wishing them luck as they take on Campbell tomorrow in the Holmes Center (game time is 7 p.m.).

There are so many wonderful stories taking place on our campus. I know I say this just about every time I see you, but I hope you will make your homepage so you can read new stories every day and share the ones that make you proudest.

Whether we are in the classroom, competing in athletics or serving our community, we rise to the challenges together at Appalachian. It is ALWAYS great to be a Mountaineer. Mr. Chairman, this concludes my remarks.