Enrollment, Faculty Salaries and Infrastructure
On Friday, Appalachian’s Board of Trustees held their November meeting. Our sincere thanks to Appalachian’s trustees — as well as our Board of Visitors members who joined the meeting on campus this week — for your continued advocacy and leadership of our university.
Throughout today’s committee sessions and full board meeting, it was clear Appalachian is abuzz with progress and good news. Here are a few notable takeaways:
- Appalachian is on track to achieve a record enrollment of 20,000 students by 2020, a reflection of our university’s “slow and steady growth” philosophy. Nearly 60% of our projected growth will be online or at satellite locations, and, looking into the future, these areas are where there are the most potential for any further increased enrollment. Appalachian’s goal supports Gov. Roy Cooper’s legislative target of equipping 2 million additional North Carolinian adults, ages 25-44, with a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential by 2030. This population is especially important to Appalachian’s recruitment efforts, as the number of graduating high school students across the country is on a steady decline. Appalachian is characterized by – and proud of – our capabilities to take charge and problem-solve. We are now operating from a position of strength in a volatile market environment. We will continue to admit qualified students and further our founders’ mission of serving rural areas in North Carolina.
- Provost Darrell Kruger reported both short-term and long-term strategies to ensure academic integrity. Short-term strategies include paying faculty to teach course overloads and hiring adjunct instructors, but we will not rely on these strategies long term. Provost Kruger will fund 10 new tenure-track faculty positions and three new academic advisers in Fall 2020. This continues a five-year commitment that includes adding 43 new faculty lines and 11 advisers. Last year, for the first time in Appalachian’s history, we reached more than 1,000 full-time tenured, tenure-track and instructor faculty — a tremendous milestone that reflects our stellar academic reputation.
- Vice Chancellor Forte's team is ensuring faculty who have earned promotions and tenure this year will see their well-deserved salary increases — retroactive to July 1, 2019 — in their December paychecks.
- Appalachian’s exceptional faculty continue to distinguish themselves on a national scale. Notably, Dr. Kurt Michael, Appalachian’s Stanley R. Aeschleman Distinguished Professor of Psychology, will serve as principal investigator for a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant that will expand mental health services in rural North Carolina schools, and Dr. Kathryn Kirkpatrick, a professor in the Department of English, earned — for the second time — the prestigious Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry, this time for her newest collection, “The Fisher Queen: New & Selected Poems.”
- Appalachian’s infrastructure projects — which total nearly $250 million and represent the largest infrastructure investment in the entire UNC System — are making significant progress. Two examples include Phase I of the residence halls project, which will see windows installed and exterior brick completed before December Commencement, and the Sanford Hall renovation, which remains on time and on budget. We expect the work underway will extend the life of this building up to 40 years. The Appalachian’s Future website is continually updated with information and photos regarding these projects and more.
I hope you will take a moment to read my remarks to the Trustees in full here. I will continue to share an update with you after each meeting of the trustees.
Today and every day, it is great to be a Mountaineer.
Sheri Everts, Chancellor