Update from Appalachian State University — week of Feb. 15–19

Friday, February 19, 2021

At yesterday’s UNC System Board of Governors Meeting, President Peter Hans lauded the focus and hard work of people across the state as he shared the significant progress that has been made on the System’s strategic plan goals and acknowledged the challenges facing rural and low-income student enrollment.

At App State, we are proud of the progress we have made in our work to serve rural and low-income students. As I reported at the Spring Faculty and Staff Meeting on Feb. 5, our rural student enrollment exceeds the System’s strategic plan benchmark for this year by more than 300 students, and we are above our benchmark goals for graduating students from low-income backgrounds. Thank you for your work in meeting these important goals that make critical differences for the citizens of the state of North Carolina.

Our campus community’s collective dedication to health and safety throughout this pandemic is evident every day. Thank you for staying vigilant. Adherence to safety precautions — especially wearing face coverings properly — makes a tremendous difference in our ability to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Since the start of the spring semester, we have conducted 43,497 COVID-19 tests through targeted testing, as well as our regularly held surveillance testing events. Thank you for your participation in these events. Testing data remain critical to our ability to accurately assess and quickly respond to the spread of COVID-19 within our campus community.
  • So far this week, we have conducted 1,185 COVID-19 tests with 22 positive results, or 1.86%, significantly lower than the state’s latest reported rate of 5.7%, which also represents a downward trend. Monday’s update to our coronavirus dashboard will include this data, as well as the data from this weekend’s testing.
  • As a reminder, we share additional key metrics and important COVID prevention information each week in our campus operations updates.
  • We also are preparing to assist in vaccine distribution, in anticipation of North Carolina’s planned move into Phase 3, which will include university employees who are working in-person at their work site beginning March 10.

Our faculty and staff work daily to create innovative programs and exceptional experiences that benefit those on our campus and beyond.

  • Our College Access Partnerships program has been awarded nearly $12 million in federal grant funding to implement the Empowering Teacher Learning (ETL) project — a virtual, teacher-directed professional learning program for Western North Carolina educators. This latest grant is a testament to the continued success of our faculty and staff in meeting our strategic goal of increasing our external grants and contracts funding.
  • Our Campus Dining team continues working to enhance the experience of our students who are learning on campus. Many thanks to this team for your work in developing new, delicious menu items, as well as ensuring those with dietary restrictions are accommodated.
  • At the Spring Faculty and Staff Meeting earlier this month, we honored our outstanding staff for their work as selfless leaders and visionaries for our university. We also recognized the faculty winners of the Excellence in Teaching awards and the Academic Freedom and Faculty Governance Award.

With focus and hard work, our faculty, staff and students are powering the future of App State, as we work together to create a better future for our university, our region and our state.

Sheri Everts, Chancellor