Update from Appalachian State University
With final exams underway and Fall 2021 Commencement on the horizon next Friday, I reported on App State’s major accomplishments, future plans, stellar employees and latest campus COVID-19 data to the university’s Board of Trustees earlier this morning. The committee meetings held yesterday and the full board meeting held this morning offered ample opportunities to share the important and exciting work happening at our university.
My remarks are posted to my website. Highlights are below:
- With 17 active cases in students and employees, we are seeing significantly lower rates of positive test results than at this time last year. The rate of students who are fully vaccinated is 70%, and for employees that rate is 83%.
- App State received the best state budget support in recent university history, which will provide bonuses and salary increases to our employees. It will also allow us to begin construction on the Innovation District, renovate classrooms and offices, and begin the daylighting of Boone Creek, among other exciting projects.
- Given the physical limitations in Boone, our future App State Hickory Campus will allow App State to continue the mission we have had since 1899 — to increase access to education for the citizens of North Carolina. In the coming weeks and months, we look forward to continuing conversations with the Hickory community and seeking additional input from App State’s academic leaders to determine the best options for program offerings and utilization of this much-needed space.
- The influence of App State’s stellar faculty and staff is making real and powerful differences across our state and nation. We have partnered with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools on a five-year, multimillion-dollar school principal pipeline initiative, faculty member Dr. Sarah Evans is leading undergraduate researchers in studying thawing permafrost in Alaska, three Mountaineers represented App State at the 26th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference last month, and our Student Support Services staff secured funding expected to reach $1.7 million to support App State’s first-generation and low-income students.
- Our capital projects are moving forward. Our newest residence hall, New River Hall, is on schedule to be completed in July 2022. Our Career Development Center’s new location in the Student Union is supporting enhanced programming, evening hours and expanded services. Our Child Development Center expansion — which will allow for the care of an additional 55 children once complete — is making headway, with sections of the pre-fabricated building expected to arrive within a few days.
- When New River Light and Power begins purchasing its electricity from Carolina Power Partners in January, we will increase our renewable energy purchase portfolio from just under 2% to 15%. Additionally, as I announced last month, we are working on an agreement that will convert the purchased electricity for Leon Levine Hall to 100% solar early next year.
- Work on the university’s next strategic plan continues, and the University Planning and Priorities Council has been holding listening sessions with campus and meeting with key constituency groups to inform the initial drafts of the plan next semester.
Our exams continue through next Wednesday and we know our Mountaineers are prepared for success — good luck! We have come through this semester with incredible accomplishments that speak directly to the hard work, dedication and resilience of the App State Community. We have had much to celebrate in 2021 — and we have much to anticipate in 2022 and beyond.
Sheri Everts, Chancellor