From the desk of Chancellor Everts
I am proud to announce our official enrollment numbers for the 2016-17 academic year. Our first-year class is the largest and most diverse first-year class in Appalachian State University’s history – and certainly among the brightest. Our first-year class totals 3,125 students, with just under 17 percent from traditionally underrepresented groups, up from 15.2 percent in fall 2015, which was also an Appalachian record for diversity. The admissions selectivity process continues to enroll students most likely to succeed. For enrolled students, the average high school GPA is 4.17 (weighted), average SAT score is 1133 and ACT 25. Out-of-state enrollment is up for both new undergraduate and graduate students, as is enrollment for transfer and distant education students. We are also proud to report increased quality measures for higher retention and record four-, five- and six-year graduation rates.
Slow and steady enrollment continues to be a priority at Appalachian. It is important to note we are not anticipating any change in our student-to-faculty ratio, currently at 16:1, which is a hallmark of the Appalachian Experience. While strong demand is a positive indicator of Appalachian’s overall standing, we must be able to sustain our community. Pacing the growth so that it is slow but steady is key, and the leadership at Appalachian is committed to having the appropriate resources in place to support the continued health of the university. Ninety-nine percent of full-time faculty have doctorate, first professional degree or other terminal degrees, and we are committed to sustaining that caliber of excellence.
Space to support the work of faculty and staff is always at a premium. We have allocated more than $2 million from renovation and restoration, as well as carry-forward funding, to upgrade the old Presbyterian Church behind the Plemmons Student Union. It will now be called Howard Street Hall and house two new 60- to 80-seat classrooms and 21 faculty offices. And, construction on the new Beaver College of Health Sciences is moving along smartly, with occupancy slated for August 2018.