Update from Appalachian State University

Friday, January 19, 2024

With Boone winter weather welcoming us to the first week of classes, it’s been an interesting start to the semester! I appreciate the flexibility everyone has afforded us as we do our best to ensure continuity of our students’ academic experiences. A huge thanks to our facilities team members, who have been keeping our sidewalks and roads as clear as possible, and to all of our essential employees who are ensuring our food service continues, our housing and other buildings are maintained and our emergency services remain responsive.

This week, scenes of the snow from our Boone campus webcams have been featured on television stations across the state and into neighboring states, offering a view of a snowy Boone campus to hundreds of thousands of viewers across the region.

On the Hickory campus, students were welcomed to the new semester with a new student lounge area, to complement the study areas and provide a space for gathering and community building.

We begin the calendar year in a strong financial position, bolstered by record enrollment that, along with the many university accolades, significant accomplishments and key projects we have underway, exemplify the incredible work of App State’s faculty, staff and students. Our recent economic impact study supports our excellent reputation as a premier public undergraduate institution with strong evidence that an App State education is an excellent investment that pays dividends to our students and to the taxpayers of our state. We appreciate the unprecedented levels of support from our legislators, which demonstrates confidence in our standing, as our industry has seen instability, enrollment declines and financial challenges.

Our performance metrics are key ways we measure our success as a UNC System constituent institution and hold ourselves accountable and aligned with the UNC System Strategic Plan. Importantly, our funding allocations are tied to success in these areas.

Related to these metrics is the recent Return on Investment (ROI) study, released in November by the UNC System. This comprehensive study of academic degree programs across the System was commissioned and funded by the General Assembly, and, as I shared in November, demonstrates significantly increased lifetime earnings for those who hold college degrees from UNC System institutions.

As we continue to look more specifically at the results of this study related to App State, each UNC System Chancellor received guidance earlier this month regarding the review of some of our individual academic programs. Provost Norris and her team are leading this review and associated action plan, and she will provide regular updates on this process beginning next week. We will provide a report to the UNC System in early March, and the Board of Governors will provide a comprehensive, Systemwide report to the General Assembly in late April. The Provost has a thoughtful and informed process underway that includes representation from Deans, Associate Deans, Department Chairs and Faculty Senate, Institutional Research and Career Development. The Board will report to the General Assembly on the results of this program review by April 24.

With wintry weather and dropping temperatures expected to continue across the High Country this weekend, I encourage everyone to exercise precautions — stay warm and stay safe.

Sheri Everts