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Mission, Vision & Values

Appalachian's Strategic Plan

The Appalachian Experience: Envisioning a Just and Sustainable Future (PDF 6.42M)

The Appalachian Experience: Envisioning a Just and Sustainable Future

What does the future hold for Appalachian? Read the university's five-year strategic plan, including our mission, vision, values and statement of sustainability.

Learn more (PDF 6.42M)

The Mission

Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as engaged global citizens who understand their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all.

Our location in the distinctive Appalachian mountain town of Boone, North Carolina, profoundly shapes who we are. As a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina, we fulfill our core academic missions of teaching, scholarship, and service in ways that honor our geography and heritage.
We bring people together in inspiring ways. The transformational Appalachian experience develops individuals who are eager to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, to embrace diversity and difference, and to become contributing members of society.
We create rich environments where students can thrive. Our students are educated broadly and are simultaneously equipped with strong disciplinary knowledge. Academic learning occurs in a wide range of undergraduate, selected masters and intermediate programs, and the doctorate in Education offered on campus, at off campus sites, and online.
Faculty and students engage in research and scholarship that advance knowledge and address the problems of our region, state, and world through creativity and innovation. Learning takes place within formal and informal instructional settings with dedicated faculty members, in co-curricular programs that enrich classroom experience, in interdisciplinary educational formats, and through outreach to the local community and beyond. Appalachian cultivates diverse and vibrant arts that enrich the cultural and intellectual climate of the campus and region.

We promote a spirit of inclusion that inspires students, faculty, and staff to form relationships extending well beyond graduation. Our students think critically, communicate effectively, make local to global connections, and understand the responsibilities of community engagement. We embrace our obligation to help create healthy, just, and sustainable societies by equipping our students to live with knowledge, compassion, dedication, humility, and dignity.

The Vision

Appalachian State University aspires to be the destination institution for dedicated students who seek challenging academic programs and co-curricular experiences, engaged faculty and a vibrant campus culture that will shape them into engaged, responsible global citizens. Inspired by the ideal of sustainable community, we seek to deliver the Southeast’s best comprehensive, progressive education. Additionally, the university will provide excellent value; will be an influential world citizen; and will develop a distinctive identity built on the university's strengths, location and tradition.

Essential Character and Core Values

Appalachian State University is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a place of great beauty and cultural and recreational opportunity. The mountains inspire an appreciation for the traditions of the region as we connect to and learn from the world. We are a teaching institution with small classes in an innovative, interdisciplinary, and integrative curriculum supported by a faculty dedicated to research and invested in new strategies and technologies. Our faculty and staff inspire our students, who have a strong service ethic and involvement in the community. The green ethos at Appalachian infuses academic programs, environmental stewardship, research, and a community with an attitude of care for the planet.

The Statement of Sustainability

Sustainability at Appalachian State University is not a trend, it is a tradition. We are active stewards of our State’s interconnected financial, cultural and natural resources. Through engaged scholarship, we balance critical, creative and global thinking in a living laboratory, transforming theory into practice and fostering responsible citizenship.

Reflections on the Appalachian Experience

Joseph Bathanti, Professor of Creative Writing
North Carolina Poet Laureate (2012-2014)

At Appalachian State University – inspired and nurtured by the magnificent mountain chain and vast ecosystem of biodiversity surrounding it – sustainability and community are synonymous; living, intellect, and social conscience are seamless.

In the pluralistic tradition of John Dewey, Appalachian students learn to fully engage daily in the ever-unfolding adventure that embodies a truly holistic education arrived at intentionally through inquiry, dialogue, and field work; and calibrated to the challenges and demands of an ever-changing world. Appalachian students study, and apprentice in, the practices that will illuminate their paths for the rest of their lives, as well as the paths of those with whom they come in contact – at local, state, national and global levels.

Guided by a nationally prominent faculty that approaches teaching as a vocation, that cares profoundly about its students in and out of the classroom, Appalachian students are not merely educated, but transformed, their instincts disciplined in profoundly human and humane ways. Through a broad, inclusive array of scholarship, pedagogy, service, cultural opportunities and extracurricular involvement, they discover that, in addition to keen intellects, capacious hearts and souls are the engines of inner fulfillment, judicious action and righteous advocacy. Appalachian faculty model discriminative minds, physical and emotional wellness, and a dedicated work ethic. They respond to sensitive timely issues, that by necessity validate a democratic education, through discourse leavened with courage, compassion, an appetite for measured intellectual risk, and steadfast moral compasses. Their impact upon the lives of their students is pervasive and lasting.

In this spirit of shared humanity, communal concern, and stewardship of the natural world, Appalachian State champions diversity and interdisciplinarity, solidarity through reconciliation, and moving boldly forward into the 21st century. The quest to enhance the life of the planet and its citizenry must always be imaginative, always collaborative, and innovatively cross-curricular – with an unlimited threshold to embrace and adapt to difference. That challenge must necessarily be taken up by Sciences and Technologies, by the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Imagination, on the Appalachian campus, is in ample supply – among faculty, staff, and students alike with vigorous support and leadership from its administration. Our students are encouraged to dream prodigiously.

When Appalachian graduates reminisce about the glories of what happened during their stays on this campus, they do not bring up money or material wealth – though Appalachian has supplied them with an incomparable education and a degree from a stellar university that stands them in good stead intellectually, and remains the prime engine for their creature comforts. But, rather, they reflect upon something much more important: the “place” that is Appalachian State University – a place invested with a kind of mysticism, certainly mystery and wonder, a portal that opened to them at a key moment in their lives, beyond which was revealed to them the limitless possibilities for a fully realized, purposefully committed, happy life, and the fact that the human spirit, in all of its guises, is inextinguishable. Appalachian State University has never been just a college, but a rare place where students, and faculty alike, the entire university community, are not only educated and sustained, but transformed.