Appalachian State University’s Bridge Strategic Plan 2021-2022 served as a roadmap to strengthen our efforts in pursuit of a shared vision, and was designed to help us emerge from the global pandemic as a better university — stronger, more resilient and better prepared for the future.
Lessons learned during this time were used to inform the university’s current five-year strategic plan, “Empowering Human Potential through the Appalachian Experience,” to ensure our continued leadership in providing transformative educational experiences for the citizens of North Carolina and beyond. Learn more about App State’s Strategic Plan 2022-2027.
Rationale and Process
The Bridge Strategic Plan 2021-2022 supported critical initiatives necessary to sustain the university’s mission and vision. This plan was created as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide an interim roadmap to guide App State through a time of financial and societal uncertainty.
In early fall 2020, a faculty and staff working group began developing this plan as a bridge between the 2014-2019 Strategic Plan, “The Appalachian Experience: Envisioning a Just and Sustainable Future,” and the current five-year strategic plan. Priorities and suggestions focusing on the near future were collected from a broad range of campus stakeholders. The working group then synthesized that information to form this plan.
The Bridge Strategic Plan focused on supporting the health and well-being of students, staff and faculty, maintaining academic excellence, and ensuring essential business operations while continuing our work toward inclusive excellence and sustainability. It was also an opportunity for the campus community to build on its collective resilience and strengths in order to innovate and thrive.
We recognize that a post-pandemic world is likely to require new technologies, processes and expectations. Over the duration of this plan, we observed, learned and adapted to prepare App State for any new demands on higher education.
Campus Health, Safety, and Well-being
- Strengthen and maintain COVID-19 response
- Maintain resources that prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of all students, staff, and faculty
Focus resources on health, safety, and well-being measures in response to COVID-19 to ensure a safe campus environment.
Prioritize support for mental health resources, further development and promotion of learning opportunities, and training for health, safety, and well-being. Support flexible teaching and learning opportunities, teleworking, and professional development to strengthen work, study, and life balance.
- Enhance the student learning experience
- Provide support for excellence and innovation in teaching, research, and scholarly activities
Institutional commitment to the student experience remains strong. Continue to provide support for students in all learning environments while reestablishing in-person learning where appropriate. Support strategies to reduce inequities for student access to instructional technology tools, strengthen academic engagement, and ensure that students have access to virtual academic resources, such as tutoring and academic advising in remote learning settings. Strengthen existing programs and develop additional online and hybrid opportunities to include more co-curricular and global learning experiences for students.
Expand faculty development to include the integration of responsive and inclusive online, hybrid, and in-person learning methods that create enriching experiences for all students. Continue planning efforts supporting the post-pandemic role of online and hybrid course delivery.
Build on our momentum of fostering scholarly activities through grant writing, collaborative partnerships, intra- and inter-disciplinary mentorship, and direct engagement with virtual conferences. Enhance infrastructure for hosting virtual conferences and other learning activities and leverage wide-ranging collaborative partnerships.
- Maintain student enrollment targets
- Pursue additional sources of funding
Advance student recruitment and retention initiatives to meet current and future enrollment targets. Identify markets for growth potential, including App State Online pathways and programs. Ensure resources and fundraising initiatives align with App State’s commitment to support student learning experiences and a safe and healthy campus community.
Target external funding sources for merit- and need-based scholarships to support the existing and prospective student body. Focus resources to support the success of regional, national, and international grant applications. Identify additional funding opportunities to support academic excellence and other essential activities.
Ensure faculty and staff positions align with the demands of current and future student enrollment. Continue to advocate for funding model adjustments to adequately support the university’s mission and provide competitive faculty and staff compensation.
- Continued support of the university’s academic mission
- Identify efficiencies to support campus activities
Prioritize Information Technology solutions, resources, and security to support the digital teaching and learning experience for faculty and students, and teleworking for faculty and staff. Further develop Information Technology applications, systems, hardware, and training to support a flexible and streamlined end-user experience for online education and business needs. Develop an institutional teleworking policy. Develop innovations and efficiencies for institutional resources, including finances, facilities, information systems, utilities, and other campus operations. Concentrate effective coordination among academic areas, services, and facilities.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Ensure campus is an inclusive and welcoming community
- Support retention of students, staff, and faculty
- Continue recruitment efforts for students, staff, and faculty
Promote a welcoming climate for all members of the community, recognizing that students, staff, and faculty learn and work better when they feel valued. Focus continued efforts and resources toward effective students, staff, and faculty retention, recruitment, professional development, and leadership that promotes a diverse, inclusive, and equity-minded campus community. Continue to support a campus that is inclusive and equitable for all community members through further development of resources, services, policy, and programs. Improve campus and technology accessibility for all students, staff, and faculty that also addresses disability- and socioeconomic-related concerns. Develop strategies to address equity gaps in retention and other success measures for diverse students, staff, and faculty populations. Continue the integration of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into the curriculum
Sustainability and Resiliency
- Prioritize sustainability initiatives that support resiliency and efficiencies in campus operations
Identify sustainability and climate action initiatives that contribute to cost savings for both the short- and long-term financial health and resilience of the university. Continue ongoing sustainability initiatives that reduce the cost of campus operations through efficiencies, and support campus resiliency and food insecurity efforts. Strengthen efforts where sustainability initiatives support and complement campus Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as well as campus health, safety, and well-being initiatives. Continue the integration of sustainability into the curriculum. Strengthen external funding strategies to support campus sustainability goals and commitments.
Current Strategic Plan
Strategic Plan 2022-2027
What does the future hold for App State? Read the university’s strategic plan for 2022-2027, titled “Empowering Human Potential through the Appalachian Experience,” to learn more about the six strategic priorities that will guide App State through the next five years. The plan also includes our mission, vision and values. Learn more
Past Strategic Plans
Bridge Strategic Plan 2021-2022
App State’s Bridge Strategic Plan 2021-2022 served as a roadmap to strengthen our efforts in pursuit of a shared vision and was designed to help us emerge a better university. Download Bridge Strategic Plan (PDF 3.6M)
Strategic Plan 2014-2019
App State’s strategic plan for 2014-2019 — “The Appalachian Experience: Envisioning a just and sustainable future” — served as a recognition that the primary focus of the campus is to transform the lives of our students. Learn more