The Appalachian Experience: Envisioning a just and sustainable future, provides direction for the campus over the course of the next five years. The plan serves as a recognition that the primary focus of the campus is to transform the lives of our students. We believe that this transformational Appalachian Experience results in engaged citizens who understand their responsibility to society. Our students leave with a clear charge to make a difference and to care for the planet and its people.
One: Creating the Transformational Educational Experience
At Appalachian State University, we will continue to provide students with a transformational education by creating and maintaining intellectually challenging academic programs and extra-curricular experiences that involve them in civic engagement and community service. We will continue to positively impact student and faculty success by expanding e-learning opportunities and increase access to innovative learning technologies.
The Undergraduate Experience
Undergraduate Education at Appalachian State University prepares students for the complexities of contemporary life. We believe that integrative learning must occur across the undergraduate experience, including the major, general education, and the co-curriculum. Undergraduate students at Appalachian State University should receive an education that prepares them for careers, post-graduate education, or other life choices. We rely on evidence-based practice to guide all aspects of the educational experience.
- Facilitate interdisciplinary and integrative approaches to teaching and learning, with new and traditional pedagogies that incorporate technology, to prepare twenty-first century students to be flexible, creative problem-solvers who can adapt to changing work requirements and life situations.
- Enhance academic quality and improve student retention and success through teaching excellence, effective enrollment management, and appropriate advising.
- Support a general education program that prepares all students for effective communication, critical and creative thinking, knowledge of the diverse world, and understanding of the responsibilities of community membership.
- Engage students in diverse experiences on campus and abroad to increase their knowledge of global issues, regions and cultures; improve their intercultural skills; and, develop attitudes that cultivate global citizenship.
- Develop mechanisms to broaden “sustainability” as a key learning principle in curricular offerings, faculty and staff research, campus life, and public service projects.
We deliver quality graduate programs that promote student-faculty interactions, specialization within disciplines, collaboration between disciplines, critical analysis and reflection beyond the scope of the undergraduate curricula, with select opportunities for professional development and growth.
- Expect and support excellence in graduate education and scholarship by addressing the changing landscape of global, national, state and local needs.
- Enhance existing graduate programs that serve the needs of the region and the state, and develop selected new programs that serve as unique, destination programs for the university.
- Increase graduate student presence and support on campus, off-campus and via online programming through increased enrollments and added infrastructure.
We are committed to the continued development of a vibrant student life community that contributes to a dynamic and inclusive intellectual environment. These life changing experiences, as well as excellent support services, contribute to the mission of the University and transform our students into life-long learners who are engaged citizens locally, nationally, and globally.
- Provide services and create opportunities that empower students to make responsible life choices that enhance their health, safety, and wellbeing, through our programs, services, and facilities.
- Facilitate the development of our students in becoming adaptable, innovative, resilient, and engaged individuals who are active participants in their own success.
- Create and enhance programs, experiential opportunities, and services that support our academic mission and foster the intellectual, personal, and professional development of our students.
Two: Advancing Knowledge and Addressing the Challenges of Our Region, State and World through Creativity and Innovation
One of the fundamental responsibilities of a university is the advancement of knowledge through research and creative activities. Two noteworthy qualities of Appalachian are the way scholarship informs teaching and how we engage our students in research. Appalachian has depth in its disciplinary research and is poised to expand its efforts to create interdisciplinary research teams focused on important local and global issues. We value the role North Carolina citizens play in the global ecosystem and society, and will increase the value and visibility of research efforts in all disciplines.
- Enhance resources, including time, to expand faculty research and creative endeavors in specific niche areas.
- Strategically recruit new and retain current faculty who enhance the research and scholarly mission of the University.
- Provide the infrastructure at the College and University level that supports increased participation of faculty and students in research and grant opportunities.
Three: Engaging the State, Region and World
We create a culture of outreach and engagement through innovative teaching and scholarship as well as valuing engagement with varied communities. By applying our academic and professional expertise to collaborations with external partners, we improve the quality of life for the communities we serve. Through outreach, we apply our academic and professional expertise to the direct benefit of external audiences. Engagement allows us to use our professional or academic skills in collaboration with the community in ways that mutually benefit each partner. Outreach and engagement promote improving the quality of life for our university and the communities we serve.
- Reward outreach and engagement in faculty and staff evaluations.
- Create shared learning experiences so students and graduates have an understanding of their responsibility to be contributing and productive citizens.
- Share faculty expertise with K-12 and community college partners to promote improved access and preparation for the university experience.
- Engage external stakeholders through enhanced communication and deeper relationships.
- Enhance efforts to promote Appalachian’s leadership in sustainability on a national level.
Four: Embracing Diversity of Thought, Belief and Community
Diversity is imperative for institutional, faculty, staff and student success. Continued assessment and planning ensures that diversity is incorporated into the fabric of the campus through its policies, administration, practice and service delivery. We are committed to fostering a community culture that is a microcosm of and responsive to the beliefs, identities, practices and values needed for constructive engagement in our increasingly global community. At Appalachian State University, diversity is recognized as an essential binding agent of the interdisciplinary approach to education, as well as to the greater life experience.
- Continue to create programs for students, faculty and staff geared to making the campus climate equally welcoming for all members of the community.
- Create a reporting structure to ensure that all campus leadership groups, councils, committees, and boards model the best practices in diversity and inclusion.
- Implement model practices for recruitment of a diverse group of faculty, staff and students.
- Reward successes in increased diversity in units across campus.
- Improve resources and services needed to attract and support diverse faculty and students.
- Improve campus accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
Five: Preserving Faculty and Staff Excellence
Our success in accomplishing our mission requires ongoing professional and personal development of faculty and staff and sustained wellness of our employees. Employees who are healthy and well-prepared can better perform their job duties, and can also serve as strong, effective role models to students. Faculty and staff development take the form of both professional knowledge and skills as well as personal growth. Professional development ranges from acquiring new knowledge in a discipline to learning new pedagogies to acquiring new skills with technologies. Personal development includes health, wellness, and work-life balance.
- Develop strong strategies to recruit and retain faculty and staff, making Appalachian a destination of choice for employment.
- Provide sufficient resources to support and enhance faculty and staff personal and career development.
- Begin an integrative wellness initiative linking faculty and staff wellness with comprehensive programs aimed at all of the wellness components (physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and social) to create and sustain a strong faculty and staff.
- Connect staff and faculty with resources to help them with family care issues including elder care and child care.
Six: Building a Responsive Infrastructure for a Sustainable Campus
How we employ our infrastructure, broadly defined, is critical to accomplishing our mission. Infrastructure includes both material and non-material means by which University personnel achieve our mission, encompassing both the physical facilities, and the operations, programs, business processes, organizational frameworks, and technologies we employ to sustain our campus into the future.
- Establish appropriate metrics to benchmark and model organizational efficiencies.
- Address duplication of efforts across departments, the increasing need for paperless processing, and a general desire to streamline and simplify existing practices.
- Develop a technology master plan and structured process for strategic and prioritized investment in technology to support continual advancement and effective delivery of instruction, research activities and administrative processes for the university.
- Develop and utilize a transparent campus-wide framework of governance for information technology.
- Develop a sustainable campus wide funding model for information technology.
- Design, implement and manage an information analytics and data warehouse platform at Appalachian State University.
- Live our commitment to sustainability in our facilities, programing and academic offerings.
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.
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, statement of sustainability, and metrics.
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