Appalachian State University

Five-year Goals and Associated Interim Benchmarks

In January 2017, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina unanimously approved Higher Expectations, a five-year Strategic Plan for the UNC System. The Plan calls on the UNC System to achieve ambitious goals in access, student success, affordability and efficiency, economic impact and community engagement, and institutional excellence and diversity.

Progress on these goals and metrics will be achieved through the hard work and commitment of institutional leaders, faculty, and staff. In that spirit, Appalachian State University has identified these contributions that Appalachian State University aspires to make to the UNC Strategic Plan over the next five years.

From Appalachian State University: When Appalachian Chancellor Sheri Everts signed a pledge with President Margaret Spellings to meet UNC System strategic goals over the next five years, Everts recognized that these initiatives were ambitious, but achievable. Additionally, she noted that they were consistent with Appalachian’s mission to increase access to education for those students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to achieve a college education. Today, Appalachian is well on its way to meeting, if not exceeding, these five-year performance goals.

Student success in Appalachian’s classrooms and laboratories, combined with postgraduate success, contributes greatly to the university’s excellent reputation as a national leader in higher education. As Appalachian continues growing at a slow and steady rate, the inclusion of some of the best young minds that our country has to offer strengthens the university’s academic mission and helps retain students, faculty, and staff.

 

 

Dashboard Banner Prioritize 3

From Appalachian State University: One important guiding value of the Strategic Plan is its emphasis on letting each institution’s unique mission within the UNC System drive its strategic metrics. Appalachian was asked to designate five of the nine Strategic Plan metrics into a “Prioritize” category.

The metrics that Appalachian will use to measure how it is meeting its strategic needs and achieving its aspirations for the future fall into the following categories:

  • Rural enrollments
  • Low-income completions
  • Rural completions
  • Low-income achievement gaps in undergraduate degree efficiency
  • Critical workforce credentials

 

Rural Enrollments

By fall 2021, App State will enroll 5,715 rural students, a 7.3% increase over 2016 levels (387 additional rural students over a base of 5,328).

From Appalachian State University: Appalachian has already surpassed its 2020 goal for increased enrollment of rural students. As members of a university community that is a leader in outreach and education in rural North Carolina, Appalachian faculty, students, and staff conduct research that is of value to North Carolina’s rural populations, particularly in northwestern North Carolina. Additionally, Appalachian’s community outreach and engagement efforts in rural areas have measurable impact.

To help attain this goal, Appalachian has pursued recruitment efforts with community colleges and through student transition programs such as GEAR UP and Upward Bound. In addition, the university offers nearly 100 service-learning and community-based research courses each year. These efforts build strong connections with the university’s surrounding communities. Since 2004, Appalachian has contributed more than $25 million in value to communities in northwestern North Carolina through service-learning efforts. This commitment to community makes every student an ambassador for Appalachian in nearby communities, strengthening recruitment efforts. The addition of a police academy program in summer 2018 has added another key recruitment tool that will return value to rural communities in North Carolina.

Learn more:

CCC&TI, Appalachian announce Aspire Appalachian Co-Admission Program agreement
Appalachian receives continued support for Federal TRIO SSS program
Appalachian’s Upward Bound awarded nearly $3.5 million to support student access to higher education
College Access Partnerships
Gadugi - Working Together to Preserve Cherokee Culture
New Police Development Program to train the ‘policing leaders of tomorrow’ at Appalachian
Appalachian, a 2019–20 Military Friendly® School, earns Gold distinction
Teens and mental health: A school-based intervention program lowers rural teens’ suicide attempts and boosts their well-being
Innovative business ideas win regional students scholarships in Appalachian’s GEAR UP Pitch Competition
In the media: Winston Salem Forsyth County Schools Summer Reading Adventures – Middlefork

 

 

Low-income Completions

By 2021-22, App State will produce 1,600 low-income graduates, an increase of 24.2% (312 additional low-income completions over a base of 1,288).

From Appalachian State University: Appalachian is on track in its efforts to increase the number of low-income graduates and compares favorably to its peer institutions in terms of value and affordability. Appalachian administrators are, however, keenly aware of the cost of a college education and the debt that some students incur while attaining an education at Appalachian. To this end, Appalachian has prioritized increasing the number and availability of need-based and merit-based scholarships for incoming and returning students. These are key fundraising efforts for the university as Appalachian seeks to provide students with the support they need for success in college and beyond.

Learn more:

Scholarships at Appalachian
Appalachian named among nation’s top colleges and universities by 4 recognized national publications
College to Career — new course at Appalachian prepares students for what’s next
For transfer students, Appalachian offers a seamless transition and a community dedicated to their success

 

 

Rural Completions

By 2021-22, App State will produce 1,593 rural graduates, an increase of 16.2% (222 additional rural completions over a base of 1,371).*

From Appalachian State University: Appalachian is continuing its efforts to increase the number of graduates from rural areas. Data show strong rural enrollment and overall retention rates for Appalachian. Data also show that students are enrolling in and successfully completing the courses they need to graduate in four to five years. These are indicators for strong completion numbers in the next year, suggesting that this trend will hold. A key strategy for success in retention and completion rates is the university’s Early Intervention Team, a faculty- and staff-led entity that works with numerous support organizations and key campus personnel to intervene with students who are showing signs of difficulty with university life. This non-disciplinary process offers support and assistance, connecting students with resources that can help them address the challenges that arise in classes, residence halls, off-campus housing, or other contexts where students might face obstacles to success.

Learn more:

Appalachian receives continued support for Federal TRIO SSS program
Tutoring Services
Scholarships at Appalachian
A Snapshot in the Life of a Tutor and Client - University Tutoring Services
Staci Hunter ’18 – SECU Public Fellows Internship
For transfer students, Appalachian offers a seamless transition and a community dedicated to their success
Swansboro native Dani Iris ’18 among 10 students nationwide to receive the prestigious Windgate Fellowship
Appalachian’s Lynne Waugh wins 2018 Durham Freshman Advocate Award

 

 

Achievement Gaps

By 2021-22, App State will reduce by 50% the achievement gap in undergraduate degree efficiency among low-income students.

From Appalachian State University: Appalachian is aggressively pursuing ways to reduce the disparity in academic performance and time-to-egree between low-income and non-low-income students. Since fall 2017, the university has achieved a 6% improvement in this area. In addition to utilizing the university’s Early Intervention Team model, Appalachian has increased its emphasis on workforce development at both undergraduate and graduate levels. In 2017-18 alone, Appalachian’s Career Development Center delivered 2,398 individual counseling sessions on career exploration, career counseling, resume reviews, interviewing skills, and related topics.

Learn more:

Student Success at Appalachian: Finding balance academically, financially, personally
First Destination Success: What Appalachian’s recent graduates are doing
Where can an Appalachian degree take you?
Study shows significant majority of Appalachian State University students employed or continuing their education within a year of graduation
New Police Development Program to train the ‘policing leaders of tomorrow’ at Appalachian

 

 

Critical Workforces

By 2021-22, App State will produce 2,257 critical workforce credentials, an increase of 29.6% (516 additional critical workforce credentials over a base of 1,741).*

From Appalachian State University: Appalachian’s pace is ahead of schedule in its annual progress toward increasing the number of critical workforce credentials in fields of health professions, teacher education, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Through rigorous academic program offerings, internationally recognized research, and extensive public outreach and engagement, Appalachian strives to position itself at the forefront of STEM education and activities in North Carolina. As demand in STEM fields increases, creativity is becoming the commodity of the future. Each year, on average, more than 500 individual employers visit Appalachian's campus. Also, more than 4,000 employers are connected to Appalachian and approved to recruit students through the university’s online tool for job postings. Seven career fairs are held each year, including one for graduate school and one for internships. Because of their reputation for creative problem-solving skills, curiosity, and on-the-spot innovation, Appalachian graduates are sought after by employers. Case in point: Appalachian’s Team Sunergy is setting the standard for leadership in the development of solar transportation technology, drawing international recognition to the university’s interdisciplinary approach to STEM education, and helping attract companielike Tesla to its campus to recruit employees.

Learn more:

Appalachian ranks No. 1 in nation for highest number of NBPTS-certified alumni
Appalachian’s Beaver Scholars program aims to improve health care in region and beyond
Appalachian alumnus finds niche in sustainable transportation
Documentary: Runnin’ on Shine – the story of Appalachian State University’s Team Sunergy
Appalachian’s Team Sunergy ties for second place in 2018 American Solar Challenge
Aspiring accountant aims for career working with veterans
About Appalachian’s Beaver College of Health Sciences
Appalachian receives approval for doctoral program in clinical psychology
Appalachian’s NEXUS research project cuts by half local farm’s greenhouse energy consumption
Nadine Lambert ’17 applies her math degree at worldwide IT consulting firm
Chemistry alum’s research indicates potential harm of essential oils
In the media: Bananas vs. Sports Drinks? Bananas Win in Study (The New York Times)
In the media: People and Lasers: Edible Lasers (Funovation.com)
NSF Fellowships support Appalachian alumnae’s graduate-level study in science disciplines

 

 

 

Dashboard Banner Prioritize 3

From Appalachian State University: One important guiding value of the Strategic Plan is its emphasis on letting each institution’s unique mission within the UNC System drive its strategic metrics. Appalachian designated three of the nine metrics in the “Improve” category as secondary areas for increasing performance during the 2017-22 course of the UNC System Strategic Plan.

Learn more:

For transfer students, Appalachian offers a seamless transition and a community dedicated to their success
Appalachian receives continued support for Federal TRIO SSS program
Scholarships at Appalachian
Financial literacy resources for Appalachian students
Appalachian’s Upward Bound awarded nearly $3.5M to support student access to higher education
Student Success at Appalachian: Finding balance academically, financially, personally

 

Low-income Enrollments

By fall 2021, App State will enroll 4,911 low-income students, a 9.3% increase over 2015 levels (419 additional low-income students over a base of 4,492).

From Appalachian State University: Appalachian is on track to surpass its 2021 goal for increasing enrollment of low-income students. Appalachian was founded on the principle of serving low-income and rural populations. The university offers need-based and merit-based scholarships, including the ACCESS Scholarship for students with high financial need. Keenly aware that more scholarships like this one are needed, Appalachian has prioritized increasing the number and availability of need-based and merit-based scholarships for incoming and returning students. These are key fundraising efforts for the university as Appalachian seeks to provide students with the support they need for success in college and beyond.

Learn more:

For transfer students, Appalachian offers a seamless transition and a community dedicated to their success
Appalachian receives continued support for Federal TRIO SSS program
Scholarships at Appalachian
Financial literacy resources for Appalachian students
Appalachian’s Upward Bound awarded nearly $3.5M to support student access to higher education
Student Success at Appalachian: Finding balance academically, financially, personally

 

Undergraduate Degree Efficiency

By 2021-22, App State will improve its undergraduate degree efficiency to 24.2 over a base of 23.3.

From Appalachian State University: Appalachian is on track to meet its goals for improving efficiency of degree completion for its overall undergraduate population. Appalachian’s “DegreeWorks” initiative sets a goal for all undergraduates to complete their degrees in four years, combining a web-based degree audit with face-to-face academic advising to provide constant organizational support for degree completion. Students can run scenarios using their current or potential degree programs to see how coursework is being applied to their progress toward graduation, and run "what if" scenarios to see how changing their current academic program (adding/deleting/changing majors, minors, etc.) will affect degree completion progress. Additional tools include real-time information, educational planning components, transparent course and credit transfer information, and GPA calculators to assist students in completing their degrees with the greatest possible efficiency. More efficiency yields faster time-to-degree, lower tuition payments, lower debt, and earlier entry into the job market, bolstering the value of an Appalachian education.

Learn more:

Appalachian’s Guide to Undergraduate Programs
College to Career — new course at Appalachian prepares students for what’s next
CCC&TI, Appalachian announce Aspire Appalachian Co-Admission Program agreement
Undergraduate Four Year Guides
DegreeWorks audit tool
Distance Education at Appalachian
US News and World Report recognizes Appalachian for ‘Best Online Programs’
Appalachian State University ranks in the top 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities for nontraditional students in 2019, according to College Factual
Expansion plans for Appalachian’s Child Development Center underway
Student Success at Appalachian: Finding balance academically, financially, personally
Appalachian named among nation’s top colleges and universities by 4 recognized national publications

 

Research Productivity

By 2021-22, App State will receive $18,279,664 in research and development sponsored program awards and licensing income, an increase of 15.8% ($2,500,000 additional over a base of $15,779,664).*

From Appalachian State University: Appalachian’s plans for expansion and improvements prioritize innovative research and learning, benefit the community, and position Appalachian as a leader among its peers. Since fall 2017, the university has increased program awards by over $1 million.

Appalachian’s faculty and staff are called upon for their expertise in areas as diverse as human performancerural health careinternational leadership training, student health and safety, and sustainability. Appalachian’s students and alumni take their skills to the workforce and apply them to make real and powerful differences in their communities and beyond.

Properties designated by the Board of Governors as having Millennial Campus status present opportunities to think and act creatively, quickly, and nimbly. They further Appalachian’s research capacity and its teaching and service mission, while also enhancing regional economic development. Appalachian’s Millennial Campus projects involve repurposing decommissioned property and re-envisioning inactive building sites, allowing the university to think strategically about how to operate as a campus while also meeting regional needs in the long term.

Learn more:

Grant announcements at Appalachian
NSF grant funds Appalachian research on the effects of too few zzz’s
NSF funds Appalachian research of ‘Changing Glacier Dynamics at Athabasca Glacier’
US Department of Education funds Appalachian Fulbright-Hays GPA Program
Appalachian receives NRPA funding for survey on older adults’ participation in sports
In the Media: Small Earthquakes Common In Eastern US
In the Media: Here's the Best Way to Boost Your Immune System
Appalachian student and faculty researchers seek to recover declining honeybee population
In the media: Greed Disguised as Science: How a Multitude of Factors Led to the Opioid Crisis (Mad in America)
Racing on Solar Energy — the evolution of ROSE and Appalachian’s solar vehicle team

 

 

 

Dashboard Banner Stretch 3

One important guiding value of the Strategic Plan is its emphasis on letting each institution’s unique mission within the UNC System drive its strategic metrics.  Appalachian designated one of the nine metrics in the “Sustain” category, a metric for continual monitoring. While this metric may not require additional resources for improvement during the 2017-22 course of the Strategic Plan, Appalachian seeks continual improvement in all areas and will work to improve in this category as well.

Five-year Graduation Rates

By 2022, App State will improve its five-year graduation rate from any accredited institution to 77.0%. This is an improvement over a base of 74.6% for App State’s 2010 cohort.

From Appalachian State University: Appalachian employs numerous strategies to streamline the learning paths for its students. These include advising tools to help students “Finish in Four,” an early intervention team and financial literacy in the co-curricular experience. In addition to the statewide articulation agreements between North Carolina community colleges and state universities, Appalachian also has individual articulation agreements with 10 community colleges and a co-admission program with nearby Caldwell Community College. Appalachian’s faculty, staff, and students share a commitment to student success.

Learn more:

Financial Literacy
Appalachian’s Guide to Undergraduate Programs
Undergraduate Four Year Guides
DegreeWorks audit tool
Office of Transfer Services
Early Intervention Team
Appalachian, a 2019–20 Military Friendly® School, earns Gold distinction
Scholarships at Appalachian

 

 

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