BOONE, N.C.—The Appalachian State University Board of Trustees held their final quarterly meeting of the year Dec. 9. During that meeting, Chancellor Sheri N. Everts provided a quarterly update, Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Paul Forte provided an update on student fees and Dr. Christina Rosen and five graduate students in the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling presented their clinical mental health research findings.
Everts began her report with several items related to the university’s sustainability initiatives. “Appalachian’s leadership in sustainability is widely known, and is a consideration in every decision we make regarding curriculum, growth, community engagement and stewardship,” she said. “We continue to make a name for ourselves in this fast-growing discipline, and are building a solid reputation that extends well beyond our region, across the nation and with the sustainability leaders throughout the world.”
Everts’ report included the news that Appalachian earned top ranking among master’s granting institutions on the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s 2016 Sustainable Campus Index. This index ranks top-performing colleges and universities throughout the world. She also announced the appointment of Dr. Lee Ball to the position of director of sustainability. Ball has held the position on an interim basis since June 2015, and is responsible for making and/or informing decisions regarding facility planning, energy, environmental, space management, cultural and educational programs that impact the university’s sustainable practices.
Also on the sustainability front, Everts reported that efforts are underway to host the sixth annual Appalachian Energy Summit. At this event, representatives from public and private universities gather with industry representatives for a transformational effort that delivers meaningful ecological, economic and social benefits. Over the past five years, the Appalachian Energy Summit has provided a platform through which UNC campuses together with industry partners have avoided over $400 million dollars in utility costs, representing almost 9 billion pounds of CO2e emissions.
Everts’ report included several updates related to faculty and student research, including that of Dr. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce, whose recently published research regarding the age and formation of the largest assemblage of Homo sapiens’ footprints discovered to date has received widespread media attention. Coverage included the front page of The Washington Post, articles in National Geographic, The Huffington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor and reporting by the BBC.
Everts’ report also included findings from a new project underway by a university team led by Dr. Susan McCracken, director of the Career Development Center, and Heather Langdon, director of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning. The project tracks where students go immediately after graduation from the university, and found that nearly 85 percent of undergraduate and nearly 100 percent of graduate alumni are employed and/or enrolled in an institution of post-secondary education within one year of graduation.
Everts’ full report may be viewed at http://chancellor.appstate.edu/messages/id/119.
Before concluding her remarks, Everts thanked Trustee Bradley Adcock for his service to the university and the state. Adcock is stepping down from the board to serve as the legislative director to Governor-elect Roy Cooper.
Additional reports to the board included a presentation by Forte regarding changes in the university’s tuition and fee structure. In 2016, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that ensures tuition for in-state undergraduates at University of North Carolina public institutions will be fixed for the next eight consecutive semesters for all resident bachelor’s degree-seeking freshmen. Forte’s report stated that in-state graduate students can expect a 2 percent increase by the fall of 2017, and nonresident undergraduate and graduate students will also see a 2 percent increase by fall 2017.
The board passed a 3 percent increase in mandatory student fees that are applicable to all students.
Other business included the board approving a resolution to allow the university’s chancellor to approve salary adjustments for employees who are Exempt from the Human Resources Act (EHRA) without any time limitation. EHRA positions are broadly divided into three categories: instructional, research, and senior academic and administrative officers. UNC President Margaret Spellings delegated the authority outlined in the resolution to the Board of Trustees and authorized the board to further delegate that authority to the chancellor.
The meeting concluded with a presentation by Rosen, an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling, and five graduate students on the results of their clinical mental health research. Juliana Blanton of Asheville, Alice Perez of Hendersonville, and Haley Teague of Elon presented their research poster, “Expressive Arts with Adolescent Immigrants and Refugees.” Mark Read-Smith of Asheville and Travis Woodruff of Roanoke Rapids presented their research poster, “Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress with Somatic Experiencing.” Rosen outlined for the trustees career positions, such as family therapists, school counselors, mental health counselors and more that students are eligible for after earning graduate degrees or graduate certificates from the program.