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Board of Trustees discusses economic impact study, university accomplishments

Board+of+Trustees+discusses+economic+impact+study%2C+university+accomplishments
Kaitlyn Close

Chancellor Sheri Everts presented to the App State Board of Trustees Friday on recent accomplishments of the university and community, in regard to the economy and students.

One of the main points of the presentation was an economic impact study ordered by the university. Everts said the economic impact study, which highlights App State’s impression on the economy in the local region as well as North Carolina, demonstrates “the tremendous power of higher education, and App State in particular, to change lives.”

The impact study collected results for a year, from July 31, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

The App State community has added $573 million to regional income and $2.2 billion to statewide income, based on flyers given out at the meeting that use information from the impact study.

“In the five-county region of Watauga, Avery, Ash, Caldwell and Wilkes counties, App State and our students support one out of every 14 jobs,” Everts said.

The study also found an increase in the average wage earnings of App State graduates compared to North Carolina high school graduates. Graduates with a Bachelor’s degree earn $31,100 more annually, graduates with a master’s degree earn $44,800 more and those with a doctoral degree earn $68,200 more.

“These statistics demonstrate the power of higher education to change lives, and they are bolstered by the recent Return on Investment Study commissioned by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2021,” Everts said.

Everts also said the UNC System President, Peter Hans, would be offering further assistance as different universities work to improve student outcomes after graduation.

Everts said the university has had a successful year in regards to fundraising and, in comparison to last December, the university has received over $3.1 million more in cash and pledges.

“We received a generous gift of $25,000 to kickstart the fundraising for a new solar vehicle,” Everts said. “Our solar vehicle team has previously designed and constructed two solar vehicles, earning top awards in every competition in which they have participated since the team’s inaugural race in 2016.”

The funds will be used to develop a new solar vehicle in hopes of advancing sustainable transportation technologies.

Everts closed out her remarks by highlighting the end of the fall semester and the work that has been accomplished.

App State was recognized in Phi Theta Kappa’s Transfer Honor Roll of 2023 as the university accepted its second largest population of transfer students, Everts said.

“Approximately 2000 new transfer students join App State each academic year representing more than 50 community colleges,” Everts said. “Transfer students make up one-fourth of the total undergraduate student population with 70% of new transfer students coming to the university from community college.”

According to the presentation, a group of researchers in the College of Arts and Sciences received a National Science Foundation grant which totaled over $500,000. The group of researchers awarded include Robert Swarthout, Chris Thaxton and James Sherman.

The grant will support research at the Appalachian Atmospheric Interdisciplinary Research Facility and Applied Fluids Laboratory which will be used to provide students with the resources needed to research alongside faculty members.

Everts said, for its fifth year, the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences brought the “Geobago” to young students in rural areas of western North Carolina.

“The department operates what they call the Geobago. Which is an RV converted into an educational vehicle that brings hands-on science activities to K-12 students,” Everts said.

The program has worked with over 8,000 students and their families to allow their use of microscopes, computers and environmental science probes to explore their environment.

Another recognition App State has received is being named to the Military Times’ 2023 Best for Vets Colleges ranking list. Veterans make up about 2% of the student and faculty population, according to the presentation.

Everts also said the university has made a lot of progress in the Innovation District with 25% of the 90 planned wells having already been drilled. The wells will be used in a geothermal system which will serve the Conservatory for Biodiversity Education and Research as well as staff housing. This district is said to be open by the fall of 2025, Everts said.

After congratulating the sports teams on their recent accomplishments, Everts took a moment to acknowledge the graduates and their work over their time at App State.

“There will be a huge win in the home center for all of our graduating students one week from today,” Everts said. “More than 1500 students will be able to call themselves App State alumni and they will join a passionate and dedicated group that is proud to be Mountaineers.”

Toward the start of her presentation, Everts gave her condolences for the losses of former Chancellor Kenneth Peacock and James Tolliver. 

“The hearts of the entire Mountaineer community remain with Rosanne and Ken’s family and loved ones,” Everts said. “I’d also like to acknowledge the university community’s recent loss of App State alumnus and Foundation Board member, James Tolliver. James was a Mountaineer in the truest meaning of the word.”

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About the Contributors
Samantha Salvador, Reporter
Samantha Salvador (she/her) is a freshman Spanish and political science major with a concentration in international and comparative politics from King, NC.
Kaitlyn Close, Graphics Editor
Kaitlyn Close (she/her) is a senior Graphic Design major and Digital Marketing minor. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
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  • M

    MuChaoDec 16, 2023 at 7:22 am

    So when can faculty and staff expect our raises for all the hard work that’s accomplished?! Sheri’s praise means *nothing* given how long she has lied to employees of this university about “how hard” she’s working to get raises. All one need to do is look at other UNC-system schools who have taken actual action to improve compensation, rather than just sending out condescending weekly emails about “how much she appreciates” employees. The raises that employees have received have been through the GA, NOT from Sheri’s administration.

    The university continues to grow and the stress continues to build. Employees have been promised time and time again that “relief/compensation is coming” yet, here we are years later, working harder than ever, and there’s been absolutely no relief. Many departments can’t even bring on new hires because no sane person would work for the peanuts offered by App given how expensive it is to live here.

    But why should Sheri care? She’s living large on a sweet salary and *two* free homes, one in Boone and one new one in Hickory.

    Reply