Faculty Senate to resubmit mission statement


Laney Ruckstuhl

The Faculty Senate announced a resolution regarding Appalachian State University’s mission statement in an emergency meeting held Monday that the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governor’s has attempted to revise.

Members of the Appalachian State University Faculty Senate heard a resolution in support of Chancellor Kenneth Peacock’s original mission statement wording. The resolution, a second attempt to amend previous changes to the mission statement made by the Board of Governors, passed. Photo by Carson Hager | The Appalachian

The resolution is a second attempt at amending the BOG’s changes to the mission statement.

The original language of the mission statement read: “[A]cademic learning occurs in a wide range of undergraduate, selected masters, intermediate and doctoral programs offered on campus, at off-campus sites and online.”

UNC system President Tom Ross, originally revised this statement Nov. 25 to change the words “doctoral programs” to “the doctorate in education,” limiting the university to education as its sole doctoral program, which

Chancellor Kenneth Peacock resisted.

The Faculty Senate unanimously agreed on the new resolution, in hopes that the BOG  will reconsider their revision.

“[B]e it resolved that the Faculty Senate at Appalachian State University supports the original language in the Mission Statement,” according to the resolution. “Such flexibility will allow ASU to respond more effectively to the economic and social needs of North Carolina.”

The faculty was asked for their input during the faculty meeting Jan. 24 after Peacock received the same revision a second time from Ross.

“We believe that we should have that flexibility [to create a doctoral program] to better serve the community, the region and the citizens of North Carolina,” Faculty Senate Chairman Andy Koch said.

Koch said he has no way of knowing how Ross or the rest of the BOG will react to the resolution, but he hopes that a decision is reached within a couple of weeks.

If Ross disapproves of the mission statement, Ross will make another recommendation to be voted on by the BOG.

The mission statement’s language as currently written by the BOG prevents Appalachian from creating doctorate programs outside of the education program until the statement expires in five years, unless an amendment process is successful in changing it later on.

The resolution also argues that the mission statement is in alignment with the UNC system’s current goals.

“[T]he UNC Strategic Plan also identifies ‘Strengthening Academic Quality’ as an objective for serving the citizens of North Carolina,” according to the resolution. “The creation of selected and targeted doctoral programs will attract superior faculty and strengthen academic quality.”

Faculty Senator Libby Puckett said although she supports the resolution, she understands the reasoning behind the BOG’s limit on the mission statement.

“If we grow our doctoral programs, we then become a different type of institution,” Puckett, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, said. “Grants and things like that [will change] and shift our entire university, but I don’t think that we should be limited in what we choose to do as a campus.”

Faculty Senator Karl Campbell said he believes the debate needs to be centralized around a different focal point.

“If we phrase this as a debate over whether or not we want to have a Ph.D. program, we might lose,” Campbell, an associate professor in the Department of History, said. “If we phrase this as a debate over whether or not we have the opportunity in the future to have Ph.D. programs, I think we have a better chance to win.”

Appalachian’s Student Government Association is also fighting the action by appealing to the BOG as a collective group of students.

“I would hope that the Board of Governors sees what we are doing is progressive and will help us to expand,” SGA President Dylan Russell said.

Russell said SGA’s legislative branch will vote Tuesday on the approval of a formal resolution to be sent to Ross  written by the SGA Senate regarding the mission statement.

“This is an issue of campus autonomy and governance,” Russell said. “Why should we restrict ourselves as a university?”

Story by Laney Ruckstuhl, Intern News Reporter

Photo by Carson Hager, Staff Photographer