Update From Chancellor Everts: July 18, 2020
As we look to our first day of classes on Aug. 17, faculty, staff and students are engaged in robust planning that provides the safest possible on-campus community experience for our students. Among our preparations are ensuring 6 feet of distance between those who are in classrooms, offering a variety of instructional methods and enhanced cleaning and sanitizing. In the coming days, students can expect communications from Academic Affairs about the course delivery methods for their classes and from Student Affairs about community expectations and the student experience. Staff and faculty are working diligently around the clock to prepare our campus for a return that will provide as robust an on-campus student experience as possible, while adhering to strict safety measures.
Earlier this week, Governor Cooper announced the extension of Phase 2 “Safer at Home” through August 7, and in-person instruction guidance for K-12 public schools. You can read the Executive Order here, and the announcement about public schools here. I recognize this will have significant impacts on our students, faculty and staff who work with and have children in the K-12 public schools, and my leadership team and I are working to address the many questions these decisions are raising for our community. Please know additional communications will be forthcoming to address these questions.
As we all work to respond to the latest impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNC Board of Governors has asked all UNC institutions to conduct financial scenario planning exercises. These scenarios are based on potential drops in enrollment; reductions in state appropriations; the loss of business, athletics, and auxiliary revenue, and unanticipated expenses. We are not alone in assessing the possible financial implications of the pandemic, but certainly recognize that should we encounter sizable budget cuts, we could face unprecedented changes to our university.
While it is important to recognize these are planning exercises, I want to be clear that my leadership team and I meet regularly with the Faculty Senate Executive Team, and we will continue working collaboratively with Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and our Student Government Association to ensure they are engaged should we need to enact any of the possible financial scenarios.
Enrollment remains critically important and as we approach fall semester, I am pleased to welcome Kimberly Holley, Appalachian’s new senior director of admissions, to help support our institutional goals. She has been a leader in enrollment management for more than 15 years and has significant experience in supporting marginalized populations and increasing enrollment diversity.
Along with Provost Norris and Vice Chancellors JJ Brown and Paul Forte, I continue to attend listening sessions with departments across campus to answer questions and hear the thoughts, concerns and ideas of our faculty and staff. While we all yearn for a return to normalcy, I appreciate the many ways the Appalachian Community has continued to move forward. Thank you.
Sheri Everts, Chancellor