Below are recent milestones in the university’s ongoing efforts to increase and support underrepresented populations at Appalachian.


  • (Planned for November 2020) Host the National Coalition Building Institute’s Train the Trainer
    Trainers will work with campus leadership to reinforce strategies to resolve campus crises in a manner that helps build coalition and mitigate division.

  • (Planned for August 2020) Host the 4th Annual Inclusion Infusion Summer Diversity Institute
    The 2020 Inclusion Infusion Summer Diversity Institute will bring a speaker to campus and feature dynamic programming related to diversity and inclusion.

  • Present the Chancellor’s Awards for Inclusive Excellence
    Appalachian presented its inaugural Chancellor’s Awards for Inclusive Excellence, an honor designed to shine a light on individuals at Appalachian and in the community whose work demonstrates their active, intentional and ongoing commitment to transformative change.


  • Foster the most diverse class in university history
    In fall 2019, Appalachian welcomed 19,280 students — the largest and most diverse class in university history. A record 17.4% of the total population is racially/ethnically diverse. Appalachian has increased its total underrepresented student population by 47% since 2014. Additionally, Appalachian enrolls 5,831 rural students — more than 300 students above the UNC System strategic plan benchmark for this year — and 4,977 first-generation undergraduate students, which is 28% of the total undergraduate population.

  • Create a diversity plan
    The Chief Diversity Officer’s Advisory Board created a campuswide Comprehensive Diversity Plan that will encourage, on an ongoing basis, each university unit to accomplish the university’s strategic goal of “embracing diversity of thought, belief and community.” The plan is informed by the university’s strategic plan, the 2017 Inclusion Infusion Study, the Summer Inclusive Excellence Institutes and research and discussions by the 2018-19 Chief Diversity Officer’s Advisory Board. The plan is complete and being vetted by focus groups across campus. As a dynamic and living document, the Comprehensive Diversity Plan will evolve over time as goals are met and new goals are established.

  • Implement a faculty recruitment program
    In conjunction with the Provost’s Office, the faculty recruitment initiative and the faculty working group were created to assist in the recruitment and hiring of underrepresented faculty.


  • Dedicate the National Pan-Hellenic Council’s (NPHC) Plots and Garden
    The NPHC Plots and Garden were completed in September 2018 and aim to create a positive environment for NPHC organizations to unite in efforts to promote their fraternities and sororities, while educating students about the history of these diverse organizations. Through the NPHC Plots and Garden project, Appalachian is among a very few predominately white institutions (PWIs) that also pay tribute to the legacy of African-American Greek Life.

  • Welcome Dr. Damon Williams for Inclusive Excellence Tour
    Williams, chief catalyst and founder of the Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership and Social Innovation, visited Appalachian to empower administrators, faculty staff and students to use evidence-based approaches to lead real and meaningful change in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Host consultation with Dr. Leonard Moore
    Moore facilitated discussions about race and ethnicity with Appalachian’s athletic staff, coaches and students. The conversations inspired the creation of an elective course focused on student-athletes (and non-athletes) titled “Outside the Lines.”

  • Create a Hispanic/Latino faculty and staff association
    APP Unidos (formerly called Appalachian@s) Hispanic/Latino Faculty and Staff Association received official recognition as an employee organization of the university. The organization is dedicated to issues of importance to the Hispanic/Latino community on campus and in the local and state communities, while providing a networking opportunity for colleagues.


  • Host Inclusion Infusion Summer Diversity Institute
    The evaluation of inclusion in Spring 2017 resulted in the first three-day on-campus Inclusion Infusion Summer Diversity Institute, now an annual event. It is designed to encourage inclusion practices and relationships that support a state of being valued, respected and supported. The institute provided approximately 50 faculty and staff with inclusion education on the first day, and, on the second and third days, it provided 25 faculty with training to assess and infuse a more inclusive course syllabus.

  • Evaluate inclusion at Appalachian
    Through a grant from the North Carolina General Administration, the university used a survey and focus groups to gauge the extent to which successful inclusive practices are already a part of the Appalachian Experience and to determine the need for additional practices designed to promote environments that are more inclusive — 1,895 students and 328 faculty, staff and administrators completed the Inclusions Needs Survey and 93 faculty, staff, administrators and students participated in focus groups.

  • Revise the university’s Diversity Statement
    During the 2017-18 academic year, university representatives rewrote and vetted the official Diversity Statement.

  • Train search committees on inclusive best practices
    In order to ensure compliance with equal employment opportunity requirements, all hiring supervisors, search committee chairs and search committee members are encouraged to attend a training session before beginning the search process for any EHRA (faculty or non-faculty) recruitment. Each information session provides guidance related to affirmative action/equal employment opportunity compliance information, search process steps and recognizing implicit bias in the search and hire process. These trainings continue to be offered.


  • Create an online search committee compliance module
    The module is designed to educate search committee chairs on the compliance parameters governing the search process.

  • Utilize employee exit interviews for inclusion insights
    The exit interview instrument was updated to capture more climate and identity-based questions.

  • Expand language translation offerings
    In addition to admission tours, translation into Spanish was expanded to university publications.

  • Open the Appalachian Family Therapy Clinic
    The Reich College of Education’s Appalachian Family Therapy Clinic aims to serve underrepresented populations in the campus community. The clinic is staffed by marriage and family therapy graduate student interns who offer individual and relationship therapy services.

  • Open a student veteran resource center
    The Major General Edward M. Reeder Jr. Student Veteran Resource Center, on the second floor of the Plemmons Student Union, offers such services as peer-to-peer mentoring, tutoring, sessions on time-management and study skills, work-study opportunities as well as help with obtaining and utilizing G.I. Bill benefits.

  • Pass resolutions that support underrepresented students
    Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and Faculty Senate passed similar resolutions that showed support for underrepresented students and the safety of all students on campus. Read the full resolutions


  • Develop a Bias Incident Reporting Protocol
    The protocol was developed and monitored by a bias incident response team composed of faculty and staff members, including representation from the Faculty Senate, Dean of Students Office, Intercultural Student Affairs and the Council of Chairs. An online reporting form was also developed and posted at The Equity Peers (a student group out of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance, now known as the Chief Diversity Officer) was also created to communicate the existence of the bias incident reporting protocol to fellow students.

  • Update the Employee Search Process
    Per the changes, all in-person search committee meetings conducted by a representative from the Chief Diversity Officer’s Office includes a section focused on concrete steps for diversifying applicant pools and the effects of bias in the search process.

  • Update L.E.A.D. program
    The L.E.A.D. (Linking Education and Diversity) program became known as ASCEND. The program was revamped and expanded its mentoring program. First-year ASCEND mentees (predominantly students of color) are connected with upperclassmen ASCEND mentors (also predominantly students of color). Upperclassmen ASCEND mentors are asked to complete a survey about their post-college aspirations and, using these responses, they are connected with a professional mentor who can help advise them on their chosen career or graduate school endeavors. This program is managed by the Office of Intercultural Student Affairs.

  • Offer language translation
    On request, both admissions presentations and campus tours are now offered in Spanish. In a collaborative effort, the Office of Admissions developed a virtual campus tour offered in English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese to allow students to tour campus from anywhere in the world.

  • Present Faces of Courage Awards
    These awards, presented to four alumni, recognize those who were instrumental in Appalachian’s early diversity efforts.

  • Join N.C. Alliance for Health Professions Diversity
    Appalachian joined officials from North Carolina colleges, universities, statewide organizations, as well as state and local health agencies to formally create a state-wide alliance focused on increasing minority representation in the health professions.


  • Establish the Chief Diversity Officer’s Advisory Board
    The Chief Diversity Officer’s Advisory Board, previously known as the Chancellor’s Commission on Diversity, was formed to ensure Appalachian is a welcoming community of scholars who value, respect and embrace diversity across all units.


  • Implement a program for students with diverse abilities
    The Scholars with Diverse Abilities program allows students to audit classes, participate in university programs and complete internships — all designed to help them acquire job and life skills that will enable them to live independently.