ASU is Committed to Community College Success

Appalachian State University is committed and connected to community colleges in the western part of the state in significant ways and with an increasing number of programs. Being somewhat landlocked—without the ability to grow substantially on the campus in Boone—ASU has reached out in formal ways to serve community colleges for the past fifteen years.

In 1995, the UNC System requested that Appalachian deliver pilot undergraduate degree completion programs in three western North Carolina communities. Three years later, this was expanded to form The Appalachian Learning Alliance. To better serve citizens of North Carolina who are unable to attend a UNC system institution upon completion of their community college degrees, ASU and ten regional community colleges collaborated to locate part time undergraduate and graduate degree programs on community college campuses. Currently, twelve undergraduate academic disciplines are delivered at community college locations to over 500 degree completion students. Appalachian also delivers over twenty-five disciplines to nearly 1,000 graduate degree students, including MA, Ed.S and Ed.D degrees.

In March 2009, Appalachian, along with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory and Western Piedmont Community College in Morganton, collaborated to form the Greater Hickory Partnership. This partnership has programming at four facilities in Catawba, Caldwell and Burke counties that provides post community college educational opportunities for citizens in the greater Hickory area. These facilities allow Appalachian to place full-time staff members at these locations to recruit and advise local students to enroll in full-time, day-time undergraduate degree completion programs offered by Appalachian. The six full-time, day-time programs include teacher education, social work, business, communication, criminal justice and psychology. These programs allow place-bound students to seek high demanding undergraduate degree programs in a traditional time line, without them having to leave their homes, families or jobs. Students receive freshman and sophomore transfer coursework from their local community college and then move into Appalachian degree completion programs at a pace similar to their counterparts enrolled in Boone. A true “four year degree” is possible in four years.

Recently, Appalachian began formal outreach efforts to engage faculty from the community college system with ASU’s “Writing Across the Curriculum” staff  to align course content more closely between ASU and community colleges in the area of writing. A conference entitled “Writing Across Institutions” was held on the Appalachian Campus on April 23-24. Appalachian hosted twenty-eight representatives from eleven North Carolina community colleges and discussed how to align course content, to develop equivalent writing instruction and to implement advanced writing skills into the curriculum at ASU and the community colleges. Appalachian intends to continue these formal sponsored events to increase communication with community college partners.

For additional information about these collaborative efforts, please contact Tom Fisher, Executive Director, Division of Educational Outreach and Summer Programs at 800-355 4084 or