Strategic Direction 2: Student Success

Offer an increasingly diverse student body a rich and comprehensive experience that integrates academic and co-curricular activities and prepares graduates for productive and engaged lives in a continuously evolving society.

There are many different ways to define student success. At UNC Asheville we provide a sustainable education that creates life-long learners who have the tools to succeed, during their college years and beyond. Our liberal arts education pairs a rigorous academic experience with a high quality co-curricular experience and is designed to educate students not just for their first job, but also for a lifetime of learning, growing, and succeeding.

As a public liberal arts institution, UNC Asheville is continually challenged to demonstrate the relevance of the liberal arts and show the impact that this education has on graduates. Our emphasis on critical thinking prepares students to adapt to changing environments and work situations, making them creative problem solvers with the ability to transition smoothly from one job to the next—or from one career to the next. At the same time, our emphasis on access and diversity provides students with a multicultural environment that accelerates learning and prepares students for success in an increasingly diverse and global economy.

We recognize that student success requires having the financial resources to fully engage in all aspects of the college experience, from participation in high-impact learning experiences to appropriate housing to sufficient scholarship funding that ensures access to education for qualified students from across North Carolina. Addressing such issues will only grow in importance over the coming years.

Our focus on student success begins when students apply to UNC Asheville and continues throughout their education and when they become alumni. Sustaining strong relationships with our alumni and linking them with current students is a growing part of our institutional culture.

Strategy 1

Attract and retain an increasingly diverse student body and build a socially sustainable community in which all are valued and can succeed.

Preliminary thoughts on action areas for further planning:

  • Strive to reduce cost barriers for attending UNC Asheville, increasing scholarship support and enhancing access.
  • Continue to recruit students from underrepresented populations and provide them with the necessary support to help them succeed.
  • Ensure that everyone at UNC Asheville is fully aware and increasingly competent on issues of inclusion and has the tools to engage in the important conversations about race and diversity.
  • Build the cultural competence and skills required to succeed in our changing global environment.
  • Recognize that our commitment to diversity may require growth and that UNC Asheville’s growth must be intentional and planned.
  • Additional action areas to be identified.

Strategy 2

Ensure that a growing number of students have the resources required to take advantage of the high impact learning experiences that are essential components of UNC Asheville’s public liberal arts education.

Preliminary thoughts on action areas for further planning:

  • Find ways to ensure sustained financial support for students throughout their years at UNC Asheville.
  • Develop creative approaches to funding and scheduling high impact learning experiences so that more students are able to participate in them.
  • Increase the number and types high impact experiences, providing a variety of opportunities for students to engage in active learning.
  • Involve more alumni in providing internships and mentoring students.
  • Build more community connections that will open doors to enhanced service learning and internship opportunities.
  • Additional action areas to be identified.

Strategy 3

Develop and deliver programs and services using approaches that are designed to support a broad range of individual student needs and learning styles.

Preliminary thoughts on action areas for further planning:

  • Strengthen support services (advising, career, mental health, social, etc.) with the goal of providing students with a road map for success – a way of navigating and problem solving that will carry beyond their college years.
  • Provide evidence-based documentation of student learning through such approaches as e-portfolios.
  • Set ambitious goals for student retention and graduation and remove obstacles to degree completion.
  • Identify ways to address the challenges students face in achieving timely graduation.
  • Additional action areas to be identified.

Strategy 4

Prepare students for professional and personal success after graduation and give them tools to make effective transitions as they navigate careers and further education and engage in civic leadership.

Preliminary thoughts on action areas for further planning:

  • Enhance career services and transition services for students.
  • Strengthen academic advising and link it with career advising.
  • Strengthen ties with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and other sources of potential mentors for students.
  • Additional action areas to be identified.

Strategy 5

Cultivate in our students a sense of institutional stewardship and belonging at UNC Asheville, from acceptance through graduation, and as alumni.

Preliminary thoughts on action areas for further planning:

  • Continue to shape the student experience in ways that emphasize and enable strong relationships among students, faculty, and staff.
  • Sustain relationships with students after graduation, providing career support and creative opportunities for alumni to be involved with UNC Asheville.
  • Additional action areas to be identified.