Public forum to provide update on several hot-button campus topics

Western Carolina University administrators will provide updates on several topics of interest to members of the campus community during a public forum scheduled for Monday, April 30.

Among the expected subjects to be discussed are the ongoing search for the university’s next chancellor, progress toward meeting institutional effectiveness goals set during WCU’s recent reaccreditation process, the status of a revision to WCU’s strategic plan, and an update on current and future campus construction and renovation projects.

The spring forum, which has become an annual event at WCU, will be held in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Legal Counsel Shea Browning will brief the audience on work being conducted by the 22-member committee leading the search for a successor to Chancellor David O. Belcher, who went on medical leave at the end of 2017 after battling brain cancer since April 2016. The committee, composed of members of the WCU Board of Trustees and faculty, student, staff, alumni and community representatives, is working with consultant Jerry Baker of the Buffkin Baker executive search firm toward a goal of having a new chancellor in place by Aug. 1.

Carol Burton, acting provost, will provide an update on a revision to WCU’s existing strategic plan, titled “2020 Vision: Focus on our Future” and originally endorsed by the university’s Board of Trustees in 2012. Burton is chair of a 20-member committee that is conducting a holistic review and revision of the plan, tweaking the plan to address changes that have occurred since the document was approved. The committee is expected to complete its work in time for WCU’s Board of Trustees meetings May 31 and June 1.

 Mike Byers, WCU vice chancellor for administration and finance, will give a status report on construction, renovation and other projects underway and on the drawing boards. Projects to be discussed include the construction of Tom Apodaca Science Building, the development of additional residence hall space on and off campus, and a new structured parking facility.

Tim Metz, assistant vice chancellor for institutional planning and effectiveness, will give a summary of progress toward wrapping up work in the areas of institutional effectiveness and assessment, a step requested by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as part of its December 2017 reaffirmation of WCU’s accreditation for another 10 years. A monitoring report is scheduled to be delivered to the commission by September.