Dr. Kimberly van Noort
The University of North Carolina Board of Governors Elects Dr. Kimberly van Noort as the Ninth Chancellor of the University of North Carolina Asheville
Published November 29, 2023
Kimberly van Noort has been named the ninth Chancellor of the University of North Carolina Asheville, following a vote by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors on November 29, 2023. The nationwide search attracted more than 130 applicants and nominees from 28 states and the District of Columbia.
Roger Aiken, who serves as chair of the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees, led the search process. He praised the 13-member search advisory committee for its engaged and thorough efforts that resulted in recommending three unranked and very talented finalists to UNC System President Peter Hans.
Hans nominated van Noort to the board, which voted unanimously in her favor.
“UNC Asheville is an extraordinary place with a unique role among public universities,” Hans said. “It deserves a chancellor who can celebrate and expand the mission of a public liberal arts and sciences university, and Dr. van Noort is absolutely the right leader for the job. Her deep background in the humanities and her wide-ranging skills as an administrator are the perfect combination for strengthening UNC Asheville and putting a fantastic education within reach of more students.”
“UNC Asheville is an extraordinary place with a unique role among public universities. It deserves a chancellor who can celebrate and expand the mission of a public liberal arts and sciences university, and Dr. van Noort is absolutely the right leader for the job.”
A scholar of French literature with extensive administrative experience, van Noort said, “I am thrilled, honored, humbled, and excited” when reacting to her appointment.
“UNC Asheville was my very first campus visit after arriving at the UNC System Office in 2016,” she reflected, “and I remember vividly how it struck me as a very special place with incredible potential.”
She added, “Seven years later, after serving first as interim provost and now interim chancellor since the start of the new year, I can easily report that my first impression has been confirmed ten-fold.”
Name: Dr. Kimberly van Noort
Professional experience: Interim Chancellor, UNC Asheville, January 2023 to present; and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs & Chief Academic Officer, UNC System Office, October 2018 to present.
Hometown: Overton, Nebraska (pop. 577)
Educational background: BA and MA in French, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; PhD in French Literature, Boston University
Pets: Nine goats, three cats, several chickens, and a dog named Cash (after Johnny)
Van Noort has served as interim chancellor of UNC Asheville since January 1, 2023, succeeding Nancy Cable. Since assuming her leadership role, van Noort quickly developed a solid operational model to align the size and mission of the University in order to ensure its long term health.
A key component of this effort was shifting the existing enrollment model to a student-centered approach that resulted in the largest incoming class of new first-time students in the last four years, as well as crucial increases in applications over previous years.
The University also saw significant gains in new first-generation and Pell-eligible students, in addition to reaching its highest-ever overall enrollment of students from underrepresented populations.
Already underway, the current recruitment cycle has seen even more aggressive applicant development, improved marketing, more efficient admissions processing, and data-driven strategic financial aid deployment, all targeted at addressing successive enrollment declines over the past five years.
Related, van Noort led efforts to launch the new Access Asheville financial aid program, which expands UNC Asheville’s long standing commitment to affordability by guaranteeing full tuition and fees to qualifying students from North Carolina whose family income is less than $80,000.
Looking ahead to the centennial celebration of UNC Asheville in 2027, van Noort said she is excited to partner with all campus stakeholders on planning for what she sees as a very bright future.
“The people, the location, the support from the community, the generous donors who keep coming back to give more, and the potential of campus assets all position the University to be very successful moving into its second century.”
“The people, the location, the support from the community, the generous donors who keep coming back to give more, and the potential of campus assets all position the University to be very successful moving into its second century,” she said.
Reflecting on the talented pool of candidates, Aiken noted that van Noort’s extensive experience at the UNC System Office, through which she built a vast institutional network with the 17 sister campuses, was undoubtedly a positive factor in her favor. He also cited the network she has built among members of the North Carolina General Assembly, a vital source of funding for system campuses.
“Dr. van Noort is ready to hit the ground running,” Aiken said of her selection by President Hans and approval by the Board of Governors, calling her “the right person to carry UNC Asheville forward.”
He added, “The UNC Asheville Board of Trustees has been very impressed with what Dr. van Noort has been able to accomplish in a very short period of time in her interim role, and we have every confidence that she will position the University for continued success and growth in the years to come. We are equally impressed with the strong senior leadership team in place, which will provide key support to fulfill her vision for the University’s future.”
Van Noort served as senior vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at the UNC System Office since October 2018 and as vice president for academic programs, faculty, and research from 2016 to 2018.
“Dr. van Noort is ready to hit the ground running.”
Prior to her time at the UNC System Office, van Noort held a number of increasingly responsible appointments at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she began her career in 1995 as an assistant professor of French and earned tenure in 2002.
The following year, in 2003, she took on the role of associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts, a position she held for 11 years, before being appointed associate vice provost for undergraduate studies.
A native of Nebraska, where she first attended a one-room schoolhouse in the small farming community of Overton, van Noort earned her undergraduate and master’s degree in French at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln before pursuing her Ph.D. in French literature at Boston University.
In her spare time, van Noort enjoys spending time with her two children and three step-children, as well as cooking and gardening. She and her husband, Dale, also care for nine goats, three cats, and several chickens on a farm in Hillsborough with the help of their dog, Cash.
Van Noort’s official appointment as the ninth permanent chancellor of UNC Asheville begins January 1, 2024.