The Immediate Issue

Short-term action

Chancellor Kimberly van Noort has been meeting with faculty, staff, and students as University leadership weighs timely measures to address the deficit. The administration expects near-term corrective steps will be substantially completed by the end of the spring 2024 semester. These steps will be announced to the community once they’re finalized. The University is exhausting every avenue to reduce expenses, manage the balance sheet, and minimize impacts on operations. While regrettable, leadership expects some limited position elimination will be necessary to balance the budget. 

Longer-term action

To position the University for a longer-term strategy and growth, leadership has announced Asheville 2030 — a comprehensive effort to engage the community in visioning the future. This work is beginning with a survey and a soon-to-come series of community conversations. By 2030, the University wants a sustainable enrollment of 3,800 to 4,000 students drawn to — and supported by — its commitment to the vision of an innovative public liberal arts and sciences university of the future. Student-centeredness, hands-on learning, technology-driven solutions, and a career-ready emphasis are cornerstones of this vision. 

Facts for the record

The University is committed to maintaining the student experience — in the classroom and out — and expects no changes to academic programming, services, or other resources used by current students. Tuition rates, which are set by the UNC Board of Governors and have not increased for eight years, are expected to remain level to protect accessibility. Specific actions to curb the anticipated $6 million deficit for fiscal year 2024 remain under discussion and have yet to be finalized.

Employee separations take place only after the University has exhausted all other possible measures. Because of the scope and timing of the deficit for fiscal year 2024, leadership expects a limited number of employee separations. Any affected employees would receive support through and past their employment. By substantially completing budget reductions by the end of the spring 2024 semester, the University will prevent a larger deficit next year.  

No. UNC Asheville’s key values and mission are not changing, and the liberal arts pedagogy is — and will remain — central to the University’s identity. They are at the heart of what distinguishes UNC Asheville and are important to its future. Recent official descriptions of the institution as a “public liberal arts and science university” and emphasis on career-readiness reflect the community’s true scope but don’t diminish its foundational commitment.

A key part of our decision-making process is ensuring that we maximize the role that our full-time teaching faculty play in course delivery. We have not made any blanket decisions to phase out adjunct and lecturer faculty. Individual academic departments play a crucial part in shaping the delivery of their respective programs, including the role of adjuncts and lecturers. Whatever decisions we reach, the student experience remains our highest priority and principal objective. 

Chancellor van Noort will continue to communicate directly with the community through regular email updates. Those communications and a host of other resources — including the survey, frequently asked questions (and their answers), and a feedback form — are available through the often-updated Asheville 2030 webpage.