CHAPEL HILL — Appalachian State University will soon have a new leader – Sheri Noren Everts, who is the provost at Illinois State University.
Noren Everts, 55, was elected chancellor of ASU on Wednesday during a special meeting of the UNC Board of Governors. She will succeed Kenneth Peacock, who is stepping down after nine years as chancellor. She starts at the Boone campus July 1 at an annual salary of $285,000.
She said she is humbled and honored to join “the App family,” to lead a university with a student-centered focus on undergraduate education.
The Nebraska native joked that she was “raised on football and corn,” and said she looked forward to joining in the Mountaineers’ football traditions. The university hauled two busloads of students, faculty, trustees and ASU alumni to the packed meeting in Chapel Hill.
“It’s obvious that as I speak to graduates, whether they’re alums from many years ago, they talk about that connection that faculty make with them at App State and how important that is to them in their careers, in their successes,” Noren Everts said. “That’s what resonated most with me.”
Noren Everts has two decades of experience at public universities. Since 2008, she has been the chief academic officer at Illinois State, a public campus with 18,000 students, similar in size to ASU. Before that, she was interim senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where she had been a rising administrator and professor of teacher education.
UNC President Tom Ross called her a leader with energy, integrity, sound judgment and commitment to community engagement. Ross said he was impressed that at Illinois State, Noren Everts had helped raise graduation and retention rates – also a focus of the UNC system. She also co-led the development of a five-year strategic plan, a financial sustainability initiative and a campus building plan.
An ASU search committee had recommended several finalists to Ross, who said he chose Noren Everts because of her “passion for students and student learning and being sure that our focus is on teaching.”
Noren Everts holds three degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in English and secondary education, literacy education and administration, curriculum and instruction. Her expertise is in curriculum and student assessment. Before earning advanced degrees, she was a middle school and high school English teacher in Kansas and Nebraska.
Noren Everts was a candidate for the presidency of the University of South Alabama last year, according to media reports.
Her husband is Dr. Jay Noren, a physician and former president of Wayne State University in Detroit. Together they have four grown children.
Noren left the Wayne State presidency in 2010, after only two years, citing personal reasons. At the time, Noren Everts had been battling breast cancer, but Noren was quoted in media reports saying she had an excellent prognosis.