By September 19, 2017 Read More →

West Virginia University reports rising numbers across the board

By LEAH NESTOR

NCWV Media

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The beginning of the academic year has proven successful in many aspects for West Virginia University, officials said during the Sept. 8 WVU Board of Governors meeting.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Joyce McConnell reported not only a successful move-in and orientation, but also increases in WVU enrollment numbers.

She said there were 20,000 people at Fall Fest, which concluded Welcome Week, and new students were provided opportunities for Adventure West Virginia and service projects. All the activities at the beginning of the school year are part of student retention efforts.

President E. Gordon Gee said the changes made for the beginning of the year in orientation and the start of classes are improvements from the previous weekend orientation and party on the first day of classes.

“Now we have an orientation which I think is worthy of both the students and faculty, staff and our university … and that will result in significant increases in our retention,” Gee said.

The changes to the start of the academic year have proved effective, in that first-time freshman enrollment on all three WVU campuses has increased by 46 students, from 6,167 in 2016 to 6,214 this year. The average high school grade-point average of freshmen is up from 3.53 to 3.56, as well. Enrollment of international, resident and non-resident students is also up this year, McConnell said.

“Even though it’s not the huge increase that some might want to say, ‘Oh well, that’s what we ought to be doing,’ all of these predictors are really quite wonderful because they continue our upward trajectory,” McConnell said.

Grants were awarded to the Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship programs in Morgantown and Beckley for $500,000. The National Science Foundation awarded the Statler College and College of Education and Human Services $2 million to promote diversity in the next generation of engineers.

West Virginia University Institute of Technology at Beckley President Carolyn Long also reported an increase in numbers to the board during Friday’s meeting. After noting student retention was 54 percent in 2016, the goal had been to reach 58 percent, she said. The school surpassed that, however, with current retention at 67 percent.

Potomac State had 1,320 students in 2016 and now has about 1,500. Because of the 16 percent increase in students, she said the school had a neighborhood meeting to help prepare the community for the influx.

She also reported that residence halls are full.

And the nursing pass rate is 100 percent, compared to 83 percent in 2015, Long said.

In other news:

— Even as its State of Minds fundraising campaign nears a successful conclusion, the need for continued financial support for West Virginia University continues, the Board of Governors was told Friday.

“Now more than ever, private funding, private philanthropy is essential,” Cindi Roth, president and CEO of the WVU Foundation, said in her annual report to the board.

The foundation announced previously that the State of Minds campaign had raised $1.13 billion through June 30, with 59 percent of the money, or $662 million, earmarked for student support.

On Friday, Roth told the board that as of the end of the day Thursday, the total was $1.14 billion and the numbers continue to progress. The campaign, which had an original goal of $750 million that was increased to $1 billion, continues through the end of the year.

Roth announced the foundation would conduct a “Day of Giving,” a one-day initiative Nov. 8 to encourage all Mountaineers, especially those who haven’t contributed and young alumni, to support the university.

— Vice President for Talent and Culture Cris DeBord and General Counsel Stephanie Taylorpresented comments received after a 30-day public notice for the first phase of revisions for Talent and Culture rule changes.

DeBord said changes were made to severance packages, in that sick days would be considered depending on how close the employee is to retirement if a position is eliminated.

“We’re trying to provide a soft landing to somebody that’s impacted. We’re trying to take care of the employee that’s impacted through no fault of their own,” he said.

DeBord also said that maximum and minimum pay would have to go through his office now. To catch all the newer employees up to the pay midpoint, he said the growth at the top needed to slow down. Ranges for minimum and maximum pay will be considered annually.

The public comments received that led to the revisions made for better rules in the end, Taylor said.

The changes were unanimously passed.

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