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Gee highlights service, students, changes at latest BOG meeting


West Virginia University President Gordon Gee said service is the cornerstone of everything the university does.

Not only is it a core value, but it reflects WVU’s commitment to people — not only to students who attend the school, but to everyone who calls the state home.

During the regular Board of Governors meeting Friday, Gee highlighted several programs spanning the WVU system focused on helping people in communities across the state with economic development, education, arts, health initiatives and more. Many provide unique opportunities for students.

“Educating students is our highest priority, and I have been engaging with as many students as possible to learn about how we can better serve their needs,” Gee said.

In addition to the upcoming awards season for students and faculty and updates about Academic Transformation and accreditation, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed also touted WVU’s recent participation in Undergraduate Research Day at the state Capitol.

“Our WVU students are helping to find new treatments for cancer, identifying ways that artificial intelligence can be used to detect mental health challenges, demonstrating the impact of trauma on language development, and building wearable devices to aid patients who suffer from mobility issues — just to name a few of their amazing projects,” Reed said.

Reed also welcomed new presidents from the WVU Keyser Campus and WVU Beckley Campus.

“To be able to have that small town college experience but be still a part of a tier one research university is our real strength,” said Chris Gilmer, campus president of WVU Potomac State College. “It’s really the best of both worlds. We are the first choice for community service, we’re the first choice for educating students, and then we mean to be a good and committed community partner.”

T. Ramon Stuart has returned to his native southern West Virginia to lead a new chapter in WVU Tech’s history.

“I want to make sure that we leverage the expertise and world-renowned knowledge of our faculty and the ambition and aspiration of our students,” Stuart said. “We’re going to also make sure that we’re preparing students for the careers of the future, not just the jobs of today. My passion, my love for this state that gave me so much, and I’m just so thankful these country roads have brought me home to the place where I belong.”

Gee also welcomed Stuart and Gilmer. He acknowledged this is a tumultuous time in higher education. Universities everywhere are facing the challenges of inflation, fewer students choosing to continue their education and increasing financial pressures. WVU has outlined short-term actions with an eye on long-term strategies to manage its financials.

“Higher education is changing,” Gee said. “We must change with it or be left behind. And we will not be left behind. We must adapt — and we will — through innovative thinking, by working together and by always putting our students first.”

The university will move forward with notices for proposed changes to five BOG rules to amend and clarify certain provisions and update the rules to reflect changes that have occurred since their adoption. Summaries of the proposed rules can be found on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking website.

Members also heard updates on several previously approved real estate transactions, and the board authorized the transfer of property as part of the West Virginia Department of Transportation’s plans to widen Beechurst Avenue in Morgantown where a reconfiguration will result in a new four-way intersection with Beechurst Avenue, Campus Drive and First Street.

Other board actions included approvals for new degree programs in psychology, neuroscience, engineering technology, scientific and technical writing, and professional writing and editing, as well as an additional $1 million for renovations to the Evansdale Café kitchen to meet increased construction costs.

The next regular BOG meeting is scheduled for April 21.