MORGANTOWN – WVU leaders sat down with members of the press Friday afternoon to field questions about the Board of Governors’ actions on Academic Transformation and what’s ahead.
Provost Maryanne Reed took one on the timeline for the changes set to take place for students. Students in degree programs identified for elimination were to be notified on Friday. “We believe it is a very small number of students who will not be taught out.” Any students with 60 or more credits must be taught out through their major. All graduate students will be taught out. Those who can’t be taught out will be offered alternatives.
General Counsel Stephanie Taylor took the same question regarding faculty. They will begin determining who will notified of elimination next week, based on three factors: performance, specific knowledge and skills, and seniority. All faculty in the affected programs will be notified by Oct. 16 whether their position has been eliminated or not, but hopefully earlier. They will remain employed through May 9, 2024.
President Gordon Gee took a question on how the program and faculty cuts might affect the image and reputation of WVU. “We believe we are forging the university of the future.” Almost every public university is facing similar problems, including structural financial deficits. “We are not concerned about our public image. We are concerned about having a great university.”
He said, “This is a time of great change in higher education, and we are leading that change rather than being its victim.”
On faculty and student support going forward. Reed said, “The reality is we have not been able to support our faculty in the ways that we would have wanted to because of our budget challenge. Our goal is to free up resources so that we can fund travel research support, and those things that make faculty successful.
“We do really need to reach out to our students who were hurt by this,” she said. “I feel for these students, and I think we all do who are here today, who are really, really distraught. … We will just need to find ways to connect with those students and to recognize and empathize with their feelings before we can move forward.”
Gee addressed what’s ahead for non-academic programs. “We are reviewing everything; as a matter of fact, we have been reviewing that for some time. … We don’t know what’s going to happen. We do know we need to be effective and efficient in every aspect of this institution,” including the president’s and vice presidents’ offices. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. So, we are looking carefully at every program at the institution, at every office, to make sure we are getting the best result with the best people.”
Separately, before the press talk, WVU Chief Financial Officer Paula Congelio provided the BOG with current enrollment numbers.
Fall 2023 undergraduate enrollment is 17,927 – lower than last fall’s 18,477 but above the this fall’s budgeted 17,530. Overall enrollment is 23,431, lower than fall 2022’s 24,087 but above the budgeted 23,090.
First-time freshman enrollment is 4,385 – lower than last fall’s 4,665 and below the budgeted 4,500. Arts and Sciences has the single-highest freshman enrollment, with 1,042 – only 1 fewer than last fall’s 1,042. Public Health has the fewest, with 13, above last fall’s 9.