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WVU transformation Academic Support Unit review: Libraries will realize $800,000 in savings through staff cuts; no buildings will close

MORGANTOWN — WVU Libraries will develop a plan to reorganize to realize $800,000 in savings through personnel reductions, Associate Provost Mark Gavin said during a Wednesday Campus Conversation.

As part of the ongoing Academic Transformation, Libraries was one of 20 Academic Support Units that operate under the provost’s office and were subject to review to create a “more focused and cost-efficient suite of academic support services to assist colleges and schools while better serving students’ needs.”

As with the academic programs subject to review, the ASU review could lead to six possible outcomes including continuing at the current level of activity, continuing with specific actions or reduced level of activity, and discontinuance.

The process began in May, Gavin said, but was paused during the academic program review. It included self-studies, discussions with unit leaders and stakeholder surveys. Unlike the academic reviews, ASU reviews were not subject to Board of Governors rules and the recommendations are not appealable — though discussions will continue.

The Institutional Research ASU results are still forthcoming, Gavin said. Of the other 19, none were recommended for discontinuance; six were continued as-is; 11 were continued with specific action; two, including Libraries, were recommended to continue with reductions.

The recommendation letter sent to Libraries Dean Karen Diaz noted that the review revealed “numerous and substantial questions” about staffing levels, but that it is effective at providing key services and stakeholder comments were “voluminous and positive.”

Gavin said Diaz worked with the provost’s office on the proposed reductions to achieve savings without harming service levels.

Diaz said in a press release, “Library materials and services are critical to the success of our students, faculty, staff and community and we will not compromise them. That’s why I worked with the provost’s office to determine how we could realize up to $800,000 in savings without affecting our materials budget. … It will mean that we must rethink how we are organized to deliver our ongoing and evolving services.”

Libraries staff non-renewal notifications will be sent between Dec. 8-15. The unit will also look for opportunities to condense physical spaces across locations on the Morgantown, Health Sciences and regional campuses, and to reduce space needs within its facilities. No facilities will be closed.

Teaching and Learning Commons is the other ASU subject to activity reductions. TLC provides teaching support and resources for faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows — including mentoring faculty and instructors, providing training workshops and supporting the scholarship of teaching and learning.

The recommendation letter says stakeholder feedback was overall positive but there is some duplication of services and its portfolio has grown, reflecting an expansion of its core mission.

TLC must shift to a more-focused mission around the development of instructional skills, with some activities and staff shifting to other units.

These ASUs were continued with specific recommended actions:

  • Career Services, which is understaffed but is critical to student success; a task force will be formed to help the unit come up with responses to recommendations and develop a plan for appropriate staffing levels and to look at better integration into college-level curriculum and experiences and to explore its relationship with the recently launched Purpose Center.
  • WVU Online; the Center for Learning, Advising and Student Success; the ADVANCE Center; the Office of Accessibility Services. Recommendations include developing a plan to address a comprehensive marketing strategy, technology infrastructure, programming and instructional design. 
  • The Honors College, which will determine if staffing levels can be reduced among graduate teaching assistants and student workers, and evaluate the need for staff positions that may be more appropriate for traditional colleges;
  • The Office of Global Affairs has already reduced staffing numbers. Recommendations include a call to increase communication with the campus community about changes in federal policies and the resulting effects for faculty, students and programming.
  • WVU Press and the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative, which will both be called on to look for external funding.
  • The University Registrar is tasked with evaluating whether particular functions and services could be improved by adjustments to in-person or remote work appointments.
  • Graduate Education and Life should improve its responsiveness to faculty and student inquiries and concerns and provide consistent in-person support that aligns with graduate student schedules.

These ASUs will continue as-is: Center for Veterans, Military and Family Programs; Center for Excellence in STEM Education; LGBTQ+ Center; Women’s Resource Center; University Testing Center.


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