West Virginia University President David C. Hardesty Jr. outlined WVU ’s six-year proposed compact with West Virginia during his annual State of the University address today (Feb. 12).

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research Gerald Lang also addressed the compact’s specifics, and regional campus presidents Erik Bitterbaum of WVU at Parkersburg, Karen LaRoe of WVU Institute of Technology and Mary Rittling of WVU Potomac State College described their institutions’proposed compact goals. The Legislature required creation of compacts to address important state priorities as part of a higher education reform package, Senate Bill 653, last year. 

The compact goals, once approved, run from July 2001-June 2007.”When we advance WVU , we advance every life in our state. We shape our nation. And we advance the cause of humanity,”Hardesty said, emphasizing the University’s unique contribution to the state as a land-grant, doctoral research university-extensive with a comprehensive health sciences centerone of only 11 in the nation. Hardesty said under the proposed compact, WVU will:

  • Conduct research that enhances West Virginia and meets the new economy’s needs 

  • Provide citizens statewide with graduate education opportunities, especially in teacher education

  • Focus the institutional mission, emphasizing points of distinction

  • Provide greater access to technical education and workforce development for place- bound adults

  • Help to create independently accredited community and technical colleges in every region of the state to meet local educational needs

He stressed that the compact will build upon the successes of the past five years under Senate Bill 547, in which the University reallocated $38 million on all campuses to: increase faculty and staff salaries while maintaining top-tier national research university status; invested in technology and libraries; created innovative academic programs such as those in forensic identification; began construction of new buildings like the student rec center and library; and revolutionized student life with such model programs as Operation Jump-Start, the Mountaineer Parents Club and WVUp All Night.

Provost Lang addressed 10 specific areas under the compact, including the undergraduate experience. Initiatives like the new Center for Writing Excellence, Institute for Math Learning, capstone experiences approved by Faculty Senate and the pending improvements to the University Advising Centerare key to transforming and improving studentslives, he said.

For the compact to be successful, Lang said WVU must be aggressive in seeking new investments from the state to not only reward employees but to support operations and new initiatives.

In his address, Hardesty also acknowledged the WVU Foundation’s role in keeping WVU competitive with peer institutions. The Foundation’s capital campaign”Building Greatness”has received $125 million in gifts and pledges toward its five-year $250 million goal, Hardesty said. He announced the two latest gifts:

  • A $500,000 pledge from Jim and Ann Milano of Monongalia County to replace furnishings in a Wise Library reading room and to enhance the library’s Appalachian Collection. The reading room is where the Milanos first met while attending WVU .

  • A $2.2 million gift from the estate of Mary Jackson of Jane Lew for scholarships to benefit Lewis County students.

President Rittling, acknowledging Potomac States 100th anniversary this month, said the school added two new associate degree programs (arts and applied science) and a certificate program in criminal justice and began the Regents BA degree program. By next fall, PSC students can also earn an associates degree in child care. Renovations to facilities, improved student services and development of workforce training opportunities also occurred and will continue to be key compact goals, she noted.

President Bitterbaum said WVU Parkersburgs affiliation as a branch campus of WVU began 40 years ago, and the institution continues to”reinvent itself to meet area educational needs.”Today, the school offers a blend of certificates, associate programs and select baccalaureate degrees. Collaborations like those with the Wood County Schools and the Caperton Center for Applied Technologyand partnerships with area vocational centers and alliances like the Polymer Alliance Zoneexpand capacities and change lives, he said. Compact goals include providing residents with increased accessibility to higher education and continued efforts to impact regional economic development.

As the states only institute of technology, WVU Tech President Karen LaRoe said the school has built a reputation with employers for producing graduates that are well equipped to meet immediate workforce needs. Through a new Applied Technology and Business Center and technology incubator, workforce development will continue to be a clear focus, she said. Other compact goals include expanding opportunities for teacher education in math, science and technology and improved access to undergraduate and graduate education.

Hardesty concluded by noting that WVU s strength is its determination to achieve great things on behalf of West Virginias people.”The continuous learning process at WVU weaves a multilayered, multicolored fabric of greatness that is the source of our Universitys strength,”he said.”We never stop expanding and strengthening this fabric we are weaving. Learning, questioning, creating, fixing, helping, caring �€these are threads in our fabric of greatness.”

The State of the University address was broadcast live to sites at WVU ’s regional

campuses and via webcast technology to Extension personnel throughout the state.

In the audience were two new members of the University familyMountaineer Head Coach Rich Rodriguez and Cancer Center Director Dr. Eddie Reed. Hardesty welcomed the two national leaders to campus and acknowledged former Coach Don Nehlen for his exceptional leadership and positive influence on student athletes during 21 successful years at WVU .

The presidents speech on the web:http://www.wvu.edu/administration/index.html

The Campus Compact on the web:http://www.wvu.edu/~acadaff/wvu_compact.htm