West Virginia University’s Board of Governors approved a $4 million faculty and staff salary improvement plan that will take effect in October and okayed a land exchange between WVU and Monongalia General Hospital at its Friday (June 7) meeting at Erickson Alumni Center.

The 15-member board also heard reports from Director of Athletics Ed Pastilong on a strategic plan for that department and Interim General Counsel Bobbie Brandt concerning the University’s proposed freedom of expression policy.

The salary improvement program for staff is based on the legislative-approved classified salary schedule, and will be calculated as 20 percent of the difference between employeescurrent salaries and their proper placement on the schedule. Calculated raises result in an average increase of 3.8 percent, or $983 per employee, said Vice President for Administration, Finance and Human Resources Scott Kelley.

“Our goal as stated last year was to move staff to 100 percent of the salary schedule over the next six years of our compact with the state,”Kelley said.”Were moving 1/5 of the difference this year.”

The faculty and non-classified staff pay raise package has the goal of moving salary averages toward those of peer institutions. They will be mostly performance-based, with raises resulting in an average increase of 1.75 percent, or $983 per employee, Kelley said. Members of the faculty who are promoted in rank will also receive a 10 percent increase.

The plan is estimated to cost about $4 million and will be implemented in October. Kelley reminded the board that WVU started out the fiscal year with just under $1 million less in state appropriations. Since that time, some funds have been restored, and tuition increases have been approved. This was the first opportunity to bring the salary issue before the board.

The proposal was part of an overall projected operating budget for WVU s main campus.

In approving the land transfer, the board agreed to transfer a 13.3-acre portion of WVU ’s Old Poultry Farm to Monongalia General Hospital in exchange for a $2 million payment and a 13.3-acre parcel of hospital land. The Monongalia County Development Authority will be the facilitating intermediary for the land exchange, according to Kelley. Once completed, WVU will then seek later board approval to convey the property to the WVU Research Corp. for the future home of a research and technology park.

Legislation passed during the last session made the land transfer between WVU and Mon General and the future conveyance of property possible.

In his report, Pastilong presented an overview of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. The report included background on the athletic departments structure and fiscal position; a review of the values in which the program operates, including academics, compliance and gender equity; and the strategic direction of the department.

Future direction includes plans to invest in improvements and renovations to Mountaineer Field and the Puskar Center. WVU recently completed the installation of new artificial turf at the stadium and plans to construct 19 new Stadium Suites.

Improvements to the Coliseum include renovating the mens and womens basketball locker rooms, the mens and womens basketball coaches offices and the installation of premium seating. Both basketball programs will have increased recruiting budgets, and the construction of grand stands is planned for the soccer fields.

A new position to oversee and restructure fund raising and another to market ticket sales will strengthen revenues for the self-supporting unit, Pastilong added.

Addressing the ongoing investigation of a possible NCAA rules violation, Pastilong said the University is investigating the allegations thoroughly and is still focusing on the same issues. Once the investigation and report are complete and submitted to the NCAA , information will be released.

Brandt told board members that an outdated free speech policy that was too restrictive was replaced in April with an interim freedom of expression policy, drafted by an ad hoc committee of Faculty Senate. Following a public comment period and further study, the policy has since undergone additional revisions. It was endorsed by the full Senate at the May meeting and forwarded to the President’s Office for additional refinement. Brandt said counsel is looking at issues such as the large group number, the application of the policy at regional campuses, the reservation process and other issues. It will be brought back before the board at its September meeting for formal approval.

The board also elected new officers: Chairman Hank Barnette; Vice Chairman Tom Potter; and Secretary Joe Lopez. Immediate Past Chair Vaughn Kiger now joins the Executive Committee.

Board member Parry Petroplus was also sworn in. He replaces Cathy Armstrong, who resigned in April.

Resolutions were read to honor Jeremy Posey, student representative, and Roy Nutter, faculty representative, whose terms expire this summer.

New BOG chairpersons are: Academic Affairs Paul Gates; Business Affairs Doug Leech; Student Affairs Betty Chilton; University Relations Terry Jones; Audit Doug Leech; Compensation Committee Hank Barnette; and Nominating Committee Tom Potter.

In other action, the board approved:

  • A new Ph.D. in geography (Eberly College) to be offered in 2003 to meet the increased demand for high-tech positions in the state and nation, particularly in Geographic Information Systems. Projections are for 20 students in the first year and 30 by the fifth year.
  • Conversion of the master’s degree in physical therapy to a doctorate in physical therapy by 2007-2008 in line with the American Physical Therapy Association’s new national standards calling for this change by 2020.
  • Recommendations of the Program Review Committee regarding programs with low productivity on WVU ’s main and regional campuses, including the discontinuation of the office technology program at WVU Institute of Technology and the electronics technology and occupational development programs at WVU Potomac State College.
  • Three programs for the designation of”Program of Excellence”based on a strong assessment plan, measurable outcomes and improved program performance: A.S. electrical engineering technology, WVU Tech; B.S. electrical engineering technology, WVU Tech; B.S. electrical engineering, WVU .
  • A memorandum of understanding between Potomac State and Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College to collaborate on contracts, sharing resources, services and assistance to bring the best services to the citizens of that region.
  • A revised tuition and fee schedule for WVU Tech based on the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) allocating additional funds to community and technical colleges at its April meeting. Instead of 9.8 percent increases for resident students, the increase will be 6.1 percent; the Metro fee will drop from a 9.86 percent increase to 8.82 percent.
  • Received the promotion and tenure report.
  • Approved Extension Committee appointments.

Many of these action items now go before the Policy Commission for final approval.

A new BOG website was also introduced that featured the membership, committee structure, meeting dates and locations, minutes of meetings, policies and other information. It can be found at http://www.wvu.edu/bog/members.htm

The board’s next meeting is Sept. 6.