West Virginia University President David C. Hardesty reported to Board of Governors members meeting in Charleston Friday (June 17) on the University’s progress over the past decade and outlined a long-range strategy for propelling the University through 2010.

At the core of the five-year strategic plan are specific goals and benchmarks: increasing enrollment to 30,000, including 1,500 students on the Potomac State College campus; maintaining a first-year student retention rate of more than 80 percent; raising the graduation rate from 56 percent to 63 percent; increasing the number of endowed professorships and chairs by 15; increasing enrollment in the Honors Program by 200 or more students; and growing research grants and contracts to $200 million.

The 2010 plan was unanimously endorsed this week by WVU ’s Faculty Senate and will come before the BOG for final approval in September.

It builds on the extraordinary achievements of the past decade, Hardesty said, as he highlighted some of those successes over the past 10 years:

  • Full-time equivalent enrollment is up from 19,300 students in fall 1995 to a projected 24,228 for fall 2005an increase of nearly 5,000 full-time students, or a 25.5 percent increase
  • Retention rates went from 76 percent to 81 percent
  • WVU was reaccredited for a full 10-year cycle, and all colleges and schools have achieved full accreditation from professional associations
  • Thirty-seven new degree programs have been established, including WVU ’s internationally recognized forensic and investigative science degree and biometrics program
  • Student life initiatives were established, including a Mountaineer Parents Club, which today boasts 13,000 members, and is led on a full-time, volunteer basis by Susan Hardesty
  • Annual research and sponsored project dollars have increased 119 percent since 1995 to $140.3 million in 2005, while at the same time a new tech transfer office and business incubator were established and ground broken on a new research park
  • Annual number of in-patients served by WVU Hospitals is up by some 24,000, or 26 percent, and out-patients served by University Health Associates have increased 50 percent to 533,270
  • Annual extension clients rose from some 122,200 to almost 257,000a 110 percent increase
  • Foundation assets are up 317 percent since 1995, in large part due to a successful capitol campaign
  • More than $700 million in construction, renovation and infrastructure upgrades have either been completed or are in process (Downtown Library, Life Sciences, Student Recreation Center , One Waterfront Place, Resident Faculty Leader Housing, Health Sciences, Athletics projects, etc.)
  • Key organizations have been added WVU Institute of Technology, the United Health Care System and the Eastern Division of Health Sciences, and the integration of Potomac State as a division of WVU
  • Distance education has expandedsatellite delivery went from 10 to more than 100 courses, WebCT Vista course sections went from zero in 1995 to some 980 in 2005, and online degrees increased from three to 27
  • The Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute was established and funded and construction of its $30 million headquarters on the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center campus begun
  • A strategic research plan for health sciences was developed, establishing six interdisciplinary centers for biomedical research

Perhaps the keystone to increasing WVU ’s enrollment and improving the learning environment, Hardesty said, was the growth in student life programming that began 10 years ago.

Hardesty became WVU ’s 21 st president in July 1995, initiating a suite of student life programs that became known as Operation Jump-Start.

This return to a more student-centered culture included establishment of a Resident Faculty Leader Program, with respected faculty members and their spouses living near residence halls to provide guidance and support to first-year students, and a Mountaineer Parents Club, which offers parents a way to stay connected to their sons and daughters through two-way communication and enriching activities.

Other first-year initiatives include New Student Orientation, New Student Convocation, Welcome Week, a Festival of Ideas lecture series, WVUp All Night and a variety of academic support services.

“These last 10 years of progress have essentially laid the groundwork for the future success of the University as we move forward with our 2010 plan,”Hardesty said,”and will ensure that a great land-grant, research University continues to serve its state.”


  • CHARLESTON , W.Va.West Virginia University’s Board of Governors, meeting in Charleston today (June 17), heard a report from Vice President for Student Affairs Ken Gray on that unit’s strategic plan, which includes reaching the 30,000 enrollment goal by 2010 and enhancing programs and services to serve this growing student population.

Dean of Students David Stewart noted that WVU ’s fall 2005 freshman enrollment goal of 4,550 students is on target and that owned and leased housing is in place to accommodate these numbers.

The panel also took action on the following:

  • approved construction and planning of a $6.3 million fire academy at Jackson’s Mill, funded through capital bonds and a $2 million state economic development grant. The facility is slated for construction in June 2006 with an expected completion date of June 2007. This training facility will have classrooms and high-end technology to meet the needs of West Virginia’s and the region’s firefighters and first responders, and will allow WVU to host conventions, expos and conferences.
  • approved a revised employee leave policy
  • approved continuation of the associate’s degree in welding management at WVU at Parkersburg
  • approved a program-specific tuition reciprocity agreement between Washington State Community College in Ohio and WVU at Parkersburg
  • heard about a new occupational degree program at WVU at Parkersburg for implementation in fall 2005 specific to workforce needs of the region

The board unanimously elected Doug Leech, Joseph Lopez and Betty Chilton as chairman, vice chairman and secretary, respectively, for 1-year terms.

The BOG ’s next meeting is Sept. 9 in Morgantown.