MORGANTOWN , W.Va.The Faculty Senates June meeting featured two newly-elected officials. James P. Clements was named West Virginia Universitys 23rd president in March and was on hand Monday (June 8) for one of his first official campus meetings at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy. Robert Griffith, associate professor of medicinal chemistry in the School of Pharmacy and a former Senate chair, was elected to the Board of Governors following a Senate vote.
State lawmakers approved a bill in April that added a second faculty member to the Board either from Health Sciences or Extension, expanding the board to 17 members starting July 1. The only issue surrounding Griffiths appointment is if hell serve one or two years.
The BOG representatives term is for two years, but Faculty Senate chair Nigel Clark said Griffith may serve one year so the group can stagger the elections to BOG posts. Staggering elections would allow an experienced faculty member to serve along with a new member instead of two new members serving at the same time.
A process needs to be established,Clark said, noting that a new procedure would need to be added to the Faculty Constitution and approved by Senate members.
Griffith, also a former WVU Board of Advisors member, was among 13 nominees.
Im deeply honored, truly honored to be elected for this position,Griffith said.I view my role as one of an educatorto make sure people understand that the heart of the University is the faculty/student interaction.
Griffiths new post begins a day after WVU President-elect James P. Clements starts.
Clements, on campus for transitional meetings, outlined several areas he will emphasize when he takes office. Listing themin no particular order,he said investment in faculty is important, including hiring the very best at top salaries and lowering the student-faculty ratio. He also wants to look at academic support structures and other programs for students to make sure they are as effective as they can be.
Increasing diversity across the board and tapping staff expertise and talent are also on the agenda, as is making investments in technology in the classroom and other facilities.
Clements said he is pleased that WVU has doubled research grants and contracts over the past 10 years, and wants to continue to explore new partnerships and examine support mechanisms for the research enterprise.
He questioned whether funding has kept pace with enrollment, noting that WVU needs to closely examine current levels of funding and consider new models.
Enhancing globalization and international opportunities and partnerships are other areas of emphasis, he noted, as is the health sciences enterprise, where he will be involved in the hiring of a new chancellor.
Overall, he wants to examine current strategies and practices and, along with input from faculty, staff, students, alumni and others, determine if WVU is maximizing its opportunities for success.
Ten to 20 years down the road, who do we want to be? What do we want to look like? How will our peers see us?Clements asked.
My basic premise is, this is our University. We can take it to wherever we want to be. Ive reviewed in depth the strategic plan for 2010. Its a great plan and I think weve made unbelievable progress. In some areas, weve already hit our target. In others, we havent but were getting there. Now I want to think about 2020, 2030 and beyond.
Interim Provost E. Jane Martin said WVU recently hired Steve Robinson as registrar and Joe Norris as chief information officer. Interviews for an associate provost for international programs are scheduled for early July. WVU is also seeking a permanent provost.
Optimistically, well have a new provost this fall, but, realistically, itll be January,Martin said.
In other news, the Senate voted to approve a policy on ad-hoc experiential learning to better define standards for earning credit hours outside the classroom.
Alan Stolzenberg said establishing a policy for the University was difficult as rules and procedures varied widely for some academic disciplines and course accreditation requirements may prohibit certain ad hoc situations.
The policy does not affect documented research and internships but will examine thehow and whyof each future ad hoc arrangement.
Also, outgoing BOG rep Steve Kite explained why he voted for a 4 percent tuition increase, which the Board approved at a meeting last week.
Kite said he researched other institutions and found most of them raised tuition five percent or less. Some institutions did not have an increase but, faced with declining enrollment and funding, had forced furloughs for faculty and staff.
He gave his main reason for voting for an increase asuncertainty,saying,We dont know how many freshmen will appear here when school starts,he said.Ive heard enrollment is good but not greatnot as big as last years. And how many sophomores and juniors will return? How many will stay at home and take advantage of in-state tuition? I thought the alternative (to a tuition increase) was the possibility of draconian measures that are occurring at other schools such as furloughs.
In other news, Frances OBrien, dean of libraries, gave a presentation about the current state of the libraries and future plans.She said the WVU libraries website has 1.8 million visitors annually and the libraries had $12 million in expenditures last year. OBrien said WVU Libraries is one of 14 institutions nationwide to be invited to join PALINET , a national pilot program to digitize books. In the future, OBrien hopes to expand multi-media services available to students and faculty. She said demand is increasing for multi-media projects on campus.
Virginia Kleist was presented with a gavel and plaque for her service as Faculty Senate Chair. Kleists one-year term was set to expire in June but she resigned in March.