Introducing the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, a new name for the oldest academic unit at West Virginia University.

The WVU Board of Governors approved the new name at its Sept. 11 meeting, rechristening the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences.

The change is the result of an 18-month process of seeking input from faculty, staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders of the evolving academic institution. The Davis College undertook the process to select a name that better represented its academic offerings and research priorities.

“Agriculture, natural resources and design are the three terms that best reflect the Davis College’s primary cross-disciplinary areas and the evolving focus areas of our academic and research programs,” said Cameron Hackney, Dean of the Davis College.

Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and other constituents participated in an online survey or contacted Davis College administrators via other means to provide feedback. After examining the feedback, the Davis College faculty selected the school’s new name.

The Davis College encompasses five academic divisions: Animal and Nutritional Sciences, Design & Merchandising, Forestry and Natural Resources, Plant and Soil Sciences and Resource Management. Those divisions are home to 22 undergraduate academic majors, 18 undergraduate academic minors, and 20 graduate programs.

“It’s difficult to describe everything we do as a college in a few short words,” Hackney said. “With this change, we’ll be better able to communicate our opportunities and our areas of expertise to prospective students and other audiences.”

The unit’s first name was the College of Agriculture. It was changed in the 1930s to the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics. When Home Economics moved to the College of Human Resources and Education, it became the College of Agriculture and Forestry; and after the return of the revised Division of Family and Consumer Sciences, “Consumer Sciences” was added to the name in the late 1990s. In 2001, “Davis” was added to recognize the generous bequest of Vivian Michael and Gladys Gwendolyn Davis in support of the unit’s academic programs.

In the early 2000s, the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences reorganized to better serve its disciplinary areas. Child Development and Family Studies joined WVU’s College of Human Resources and Education, and Human Nutrition and Foods moved to the Division of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, which subsequently changed its name to the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences. In 2007, the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences renamed itself the Division of Design & Merchandising to reflect its academic programs: Design Studies, Interior Design and Fashion Design and Merchandising.

In 2007, the Division of Forestry became the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources to better reflect its primary academic areas and to become consistent with standard nomenclature in the discipline.

“The addition of ‘Natural Resources’ and ‘Design’ best reflects both their academic offerings and the focus in other programs in the Davis College, including Landscape Architecture, Design Studies, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, among others,” Hackney said.


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