With enrollment numbers firm and a clearer picture of revenues, federal stimulus money and state appropriations, West Virginia University’s Board of Governors, meeting in Morgantown Friday (Nov. 6), formally adopted a budget for fiscal year 2010.
The Board had approved an interim budget of $855.3 million at its June meeting in Montgomery, but because of the economic downturn and unpredictable enrollment picture, wanted to wait on its final approval. The final budget did not change.
Revenues from student fees became the only line that changed significantly since FY 09, said Vice President for Administration and Finance Narvel Weese, and those additional funds will help cover expenses for employee benefits, last year’s salary increases and faculty promotions, support for the child learning center and other basic operating costs.
Weese said WVU’s financial statements received an unqualified opinion and no management letter for the seventh consecutive year.
Reporting on over $163.3 million in capital projects, Weese said several are in the design phase such as a renovation to White Hall, the Ag Sciences Greenhouse and an indoor basketball practice facility, while others such as the child learning center and intermodal facility and garage have opened.
Under way is a Biomedical Science expansion, Alumni Center landscaping and a women’s soccer practice field.
Addressing future challenges, Weese said expected growth in funded research and graduate programs will lead to additional research labs and facilities. The modernization of White Hall and a new greenhouse are on the horizon, he said, and future projects like renovations to Hodges Hall and additions to the Law School and College of Business and Economics – plus a new Student Health and Wellness Center – will strengthen WVU’s campus environment.
President James P. Clements, in his report to the Board, said WVU was selected to participate in a team-based, industry-led project that includes four other major research universities—Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, Penn State and Virginia Tech—to provide research and engineering services to the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). The collective contracts are expected to exceed $465 million over five years, and will focus on research in fossil fuels.
WVU was ranked 12th by The Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac for research growth between 2000 and 2007, he added, with an increase of 135 percent. Already, in the first three months of this fiscal year, WVU has reached $25 million in competitive grants – which was the entire year’s funding level in competitive federal grants two years ago.
Reviewing his recent State of the University remarks, which reported on WVU’s stability and momentum in preparation for embarking on a strategic plan, he reminded Board members that 100 new faculty positions are planned over the next three years. Those will be strategically allocated with input from the deans and oversight by the provost and new chancellor for health sciences.
BoG Member Charles Vest called the focus on faculty hiring “a once in a lifetime opportunity for WVU,” when so many peer institutions are facing faculty layoffs and other challenges.
Clements welcomed Chancellor Chris Colenda to the meeting, and said Provost Michele Wheatly would join the team in January. Chief Information Officer Rehan Khan began his new position this week, he said, and candidates for chief legal officer have been identified and are visiting campus over the next several weeks. Dean searches are also under way, he said.
Enrollment remains strong at 32,000 students statewide, with graduate and professional enrollment up 4 percent and honors first-time freshmen up 17 percent, Clements said. Other significant gains – international undergraduate enrollment is up 7.3 percent and online and extended learning registrations have increased by 10 percent.
In an effort to continue to support students and make college possible for all those who want to pursue a higher education, Clements said WVU announced increases in scholarships and financial aid for Fall 2010.
Interim Provost E. Jane Martin, who will complete her service Dec. 31 when Provost Wheatly arrives, said the past year has been spent focused on three key areas: critical issues facing the institution, strategic hires and key initiatives.
Implementation of the 29 recommendations from the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers are well under way, she noted, with guidelines established for the retention of academic records in all the schools and colleges, a rigorous review of all diplomas granted from last spring forward and the hiring of a University registrar.
Continued effort to recruit faculty in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines continues, she said, with one successful hire, including appropriate employment support for the spouse/partner. A similar commitment to recruit highly qualified minority faculty has resulted in six new faculty hires.
In addition to the registrar, other key leadership positions in Academic Affairs have been filled: information technology (Rehan Khan), international programs (Michael Lastinger), and undergraduate programs (Elizabeth Dooley).
The Office of Graduate Education received additional staffing support and new offices in the Mountainlair, she said, under the direction of Jonathan Cumming.
Curt Peterson, vice president for research and economic development, gave a status report on three action items originating from the State of the University address, saying a grants budget office to assist principal investigators with research proposals will be in place by Dec. 1; a faculty mentoring seminar series will get under way in Spring 2010; and an electronic system for proposal submissions will be in place by March 1.
Director of Sustainability Clement Solomon reported that WVU’s efforts received a grade of B from the Sustainable Endowments Institute based on recycling efforts, building designs, energy efficiencies and other initiatives. Solomon also said the Association of Physical Plant Administrators named WVU a top five university for recycling initiatives.
Provost at the WVU Institute of Technology Scott Hurst briefed the Board on compliance with the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability (LOCEA) provisions, citing full integration of the BANNER/STAR systems of online registration, grade reporting and other services.
Kerry Odell, campus provost at Potomac State College of WVU, reported that enrollment stands at 1,810 students – the largest ever experienced. A new library, residence hall complex and the academic degree programs have enhanced the campus environment, he said.
In her report to the Board, staff representative Jo Morrow provided demographics on the classified staff workforce, noting that of the more than 3,000 employees, 58 percent are women, 42 percent are men and the average age is 48 years. Average salary is $33,753, with average length of service 14 years.
SGA President Jason Zuccari told the board SGA recently passed a resolution for a smoke-free Health Sciences campus and plans to forward that document to WVU’s newly forming smoking task force.
Board Chair Carolyn Long publicly thanked former member Steve Goodwin for his seven plus years of service on the board.
In other business, the Board approved:
– creation of the MS in finance in the College of Business and Economics to meet the need for advanced financial researchers and analysts in the global marketplace
– $683,533 in new Research Trust Fund (RTF) contributions for submission to the vice chancellor of science and research for matching funds from the state. With this request, private and state dollars will bring WVU’s total to $6.978 million in investments in key research areas
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