The West Virginia University Faculty Senate – inspired by a visit from newly-appointed athletic director Oliver Luck – pondered a few questions of athletics at Monday’s meeting.

Where will WVU end up in the shuffling of NCAA conferences?

Will the shuffling affect academics?

And who will win the World Cup?

While Luck, president and general manager of the Houston Dynamo soccer franchise in Houston, Texas, couldn’t be nailed down on a World Cup champ, he did offer assurances that WVU is well-positioned to rise above the confusion of conference realignment, and that the academic mission of the University is not separate from its athletic mission.

“I have a deep and sincere appreciation for academics. I’m a little bit of a nerd,” Luck told the senate to a few chuckles. “I was honored to play for the Mountaineers and help them win a couple of games, but I have fonder memories of being a student.”

And he hopes that today’s student athletes have the same appreciation for their academic opportunities. “Very few people will make a penny from their sport,” he said, which makes the time they spend in the classroom essential to their futures.

“We must never forget the academic side of what our student athletes do,” President James P. Clements agreed.

In other business, the Senate:

• Announced the results of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee election. The following faculty members will begin serving on July 1: Bob Bastress, College of Law; Ilkin Bilgesu, College of Engineering and Mineral Resources; Jan Boyles, School of Journalism; Boyd Edwards, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; Ruth Kershner, School of Medicine; Graham Peace, College of Business and Economics; and Joe Urbanski, WVU Tech.

  • Accepted reports from 10 senate committees, unanimously and with little discussion.
  • Updated faculty on the search for deans of the College of Creative Arts and the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. Search committees will form in July and the process of reviewing applicants is expected to begin by September.
  • Thanked outgoing Senate Chair Nigel Clark for his service. Clark, in turn, offered his hope that the University will make good on its pledge to hire more faculty, and will find ways to heighten enthusiasm and interaction. Clark will have a hand in bringing his hopes to reality as he has agreed to help lead the president’s Strategic Planning Committee.

The committee is already under way and should have a proposal prepared for the WVU community sometime in the fall.



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