West Virginia University is dedicated to improving the quality of life in rural communities, promoting sustainable economies and individual wellness. WVU is also committed to providing unique, hands-on learning experiences for its students. These commitments will converge when WVU joins forces with the Peace Corps to offer a new master’s degree program.

WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design has been chosen as a Peace Corps Master’s International partner, and will participate in an innovative program that allows graduate students to pursue a Master of Science degree while also completing an international service internship with the Peace Corps.

“The WVU PCMI partnership is the first of its type for any college or university in West Virginia,” says Associate Provost of Graduate Academic Affairs, Dr. Jonathan Cumming. “The program will support WVU’s commitment to expanding international engagement and provide unique service learning opportunities for our students. “

Fueled by concerns over climate change and unsustainable land use, professions in the complex fields of sustainable development and natural resource conservation are rapidly developing worldwide. The combined experiences of an MS degree at WVU along with international Peace Corps service will produce graduates that are exceptionally well prepared for domestic and international careers in these diverse and essential fields of study.

The PCMI program will integrate a variety of WVU graduate degrees in natural resources and the environment offered through the Davis College, including Agronomy, Forest Resources and Management, Wildlife and Fisheries Resources, or Recreation, Parks and Tourism Resources. Students will also integrate coursework and training from concentration areas in Sustainable Agro-Forestry, Sustainable Tourism and Development, Water Resource Management, and Wildlife Conservation.

A Peace Corps volunteer’s work is ultimately determined by the needs of a host country and the potential of a volunteer to contribute to those needs and to the Peace Corps’ mission. Those needs coincide with the skill sets of students from a wide range of WVU’s academic disciplines, but particularly those of the Davis College.

Agriculture volunteers work with small farmers to increase food production while promoting environmental conservation practices. Environment volunteers work on a wide variety of activities, from teaching environmental awareness to constructing wastewater infrastructure within a community. Other major service categories include education, youth and community development, health, food security, business development, and information and communication technology.

“Students will be able to apply the things they’ve learned at WVU while serving overseas and see the benefits as they help develop sustainable, community-based strategies,” says Dr. Todd Petty, coordinator for the Peace Corps MI program at WVU and associate professor of wildlife and fisheries. “Students will also benefit from having a global experience, living and working in a different culture and building the adaptability and vision that can result.”

Although currently centered within the WVU Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, organizers of the program expect the number of participating departments on the WVU campus to grow substantially over time.

“The body of faculty who teach and conduct research in environmental and conservation sciences is one of our greatest strengths at WVU,” adds Dr. Jim Anderson, professor and director of the WVU Environmental Research Center. “The PCMI program is an important step in continuing to build off of this strength.”

Peace Corps representatives will visit Morgantown to host an information session at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, in 334 Percival Hall on WVU’s Evansdale Campus.

For additional information on the WVU Peace Corps MI program in Forestry and Natural Resources, please contact Dr. Todd Petty at jtpetty@mail.wvu.edu or call the WVU Division of Forestry and Natural Resources office at 304-293-2941.



CONTACT: Todd Petty

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.