West Virginia University’s Board of Governors, meeting by phone Wednesday (Aug. 7), approved two new degree programs on the main campus and one at the WVU Institute of Technology as well as a name change for a nationally prominent department.

WVU’s new degree program in biomedical engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources will serve the biomedical industry in the state and region, officials said, while a new degree program in immunology and medical microbiology in the School of Medicine will allow graduates to better serve the biotechnology industry in West Virginia and worldwide.

Following a budget question from faculty Board representative Robert Griffith, Statler College Dean Gene Cilento said 5-6 full-time faculty members are committed to teaching in the new engineering program now and, as the discipline grows, there may be a need to reallocate funds for additional faculty positions in the future. Private funding is also being secured for additional laboratory space for the program, he said.

WVU President Jim Clements said he is “excited to see this quality program move forward.”

Students at WVU Tech will now be able to major in forensic investigation, complementing the existing criminal justice major on the Montgomery campus and offering a niche program for potential out-of-state students, Tech leaders said. The undergraduate program is separate from the main campus program in forensic and investigative science, which is accredited through the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Additionally, the name change for the physics department to the Department of Physics and Astronomy was made to better reflect that department’s growing state and national emphasis in astronomy and astrophysics, Eberly College leaders explained.

In other business, the Board welcomed Rob Alsop of Charleston to his first meeting since being appointed to the panel last week by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Diane Lewis of Morgantown and William Wilmoth of Wheeling were also reappointed to the Board by the Governor, and new faculty and student representatives, respectively, Lisa DiBartolomeo and Ryan Campione, attended their first meeting.

The Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Sept. 27 in Morgantown.



CONTACT: University Relations-News

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.