To take advantage of and recognize changes in educational technology, West Virginia University is creating a new organizational structure to champion innovation in the classroom and provide a place for faculty to experiment with emerging tools, University officials announced today (May 21).

The new division will be named Academic Innovation, and Sue Day-Perroots, who has been dean of Extended Learning, will lead the new initiative as associate vice president of Academic Innovation, effective July 1. She will continue to report to Provost Michele Wheatly.

“Advances in technology are happening at a rapid pace all around us, especially in the way education is delivered,” Wheatly said. “Whether it’s through delivering classes exclusively online, or incorporating those technologies in a classroom environment, it’s imperative that WVU incorporate both into the educational environment we provide our students.”

WVU President Jim Clements said, “Expanding online course delivery and enhancing the quality of those courses is what a 21st Century land-grant university should be doing. It’s consistent with our mission of providing access to students.”

WVU’s online enrollment already exceeds 5,000 students each semester, Wheatly said, and more faculty are using online tools in traditional classes. Nationally, many universities have begun to experiment with massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, and WVU faculty have been requesting assistance for new teaching and learning support structures. Just this week the Faculty Senate Executive Committee received recommendations from both the Student Evaluation of Instruction and Student Instruction committees on the subject.

“This is an exciting and challenging time for higher education not just in the state but nationally,” Day-Perroots said. “Timing is everything, and this is time to expand the strengths of Extended Learning for the broader campus community.”

Click below to hear the WVUToday radio spot about the the new Academic Innovation unit.

Faculty Senate President Michael Mays noted that MOOCs and other tools “make available to students the experience and accumulated knowledge of an acknowledged expert, like an interactive, multimedia textbook.

“MOOCs are poised to make an immediate impact in this way, as the foundation of a ‘flipped’ or blended course coordinated by a WVU faculty member.”

Academic Innovation builds on the success of Extended Learning in growing enrollments while developing quality in online classes and programs. As dean of Extended Learning, Day-Perroots has provided leadership and developed a national reputation for her work in instructional technologies in online and summer programming, Wheatly said. “She has been extremely successful in building partnerships with schools and colleges while serving new audiences with WVU programming.”

Day-Perroots will also take on additional responsibilities for on-campus course and classroom development.

There will be no new dollars allocated, Day-Perroots said, as the entrepreneurial revenues will be reinvested to advance teaching and learning for WVU students and faculty regardless of location.

All changes become effective July 1. Most of the division’s offices will be located in the Jackson-Kelly building, 150 Clay Street, Morgantown, but staff will be located around campus to better serve the faculty. WVU Online/Extended Campus will continue to house regional staff in the Kanawha Valley, Eastern Panhandle and Clarksburg.



CONTACT: Dr. Sue Day-Perroots; dean of Extended Learning

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