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Gerald Lang to retire, Joan Neff to serve as WVU Tech Interim Campus President

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Gerald Lang will retire from the WVU system after 40 years; Joan Neff will take over Lang's current position as interim president at WVU Tech in Beckley. A national search for a permanent president is expected to take place next year.
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After more than 40 years of experience in higher education leadership within the WVU system, Gerald Lang will retire as West Virginia University Institute of Technology’s interim campus president, effective Jan. 1. 

Joan Neff, who has been serving as campus provost at WVU Tech since May, will step into the role of interim president. 

“Even in the brief time she has been on campus, Joan has established herself as an ally for faculty and students at Tech,” said WVU Provost Joyce McConnell. “She is working on initiatives to bolster faculty professional development and on research grants to provide additional student scholarship funding. We are delighted to have her take the leadership helm at this wonderful institution.”

As provost, Neff has overseen Tech’s academic enterprise, working to enhance the student experience and encouraging professional development for instructors. She previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. Before that, she held progressive leadership positions at the University of Richmond, where she was a faculty member and administrator for more than 30 years. 

“I am honored to serve as interim campus president at WVU Tech,” said Neff. “My values are deeply aligned with the mission and vision of the institution to provide students with an excellent undergraduate education. I am committed to ensuring its sustainability and continuing its growth going forward. As I work with our faculty and staff as campus provost and interim president, I will continue to promote the goal of making Tech the best possible choice for our students.”

Neff has worked alongside Lang since his appointment as Interim Campus President and is prepared to continue the University’s work in the region. She described Lang as “a tireless supporter of Tech who has encouraged us to think about our future as a leader in higher education in Southern West Virginia.”

Lang first joined WVU in 1976 as an assistant professor of biology. His career eventually took him into administration and he served as the assistant dean for Research and Graduate Studies and then dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, where he oversaw more than 300 full-time faculty and 18 academic programs. 

In 1995, Lang became provost and vice president for academic affairs and Research at WVU, overseeing successful reaccreditation in 2004, boosting enrollment by more than 7,000 students and establishing the Center for Writing Excellence, the Institute for Math Learning and the WVU Honors College. He was involved in the transition of both WVU Tech and Potomac State College to regional campuses and led an effort to link the three campuses into a single, fully integrated system.

From 2014 to 2017, Lang served as the chair of the Department of Forensic and Investigative Sciences. He accepted the interim president role at Tech in July of 2018.

“We are deeply grateful to Jerry for his incredible service to WVU and to our state over more than 40 years,” McConnell said. “In every role he has undertaken, his goal has been to make our institution better, and specifically to challenge us to provide our students an exceptional education at every level. We will miss his leadership and vision and wish him tremendous happiness in his retirement.”

Neff will continue to serve as provost this academic year. McConnell anticipates holding a national search for a campus president of WVU Tech in 2019.  

-WVU-

jm/ac/12/19/18

CONTACT: Ann Claycomb, Assistant Vice President for Academic and Strategic Communication
304.293.9919; ann.claycomb@mail.wvu.edu 

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