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WVU names new college, sets course for next decade to transform and modernize campus, operations

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Campus scenes taken on the Morgantown Campus during the 2020 fall semester. (WVU Photo/Brian Persinger)

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A new college at West Virginia University will focus on human development and physical and mental well-being helping people live healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives.

As previously announced, WVU will combine the College of Education and Human Services and the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences resulting in the newly named College of Applied Human Sciences set to launch in July 2022.

The Board of Governors affirmed the name during its meeting Friday, Oct. 29.

A national search will begin this fall to identify the founding dean of the College which will be comprised of three schools – the School of Education, the School of Counseling and Well-being and the School of Sport Sciences.

“Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done, but I want to be sure to recognize the commitment and strong leadership of both Dean Tracy Morris and Dean Jack Watson, who have taken the reins and are truly moving mountains to launch this new college in a little over one year,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed said.

The merger is part of the University’s overarching academic transformation initiative designed to determine the viability of current academic programs, spot opportunities for new academic structures, as well as identify instructional improvements and efficiencies.

A program review resulted in 15 programs being recommended for discontinuation, some of which will be consolidated into a single major or degree program. Of note, the puppetry program, initially recommended for deactivation, was granted a two-year extension to develop a recruitment plan and review curricular offerings.

The University is also planning for future infrastructure needs with a new 10-year plan. The Board has approved moving ahead with a 30-day comment period for the “2022 10-Year Campus Development Plan Goals and Guiding Principles” which will build on a campus conversation held in early October that outlined the process and provided an opportunity for members of the University community to ask questions and give initial feedback.

The goals and guiding principles are designed to align the campus on a set of common themes and priorities on a variety of topics including financial stewardship, connectivity, sustainability and collaboration. 

Efforts to modernize Information Technology systems through a modernization project are also taking shape through a multi-year plan to overhaul finance, human resources and student information systems. Board members authorized moving forward with 15 already identified projects that will lay a foundation to ultimately move away from current on-campus, customized legacy systems to cloud-based systems in a common platform.

Additionally, the University and the Alumni Association will enter into a strategic engagement partnership beginning in January 2022, under a plan approved Friday by the Board. The Association will retain its non-profit status and ownership of the Erickson Alumni Center. WVU will manage day-to-day operations of the facility and alumni engagement activities with input and consultation from the Association’s Board of Directors. 

“This new partnership will allow us to fully leverage the power of our alumni to tell our story, recruit for us by engaging students and provide opportunities for our alumni to become fully invested in the continuing success of the University,” President Gordon Gee said.

Board members also authorized $1.5 million to transform a former downtown retail location into a co-working space for the Morgantown cohort of the Ascend WV program. The funding will come from the $25 million gift to the University through the WVU Foundation from Brad and Alys Smith last year.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Dec. 17.



CONTACT: April Kaull

Executive Director of Communications
University Relations


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