The West Virginia University Board of Governors learned about a potential breakthrough from the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute for those suffering from opioid use disorder shortly after it was announced Friday (Nov. 17).
The RNI conducted a first-in-human study using smart pill technology to identify early indications of an overdose.
President Gordon Gee highlighted the achievement in his report to the Board. More than ever, the University is now keenly focused on the modern land-grant priorities outlined in his recent State of the University address such as advancing the WVU R1 mission to deliver solutions to real-world problems and growing the academic medical center to improve people’s health.
Vice Provost Paul Kreider outlined several new majors and programs, including nursing programs in response to the continuing demand for health care professionals.
“Most recently, in partnership with the School of Nursing, WVU Potomac State College is starting the only LPN to BSN program in West Virginia, allowing entry-level working nurses to upgrade their credentials while continuing to work,” Kreider said.
A new Environmental Engineering major focuses on teaching students the principles of engineering, sustainability, soil science, biology and chemistry to enable them to create solutions to environmental problems. And the University launched a new multi-disciplinary major in esports, one of the first such majors in the country at an R1 institution.
Kreider also pointed to a number of student success initiatives helping to drive improvements in retention and graduation rates, as well as expanded efforts to connect students with service in communities across the state through the innovative Purpose2Action program.
The University also continues to seek out partners like the Maier Foundation to help improve student outcomes at WVU.
“The new Mountaineer Completion Grant program launched this fall and is already providing financial support to more than 150 seniors this semester, helping to remove financial barrier to completing their degree on time,” Kreider said.
Efforts will continue to ensure offerings are best serving current and future student needs through a more robust annual and overall academic program review process that will dovetail initially with a regular general education curriculum review over the next two academic years.
Download the Academic Affairs Committee presentation, including updates to the Academic Program Portfolio Review which will result in an estimated $17 million in savings.
After months of review, independent financial auditors have provided the University with a report citing the “highest level of confidence.” They also shared insights about higher education trends which validate the challenges WVU and many other institutions are navigating.
“We beat up your documents and submissions pretty good. And if I was sitting on your board, I would be pretty proud of these results,” said Don Loberg, principal, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP. “The fact that you haven’t had a finding is amazing. Your team is doing a good job. Keep moving that ball moving forward as it has been.”
A final update on fiscal year 2023 showed the University’s actual net position was better than projected, including revenues and expenses. And the results from the first quarter of the current fiscal year indicate the University is on track with the budget.
Download the Joint Finance and Facilities and Revitalization/Strategic Plans and Initiatives Committee presentation including the WVU FY23 Final Update and FY24 Q1 Update.
Planning to address deferred maintenance across the WVU System will be supported through $46.6 million in requested projects made by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission pending final approval by the Governor’s Office as follows:
· $30.3 million for the WVU Morgantown Campus for projects around steam, utilities, life safety and facilities.
· $7.4 million for WVU Institute of Technology for projects around utilities and electrical, roofs, facilities and heating/cooling.
· $8.9 million for WVU Potomac State College for its Davis Hall renovations and roof projects.
In other business, the Board received updates on several capital projects such as the Clay Theatre lighting upgrades at the Canady Creative Arts Center, Chitwood Hall renovation, WVU Jackson’s Mill sewer and water replacements, renovation of Café Evansdale Kitchen and the Coliseum Apron Club.
Members also approved moving forward with turf replacement at Monongalia County Ballpark. The turf will reach the end of its life cycle after the 2023 baseball season. All but $250,000 of the estimated $1.2 million needed for the project will be paid with funds from the WVU Foundation.
The University will also acquire a one-acre parcel within the Core Arboretum through the Foundation to enhance and expand the dedicated public greenspace.
Chair Taunja Willis Miller announced a working group to be developed to assist with enrollment-related initiatives of the University.
A governance ad hoc committee will work to map out and provide guidance to the Board related to several areas, including a presidential search and the Board’s overall committee structure and functions.
The next regular BOG meeting is scheduled for Dec. 15.
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