The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission recently approved a request for additional funding of $750,000 for West Virginia State University. The additional monies will be used during the coming academic year to improve campus Wi-Fi, library offerings and online services, assessment and student recruitment and marketing.
"We are truly appreciative of the faith this demonstrates in State's ability and desire to deliver quality education for West Virginians and students across the country," said WVSU President Brian O. Hemphill.
Hemphill has been conducting open forums over the past two weeks for members of the community and university, in which he has laid out several focus areas for immediate attention, action and resource allocation.
"We will direct our focus and a portion of these new resources on the critical areas of exceptional student service, recruitment and retention, branding and marketing, library resources, academic assessment and the campus technology infrastructure," said Hemphill.
"We have to get the word out about the value of a State education, and these additional monies are going to help us do just that," said Kitty McCarthy, interim vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.
"Recruitment and retention are everyone's job at State," added Hemphill. "We have experienced enrollment issues in recent years, and we are going to turn that around," he stated. "In addition to new enrollment initiatives, we are putting additional resources toward retention and graduation. If students are good enough to be enrolled at State, they are good enough to graduate.
"Requiring our students to achieve excellence means providing them with services and materials that also are excellent," Hemphill added. "We must keep our collections and our online library services current to allow State students to be competitive in occupational and graduate school arenas."
Additional library books and periodicals are also needed to maintain the expected collection for the university's accreditation, which the institution has earned continuously since 1927. The reaffirmation of State's accreditation will take place during the 2014-2015 academic year. A portion of the resources allocated to assessment includes adding LiveText for students, an e-portfolio and assessment instrument.
"We are so appreciative that a portion of this new funding can be used to enhance our current technology infrastructure. Every student and faculty group I've met with thus far has not-so-gently brought this need to my attention," Hemphill said.
"As a primary step to building an improved technological infrastructure, we need to become a Wi-Fi saturated campus. We've begun to build a wireless campus, but it needs expansion. Building a Wi-Fi campus will improve student satisfaction and, in return, student retention," he added.
In a related technology realm, the campus will begin a web site revision project, shared Donna M. Simon, interim vice president for University Relations and Operations, and chief of staff.
"The additional monies approved by the HEPC will allow us to enhance our ‘front window' to the world," Simon said. "We are formulating a timeline for the web project and will begin meeting with students and other campus stakeholders regarding design options and content early next week."