Message from the Provost

Provost McConnell Speaks at New Faculty Orientation To all new students and faculty—Welcome to West Virginia University!

To those faculty and students returning to campus: Welcome back!

As you may know, I am also experiencing WVU in a new way this fall, my first as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. I’ve been here on campus for a long time, serving as Dean of the College of Law, but I am thrilled to be embarking on this new role at the helm of the academic enterprise at WVU.

The first thing I notice every morning in my new role is the view—literally. One window of my office in Stewart Hall looks out onto the Mountainlair plaza, while the others overlook Campus Drive and the green spaces in front of E. Moore Hall and Woodburn. Through these windows, I have a spectacular view of the heart of the WVU main campus—and it’s pretty exciting! Students gather in groups to invite passers-by to campus events; faculty exchange greetings or stop (sometimes right in the middle of the street) to share ideas; the wonderful old trees that flank our historic buildings turn to red and gold as autumn approaches. I wish everyone who visited WVU could come up and see the campus as I get to see it, as a hub of energy, dynamic change, and intellectual activity.

The other new view I have as Provost is the metaphorical “view from the top” that this role affords me. As chief academic officer, I am privileged to see and oversee the entire academic structure here on campus, and it is just as amazing as the literal view from my window. We offer 191 degree programs here at WVU, in 15 colleges and schools. Our 1,709 full-time faculty members come from exceptional institutions all over the world to conduct research that is changing our world for the better.

Take just three faculty members—our 2013-2014 Benedum Distinguished Scholars—as exemplars here. Law professor Anne Marie Lofaso argues for the legal protection and empowerment of working-class Americans, in articles that have already influenced federal lawmakers. Psychology professor Dan McNeil examines the pain that patients experience during dental procedures and the factors that can either increase or minimize that pain. And engineering professor Nianqing Wu has discovered an energy transfer theory with significant positive implications for solar-energy harvesting. And let’s not forget that these extraordinary thinkers are also committed to teaching the thinkers and researchers of tomorrow, our 22,757 undergraduate students and 6,709 graduate and professional students.

I’m sure you can understand why I am so looking forward to looking out my windows—both literally and figuratively—at the 2014-2015 academic year as Provost of WVU. This university has so much to offer—to its students, its community, the state of West Virginia, and the world. I am honored to be a part of the life of this campus and I hope all of you, both new and returning Mountaineers, share my enthusiasm.

Have a wonderful, successful fall semester!

- Joyce McConnell, JD, LLM
Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

Photo: Provost McConnell speaks at the 2014 New Faculty Orientation,
WVU Teaching and Learning Commons, Academic Innovation.