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Academic Transformation at WVU

Rethinking Academics for the Future

Higher education is at a crossroads, which was apparent even before the COVID-19 pandemic upended our traditional ways of providing instruction. With a declining high school population, limited instructional support and growing skepticism in the public about the value of a college degree, higher education is facing an existential crisis. In such an environment, universities like ours must restate our relevance to current and future students and their families, stake our claim as a leader in innovative and purposeful research, and be ready and willing to adapt to an ever-changing landscape.

During this time of disruption and opportunity, West Virginia University must adopt a future-focused approach to succeed now and into the future. We must anticipate trends in enrollment and be equipped to address evolving work force needs. We must take advantage of our unique position as our state’s land-grant institution to drive progress and prosperity in the region and provide a learning lab for our students to solve real-world problems impacting West Virginia and the world.

To meet the future head on, we must align our resources to support and invest in areas of growth and opportunity and identify areas where we can have greater impact and be more effective. While the crisis facing higher education is not as immediate as COVID-19, without an intervention, its impact will be felt for years to come.

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The 2020 Charge

In December 2020, President Gordon Gee issued a charge to transform WVU. He raised concerns about a loss of public trust and diminishing perceived value of higher education nationwide.

“Post-pandemic, our University must come out stronger and smarter than we were when we were heading into the pandemic. The reality is we need to improve quality while we decrease costs. We need to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace and make WVU a destination institution.”

President E. Gordon Gee, December 18, 2020
Read the full story on WVU Today

The 2023 Charge

In March 2023, President Gordon Gee issued a call for strategic repositioning of the WVU system in response to additional challenges brought by a structural budget shortfall.

“Make no mistake. Higher education is under attack … it is time to truly transform our university into one of relevancy – without losing sight of who we are... We will assess what is most relevant and invest in those initiatives that support our students, our mission and meet market demand.”

President E. Gordon Gee, March 27, 2023
Read the full State of the University Address

The Response

In response to President Gee’s 2020 charge to transform the academic enterprise, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed highlighted the need to prepare students for jobs of today and careers of tomorrow by creating new degree programs that are rigorous and relevant, renewing the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, strengthening WVU’s R1 position and enhancing the University’s national reputation by zeroing in on key academic areas that set the institution apart.

In partnership with the Education Advisory Board (EAB), the Office of the Provost outlined several overarching goals and began to gather and analyze data in priority areas including academic program portfolio review, academic restructuring, academic efficiencies, student success, faculty rewards and recognition and online academic offerings.

Due to the University’s structural budget deficit two years later, there is greater urgency to act. As such, phase 2 of Academic Transformation is a more accelerated approach to prioritizing academic programs and practices that are core to the University’s mission and key to our future.


Past Priorities & Results