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Realignment FAQs

General FAQs

What will this new unit be called?

In January, the University announced the creation of a new Division for Land-Grant Engagement as part of its effort to realign three units to better serve the people of West Virginia. The new Division will be home to WVU Extension, the WVU Center for Community Engagement and the renamed Davis College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The division will launch July 1, 2024.

WVU Extension and Davis College leadership have engaged with a variety of stakeholders including faculty, staff, and others.

Why is it not being called a merger?

This realignment is unique. The Davis College is a college that offers academic degree programs through resident instruction while WVU Extension does not and is prevented by federal law from engaging in resident instruction with WVU Extension funding.

We have common research goals and can maximize the outreach to people across the state. It makes sense from a university perspective that these units come together to strengthen their activities and find efficiencies.

Additionally, WVU Extension’s service to West Virginia goes beyond agriculture. In addition to important agriculture education and training, WVU Extension also offers diverse programs, including safety and health, workforce development, youth programs, health and nutrition education, community development and more. WVU Extension will continue to offer these programs to address our communities’ most pressing needs.

When will this change happen?

The new division will officially launch July 1, 2024. New leadership also will be in place July 1.

Additional decisions about the division’s organizational structure, including the senior leadership team, will be made in the coming months. Throughout the spring semester, working groups also will continue to address various aspects of the reorganization, such as academic and outreach programming, promotion and tenure guidelines and practices, fundraising, technology, communications and student support services. These groups provided opportunities for faculty, staff, and others to engage in the planning process. Workgroups will submit their recommendations to their leadership on February 1, 2024 and final recommendations will be sent to the Provost’s Office.

Who will lead this new division?

Jorge Atiles, current dean and director of Extension and Engagement at WVU, will serve as the institution’s new associate vice president and dean for Land-Grant Engagement, overseeing all three units in the new division. In this role, he also will continue to serve as dean of WVU Extension and Engagement as well as serve as the new dean of the Davis College.

Will I lose my job?

The primary goal of this realignment is to create a new entity that is forward-thinking, nimble and agile, and able to thrive in a changing higher education landscape. Through the unification process, some support functions may be combined, resulting in a change in the personnel needs of the new division.  Duplicative or redundant support positions may be considered for elimination and/or transition into other roles critical to its success.  Position reductions will follow a Reduction in Force Process, with employees being notified as soon as possible prior to the anticipated July 1, 2024.

Who made the decision and how?

The fusion of these two units is part of the academic transformation process. Although a restructuring such as this does not require the Board of Governors’ vote or approval, it has been involved in and is aware of leadership’s decision-making process and progress.

Was input from both units factored into the decision?

Senior leadership is always engaging with our academic deans and leaders to listen and gather feedback to make the best decisions possible for the University. The deans of WVU Extension and the Davis College have been aware that this realignment was being considered while being engaged in conversation with the leadership. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and other key stakeholders will have opportunities to engage in the planning process moving forward.

Is there anything that could potentially reverse or stop this plan from moving forward?

No. The decision to bring together the two units creating a new entity has been made; however, there will be ample opportunity for faculty, staff, students, alumni and other key stakeholders to provide input for such areas as academic and non-academic programming, workload, promotion and tenure guidelines and practices, administrative, county, and student support services, technology, community engagement and outreach, and communications and fundraising.

Is this being done to save money? How much does the University anticipate this division will save?

While this decision is not solely focused on saving money, we do believe that it will result in administrative efficiencies and cost savings over time. Savings alone are never a determining factor for academic and non-academic restructuring. There must be a shared focus and an alignment of interests, which this provides.

Will my major/program go away? Will I be able to graduate from the same program I’m in now?

The realignment of the Davis College and WVU Extension itself will not result in the elimination of academic programs. Instead, we believe it will result in enhanced instruction both in classrooms and the community, increased potential for industry and agency partnerships, meaningful experiential learning opportunities for students and increased opportunities for faculty research collaborations.

As of July 1, students in the Design Studies; Fashion, Dress and Merchandising; and Interior Architecture programs will be part of the new College of Creative Arts and Media. These programs were transitioned to the new unit as part of the Board of Governor’s September 2023 vote. The programs will be housed in the School of Art and Design.

Will my office/classroom location(s) change?

We continue to work through the unification process. Dean Atiles, leadership, faculty and others in the new division are already working to determine how to maximize the space across campus. A workgroup has been assigned to review and make space recommendations to leadership.

As a donor to one or both units, how will this affect my contributions?

Both units have wonderful donors who believe in the work we do. We have been working with the WVU Foundation in this process, and we do not anticipate any disruption to the funds that have been established by donors. Our development officers have engaged with donors and are always available to answer any questions you may have. As always, we will continue to work with donors to ensure their gifts are designated per their direction. We believe the already strong collaboration between the two units will create new opportunities for students, faculty and staff – both on campus and for the citizens of West Virginia.

Specific Davis College FAQs

What about my status as an alumnus of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design? What about my diploma?

Graduates of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design will always be alumni of West Virginia University. That will never change. Those degrees will always hold the same value as the day they were awarded.

Higher education is an ever-changing landscape, and we must remain relevant to our current and future students to ensure their continued success. We appreciate the connection alumni have to their individual colleges, but we also hope that our alumni will support future generations of graduates by acknowledging the need for change and the significant opportunities this realignment presents.

The Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design was not always the Davis College. The name changed in 2001 from the WVU College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences. We believe graduates from Davis College will continue to be proud, engaged alumni.

Note:  Until the new division launches later this year, academic records will identify Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design as the college from which a student graduated. Students who graduate after the new division launches will have records that identify Davis College of Agriculture and Natural Resources as the college from which they graduate.

Specific Extension FAQs

What will happen with WVU Extension’s identity?

The role of WVU Extension is to bring research-based knowledge from all parts of the University to our West Virginia communities. We do that now by offering a broad range of educational programs and services for a diverse audience. We will continue to offer relevant programs to address the most pressing needs of our communities.

Both units are committed to the land-grant mission, and we will continue to put our students first, including our Extension participants throughout the state. That will not change.

WVU Extension was part of the Davis College years ago and was moved to be more focused on the state’s needs. Why the decision to move it back to the Davis College?

This is not a move to the past. The roles of WVU Extension and Davis College complement each other in respect to USDA funding for land-grant programs in teaching, research (i.e., Experiment Stations) and service (i.e., Extension). For instance, the Davis College provides agricultural-related education and research that WVU Extension puts to work across communities, businesses and citizens throughout the state. As the needs of our state continue to evolve, so must we.

As outlined by President Gee last year, we are committed to students first. The new division will serve our WVU students who are enrolled on one of our campuses, as well as West Virginians who use the research/knowledge provided by our Extension agents to improve their lives and livelihoods. By bringing these two groups together, we will be able to create more collaboration, innovation and engagement to become a modern land-grant university — one that is well positioned to meet the diverse needs of our state and the region.

Will WVU Extension only focus on agriculture?

Agriculture is an important part of our overall land-grant mission per Cooperative Extension, as is much of our youth programs. However, the role of WVU Extension is to bring research-based knowledge from all parts of the University to West Virginians. We do that now by offering a broad range of educational programs and services in all 55 counties. For example, our 4-H youth activities are delivered to tens of thousands of young people throughout the state each year. We have a strong family and community development unit focused on a host of programs, including safety training, fire training, workforce development and other community needs. The health and wellbeing of West Virginians – both adults and children – are critical to our mission and the work that we do. We have no plans to change that and believe bringing together these two organizations will only enhance our ability to offer innovative, relevant programs to address our communities’ most pressing needs.

In 2022, WVU Extension engaged in a stakeholder survey of decision makers throughout the state within the last few years and has been focusing on an internal transformation to meet the most critical needs of our communities, as identified in the survey. Bringing the Davis College and WVU Extension together will strengthen collaboration and expertise to address some of these issues identified in the survey as new opportunities for collaboration.

Will there be a change in services from WVU Extension, including the Safety and Health Extension and Fire Service Extension?

No. All Extension programs will continue with their federal and state scope of work as stipulated through federal and/or state allocations. However, the research and workforce instruction and training may be further expanded into the areas of community development, nutrition, forestry sector and other natural resource sectors which are part of the academic programs of Davis College.

Will the creation of this new division affect WVU Extension’s presence and relationship in each of West Virginia’s 55 counties?

No. WVU Extension’s relationship with the counties is essential to the federal land-grant mandate for Extension. West Virginia State Code mandates our relationship with our partners in all 55 counties, including outlining membership for our Extension Service Committees in each county. Counties also provide essential funding for the operation of our Extension mission.

Will my county office close?

WVU Extension’s relationship with the counties is essential to the federal land-grant mandate for Extension. West Virginia State Code mandates our relationship with our partners in all 55 counties, including outlining membership for our Extension Service Committees in each county. Counties also provide essential funding for the operation of our Extension mission. We continue to work with our agents, community leaders and others to ensure we are meeting the needs of our West Virginia communities.

Will the University continue to support the tenure-track process for WVU Extension faculty agents and specialists?


Will 4-H clubs and camps continue? What about Energy Express?

WVU Extension offers a broad range of educational programs and services for a diverse audience, including outstanding youth programming. These programs are critical to the future of West Virginia, and we are committed to these programs.

Were WVU Extension and its programs part of the formal review process currently underway?

Yes, the timeline for WVU Extension is to complete the review in [fall] 2024, although our review is well underway. Additionally, we began our own internal review in 2021, including distribution of a statewide decisionmaker survey, to ensure we are addressing the most critical issues. We continue to work on that process and address our program offerings.

Will there be a change in services from the Center for Community Engagement?

The WVU Center for Community Engagement will continue to offer its services and support to all faculty, staff, students and community members. It is anticipated that the new unit will provide additional support in reach and scope.

The CCE will be working directly with our WVU Extension Energy Express summer reading and nutrition program located at nearly 40 sites throughout West Virginia. The CCE is the WVU connection to AmeriCorps, which is critical to the success of Energy Express. They will continue to focus on strengthening partnerships, providing support to county agents and recruiting AmeriCorps members, particularly students and others who have a direct connection to education and literacy. Building these connections will allow students to have a unique learning experience while also creating career pathways.