Dear WVU Faculty and Instructors:
Yesterday, during our Campus Conversation we heard some sobering information about
the current and potential impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on our University’s finances.
I recognize these are uncertain times and that many of you may be fearful. Hopefully,
yesterday’s conversation demonstrated that the University is being very proactive
in its approach and that our goal is to minimize harm while preserving our financial
position for the future.
Despite the challenges and the unknowns, we still have cause to celebrate. Not only have we come together as a campus community in support of our students and each other, the work of our outstanding faculty and instructors continues to shine and provide a beacon of hope and inspiration during difficult times.
To that end, today’s update focuses on faculty who have demonstrated excellence in
teaching, service and creative scholarship.
Celebrating Long-Form Scholarship
As you know, all celebratory events on campus were cancelled this spring, along with the shift to virtual course delivery and the campus closure.
Unfortunately, we were unable to host the
Fifth Annual Long-Form Scholarship Celebration in person this semester. A collaborative
effort among the Provost’s Office, WVU Libraries, WVU Press and WVU Humanities
Center, this event is held each spring to recognize the achievements of our productive
and creative faculty.
The event always includes a showcase of the work produced by the faculty members
being recognized. To continue in the same tradition, we have launched a
to share and celebrate the commitment, hard work and achievements of faculty who
are helping to propel our institution forward.
The 27 individuals included in our virtual showcase this year exemplify the individual
and collaborative efforts that put WVU at the forefront of teaching, learning,
insight and discovery. I hope you take the time to explore your colleagues’ work
and be sure to tell us about
your long-form scholarship and creative work next year.
Teaching and Service Awards
Despite the change in format, we continue to recognize faculty who have achieved
the University’s highest honors in research, teaching and service. Last week, we
WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching. And this week, I’m excited to
three additional faculty members who are being recognized for their teaching
- Joshua Arthurs, associate professor in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ History Department, who is the 2020 recipient of the Caperton Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing
- Christina Duncan, professor of Psychology and director of the Quin Curtis Center in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, who is the 2020 recipient of the Ethel and Gerry Heebink Award for Distinguished State Service
- Michael P. Strager, professor of Resource Economics and Management within the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, who is the 2020 recipient of the James and Karen Caveney Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award
These three awards honor the significant contributions our faculty members make to
our students’ learning as well as to the community and state. Professor Arthurs
is recognized for the iterative writing process and extensive workshops he uses
in his courses. Professor Duncan is known for her extended service and outreach
to patients across Appalachia. And finally, Professor Strager is recognized for
his collaborative interdisciplinary research, program development and service to
conservation, recreation and ecology organizations throughout West Virginia.
All of the 2020 award recipients will be recognized by
President Gordon Gee and me during a faculty and staff awards dinner at Blaney
House, which has been postponed until Fall 2020 due to the University closure and
COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about these and other awards on the
New Teaching MVP Awards
While we continue to recognize faculty and instructors through these traditional
awards programs, my team also is looking at ways to honor faculty who have put
in extraordinary effort to provide a high level of instruction and support to our
students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Next week, we will be rolling out a student-nominated “Teaching MVP Awards” process
to identify faculty and instructors who have gone above and beyond to provide an
outstanding learning experience for their students this semester.
We will be asking students to nominate faculty and instructors who demonstrated significant
creativity, support and compassion in the transition from classroom instruction
to virtual delivery. Students will be asked to suggest award titles and provide
a brief explanation for their nominations.
The nominations will be completely student-driven and will help us recognize some
of our “Most Valuable Players” during this semester.
As we finish out the spring semester and begin fall contingency planning, please
know how much President Gee and I appreciate you for your many contributions to
our students, University, state — and the world. We will continue to work together
to put WVU in the best position possible so that we come out the other side of
this experience, stronger, smarter and even more unified as a community.
Please stay safe and know you are valued.