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Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
As the provost of West Virginia University, Joyce McConnell, JD, LLM, is the chief academic officer responsible for the administration of all academic policies, programs, facilities, and budgetary matters.
She is committed to WVU’s land-grant mission of ensuring access to exceptional education, supporting and facilitating innovative research and serving the needs of the state and people of West Virginia.
McConnell demonstrates this commitment powerfully through her leadership of the university’s Centers and Institutes. Since she became provost in 2014, McConnell has established a student-focused LGBTQ+ Center, a Humanities Center focused on interdisciplinary faculty research, and the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative at WVU, which has a mandate to improve P-20 public education statewide. She has foregrounded WVU’s commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation with her creation of the WVU Idea Hub network (also a designated Center.) She has also fostered the growth and expansion of the university’s Energy Institute, ADVANCE Center, and Center for Excellence in STEM Education. All of these entities are helmed by nationally recognized leaders in their fields.
During a period of significant transition for West Virginia University, economic crisis in the state of West Virginia, soul-searching across higher education, and political and cultural upheaval for our nation, McConnell has publicly committed to the principles that guide her leadership. She led WVU to completely rethink our approach to Title IX, with the result that the university is now a national leader in proactive Title IX initiatives on campus. (See her op-ed on this topic here.) And she has consistently spoken to and for the faculty of WVU on such thorny and critical topics as free speech and diversity. (You can read one of her messages to faculty here.)
McConnell played an active leadership role in West Virginia University’s recently completed capital campaign, A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University, which raised $1.2 billion. As a member of President E. Gordon Gee’s leadership team, she has also reorganized university operations, creating many efficiencies in a $1 billion budget; led a reform of the Office of Academic Affairs to promote student and faculty retention and success; and played a significant external role in the state, spearheading Governor Jim Justice’s transition team and engaging directly with both our state legislature and our US Congressional delegation.
Prior to her appointment as Provost, McConnell served as dean of the WVU College of Law (2008-2014). Dedicated to improving legal education, she expanded the College’s multidisciplinary opportunities throughout the University and implemented state-of-the-art experiential and clinical programs and facilities that support curricular innovation. She made this possible by raising $38 million in A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University.
In addition to being passionately committed to WVU, McConnell is an advocate for equity in education and the workplace, and for the preservation and protection of our environment. She is a past President of three sections of the Associations of American Law Schools: the sections on the Dean, on natural resources and energy law, and on women in legal education. McConnell currently serves on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Committee on Infractions, as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Nature Conservancy in West Virginia, and as a member of the Board of Governors for Antero Resources.
In 2015, McConnell chaired the very successful West Virginia University United Way Campaign. She was named the 2014 Public Servant of the Year by the West Virginia Association for Justice and awarded the Special Places Award by West Virginia Land Trust in 2010. She earned an undergraduate degree from Evergreen State College, a law degree from Antioch School of Law, and a master of laws from Georgetown University Law Center.
Stephen M. Ballant
Executive Assistant to the Provost
Office of the Provost