WVU campus representatives present a wide range of information from across the state

WVU Updates

Stan Hileman, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in the School of Medicine, showed several comparisons of salaries regarding WVU faculty with other Big XII schools. Photo by Victoria L. Cann- The Exponent Telegram

By: The Exponent Telegram Staff writer Victoria L. Cann 

MORGANTOWN, WV — The West Virginia University Board of Governors learned about West Virginia University Tech’s move to a new campus, as well as positive happenings on the Potomac State College campus, Friday.

Gregory A. Lieving, chair of the Faculty Assembly at WVU Tech, presented information on the move from Montgomery to Beckley. He said concerns about the move include institutional space and real estate, while positive aspects are internships, field experience, community engagement and sound infrastructure.

“Many faculty have or are downsizing their professional lives for office space, but this is a temporary problem,” Lieving said. “A major concern is finding new places to live near the Beckley campus. For those who aren’t able to move, it’s accommodating more time for travel.”

Lieving said working with the Beckley community has been a great experience, adding that residents have been welcoming the Montgomery campus staff with open arms.

Lieving added that although there are still concerns about the move, staff are looking for positive outcomes.

Sheri Chisholm, chair of the Faculty Assembly at WVU Potomac State College, gave an update on the positives they have seen throughout the 2016-17 school year.

The Potomac State campus offers 43 Associate of Arts degrees, five Associate of Applied Science degrees and three Bachelor of Applied Science degrees.

“We have an 80 percent graduation rate when our students transfer to the Morgantown campus,” Chisholm said. “Most of our students are first-time college students, first generation.”

Faculty at Potomac State have been active in academic coaching, Chisholm said, and they work closely with students who weren’t successful in the fall semester.

Potomac State also has seen faculty members furthering their education.

“Some faculty have completed their Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs, possibly being involved in seminars and conferences,” Chisholm said. “The faculty do use and enjoy faculty development grants to pay for seminars and conferences to maintain their programs and, of course, improve.

“We have enjoyed the teaching and learning commons on campus, as well as publish and continue with research.”

Chisholm said a major positive has been the new One WVU emphasis, which has been well-received across the Potomac State campus.

“What this means for us is that we feel we are underneath of that same umbrella as the Morgantown campus and the Tech campus,” she said. “The policies that apply to Tech and Morgantown also apply to us. It’s been very nice to have a university president market that idea.”

Stan Hileman, a professor in WVU’s Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in the School of Medicine and a faculty representative to the Board of Governors, presented comparisons of WVU faculty salaries with other Big 12 Conference schools, top research universities and land grant universities.

“We all know Morgantown is not a cheap place to live. It’s hard to find housing at an affordable rate,” Hileman said. “Simply compared to every other hometown town or city in Big 12 institutions, Morgantown is more expensive to live in.”

With lower salaries, especially for assistant professors, faculty members are more at risk for “poaching,” Hileman said.

To close the pay gap between WVU and the other institutions, it would take a 4 percent increase over the next 10 years, he added.

Richard Turton, the WVU Bolton Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and a faculty representative to the board, spoke on the responsibilities of faculty.

He talked about three pillars that promotion and tenure are based on — teaching, research and scholarship and service.

“I’m looking at this in an external or extraverted view — what does it mean outside of the university and not how we perceive ourselves,” Turton said. “I believe that’s a very important way to look at things. Professors want to be associated with an institution they can be proud of, but more importantly they want to be recognized nationally and internationally for its prowess.”

Faculty work on research, teaching and service despite being underpaid, as Hileman pointed out, Turton said.

That doesn’t deter them, though, as they continue to be productive in every aspect, Turton said.

He added, however, that he thinks there is a need to boost faculty morale. He suggested something to highlight those who are doing great work and recognize people who are making strides within their fields.