Gee reflects on a year of progress, announces major new initiatives

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University president E. Gordon Gee told faculty and community members the institution has weathered a difficult year and must continue to meet the changing needs of citizens to maintain growth. Gee said the student body and staff has shown remarkable resilience battling the virus, divisive politics and unprecedented financial challenges.

“We learned these lessons and persevered through this pandemic by leaning on our mountaineer values and the three pillars that support us everyday,” Gee said,” Education, healthcare and prosperity.”

Gee announced the formation of the Purpose Institute- the first of it’s kind in the nation. The initiative is expected to transform WVU into a purpose-driven leader in higher education.

“West Virginia University must become a purpose-driven leader in higher education,” Gee said,” At a time when resources are so limited, needs are so great, expectations are so high and threats are so significant universities cannot afford complacency.”

College enrollment rates have dropped around the country, prompting Gee to pursue new relationships in order to keep the university a prime destination for education of all types.

“Students completing their apprenticeship training as carpenters also earn an Associate’s Degree from WVU Potomac State College,” Gee said,” We hope to develop craft-specific degree majors for all registered apprenticeship programs affiliated with the West Virginia State Building and Construction Trades Council.”

Gee also noted the first trials nationwide using deep brain stimulation to help people battling addiction. Gee said an 18-year addict who participated in the program has been drug free for two years. Gee said the university is not just studying new techniques, they are employing them and improving lives.

Changes are also coming to the way faculty members are evaluated and recognized for their performance. A panel of leadership, staff and faculty are reviewing the process for change in the coming days.

“So, it is not a one-size fits all approach,” Gee said,” But rather, an equitable and transparent system designed to reward and recognize faculty who make a variety of contributions throughout their time at the university.”

A new Project 168 will launch in January of 2022. The program will focus on the time students spend outside of the classroom in order to make that time more impactful for the students and community.

“Students will receive a co-cirricullar transcript printed on official WVU transcipt paper,” Gee said,” This co-cirricullar transcripty can be shared with potential employers and included in graduate and proffesional school applications.”