MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A shared mission to serve the people of West Virginia and expertise
in areas such as agriculture, natural resources, youth development, health and
safety, community development and engagement will serve as the foundation for a
new unit at
West Virginia University composed of the
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and
“Aligning these key areas honors our rich history and advances our role as the flagship R1 university in the state,” President Gordon Gee said. “It will strengthen West Virginia University’s commitment to continually improve the lives and livelihoods of individuals, families and communities within West Virginia and beyond as we transform to be a model for the modern land-grant university in an evolving higher education landscape.”
The new unit, set to launch July 1, 2024, will build on existing collaborations, common activities and educational programs.
The Davis College and WVU Extension already share jointly appointed faculty members
and grant-funded research and outreach projects. The unification of these units
will ensure more intentional support and mentoring of those shared faculty, according
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed.
“Ultimately, this 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,” Reed said.
Efforts to serve the University’s engaged scholarship needs will continue through the WVU Center for Community Engagement, and outreach programs such as 4-H, FFA and others will carry on across the state and at WVU Jackson’s Mill.
Leaders from the Davis College and WVU Extension will work through the fall 2023 to develop a structure for the new unit. Decisions about the new unit’s name and leadership will be made in the coming months.
During the 2023-24 academic year, several working groups will be assigned 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 will provide opportunities for faculty, staff, students, alumni and others to engage in the planning process.
Academic restructuring opportunities have been under consideration for the past two years following the December 2020 charge from President Gee . In May 2021, the University announced plans for the first significant merger of two colleges with the creation of the new College of Applied Human Sciences. Plans to combine the College of Creative Arts and the Reed College of Media were announced in June 2023.
The overarching academic transformation initiative is designed to create a more focused and relevant academic portfolio, eliminate redundancies in programming and practices, and identify opportunities for efficiencies and cost savings.