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2023 State of the University

Creating the Communiversity

Campus President T. Ramon Stuart, Ph.D. presents the current state of WVU Tech and our vision for the future of our historic institution to faculty, staff, students and its community partners. WVU Tech's three-phase plan to establish itself as the premiere university of Southern West Virginia deepens the relationship between WVU Tech and our community.
"Communiversity means the community is the university,
and the university is the community."

2023 State of the University

Key Points


With diminishing CARES Act funding, systemwide budget shortfalls exceeding $40M, and the looming 2025 enrollment crisis that projects 100,000 fewer students per year enrolling in college all makes the future of higher education seem trying.

We must engineer a new way forward while continuously battling questions about the worthiness of higher education. While these challenges are before us, I know we have the capacity to identify the complex variables we face and engineer solutions that positions us to grow.

Phase I:
The transformation of the Executive Leadership Team and creation of Extended Executive Leadership Team heightens our inclusivity while practicing shared governance, increasing communication and improving transparency.

The launch of the Councils of Transformation (i.e., academic, enrollment management, fundraising and student success) bring leaders together to address specific items and transform the university.

Academic Council
  • Proposed streamlining the annual faculty evaluation process
  • Exploring ways to strengthen academic programs through program review, academic transformation
  • Reviewing degree programs to ensure traditional and transfer students have a direct path to degree completion
  • Working with New River Community and Technical College to operationalize our MOU that aims to make the pathway from a certificate to a graduate degree one that is understandable, accessible, and affordable
  • Expansion of online courses
  • Revamp programs in a manner that positions us to emerge as a leader in programs that drive economic growth and development
Enrollment Management Council
  • An aggressive approach to growing our enrollment through recruitment and retention initiatives.
Fundraising Council
  • Responsible for creating an infrastructure to raise funds and develop friends of the University
  • We received a $50,000 gift to promote entrepreneurship in Southern WV while encouraging economic growth and development through outdoor recreation $50,000 future investment in our nursing and engineering programs from Shawn Ball of L&S Toyota.
  • Day of Giving Successes:
    • By 9:30 a.m., we exceeded 50 donations which unlocked a $25,000 pledge from alumnus John Jarrett.
    • Compared to last year, we witnessed a 277% increase in the number of gifts while increasing the amount raised by 149%
    • Donors contributed to 14 different funds – one of which was the William Benn Student Success fund designated to help students overcome financial hardships
    • 60 donors who donated almost $10,000 to the William Benn Student Success fund during Day of Giving
    • The Tech Golden Bear Alumni Association committed to raising $1M.
Student Success Council
  • Responsible for establishing a culture of student success
  • Identified barriers that hinder student success outside the classroom and eliminates them by actively working across campus to address concerns through programming, tutoring, and support services
Phase II:
  • Reallocation of institutional resources to strengthen effectiveness while developing a robust, outward-facing unit that promotes who we are, what we do, and who we do it for
  • Expanded the university relations executive director’s role to include chief of staff duties

Phase III:

  • This evaluation explores our personnel, expenses, current and potential revenue sources.
  • We are operating with an overall deficit of roughly $5M for fiscal year 2023. This is largely due to a 17% decline in enrollment since fall 2018 which directly impacted our tuition and fee revenue.
  • The Ex ecutive Leadership Team has been working to align our expenditures to our current enrollment levels, while also using existing resources to position the university for future growth. This includes streamlining processes, utilizing One WVU, spending Foundation funds, finding alternative revenue from grants, partnerships and fundraising, and reallocating funds to align with strategic growth initiatives to increase revenues.
  • We made the tough decision to eliminate 11 vacant positions and reduce our operating budget by almost $1.4M.
  • The se reductions better reflect our actual yearly spend and align our budget to our spending levels.

  • Communiversity means the community is the university, and the university is the community. We must work to deepen relationships with the city, county and region.
  • Develop a Communiversity to develop a robust community with a thriving economy.
  • We will aggressively pursue the Carnegie Foundation’s Elective Classification for Community Engagement.
Economic impact
prepared by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research from the WVU John Chambers College of Business and Economics
  • Estimated our operational and student expenditures generated an economic impact of $35M in WV
  • University and student expenditures supported 378 jobs that helped workers earned nearly $20M in income while generating about $1.3M in state and local tax revenue
  • In Raleigh County, our operational and student expenditures generated an economic impact of $32M while supporting 367 that earned $19M in income and $1.2M in tax revenue for state and local governments.
Read the Full Report

Campus streetscape project

  • Will improve campus safety and appearance
  • The WV Department of Transportation awarded the bid for design services to E.L. Robinson Engineering for this $13M project which includes roundabouts to calm traffic, buries power lines, and stormwater absorption improvements that incorporates green infrastructure.
  • The transformation will utilize “smart road” technologies like sensors that monitor and report road conditions, transmitters that provide broadband, interactive lights activated by motion sensors to illuminate the road, cameras to enhance pedestrian security, solar powered flashing pedestrian crossing signs, streetlamps with LED technology for nighttime safety, and electric vehicle charging stations.
  • We want our community and industry partners to help guide the direction forward as we connect technology, engineering, outdoor recreation, tourism and more – and make sure we are listening, learning, and addressing the needs of our region and state.
  • Align our Adventure Recreation Management program with industry needs so we can help develop a pipeline of talent that wants to live, work and play in WV.
  • We know it is important for us to increase our rack factor – the number of boat or bike racks on vehicles.
  • Engagement with partners like Active Southern WV, Beckley Outdoors, the Beckley Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce, Visit Southern WV, the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, the Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative, the Summit Bechtel Reserve, and other industry leaders in the New River Gorge Region positions us to make significant strides in bringing everyone together to drive economic growth and development.
  • Why RecTech?
    • Utah founded Silicon Slope to connect recreation and technology.
    • Technology is Utah’s fastest growing industry and 79% of the state’s tech-sector worker transplants, and 82% of native tech sector employees rated outdoor recreation and access to public lands as the most important factor in their decision to move or stay in Utah.