(b) On the effective date of this section, the commission shall initiate a study and draw upon the expertise of groups both internal and external to West Virginia to take advantage of the services of national organizations specializing in institutional renewal. The commission shall bear the costs of the study. (c) The study shall include, but is not limited to, the following thematic areas:
(1) Exploring new academic programs that meet emerging industry needs in West Virginia;
(2) Developing distance education and adult-targeted degree and programmatic offerings, with particular attention to avoiding costly program duplication;
(3) Examining marketing and recruiting strategies at the institution;
(4) Reviewing nonacademic programs and auxiliary operations, focused upon efficiencies and strategic development;
(5) Reviewing fiscal and operating procedures, emphasizing initiatives through which the institution can reduce annual operating costs and maximize all available revenues;
(6) Evaluating all institutionally-affiliated groups, including the alumni association, the WVU-Tech Foundation and all other institutionally-affiliated organizations which are exempt from taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, stressing revitalization of these entities; and
(7) Reviewing and assessing the capital infrastructure of the institution.
(d) The study also shall include consideration of the following recommendations drawn from the WV-CURE report:
(1) Creating and maintaining a forum for meaningful interaction between and among the K-12 and professional communities to define better the needs of the STEM stakeholders at each level of the education and early career process. The forum may help to ensure smoother transitions for students at each step and thereby increase student retention and graduation rates. A cooperative approach with the public schools in the institution's service area may serve as means to increase students' interest and familiarize them with the STEM programs WVU-Tech offers;
(2) Preparing students for the future by enhancing student design/capstone experiences to include undergraduate research at an earlier point in the baccalaureate curriculum thereby expanding the focus on opportunities for advanced studies and providing students with enhanced critical thinking and learning skills to adapt to an environment of rapidly changing technologies;
(3) Stimulating interest of young people in training and careers in engineering and related disciplines by involving the professional and business communities in a more visible and engaged manner;
(4) Diversifying the types of students who pursue STEM education and careers by developing strategic initiatives focused on recruiting and retaining traditionally under-represented groups;
(5) Pursuing the goals set forth in section three, article one-c of this chapter to increase West Virginia's capacity for high quality engineering instruction and research; increase access to high quality instruction and research opportunities in STEM disciplines; and stimulate economic development by increasing the number of professional engineers available to business and industry;
(6) Exploring opportunities for collaborations between institutions to increase the access to high quality programs while reducing the overall expenditure per student in high cost disciplines; and
(7) Developing more electronic classrooms, online programs, and other technology-driven teaching/learning facilities in order to pool resources among the engineering institutions, reach students who are place-bound or who live in rural areas distant from the institution's campus and avoid expensive program duplication.
(e) Based upon the research and findings of the study, the Chancellor shall coordinate the development of a revitalization plan to implement the purpose and intent of this article. The revitalization plan shall serve to guide the distribution of all funds appropriated by the Legislature and targeted to the Revitalization Project. The revitalization plan shall include, but is not limited to, the following elements:
(1) Providing clear and guiding recommendations for the revitalization of WVU-Tech;
(2) Recommending a process for establishing WVU-Tech as a center of excellence in STEM education with particular emphasis on undergraduate engineering and technology, areas in which the institution has earned a high degree of regional and national recognition for excellence. The purpose of the center of excellence is to enable the institution to concentrate its resources on providing state-of-the-art post-secondary education opportunities in a limited number of areas in which the institution excels. The center of excellence approach promotes effective teaching and learning through education, training, research and information dissemination. All parties involved in identifying and developing the center of excellence bring to the partnership their special expertise of strategic importance to the program and, ultimately, to the citizens of West Virginia;
(3) Benchmarks in the following areas:
(B) Retention and graduation;
(C) Capital improvements and building renovations/demolitions;
(D) Athletics, auxiliaries, and other nonacademic units;
(E) Fundraising and alumni development;
(F) Academic restructure and program development;
(G) Marketing and outreach;
(H) Remedial and developmental education;
(I) Innovative academic initiatives that can be piloted at WVU-Tech with the opportunity for diffusion across the systems of higher education;
(J) Transfer and articulation partnerships with other institutions in the state systems of higher education; and
(K) Grants, contracts, and externally sponsored research; and
(4) A process whereby WVU-Tech may request and receive moneys from the pool of appropriated funds.
(f) The findings, conclusions and recommendations of the
study, together with the revitalization plan for implementation,
shall be reported to the commission and the governing board by
September 1, 2011. The revitalization plan shall be delivered to
LOCEA no later than September 1, 2011, and LOCEA shall consider the
proposed plan and approve or disapprove by September 30, 2011.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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