Fairmont State University to expand student program offerings

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — On Thursday, April 15 the Fairmont State Board of Governors approved curriculum proposals from the Academic Affairs Committee to establish five additional areas of study for students.

The proposals receiving support from the Board will transition into the next stages of approval from the Higher Education Policy Commission, including a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care and Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with concentrations including Exercise Physiology and Kinesiology. Upon approval, Health Information Technology and Administer in Training concentrations will be available to students pursuing a Master of Science in Healthcare Management. A Police Academy concentration, minor and certificate to be offered through the College of Liberal Arts were also among the curricula presented.

In addition to the proposals pending approval from the HEPC, Fairmont State has introduced 10 new programs within the past three years. As Pierpont Community and Technical College continues efforts to vacate Fairmont State campuses, a result from a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions, it is the hope the separation will lead to opportunities for partnerships and the creation of new academic programs in the future.

“The mutual agreement to separate Fairmont State and Pierpont will provide positive outcomes as we move forward. We’ll now be able to utilize more of our spaces on campus to increase instruction capabilities,” said Rusty Hutson Jr., Fairmont State University Board of Governors Vice Chair. “This will afford us opportunities to improve existing programs. As Pierpont vacates Fairmont State’s campus, we will also look to President Mirta M. Martin’s leadership to expand our academic programs and the one-of-a-kind opportunities offered to Fairmont State students.”

The Memorandum of Understanding written and signed by representatives from both Fairmont State and Pierpont was established with full support of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and the HEPC. The document outlines plans for the transfer of assets from Fairmont State to Pierpont, along with an agreement upon an exit of Pierpont from all Locust Avenue Campus spaces by June 30, 2022. The document also details the transfer of ownership of the Gaston Caperton Center in Clarksburg and all adjacent land, along with the Braxton Campus from Fairmont State to Pierpont.

In addition to Fairmont State’s Locust Avenue Campus facilities, Pierpont will vacate the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center to construct a new hangar with 2.5 million dollars in funds provided by the state for its Aviation Maintenance Program. Therefore, allowing Fairmont State to grow student program offerings through its Aviation Center of Excellence, the only program within the state to earn the Federal Aviation Administration Approved Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 141 pilot training center accreditation. The separation enables Fairmont State to further broaden aviation training opportunities as the ACE prepares to welcome its inaugural class of cadets to the summer 2021 U.S. Air Force Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps Flight Academy. Fairmont State is one of 25 universities throughout the nation that has partnered with the U.S. Air Force to provide opportunities to JROTC cadets, while also expediting flight training for future airmen.

“We are sharply focused on providing quality, transformative educational opportunities at Fairmont State University, and continuously seeking ways to ensure we are best serving our students,” said David Goldberg, Fairmont State University Board of Governors Chairman. “As Pierpont vacates our campuses and develops their programs in their own facilities as a sovereign academic organization, we look forward to increased capacities for instruction and the expansion of programs, further enhancing the high-touch Fairmont State experience. We look forward to ongoing collaboration with Pierpont to find ways to enhance the workforce and grow talent right here in our community to benefit our growth and viability for the region we serve.”

This year, Fairmont State University has recorded increases in enrollment and revenues and decreases in expenses. In addition, Fairmont State recorded the highest Composite Financial Index in the state among four-year state institutions. The University has successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic on campus without furloughing any employees and has continued providing face-to-face instruction since August. The future of Fairmont State is sound, and the University is strongly positioned financially and academically to continue to soar to new and greater heights.

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