Graduation rate on upward trend at West Virginia University

Graduation rates at West Virginia University continue to increase for every cohort of students, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed reported to the Board of GovernorsFriday (Feb. 28). 

“In addition to an increase in freshmen retention, we are also seeing improvement in student persistence and graduation,” Reed said. “The four-year graduation rate of the 2013 cohort increased from 36 to 39 percent compared to the 2012 cohort. The five year-rate for the 2013 cohort is up from 54 to 56 percent, and the six-year rate is up from 59 to 60 percent. 

“While this is still not ideal, it is a marked improvement, and is 2 percentage points above the national average for public institutions,” she said. “Even better news is that, last year, the 2015 cohort who graduated in four years did so at a rate of 43.6 percent, which demonstrates a positive steady increase from previous cohorts.” 

Reed had updated the Board on retention rates at its January meeting and on Friday added information about those efforts with presentations from Michelle Paden, coordinator of First-Generation Initiatives, and Cole Anderson, a freshman pre-psychology student from McDowell County who participates in the program. 

Also Friday, the Board approved several significant improvements to athletic facilities, most of which have been previously announced, and the financing for them. 

They are:

    ·      Updating the video board in the south end zone at Milan Puskar Stadium, the center video board at the WVU Coliseum and related sound and lighting; $11.8 million.

    ·      New seating at the WVU Coliseum; $4 million.

    ·      Renovation of the WVU Natatorium into the WVU Athletic Performance Center; $10 million.

    ·      Renovation of suites located on the first level of the press box at Milan Puskar Stadium; $1.1 million. 

The projects will be paid for by WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, private donations, private placement financing and University support

In other business, the Board:

    ·      Approved tuition for a pilot “Maymester,” to run from May 11-29. “The ‘Maymester’ would capture students before they leave for the summer and could help students who don’t succeed in a course during the school year, retake that course, hopefully pass it, and progress to their next academic year,” Reed said. “It may also offer a new market for summer school and would give faculty the opportunity to teach in the summer for a shorter term.” 

    ·      Approved a Master of Science degree in digital marketing communications in the Reed College of Media.

    ·      Approved renovations of the School of Dentistry’s clinic on the first floor of the Health Sciences Center.

    ·      Approved repair work on the Mountainlair and Mountaineer Station parking garages.

    ·      Approved the previously announced transfer of building at the former campus of West Virginia University Institute of Technology to the West Virginia National Guard.

    ·      Appointed James Stephen Ferguson to an interim position on the board of the West Virginia University Health System board of directors. Ferguson, a WVU alumnus from Summersville, is president and CEO of Ferguson Services, Inc. and the Ferguson Group of Companies. 

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for May 1 in Morgantown. 

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