Sue Day-Perroots is no stranger to West Virginia University and the State of West Virginia. After 34 years of service in key roles at the University, she retired as associate provost in 2017. When President Gordon Gee presented her with an opportunity to return “home” to lead WVU Extension Service, she jumped at the chance to bring her trademark energy, enthusiasm and focus on results to the role.
Day-Perroots, who was named interim dean for one year, effective May 15, will lead efforts to prioritize WVU Extension Service programs and strengthen WVU’s land-grant mission to the state. She will work with WVU Extension Service faculty and staff to ensure programs and outcomes align with the needs of communities in the state. She also will focus on strengthening relationships and partnerships with state and community leaders, corporate partners, constituents and national partners.
“West Virginia is my home, and I want to see our state and its people thrive,” Day-Perroots said. “The work of WVU Extension Service is vital to our state, and it is important that we focus on and adapt to the changing needs of West Virginia. To do that, we must listen to the voices of those we serve to ensure we are addressing both challenges and opportunities.”
Day-Perroots is already listening. She launched a survey to encourage feedback and ideas from people throughout the state and country, including employees, community leaders, volunteers, retirees and others who have used WVU Extension’s services. She also has been visiting county WVU Extension offices and communities throughout the state to hear from her fellow West Virginians and will continue her travels through the summer.
“Sue has an indefatigable spirit and energy, which will be immensely important as she helps the Extension Service continue to evolve into the modern version of itself,” Gee said. “As I often say, the Extension Service is a front door to West Virginia University in all 55 counties and an important link in fulfilling our land-grant mission.”
During her career at WVU, Day-Perroots focused on improving access to education for students and adults and became known as an out-of-the-box thinker who is adept at managing change. Her first role at the University in 1983 was to coordinate student teacher field placements and teach English and language arts education courses in what was then the College of Human Resources and Education, now the College of Education and Human Services. In 1988, as part of WVU Extension Service, she was awarded one of seven Annenberg/Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants to launch Bridging the Gap, a statewide program delivering undergraduate courses via satellite uplinks.
Day-Perroots’ interest in and commitment to access to higher education led her to the role of director of Extended Learning in 1993. (This unit was reconfigured in 2015 as Online Learning and Continuing Professional Education.) In this role, she expanded programs off-campus and pioneered online courses at the University. In 2001, she was named dean of Extended Learning (now WVU Online) and developed a successful entrepreneurial model for both off-campus and online delivery and summer sessions. This model brought in significant revenue while also enabling thousands of place-bound adults to earn WVU degrees. Day-Perroots was awarded the prestigious American Distance Education Consortium Irving Award for Outstanding Leadership in 2012.
In keeping with her commitment to the university’s land grant mission, Day-Perroots envisioned an even more comprehensive unit to serve students and faculty in creative ways. In 2013, she was named associate vice president for academic innovation, a new role that encompassed the innovative programming she had developed, including statewide outreach to students in kindergarten through grade 12 and a centralized resource for all WVU teachers, WVU’s Teaching and Learning Commons.
As associate provost, Day-Perroots realigned multiple units to focus on student retention and program assessment. At President E. Gordon Gee’s urging, she and her team designed a new WVU 101 Orientation class to build upon experiential learning, collegiate success and discipline-based programs. In 2016, she instituted a major-mapping program that synthesized academic coursework, career planning and student engagement to create a quality undergraduate experience.
Day-Perroots teamed with the university’s academic advising programs to create a living and learning community for first-generation students, and led efforts to harmonize courses across WVU’s Morgantown campus, Potomac State College and the West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
“Sue Day-Peroots started her career in Extension and returns to it now with years of experience as an extremely talented and innovative higher education leader,” WVU Provost Joyce McConnell said. “With Sue’s passion for the land-grant mission and commitment to the State of West Virginia, she is perfect to lead Extension forward.”
Day-Perroots replaces WVU Extension Dean and Director Steve Bonanno, who retired in May after a 37-year career with the Extension Service. The Office of the Provost anticipates launching a national search for a Dean and Director of the WVU Extension Service in Fall 2019 to have the role filled permanently by July 2020.