WVU releases last set of final recommendations for programs under review

The West Virginia University Office of the Provost announced the final recommendations on Tuesday (Sept. 5) from the last three appeals hearings held as part of the Academic Transformation program portfolio review process. This is the next step following the announcement of the preliminary recommendations on Aug. 10.

Division of Resource Economics and Management

The Program Review Appeal Committee made a final recommendation to discontinue the PhD Resource Management major after considering several factors in the appeals hearing including low enrollment and that the program operates without dedicated faculty.

The Division of Resource Economics and Management did not appeal several preliminary recommendations which will now become part of the final recommendation. These include continuing the PhD in Natural Resource Economics and eliminating the MS Energy Environments major.

Three other majors will be discontinued and merged to create new cooperative programs by Jan. 31, 2024, in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.

  • The BS Agribusiness Management will be discontinued and combined with the BS Environmental and Natural Resource Economics;
  • BS Environmental and Energy Resource Management will be eliminated and merged with the BS Energy Land Management;
  • and BS Environmental and Natural Resource Economics will be discontinued and merged with the BS Agribusiness Management.

Department of Public Administration

Declining enrollment and low student-to-faculty ratios factored into the Committee’s decision to deny appeals for the MLS Legal Studies and MPA Public Administration programs in the Department of Public AdministrationPreliminary recommendations called for discontinuing both programs.

Additional considerations included that there is no dedicated faculty leadership for MLS Legal Studies and, while the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences unit presented a plan to develop the MPA Public Administration as an online degree, the online market is already dominated by large, national online institutions. 

The final recommendation is to discontinue both programs and reduce the number of faculty positions in the unit from its current number to 0.

School of Design and Community Development

The appeals process netted several changes of preliminary recommendations for the School of Design and Community Development, including a unanimous decision to keep the BSLA Landscape Architecture major.

The successful appeal comes with requirements to provide the Provost’s Office with a recruitment and marketing plan by Oct. 31 to increase first-time freshmen enrollment in the program and set a target enrollment to achieve by fall 2026.

The unit must also agree to follow-up reporting on fall enrollment for each of the next three academic years.

To address concerns about the low student-to-faculty ratio, the School presented a plan to discontinue the MSLA Landscape Architecture program which would allow for the delivery of the BSLA Landscape Architecture major with fewer faculty.

“The School made a strong case for retaining the BSLA major by demonstrating it could achieve efficiencies while addressing the needs of landscape architecture students who do not have a similar degree program to pursue here at the University,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed said.

The BS Interior Architecture, BS Design Studies and BS Fashion, Design and Merchandising programs will be moved out of the School and Davis College and into the new college resulting from the College of Creative Arts and Reed College of Media merger.

“Bringing these design programs into the new merged college will enable students to benefit from the new collaborative curricula and instruction that can arise by such restructuring,” Reed said. “This epitomizes the goals of Academic Transformation.”

Proposals for the BS-AGR Agriculture and Extension Education, BS Environmental and Community Planning, and PhD Human and Community Development majors were not appealed. The number of faculty positions in the unit should be reduced from its current number to 21 under the final recommendations.

Process and next steps

The Program Review Appeal Committee held hearings between Aug. 24-Sept. 1 for 19 of the 25 programs under review. The School of MedicineSchool of PharmacyCenter for Women’s and Gender StudiesDepartment of PhilosophyManagement Department and Department of Mining Engineering did not file notices of appeal.

“We’ve been impressed throughout this process by the faculty, department chairs, deans and others who have brought forward innovative ideas for enhancing their programs,” Reed said. “It’s clear we share a desire to create the high-quality academic offerings that will help our students be successful.”

The Board of Governors will hear public comments from those who have signed up or submitted their comments in writing in advance of Sept. 14 before a planned vote on the final recommendations during its regular meeting on Sept. 15.

Learn more at transformation.wvu.edu.

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