WVU announces deep academic cuts in response to budget shortfall 

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

In response to a $45-million budget shortfall announced by administration officials earlier this year, today West Virginia University released a full list of recommended academic cuts. 

“After several months of review that included input from deans, department chairs, faculty and others,” says an article posted to their website, “West Virginia University has made preliminary recommendations to adjust its academic offerings to better serve the needs of its students.”

Here is a full list of proposed cuts to WVU academic programs.  

  • Eliminate programs:
    • MA in Higher Education
    • MA in Multicategorical Special Education
    • PhD in Higher Education
    • EdD in Higher Education
    • MFA in Creative Writing
    • All World Languages programs
    • All Literature programs
    • All Linguistics programs
    • BA in Art History
    • BM in Musical Performance and Commercial Music
    • MM in Collaborative Piano
    • MM in Composition
    • MM in Jazz Pedagogy
    • DMA in Composition and Collaborative Piano
    • BS in Public Health 
    • PhD in Occupational and Environmental and Health Sciences
    • MFA in Acting
    • BS in Environmental and Community Planning
    • BSLA in Landscape Architecture
    • BSR in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism
    • MS in Energy Environments
    • PhD in Resource Management
    • MS and PhD in Mathematics
    • All Public Administration programs
  • Eliminate faculty:
    • 32 of 32 World Languages faculty 
    • 4 of 32 Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty
    • 1 of 6 Mining Engineering faculty
    • 2 of 7 Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering faculty 
    • 9 of 27 Higher Education faculty
    • 6 of 21 Art History faculty 
    • 6 of 39 Music faculty
    • 4 of 20 Acting faculty
    • 2 of 26 Law faculty
    • 13 of 29 Design & Community Development faculty
    • 5 of 27 Forestry faculty
    • 11 of 21 Plant & Soil Sciences faculty 
    • 5 of 28 Chemistry faculty 
    • 2 of 13 Communications faculty 
    • 14 of 40 Creative Writing faculty 
    • 18 of 49 Mathematics & Data Sciences faculty
    • 6 of 6 Public Administration faculty
    • 2 of 19 Business Management faculty
    • 4 of 23 Communications Sciences and Disorders faculty 
    • 8 of 41 Pharmacy faculty 
    • 14 of 39 Public Health faculty 

“While we view these preliminary recommendations for reductions and discontinuations as necessary, we are keenly aware of the people they will affect,” said President Gordon Gee. “We do not take that lightly. These faculty are our colleagues, our neighbors and our friends. These decisions are difficult to make.”

“However, the Board of Governors charged us to focus on what will best serve the needs of our students and our state,” he added. “Students have choices, and if we aim to improve our enrollment numbers and recruit students to our University, we must have the programs and majors that are most relevant to their needs and the future needs of industry…We are addressing the many challenges that higher education is facing so that we can be an even stronger university in the future.”

On July 31, the WVU Board of Governors voted unanimously to extend Gee’s contract as president through 2025. They expressed confidence in his ability to lead during a time of transition. “President Gee has shown time and again heis not afraid to do the difficult work required,” said Taunja Willis-Miller, Chair of the Board of Governors. 

Immediately after the vote, Gee remarked, “I want to extend my gratitude to the board, not only for their faith in me but their faith in our achievement. This is a pivotal moment in higher education. The manner in which we choose to meet the challenge is unique to us. We are doing it in a much different way. We will receive both criticism and acclamation.” 

He went on to talk about why he feels he is up to the challenge, saying, “I am a West Virginian. I have bought a home at The Greenbrier. Having traveled the state for nine years, there’s a real love affair I have with the state. Madam Chair, I appreciate the vote of confidence.” 

Not everyone at WVU shares that confidence in Gee. Professor Scott Crichlow, who teaches Political Science at WVU, responded to the proposed cuts on Twitter bluntly. “The outright contempt Gordon Gee (President) and Maryanne Reed (Provost) are displaying toward both university employees and basic educational norms is astonishing,” he wrote. 

According to faculty, colleagues who are being removed from their positions will receive from 12 weeks up to 12 months of severance. Faculty can appeal the decision, and two informational hearings will be held next week on campus.  

The Division of Student Life and Mountaineer Parents Club will hold an information session on the proposed cuts for students and parents on Thursday, Aug. 17, at 6pm.

Stay tuned to RealWV for updates to this breaking story.

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