MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University President James P. Clements delivered his 2013 State of the University address to the Faculty Assembly and students at the Erikson Alumni Center on the WVU campus on Monday. He began by comparing the university to the WVU Solar Decathlon project which the school entered for the first time this year.
“This project goes to the heart of what WVU is all about. That’s taking an inter-disciplinary approach to meeting the needs of the state, the nation and the world. In some ways, if you think about it, the Solar Decathlon Project represents our state of the university in 2013,” said Clements. “We must work together to uphold and build upon our land-grant mission of teaching, research and service.”
Clements went on to outline a number of achievements and changes that have happened at WVU over the last four years, such as increased donations to the university and the growing student body.
“During those years, enrollment grew by 4% to 32,595.”
But, he says, the university is facing a number of challenges.
“In the context of this incredible momentum, unfortunately, as you know, we are in the midst of some serious budget challenges. The state cut our appropriations this year, and is considering an additional cut next year.”
Clements notes the university has an obligation to everyone involved with WVU.
“As we try to balance these responsibilities, we are competing with peer universities who, on average, charge about $3,000 more per student for in-state tuition.”
He says that higher education faces the same economic problems as the rest of the nation.
“Public higher education nation wide has been confronting the same obstacles. And with student enrollments declining in our region, as well as state and federal budget constraints continuing, unfortunately, these challenges will likely increase.”
However, Clements says that WVU has been successful as a center of higher education in the state and will continue to do so by following four core principles.
“Number one, our core academic mission will be the priority. Academic quality is the cornerstone of our future and we must protect it. Number two, we must continue to invest in our strategic plan. Number three, we will continue a commitment to our campus infrastructure. And number four, we will strive to give raises in the fiscal year 2015.”
He also told the audience that WVU would endeavor to meet five strategic goals in the future, those being:
1. To engage undergraduate, graduate and professional students.
2. To excel in research, creative activity and innovation in all disciplines.
3. To promote diversity, inclusion, equity, inter-cultural and inter-community outreach.
4. To advance international activity and global engagement.
5. To enhance the well being and the quality of life of the people of West Virginia.
“Let me end by saying that despite a difficult economic climate nationwide, we are still following our strategic plan and making strategic investments in building for the future,” he said as he finished his State of the University Address. “I can’t think of another place as committed to making a real difference as our West Virginia University community and I am proud to serve along with you in that effort.”