HEPC removes interim tag, Tucker now chancellor of both higher education systems

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker will continue to oversee the systems that operate the state’s two and four-year colleges after a decision Friday by the state Higher Education Policy Commission.

Chancellor Sarah Armstrong Tucker

Tucker has been chancellor of the state Community and Technical College System (CTCS) since October 2015. She was named interim chancellor of the HEPC in April 2019. A vote by the commission Friday removes the interim tag.

“I believe in higher education. I believe in the state of West Virginia and the power of higher education in the state of West Virginia for our residents,” Tucker said Friday during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”

She said it makes sense to have once chancellor oversee both systems and allow higher education to speak with one voice.

“We all have the same goals. We want our 86,000 students to be successful,” she said. “Not competing with one another but working together.”

All of the state’s colleges and universities are facing extreme challenges with COVID-19. They are preparing their campuses for students to return in the fall. Most have cut their budgets because of the forced early ending of campus life in the spring semester.

HEPC Chairman Mike Farrell said Tucker is the right choice during the current challenge.

“Especially in recent months as our colleges and universities have faced unprecedented changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chancellor Tucker has risen to the challenge of this role,” Farrell said.

Tucker said the fall semester restart plans will need the help of students to be successful.

“We really have to rely on our students to be responsible for their own behavior,” she said.

Tucker grew up in Wheeling. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard. Both her master’s degree and doctorate are from the University of Michigan.

Another finalist for the HEPC chancellor’s job, Dr. Joe Delap, Provost of Athens State University in Alabama, withdrew his application earlier this week.

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