INSTITUTE, W.Va. — The first of three finalists for the job of president at West Virginia State University spoke to members of the institution on Monday morning.
Dr. Patricia Ramsey, who currently serves as a Senior Executive Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, spoke with university faculty, staff and students in separate Zoom meetings.
Ramsey formerly served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at both Lincoln and Bowie State universities.
While answering questions during the faculty forum session, she keyed on improving the retention plan at West Virginia State University (WVSU) to see increased enrollment.
She said while WVSU’s retention rate is at 55 percent, it must be at least 70 percent. She noted the 70 percent is not a goal but where the number should be at a minimum.
WVSU leaders are projecting a total student enrollment drop between one-fifth and one-fourth in upcoming academic year due to COVID-19.
Ramsey addressed how she would handle the pandemic. WVSU, under the current leadership of interim president Dr. R. Charles Byers, has plans in place to return to in-person class in early August.
She said she would create a plan for every scenario when it comes to COVID this fall.
“One of the things we want to make sure we have in place is a plan for anything that we can think of that may happen and hope that it doesn’t happen,” Ramsey said on the call. “It’ll be something we can pull off the shelf where everyone will know their responsibility.”
In taking questions from faculty after addressing the crowd, Ramsey said she would become more aggressive when it comes to recruitment of students.
“For recruitment of minority students, depending on what minority we are trying to recruit, we go to where the students are,” she said.
Afternoon meetings for each candidate will be with community members, state lawmakers and alumni members. Morning sessions are forums with faculty, staff and students.
Finalist Nicole Pride, vice provost for academic strategy at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, will be on the Institute campus Tuesday.
Wednesday’s meetings will feature finalist Rodney Smith who has been the president at the University of The Bahamas since October 2014.
The person chosen will replace former WVSU President Anthony Jenkins who is now the president at Coppin State University in Baltimore.
Byers did not apply for the job on a permanent basis.