INSTITUTE, W.Va. — The third and final candidate for the president position at West Virginia State University was on campus Wednesday.
Dr. Rodney Smith, the President and CEO of the University of The Bahamas since October 2014, spoke to faculty, staff, students, and community leaders at the Kanawha County campus to round out the week of candidates.
During a forum with the faculty, Smith said that the institution needs to build on its history.
“State is built on hallowed ground and those hallowed grounds are being reinforced. Every time you graduate new students, they become a part of the rich history of this institution,” he said.
Before taking the position at the University of The Bahamas, Smith served as Administrative Vice President at Hampton University, with responsibility for strategic planning, institutional effectiveness, quality service training programs, assessment of all academic and non-academic programs, university athletics (Division 1, NCAA), Internal Auditor and the Office of Institutional Research, (Operations Analysis and Research), and all aspects of Enrollment Management (offices of Admissions, Financial Aid and Scholarships, and Registrar).
Smith, the only male finalist for the position, received his doctorate of education degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in the area of Administration, Planning and Social Policy. He earned a Master’s Degree in Education with a Concentration in International Development from Harvard University, a Master of Arts degree from Fisk University in Clinical/Educational Psychology, and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.
In his Zoom meeting with faculty, Smith said he would attempt to market the school better.
“I believe that the diversity that exists at this HBCU campus is not very widely marketed and I think it should be. It should be marketed to students in the Caribbean, students in South and Central America, students across the United States as well,” Smith said.
Smith had the same format as the other two candidates, holding forums with university faculty, staff and students in the morning and then meeting with community, legislative and foundation board members in the afternoon.
“I believe that you need to know exactly what is going on, I believe in answering every question posed honestly. I do not believe in hiding information,” he said to the faculty of transparency he would bring.
Dr. R Charles Byers, the interim president of WVSU, did not apply for the job on a permanent basis.
WVSU Board of Governors is set to meet Thursday and could make its selection for the institution’s 12th president.