10:06am: Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval

Dean of Students says WVU student body largely mum on institutional transformation; student organizations next for review

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University students are now learning schedules and campus life as some 169 faculty members are learning what to include in an appeal to keep their jobs.

Corey Farris

WVU Dean of Students Dr. Corey Farris met with reporters Wednesday,  the first day of the fall semester, and said there have really been minimal concerns from students as the academic transformation continues.

“I received one question, and that’s it,” Farris said. “So, I think they understand the university is going to continue to teach them; we’re going to offer a high-quality education, and we’ve got a lot of majors for them to choose from, and there’s just a handful of students impacted.”

WVU is wrapping up its 39th Welcome Week. Farris was at FallFest Monday with about 10,000 students, taking in American Idol winner Chase Beckham, pop group Driver Era, Disney star Ross Lynch, and Flo Rida. He said that’s all in addition to more formal events designed to help students connect with support organizations, employment, and other students.

“Our student organization fair, our student employment fair, at FallFest, and at our academic sessions at the Service Adventure program, the students were fully engaged and having a fun time and that was not a topic of conversation with us,” he said.

Farris said students are arriving in Morgantown much more focused on academics than in years past.

This will be another year of elevated expectations for Greek life and, in general, student conduct, according to Farris.

“It started before the pandemic, quite frankly,” Farris said. “Our students became much more serious and much more focused on academics, and I think that’s just because the cost of college keeps rising and they understand they have to make the most of their time at school.”

The next item for review in the academic transformation will be the more than 450 organizations that support student life. Some of those groups include Adventure WV, Active Minds WVU, The Mountainlair, Campus Recreation, the Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, and the Center for Fraternal Values and Leadership.

“We’ll also be using an external group who’s also going to come in and help us look and do some benchmarking for us. It will be a number of eyes, internal and external, as we review student life,” he said.

Farris said a bill signed last year making it legal to carry a concealed weapon on college campuses also is not a “top of mind” subject for students. Efforts will begin at the school later this year to prepare students for July 1, 2024, when the legislation becomes law.

“It will probably not even be in the fall semester; we’ll probably wait until the spring semester and provide that information as we get closer to that July 1 date,” Farris said. “But it’s minimally on people’s radar; I think people know it’s out there, but it’s not having an impact this year.”

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