Compact Summaries: Impact


In the focal area of impact, objectives in five categories – degrees awarded, career pathways, critical regional issues, student loan default rates, and  research and development – contribute to the goal of increasing the impact that public colleges and universities have on West Virginia through production of qualified graduates ready to contribute to the workforce and the community, provision of needed services, and research and development that promote knowledge production and economic growth. System-wide objectives include:

  • Increasing the number of degrees awarded annually at the undergraduate and graduate levels overall and in needed areas, including STEM, STEM education, and health. 
  • Addressing regional economic needs through pathways to careers in West Virginia for students and recent graduates.
  • Engaging with external organizations (government, business, non-profit) to solve critical regional civic and social issues.
  • Reducing the number and percent of students excessively burdened by student loan debt.
  • Increasing research and development activities which contribute to West Virginia’s economic growth.

On this page:

Summary of Degrees Awarded Strategies

Summary of Career Pathways Plans

Summary of Critical Regional Issues Plans

Summary of Student Loan Default Rate Strategies

Summary of Research and Development Strategies


Summary of Degrees Awarded Strategies

Bluefield State College: The institution will target secondary school students who are brought to campus for participation in other activities outlined in the five Comprehensive Plans and will focus on new and undecided students, reinforcing the importance of STEM fields and careers. In addition, STEM employers will be invited to annual recruitment fairs to interact with current Bluefield State College students.Bluefield State College students and local high school students currently showcase their achievements and demonstrate their knowledge through academic invitational events. These events will continue through 2018. Additional events will be developed, and the College will reach out to students interested in STEM, health related fields as well as other academic areas.
Concord University: The institution will focus on the WVHEPC’s “15 to Finish” campaign in order to promote “on-time degree completion and student success.” The institution will develop a revised four-year template, requiring at least 15 credit hours per semester or 30 hours within one academic year for a 120 hour program, and will increase its utilization of DegreeWorks. Additionally, all Concord University baccalaureate students will be required to declare their major by the completion of 60 hours of coursework. Particular attention will be given to STEM students’ advancement toward degree completion. The creation of program templates at each level, in addition to the implementation of Degree Works during spring 2015, will greatly assist with course selection, degree progression, and ultimately an awarded degree.The University will also work to increase awareness of its STEM and STEM education degrees. The staff in the Admissions Office will share information regarding the STEM programs at Concord with prospective students and parents. Additionally, the Division of Science, Mathematics and Health will conduct open houses and activities in the community and with the public schools to showcase Concord’s STEM programs.
Fairmont State University: In the past the majority of efforts aimed at marketing, recruitment and admission of new students in STEM fields have occurred at the program and college/school levels. To establish a coherent, campus-wide plan for marketing, recruiting and admissions for STEM programs, Fairmont State will create a STEM Marketing and Recruiting Team, focused on strategies and activities to support STEM, STEM Education, and Health Programs.In 2013-14 a cross-section of Student Services staff, faculty, and administrative and academic leadership formed the Campus Collaborative for Recruitment and Retention (CCRR). The CCRR recommended as part of a range of initiatives, that a First-Year Experience (FYE) be implemented to support students in their transition into and through FSU. The FYE includes: 1) seminar options for first-year students; and 2) the implementation of a Passport program. Both the seminar and Passport designs allow for a great deal of flexibility in structuring activities to meet the needs of students with particular interests, learning community affiliations, and exploratory paths.

Glenville State College: The institution will increase the number of degrees awarded annually by expanding its array of degree options and actively recruiting students for low enrollment programs. These initiatives are in addition to efforts to recruit and retain to graduation more students.Academic Affairs will oversee the full implementation of the recently approved degree program in health and human performance. This degree program is expected to draw new students to the College as well as support the retention of students who might otherwise leave the institution for similar programs at other institution. The cumulative outcome will be the awarding of additional degrees.Glenville State College is preparing to submit for approval a degree program in communications. The implementation of this degree program should enhance the institutions ability to recruit and retain additional students in this popular field of study. It is also expected to contribute to the College’s commitment to increasing the number and range of degrees awarded.

Glenville State College will embark on a coordinated process designed to attract more incoming students to low enrollment programs. Special attention will be given to the recruitment, retention, and degree completion of students in STEM fields. This may require the development of interdisciplinary degree programs built around a STEM field. The College will additionally undertake the development of interdisciplinary degree programs drawing upon courses in non-STEM fields with low or declining enrollment. This might include the option of a degree program in applied sciences.

Marshall University: Marshall will require each academic college to develop an alternate 4-Year Plan for students in the Murky Middle. These students have a higher failure rate in certain key general education courses, which affects the number of hours they ultimately earn in the first term. Because first-term earned hours as a data point positively correlates with retention for our focus group, Marshall’s goal will be to ensure these students begin with a robust schedule (17-18 hours) that reserves some of their more difficult first-year courses for the second semester. Additionally, students in the Murky Middle will start UNI 100 equipped with a Fall course schedule that is customized for their use (17-18 credit hours, fewer courses with high DFW rate), etc. Before these students have an opportunity to add or drop courses during the first week of class, UNI 100 will guide them through important aspects of the 15 to Finish curriculum.The Marshall University Graduate College will work with the various academic programs, especially the College of Information Technology and Engineering and the College of Health Professions to develop more accelerated (3+2 or 4+1) master degree programs. These programs allow for 12 hours of graduate course work to be completed during the student’s senior year and count for both the completion of the baccalaureate and graduate degrees.
Potomac State College of West Virginia University: The institution will develop and implement a plan to annually review transcripts of PSC students who have matriculated to WVU-Morgantown after completing 31 credit hours but before completing graduation requirements. PSC students who have matriculated to WVU-Morgantown after completing 31 credit hours but before completing graduation requirements will be awarded appropriate AA degrees if all graduation requirements were met using courses completed in Morgantown. The institution will also enhance academic advising for general studies students enrolled in one or more foundation courses and will conduct advising workshops for all faculty advisers.The institution will systematically train all faculty to fully integrate AdvisorTrac advising software in the student advising process. It will also work with WVU-Morgantown to integrate Degree Works at the WVU-Potomac State campus. Additionally, the institution plans to assess the feasibility (and possibly to develop) the following new academic degree programs: AAS and BAS in Entrepreneurial Agriculture, Veterinary Technology, Nursing A.D.N. (to BSN pathway), at least one BSET Engineering Technology, and a BA in Elementary Education (STEM focused).
Shepherd University: The institution will implement DegreeWorks, an academic advising tool used by academic advisors nationwide. DegreeWorks uses completed courses stored in student academic histories, to produce a degree audit for each student. The system uses rules and requirements published in the undergraduate and graduate catalogs, defined and coded for each program. The degree audit includes features, such as maintenance of advising notes, future course planning and, in particular, the student can produce a “what if” audit in the event of a change of major to demonstrate how completed and planned courses might apply. The degree audit allows students to easily identify unmet degree requirements, including remaining courses, GPA requirements, minimum grade requirements, and required assessments and exams. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, use of DegreeWorks can reduce time to degree by guiding the student accurately and efficiently through requirements for degree completionShepherd has developed a culture of assessment over the last fifteen years that includes both academic and administrative units. The institution’s HLC self-study demonstrated outcomes that will be used for continuous improvements in these areas.
West Liberty University: Recruitment efforts targeting students interested in the STEM disciplines will be enhanced through the development of retention committees specific to the College of Sciences (biology, math, and chemistry) and the College of Liberal Arts (psychology). Dedicated faculty will assist with recruitment efforts. The institution hopes that these increased and specialized recruitment efforts will lead to increased enrollment for the University, improved retention and graduation rates, and increased STEM degree production.
West Virginia State University: The general focus is for the University to increase the overall number of baccalaureate degrees awarded by educating students on what is required for degree completion. The University will expand the use of DegreeWorks to include degree maps, which record milestones during the course of study for each individual student.

West Virginia University: WVU will pursue and increase the number of 2+2 articulation agreements with two-year community colleges. There are two activities related to this strategy in which WVU will: 1) cultivate the relationship with two-year colleges and discuss 2+2 Degree Pathways; and 2) increase opportunities for transfer students’ engagement at West Virginia University.The Office of Transitional Programs in the University College has already been created to coordinate and spearhead the 2+2 degree pathways with two-year colleges. The office will collaborate with Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and various academic departments across the university to identify and cultivate relationships with two-year colleges with the aim of creating articulations for 2+2 degree pathways.The office of Transitional Programs in University College will spearhead planning and carrying out programs such as Welcome Day for transfer students. The transitional programs office will also hold multiple events to acclimatize and increase engagement of transfer students.

West Virginia University Institute of Technology: WVU Tech will focus on increasing the number of degrees awarded annually by expanding recruitment efforts with adult learners and students from community colleges. WVU Tech will increase pathways for community college students to enter WVU Tech programs by increasing the number of articulation agreements with community colleges. The target population for this activity is community college students.A marketing plan will be developed to improve recruiting for the Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) program which includes the assessment of the regional community and Southern West Virginia to include Southern West Virginia the following counties: Fayette, Greenbrier, Raleigh, McDowell, Monroe, Mercer, Nicholas, Summers, and Wyoming. The target population for this activity is adult learners who have previously earned college credits.

 Summary of Career Pathways Plans

Bluefield State College: The focus of the Career Pathways Comprehensive Plan is for Bluefield State to be a model for Impact known for: 1) emphasizing the retention and graduation of all students; and 2) graduating students with the knowledge, skills, and capacity to be productive citizens making contributions at the local, state, national, and global levels.The Career Pathways Comprehensive Plan for Bluefield State College is designed to direct the Institution on how regional economic needs are addressed through the development and promotion of pathways to careers in West Virginia. The plan includes: 1) the development of formal partnerships with businesses, non-profit organizations, and other employers; and 2) the enhancement of institutional career readiness programs for students (internships, co-operative arrangements, career counseling, job search assistance programs, etc.).

The institution will also develop and implement a “Career Readiness Seminar” with four one-hour sessions focusing on such topics as: 1) How to develop professional resumes and other business communications skills, 2) the job searches, 3) basic business etiquette, and 4) dressing for success and interview strategies. It will also continue to promote and highlight the success stories of alumni and the companies that employ them. Programmatic Advisory Boards will be created and/or maintained for all academic programs involving alumni to serve whenever possible.

Opportunities for community engagement will be increased and improved through internships, job shadowing, guest speakers, and community service activities. The institution will identify successful community business people to serve as professional mentors, with an emphasis on pairing mentors with Pell-eligible students. Lastly, the institution will assume a leadership role in efforts to revive the City of Bluefield’s Business Incubator.

Concord University: The institution will establish a Center for the Career-Focused Liberal Arts that enables students to quickly identify resources related to academic offerings and experiential learning. The Center will link academic programs and careers; online career resources such as resume writing, interviewing, professional dress, etc.; experiential learning opportunities, including internships and volunteer activities; and employment and graduate school fairs. Additionally, the center will facilitate networking between current students and alumni who share interests in the same field/career, as well as facilitate career-related opportunities for current students through LinkedIn, CU Connect, internships with businesses, and job opportunities. The University will also promote career-focused liberal arts programs that prepare students to enter the professional workforce or enroll in graduate/professional schools.The University will re-position and redesign the Career Services webpage to help students make connections between interests (curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular), career-focused liberal arts, academic programs and careers. This comprehensive project will provide guidance, opportunities and support as students make connections between the liberal arts, academic programs, and careers and enable them to successfully transition from the University to professional life. The web page will highlight services such as career fairs, career exploration, job search strategies, etc., and on-line resources that serve current students and help identify employment opportunities and connect them with alumni. These resources will also help students identify experiences such as internships and/or additional education that may be needed for specific careers.

To increase student utilization of the Career Services office, Concord will launch a media campaign to help students realize the value of utilizing electronic and social media to assist them in finding and securing a job or entrance into graduate school. A week-long series of career readiness events will occur each semester and include such items as creating effective LinkedIn profiles, etiquette dinner, dress for success, and other high-interest student-oriented activities. Traditional print media, such as flyers and notices in the campus newspaper, will also be utilized to promote activities.

Concord will encourage students to develop a career-life plan that includes the liberal arts, content coursework and experiential learning that will lead to a fulfilling and lifelong career. As part of this intentional initiative, the University will include a module in the UNIV 100 course where students develop an initial career-life plan. As part of that plan, students will identify things they must do such as complete at least 15 hours of coursework each semester (15 to Finish), complete service or internship (experiential learning) experiences that will enhance their academic and professional goals, graduate, pursue additional education or training, etc. in order to accomplish their career-life goals.

Students who are undecided about future career plans will be enrolled in a special UNIV 100 First Year Experience section that focuses specifically on selecting an academic major. All students will be encouraged to identify personal interests/strengths and careers that align with these interests and strengths. Students who do not identify clear career-life plans will be referred to the Career Services Center and encouraged to complete the SIGI 3 modules and the online assessment that integrates with up-to-date career information. Additionally, faculty advisors will help identify students who are unsure of an academic or career path and refer them to the Career Services Center to utilize SIGI 3. Faculty and staff will also encourage students who are undecided about their career plans to engage in service and experiential learning activities to help them identify or solidify a career-life plan.

Fairmont State University: The institution will engage in multi-layered strategies to refine development and promotion of pathways to careers in West Virginia. These strategies will interface with those referenced in other sections of the institutional Compact, including in particular the University’s centers, elements of the planned first-year experiences, the Appreciative Advising model, and the newly implemented process for assessment of academic programs. In addition, this broad-based plan benefits from action steps already taken or to-be taken relative to providing more explicit direction to undeclared students (steering them toward majors), connecting new students to academic interests and activities earlier in their matriculation, and identifying and supporting model academic program practices though the University’s “Programs of Distinction” plan.This strategy focuses on the review, redesign (as needed) and implementation of Fairmont State University’s “Programs of Distinction” initiative. This initiative has been used in the past as a way to support and highlight leading academic programs as emblematic of the University’s programs. Programs of Distinction provide evidence of exemplary academic structures and elements, and are identified as establishing high standards for program rigor, and academic and professional achievement. Such programs identified in the past were those that served to differentiate the University in our regional higher education market and among peer and competitor universities.

Glenville State College: Glenville’s Career Pathways Plan contributes to student success and persistence to graduation by assisting students in setting career goals and determining a course of study supportive of these goals. The Plan promotes a comprehensive approach to career advisement, including the alignment of academic program selection and other educational experiences with the development of the knowledge, skills, and attributes needed to be career ready upon degree completion. The primary objective of the plan is to ensure appropriate career advisement and career preparation within academic programs and through the Office of Career Services.The institution will advance career counseling efforts through a number of activities, including: 1) providing direct, one-on-one counseling in relevant career development topics; 2) supporting academic departments in delivering core and special topics seminars to classes as part of the Career Readiness Program; and 3) conducting core and special topics seminars for the general campus population and greater community.

Career preparation will be enhanced through activities such as: 1) promoting and managing individual student participation in the Career Readiness Program; 2) cultivating relationships with employers, service organizations, recruiters, and graduate/professional programs; and 3) fostering professional connections with GSC alumni and other potential partners/mentors.

Collaborative leadership in career services will be enriched through a collection of activities that include: 1) providing input, direction, and support for Academic Center initiatives; 2) ensuring the responsive, integrated, and complementary nature of departmental services and promotion to the campus community; and 3) providing additional opportunities for students to demonstrate to the campus community their creative, research, and leadership skills.

Service enhancements and promotion effort will be furthered by activities such as: 1) identifying and offering new presentations and special topics seminars as needed; 2) ensuring that students, especially those at-risk of college attrition, have the benefit of appreciative coaching in career counseling and academic advising; and 3) working collaboratively with faculty and staff to ensure that career planning activities are defined, timed, and effectively supported within the appreciative coaching framework.

The College has set about to craft on-campus student employment practices similar to those of off-campus employers of Glenville State graduates. These practices include an application process, pre-employment interviews, on-the-job evaluation process, and termination procedures. Students now apply online for jobs on campus. Applications are reviewed by the supervisors of student workers, who then arrange to interview students with the skills and availability required.

The College will explore the need for periodic workshops for student workers and the possible topics to be covered in these workshops. Possible topics include customer service, ethical practices, report writing, data collection and data analysis.

Marshall University: The institution’s Career Pathways Plan will build on programing already established to advance students toward successful careers through an expansion of plans categorized by four areas of emphasis: 1) Explore, 2) Prepare, 3) Connect, and 4) Transition. Programming in these areas of emphasis will be promoted regionally by Career Services staff, participating faculty, and student recruitment staff during tours, preview days, new student orientation held during the summer months, and by all University communication and media resources.Parents, prospective students, enrolled students, alumni and employers will have access to Career Services programming to explore, as early as possible, career options and opportunities regionally to help them make informed decisions regarding the career paths they may wish to explore. Enrolled Marshall University students and interested alumni will start to prepare for career exploration through career readiness programs offered during the academic and calendar year that will include career advising and counseling related to academic planning and advising, job search, internships, job shadowing, and professional development activities. Career Services collaborative programming will connect Marshall students, alumni, and regional employers by utilizing face-to-face contact and video technology, i.e., using the Rahall Transportation Institute, Robert C. Byrd Institute, and Marshall University Research Corporation, to enhance economic growth and meet regional economic needs as they arise. Career Services will maintain contact through its career management system during the transition from student career prospect to full-time employed alumni and beyond to track the career success of our graduates.

Potomac State College of West Virginia University: Potomac State will develop AAS/BAS Program Advisory Boards to evaluate degree requirements and course content for alignment with available job opportunities in the local region and state. It will also develop processes to prepare students for career readiness and job searches. The institution also plans to develop formal partnerships with businesses, non-profit organizations, and other employers to meet workforce needs. Additionally, PSC will identify and provide space, staff, and equipment resources to enable the Career Center to be operational, and will develop industry-based advisory boards for AAS and BAS degree programs.

Shepherd University: Shepherd’s plan will follow directly the focus provided by the WVHEPC: Shepherd’s plan directs how it will address regional economic needs through developing and promoting pathways to careers in West Virginia. It will include: 1) developing formal partnerships with businesses, non-profit organizations, and other employers; and 2) enhancing institutional career readiness programs for students (internships, co-operative arrangements, career counseling, job placement programs, etc.).Shepherd will increase the number of experiential education opportunities offered in areas typically underrepresented in terms of cooperative education enrollment. It will also identify the number of experiential education opportunities offered in each academic school, and will work collaboratively with Deans and Department Chairs to create new sections of cooperative education classes in areas that have not offered these classes in the past.

Shepherd will encourage collaboration between various institutional programs to engage high-risk students. Personnel will also continue to work with students prior to graduation to ensure their future plans include career placement and/or graduate school. This includes increasing the number of students utilizing the College Central Network and participating in career fairs.

West Liberty University: West Liberty’s career pathways comprehensive plan focuses on the ways in which the institution will contribute to and promote the opportunities and readiness of its students, and how graduates make positive contributions to the workforce and the community. One way in which West Liberty intends to expand in that regard is through an increased focus on courses in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) areas. Direct ties with graduate schools at institutions such as West Virginia University, Marshall University, and WVSOM will provide opportunities for West Liberty students both throughout the state and globally. Student participation in these opportunities will also help with enrollment and retention as STEM degree production continues to grow. The institution will also promote pathways to careers through its Study Abroad program.West Liberty will develop a Career Advisory Board for the purpose of identifying the needs of local, state, and regional employers through discussions, surveys and focus groups. The institution will also work to expand the number of professional development opportunities and the number of students who pursue advanced degrees and opportunities available in STEM Fields. It will implement a campus culture that supports all stages of student educational pathways and meets the needs of prospective and current students, employers, and alumni.

West Liberty has established early admittance partnerships through which graduates who successfully complete designated programs are accepted directly into the osteopathic physician program at WVSOM or WVU dental school. The institution intends to expand this program through an increased focus on courses in STEM areas. Direct ties with graduate schools at other state institutions will create additional opportunities for West Liberty students.

West Virginia State University: The institution will continue to work with local businesses, industry, government agencies, and non-profits to develop internship, cooperative experiences, and permanent employment opportunities for students and graduates.The institution plans to compile graduate survey data, then analyze and prepare presentation of survey results. The Director of Career Services and Cooperative Education, along with the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, will make recommendations regarding survey implementation for future graduating classes.

WVSU will create student success stories. These stories will be shared through the WVSU website, Career Services in promoting its activities with students and prospective employers, and in new student recruitment materials. The institution will also develop a mentoring program to connect alumni and current students. Alumni mentors will provide guidance and advice on career and professional goals.

West Virginia University: The objective of West Virginia University’s Career Pathways Comprehensive Plan is to create a state-wide formal experiential learning program to connect West Virginia-based companies and agencies with WVU students seeking paid and unpaid summer internship opportunities. While the focus of the program lies clearly on assisting WVU students to prepare for their futures, the effect will positively impact participating state employers on multiple levels.ExperienceWV will provide local internship opportunities throughout West Virginia enabling students to obtain valuable and rewarding experience related to their chosen fields without accruing the often exorbitant costs associated with relocating temporarily to complete an internship. By design, students will be able to apply for employment opportunities within driving range of their campus or permanent homes, thus eliminating the need to obtain costly temporary housing.

WVU will develop a marketing strategy that includes ads designed to promote ExperienceWV via live presentations, US Mail, e-mail and social media. The institution also plans to present the concept of ExperienceWV to University, local, regional and state officials as well as the WV Chamber of Commerce and regional Chambers throughout state to promote participation and collaboration.

West Virginia University Institute of Technology: The objective of the Career Pathways Comprehensive Plan is to enhance the employability of WVU Tech graduates. The institution will utilize discipline-specific advisory boards to ensure that the curricular and co-curricular experiences of students remain current and relevant. These advisory boards will be comprised of individuals with experience and knowledge in careers related to their respective disciplines which link to academic programs offered at WVU Tech. Collaboration with advisory boards also helps WVU Tech deepen its relationships with business, industry, local governments, and non-profits organizations.WVU Tech will identify a list of potential mutually-beneficial partnerships with communities, businesses, industries, and non-profit organizations. WVU Tech will also explore further development of its co-operative education and internship programs to enhance the employability of graduates and alumni. Parents and students do not always see the need for a co-operative education or internship experience. Rather, they sometimes see such experiences as extending the student’s time in college and adding more debt before the student graduates and embarks on a career path. To help remedy this situation, WVU Tech will develop a program to inform parents and students of the benefits of participating in a co-operative education or internship experience. This activity is of such importance to laying the foundation for future development of co-operative education and internship experiences at WVU Tech that this will be the sole activity of this strategy for the first Compact year.


Summary of Critical Regional Issues Plans

Bluefield State College: The focus of the Critical Regional Issues Comprehensive Plan is for Bluefield State to be a model for Impact known for: 1) emphasizing the retention and graduation of all students; and 2) fostering partnerships and loyalty of alumni and friends to make a positive difference through community engagement, service, and economic growth. This will raise community awareness of the institution not only as an educational institution, but as a central part of the cultural fabric of southeast West Virginia.Bluefield State College’s Critical Regional Issues Comprehensive Plan focuses on establishing ties to organizations (government, business, non-profits) to identify and solve critical regional civic and/or social issues. The plan’s goals align with the institution’s mission, the institution’s strategies to meet those goals, and how the institution will assess the success of those strategies.The plan involves establishing deeper relationships with local schools and businesses, as well as school administrators for the 13 counties in the region. This relationship will move beyond the traditional social functions into the virtual space and will transform Bluefield State College into a vital community resource for student professional development. The three primary components of the plan are the development of Bluefield State resources (virtual, physical, personnel), services (Bluefield State-centered activities of interest to the local citizenry), and community engagement (opportunities to work with the community on projects of mutual interest and importance to both). The institution will expand partnerships with community and civic organizations to develop cooperative projects to develop and implement initiatives that will have a direct, positive impact on the local community and the region.

The institution will expand its interactive virtual presence by establishing a community web page with links to community organizations such as the Union Mission or Chamber of Commerce. The new page will allow community organizations to indicate service needs (e.g., volunteers, materials, etc.) and will enhance the community’s knowledge about the institution’s upcoming events and activities. New virtual forums will allow Bluefield State to interact with the community and region. The creation of these forums will enable the community and educational institutions to actively confront and begin to address the economic and educational challenges of southern West Virginia. The institution will also host both physical and virtual social media events, such as educational social network series with K-12 institutions that increase interaction on a professional basis with area educators, and group projects for students of all ages.

Concord University: Concord will focus on two specific critical regional issues: 1) increasing student participation in service and experiential learning by first establishing baseline data collection relative to student work already being conducted in the community; and 2) expanding current faculty, staff, and administrator community outreach and increasing external relationships that benefit the Concord service area by conducting a comprehensive review and recognition of its current sharing of facilities and resources with community partners, and expanding academic offerings, programs, and services at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center to fully serve a greater number of students in that service area.In its recent campus strategic plan, the institution recommended that all academic programs provide students with experiential learning opportunities. The Academic Dean’s Office will work with faculty and departments to ensure that every department has an appropriate experiential learning experience for students built into their curriculum.Concord University is aware of numerous activities that take place on campus where its facilities and resources are utilized by community agencies and individual community members. Additionally, numerous community agencies have reciprocal relationships with Concord that allow student access for internships, field placements, observations, service projects and other experiential learning opportunities. Reviewing these points of access to the campus and the community will allow the institution to identify additional opportunities for collaboration and problem-solving, as well as barriers to the use of shared facilities and resources.

Concord will create and implement an online reporting system to collect community involvement information from all campus populations. Measures will be reviewed and, to the extent possible, built into the reporting system to provide appropriate verification of activities reported. Data will be structured to allow for the creation of data sets and subsets to satisfy usage needs of all user groups [administration, faculty, staff, and students]. A database of all CU community outreach, community service hours, service-learning and experiential learning experiences will be created and maintained for use by all constituent groups.

Academic program information will also be reviewed to determine areas where community involvement is a course or degree requirement. These data will be used to compile a comprehensive database of contacts within community agencies/organizations that currently share facilities and resources with the institution. The data will also be utilized to identify where barriers to access may exist due to campus procedures, structures and/or processes.

Administrators on campus will be asked to work with faculty and staff in their areas to develop a plan for recognizing and including community partners in their work in ways that are appropriate and beneficial to students and the institution as a whole. This may include the development of formal partnerships with businesses and organizations and/or building more informal relationships with specific individuals within an agency or organization. This process will also focus on collaboration with the intent of not only benefiting CU, but also looking at the capacity-building needs of the partner organization. A University-wide committee will be created to monitor the action plans, to look for additional collaborations across departments, and to continue data collection in an on-going process.

Fairmont State University: Programming and initiatives to promote responsible citizenship and the common good have been central to the Fairmont State University’s mission. The University attempts to ensure that that commitment pervades how it educates students and how it engages in the world. Its academic programs are built on intellectual and professional investments in educating people who have the knowledge, skills and habits of mind necessary for responsible, participatory citizenship. This is true for citizenship in communities as they exist, and with how they are changing in a changing world.As a core element of its continued commitment to engagement and being a resource in critical regional issues, the University will intensify its efforts to take advantage of the “center” concept. These strategic efforts will include interfaces with academic programming, engagement activities by faculty, students and professional staff, and with relevant entities outside the University. The effort will also include initiatives to identify resources to enhance, and where appropriate the work and impact of the centers.The institution will create a “Center Directors Network.” The team of people representing each of the centers will:

  • Create a collective voice and perspective for the work, needs, and challenges of the centers;
  • Identify and prioritize opportunities to engage the University in the region;
  • Capitalize on opportunities that the centers can create for students, faculty and professional staff on campus; and,
  • Identify network strategies and structures for bringing regional and community entities to the campus for on-campus engagement;
  • Identify strategies for communicating and disseminating successes and impact-stories for the campus centers.

This network of centers has considerable potential to be a collective force in Fairmont States efforts to identify and solve critical regional civic and social issues. The University currently lacks a collaborative structure to link them together as a network, and to provide administrative, logistical, and communications support, and to engage strategically in securing funding and resources to support the centers (outside of the individual idiosyncratic efforts of each center).

Glenville State College: The outreach programs of Glenville State College seek to enhance and enrich the educational, cultural, recreational, and economic opportunities available to the residents of Gilmer County and contiguous regions. Through its Small Business Development Center, the College will continue to identify economic opportunities in Gilmer Country and contiguous counties and assist with workforce training. The Small Business Development Center will continue to identify and support emerging commercial and production enterprises with the potential to contribute to the economic development of central West Virginia. This support includes providing temporary offices in the Center for an emerging business, assistance with the development of business plans, and the identification of state and federal grants for start-up firms.Glenville is currently engaged in two related projects. One is the development of a walking path from campus to a shopping center frequented by Glenville State students. The other is the opening of a river walk and bike trail from Glenville to Burnsville.The College will strive to enrich its contributions to the cultural, educational, and entertainment opportunities available to the residents of Gilmer County and surrounding counties. The identification of possible events began in fall 2014. Scheduling of the events for the 2015-2016 academic year will begin in spring 2015. Events will be selected based on their appeal to the residents of central West Virginia.

The campus radio and TV stations will expand the hours of operation and audience in order to deliver a wide array of cultural and educational programming to the regions of the state served by the College. The educational programming will range from the development of artistic and technical skills to preventive healthcare to the examination of current social, political, and economic issues.

The College will encourage experience-based learning in all of its academic programs. These experiences or internships will give due consideration to the resource needs of emerging businesses and public service entities in the region, especially those which need temporary assistance with product development, promotion, and delivery.

Marshall University: The institution, in collaboration with the Cabell County School System, will offer an enhanced array of dual enrollment courses that fulfill general education requirements common for most colleges and universities. In addition, this collaboration will also provide students and their parents academic mentoring and advocacy to encourage college enrollment and successful completion of a university degree. Marshall University will also increase its efforts to identify and recruit eligible adult students who can complete a college degree through the RBA degree program.The institution will create a number of interventions for high school students who, while capable, are not likely to pursue a college degree. The institution will also collaborate with Cabell County schools to offer a robust array of dual enrollment courses that cover the majority of common general education courses. The courses will be taught at the high schools.Marshall University will develop a comprehensive articulation agreement for each of the state’s community and technical colleges. The agreement will stipulate that Marshall University will accept up to 72 hours of college-level course work competed at a Community and Technical College and accept for admission into the RBA degree program all eligible students. The institution will also provide a reverse articulation for those students who transfer from a Community and Technical College before completing the associate degree.

Marshall University will continue to develop a broad array of online courses that will allow adult students to complete the RBA degree online. To that end, the University will continue to develop and promote online courses that fulfill the RBA general education (especially courses in composition, speech, and the natural sciences), 300- and 400-level, and general elective requirements. Moreover, the University will routinely review its course offerings to ensure courses comply with best practices as outlined in the Quality Matters review process. Finally, Marshall will develop both online and offline course assistance features that will aid novice online students learn how best to use the course management systems.

Marshall University will initiate programs of research to identify methods to improve retention and graduation rates among low income and underrepresented students. The first initiative will be to create learning communities that create cohorts of students enrolled in common courses including the University’s First Year Seminar, a writing intensive course, and a service learning course. The learning community will examine a common theme across the courses. The second initiative is to apply big data analytic techniques to identify student characteristics that predict student success or withdrawal. Using these data, the faculty and staff of the University will identify interventions designed to help students who may be at risk for dropping out of college.

Potomac State College of West Virginia University: Potomac State will actively work with the city and county, forming community partnerships and implementing projects beneficial to the participating parties and their constituents. The institution will work with the city and county to explore interest in and the need for a recreational/wellness facility that would benefit both the local and campus communities. Additionally, PSC will collaborate with the local hospital, recently purchased by WVU, to determine the viability of offering an associate’s degree in Nursing.

Shepherd University: Shepherd will develop guidelines to codify advisory board policies, including a process for bringing institutional advisory boards together on an annual or semi-annual basis and hold first meeting of advisory board groups to identify critical regional issues and work to develop strategies for addressing those issues. Data and findings from external reports will be used to guide institutional strategic decision-making as it relates to the greater good of the region.The institution will work with public school systems in the region to ensure adequate, appropriate, and fair levels of funding. It will also strive to improve healthcare in the region by contributing to the number of baccalaureate- and doctorally-prepared nurses.Shepherd will also identify critical industries and markets that currently need workforce support, or those that will need support in the next five to ten years (United States Coast Guard, Internal Revenue Service, etc.), and will also work with stakeholders to develop programs and curricula in cooperation with local school systems so there is a coherent plan from beginning to end: secondary education through the awarding of baccalaureate and graduate degrees.

West Liberty University: Civic engagement is a core value of the University Master Plan and is a fundamental element of University culture. These Initiatives to promote civic engagement vary and include students, faculty, and staff in University-wide and programmatic level initiatives. Some projects are on-going and others are one-time, need-based events.The institution will continue to support and operate its Oral Health Care Program which provides preventative oral health care and education to high risk children in the Ohio County school district. Additionally, the institution’s Student Design Services will offer pro bono graphic design services to campus and community organizations through a program that matches senior graphic design students with non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and startup enterprises.

West Virginia State University: The institution’s comprehensive plan addresses critical regional issues using the knowledge and abilities held by its students, faculty, researchers, and staff to improve the community in which we live and work. The plan describes an extensive collection of efforts to address critical regional issues. A number of those efforts are highlighted below.Through the College of Business and Social Sciences, the College of Professional Studies, and TRIO Programs, WVSU is working diligently to address health disparities in the state; support ongoing behavioral health issues and develop solutions in the region; and raise awareness of social injustices occurring in local communities. WVSU is studying current regional social and health needs while developing abilities of today’s students so they can facilitate positive change and solve problems in the future. WVSU is also leading efforts to facilitate local, regional, and national discussion on pressing social issues impacting Americans. Through this strategy, WVSU showcases how the institution and its stakeholders can facilitate lasting improvements in the region.From support of K-12 county school systems, including STEM disciplines, to unique research opportunities for WVSU College of Natural Science and Mathematics students, WVSU is invested in all levels of academia to meet various industry needs and, thereby, strengthen the regional economy. WVSU is dedicated to not only developing capable STEM leaders who are currently enrolled at the University, but also in developing a cultural shift in attitude toward the STEM disciplines as evident in several University areas.

As a member of the West Virginia Water Sustainability Institute (WVWSI), West Virginia State University will utilize its current research and outreach capabilities to contribute to the WVWSI’s endeavors related to water quality and environmental sustainability issues, and will specifically focus on following institute’s target activities: 1) commercializing technologies that reduce hazards to fresh water sources; 2) commercializing technologies for rapid identification of water contamination; 3) developing custom solutions to water quality and quantity issues; 4) testing and evaluating technologies that maintain the integrity of the entire water distribution system; and 5) providing independent assessments and reviews of potential hazards, technologies, contingency plans, and related water quality issues.

WVSU developed a pre-engineering curriculum, as part of a 2+2 articulation agreement with West Virginia University (WVU). WVSU students who complete the two-year engineering program will seamlessly transfer to the WVU System to complete an engineering degree in civil, industrial or mechanical engineering within an additional two years. In addition to the aforementioned programs, WVSU has signed other 2+2 agreements with local community colleges in an effort to improve the transition from associate to baccalaureate education. WVSU continues to explore collaborative opportunities to support student achievement and degree completion with other higher education institutions.

To raise awareness of human rights injustices through the 21st Century Agenda for Human Rights: Theory and Practice Conference lead by the College of Business and Social Science, in partnership with the National Center for Human Relations. The first three-day conference was held in April 2014. The attendance of notable, national, and regional civic leaders and the continuation of ongoing conversations that began at the conference has inspired WVSU to make this an annual event.

Across the University, there are various efforts underway to expand the STEM discipline in K-12 schools, including the annual Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS), and Upward Bound Math and Science.

West Virginia University: The focus of this plan is to commit to several new goals that will provide direction to WVU’s promise to partner with the citizens of West Virginia in focused, dedicated, and meaningful ways to create practical solutions to the challenges that face West Virginia. Key to WVU’s success in achieving the goals outlined in this plan is the focus on collaboration and reciprocity of knowledge, resources, and vision.The first strategy in the Critical Regional Issues Comprehensive Plan is direct outreach and services to West Virginia citizens. This will be achieved by: 1) creating an inventory and map of West Virginia University’s health solutions footprint in all 55 Counties in the state; 2) increasing the number of participants in WVU Extension Service programs by 20,000 over the next four years; and 3) creating 60 new businesses in WV through LaunchWVU by 2018.The second strategy in the Critical Regional Issues Comprehensive Plan is to promote community engagement and outreach as an essential component of education. This will be achieved through: 1) assessing the number of undergraduate academic programs that contain at least one S designated course; and 2) WVU’s recent attainment of the Carnegie Classification for High Community Engagement.

West Virginia University Institute of Technology: The focus of WVU Tech’s Critical Regional Issues Comprehensive Plan is to address critical regional civic and social issues. The objectives of the plan are two-fold: 1) to increase awareness of critical civic and/or social issues within the student population and throughout the WVU Tech community, and 2) to increase access to knowledge bases for both the public and high schools.Student engagement with critical regional civic and/or social issues will be enhanced through enrollment in HUMS 100: Community Service. This course, offered each spring semester through the College of Business, Humanities, and Social Sciences (BHSS), is field-based and provides students with experiences which are both hands-on and observational in a variety of critical regional civic and/or social issues. One of the foci of HUMS 100 is on students developing insights into issues of social justice.The HUMS 100 Advisory Committee, which is made up of faculty from the social sciences, will redesign the requirements for the final product produced by the students. This redesign will add a component requiring the student to reflect critically on the issues they observed and experienced and discuss them in terms of social justice. Students who complete HUMS 100 will be provided with an opportunity to present their products, observations, and insights to the WVU Tech community.

The WVU Tech Vining Library will address the issue of greater public access to knowledge bases. The library will develop an outreach program to the public and high schools educating them on: 1) available services; 2) how to access available services; and 3) the benefits of using the available services.


Summary of Student Loan Default Rate Strategies

Bluefield State College: The institution will work to lower its student loan default rate by partnering with Inceptia Student Loan Default Management Services and implementing the Transit financial literacy program. Efforts will include providing financial counseling, educating students on financial responsibilities and repayment options, and assisting students who have become delinquent or are in default by providing strategies for reentering successful repayment. The institution will also reach out to current students, stop outs and graduates to inform them of the importance of overall financial well-being both now and in the future while emphasizing the need to financially plan/budget for loan repayment.

Concord University: The institution will work with students currently in repayment who are delinquent or have recently defaulted to return their loan(s) to good standing. Toward that end, the University formed a Default Prevention Task Force in fall 2013. This committee recommended contracting with a state-approved default prevention outreach vendor to work with graduates/borrowers. In addition to working with borrowers in repayment, the University will identify characteristics of high-risk defaulted students in order to promote responsible loan borrowing and in-depth debt education (beyond that required for loan entrance counseling) for currently enrolled studentsConcord has contracted with Inceptia to contact borrowers who are delinquent in repaying their student loan or have recently defaulted on student loan payments. Inceptia will provide individual counseling so that an individual borrower can change their delinquent status or avoid default through successful repayment. Concord University has also contracted with Inceptia to conduct a comprehensive analysis of borrowers from the 2010 default cohort and provide the University with a detailed report that identifies potential high risk characteristics of currently enrolled students or groups of students who have the potential for defaulting on student loans.

Fairmont State University: The focus of this strategy centers on regular outreach to students while they are enrolled at the institution. Federally-required entrance counseling is done by new borrowers through an online website developed by Department of Education. At any point that students are offered educational loans, they will be sent information on the total amount of indebtedness that they have reached as well as estimates on the monthly repayment amount and the average starting salaries for occupations that are associated with their major areas of study. The content of the messages will vary as students accumulate more debt and/or come closer to graduation based upon earned credit hours. At any point that students have excess funds released to them that are coming from loan proceeds, students will receive a brief notice informing them that they may want to consider returning any funds that are not necessary to meet indirect educational expenses in an effort to control the overall level of indebtedness.Fairmont State will guide students in the management of college costs by providing them with access to information needed about budgeting. This support will be coordinated through direct services from the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Student support and dissemination will also occur in the Campus Collaborative for Recruitment and Retention (CCRR) first-year seminars and Passport initiatives activities referenced elsewhere in the Compact report.

Glenville State College: The institution will institute a comprehensive approach to default management. In accordance with this more holistic approach, the College will organize its efforts into four action areas: 1) retention strategies; 2) financial literacy initiatives; 3) debt management for currently enrolled students; and 4) default management for alums with outstanding student loans.Glenville State College will reduce its student default rate through expanded programs in financial literacy for students as well as for faculty and staff. The Office of Financial Aid will enhance initial loan counseling and modify loan procedures in an effort to promote appropriate use of loan funds and to advise students against loans in excess of direct educational expenses. Additionally, the director of financial aid will prepare lists, sorted by academic advisor, of all students on Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Warning, Probation, or Suspension. Academic advisors will be sent the names of their respective advisees so that additional financial counseling can be provided for these students as needed.

The College partnered with Inceptia starting in spring 2014 to support the institution’s grace counseling and default prevention activities. Concurrently, it reviewed and revised as needed its proactive interventions to assist alums and other former students in the fulfillment of their financial obligations.

Marshall University: Marshall will conduct an analysis of who borrows and who defaults to uncover the unique characteristics and behaviors of the student borrower population, which will assist in understanding where targeted services, e.g., financial literacy training, can help the most. The institution will also work to decrease its student loan default rate through financial planning counseling and will continue to provide in-person exit loan counseling, including results and data gathered regarding the unique characteristics of these borrowers. Servicer Appeals will also be conducted for any student loan defaulter from the FY 2011 Cohort who has not made a single loan payment and whose loan servicer did not perform proper servicing of the loan (as defined by the U.S. Department of Education).

Potomac State College of West Virginia University: PSC tuition and fees continue to be the lowest of all four-year degree granting institutions in the state of West Virginia. For the second consecutive year, PSC was designated to the “Lowest Tuition in the Nation List” by the U.S. Department of Education. The institution plans to cultivate new sources of institutional scholarships to students, including scholarships based on financial need.A Financial Aid Literacy on-line module will be secured and assigned to first year students. (“Transit” on-line finance wellness program from EverFi). The institution will create a dedicated web-page on the 15-To-Finish Campaign and will send emails to all students who receive financial aid refunds, including student loans, in excess of $1500 to counsel them to consider repaying some of those funds to minimize indebtedness.  All students with student loans will receive a loan summary letter that reminds them of how much they have borrowed to date. Additionally, the institution will publish links to the Cash Course online financial literacy modules on its website and will promote them through various means. Potomac State will also investigate and possibly implement a new high school/college articulation model that enables high school students enrolled in career-related technical programs to earn credits toward an AAS degree program prior to graduation from high school.

Shepherd University: In an effort to maintain and eventually reduce the university’s three-year Federal Student Loan Cohort Default rate, Shepherd’s strategy focuses on issues of financial literacy through class offering and course content, as well as awareness through loan counseling.The institution will conduct financial literacy courses as part of the First-Year Experience Program. Financial Literacy topics will also be presented in already existing, program-specific freshmen seminars, such as BIOL 150, EDUC 150, MUSC 100, etc., and will also be a component of the required class for provisionally admitted students. Students will be assessed on their competencies by completing pre- and post-tests for each course or session.

Financial literacy will also be taught as standalone, one-credit hour courses, meeting once a week starting in the spring 2015 semester and would be ongoing through the compact cycle. As a part of course content for the general student population and provisionally-admitted students, this aspect of the activity would begin in fall 2015.

Financial aid counseling is also a key component of Shepherd’s strategy. It will conduct loan counseling for graduating seniors and graduate students with student loan debt each spring semester, and will encourage students to complete financial awareness counseling at www.studentloans.gov.

West Liberty University: The institution will promote financial literacy among students who are not yet enrolled at the University by providing college financial planning information to local high school students and parents during financial aid nights and Open House events, and providing a detailed financial aid package and one-on-one counseling during summer orientation programs. Group counseling will take place with high school seniors and parents in high schools during financial aid night events as well as on-campus during Open House events. One-on-one counseling sessions will also be offered during summer orientation with incoming freshmen students and parents.The institution will also work to ensure students and parents understand their financial aid award prior to starting school through an easy to understand financial aid award letter. The letter breaks down award information and estimated costs allowing for a projected new price. Updates and adjustments to the letter will be made before each awarding cycle.

West Virginia State University: The institution will require exit loan counseling for graduating seniors by making it a graduation requirement for all loan borrowers. The University will utilize the existing Grad Salute program (a program designed to acknowledge graduating students and assist them in identifying processes and procedures that need to be completed prior to commencement) in an effort to encourage exit loan counseling. Additional outreach, such as email messaging, will also be utilized.The University will also increase its efforts in educating students about the pros and cons of borrowing, as part of a broader effort to provide students with a basic understanding of finances. WVSU will emphasize the effectiveness of one-on-one communication and repeating information to students in order to increase the probability that the information will be retained. The institution will also add financial literacy information to its website; require a financial literacy session as component of all Freshman Year Experience courses; and offer workshops through the Student Success Series (on-campus workshops offered throughout the year to assist students in identifying programs and services that support student success) and Residence Life.

West Virginia University: The institution’s Student Loan Default Rates Strategy is aimed at identifying and deploying initiatives that will stabilize or lower the 2015 cohort default rate. One such initiative is to develop a Default Prevention Task Force to gather and analyze data to determine which borrowers are defaulting and the reasons for default, and then develop intervention strategies to make the most impact with given resources. The second initiative is to explore the opportunity provided by the HEPC and CTCC through a statewide contract to deploy the default management services of Inceptia or Ed Financial. A subsidy of $10,000 is available to assist with the expense in partnering with either of these agencies.

West Virginia University Institute of Technology: WVU Tech Financial Aid Office (FAO) understands the importance of follow-up with students regarding completing their financial aid exit interviews and alerting students that their repayment schedule is coming due. To assist the students in keeping on track with their initial responsibilities to their repayment obligations, WVU Tech FAO has developed a schedule for contacting students to keep them informed of these responsibilities.WVU Tech FAO will take an active role to ensure students have access to quality financial literacy and loan default management resources. The online exit counseling provided through the Department of Education and Heartland Campus Solutions often times takes students just minutes to complete. WVU Tech is concerned that students have not fully understood the implications of their rights and responsibilities in student loan repayment. WVU Tech FAO will identify the key issues and options surrounding repayment and consequences of default and develop materials to deliver to the students. These materials will be delivered to students during the first month and fifth month post-graduation in conjunction with the contacts described previously.


Summary of Research and Development Strategies

Marshall University: Hiring research-active senior faculty and chairs to build focused research programs, mentor junior faculty, and guide development of campus infrastructure is an important step in enhancing Marshall’s research activity. Externally funded research can be promoted by leveraging the capabilities of competitively funded senior faculty hires. These faculty members and scientists form the basis for developing research clusters focusing on related, mutually supported independent investigations sharing similar infrastructure. This focus allows more concentrated benefit from institutional and external agency investments. The institution will also develop competitive internal pilot grant programs to seed junior investigator research and develop grant applications and management skills. Additionally, Marshall plans to develop standards for research productivity metrics for inclusion in faculty contracts on a college-by-college basis along with incentives for performing externally-funded research.
West Virginia State University: The general focus West Virginia State University’s Research and Development Strategy is to increase the number of students and faculty involved in research, thereby increasing the number and amount of research grants, contracts and extramural funding.The institution will establish an Office of Undergraduate Research to monitor and support all research activities involving undergraduate students. In order to improve upon efficiencies and take maximum advantage of the intellectual academic capital at the University, the portfolios of the research faculty in the Gus R. Douglass Land-Grant Institute (GRDI) will be evaluated, as to the appropriate rank and tenure. Qualified individuals will be assigned faculty status to the University department congruent with the faculty’s expertise and academic background. Additionally, the Faculty Handbook will be modified to include evaluation criteria for research-centric appointments.
West Virginia University: WVU’s Research and Development Strategy will focus on several key initiatives aimed at increasing the competitiveness of faculty and expanding its contract support for research from the private sector. The institution will provide grant writing workshops and faculty development activities focused on improving faculty competitiveness. Seed grants will be awarded to support proposals that fell below funding line for agencies but for which agency reviews indicate have a high probability for success upon resubmission. The institution will also establish a LaunchLab focused on providing services and support for commercialization of research discoveries. Commercialization coaches will be embedded in Davis, Eberly, and Statler Colleges as well as at the Health Sciences Center. These coaches will actively scout for potential products or ideas for commercialization.Additionally, WVU will work to establish deep partnerships with a few key corporations with needs overlapping research and academic expertise within the institution. It will also work to create an industry-friendly front door and policies that encourage collaboration with industry. Lastly, the institution will develop the WVU Energy Center and the Center for Smart Defense. The Center for Smart Defense will be focused on matching University capabilities with DoD and Defense industry needs.