10 Jan

West Virginia University is advising students, faculty and staff who may be traveling in the area of a recent chemical spill to use caution.

A state of emergency was declared following a chemical spill affecting water in southern West Virginia. The counties of Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane are being advised to use tap water only to flush toilets.

The chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, is used as a foaming agent to separate coal from rock in washing plants, said Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute.

He said that the chemical, which has a molecule of alcohol in its chemical composition, is soluble in water. Its main effect on humans would be that of an irritant to the eyes, skin and lungs.

The amount of chemical released into the Elk River—which he estimated to be about 3,000 gallons—would translate to 41 milligrams per liter in the Elk River and six milligrams per liter in the Kanawha River using data available now.

“Those are pretty low concentrations,” he said. “You would have to drink thousands of gallons of that water to get anywhere near a lethal dose.”

But the diluted chemical could irritate skin and lungs.

“I think the state has got it right when it says as a precautionary measure not to use the water for anything but flushing the toilet,” he said. “You want to avoid skin contact or a shower, which would allow the chemical into your lungs.”

The WVU Center for Service and Learning is currently exploring opportunities to reach out to the affected areas.

The WVU Charleston Division is in operation and classes are in session. Patients will not be seen except in the Behavioral Medicine/Psychiatry area.

All WVU Extension offices remain open.

“We are on stand-by to help with any questions related to our services that we can answer,” said Cassie Waugh, WVU Extension Service communications and marketing manager. “Our county agents are often point people. We can help if anyone has questions about treating livestock and other things during this event.”

The official State of Emergency web page can be accessed here: http://www.governor.wv.gov/Pages/State-of-Emergency.aspx

Ziemkiewicz is available to offer commentary to media and can be reached at Paul.Ziemkiewicz@mail.wvu.edu or by phone at 304-293-6958.



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8 Jan

Greetings from President E. Gordon Gee

Dustin | January 8th, 2014

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues:

I am delighted to be here again with you as we start a new year at West Virginia University.

A great deal has changed at the University since I last served as president three decades ago. Arriving here this week, I have marveled at the way the campus has grown — in student enrollment, academic programming, research vitality, health care offerings — and in so many other ways.

Amid so much change, two things remain as familiar to me as the view from Blaney House hill.

The first is the great need West Virginians have for the superb teaching, research, and outreach their land-grant university provides.

The second is the passion our talented faculty and staff bring to fulfilling West Virginians' hopes and dreams.

I look forward to my time with you, doing what Mountaineers do best: Working hard, having fun, and making things better for West Virginia and the world.

Best wishes for 2014.

E. Gordon Gee

E. Gordon Gee

8 Jan

Country roads led E. Gordon Gee back to West Virginia University as its president – nearly three decades since the nationally-known, bowtied, higher education leader last held that position.

While Morgantown has changed considerably since his first time as president from 1981-1985, Gee is happy to return to the place he says gave him opportunity.

Taking a page from David Letterman, Gee shares his Top 10 reasons why he’s glad to be back at WVU.

Check them out at: http://youtu.be/EMwqrF7esqc

More online: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/01/08/president-gordon-gee-top-10-reasons-why-it-is-great-to-be-back-at-west-virginia-university



CONTACT: University Relations/News

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7 Jan

The West Virginia University Board of Governors on Monday (Jan. 6) approved a 20-member committee comprising a cross-section of the University community to search for the University’s next president.

BOG Chairman James W. Dailey II will chair the search and be a non-voting member of the committee. President E. Gordon Gee will serve as an advisor and non-voting member; Paul Hill, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, will also serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member.

The committee members were nominated by various constituency groups of the University or appointed by Dailey for the Board’s approval.

More online: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/01/06/wvu-board-of-governors-approves-presidential-search-committee

6 Jan

Memorial services set for Charles Vest

Jake | January 6th, 2014

A memorial service for Charles “Chuck” Vest will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 25 at the First Presbyterian Church, 1432 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, Mich. A reception will follow in the Pendleton Room of the Michigan Union along with a short program of remembrance from University of Michigan colleagues.

On Feb. 20, there will be a Charles M. Vest Life Celebration at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. and, in early March, a memorial will be held at MIT. Details are forthcoming.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to MIT, for the Charles M. Vest Presidential Fellowship Fund. Gifts may be made online at https://giving.mit.edu/givenow/ConfirmGift.dyn?desig=3267715 or by mailing a check to Bonny Kellermann, Director of Memorial Gifts, 600 Memorial Drive, W98-500, Cambridge, MA 02139. Gifts may also be made to the Charles M. Vest President’s Opportunity Fund at the National Academy of Engineering, online at the NAE Giving Site www.nae.edu/giftform or by mailing a check made out to the National Academy of Engineering with the Vest Fund designated on the memo line, to Radka Nebesky, Office of Development, National Academy of Engineering, 500 Fifth Street, NW, NAS 048, Washington, DC 20001.

Vest, a Morgantown native, was president emeritus of MIT, a WVU alumnus and member of the Board of Governors and Academy of Distinguished Alumni. Vest died Dec. 13.

27 Dec

WVU open on Monday; closed Tuesday, Wednesday

Candace | December 27th, 2013

The official West Virginia University holidays for the week beginning Dec. 30, 2013 are Tuesday, Dec. 31 and Wednesday, Jan. 1. The University will be open and operating on Monday, Thursday and Friday. The official University holiday schedule is available at: http://benefits.hr.wvu.edu/employee_holiday_schedule. An entry on the the University web calendar, while accurately noting that the holiday was New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31), for a time appeared on the incorrect date.

20 Dec

West Virginia University’s Board of Governors on Friday (Dec. 20) approved a new degree program in hospitality and tourism management in the College of Business and Economics that will serve one of the state’s largest industries.

The Board also approved Ph.D. programs in kinesiology and public health.

WVU’s new degree program in hospitality and tourism management responds to state tourism officials’ request for trained professionals and leaders in this burgeoning job market, and complements current majors in the College, including accounting, marketing, economics, management and finance. Previously, WVU offered an area of emphasis in hospitality and tourism under the management major.

“The College of Business and Economics has built this program from the ground up,” said Jose (Zito) Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean, following the meeting. “The driving force in building the hospitality and tourism management curriculum has been its importance in West Virginia and to the West Virginia economy.”

WVU already has a living laboratory as part of its academic offerings, he noted. Taziki’s Mediterranean Café in the WVU Mountainlair is largely run by restaurant management students and employs student workers, allowing students to develop unique skills and a strong foundation in the hospitality industry. WVU’s hospitality program also partners with Morgantown’s Waterfront Place Hotel to give students access to both front-door and back-of-the-house operations.

“We want to be one of the premier hospitality programs in the country,” Sartarelli said. “We want to be able to supply our state and region with experienced, trained personnel. This new WVU degree program responds to that vision.”

Only about 40 of the nearly 600 Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited schools in the U.S.have hospitality degree programs, none in West Virginia.

The new Ph.D. in biostatistics in the School of Public Health will provide students with training and practical experience in advanced and modern quantitative methods to fill careers in research or teaching in academic, government and industry settings.

The move to convert the Ph.D. in kinesiology (in sport and exercise psychology and coaching and teaching studies) in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences to majors, rather than areas of emphasis, better describes the curriculum, according to officials. Similarly, in the School of Public Health, converting former areas of emphasis in epidemiology, occupational and environmental health sciences, and social and behavioral science to majors better suits those curriculums.

Presidential Search
The Board also adopted guidelines outlining the qualities and characteristics the search committee will be looking for in a permanent president focused around integrity, leadership, experience, scholarship and vision.

Among the characteristics the Board will submit to the Higher Education Policy Commission are: high ethical standards and character; leadership and experience managing a complex research university with a comprehensive academic medical center; promoting a culture that embraces diversity; experience in state and national settings; an understanding of the land-grant mission; demonstrated fund-raising abilities; a record of scholarship and service; and a vision for the future, among other qualities.

In other presidential search action, faculty, student, staff, alumni, WVU Foundation and administrative groups were reminded that they have until Jan. 2 to submit names of individuals to serve on the search committee. That panel will be appointed by Jan. 6, with on-campus interviews expected by April 26. The BOG plans to select the next president, with approval from the Higher Education Policy Commission, on or before June 5, in order to have a new leader in place by fall.

Under the consent agenda, the Board approved:

  • Honorary degree recipients, to be announced at a later time.
  • A proposed change to Policy 49 regarding the employment of minors to include language that addresses issues related to children on campus; the revision will be posted for public comment.
  • Targets and metrics for 2018 Institutional Compacts as required by the Higher Education Policy Commission.
  • William D. Wilmoth as new chair of Accreditation and Academic Affairs Committee and Ryan Campione as a new member of that group.

The next regular meeting of the Board is set for Feb. 20-21 in Morgantown; a special meeting is planned Jan. 6 to approve presidential search committee members.



CONTACT: University Relations/News

18 Dec

WVU hosts Commencement ceremony on Friday

Candace | December 18th, 2013

West Virginia University will hold a Commencement ceremony on Friday for the 2,600 students who have graduated from the University. The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the Coliseum.

This is a reminder to faculty and staff to think of parking and traffic issues from around 2:30-6 p.m. on Friday due to the event.

For more information on the event, visit http://graduation.wvu.edu/convocation.

5 Dec

WVU issues weather reminders

Jake | December 5th, 2013

As that time of year has arrived when West Virginia frequently experiences snow or other inclement weather, it is helpful to remind students and employees about how West Virginia University approaches operational decisions.

Under WVU’s weather emergency procedures, the University Police officer in charge when snow or ice starts to accumulate is responsible for contacting campus officials and local and state agencies to inquire about road conditions and weather forecasts.

Any decision to cancel classes – or to close the University or a regional campus or office – will then be made after several University officials have consulted on the condition of campus roads and grounds as well as conditions in the vicinity.

Rarely does the University close entirely, however there are times when classes may be delayed or canceled while the University remains open, said Narvel Weese, WVU’s vice president of administration and finance. In these cases, many units remain operational such as dining and residence hall services, roads and grounds crews, libraries and others. Units such as these are reminded to review their emergency internal operating procedures.

If officials do decide to cancel classes or close the University, students and employees will be informed through many outlets, including:

• The WVU emergency text message system. (To sign up for the emergency message system, go to http://emergency.wvu.edu.)
WVU’s main Web page (http://www.wvu.edu).
• WVUToday (http://wvutoday.wvu.edu).
WVU Intranet (http://intranet.wvu.edu).
WVU’s mobile site (m.wvu.edu).
• E-News (e-mail announcements).
• Mountaineer Information Xpress (MIX).
• Traditional and social media such as @WVUToday, @WestVirginiaU, facebook, etc.

In the event of a cancellation, WVUToday will be updated regularly with notices about special operating hours for facilities such as the Libraries, Student Recreation Center, Mountainlair and PRT and buses.

Students and employees should use good judgment, though, in deciding whether to attend classes and/or exams or come to work, Weese said, based on the road and weather conditions in their individual locations.

Academic Affairs officials also remind students and employees to exercise good judgment when venturing out.

“Students should notify their professors, and employees their supervisors if they are unable to come to class or work,” Provost Michele Wheatly said. “In return, professors and supervisors are asked to be understanding in these instances. Supervisors should consult with department chairs or Human Resources officials if questions arise.

Faculty are also encouraged to notify their students in the event of an individual class cancelation, she added.

Elizabeth A. Dooley, associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs, urged students to email their instructors immediately if it becomes evident they cannot make it in for a final or a class.

In addition, if severe weather strikes the East Coast, WVU Housing is prepared to remain open beyond scheduled semester close time, said Corey Farris, dean of students and director of housing.

Announcements regarding University housing will be posted to MIX and the housing website (http://housing.wvu.edu/) as well as other University outlets.

The Division of Human Resources reminds supervisors that, unless the University is closed, employees who do not work their scheduled shift may take annual leave, compensatory time off or – at the supervisors’ discretion – be permitted to make up those hours. To access that policy go to: http://classcomp.hr.wvu.edu/resourcesandguidelines/inclement_weather_emergency_closures.



CONTACT: University Relations/News

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3 Dec

Faculty members,

All eCampus courses MUST be rebuilt in the new system that goes live in January or the content will not be available there for the spring semester.

You can rebuild courses by going to https://ecampus.wvu.edu/newecampus and logging into the new system.

Please take time to move your content before holiday break. While the system will be accessible during break, technical support will not be, so it’s best to act now.

We strongly encourage you to participate in eCampus training in person or online. You can register at: http://oit.wvu.edu/training/schedule/#ecampus

You can find a schedule of open labs for faculty here:

You can also find help by department here: http://bit.ly/1aTEJgs

The new eCampus system also requires that your MyID credentials be current, so if they’re set to expire over the holiday break, please update them now at https://myid.wvu.edu

You can request your development shell for the summer and fall terms at https://ers.wvu.edu

We’ll post more reminders as time runs out, so please follow the Office of Information Technology on Twitter @wvuoit.