Garrison hears from faculty, public

By Emily Corio

ecorio@wvpubcast.org 

WVU’s incoming President, Michael Garrison, listened to concerns from faculty, students, staff and the public at two forums in Morgantown this week. About 60 people were at the forum on Thursday. Garrison sat at the front of the room, taking notes. Comments focused on faculty issues, like how to connect with students and fair compensation. This prompted one of only two comments Garrison made during the hour-long meeting.

“I can say directly that my time here was special, because people took the time, faculty members took the time to spend with me.  Sometimes I sought them out, sometimes they made themselves available.  You would hope that you wouldn’t have to necessarily incentivize it.  However, do we do enough to recognize those faculty who I think take extraordinary efforts to do these things?”

The answer from several faculty members was “no.”  One professor also complained that workloads are much higher at WVU than at other peer institutions.  And this impacts faculty retention.  WVU retired employee, Bob Stizel, says the school may be hitting its limit for undergraduate students, but it needs to invest more in recruiting graduate students.

“If we are going to increase graduate education and emphasize it in the future that is an expensive form of education, because that’s where research is done, and we need to have support for that.”

Garrison says he’s working on that, because more research at WVU means more economic growth for the region.

One model is what they do in Kentucky.  It’s a program called ‘Bucks for Brains’ where the state matches private monies for endowed research, endowed chair, that sort of thing.  And that’s, we’ve got to go in that direction.”

Garrison will hold another forum at the Health Sciences Campus on August 1st.  He also plans to visit WVU’s branch campuses and listen to feedback from people across the state. This week’s forums are available for viewing on the University’s Web site: wvu.edu.

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