WVU announces third round of final recommendations for program, faculty cuts

By: - September 1, 2023 6:23 pm
A glass building with a blue sign that says Mountainlair at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va., sits above a stone retaining wall.

The West Virginia University student union, the Mountainlair, on the Morgantown, W.Va. campus. (Lexi Browning | West Virginia Watch)

West Virginia University leaders released their third set of final recommendations on Friday for programs on the chopping block in response to the school’s ongoing budget challenges.

The final recommendations — issued by Provost Maryanne Reed’s office — include a successful appeal from the Department of English to allow the department to continue offering its Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. 

“The English Department and its faculty made a strong case for maintaining its excellent MFA program by their willingness to improve instructional efficiencies and rethink their curriculum,” Reed said in a statement Friday.

The English department will reduce its faculty to 28 members and the master’s degree programs for English and professional writing will be combined into a single track, according to the release.

The appeal committee overturned a preliminary recommendation for the School of Education to discontinue its Master of Arts in Special Education due to growing enrollment over the past two academic years. The MA Higher Education Administration and the PhD Higher Education programs are still recommended to be discontinued, according to the final recommendations

The School of Music also had a successful appeal, and the College of Creative Arts will now see its faculty drop to 34 members instead of the 33 initially proposed in preliminary recommendations. Per the release, the appeal was granted in part due to a “need to retain certain expertise for accreditation.”

The school’s Jazz Studies undergraduate program, as well as the master’s degree programs for Collaborative Piano, Composition and Jazz Pedagogy would be discontinued under the final recommendations. 

An appeal by the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering to limit faculty reductions was also denied by the review board partially due to “significant and sustained enrollment declines,” according to the news release.

Earlier this week, however, WVU President E. Gordon Gee announced at the West Virginia Chamber Annual Business Summit that Antero Resources, a natural gas company, will be donating $4 million to the school for two degree programs. 

The final recommendations will be voted on by the WVU Board of Governors on Sept. 15. Stakeholders have until Sept. 14 to submit public comments on the recommendations, which will be shared with board members.

The next round of recommendations for the three units with appeals pending will be made public Sept. 5, according to the news release.


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Caity Coyne
Caity Coyne

Caity Coyne covers state policy and how it intersects with individuals and communities for West Virginia Watch. She's been reporting in West Virginia for 10 years, most recently covering public health and the Southern Coalfields for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.