September 11, 2020
Update from the President
Dear Wheeling University Family,
As we finish our third week of classes, I am encouraged by the response of our campus to the safety of one another. Students, faculty and staff remain focused on keeping one another safe and healthy. Thanks to their vigilance thus far, COVID-19 has not hindered our ability to provide a transformative educational experience to our students. To all faculty and staff, I truly appreciate your hard work to ensure our students have an extraordinary college experience and your dedication to keeping education a top priority. I’d also like to thank our students for your flexibility and patience during this unprecedented time. I am so overwhelmed with our students. They are dedicated to one another – adhering to the rules and regulations of our Return to Campus Plan. This campus is witnessing a population of students who are kind, generous, and polite. In a world where we struggle to show kindness and common courtesy, we are blessed to have such beautiful students.
We are always seeking ways to better meet the needs of our new students. To this end, we have revamped the First Year Seminar (FYS) to provide a more holistic learning approach. While continuing to provide academic support and instruction, FYS now gives students a grounding in the mission and how the University incorporates the mission into academic and student life. Students are divided into four sections that meet weekly, and they are taught by staff from the Student Success Center and Student Services. Luceats are providing peer support and guidance to FYS students on assignments between weekly sessions. We have also expanded FYS to include off-campus experts who provide our students with instruction and insights on a variety of topics. This week, Austin Richardson from Youth Services System/Prevent Suicide WV was on campus speaking with students and distributing information as part of Suicide Prevention Month.
An additional change to FYS involves keeping an e-portfolio of work assignments and reflections on their experiences. The student will continue to contribute to the e-portfolio throughout their four years at the University. The electronic journal allows students to express how they live, learn, and carry out the mission. Upon graduation, they can share their e-portfolios with graduate schools or employers as proof of internships, service-learning, and academic success. Most importantly, the e-portfolios will show the totality of a student’s learning experience – how they flourished educationally, how they grew in our mission, and how they developed as a person.
Wheeling University’s mission calls on us to be men and women in service to others. While the Coronavirus has put a damper on some of the service opportunities for our students, last weekend members of the Cardinal Wrestling team were the first to undertake a service project this year. Through the assistance of Fr. Richard McCouch, S.J., and Tom Breiding of the Appalachian Institute and Andrew Lewis, Vice President of Student Services – Head Wrestling Coach, August Wesley, his assistant coaches and 16 wrestlers helped an Elm Grove resident whose garage and basement were flooded recently during heavy storms. They removed damaged appliances, furniture, and personal items. The group took all necessary safety precautions – wore masks, gloves, and shoe coverings – while performing the work. I thank all those involved for their outpouring of care – and muscle – to help this member of the Wheeling community who was in need.
I am so very proud and excited to tell you today the Wheeling University Board of Trustees approved the 2020-24 Strategic Plan. The plan, Journey Forward Together, builds from the previous plan with a keen eye toward revitalization of former Wheeling Jesuit University as Wheeling University. To develop our roadmap, we utilized and combined resources currently available, and the results are a working document that sets high, achievable expectations, and allows everyone to journey forward together as we take Wheeling University to new heights of success. The next five years will be a journey where all aspects of the institution including people, programs and processes, experience significant movement forward in quality, execution and growth—all while enhancing our Catholic mission. I am tremendously grateful for the dedication of the senior administration who worked together to develop this plan and their continued efforts to ensure the success of Wheeling University.
Vice President of Student Services Andrew Lewis and I hosted our second President’s Town Hall on Wednesday. Every Wednesday Andrew and I will be holding a Town Hall at 6 p.m. in the Mount de Chantal Recital Hall located in the CET Building, where we will discuss a variety of topics and answer questions from students to ensure an open and ongoing conversation with our campus community. There is limited seating for students and staff to attend in-person. For those of you who are unable to join us in-person, the event is streamed live on the Wheeling University YouTube channel. You can submit questions in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org or via the chat option on the live stream.
A reminder to the Wheeling University community that our Jesuit Community is once again offering Masses throughout the week and on Sundays in the Chapel of Mary and Joseph. Daily Masses are held at 12:15 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and at 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday. Sunday Masses are held at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. As we navigate the risks associated with the global pandemic, to ensure the safety of our campus community – faculty, staff, and students – all masses must remain restricted to our campus community only. While some in our community are non-Catholics, please know that Mass is open to people of all faiths. I find attending Mass brings balance to my life and it may help you find solace during times of stress.
Today marks the 19th anniversary of 9/11 and the attacks on our nation. While it’s been said the attacks were intended to break our spirit as a country, like so many others, I believe 9/11 brought us together and made us stronger. I hope you will take a moment today to remember and pray for the 2,977 people who were taken from us on this day 19 years ago.
Ginny R. Favede
President, Wheeling University