September 18, 2020
Update from the President
September 18, 2020
Dear Cardinal Family,
We had an amazing week at Wheeling University – one that was filled with good news and great achievements.
Earlier this week, Wheeling University proudly shared the news that U.S. News & World Report ranked our institution the best regional university in West Virginia again this year. The 2021 Best Colleges Rankings also named the University a Best Value School. In 1954, Wheeling College was founded to provide an affordable, Catholic education to the young men and women of the Appalachian region. We remain true to that founding principle, as well as our commitment to educate our students to excel in their chosen fields and give back to their community. This recognition by U.S. News is a tribute to every member of the Wheeling University community and such an accomplishment deserves a celebration! I plan to host a pizza party for all students, faculty, and staff next weekend.
On Wednesday we had the final component of our Comprehensive Evaluation for Reaffirmation with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Comprehensive evaluations include an on-site visit by a peer review team to verify that the claims made by the institution in its submitted materials are accurate. However due to COVID-19, our spring comprehensive evaluation occurred virtually. This week, Wheeling University hosted the HLC for the follow-up verification visit. Members of the HLC visiting team were accompanied by a member of the HEPC and met with members of the President’s Cabinet, Student Government Association, and Faculty Council throughout the day. Additionally, Jennifer Board, Director of Admissions, led a two-hour tour of Wheeling’s beautiful campus. I am grateful for the efforts of so many. Thousands of hours have been invested over the past nine months to provide the documentation, build an assessment module, and modify our future with a strong strategic plan. I have great confidence in our vision, teaching, academic programs, and future planning as expressed in our strategic plan. Through this exhausting effort we have grown as a family and strengthened the University. In the words of Thomas Carlyle, “Every noble work is at first impossible.” We have achieved the impossible and my heart is filled with gratitude and deep respect for so many who put their heart and soul into saving this institution. The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission also has re-endorsed the University for the upcoming academic year.
Last week, I reported that the Wheeling University Strategic Plan was adopted by the Board of Trustees. I liken this plan to a recipe – it provides us all the ingredients for the University to grow and be successful. It is a doable and achievable plan that will return Wheeling University to prominence. Our plan, Journey Forward Together, includes a key word – TOGETHER. To accomplish the goals we have laid out, we all must work together. This is the time to re-dedicate ourselves to the University. Our collective effort over the next four years will allow Wheeling University to flourish. I’ve said many times over the past 11 months – ‘during the roughest times, we work the hardest’ – and that’s what everyone has been doing, working hard. We will still have challenges, but by following our plan, we can overcome those obstacles.
Last Saturday, I met with the Alumni Council via Zoom and updated the group on everything that is taking place on campus – from the upgrades around campus to the recently adopted strategic plan. I am grateful to the leadership of the Alumni Council – President Joe Munhall, newly elected Vice President Jennifer Elias-Merryman, Secretary Paula Felt, and executive committee members Kate Carrigan-Hill and Jake Lucas, as well as the entire group, for supporting the University and continuing to meet regularly – albeit online! We miss seeing this dedicated group of alumni on campus for their quarterly meetings, and I pray they can resume meeting in the Erickson Alumni Center again soon.
Recently, two concerns have been raised by students. First, students asked if we had a plan in place for classmates traveling outside of the area. This issue arose out of concern for fellow students amid the pandemic. Students leaving the immediate area must, upon their return to campus, be tested for COVID-19 at a local health care facility, and quarantine for 14 days on campus. Student Services will take responsibility to have meals delivered to students who are in quarantine and Academic Affairs will make sure the students are moved to online learning. I am grateful that our students are looking out for the health and safety of one another.
Second, I have received emails from students asking whether we continue to offer Disability Services. This function now falls under the umbrella of Audrey Haught, our new Academic and Information Literacy Coordinator. Audrey will work in conjunction with the Student Success Center to provide students assistance and the necessary resources to ensure their success. Audrey is housed in Hodges Library and can be reached by phone at 304-243-2206 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This pandemic has changed all us – from the way we go about our daily lives to how we teach and conduct meetings. We have had to learn how to use Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Blackboard. Most importantly though, the pandemic hasn’t broken our spirit. We have not let the obstacles created by COVID-19 keep us from teaching, working, and learning. Wheeling University is an extraordinary community. The fruits of your labor can be seen everywhere on campus. The work you do never goes unnoticed and is always appreciated. I am glad you are part of the Wheeling University family!
Ginny R. Favede
President, Wheeling University