Faculty Senate approves curriculum changes, discusses Marshall’s role in state economic development

The Marshall University Faculty Senate reviewed curriculum adjustments and recent university victories during their meeting Thursday.

In his address to the Senate, University President Jerry Gilbert said he was pleased to learn of recent news about the West Virginia economy and that Marshall may not receive a mid-year budget cut.

Carl Mummert, a representative of the Senate’s Budget Working Group, said the budget committee is generally dormant during this time of year until the state budget crystalizes, but this news is an optimistic advance on the budget.

“The revenue secretary of the state says that it’s very unlikely there’ll be a mid-year budget cut,” Mummert said. “That’s been something we’ve had to deal with for several years in a row now. This should be a positive change for us.”

Gilbert said Woody Thrasher, West Virginia Secretary of Commerce, recently announced a potential $83 million investment in West Virginian and shell gas industries. Gilbert said this investment will be a constructive economic stimulus for the state economy. Gilbert made a statement this week announcing that Marshall would respond to support needs of the economic project through educating students in preparation for work with the industries that will arise from that investment and by supporting faculty who are capable of lending expertise in the implementation of possible projects. Gilbert noted his advocacy for economic development is an endeavor to aid in stimulating the state economy.

“Institutions of higher education can and should serve to attract businesses and industries to an area by supplying highly educated graduates for employment, by making available technical services and specialized resources, by having faculty and staff engaged in cutting-edge research, and providing an enhanced quality of life that comes from influence of the arts, cultural activities and civic engagement of university personnel,” Gilbert said.

In his report, Gilbert informed the Senate about the success of “The State of African Americans in West Virginia Summit,” his recent recruiting trip to India and progress on the forthcoming School of Pharmacy buildings.

Gilbert said Marshall vice president Brandi Jacobs-Jones will lead the committee tasked with choosing a new university provost. He hopes to have election of the faculty and staff members who will serve on the committee completed by December, so the committee can meet that month, begin advertising the position by early January and complete on-campus interviews in March or April 2018.

The Senate also approved the Senate Curriculum Committee’s recommendation that a creative minor be added to university curriculum, the environment assessment policy area of emphasis be deleted and the IST major be erased.

The next Faculty Senate meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Memorial Student Center.

Caroline Kimbro can be contacted at [email protected]