WVU President informs about the university during the trip to Eastern Panhandle | Magazine news
MARTINSBURG – After roughly 15 months of atypical living during the COVID-19 pandemic, West Virginia University President Gordon Gee took the time to reflect on the state of the university and the future during his trip to the Eastern Panhandle on Monday.
He emphasized the importance of growth within the university as WVU is a great partner to many communities across the state and offers many opportunities for students and residents alike. The WVU has more than 30,000 students and, as the largest employer in the country and of great economic importance, also employs more than 30,000 people.
“The university itself is doing very well by comparison,” said Gee. It was a difficult time for all of education. We had to change our whole model. We decided on a hybrid model. In contrast to many universities, we were able to keep ourselves open. We made it through many protocols developed by this guy (Dr. Clay Marsh): masking, wearing, distancing. We are very fortunate that Dr. March is the tsar of the coronavirus and in that state was really able to create a system that allowed us to be among the best in terms of responding to the virus and also the opportunity for us to be leaders in things like we did with ours Vaccinations bypassed and help to offer them. That was a blessing for the university. “
Gee paid tribute to Marsh and the university’s collaboration with the state government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic of how the university was able to function reasonably normally using a hybrid learning model. However, Gee is still looking forward to the fall when students continue their education as usual as the university reopens its campuses across the state.
“Of course we had a whole freshmen class that never really saw each other. It’s strange, ”he said. “It wasn’t the best. We’re trying to figure out how to get back into the job so that those freshmen in their sophomore year can, in a way, experience the excitement of a second freshman. “
Dr. Marsh related the story of a picnic for the first year medical students at the end of the year, the first time they’d seen each other in person despite having been in class together for a full academic year.
This state-university partnership offers integral ways to improve both sides.
“I think one of the blessings of a big university in a small state is that we connect with the state in everything we do because we are so economically intertwined,” said Gee. “Our governor made a really early decision that the university should play an important role in dealing with the pandemic and its aftermath.”
The partnership continues as Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, who played a key role in the pandemic at the state level, recently retired from the National Guard and joined the WVU. Everyone involved is working together to manage the aftermath of the pandemic and what Gee calls the “vicious problems” across the state.
“The result was that we have managed this as a state and our leadership has managed it so that we really are among the best in health care in terms of our health care outcomes, in terms of the vaccination process. “Said Gee. “I think this is probably the best example that the university is owned by the state and that the state has the ability to use the assets of these really intelligent people to improve the quality of life. I think we really did. “
Marsh later added the balance and the partnership highlights the full potential of the WVU system. The plan is to expand this partnership to other issues across the state.
“Isn’t that a university’s greatest potential: meeting the needs of the state to, as Gordon said, solve the ‘vicious problems’,” Marsh said. “We have done a lot of innovations including testing for COVID, sequencing for COVID, manufacturing PPE, manufacturing our own high barrier functional masks that we can now make available to the people of the state at a much cheaper price. This is innovation, not just to write a job or do a great job, but innovation to solve problems and improve the lives of our citizens. For me this is the best potential that we all have. “
WVU continues to attract businesses to the state, including the recent announcement of its partnership with WVU to relocate some workforce to the region. The university also plans to build a science facility near Davis and Thomas, a center for science, technology and politics.
“Given that everything has become so politicized, we think we need to get back to basics,” Gee said. “Science is science and politics is politics. We want to try to create a conversation and the opportunity to talk about it. “
In these fields of science and other careers, Gee said the student body is seeing good numbers, although he expects things to remain unchanged across the student population as a whole.
“We’re excited to see a lot of the ongoing programs, but the university itself is going through a process of reinvention,” said Gee. “I tell everyone: ‘We have to either eliminate or consolidate in order to invest.’ People no longer invest in universities as they used to. The state has limited resources. We need to learn to reinvent ourselves and invest in ourselves, and that’s exactly what we’re doing right now. “