During the August 17 Fairmont State University Board of Governors Meeting President Mike Davis highlighted what he has learned over the past month and a half as Fairmont State’s President and his vision for the University moving forward.
“We are really glad to have someone with Dr. Davis’ experience and passion on board,” said Board of Governors Chairman Rusty Hutson. “We are excited to see what he has planned for the university and how his leadership will positively impact Fairmont State.”
President Davis began his tenure as Fairmont State’s President on July 1 of this year. He has since spent time listening to the comments, questions, and concerns of community members, faculty, and staff.
“The thing that stands out to me the most is that people are ready to work with us, they’re eager to be heard and build real connections on campus and in the community,” said Davis. “We’re going to look at lots of ways to engage our students, faculty and staff with the community. We are a public university and the campus has to be a public resource, and it has to feel vibrant every day of the week, every day of the year.”
Based on what he has learned from the campus and community, President Davis has crafted a timeline for a new strategic plan for the University. He plans to spend the fall semester continuing to listen to the needs of the campus, sharing information, and spending time with individual units on campus. In spring, campus leadership will spend time having important discussions within the different campus divisions, and by the end of spring Davis plans to have a widespread discussion with the entire campus so that the needs of the University are clear and understood by everyone. During the summer of 2024, the new strategic plan will be drafted and finalized to launch by the fall of 2024.
“I am excited to see what comes out of that process. The process matters as much as the outcome,” said Davis. “How we have those conversations really matters. We’re going to come up with a lot of ideas during that process that will be great ideas.”
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Dianna Phillips provided updates for Academic Affairs and discussed the newly reinstated music and theatre minors. Phillips highlighted how students were already taking pre-existing music and theatre classes, which have now been incorporated into the curriculum for the minors. These minors also support other Fairmont State arts organizations like the Community Arts program and the Town & Gown Players. Academic affairs will continue to assess what these minors need and if additional resources will be required in the future.
Greg Bamberger, Director of Athletics, provided updates regarding Fairmont State athletic programs. He reported that athletes have seen an increase in their academic success rate and that when they graduate, they leave campus in good academic standing—76% of student-athletes either graduate at Fairmont State, graduate elsewhere or have left in good academic standing. Bamberger also shared that 20-25 student-athletes have been recruited from the Alderson Broaddus University closure and those transfer students are mostly football players.
Vice President of Student Success Ken Fettig also provided updates on current enrollment and housing numbers. Fairmont State received over 4,000 applications for admission for the fall semester and is welcoming a large class of new students. Based on current registration counts, Fettig predicts an increase in total enrollment. He also reported that the University has received its largest number of housing applications since before the COVID-19 pandemic and is expecting the highest number of students in its residence halls in five years.
Included in those housing projections are students in the University’s second cohort of Police Academy cadets, who will live in and receive training in Pence Hall. Fettig also reported on the success of Fairmont State’s coordinated plan to support transfer students from Alderson Broaddus University. Over 100 students have applied to transfer to Fairmont State from Alderson Broaddus, and approximately 40 have enrolled or will enroll in the coming days.
Overall Fairmont State is seeing positive trends in academic expansion, student success, and enrollment for the upcoming academic year.