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FROM THE PRESIDENT
August 28, 2012
In our results-oriented society, colleges and universities are increasingly examined under the microscope, being scrutinized by all constituents--students, parents, alumni, community members, and legislators--for examples of value and return on investment. State-supported higher education is a serious public investment, and we uphold the public's trust by being accountable for the things we do.
But amid the myriad data Shepherd tallies showing how we measure up to state and national standards, it is gratifying to receive recognition from external sources that underscores just how good we are.
Shepherd's recent reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission is an external measure of accountability that proves that Shepherd is well worth the investment of time and money from students, their parents, and taxpayers. Our university is meeting educational goals while serving as the cultural center and economic engine for the region. Additionally, individual programs in social work, education, nursing, music, business, and art (currently in the application phase) meet the high standards of accreditation from external commissions and boards governing each discipline.
Our value is further underscored by the number of grant dollars Shepherd attracts for a variety of programs for research, special programming, and scientific equipment. During fiscal year 2011, Shepherd garnered $1.5 million in competitive grants, a measure of our ability to compete at the state and national level for scarce grant monies by writing compelling grant requests for innovative programs and cutting-edge science needs.
Shepherd's invitation to join the select 27-member Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) is an external validation that we are a premier public liberal arts university, meeting rigorous standards in order to become a member of this national group. We will host COPLAC's annual summer meeting next year on Shepherd's campus.
Most recently, an unusually large number of Shepherd's female faculty and administrators have been singled out. Recognition of their institutional leadership has placed Shepherd on the national stage as they participate in prestigious programs.
This past summer, Dr. Dorothy Hively, associate professor of education, attended the HERS Institute at Bryn Mawr, which provides leadership and management development for women in higher education. Registrar Tracy Seffers was selected to attend a HERS Institute during the upcoming academic year at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Deans Virginia Hicks and Ann Legreid also have attended the HERS Institute in 2005.
Dean Colleen Nolan is participating this fall in the ACE Fellows Program, designed to strengthen leadership in higher education by preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in administration. She joins 57 fellows representing a variety of universities nationwide who were selected following a rigorous application process. Dr. Nolan is the second administrative leader at Shepherd to be selected as an ACE Fellow in the last two years.
Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, professor of English, was awarded a $99,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to bring high school teachers to campus next summer to learn about Appalachian history, culture, and literature.
In February, Dr. Laura Clayton was a finalist for Professor of the Year, a statewide program recognizing excellence in teaching sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council. Dr. Clayton is the sixth Shepherd faculty member since 2004 to earn a finalist designation.
Recognition of our faculty, staff, and academic programs nationally and regionally validates and strengthens Shepherd University's reputation for providing an excellent education. We can point to our accomplishments when we state that Shepherd is a premier public liberal arts university.
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