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Academic Initiatives

Thank you for visiting Shepherd’s Academic Initiatives page.  Here you’ll find important resources and updates regarding new programs and services for our students, faculty, staff, and the community we serve.

Academic Community Outreach

The Office of Academic Community Outreach, led by Assistant Provost Dr. Virginia Hicks, in collaboration with Shepherd’s academic and support areas, strives to develop programs and services that support individual, organizational, and community excellence while being dedicated to our core values of learning, engagement, integrity, accessibility, and community.

Academic Innovation Initiatives

This new initiative and the Shepherd Digital headed by Dr. Christy Wenger will enable Shepherd to consider how the use of new information, data and best practices can lead to new modes of learning and instruction that will strengthen the quality of a Shepherd University education and enhance our impact on society. Here, those aspirations all come together and includes innovations both inside and outside the classroom, from hands-on learning experiences, to social events, and the use of new technologies. By enriching our learning environment, we involve more communities and bring the resources of a Shepherd education to learners across the region, nation, and the world.

Director:  Dr. Christy Wenger • 304-876-5117

Strategic Research Initiatives

As Shepherd develops and implements new partnerships with external research-oriented entities that match the interests of our students and faculty with the opportunities and needs of that partner, Dr. Jason Best will act as the liaison with those partners as Shepherds Director of Strategic Research Initiatives.  Jason will also work collaboratively with faculty and deans to introduce, develop and implement new strategic research initiatives at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Jason is also the chair of Shepherd’s Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Director:  Dr. Jason Best • 304-876-5331

Center for Regional Innovation

The Shepherd University Center for Regional Innovation embraces the integration of the liberal arts with professions and provides an environment at the intersection of education, research, technology innovation, commercialization, and business. The Center for Regional Innovation serves as a catalyst uniting and energizing the citizens of our region while empowering them to think imaginatively and develop ideas to create opportunity and sustain growth for current and future residents of our region.

Director:  Dr. Ben Martz • 304-876-5332


Shepherd’s reputation as an institution dedicated to success with veterans has led to the development of a Vet-to-Ag program utilizing greenhouse space on east campus, as well as limited activity at Shepherd’s Tabler Farm property.  

Director:  Dr. Peter Vila • 304-876-5426