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Dr. Best promoted to assistant provost for distance education and strategic research initiatives

ISSUED: 23 June 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Dr. Jason Best has been promoted to assistant provost for distance education and strategic research initiatives at Shepherd University, effective July 1. Best will report to the provost and serve as a member of the Deans Council.

“The promotion of Dr. Best represents recognition of his work on strategic initiatives like student and faculty research placements and events, as well as the important compliance element  of accreditation with Shepherd’s regional accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission,” said Provost Scott Beard. “With Shepherd’s recent approval to offer distance education,  Dr. Best will continue to assist in strategically expanding these offerings to new locations and populations of students.”

Best is a professor of astronomy and astrophysics and the director of the Shepherd University Observatory. A member of the Shepherd University faculty since 1997, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University. He has served on the national Council on Undergraduate Research’s Task Force on Integrating Research into the Curriculum and on the National Advisory Committee for the PRAXIS Earth and Space Sciences Examination, as president of the West Virginia Academy of Science, as a member of the Shepherd University Board of Governors, and as president of the university Faculty Senate.

He was a member of the 2015-2016 American Council on Education Fellows Class, focusing his fellowship project on research efforts at primarily undergraduate institutions. Best was recently appointed to the Higher Learning Commission’s Peer Review Corps, and currently serves on the Shepherd University Foundation as both a board member and member of the Executive Committee. He chairs the university Institutional Review Board, and serves as Shepherd’s Accreditation Liaison Officer. As part of a multiyear National Science Foundation-funded grant beginning in 2015, Dr. Best established the Shepherd hub of the Pulsar Search Collaboratory, an initiative designed to remotely teach high-school students across the nation to conduct research on data obtained by the Green Bank Telescope.

Best’s research publications and presentations are in fields as diverse as galactic evolution, the large-scale structure of the universe, virtual reality, and the evolution of Renaissance cosmology. In addition, he has been awarded many research grants from federal and state agencies, has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Research section and in West Virginia Science and Research’s Neuron journal and Scientist Spotlight Video Series, and has served as a grant reviewer and research referee for numerous national and international journals and agencies.

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