Enrollment numbers prompt West Virginia University at Parkersburg employee pay raises

Photo by Brett Dunlap West Virginia University at Parkersburg President Fletcher Lamkin talks to the Board of Governors Wednesday about goals for the university in the upcoming academic year, which starts on Monday.

PARKERSBURG — As West Virginia University at Parkersburg prepares for the start of the fall semester next week, the university has its finances in order with the Board of Governors approving a 2 percent pay increase for all employees.

The board voted unanimously for the increase during its monthly meeting Wednesday at the college.

According to WVU-P President Fletcher Lamkin, employees have not received a pay increase since 2014, outside of increases that come with promotions. Lamkin pointed out that he was excluded from the raise.

For faculty, the raise will be effective Aug. 16. For staff, it becomes effective Oct. 1.

Lamkin said the impact of a 2 percent raise on the budget will be around $350,000.

“This is well within our budget parameters for this year,” he said. “We have had solid enrollment so we can justify it because of the increased revenue.”

Other changes in operations and other expenses have resulted in additional savings, Lamkin said.

Once everything is figured, including various savings, the raise amounts to around a $114,000 impact on the budget, Lamkin said.

“Again that is within the parameters of our balanced budget,” Lamkin said.

The university also has been able to plan for a 4.6 percent budget cut through planning and budgeting conservatively, said Alice Harris, WVU-P chief financial officer.

The school could weather another 2-3 percent cut in the coming year, Harris said.

“It is not something we would be happy about, but we do have some reserves and we would be able to continue to operate and continue to provide services to students with minimal impact to the college,” Harris said. “I feel comfortable that the budget is realistic and something we can achieve.”

Officials announced they have agreements in place and others being worked on with the Washington County Career Center to bring students into WVU-P.

Officials announced they have in-state tuition for Ohio residents.

“We anticipate an increase in enrollment because of that,” said board member John Denbigh. “This will really help out a lot of students.”

Classes for the fall semester will begin Monday.

“We begin this academic year with renewed enthusiasm and boundless optimism,” Lamkin said. “Our enrollments are strong, student retention is up by 10 percent, the budget is balanced and we are blessed with a faculty and staff who are truly dedicated to our students and our institution and who will take this college to a whole new level. The ball is rolling and great things are happening.”

For the coming year, Lamkin said, the focus will be on the continuous improvement of the college, with emphasis on the teaching and learning process.

They will be focusing on academic quality, community relations and accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

WVU-P has formed the Center For Teaching Excellence and appointed Torie Jackson as its director.

“We will be putting the bright light on improving our teaching and learning, looking at face-to-face, online and hybrid methods with an eye toward improving our results in every area,” Lamkin said.

With community relations, the college wants to work with area high school students so a college education will be a goal for them.

“We will be building on last year’s accomplishments to strengthen relationships in our community, particularly with secondary schooling and with business and industry,” Lamkin said. “College should be a part of every one of these high school students’ goals. We will be able to make an impression on them.”

With the Higher Learning Commission Accreditation, Lamkin thinks they will meet accreditation. The HLC has scheduled an accreditation visit for March 2018.

“The results of the HLC’s evaluation will be an important ‘report card’ on our institutional progress,” Lamkin said. “There will be a considerable amount of work done to prepare for the visit and the follow-up to the report … which will be put into our strategic goals and objectives for the future. That visit will tell us where we are from an objective viewpoint and help us decide where we will go in the future.”

In other business, Austin Grimmett was sworn in to serve on the Board of Governors.