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Gilmer briefs West Virginia University at Parkersbur board about projects

PARKERSBURG — West Virginia University at Parkersburg has a number of projects and partnerships underway which university officials hope will create educational opportunities for its students and opportunities for the community.

The WVU-P Board of Governors met earlier this week where University President Chris Gilmer talked about many of the things going on at the college.

Sarah Armstrong Tucker, Chancellor of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System (CTCS) and Chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC), and members of her administrative team recently visited WVU-P at Gilmer’s invitation, having lunch with the OPEN (Opening Pathways to Equity Now) Task Force and meeting with members of the team leading the university’s new partnership with Chemours and its ongoing partnership with Mr. Bee Potato Chips.

”Dean of Workforce Development Michele Wilson and I hope to have a formal announcement of our exciting and potentially transformative new partnership with Chemours in the coming days when a few remaining details have been resolved,” Gilmer said.

In August, college officials announced they were one of only nine colleges nationwide selected by the hard rock band Metallica to participate in the Metallica Scholars Program.

The university’s Instagram traffic is up almost 500 percent and its Facebook traffic almost 1,000 percent as it gets the word out about the Metallica program and other ongoing programs, Gilmer said.

Gilmer and Executive Vice President Alice Harris attended a statewide meeting on developing a reliable funding formula for higher education in West Virginia, and those conversations are expected to be taken up by the Legislature in its next session.

“The formula will likely be built on enrollment, credential and degree completion, service to underserved populations, workforce development, and other related factors,” Gilmer said.

He and Vice President Brady Whipkey continue to participate on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force to Align Workforce Development in West Virginia.

“The goal is to have recommendations to Governor (Jim) Justice by the end of 2021 on how to streamline and better organize workforce development efforts across all state agencies,” Gilmer said.

Gilmer and Senta Goudy, Dean for Civic Engagement and Innovation, have incorporated the West Virginia University at Parkersburg Research and Development Corporation, which will bring new resources to support the Riverhawk Farm if Congress follows through on funding the community grant requests this session. If funded, this grant will come to the R and D Corporation.

Gilmer and university officials recently toured the work being done on the Discovery World on Market Children’s Museum in Parkersburg which is being funded and developed through the Ross Foundation.

“We are in negotiation with the Ross Foundation for the 400-plus seat theater inside the museum to become an additional extension of WVU-P downtown with the university managing the theater as part of the Arts Collaborative of the MOV,” Gilmer said.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com

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