The College of Sciences at West Liberty University (WLU) is a progressive entity focused on student achievement and success. Working with our students and dedicated faculty is an ever-changing and satisfying experience. One of our next initiatives is to reach out to all of our alumni and bring them “back to the fold.” Increased interaction of our students and faculty with our alumni will add another integral facet to our program. Networking between our entities can open doors for recent graduates and provide more internship, research, and service opportunities for our current students. As an alumnus, the ability to facilitate current and recent graduates in career and life success can be a rewarding and meaningful experience. I look forward to opening channels of communication between our entities and encouraging the success of potential partnerships.
The College of Sciences at West Liberty University has seen unprecedented growth and success of its graduates. During the last ten years the College has experienced a fifty-one percent increase in student numbers making it the largest College on WLU’s campus. Greater than eighty-five percent of College of Sciences’ students applying for post-graduate programs (Doctoral, Medicine, Pharmacy, Physician Assistant, Speech Pathology and Audiology, Dentistry ….) have been accepted into their program of choice. We have graduates attending/graduating from prestigious institutions including, Brown University, Ohio State University, Washington University School of Medicine, West Virginia University Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine, and University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine. The success of our students is a measure of the academic rigor in the College’s programs and the opportunities for research and service available at West Liberty University.
In May of this year the first class of students in the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) program will graduate. Currently, the MSPAS program is in the process of accepting its third class of students. There were over 900 applications for the class of eighteen students. National projections published by CNN, Forbes, and Money Magazine (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bestjobs/2010/) rank Physician Assistant second on list of the top 100 jobs in America based on salary potential, job satisfaction, and job growth potential. WLU has the only Physician Assistant program in a West Virginia state-assisted institution.
With the unprecedented growth in the College, the state of West Virginia approved the construction of a new health-science facility (Campbell Hall) at WLU in 2009. In January 2014 the Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Speech Pathology and Audiology, Medical Laboratory Science, MSPAS and Chemistry programs moved into Campbell Hall which is located on Faculty Drive (across from the baseball field). Campbell Hall has approximately 60,000 sq. feet of finished space and 20,000 sq. feet of unfinished space (for future Health Science programs).
Academic rigor and opportunity for research and service continue to be the focus of the College. The College of Sciences faculty continues to receive grants to enhance education and promote undergraduate research and service. Since 2004 the College has received over $4.5 million dollars in external grant funding. Some grants provided for the purchase of new equipment, such as digital x-ray equipment for Dental Hygiene, an ultrasound for Biology, and advanced instrumentation for molecular biology. Other grants allow for undergraduate-driven research; over sixty undergraduate students have participated in cutting-edge research as a result. These students receive generous stipends and have traveled the world presenting their research results. One project’s results were published in Atherosclerosis, an international journal. The first author on this publication was an undergraduate student in Biology. Other faculty members, (Zachary Loughman, Joe Horzempa , Evan Lau) along with their students published research articles ranging from the discovery of a new species of crayfish to antimicrobial agents against Francisella tularensis.