WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Aug. 17, 2021 — West Liberty University held a first-ever Faculty-Staff Institute today to inaugurate the new academic year. The gathering took place at 8:30 a.m. in the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex (ASRC).
After an inspirational moment provided by Director of Catholic Campus Ministry Shirley Carter, both Faculty Senate representative Ryan McCullough and Staff Council representative Tasha Taylor spoke to greet and update their respective groups.
Student Government Association president and biology major MacKenzi Jones also expressed her enthusiasm in representing the student body for the 2021 – 2022 school year.
Chief Human Resources Officer Diana Harto then introduced all new employees:
- Julian Miller, Assistant Football Coach
- Raymond Prayear, John Beck, Patrick Yost, Corey Latimer, Amanda Nelson, Chasity McConaughey, Custodial Staff
- Jason Falvo, Assistant Track Coach
- Vincent Mumford, Interim Dean of Graduate Studies
- Ann Saurbier, College of Business dean
- Cecilia Konchar Farr, Dean College of Liberal and Creative Arts
- Bonnie Suderman, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost
- Lori Hudson, Vice President of Fiscal Affairs
- Abigail Beatty, Athletic Trainer
- Jay Gault, Landscaper
- Terri Giller, Instructor of Creative Arts Therapy
- Jeffrey Seaman, Instructor of Computer Information Systems
- Lisa Jordan, Program Director/Assistant Professor Medical Laboratory Sciences
- Megan Ciacci Petrella, Assistant Professor of Dental Hygiene
- Rohit Pradhan, Associate Professor of Healthcare Management
- Chelsea Robertson, Assistant Professor of Psychology
- Leslie Quinn, Associate Professor of Biology
- Kyle Lutz, Administrative Assistant WLU Foundation
President W. Franklin Evans delivered the State of the University address, opening with a rousing welcome to a new season on the Hilltop. He stressed that there is change happening and change is healthy.
“To improve is to change; to reach perfection is to change often,” Evans indicated, adding that there are new opportunities and perspectives.
He took time to thank everyone involved closely in working through the pandemic including the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT), the facilities and maintenance workers, WLU’s food service, healthcare workers, athletic trainers, information technology and distance learning staff that stepped up as COVID-19 gripped the world.
Evans continued by mentioning the successes of last year despite the pandemic and encouraged all employees to think positive.
He stressed the transparency of his administration and shared the strategic goals of the university and his own Presidential Priorities:
- Academic Success
- University Branding
- Operational Excellence
- Student Experience
- Community Engagement
- Increase Enrollment
- Maintain Financial Stability
- Foster Student Success
- Strengthen Community Outreach
- Enhance Alumni Engagement
Evans zeroed in on positive recent changes that include new Board of Governor members, more “open” campus in areas of customer service, facility upgrades that include a $4 million dollar HVAC upgrade for Main Hall, technology enhancements, WLU’s first endowed professorship, grant dollars secured, increase in graduate degree programs/enrollment and a new focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives (DEI).
Also updating campus on their specific areas were each of the President’s Cabinet members:
- Bonnie Suderman, Academic Affairs
- Lynn Ullom, Athletics
- Shemrico Stanley, Office of the President/DEI
- Jason Koegler, External Affairs
- Lori Hudson, Fiscal Affairs
- Stephanie Hooper, Legal Affairs (virtual)
- Joe Rodella, Information Technology/Operations
- Scott Cook, Student Affairs/Enrollment Management
- Angela Zambito-Hill, WLU Foundation
Suderman announced faculty promotions:
- Associate professor promotion includes: Dr. Emmanuél Paragas, Nursing.
- Assistant professor promotions include: Dr. Mitch Greco (Music), Ryan Keeling (Music), Dr. Danielle Mehlman-Brightwell (Communications), Sherry Rocchio (Business), Melesa Swartz (Education).
- Full professor status promotions include: Dr. Zach Loughman (Biology), Dr. Martyna Matusiak (Art), Anna Stephan-Robinson (Music), Dr. Bill Childers (Physician Assistant Studies) and Dr. Rebecca Meachem (Psychology).
Faculty tenure was awarded to:
- Stephanie Bradley, Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders
- Bill Childers, Professor of Physician Assistant Studies
- Rebecca Meachem, Associate professor of Psychology
- Stephanie Meredith, Associate professor of Dental Hygiene
- Felipe Rojas, Associate Professor of Foreign Languages
Harto returned to the podium to announce Years of Service awards.
Years of Service Awards were distributed to employees reaching milestone years of 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years. Twenty-five-year employees receive a commemorative medal signifying the accomplishment.
Receiving the 25 Year medals this year are Registrar Stephanie North and Admissions Counselor Joe Wakim.
Before closing the program, President Evans joined Harto in announcing the Employee Engagement Committee Staff Recognition Award. Designed to build morale among employees, these reflect the achievements completed during the previous academic year.
Both the True Topper and the Customer Service awards include a cash prize of $225, provided by the WLU Foundation. The Top Team receives a traveling trophy to display for the entire year. Each nominee will receive a Certificate of Nomination signed by President Evans.
- The True Topper award, Student Health Director Christy Bennington, RN BSN
- The Customer Service Award, Cindi Galloway, College of Education and Human Performance, Administrative Assistant (photo unavailable)
- Top Team Award, Physical Plant, accepting the trophy was Director of Physical Plant Joe Mills
To view the entire Faculty-Staff Institute, please visit topperstation.com