Outcomes-based funding for state higher education, which would benefit underfunded Shepherd University, was discussed at the university's Board of Governors meeting on Feb. 21.
In her report to the board, President Suzanne Shipley stated that the draft report, developed by the Select Committee on Outcomes-based Funding Models in Higher Education, would be beneficial to Shepherd by rewarding institutional progress toward statewide educational goals. The outcomes-based funding plan is a result of Senate Bill 436 passed during the 2012 legislative session.
Shepherd receives the lowest state funding per student at $2,943 (70.5 percent of the average) while several state institutions receive state funding well over 100 percent of the average of $3,96. The highest allocation is $7,501 per student.
"An equity funding model would reward Shepherd fiscally for a job well done," said Shipley. "The funding reallocation would give Shepherd continuing funding to remain competitive in several key areas: programming, salaries, staffing and facilities. In particular, outreach for initiatives such as the Martinsburg Center, designed to meet the education needs for the working adult student, would be much more likely to progress expeditiously."
The outcomes-based plan would reward institutions for student degree completion, student progress and persistence in earning a degree, and affordability while protecting against large redistributions of state funds which have created the current funding inequity. The plan also would prevent mission creep by clearly defining each institution's education mission and emphasis.
It was announced by President Shipley that Shepherdstown residents and alumni William E. "Bill" Knode and Jo Ann Jackson Knode, both members of the class of 1958, will receive the President's Award during Shepherd's 140th Commencement in recognition of their service and support to Shepherd University and to the community. The President's Award annually recognizes those in the community who demonstrate selfless civic involvement. The Knodes join David Hendrickson, chair of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, as honorees during Shepherd's commencement ceremony on May 4. Hendrickson, who will deliver the commencement address, will be awarded an honorary degree.
John Sherwood, chair of the facilities master plan committee, presented a draft master plan statement to the board which emphasizes the development of student-focused facilities and environments while preserving the natural beauty of the university's landscape, architecture and green space in an environmentally sound manner. The strategy also includes minimizing a perceived negative impact on the town while creating seamless boundaries between residential and commuter students, administrators, faculty and staff.
The board approved an additional concentration in special education to the master of arts degree in curriculum and instruction effective this fall semester, upon the approval of the West Virginia Department of Education. The board also approved an intent to plan for a bachelor of science degree in health promotion and exercise science and directed the president to file the intent to plan with the chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission for approval.