WVU Extended Learning evolves into Academic Innovation

Sue Day-Perroots

Sue Day-Perroots will lead the new Academic Innovation, effective July 1

To take advantage of and recognize changes in educational technology, West Virginia University is creating a new organizational structure to champion innovation in the classroom and provide a place for faculty to experiment with emerging tools.

The new division will be named Academic Innovation, and Sue Day-Perroots, who has been dean of Extended Learning, will lead the new initiative as associate vice president of academic innovation, effective July 1. She will continue to report to Provost Michele Wheatly.

"Advances in technology are happening at a rapid pace all around us, especially in the way education is delivered," Wheatly said. "Whether it's through delivering classes exclusively online, or incorporating those technologies in a classroom environment, it's imperative that WVU incorporate both into the educational environment we provide our students."

The former Extended Learning will be restructured to Academic Innovation as follows:

Teaching and Learning Commons

iDesign, the instructional design unit, will provide the infrastructure to support faculty in teaching and learning efforts. As programs explore active learning and "flipped" classrooms or new ways to engage learners, instructional and visual designers located across the campus will be poised to assist faculty. iDesign will be comprised of 3 initial units including instructional, visual and classroom technologies with a proposed 4th unit to support instructional exploration and teaching research.

Faculty and Graduate Advancement builds on the foundation of teaching-as-research, teaching communities, and teaching through diversity. Resources and support will be offered across the career spectrum to address the needs of early career professionals (graduate students, postdocs, new faculty members), teaching-focused faculty (TAPs), and experienced faculty members.

WVU Online & Extended Campus
WVU Online/Extended Campus is the core of what was known as Extended Learning and will continue with two major components.

Student Success serves as a holistic enrollment function for online and non-traditional students, from initial inquiry through graduation. There will be an emphasis in recruiting and retaining more online students, especially adult learners who need to complete a bachelor's degree.

The Program Development, Operations and Systems unit includes academic oversight and collaboration with colleges and supporting units to develop new programs. In addition to support for the many online, blended and extended campus programs, the staff provides primary support for University College online/extended campus students in the Multidisciplinary Studies and Regents Bachelor of Arts programs.

Special Programs - K12 Partnerships and Summer Session

WVU Summer is a nationally recognized leader in summer enrollment management and programming. Under Day-Perroots' leadership, summer also been a time to test innovation and strategies in teaching and learning due to the compressed timeframe and flexible formats from blended to travel to a combination of approaches.

K12 Partnerships is an initiative to provide leadership and coordination for digital content development in secondary education courses. This project has enormous potential for the future of instruction and preparation of pre-college learners and reinforces WVU's land-grant mission to serve to the state. WVU Online will continue to offer ACCESS classes in high schools.

WVU's online enrollment already exceeds 5,000 students each semester, Wheatly said and more faculty are using online tools in traditional classes. Nationally, many universities have begun to experiment with massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, and WVU faculty have been requesting assistance for new teaching and learning support structures. Just this week the Faculty Senate Executive Committee received recommendations from both the Student Evaluation of Instruction and Student Instruction committees on the subject.

"This is an exciting and challenging time for higher education not just in the state but nationally," Day-Perroots said. "Timing is everything, and this is time to expand the strengths of Extended Learning for the broader campus community."

Academic Innovation builds on the success of Extended Learning in growing enrollments while developing quality in online classes and programs. As dean of Extended Learning, Day-Perroots has provided leadership and developed a national reputation for her work in instructional technologies in online and summer programming, Wheatly said. "She has been extremely successful in building partnerships with schools and colleges while serving new audiences with WVU programming."

Day-Perroots will also take on additional responsibilities for on-campus course and classroom development.

WVU President Jim Clements said, "Expanding online course delivery and enhancing the quality of those courses is what a 21st Century land-grant university should be doing. It's consistent with our mission of providing access to all students."

There will be no new dollars allocated, Day-Perroots said, as the entrepreneurial revenues will be reinvested to advance teaching and learning for WVU students and faculty regardless of location.

All changes become effective July 1. Most of the division's offices will be located in the Jackson-Kelly building, 150 Clay Street, Morgantown, but staff will be located around campus to better serve the faculty. WVU Online/Extended Campus will continue to house regional staff in the Kanawha Valley, Eastern Panhandle and Clarksburg.