West Virginia University Institute of Technology
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|Motto||Be Big Here|
|Campus President||Carolyn Long|
(120 full time)
(57 part time)
|Location||Beckley, West Virginia, United States
|Campus||Rural, 200 acres.|
|Colors||Navy blue and Gold
West Virginia University Institute of Technology is a four-year college located in Beckley, West Virginia. It is a divisional campus of West Virginia University. The school is commonly referred to as WVU Tech, WVU Beckley, or by its former nickname of West Virginia Tech.
The college was founded in 1895 in Montgomery, West Virginia as the sub-collegiate Montgomery Preparatory School for West Virginia University. In 1917, it was separated from WVU and renamed the West Virginia Trade School. Next, in 1921, it reached the junior college level as the New River State School. It became a four-year college as New River State College in 1931 and was renamed the West Virginia Institute of Technology in 1941. It began to grant engineering degrees in 1952.
West Virginia Tech added a community college in 1966. It began granting the master's degree in engineering in 1978, but no longer offers graduate degrees. WVU Tech's community college component was separated from WVU Tech in 2004 and is now part of BridgeValley Community and Technical College.
Facing dwindling enrollment, the school became a regional campus of West Virginia University in 1996, leading to its present name. It later became an integrated division of WVU in July 2007. While several support departments on campus report directly to WVU, local oversight of academic programs remains on the WVU Tech campus.
The school had been beset with declining enrollments for many years. In 2011, the state government passed the WVU Tech Revitalization Project law, in response to its declining enrollments and financial distress. As a condition of the law, an assessment was conducted over the summer of 2011 and a “revitalization report” was completed by October 2011. The report found that:
- The majority of the less than 2000 students remaining were not majoring in engineering, but in subjects also offered at other nearby state colleges.
- Eleven percent of the entire school budget was spent on maintaining sports teams.
- The majority of football scholarship athletes left the school after only a year.
- Many of the buildings had been unmaintained and were now in such a state of disrepair that replacement was needed.
- The school did not offer wi-fi, a campus recreation program, and most students found the dorms to be unacceptable.
- The school had posted a 20% decline in enrollment in a five-year period, and was currently hosting less than 50% of its peak enrollment of the 1960s.
- The graduate program had not granted any degrees in over 12 years.
- Alumni giving had declined since the "merger" with WVU, and most alumni wished for the school to return to independence.
- The school could not make payroll without loans from WVU's main campus over a three-year period.
- The football stadium's astroturf field was over 30 years old, whereas the manufacturer recommends replacement every seven to 10 years.
- Many functions were now "farmed out" to the WVU main campus staff, because of staff vacancies.
As a result of these findings, the study recommended that the school:
- Establish a co-operative (internship) component for every academic program,
- Eliminate the football program.
- Establish a science-focused teacher education program.
- Select a Campus Provost who “must command the confidence of both the Montgomery and main campuses of West Virginia University, as well as having the support of the local community and the State’s higher education and civic leadership.”
- And that state taxpayers spend an additional five to seven million dollars in each of the next five years.
Move to Beckley
In January 2015, WVU completed purchase of the buildings in Beckley formerly used by Mountain State University, which is about 30 miles from the Montgomery campus. WVU President E. Gordon Gee stated that Tech's future was "very secure" but refused to answer a question from the Charleston Daily Mail about the possibility of the school relocating.
On August 31, 2015, it was announced that President Gee had recommended that WVU Tech move from Montgomery to the former MSU campus in Beckley, a larger and more accessible city. The University's Board of Governors unanimously approved this recommendation at its September 1 meeting. For the 2016-17 academic years, freshman courses were taught at the Beckley campus, and all other courses remained in Montgomery. Summer classes in 2017 will be mostly online and all academic programs, administrative offices and athletic teams will move to Beckley in the Fall 2017.
Former Montgomery campus
The Neal D. Baisi Athletic Center was completed in 1968 and was home to the Golden Bears' basketball teams.
On April 21, 2017, it was announced that the buildings on the Fayette County side the Montgomery campus would be lease-purchased by KVC Health Systems, a foster care and adoption services provider, for conversion into a proposed "transitional college for persons aging out of foster care", while the buildings of the Kanawha County side would be transferred to BridgeValley Community & Technical College. The only exceptions are the "Tech Marina" (a boat dock) and the David S. Long Alumni Center, which were transferred to the city of Montgomery, and the HiRise Residence Hall, which was demolished on June 4, 2017.
WVU Tech offers a variety of baccalaureate degree programs in fields such as Engineering, Nursing, Printing Management, Business Management, Life Sciences, Computer Science, Health Services Administration and other subjects under two academic divisions. The Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences grants degrees in engineering and related sciences and the College of Business, Humanities and Social Studies houses the other fields of study.
The athletic teams are known as the Golden Bears and historically competed in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with the other small colleges in the state until 2006, when it could no longer maintain that level of competition. After a time as an independent and as a member of the Mid-South Conference within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), it joined other NAIA independent schools of the Association of Independent Institutions. In the fall of 2015 it joined the River States Conference (known as the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) before the 2016–17 school year). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, swimming and volleyball. Football was dropped as a result of the Revitalization Study after 2011.
The sports at WVU Tech have been very successful over the years. The men's basketball team has won the WVIAC and has been successful in the Mid-South Conference. They were runners-up in the AII Tournament in 2013. They have also been to the NAIA Nationals over the years. The women's basketball team won the AII Championship in 2013 and went to the NAIA National Championships that year.
The men's soccer team won the USCAA National Championship in 2013 and 2014. They also were runners-up in the USCAA National Championship in 2012.
- Chuck Banks – NFL
- Charles E. Bayless - business man and educational administrator
- Squire Parsons – Christian music soloist and baritone
- Sedale Threatt – NBA
- Calvin Wallace – NFL
- Mike Barrett – ABA and 1968 Summer Olympics 
- "WVU Institute of Technology Administration". WVU Institute of Technology. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
- "WV Higher Education Policy Commission". Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- Murphy, Matt (January 27, 2015). "Montgomery residents discuss future of city". Charleston Gazette-Mail.
- "WVU Beckley will become home to WVU Tech in 2017, WVU Board decides". WVUToday. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Keenan, Steve (June 8, 2017). "HiRise razed as Tech departure continues". Montgomery Herald. Retrieved July 26, 2017.