3 Oct

WVU Tech and WVU connected with thousands of potential students, community members, business leaders and local officials during a full day of events at the Beckley Campus Kickoff on Saturday, October 3.

The kickoff began at 1 p.m. with an open house for prospective students, who toured campus and met with counselors to explore the admissions process and financial aid. WVU Tech staff and students also provided campus tours to community members, WVU alumni and WVU Tech alumni.

Hank Wright, a 1968 graduate of WVU Tech’s electrical engineering program and a member of the Tech Golden Bear Alumni Association board, travelled to the event from his home in Raleigh, North Carolina. He said the campus tour showcased what he saw as a “wonderful opportunity.”

“All of our alumni can take pride in this facility,” said Wright. “It’s going to go a long way. I think it’s a new beginning, literally, and it’s a chance for alumni to jump in and have a positive impact for the school.”

The University welcomed more than 150 guests to an afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the donation of Nick J. Rahall’s congressional papers to WVU. The collection, which includes 2,000 boxes of testimony, speeches, news releases and other documents from Rahall’s 38 years in office, will be curated and maintained on the WVU Beckley campus.

“This is truly an exciting day for me to see these archives come to WVU in the hands of professionals who can make so much come alive out of old, dusty boxes,” Rahall said. “Once these are on display for future generations, I hope to have a lot to add from a personal standpoint.”


“This is a dream come true. I believe that our university belongs to every citizen in the state. We’re going to plant his flag and our flag through this library. It’s a remarkable opportunity for us,” said WVU President E. Gordon Gee.

“What is important about this collection is what it will offer the students of West Virginia. They can learn things they won’t find in history books or from a Google search. This collection will tell a story that is transformative – they’ll see the living history that will shape policy moving forward,” said Rochelle “Rocky” Goodwin, Senior Associate Vice President for Academic and Public Policy Strategy, John D. Rockefeller IV School of Public Policy and Politics at WVU.

“We’re thrilled that this will bring a vibrancy to learning opportunities for students across West Virginia. This collection will allow our students to know that a kid from West Virginia can change the lives of their neighbors through policy,” she said.

WVU Tech and WVU Beckley Campus President Carolyn Long also announced the opening of a WVU LaunchLab on campus. The lab, already in operation, is designed to offer professional advice and services to help entrepreneurs develop business plans, conduct market research, protect intellectual property, network, attract investors and reach customers.

“The LaunchLab is something we’re very proud to be a part of, and we hope it will help to make Southern West Virginia more prosperous,” Long said.

WVU Tech faculty, staff and students greeted thousands of attendees at the 25th annual Beckley Chili Night, where they hosted family activities and a t-shirt giveaway. WVU Tech Dining Services also competed in the chili cook-off.

28 Sep

Rice Lecture Helps Students Connect to History

Zachary | September 28th, 2015
Rice Lecture

By Rubhi Garcia
Photography by Jolita Dural

This past Thursday, September 24 was an eventful night for WVU Tech as the university welcomed Richard Childress to discuss his lecture “Time, Culture, and Political Choices,” which covered research from his upcoming book, “A Historical Lottery: Europe, Appalachia and Beyond – The Ramsey Family Through 1500 Years of Social and Cultural Change.”

The Rice Lecture, organized by Dr. Melissa Sartore, attracted around 70 attendees to hear Childress and his informative speech on the history of the Ramsey family. Childress shared interesting aspects of the Ramsey family, their journey through migration from Europe into West Virginia and how freedom and religion were fundamental things the family faced.

Although his lecture covered portions of his upcoming book, it is important to acknowledge how history lectures like this help students understand the world as it stands today.

For Dr. Sartore, connecting to the past is important. She said the lecture was a great opportunity to make that connection because it “touched on history, current events, social and political life.” She said that the lecture also benefits students because it provides an opportunity to learn from the past.

Students shared that they enjoyed the lecture and that they were encouraged by professors to attend and learn more about local history.

Visit WVU Tech on Flickr to see photos from the event.

28 Sep

WVU Tech and WVU will host a Beckley Campus Kickoff on Saturday, October 3, to introduce prospective students and the community to the WVU Beckley campus, welcome the newly donated Nick Rahall Congressional Collection and help celebrate the 25th annual Beckley Chili Night.

The day’s activities will begin at 1 p.m. with an open house and campus tours for prospective students and their families. Attendees will meet with admissions and financial aid counselors to explore options for attending WVU Tech.

At 3 p.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held to celebrate the donation of Congressman Nick J. Rahall’s congressional papers to WVU, including 2,000 boxes of testimony, speeches, news releases and other documents from his four decades in office. The congressional collection will be housed on the WVU Beckley campus.

“Congressman Rahall served the 3rd District and the State of West Virginia very ably and faithfully for almost four decades. His papers assembled from that distinguished career constitute an incredible resource for the study of public policy and the Congress itself,” said WVU President Gordon Gee. “WVU is greatly honored to host his archives and we look forward to working with Mr. Rahall to serve the citizens of southern West Virginia for many years to come.”

The event will also include announcements regarding the opening of a WVU LaunchLab on campus and a significant scholarship endowment recently established by a Beckley-based business. WVU Tech staff will offer alumni and community members guided tours of campus and hand out t-shirts at the 25th annual Beckley Chili Night.

“This event is a perfect opportunity for students, community members and business leaders to see the potential of the WVU Beckley campus and what WVU Tech hopes to accomplish there,” said WVU Tech and WVU Beckley campus president Carolyn Long. “We’re very excited to connect with the community, highlight Congressman Rahall’s generous gift and share news about some projects and partnerships already underway.”

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit wvutech.edu/campuskickoff. Read about the Nick Rahall Congressional Collection on WVU Today.

23 Sep

WV Dance Company to Perform at WVU Tech

Zachary | September 23rd, 2015

WVU Tech will welcome the West Virginia Dance Company on Thursday, October 1 for a 7:30 p.m. performance of “Reflections: An Evening of Modern Dance” in the WVU Tech Center Ballroom.

The upcoming performance will include “Sketches of Fall,” a reflection from Pearl S. Buck’s book, “My Several Worlds,” in which she describes her first experience with fall in West Virginia. WVDC will also showcase a new work, “The Mountains Speak,” a collaborative project among West Virginian artists telling the story of adversity in early 20th Century Appalachia and the role music played in uniting communities. The piece features choreography by Toneta Akers-Toler and Donald Laney, language from West Virginia storyteller Adam Booth and music from fiddle champion Jake Krack and West Virginia-based a cappella group, Bare Bones.

DSC_0004 WVDC’s “Reflections: An Evening of Modern Dance” tells stories in precise movement and rich color. Image courtesy West Virginia Dance Company.

Additional works will include the popular “Spirit Chaser,” an artistic interpretation of a traditional African folktale choreographed by Carli Mareneck to music by Mark Davis, and “Dynamic Equilibrium,” a work based on Asian themes by Heather Taylor-Martin.

Before the performance, WVDC representatives will also conduct a workshop with a Sport Movement Analysis class, where students will learn about body mechanics and how the neurological system acts like a computer to control the human body.

“We work hard to offer opportunities for our students to engage with the arts throughout the year, bringing in musical acts, films, magicians, artists, comedians and performers from a wide range of artistic disciplines. The West Virginia Dance Company is one of the state’s most renowned performance groups, and we’re very excited to welcome them to campus again to bring the art of dance into the classroom and onto our stage,” said Emily Sands, WVU Tech Associate Dean of Students.

Since 1977, WVDC, West Virginia’s only professional touring dance company, has toured throughout WV and 14 other states performing a program of diverse, entertaining and thought provoking modern works. WVDC is also well known for its award-winning arts education program which is offered annually to tens of thousands of WV students.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. The program is free and open to the public.

For more information about the West Virginia Dance Company, visit wvdanceco.com.

17 Sep

Charleston Gazette-Mail

The third annual West Virginia State Science, Engineering and Art Fair will be held on Friday, Oct. 16, at the Neal D. Baisi Athletic Center on the campus of West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery.

This day-long competition provides students with an opportunity to display their knowledge and passion for the sciences as well as showing their creative sides. Integrating the arts with sciences and engineering encourages innovativeness, creativity and contextual thinking and gives students the ability to succeed inside and outside of the classroom.

Middle school and high school students throughout the state are encouraged to participate in the event. The fair is broken down into five divisions: Investigatory Project Division – experimental research performed on a particular topic with a display to explain the experiment; Display Project Division – informational poster on a research project in the biological and physical sciences with no experiments performed; Art Division – an art object with a scientific theme; Symposium Division – an oral competition open to students with Investigatory, Display or Submitted Papers projects; and Submitted Papers Division – written report from presentations in the Display, Investigatory, and/or Symposium categories.

Each division will be judged based on a specific set of criteria, and $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to the winners. Students are allowed to compete in as many divisions as they wish.

Another fun but challenging way for all students to get involved is to enter the Olympiad event division.

This competition is open to any student, regardless if he/she has an exhibit entered in the other divisions or not. The name of the Olympiad event this year will be “Fun with Chemistry,” and it will include four separate competitions that are both educational and competitive. Certificates of participation will be given out to all participants of this event.

The West Virginia State Science, Engineering and Art Fair is hosted and sponsored by West Virginia University Institute of Technology in partnership with the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. Registration is free and open to public, private and home school students.

For more information about the science and art fair, a list of rules, applications and a complete schedule, visit http://sciencefair.wvutech.edu.

14 Sep

WVU Tech’s Computer Science program received its initial accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET earlier this month. The approval lifts the number of specially accredited programs in WVU Tech’s Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences to nine, which were all re-accredited during this review. There are only two ABET-accredited computer science programs in the state and both are in the West Virginia University system.

ABET accreditation assures that programs meet standards that produce graduates ready to enter critical technical fields that are leading the way in innovation and emerging technologies. ABET reviews look at program curricula, faculty, facilities and institutional support, and are conducted by teams of highly skilled professionals from industry, academia and government with expertise in the ABET disciplines.

“ABET accreditation is very important because it proves to employers that our graduates have a solid educational foundation and are ready to enter the field of computing,” said Dr. Ranjith Munasinghe, Chair and Professor, Department of Computer Science and Information Systems. “It is international recognition of program quality and assurance that we continuously improve the Computer Science program and promote best educational practices.”

“ABET is a rigorous accrediting body, and its stamp of approval shows that our curriculum is globally competitive. I applaud the faculty who have worked tirelessly to give our students yet another reason to be proud of the education they are earning here – another reason to go out into the workforce with confidence,” said Dr. Zeljko “Z” Torbica, Dean of the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences at WVU Tech.

In addition to computer science, WVU Tech’s chemical, computer, electrical and mechanical engineering programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. The University’s civil, electronic and mechanical engineering technology programs are accredited by ABET’s Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission.

ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology, is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). It currently accredits almost 3,500 programs at nearly 700 colleges and universities in 28 countries. More information about ABET, its member societies and the accreditation criteria used to evaluate programs can be found at www.abet.org.

Read more about WVU Tech’s programs and accreditation at academics.wvutech.edu.

9 Sep

WVU Tech’s engineering program was ranked #58 in the nation on U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs rankings list, released today.

The 2016 list marks an improvement in WVU Tech’s ranking of more than 25 spots over last year. Among the more than 200 colleges and universities featured in the report, WVU Tech was among the top 25 public schools on the list.

For Campus President Carolyn Long, the ranking is the result of a focus on practical, experience-driven coursework and graduates who report high earnings directly tied to the engineering education they received at WVU Tech.

“The students we send out into the workforce are capable and competent professionals because the faculty and administration here have been working diligently for years to enhance and improve our engineering program. That work translates to a program that gets better with each passing year, and we’re seeing that improvement recognized in today’s rankings announcement,” she said.

“Students come to WVU Tech to study engineering for a number of reasons, including their level of access to our professionally experienced faculty and the fact that they know their degree is competitive on a national level,” said Dr. Zeljko “Z” Torbica, Dean of the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences at WVU Tech.

In the category of Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs, U.S. News & World Report surveys engineering academics throughout the country to rate ABET-accredited engineering programs at colleges and universities that do not offer doctoral degrees. WVU Tech currently offers nine ABET-accredited bachelor degree programs.

“U.S. News & World Report’s rankings are based on information provided by the deans of accredited, quality engineering programs. We know our program is top-notch because we put enormous effort into making it so. We’re very excited that our peers in academia have acknowledged that effort,” said WVU Tech Provost Dr. Nigel Clark.

Read more about WVU Tech’s engineering programs at engineering.wvutech.edu.

8 Sep

WVU Tech’s faculty members are dedicated to the advancement of the fields they teach. Outside of the classroom, they’re researchers, writers, presenters, go-to experts and road warriors who share their passion for learning with the world.

Here’s what our faculty members have been up to:

Dr. Houbing Song (Electrical and Computer Engineering) served as the general chair of the First IEEE International Workshop on Security and Privacy for Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems, which was held in conjunction with IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC 2015) on June 8-12, 2015, in London.

Dr. Song, also presented his paper entitled “Traffic-Aware ACB Scheme for Massive Access in Machine-to-Machine Networks” at the conference.

Dr. Song served on the wireless communications and networking panel for the Communication and Information Foundations (CIF) program with the National Science Foundation on April 27-28, 2015, and the smart cities panel for the Cyber-Physical Systems program within the National Science Foundation on July 20-21, both in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Song presented his demo entitled “Soundscaping Urban Infrastructure for Predictive Maintenance with a Focus on Legacy Equipment” in Global City Teams Challenge Expo organized by US Ignite and NIST, on June 1, 2015, in Washington, D.C. He also presented his paper “On a simulation study of cyber attacks on vehicle-to-infrastructure communication (V2I) in Intelligent Transportation System (ITS)” in SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing (SPIE DSS) 2015, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Song also published 3 peer-reviewed papers in Sensors and an editorial entitled “Big Data and Knowledge Extraction for Cyber-Physical Systems” within the International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks.

This June, Dr. Farshid Zabihian (Mechanical Engineering) presented three papers at the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) 122nd Annual Conference in Seattle, Washington.

Dr. Paul Rakes (History) delivered his lecture ”’Meanest County’ in the Nation: Hip-Pocket Ethics on the Early New River Coal Mining Frontier, 1890-1910” at the West Virginia Archives and History Library Workshops/Lectures on July 7, 2015.

Dr. Richard Squire (Chemistry) submitted an article written by the Department of Chemical Engineering, Department of Physical Sciences and WVU Tech STEM students – “Design of Environmentally Clean Electric Power Plants and Supply Chain” – to Heliyon.

Over the summer break, Dr. Mark Wilson (Economics) was selected as a Summer Scholar by the National Endowment of Humanities. In that position, he attended a month-long summer institute at Michigan State University called “Distributional Ethics: Gender, Economics and the Environment.” The Institute was run by the MSU Philosophy Department and was attended by 25 college professors from around the U.S.

Dr. Zeljko “Z” Torbica, Dean of the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences, will attend the Global Grand Challenges Summit in Beijing, September 15-16, 2015.

27 Aug
Students discuss student organization activities at the 2015 Student Involvement Fair

WVU Tech’s student organizations have a busy year ahead, and new groups are adding even more diversity to the WVU Tech student experience.

In 2014-2015, a number of new organizations were founded that have already become popular with students. The Association for Women Engineers, Scientists, Or Mathematicians Empowerment (AWESOME) is dedicated to supporting women studying and working in STEM fields. The new Golden Bear E-Sports Club has hosted on-campus gaming sessions and participated in a national collegiate Heroes of the Storm tournament last spring.

Golden Bear Outdoor Expeditions (GBOE), another club that launched last year, organizes events covering everything from hiking and zip-lining to caving, ice-skating and fishing. The Tech Media Crew allows students to cover on-campus events on social media and YouTube while the new Tech Grapplers group gathers each week to learn and practice various martial arts disciplines.

“The Student Government Association and the WVU Tech Division of Student Life work together to maintain a community where students have the support and guidance they need to create the student organizations they want to see on campus,” said Emily Sands, Associate Dean of Students. “These groups are conceived, founded and run entirely by students, so they’re designed from the start to meet the needs and interests of the student body.”

This year, students are looking to keep up the momentum set last year. In the first week of the semester, two new clubs have already been formed, including the Black Student Union and the Brazilian Community Organization (BCO).

The Black Student Union is open to all WVU Tech students and will focus on identifying and taking action on issues relevant to black students. The organization will participate in social and cultural programming that relates to the past, present, and future aspirations of black people, and the group intends to participate in Project Linus, community service events and cultural health awareness initiatives.

The Brazilian Community Organization is open to any student interested in learning about Brazilian culture and history. The group will host a number of events throughout the year, including community service activities and social gatherings designed to expose members to Brazilian cuisine, culture and language.

Student groups have a wealth of on and off-campus activities planned for 2015-2016, and on Wednesday, August 26, student organizations were on hand for the 2015 Student Involvement Fair to share information about their organizations. These organizations are still accepting members throughout the academic year. Interested students are encouraged to visit the Student Life website to find out more.

27 Aug

by Pamela Pritt

Dr. Nigel Clark, West Virginia University’s Provost at WVU Tech and the new WVU Beckley, spoke to the Beckley Rotary Club Tuesday, offering his “30,000 foot view” of education today.

Clark said education’s costs, which are “rising substantially and rapidly,” are higher than the national inflation rate. But, he said, those costs are based on expectations of higher graduation and retention rates, which mean more personal attention for students, hiring the best faculty to be nationally competitive, the need for safety and the need for facilities.

The high cost of education makes the Promise Scholarship and other aid very valuable to students, although the cost is beginning to push the Promise ceiling.

“Any kind of federal aid, any kind of philanthropy that leads to scholarships is truly valuable for those in need of aid,” he said.

Clark said the idea that a college education is all that is needed for success is outdated; a degree no longer equals employment.

“It is very nearly a necessity to have a college degree, so it’s necessary, but not sufficient,” he said. “And students really need to arm themselves to have a degree that is relevant, not merely a degree.”

Students need a skill set that will stand them in good stead over the course of a career that is likely to change many times.

“Very few people will end their careers, if they are students today, doing what they were precisely trained to do,” Clark said.

Higher education should be about training students to be able to train themselves for the future, he said.

While the traditional degree of 40 years ago was focused, today’s degrees must encompass more than the discipline and should teach students to think of all possibilities from repercussions to legal issues, Clark said.

Above all, each student should develop communications skills, he said.

“I think communication is a key part of any degree in any discipline,” he said.

On top of communication, the ability to analyze and problem solve are also in-demand skills, he continued.

Clark said most U.S. universities have a general education program and there is something new emerging in LEAP skills.

“Liberal Education and America’s Promise speaks exactly about introducing skills in conjunction with a liberal education,” he said. LEAP “is intended to build a new understanding of the aims of a contemporary liberal education and new capacity within the academy to help all students achieve these aims,” according to the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

But, he said, students must first have access to higher education, and WVU’s Beckley campus will grant that access to students from southern West Virginia.

Clark said he believes the campus here will also be attractive to out-of-state and international students.

“I believe it is essential that we have a campus where students from different walks of life meet one another,” Clark said. “I think that’s part of the innovation.”

Clark is the George Berry Chair of Engineering at WVU and conducts research within the WVU Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emission. He has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and is tenured in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. As associate vice president in the Provost’s Office, Clark leads WVU’s strategic planning effort for 2020, according to his biographical information.

Classes should begin on the WVU Beckley campus in Fall 2016. The state’s flagship university purchased the former Mountain State University campus this year. MSU lost its accreditation several years ago.

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