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Minutes: January 4, 2019


Summary notes from Governance Subcommittee Meeting on January 4


Mr. Payne convened the meeting at 9:00 a.m.  He recapped the subcommittee’s work to date, including the decision to hold this work session to allow for more time to review and discuss the subcommittee’s ideas and proposals.  He reiterated Governor Justice’s charge that the blue ribbon commission should analyze the overall structure of four-year institutions and identify ways to promote the efficient and effective delivery of higher education across the state.  The subcommittee does not believe the current structure is as efficient or effective as it can be.  Mr. Payne thanked the regional presidents for their comprehensive feedback on HEPC, the services it currently offers, and the authorities it currently has.  He said this feedback would serve as the guide for today’s work session.  He thanked President Martin for compiling the presidents’ feedback into a spreadsheet and asked her to comment on this spreadsheet.


President Martin provided background on the work done by the regional presidents to collect and organize their feedback.  She indicated this feedback was the consensus of presidents representing six institutions (Bluefield State, Concord, Fairmont, Glenville, West Liberty, and West Virginia State).  The president of Shepherd has provided additional feedback on HEPC’s services and authorities.


President Boggess asked what would happen if the four-year schools do not need these services but the two-year schools do?  She pointed out that the current structure does not have separate experts and staff for two-year and four-year schools.


Mr. Payne asked Mr. Lewis to comment from Shepherd’s perspective.


Mr. Lewis said that Shepherd agreed with other regional presidents but has also offered a more extensive list of service and authorities that should be removed from a new state agency.


Mr. Payne suggested that we go through the spreadsheet line-by-line to see what comments or questions emerge.


President Martin made the general observation that if one of the regional institutions needed a service listed on the spreadsheet, then the six presidents agreed that service should be maintained.  She said this meant that services should be available but that institutions should not be forced to use them.


Mr. Becker asked if the services listed were services that the institutions were willing to pay for.  He said that the money to support these services and authorities must come from somewhere.


President Martin asked if the money should come from the institutional budgets or the HEPC budget.  She said that savings would be possible based on the services that are removed, largely through savings in personnel salaries and benefits. 


Mr. Becker said that was a good point and asked if HEPC should, in fact, be stronger to serve the needs of some institutions, especially given declining enrollments at many institutions and the need to maintain affordability and access.


Mr. Lewis commented that part of the issue was the nuanced differences between governance and shared services.  He cited HEPC’s imposition of a human resources software system on the institutions as an example.  He said these mandates needed to stop and that institutions needed to have genuine options in how they handled their affairs.


Mr. Turner said that HEPC has 64 employees, almost all of whom are shared with the Community and Technical College Council and the needs of the CTCs should be taken into account.  He said that HEPC has a good track record on many issues but that software implementation is particularly challenging.  He offered that HEPC looks for ways to do better and is open to new ideas.


The work session then began a line-by-line analysis of the spreadsheets containing the feedback from the six regional presidents and the feedback from Shepherd.  This analysis is summarized below and highlighted in light gray.  Items about which there were no questions or discussion are not included in this summary.



Services—Human Resources

An analogy was offered to the K-12 system, in which each of the 55 county school districts in West Virginia handles its own Human Resources and that is how those districts prefer it. 


Services—Academic Affairs

Undecided about whether new state office should approve academic programs; one proposed solution is that the new state office should approve creation of new campuses/sites but not new academic programs.  If program approval is maintained, should institutions be divided into tiers based on the extent of approval they need from the state office?  Another possible solution would be an academic program approval process that takes into account geography and distances between institutions.  The example of WVU opening a new campus is Beckley is one reason why program approval is important and why trust among institutions is hard.  HEPC currently asks questions about student demand, faculty qualifications, cost, and geography as part of its new program review process. 


Agreed that the new state office needs to collect and report all data to Governor and Legislature that will be used in funding formula calculations


Agreed that the new state office should administer programs under the Academic Common Market program (e.g., veterinary medicine, optometry)


Services—Science and Research

Agreed that Marshall, West Virginia State, and WVU, as the most active research institutions, would work together on restructuring the State Science and Research Council to address these items


Services—Policy and Planning

Agreed that all data and reports prepared by the new state office will be circulated to institutions for review prior to submission to the Governor, Legislature, or other entity to ensure accuracy and thoroughness


Agreed that the WVU and MU approaches to OASIS implementation should be shared with other institutions—the new state office should facilitate sharing of solutions among institutions to a variety of HR, IT, and related problems.  The implementation of OASIS, and the lack of technical assistance from HEPC and other state agencies, remains a source of concern for all institutions.


Statutory authorities

Agreed that the Higher Education Policy Commission will be replaced by a Board of Managers consisting of one representative each from Bluefield State, Concord, Fairmont State, Glenville, Marshall, Shepherd, West Liberty, West Virginia State, and West Virginia University, for a total of nine members 


Agreed that Marshall, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, and WVU will remain exempted as defined in West Virginia Code; related to matters from which they are exempted, representatives of these schools will be non-voting but may participate in discussions; related to matters from which they are not exempted, representatives of these schools will be eligible to vote


Undecided about whether the new state office should approve tuition and fees above current statutory caps


Agreed that related to revenue bonds, the new state office will provide legal guidance to schools requesting it and review the bond issues for consistency; the new state office will not approve these bond issues


Undecided about whether to change the name of the new state office; changing the name on signs, stationery, and websites will be expensive


At the conclusion of the line-by-line analysis, Mr. Payne said the draft proposed legislation would be revised to reflect additional feedback and this would be shared for another round of review. 


President Martin said the first draft of the legislation was not cohesive and did not flow.  She also wondered if the feedback from the six regional presidents could be considered as a resolution.


Mr. Becker said a legislation was necessary because legislation is the means by which the subcommittee’s recommendations would be operationalized and taken up by the Legislature. 


President Boggess asked whether a final decision had been reached about academic program approval. 


Mr. Becker said academic program approval still needs to be wrestled with, and any final decision needs to include the CTCs.


[Unidentified] said that HEPC fulfilled multiple roles: a regulatory agency, a shared services agency, and other purposes.  He advised the commission to remember that regulating is separate and distinct from providing services.  He said that the commission should also keep the goals and objectives of higher education at the forefront of its deliberations.


Mr. Becker said that the commission can not complete its work until the CTCS are fully engaged.  He also said that the issue of governance and how to strike the balance between powers of the Boards of Governors and the protection of the state’s interests have been at the heart of the commission’s deliberations.


President Boggess suggested that changing the name of HEPC on signs, stationery, and websites would be expensive and that these costs should be considered.  The six regional presidents suggested not changing the name to save money. 


Mr. Payne thanked everyone for their participation and comments.  He adjourned the meeting at 11:00 a.m.