James P. Clements has said that no university in the country means more to its state than West Virginia University means to West Virginia. Since becoming WVU’s 23rd president on June 30, 2009, Dr. Clements has focused on expanding the University’s role as a 21st century land-grant institution. With a Strategic Framework for the Future now in place, WVU is committed to excelling in five key areas: academic excellence, research and innovation, diversity, global engagement, and enhancing the well-being and quality of life of our citizens.
Dr. Clements has announced several initiatives in support of these strategic planning goals, including: adding100 new faculty members to decrease the student-faculty ratio and support core and niche academic and research curriculums; building a new student health facility to increase wellness efforts; dedicating capital funds to expand outdoor recreational space for students; and increasing research to strengthen the University’s position as an economic engine as well as a leader in fields such as energy, biometrics, and health sciences. Additional priorities are to continue offering world-class health care and – through WVU’s Top-10 nationally ranked Rural Health Program – remain committed to increasing state outreach in the health sciences. To that end, WVU recently announced plans to establish a WVU School for Public Health to train the next generation of public health professionals, conduct high-quality population health research, and help the state confront preventable health threats that increase health care costs and shorten lives.
Other goals include finding more efficient and effective ways to use technology to drive progress, increasing the diversity of WVU’s learning community, and developing an even broader global focus in preparing students for new international opportunities. Other initiatives focus on increasing student retention, increasing WVU’s doctoral program enrollment, enhancing leadership development, and increasing operating funds. This momentum has carried over to record gains in enrollment, research, and private giving. Student enrollment across all campuses reached more than 32,000; research contract and grant awards for the past two years averaged an all-time high of $176 million; and annual private giving to WVU reached an all-time high of nearly $100 million this past year.
The University was also recognized as among the six percent of institutions in the country that the Carnegie Foundation classifies as highly engaged in service, and as one of the four best flagship universities in the country for access by the Education Trust. In addition to overseeing WVU and its divisional campuses, Dr. Clements chairs the boards of the WVU Research Corporation, the West Virginia United Health System, and the WVU Hospitals. In total, WVU and its affiliates represent a $2.3 billion enterprise and employ more than 18,000 people. Dr. Clements also serves as an ex-officio member of the WVU Foundation and WVU Alumni Association boards, and is active with national higher education organizations such as the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities and the American Council on Education. Regionally, he is a board member of the National Energy Technology Laboratory Regional University Alliance. He is co-chair of the Economic Development Team of the Power of 32, a visioning initiative across 32 counties in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. He also co-chaired the WV Higher Education Policy Commission’s Diversity Initiative Council and currently co-chairs the WV Higher Education Policy Commission’s College Completion Task Force, as well as serves on the board of the West Virginia Business Roundtable.
He also co-chairs the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Energy Forum. Before joining the Mountaineer family, Dr. Clements served as provost and vice president at Towson University, the second-largest public university in Maryland. Under his leadership, Towson developed academic and student support programs that led to impressive increases in enrollment as well as retention and graduation rates. Towson’s externally-funded research increased by 36 percent during Dr. Clements’ tenure as provost. Prior to becoming provost, he served as Towson University’s vice president for economic and community outreach and as the Robert W. Deutsch Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences. He was a four-time recipient of Towson’s Faculty Member of the Year Award given by students at the University. Dr. Clements has an academic background in computer science. He earned a B.S. in computer science and an M.S. and Ph.D. in operations analysis from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), as well as an M.S. in computer science from Johns Hopkins University. The fourth edition of his project management textbook was published in four languages and used in multiple countries; the fifth edition was recently released. At WVU, Dr. Clements is a tenured professor in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources’ Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. In October 2009, he was named UMBC’s Alumnus of the Year in the Engineering and Information Technology category.