As Fairmont State prepares for the upcoming year, the University’s commitment to serving students, campus and surrounding communities remains at the forefront.
Throughout the 2021 – 22 academic year, Fairmont State University continued serving its mission to provide quality, transformative opportunities to students, while strengthening the talent pipeline into the region, the State of West Virginia and beyond.
“We take immense pride in educating a skilled workforce and the next generation of citizen leaders,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “Our caring teacher-mentors, one-on-one attention and programs of distinction are hallmarks of a Fairmont State University education, which prepares our students for meaningful careers upon graduation and allows them to truly soar.”
Fairmont State has continued to expand academic offerings available to students, establishing more than five new areas of study within the past year. Among the programs include a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care, Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and several concentrations for students pursuing Healthcare Management degrees.
A Fairmont State University Police Training Academy concentration, minor and certificate to be offered through the College of Liberal Arts have also been established, with applications currently being accepted for cadets in the inaugural spring and summer 2023 academies.
Most recently, the Fairmont State Board of Governors granted approval to enhance offerings provided through the College of Nursing by establishing a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. The proposed curriculum was developed to enroll a new population of nursing students at Fairmont State and to complement the existing Associate of Science in Nursing and Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs.
In addition, the College of Nursing was awarded a $1 million grant in March through the WV Nursing Workforce Expansion Program. The funds are expected to sustain up to 20 new nursing students, and will also be allocated for the development of curriculum for the new RN to BSN program.
The National Science Foundation has also provided two grants in 2022 to increase the University’s efforts to support students studying STEM related fields, including a six-year grant totaling $749,693 to fund Bridging the STEM Gap in Appalachia and $323,352 allocated for the Discrete and Continuous Analysis in Appalachia project.
“I know firsthand that a college education is the key that unlocks limitless potential and a rewarding life,” Martin said. “Initiatives like our STEM Gap in Appalachia project and our Appalachian mathematics research experience project provide support and educational opportunities to populations who need it most.”
Several other grants were secured throughout the year for various campus and community initiatives including a $47,782 WV-INBRE grant for biomedical research, $10,000 provided to the Fairmont State Academy for the Arts for scholarship opportunities for K-12 students in the community, a West Virginia Humanities Council grant to fund the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center’s Trunk of Traditional Tunes community educational series, funds to address food insecurity among campus and surrounding communities, among others.
Fairmont State welcomed the community back to campus during the summer of 2021 after being closed for more than a year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the University continues to serve as a partner and home to many within the region. The University celebrated many firsts since the pandemic during the 2021 – 22 academic year, including its Homecoming festivities for campus and the community, seven in-person Commencement ceremonies, live concerts and performances taking place on campus, large-scale recruiting events including Maroon & White Day and SOAR Awards, the reopening of athletic events for spectators and guests, among several other events enjoyed by the community.
During the year, Dr. Martin also welcomed a team from the Governors Academy, which ultimately led to earning the privilege of hosting the Governor’s Honors Academy at Fairmont State for the next three years.
“These bright minds of West Virginia will have the opportunity to study on campus during the summer, and experience, first hand, the familial atmosphere of the University," Martin said.
Throughout the year, the University continued to strengthen partnerships with local organizations and agencies. The Fairmont State Student Government Association continued its Christmas with a Falcon sponsorship program to deliver Christmas gifts to local children and their families. The 2021 campaign raised more than $15,000 to purchase gifts for 125 students across 14 Marion County schools.
Members of the campus community joined together in support of several other community agencies through the University’s United Way workplace campaign, MLK Day of Service, Fairmont State University Day of Action and Fairmont State Women of HOPE Holiday Gift Collection.
“We are rightfully proud of our student outcomes, and pleased that we have such a strong financial impact on the region, but we also know we couldn’t do it without the steadfast support of our community,” Martin said. “We are committed to serving and supporting Fairmont and this region in return, and programs like our Academy for the Arts, the Folklife Center’s educational series, our food insecurity initiatives, SGA’s Christmas gift drive, and our days of service and action within our community help us uphold that obligation.