The expertise of faculty and graduate students at state institutions of higher education is important to every citizen of this state. It is the responsibility of the governing boards to channel this expertise into research and analysis that will yield measurable benefits to the citizens of West Virginia. Therefore, in addition to the goals, objectives and priorities established in section one-a, article one and article one-d of this chapter and goals established elsewhere in this code, it is the responsibility of the governing boards to concentrate attention and resources on certain specific state priorities that have a direct, positive impact on the economic, social and cultural well-being of the people of West Virginia.
(a) Priorities for Marshall University and West Virginia University in collaboration:
(1) Developing Regional Brownfield Assistance Centers pursuant to section seven, article eleven of this chapter;
(2) Performing professional development-related research and coordinating the delivery of professional development to educators in the public schools of the state pursuant to article two, chapter eighteen of this code; and
(3) Building subject matter expertise in public education finance, including mastery of the theories and concepts used in developing formulas to provide state-level financial support to public education.
(b) The Legislature may, but is not required to, make additional appropriations for the benefit of Marshall University and West Virginia University to assist them in fulfilling the purposes set forth in subsection (a) of this section.
(c) Additional priorities for governing boards:
(d) In addition to the priorities established in subsection (a) of this section, each governing board under the jurisdiction of the commission shall focus resources and attention on improving its graduation rate for full-time undergraduate students as a specific institutional priority. The graduation rate is measured as a percentage of the number of undergraduate students who obtain a degree within six years of the date of enrollment as full-time freshmen.
(1) By July 1, 2015, the governing board of each state institution of higher education under the jurisdiction of the commission, including the governing boards of Marshall University and West Virginia University, shall attain a graduation rate for full-time undergraduate students that equals or exceeds the graduation rate of its peers established pursuant to section three, article one-a of this chapter.
(2) The commission shall monitor and report annually by December 1, to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability on the progress of the governing boards toward meeting the goals set forth in this subsection.