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Lunch & Learn: Explore Graduate Programs at WVU on September 14

Posted on September 1st, 2016 by Deborah

Bring your lunch and join faculty from the Department of Public Administration on Wednesday, September 14 from 12PM – 1PM in room 6117 at Waterfront Place. Learn about the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Legal Studies (MLS). The MPA degree is a flexible for part-time enrollment tailored to develop your skills in managing public, healthcare, and community organizations. The MLS degree is offered completely online and is designed for mid-career professionals to gain a greater understanding of the American legal system in order to assist those who need to work with, but not necessarily in the legal system. For more information about the lunch and learn please contact

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Dr. Kunz discusses the ROI on Taxes on WalletHub

Posted on September 1st, 2016 by Deborah

2016’s States with the Best & Worst Taxpayer ROI – -

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Dr. Farah appointed to International Law Committee

Posted on August 31st, 2016 by Deborah

Dr. Paolo Farah, assistant professor of public administration, was recently appointed Member of the Coordinating Committee of the European Society of International Law – International Environmental Law Interest Group. This appointment follows his ongoing roles with the International Law Association Committee on Sustainable Development and the Green Economy in International Trade Law, the Committee on Role of International Law in Sustainable Natural Resource Management for Development and the Study Group on Preferential Trade Agreements.

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MPA Student awarded John D. Rockefeller IV Leadership Award in Policy & Politics

Posted on August 31st, 2016 by Deborah

The first recipient of this new scholarship is Michelle Sloane of Paramus, New Jersey, a student in the Master of Public Administration program. As a graduate student, Sloane has been involved in several public service projects, including developing community capacity in Fairmont, West Virginia and exploring budget frameworks for the WVU Extension Fire Service. She serves in a leadership role in the WVU Student Association of Public Administrators and volunteers with the West Virginia Botanical Gardens. Michelle also works as a Graduate Research Assistant at the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.

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Stout named WVU Eberly College Outstanding Public Service award winner

Posted on April 6th, 2016 by Deborah

Margaret Stout, associate professor of public administration, has been named the 2016 WVU Eberly College Outstanding Public Service award winner, but says the real credit belongs to the 69 students who have participated in service learning projects and the communities she works with to make meaningful changes.

Stout and her students work in small rural towns or urban neighborhoods, particularly those with many low-income and minority residents. Each project is designed to help the community move along a proven developmental path from mobilizing and organizing, to visioning and planning, to program and project implementation, anticipating ongoing evaluation. Each step includes capacity building and participatory practice with the motto “working with, not for the community.”

“In reflection, deep involvement in community development work can be very messy and challenging. As one student said, teams ‘become like families’ embedded in the community, with all the dynamics these relationships infer,” said Stout. “We share the frustrations of community conflicts and failures along with celebrations of success.”

Stout says her work contributes in a meaningful way to WVU’s Land Grant mission, helping to create a human resource pipeline for community development in the state. Her ongoing public service goal is to build local governance capacity and help create a stronger, more integrated system of community development in the state through the combined efforts of numerous WVU outreach and service learning programs, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

“Margaret is the unusual academic who understands how to be an effective practitioner in the field. She has shown the ability to work with county and city governments (the public sector), businesses (the private sector), and non-profit organizations such as the Hub (the civic sector),” said Kent Spellman, West Virginia Community Development Hub executive director. “In doing so, she has brought value to communities by helping them build their capacity for effective improvement, and has strengthened her non-profit partners through her strategic thinking and deep understanding of the sector.”

Each semester, Stout and her students make three service learning visits to conduct field research, meet with stakeholders, and engage the community in planning and development activities. Each day ends with guided reflection that is captured by each student in fieldwork journals. When teams have to stay overnight, the community provides homestay or cabin accommodations that develop strong bonds among team members. When not completing work assignments, the team participates in community barbecues, school sporting events and street decorating, fundraising competitions, holiday celebrations, meals at local restaurants, and parties with homestay hosts; experiences that are highly valued by students.

“It was very insightful, and actually somewhat amazing to me, how the class had, over three semesters, put together so much for the community. It seems like a sort of alchemy, the way Dr. Stout and the graduate students enrolled in the class took information and input from residents and made tangible deliverables for the community,” said Andrew Benjamin, forestry graduate student.

Recipients of this award are listed on a plaque in Woodburn Hall on the WVU Downtown Campus, and are awarded $1,000 to pursue professional development opportunities.

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Debbie Koon-Friel awarded Eberly Outstanding Staff award

Posted on April 5th, 2016 by Deborah

WVU Eberly College announces 2016 Outstanding Staff Award recipients

The WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences has named four recipients of the 2016 Outstanding Staff Award: Deborah “Debbie” Koon-Friel, Robert Phipps, R. George Parnell and Ronny Thompson.

Deborah “Debbie” Koon-Friel has worked as an administrative assistant in the Department of Public Administration for more than 35 years. Her devotion to the department’s students and their organizations has been noted by many.

“Her knowledge is extensive, her commitment is unwavering, and she is dedicated to ensuring faculty and students receive excellent service,” one faculty member wrote in a recommendation.

Robert Phipps, professional technologist in the Office of the Dean, is always willing to offer his computer expertise and lend a helping hand. Several recommendations commended him for being attentive, responsive, knowledgeable, service-oriented and compassionate.

“To say he goes above and beyond is an understatement,” said members of the Outstanding Staff Award Committee.

R. George Parnell, accounting clerk in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, came into the position after three months of vacancy and years of mishandled work. His dedication to the job, pride in his work and personality has helped bridge the gap between faculty and vendors and has earned him the respect of everyone in the department.

According his coworkers, Parnell frequently goes above and beyond in his position, substituting for others in the office when they are absent and making sure everything is taken care of.

“He has done an amazing job of bringing a high level of organization and efficiency to a job for which both are extremely challenging,” said Paul Cassak, associate professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy. “He really has quickly become a fixture in the department and a very steadying influence on the faculty and staff.”

Ronny Thompson, program assistant in the Department of Political Science, has consistently provided excellent customer service for the last nine years and has become invaluable to the department by how she helps with undergraduate advising.

Her reputation has extended to the Undergraduate Advising Office where everyone enjoys working with her because she is punctual and pleasant. Her supervisor is impressed by her willingness to take on additional duties and responsibilities.

“Ronny is a joy to work with. She is efficient, knowledgeable, and above all dependable,” said Philip A. Michelbach, associate professor in the Department of Political Science. “Ronny does her job with a cheerfulness that makes any interaction with her a pleasant experience. Our department would be lost without her help.”

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Karen Kunz awarded 2016 WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching

Posted on April 5th, 2016 by Deborah

Six inspirational West Virginia University faculty members have been honored with the 2016 WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching. This year’s honorees are:

Nicholas Bowman, associate professor of communication studies
Ordel Brown, teaching assistant professor of fundamentals of engineering
Joshua Hall, associate professor of economics
Karen Kunz, associate professor of public administration
Dennis Ruscello, professor of communication sciences and disorders and
Arif Sarwari, associate professor of medicine.

“These six professors truly go above and beyond in the classroom, inspiring our students to attain new and exciting knowledge and reach for achievements beyond the ordinary,” said Provost Joyce McConnell. “Their passion for teaching is the rock-solid foundation supporting the exceptional education offered here at WVU.”

The WVU Foundation established the awards in 1985 as a way to celebrate faculty who have established patterns of distinguished teaching and exceptional innovation in teaching methods, course and curriculum design and instructional tools.

“The WVU Foundation is privileged to be able to annually provide these awards due to the generosity of our donors,” said Cindi Roth, Foundation president and CEO. “WVU is fortunate to have such high caliber faculty. We salute this year’s recipients who are truly super stars in their fields of study.”

Nicholas Bowman empowers student voices. His approachable yet rigorous teaching style
allows students to gain feedback and learn to fail in constructive ways through the presentation and discussion of their own work. He distinguishes himself with an emphasis on contact over content, allowing his students to discover their own paths to learning success.

Ordel Brown uses her unique energy and creativity to guide her students in becoming excellent and ethical engineers. She cultivates an exciting and engaging learning environment. This passion carries over into her extensive program development, material improvement and advising – all in service to the students she cares for so deeply.

Joshua Hall sets himself apart by his emphasis on instruction outside of the classroom. He has co-authored 51 publications with dozens of his former undergraduate and graduate students. He is also a leader and innovator who is committed to reshaping and transforming how economics is taught. He has published extensively in the field of pedagogy research, establishing him as one of the nation’s leading scholars on economic education.

Karen Kunz commits fully to her students on every level. Her teaching goes beyond readings and lectures to encompass contemporary, real-world applications. She excels at helping students discover who they are and what they want to be when they grow up – staying with them past graduation through research collaborations and professional networking. She brings the experience full circle by soliciting former students to share their expertise in her classroom.

Dennis Ruscello’s mentorship is invaluable to the aspiring clinicians he trains. He leads by example, sharing his knowledge, professionalism and warm, respectful patient interactions with the students clamoring to learn from him. He is so unmatched in disciplinary expertise and generosity with his own time that some of his former students write him daily for his opinion on their most challenging cases. His 37-year career shows unwavering dedication to teaching and training the next generation of speech-language pathology professionals.

Arif Sarwari kindles the flame of curiosity to engage his students as they learn to perform patient exams, take patient histories and make proper health assessments. He respects his students and pays close attention to their needs. He has earned numerous institutional and national awards recognizing his skillful teaching in the classroom, at the bedside and in his practice.

The six honorees will receive a $5000 honorarium from the WVU Foundation and be recognized by WVU President Gordon Gee, Provost McConnell and Cindi Roth at the April 6 faculty and staff awards dinner at Blaney House.



CONTACT: University Relations/News

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Trends for Successful Classroom

Posted on March 14th, 2016 by Deborah

West Virginia University invites educators to campus to discuss classroom success and inform policymakers March 5.

While educators face the increasing challenge of shaping America’s youth with decreasing budgets, West Virginia University is encouraging teachers to brainstorm ways to lessen the gap by sharing classroom success strategies and developing metrics to rethink how education spending and performance are linked.

The John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences invited K -12 educators from West Virginia and surrounding states via email through their respective Boards of Education to campus for a day of discussion about how teachers define a successful learning environment and how that success is measured.

The brainstorming session will be held Saturday, March 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Reed College of Media Innovation Center at Evansdale Crossing. Participating educators will hear from former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise in the morning and will then break into discussion groups facilitated by public administration graduate students, alumni and others to engage in candid dialogue about what works in their classrooms and how to measure it.

The roundtable was jointly conceived by Karen Kunz, associate professor of public administration and Jonathan Stehle, a past-president and board member of the American Association for Budget Program Analysis.
Their ultimate goal is to give educators a forum to share classroom success strategies and how they are measured. For example, if attendance is an indicator of success, educators can discuss how they might measure it and at what point in the day.

“This is really a way to fund exemplary education,” said Kunz. “We hope that teachers will learn from shared best practices so that they can take them back to their schools to use as a model to create success.”
Part of the discussions will also center around informing policy regarding how the federal government can best comply with the Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act, which requires that the Department of the Treasury establish common standards for financial data provided by all government agencies by Jan. 2017. The ultimate goal of the law is to improve the ability of Americans to track and understand how the government is spending their tax dollars.

The roundtable is just one example of how the Rockefeller School of Policy and Politics is working to make a difference in public policy and giving people a voice in the process.

“The Rockefeller School is committed to providing a first-class education while also making a difference in our world,” said Rochelle ‘Rocky’ Goodwin, senior associate vice president for academic and public strategy. “This weekend’s forum is just one small way we are connecting people to policy. When our federal policies listen to our teachers, K-12 students across the country win.”

Kunz, whose teachings and research focuses on public budgeting and fiscal policy says the ultimate goal is to uphold the Rockefeller School’s mission and give educators an opportunity to shape policy. They plan to inform policymakers on the outcomes of these discussions through a white paper that can inform future funding decisions.

“This will give teachers in the Appalachian region a platform to inform policy,” said Kunz. “We hope that lawmakers will use the information from these discussions to determine school funding.”

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Karen Kunz selected for Outstanding Teacher Award

Posted on March 10th, 2016 by Deborah

The West Virginia University Eberly College of Arts and Sciences has named five recipients of the 2016 Outstanding Teacher Award: Nicholas Bowman, Patrick Hickey, Karen Kunz, Philip Michelbach and Jill Higgins Woods.

Karen Kunz, associate professor of public administration, said it is essential that students are aware of the intricacies of the financial processes and issues faced by federal, state and local governments. To help her students understand these complex issues, Kunz collaborates with federal, state and non-profit professionals to bring their practices and issues into the classroom through guest lectures and course projects.

“It is equally important to her that students achieve the confidence that comes from comprehension of these complex issues through practical application,” Kunz said. “[Working with professionals] provides the students with the foundation necessary to effect change.”

Kunz’ research interests include public finance and fiscal policy, political economy and financial markets regulation. She received a master’s degree in political science and a doctorate in public administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

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Summer Study Abroad in China on topics of energy, environment, climate change, and intellectual property rights

Posted on March 8th, 2016 by Deborah

This Summer Institute in China Program is multidisciplinary and is aimed at students, young graduates and professionals with a background in law, political sciences, international relations, public administration, philosophy, economics, environmental sciences, engineering, geology, geography, physics and any other relevant discipline that can be related to the topics of the program. The Program includes two parallel curricula:

  • Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Protection (SICCEP), which addresses Law, Policy, Economics and Technology on Climate Change and Environmental issues.
  • Intellectual Property Rights and China” (IP-China), which addresses chinese law, and provides a comparative overview on European, American and Chinese approaches to Intellectual Property and Competition Policy.

The Summer Institute in China was founded in 2006 and in the Summer 2016 it will be held the 11th Edition. This program is organized in Beijing by West Virginia University, in partnership with gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development (United Kingdom), University of Calgary Law School (Canada), University of Provence Aix Marseille I – CNRS Centre of Comparative Epistemology and Ergology (France) and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain). The following institutions are also affiliated to the Summer program: University of Eastern Piedmont Faculty of Economics (Italy), University of Pavia, Faculty of Law (Italy), University of Verona, Department of Law (Italy) University of Napoli Federico II Law School (Italy).

Program Cost: $5,900* includes:
  • 6 WVU Course Credits
  • Program Enrollment Fees
  • Lodging in China
  • Comprehensive Travel and Health Insurance
  • Professionals and Guest Speaker Series
  • Internship Program and Job Placement
  • Mentoring and Professional Development Meetings
  • Life Alumni Association Mailing List of Offers and Opportunities
    The Program Cost does not include airfare

For more information:

Visit Summer Law Institute website

Twitter: @SLI_China


Email: Dr. Paolo Farah at

To apply to the Summer Study Abroad in China visit WVU Study Abroad Office

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