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Fairmont State University is a comprehensive, student-centered, state-supported institution offering numerous certificate and degree programs at the associate, bachelor, and master’s degree levels via 41 degree programs and over 90 fields of study. Located on a charming hilltop campus in Fairmont, West Virginia (Marion County), Fairmont State turns opportunity, passion, and hard work into excellence in a vibrant, close-knit campus community where students and teachers become friends for life. At Fairmont State, students enjoy the opportunities offered by a comprehensive state university combined with the personal attention and campus atmosphere they might expect from a small, private school.
Fairmont State University’s (the University) roots reach back to the formation of public education in the state of West Virginia. The first private normal school in West Virginia was established by John N. Boyd (the school’s first principal) in Fairmont in 1865 for the purpose of training teachers. The school, known as the West Virginia Normal School at Fairmont, has undergone several name changes over the last 150 years. In February 1867, the normal school was purchased by the state and became Fairmont State Normal School in the 1870s. Later the school became Fairmont State Teachers College in 1931, Fairmont State College in 1944, and finally Fairmont State University in 2004. These name changes are indicative of the ongoing expansion of programs and purpose. In 1923, the Fairmont State Normal School first offered a four-year bachelor’s degree program in education, making the school a college.
In addition, Fairmont State Community and Technical College was founded in 1974 and was renamed Pierpont Community and Technical College in 2006. Pursuant to legislation passed in 2008, as of August 2022, Fairmont State and Pierpont operate as two separate and distinct institutions.
The University’s changes in location in Fairmont also reflect its continued growth. After becoming a state institution in 1867, construction began on a brick building on the northwest corner of Adams and Quincy streets later that year. In 1893, the school moved into a new building on Second Street and Fairmont Avenue. In early 1917, the Fairmont State Normal School moved to the building now called Hardway Hall, which sits on a hill overlooking Locust Avenue.
From that single columned building on a hill that was once part of a dairy farm, the University’s 120-acre campus has expanded to include more than 23 buildings. Over the past decade, new construction, including a new student center, parking garage, residence hall, and academic building, as well as major improvements in infrastructure, have greatly impacted the accessibility and beauty of the campus. Fairmont State also features two locations in Harrison County, the Gaston Caperton Center in Clarksburg, and the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center in Bridgeport. In addition, Fairmont State continues to look for ways to reach beyond the borders of West Virginia and the nation to build relationships. From its first officially recorded enrollment of 30 students in 1868, Fairmont State has grown to be West Virginia’s third largest university. Since the first student, Hyre D. Clark of Buckhannon, graduated from the normal school in 1872, Fairmont State has produced an alumni network of more than 29,000 proud Falcons.
Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, Fairmont State serves approximately 3500 undergraduate and graduate students in a student-centered, state-supported, regional, comprehensive university setting. The University is governed by a 12-member, appointed Board of Governors (BOG). The BOG determines, controls, supervises, and manages the financial, business, and educational policies and affairs of the institution.
Fairmont State is part of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, West Virginia’s four-year public higher education system which includes 12 campuses that offer vast opportunities for a high-quality education at an affordable cost. These institutions, and the state's Community and Technical College System, are working to arm 60 percent of the Mountain State's workforce with a formal credential beyond high school by 2030 -- nearly doubling the percentage of working-age West Virginians with a postsecondary education over the next decade. The Commission consists of nine members, seven of whom are appointed by the governor, and two ex-officio members: State Superintendent of Schools, and Chairperson of the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education. The system is headed by a Chancellor who reports to the Commission.
Fairmont State University is a comprehensive, regional university committed to educating global citizen leaders in an environment distinguished by a commitment to excellence, student success, and transformational impact.
Fairmont State University will be renowned for its innovative pedagogical practices and programs and as the first-choice institution for students seeking a transformative educational experience.
Being the “biggest” or “most exclusive” school has never been the goal of Fairmont State. Instead, the University desires to be the school that prepares hard-working, passionate students for a lifetime of success.
The approximately 3,500 students (approximately 2,800 undergraduates; 300 graduate; and 400 dual enrollment) at Fairmont State come from 33 states/territories and 21 countries. A significant number of the student population, approximately 89%, comes from West Virginia, with Marion and Harrison counties providing the largest number of students. Of the total student population, approximately 59% are women and 41% are men, and 14% represent diverse student populations. Fairmont State University is proud to educate a high percentage of its students who will be the first in their family to earn a degree. More than 90% of Fairmont State students receive some form of financial aid.
Academically, students at Fairmont State benefit from a student to faculty ratio of 15:1 and an average class size of 22, which allows Fairmont State to put every student first. Students at the University can choose from more than 90 programs of study offered thorough the following (click on the links for more information):
In addition to the academic opportunities, students also benefit from a variety of campus life activities. A combination of departments provides extracurricular activities to enhance campus life. Over 60 various student organizations and clubs are available on campus. The options for students range from joining student government, professional and honor societies, and Greek Life to participating in intramural sports or other clubs or organizations. Both on-campus and commuter students are kept in mind when campus life activities are organized, so every student has an opportunity to get involved.
Athletically, Fairmont State competes at the NCAA Division II level as a member of the Mountain East Conference. Approximately 400 student-athletes participate in Fairmont State’s 17 DII sports teams including: acrobatics (women’s), women’s soccer, football, softball, and women’s volleyball, as well as men’s and women’s teams for basketball, baseball, cross country, golf, swimming, and tennis.
With a population of approximately 19,000 residents, Fairmont is the county seat of Marion County, where North Central West Virginia's rolling hills meet the thriving I-79 High Tech Corridor. Known as “The Friendly City” for the geniality of the community, Fairmont is a small city surrounded by nature. Nearby, winding, clear rivers cut through the green hills and mountains of Appalachia, giving the area and Fairmont State campus community unrivaled access to the outdoors. Biking, hiking, camping, rafting, climbing, skiing – the region has it all.
Situated only an hour and a half drive from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a three-hour drive from Columbus, Ohio, and three and a half hours from Washington DC, residents have easy access to metro areas coupled with the advantage of living in a smaller, close-knit community. Fairmont is also close to dozens of cultural and historic areas and state parks. For more information about Fairmont, please visit the City of Fairmont and the Marion County Chamber of Commerce web pages.
The President serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the University with responsibility for ensuring the success of the institution’s mission, academic integrity, fiscal stability and sustainability, enrollment management, fundraising efforts, personnel development, and physical plant management. In doing so, the President works closely with the Board of Governors in developing, communicating, and executing a strategy consistent with the overall mission and vision of Fairmont State. As such, the President serves an exceptional community of scholars with a strong sense of shared governance, where students and faculty pursue a commitment to excellence, student success, and a transformational educational experience.
The President of Fairmont State is appointed by, and reports directly to, the Board of Governors. Positions reporting directly to the President include Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Vice President for Finance and Administration/CFO; VP for Facilities Management and Campus Safety; General Counsel; Director of Human Resources; Vice President for Student Success; Senior Director of University Relations and Marketing; Director of Athletics; and an Executive Assistant to the President & BOG.
Overall, the President provides leadership for the University’s approximately 400 employees including faculty and staff.
In addition to fostering meaningful relationships internal to the University, the President is expected to develop and maintain productive relationships with a wide variety of additional stakeholders, including but not limited to alumni; donors; local, state, and regional community leaders; state and local educational and governmental leaders; corporate partners; and foundations. Integral in these relationships will be the relationship with the Fairmont State Foundation, whose mission is to support, through ethical stewardship, the mission of Fairmont State University. The Foundation seeks to accomplish this mission by identifying, establishing, and cultivating meaningful relationships with Fairmont State alumni, as well as potential and existing funding constituencies to meet contributor needs, while securing funds and supporters for priority objectives identified by the Fairmont State Board of Governors.
As the Chief Executive Officer of the University, the new President should become personally invested in the future of Fairmont State, the Fairmont community, the northwest/north-central region of West Virginia, and education in the state of West Virginia as a whole. In doing so, the President will be expected to continue to raise the profile of the University and promote its mission and value proposition. As such, the President will provide innovative and visionary leadership in academic, fiscal, administrative, and professional matters, relative to all faculty, staff, and students at the University. Further, the President will be expected to develop, build/nurture, and maintain significant, productive, and trusting relationships with elected and appointed state and local political leaders in order to appropriately advocate for resources, financial and otherwise, to meet the needs of the University.
In addition to the broad responsibilities listed above, specific responsibilities include, but are not necessarily limited to:
Preferred qualifications include the following:
Compensation will be commensurate with experience including a competitive base salary, car allowance, benefits package, and an on-campus residence. The President will be required to reside on campus in the residence provided.
To make a nomination, provide a referral, or for additional information, please use the contact information below. Review of submitted documents will begin immediately. While applications and nominations will be accepted until a successful candidate has been appointed, interested parties are encouraged to submit their materials by, or preferably before, February 17, 2023. The targeted start date for the new President is July 1, 2023. To apply, please submit a resume and/or vita, and cover letter, to: FSUPresident@buffkinbaker.com.
Ken Carrick, Partner
Janny DeLoache, Principal
Fairmont State University does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of race, color, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression/association, national origin, age, height, weight, religion, creed, genetic information, disability, or veteran's status, as identified and defined by law in employment, admissions, and educational programs and activities. Minorities/Women/Veterans/those with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Fairmont State University will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because such employee or applicant has inquired about, discussed, or disclosed the compensation of the employee or applicant or another employee or applicant.