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Building the Future

Passion, determination and hope create opportunities for students, faculty and alumni

Students line up outside during Academic Day


Join us as we explore the past semester and look ahead to the New Year. Learn more about how faculty, students, staff, alumni and donors share the same passion, determination and hope to build the future of the College and offer opportunities for current and prospective students.  

Provost Joyce McConnell visited with CPASS faculty and staff this fall to discuss the future of the College. The provost explained that WVU will work toward updating the overall University strategic plan. The University’s strategic plan will play a major role in the future of the college, as it will help to identify the focus of WVU moving forward. The Provost stated that the destiny of CPASS starts with the faculty, staff, alumni and students. 

With Dean Brooks leaving the office in June 2019, no search has begun. The Provost stated that she will receive feedback from CPASS administration regarding an internal candidate for interim Dean. CPASS will have an important part to play in developing the strategic plan. 

Meanwhile, the CPASS Transformation Task Force studied the structure and function of the College. The external review panel has reviewed the College’s administrative structure and function to suggest changes as needed. Additionally, the task force is considering the College’s current academic programs (major and minors, graduate and undergraduate) and evaluating strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. The group will suggest possible new program offerings for the Dean’s Office and faculty to consider implementing while providing rationale for changes. 

Current recommendations range from updating the strategic plan to expanding faculty to help with teaching; limiting class sizes; providing research and grant writing resources; expanding the leadership team; evaluating leadership structure and roles; using College Centers to promote faculty interaction; strengthening faculty and staff bonds, communication and leadership. CPASS faculty, staff and Visiting Committee members will continue to provide feedback as the transformation process continues and the announced University strategic planning process launches.  

The College organizational structure has transitioned, with recent shifts in positions and retirements. The College has established various interim positions, including Manager of Business Operations, Associate Dean and Sport Sciences Department Chair. Two slots remain open: Fundraising and Development and Grants and Contracts Administrator. The College has established three active Centers: Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Sciences, Center for Active WV and the Russell “Bud” Bolton Center for Sport Ethics. The College has placed emphasis on Online programs in establishing a new director position. 

CPASS is hosting prospective faculty candidates on campus to interview for several positions. These roles include assistant professor in sport and exercise psychology; assistant professor in physical education teacher education, with an emphasis in adapted physical education and physical activity; athletic coaching education with an emphasis in applied sport science and sport management with a focus on distance education.  

Continue to read stories below, to learn more about alumni, faculty, student and program updates. Visit the links to view full story details. Thank you for your ongoing support of the College. 


Alyssa Johnston

A new city holds new adventures, which may be intimidating to most people but for West Virginia native Alyssa Johnston, it represents her career vision. Johnston (SM 2018) took a chance and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where she landed a job with NBA Charlotte Hornets. 

Portrait of Alyssa Johnston

Shannon Nash

Since the 1970s the child obesity rate in the U.S. has nearly tripled, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As the rates climb, the importance of physical education for children becomes more and more critical. As a teacher, Shannon Nash, physical education teacher education (BS 2009), realizes the need for leaving a lasting impression for a healthy and active lifestyle for every student. 

Portrait of Shannon Nash

Bailey Guffin

Newly developed student recruitment videos feature CPASS programs and majors. Meet Bailey Guffin, athletic coaching education major, who returned from a coaching seminar with West Ham United in London. He highlights his experiences in this story.

Portrait of Bailey Guffin giving thumbs up

Around the College

Student Enrollment/Retention

As WVU places a stronger emphasis on student recruitment and retention, the CPASS Office of Student Success is excited to offer innovative programming to incoming freshman students. These programs were developed to recruit highly motivated students, but to also allow students to begin their college journey on the right foot. First-year students can participate in an engaging Living Learning Community get a jump start on their college career through an Early Start program and meet other CPASS students through Mountaineer Quest

Featured Majors

Online Sport Management 

The College’s innovative online master of science in sport management emphasizes hands-on experience and collaboration, with a curriculum based around industry best practices, detailed research and the acquisition of practical skills. Students work alongside faculty members and practitioners who excel in their areas of expertise and study within areas of emphasis.

Physical Activity and Well-being 

A new major features a custom physical activity degree within a three-year program and focuses on the importance of regular physical activity in promoting health, reducing risk for chronic disease and improving quality of life. Students in the Physical Activity and Well-being major will complete specialized training in movement sciences, personal training and physical activity instruction.

International opportunities

COIL Program

A Japanese group visited campus this fall to promote cultural understanding and international learning experiences within the field of physical education teacher education. The partnership is part of the new Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program designed as a complementary strategy to ongoing study abroad efforts within the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences. While COIL projects typically develop online relationships only, this effort combines an online alliance with a physical, face-to-face meeting component.

Ostrow International Award

CPASS has announced the Ostrow International Award for students completing a semester or brief study abroad experience that takes place during the spring or summer of 2019. Opportunities will continue. This award will provide assistance for undergraduate students enrolled in CPASS majors who are participating in study abroad, providing an immersive opportunity within the culture of a foreign country. The Award considers first preference for a single student, semester-long study abroad experience.


The CPASS strategic planning and goal development will continue moving forward to enable the College to create its own future. CPASS will update the research portion of the strategic plan in 2019. The College continues to utilize technology to enhance student learning, develop cutting-edge and forward-looking programs, globalize the College’s academic programs. Efforts highlight faculty/student exchange programs, student abroad and collaborative research activities, seeking external funding to support research, enhancing service and teaching expectations and maintaining branding and marketing strategy. 

Physical Education and learning research

Physical education is part of a well-rounded education. The Department of Education has opened the doors to incorporate physical education as a critical subject area in schools. This is a perfect opportunity for PE to become a focus again. Emi Tsuda and James Wyant, both assistant professors at CPASS, are working with other faculty members to prepare a report, highlighting the correlation between student learning and physical education. They are part of a five-member team based at WVU, including Sean Bulger, director of online learning and professor, Eloise Elliott, Ware Distinguished Professor, and Andrea Taliaferro, associate professor, striving to improve the health and wellness of children across the state and country.

CDC Grant/Partnership with WVU Extension

It’s no secret that West Virginia has some of the highest rates of obesity and cardiovascular disease in the country. But to create a healthier landscape in some of our state’s unhealthiest counties, a few WVU faculty want to empower the entire community.  A rural health project led by faculty from WVU Extension Service, WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, and WVU School of Public Health and West Virginia Prevention Research Center, will focus on communities in Clay and McDowell counties. The team received a five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help reduce obesity and other chronic diseases in these communities related to long-term unhealthy lifestyles.  

US State Department Grant/Strengthening Leadership for Women through Soccer

West Virginia University is seeking applicants for a U.S. State Department Sport for Social Change exchange between the U.S. and Mexico. The program will involve an eight-day trip to Mexico with the goal of using the sport of soccer to promote leadership and empowerment among young women in Mexico. The U.S.-based participants will later interact with participants from Mexico during a 13-day exchange in the United States to build on lessons learned in Mexico.

Mountaineer Values


CPASS faculty and students attended the 33rd Annual Association for Applied Sport Psychology conference in Toronto, Canada in early October. AASP hosted an awards ceremony, announcing top performers in various categories, including numerous CPASS recipients. Among the those honored include Ian Connole, CPASS alumnus; Erika Van Dyke, CPASS graduate student; Zenzi Huysmans, CPASS doctoral student and Damien Clement, associate professor, were acknowledged and awarded a grant for their research, “Coaching Life Skills Through Youth Sport: An Application of the TPSR Model in Swaziland.” Other recipients include undergraduate student Farhan Shaikh; Dana Voelker, assistant professor and Kristen Dieffenbach, associate professor.


The results of WVU Day of Giving 2018 are in and the news is great. CPASS donors contributed $19,203 through 100 gifts, helping to enhance student academic experiences and advance wellness and physical activity in West Virginia. Donor support helps CPASS remain on the cutting edge of teaching, research and service to the state and profession.

Community Outreach

WVU and CPASS are committed to supporting the WVU Mountaineer values: appreciation, accountability, respect, curiosity and service along with enhancing the quality of life for all West Virginians. Multiple outreach projects will have a lasting impact in the Morgantown community and beyond. A New Jersey high school robotics team has developed a robot that enables kids with special needs in the CPASS Friday Adapted PE program to have greater access to fun physical activities. 

A model grant that combines researchers from WVU and three other regional institutions will help community groups to provide health and wellness opportunities for individuals with disabilities. A continuing partnership with the National Inclusion Project expands physical activity environments for a diverse population within WVU Lifetime Activities

Mark Your Calendar

Mid-Year Graduation Ceremony
December 15, 2018
WVU Coliseum, 10 a.m.

Dean’s List Reception
March 22, 2019
Erickson Alumni Center, 3 p.m.

CPASS Faculty, Staff and Scholarship Awards Luncheon
April 26, 2019
Erickson Alumni Center, 11:30 a.m.

View upcoming College and University events, seminars, workshops and lectures at

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