Capehart Led WLU to Increased Efficiency and Responsiveness

As the 33rd president of West Liberty University from 2007 to 2015, Robin Capehart presided over a fast-growing four-year public institution located in the greater Wheeling, West Virginia, community. Under Robin Capehart’s leadership, WLU expanded enrollment, scholarship funding, and class offerings, and increased its private fundraising by more than 400 percent. In 2012, the school additionally began its SmartCampus initiative, designed to create greater operational efficiency, and thus greater responsiveness to student needs.

The SmartCampus project included input from four-fifths of all WLU faculty members and staff campus-wide. The program was associated with the school’s Focus 2020 planning process. By August 2014, SmartCampus had used more than 20 focus groups and facilitated meetings to collect more than 1,000 distinct ideas and insights from participants on best practices, protocols, and processes. Employees had the opportunity to critique areas in which they observed inefficiencies, and to offer their own suggestions for improvements. After extensive data analysis, project leaders drilled the input down to a series of main issues that should be addressed, and prioritized several for immediate attention.

Among the achievements of the SmartCampus project was the creation of the President’s Council on Sustainability, which was set up to improve the school’s environmental quality, as well as its long-term fiscal and social sustainability. Other initiatives that came out of the project included improvements in scheduling, personnel practices, and data-driven decision-making.

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