WVU officials continue working to create the first new school at the university in more than 50 years, and expect to have some tangible results in the spring.

    In January, WVU President James Clements announced the creation of a School of Public Health.

    The department of Community Medicine is becoming that school and Chair Alan Ducatman has been named interim dean.

    The school has received roughly $200,000 in grants for use in planning, visiting other schools of public health and bringing in consultants.

    Ducatman said the consultants have had a positive view of WVU.

    “They all think we can do it,” Ducatman said.

    The school is tweaking its strategic plan and has submitted the curriculum for approval, Ducatman said. The curriculum will need approval from multiple committees and the faculty senate. That curriculum is a huge project, because 80 to 90 courses are being created.

    A curriculum will be needed when the school applies to become an affiliate of the credential agencies. They also will have to show they have their own budget. Ducatman said the plan is to submit the letter in March.

    Around July 1, the school will break away from the School of Medicine, Ducatman said.

    Following that approval, there will be two years of self-study before the school applies for full accreditation. None of its current accreditation goes away during the process, Ducatman said.

    It will be at least three years from March before full accreditation can be received.

    There are thousands of pages of data to be collected in that twoyear study, Ducatman said. The data will have to show the school is meeting the educational goals for accreditation. He noted research is already on par with other established schools.

    Clements said he is happy with the progress of the school. He noted it started with a significant gift from Stuart and Joyce Robbins, who created an endowed professorship. The state has also allocated money to help get the school running.

    The new school will have a positive impact on the entire state, not just the university, Clements said.

    The school is trying to fill new faculty positions and the endowed professorship, Ducatman said. More than 200 applications have been received and several people have already visited campus.