Rob Alsop, a key figure in West Virginia University’s wide-ranging reductions to academic programs and faculty positions, is stepping down, university President E. Gordon Gee said Tuesday.
Alsop, the university’s vice president for strategic initiatives, will become a special adviser to Gee from Nov. 18 to Jan. 31 before leaving WVU, Gee said in a news release.
The statement did not specify whether Alsop had found a new job elsewhere.
“As the University turns the page to its next chapter, it is also an appropriate time for me to begin my next chapter,” he said. “I love WVU and wish nothing but the best for it, the President and his leadership team.”
Gee, who previously said he would retire when his contract expires in June 2025, said he will reorganize the university’s Strategic Initiatives unit.
A West Virginia graduate, Alsop was hired in 2017. He also briefly served as interim athletic director last year after Shane Lyons was fired. Alsop previously served in private practice, was chief of staff to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and served in several roles when Joe Manchin was governor.
Alsop had an upfront role in explaining proposals and initiatives during key university meetings.
During a chaotic meeting in September as students chanted slogans and held signs, the university’s Board of Governors approved the academic and faculty cuts as it grapples with a $45 million budget shortfall.
The state’s largest university is dropping 28 of its majors, or about 8%, and cutting 143 of the faculty positions, or around 5%. Among the cuts are one-third of education department faculty and the entire world language department, although there will still be seven language teaching positions and students can take some language courses as electives.
The university in Morgantown has been weighed down financially by a 10% drop in enrollment since 2015, revenue lost during the pandemic and an increasing debt load for new building projects.