Dr. Kumara Jayasuriya Appointed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Contact: Kimberly Osborne
(304) 766-3363
April 2, 2014
Dr. Kumara Jayasuriya Appointed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
INSTITUTE, W.Va. — Following a nationwide search, West Virginia State University (WVSU) today announced the appointment of Kumara L. Jayasuriya, Ph.D. as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs effective July 1, 2014.

“As an educator and mathematician, Dr. Jayasuriya brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will undoubtedly advance State’s four academic colleges and further strengthen the quality of education our students receive,” said WVSU President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. “Well-respected among his peers, Dr. Jayasuriya is an award-winning educator with an outstanding record of building relationships between higher education institutions and local schools to captivate young minds and engage current and future learners. His deep commitment to student success includes creating proposals for an online degree completion program, seeking and securing grants to develop quality programs and, most importantly, helping students remain on a degree path and obtain their degrees in a timely fashion. I am confident Dr. Jayasuriya will serve the State family well as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.”

Currently, Jayasuriya serves as Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and a Professor of Mathematics at Purdue University North Central (PNC). From 1993 until 2011, Jayasuriya served in a variety of positions at Indiana University East (IUE) rising from Assistant Professor of Mathematics to Dean of the School of Natural Science and Mathematics. During his tenure at the Indiana University System, he received numerous teaching awards including the Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching which is presented to a faculty member who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to teaching and learning through areas of self-evaluation, course preparation, research, instructional skills and student impact. In 2003, he received the highest faculty honor awarded at IUE, the Helen Lees award for excellence in teaching.

A strategic planner, Jayasuriya led a Mathematics Department to create an online degree completion program and expand degree offerings, which positively impacted student enrollment — one semester, student credit hours increased 36 percent and continued to increase in semesters following. He also has experience working with the community and securing grants to further strengthen academic offerings and opportunities for students. In addition, his encouragement of faculty to seek outside funding for resources yielded numerous grant awards.

During his career, Jayasuriya has served as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and for The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships. He has also participated in numerous education development initiatives on a statewide level including leading the Indiana State Group, Affinity Network national project — Connecting K-12 & Postsecondary Education in Common Core State Standards, which was launched by the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center. In addition, Jayasuriya was one of 15 individuals chosen from the mid-west and western regions of the United States to serve on the Higher Learning Commission’s “Design Think Tank,” a committee asked to design the organization’s Academy of Persistence and Completion, addressing retention and graduation rates.

“Higher education is the key to unlocking one’s potential,” Dr. Jayasuriya said. “I am honored to join a University that shares this same mindset and my same values of student-centeredness, teaching, research and dedication to providing access to an affordable, quality education — especially to those who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. West Virginia State University’s recent growth and vision on how to address the challenges of retention and improved graduation rates — which all institutions of higher learning are facing today — appeals to me. I look forward to working with President Hemphill, faculty, students and staff to elevate WVSU from its current standing as a comprehensive undergraduate university to a dynamic university with increased online courses and enhanced graduate programs. I am committed to student success, strengthening academic programs, faculty and staff development and increasing enrollment and retention, while reducing the time to graduation. I look forward to getting to work.”

Jayasuriya earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1993. He holds a Master of Science from Southern Illinois University and earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Colombo-Sri Lanka.

Jayasuriya and his wife, Salmini “Sally,” and their three children, Daniel, Dylan and Devon, will reside in the Kanawha Valley.

Dr. Jayasuriya will fill the position of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs upon the retirement of WVSU alumnus and long-time Provost Dr. R. Charles Byers.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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