Dr. R. Charles Byers Named Interim Provost of West Virginia State University

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
June 17, 2019
Dr. R. Charles Byers Named Interim Provost of West Virginia State University

INSTITUTE, W.Va.— Long-time West Virginia State University (WVSU) professor and administrator Dr. R. Charles Byers has been named the interim provost and vice president for academic affairs of the University effective July 1, 2019.

Byers had retired as Provost of the University in 2014 after 41 years of service at WVSU. The current provost, Dr. Kumara Jayasuriya, has been named president of Southwest Minnesota State University.

“I have known Dr. Byers since becoming President of West Virginia State University in 2016, and he has always been a trusted counselor offering advice and perspective like only he can do,” said WVSU President Dr. Anthony L. Jenkins. “Dr. Byers has played a significant role in the growth and development of the University, and I can think of no one better to offer their steady hand of leadership as we work through this time of transition.”

Byers will serve as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs until a permanent replacement is hired. A national search is underway. Since retiring from the University, Byers has done higher education consulting work.

Byers is a 1968 graduate of WVSU with a bachelor’s degree in art education. He later earned a master’s degree from The Ohio State University while working as a commercial artist and art teacher in Columbus, Ohio. Later, Byers earned a doctorate degree from Kent State University in higher education administration.

Byers joined the WVSU faculty in 1972 and spent the next 17 years as an associate professor of teacher education. He served for 12 years as the Vice President for Planning and Advancement, Title III Director and Executive Director for the WVSU Research and Development Corporation before being named Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

In addition to his professional service to WVSU, Byers served on the Leadership West Virginia Board of Directors, and for 10 years he served as a presenter for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Byers has served as Chair of the Trustee Board at the First Baptist Church in Charleston and as Chair of the Local School Improvement Committee in Dunbar. He has been a member of the Charles Drew Scholarship Commission and a consultant for strategic planning for Kentucky State University and the Association of Research Directors. He was a member of a Rotary Group Study Exchange Team to India.

In 2015, Byers, an accomplished painter and sketch artist, published “A Place We Love So Dear: A Collection of Campus Drawings,” featuring pen and ink drawings of every building on the WVSU campus.
Byers is married to the former Edithe Rosebourgh of Charleston, a retired public school educator. They are the parents of three adult children and five grandchildren. 

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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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