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At West Virginia University, each day holds new promise, new opportunities to make a difference. We are a campus community that seeks to improve and better the world around us – through education, healthcare and prosperity. We do that by living our Mountaineer Values of Service, Curiosity, Respect, Accountability and Appreciation. And we power forward together with Purpose.

In fall of 2018, Bates College and Gallup embarked on a study to measure the extent to which college graduates seek purpose in their work and identify the college experiences that align with finding purpose in work after graduation. 80 percent, or four out of five college graduates, affirm the importance of finding purpose in their work, but less than 50 percent say they succeed in finding purposeful work. Here at West Virginia University, we want to change that number for our students.

Exploring your purpose – whether as an individual or as a university – is the driver that pushes us onward. It propels us to try new things, to become more than we thought we could be. And that is why West Virginia University is going to use the power of purpose to transform higher education. To transform lives.

The Purpose Center, the only one of its kind to exist on a college campus, serves as a place for connection and self-exploration. Connecting students with resources across campus to pursue the things they’re passionate about and creating a safe space for them to discover who they are and the impact they want to have on the world around them.

The Purpose Center is set to rollout in phases. Currently, we are in the prospective and current student phase which will be followed by faculty and staff, alumni, K12 and community.

Since launching in Fall 2022, the Purpose Center has interacted with over 15,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and K12 and community partners conducting over 300 one-on-one coaching sessions and over 600 unique workshops.

Why the Work We’re Doing Matters

The Purpose Center seeks to fill gaps and provide additional support touchpoints to students. For students who might be feeling lost or unsure of their path, we can better prepare them for more productive meetings with career services specialists and academic advisors . Our workshops and support seek to help students build confidence, create stronger self-awareness, connect students to campus resources, as well as build essential skills such as communication, resilience, and conflict resolution. Research shows 97% of employers have indicated that essential (also often referred to as soft) skills are either as important or more important than hard skills. The WVU Purpose Center helps students understand what their essential skills are and helps them find ways they can use them every day.

Course and content surveys show that students who have participated in a variety of strengths and purpose programming have reported higher levels of self-confidence, greater awareness of their leadership style, and greater ability to navigate conflict and communicate more effectively. Partnered with other student success interventions, we've also seen increased GPA, stronger engagement, and retention in the classroom. We are currently doing research to evaluate and measure how specific programming and content impacts the student experience.

Research shows 97% of employers have indicated that essential (also often referred to as soft) skills are either as important or more important than hard skills.

Our Team

Whitney Godwin portrait

Whitney Godwin

Director Arranger®, Learner®, Developer®, Positivity®, Intellection®

Read More: Whitney Godwin
Jessie Barclay portrait

Jessie Barclay

Student Experience Manager Positivity®, Woo®, Connectedness®, Arranger®, Adaptability®

Read More: Jessie Barclay
Cate Schlobohm portrait

Cate Schlobohm

Outreach and Programming Manager Arranger®, Positivity®, Developer®, Maximizer®, Woo®

Read More: Cate Schlobohm

Our Partners

The Purpose Center has collaborated with over 130 departments across campus including all 13 academic colleges and units, over 40 different majors, and units within academic support, student success, student life, and university relations and enrollment management.

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