West Virginia is heading one step closer to the goal of significantly increasing the number of adults who hold college degrees with a new partnership between West Virginia University and West Virginia’s community colleges.

Today (Jan. 26), WVU President Jim Clements and James Skidmore, chancellor of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System, signed an agreement to allow students who begin at their local community colleges to finish their bachelor’s degrees online through WVU.

“There is a state and national movement to increase the number of college-educated adults by 2020,” Clements said. “This partnership advances West Virginia’s commitment toward achieving that goal.

“For more than 10 years, WVU has been expanding our online programs to serve students directly in their communities. This partnership will create a seamless path for thousands of adults who have one or more associate’s degrees but were not able to access a bachelor’s degree close to home.”

Skidmore said this access is a key to furthering the number of those with bachelor’s degrees.

“One of the goals of our state is to increase the number of our citizens with college credentials,” Skidmore said. “This effort between West Virginia University and our 10 community and technical colleges will assist the state in reaching that goal. Additional educational opportunities should have no barriers.

“This partnership provides a pathway to the baccalaureate degree and eliminates any transfer barriers. I want to express my gratitude to President Clements and Dr. Sue Day-Perroots and all 10 of our community and technical colleges for their commitment to this initiative.”

Community college transfers are not new but what is unique about this “B.A. Pathway” initiative is that it allows students, particularly adults, the option of staying in their communities and finishing their degree online. Students can transfer up to 72 credits to WVU and design their own multidisciplinary studies degree by choosing three minors instead of one major. A capstone course unites the minors with a culminating project.

WVU Extended Learning offers 15 online minors that have been packaged into multiple career-oriented tracks. These include business applications, liberal arts, promotion and publicity, and sports studies. For example, a student interested in business could choose minors in business administration, entrepreneurship, and public relations. Some students who have more than one associate’s degree and years of professional experience may also opt for the Regents Bachelor of Arts degree.

The minors that can be combined in the pathway include advertising, business administration, child development, communication studies, entrepreneurship, family and youth, fashion merchandising, health promotion, history, infant and toddler, professional writing and editing, public relations, religious studies, sport communication, and sport and exercise psychology.

“The Multidisciplinary Studies degree allows a student to select minors that reflect their interests as well as the economic opportunities in their community,” said Sue Day-Perroots, dean of WVU Extended Learning. “Life and Work continue as they pursue their degree online.”

This spring, nearly 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in online classes at WVU.

Last year, WVU piloted the program with selected community colleges. This statewide agreement advances the state goal for improving college degree completion by increasing access to college courses; providing more effective transfer systems and degree articulation; and effective use of institutional resources.

For details about the program, visit http://online.wvu.edu/pathway.


CONTACT: Lynn Reinke, director of communications, WVU Extended Learning
304-293-2684, Lynn.Reinke@mail.wvu.edu

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