BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — A national organization has been asked to offer assistance to Bluefield State College and the Bluefield community in charting a path for the school’s future.
State Higher Education Chancellor Dr. Paul Hill said he met last week with members of the board of governors at Bluefield State about concerns voiced recently by community leaders concerning the school’s drop in enrollment.
“I did some interviews with some individuals down there and kind of understood what they were all working toward and talking about–so we’re trying to assist them every way we can,” Hill said.
Hill has reached out to the Association of Governing Boards for Universities and Colleges.
“We’ve asked them to come and sit down with Bluefield and some people in the community and carve out a path forward that would help everybody move in the right direction,” Hill said.
According to the West Virginia Higher Education Report Card, Bluefield State experienced a 28.7 percent decrease in enrollment between 2012-2017. Only two of the state’s public, four-year institutions show an increase in enrollment in the same report.
The City of Bluefield released a statement to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph recently about its concerns.
“The city recommends Dr. Marsha Krotseng (BSC President) step down and new leadership be installed,” the statement said. “The board of governors needs a complete overhaul of its membership to bring fresh ideas, actionable ideas and proper oversight to a newly formed administration.”
Hill said he believes both community leaders and the school want the same thing and now it’s a matter of having a united effort.
“Everybody’s head is in the right direction. They want to see the institution grow because it’s an important piece of the community and everybody agrees about that,” Hill said.
Hill said one of the school’s problems is that it has no residence halls so it’s a commuter school. He said that offers several challenges.
It’s not known how Gov. Jim Justice’s pending proclamation creating a Blue Ribbon panel to study higher education will impact Bluefield State. Justice has said there must be a more efficient way to operate the state’s higher education system.