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HEPC approves step toward university status for Bluefield State College

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The state Higher Education Policy Commission approved a resolution Thursday opening the door for Bluefield State College to gain university status.

The approval came after HEPC Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Randall Brumfield told the commission Bluefield State has met all of the requirement including offering graduate degrees.

Randall Brumfield (WVHEPC)

“An MBA program was launched last year and a mission statement does provide for the offering of graduate degrees,” Brumfield said.

The Higher Learning Commission approved the delivery of the graduate program in January, another requirement, and Bluefield State has also met the requirement that two-thirds of its faculty with terminal degrees, Brumfield said.

“Sixty-six percent of faculty do hold a terminal degree,” Brumfield said.

Bluefield State, which is currently the only four-year school in the state without university-status, must still get the approval of its board of governors followed by a statutory name change from the state legislature.

Glenville State University

Glenville State earned university status earlier this year. Glenville President Dr. Mark Manchin was before the HEPC Thursday with an update on the school’s new graduate programs.

Mark Manchin

“We are starting and we have about 30 individuals who registered to take classes online in Masters of Curriculum Instruction and Masters in Teaching,” Manchin said.

The HEPC also approved a nursing program agreement between Glenville State and Marshall Thursday. Manchin said it will be a beneficial agreement.

“It’s common knowledge that the two greatest needs in the state of West Virginia and nationally are preparing our teachers and nurses,” Manchin said. “I’d like to think we’re on the cutting edge of both of those.”

Nursing agreements

More specifically, the HEPC approved Marshall’s Bachler of Science in Nursing (BSN) to be offered at Glenville.

The HEPC also Thursday approved a BSN program for Concord University. Both approvals are part of 27 nursing education programs throughout the stated funded in part by a $25.5 allocation from the Justice administration.

“We are tremendously grateful to Gov. Justice for providing this historic funding to support the expansion of nursing education programs across West Virginia,” state Higher Education Chancellor Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker said in a Thursday news release. “Through these new projects, our postsecondary education community will be better positioned to help shore up West Virginia’s nursing workforce – which, in turn, will help support our nurses working tirelessly on the front lines right now.”

Pay packages approved

Ericke Cage

The HEPC also approved compensation packages for new West Virginia State University President Ericke Cage and GSU President Manchin during Thursday’s meeting.

Cage’s base salary will be $255,000 a year. Manchin’s three-year contract extension, through June 2025, increases his base salary from $195,000 to $220,000 a year.

The HEPC meeting was held at Marshall University in Huntington.

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