The University of Charleston is now UC-Charleston, UC-Beckley, UC-Martinsburg, and UC-Net. This dramatic expansion of the University was confirmed today with the announcement that UC has received approval from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to open new locations in Beckley and Martinsburg as well as starting online and technology-aided instruction beginning January 1, 2013. The new sites will be located at facilities currently occupied by Mountain State University.
Today’s announcement from the HLC grants UC full accreditation to offer 32 programs across campuses in Charleston, Beckley, Martinsburg and online. The University will begin spring semester classes January 14, 2013 for new UC students, while also finishing the “teach-out” program for MSU students able to graduate by May 2013. Online classes begin January 7.
“This is a historic day for the University of Charleston,” said University of Charleston President Ed Welch. “We are grateful that the HLC has faith in our institution to add network-based instruction and two new locations. It is vitally important for Beckley to have a four-year college, and we are pledging a long-term commitment to educate students for a life of productive work, enlightened living and community involvement.”
UC has worked closely with Mountain State officials over the past few months to ensure a smooth transition for the spring semester. School officials forecast an increase of 600 students for the Spring 2013 semester, bringing the overall total enrollment for the University to around 2,000. UC has currently hired 65 former MSU faculty and staff members in Beckley and three in Martinsburg. Dr. Jerry Forster will serve as area president and direct UC’s operations at both locations.
“The Board of Trustees is delighted that the University of Charleston has taken this major step forward,” said Triana Energy CEO and UC Board of Trustees Chairman Henry Harmon. “We are convinced that the expansion of UC's locations and programs are being done for all the right reasons and the end result will be good for the University and all the communities involved. Charleston, Beckley, and Martinsburg are three of the most vibrant cities in the West Virginia and UC is committed to supporting their growth and vitality.”
Degrees to be offered in Beckley include (bachelor’s degree unless otherwise noted): accounting, biology, business administration, culinary arts (bachelor and associate) and diagnostic medical sonography, master of business administration (master), occupational therapy assistant (associate), organizational leadership, psychology, radiologic technician (associate) and social work. Degrees to be offered in Martinsburg include (bachelor’s degree unless otherwise noted): accounting, biology, business administration, master of business administration (master), organizational leadership, political science, psychology, and a master’s in strategic leadership. UC will offer accounting, business administration, organizational leadership, psychology, master’ of forensic accounting and master of strategic leadership online. The Charleston campus currently offers 23 academic programs, including master’s programs in business and physician assistant studies, and a doctorate in pharmacy. UC-Martinsburg will operate all classes out of the former MSU location at 214 Viking Way. Most academic buildings formerly occupied by Mountain State in Beckley will continue to be used by UC-Beckley.
MSU’s accreditation was withdrawn by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) in June 2012, and later reinstated through December 31, 2012, for the purpose of allowing MSU to implement a teach-out program for students who are eligible to graduate by the end of 2012. UC was named the primary teach out partner for MSU on August 1, and UC submitted a formal request to establish a permanent present in Beckley and Martinsburg shortly after.
The 2012-13 academic year marks UC’s 125th anniversary as an academic institution. UC was founded in 1888 as Barboursville Seminary, renamed Morris Harvey College in 1901, moved to Charleston in 1935 and was renamed the University of Charleston in 1978.