The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

February 6, 2013

UC-Beckley president talks about challenges

Building enrollment base, athletics key to success

University of Charleston-Beckley’s President Jerry Forster spoke to Beckley Rotary Club Tuesday about where the branch campus stands now and what its future may hold.

He said the success of UC-Beckley rests on attracting residential students, adult and commuter students and online students.

And one of the biggest challenges UC-Beckley faces is building campus-based student activities, including sports.

“Right now we have nine students on a campus with 400 beds. You can’t recruit a young, college-aged man or woman without being able to tell them we have a campus life they will enjoy,” he explained.

And growing enrollment will be crucial to UC’s stability, he explained.

“The financial challenge is significant. We have 520 students enrolled and we need 1,000 to break even. There are $2 in expenses for every $1 in revenue for this first semester, but we feel this emphasizes the university’s commitment to the opportunity. This may be a step back for UC initially, but we are confident it is going to be a step forward two or three years down the road,” Forster shared.

Forster also said there are programs UC-Beckley has been able to roll with this semester, like culinary arts, business management and social work, but there are many “academic pipelines” the budding school needs to reopen.

“There are other key programs we need to rebuild that are a year or two away. One of those is nursing. We need a four-year nursing program,” he said.

The university president said UC-Charleston has a scheduled 10-year review of its nursing program this month and once that review is finished, he expects the school to look toward getting nursing accreditation extended to a Beckley program.

Other programs in the health sciences will also be rebuilt slowly and surely.

Mountain State University once had 50 physicians assistant students and now none are enrolled, although 30 have enrolled for the program at the Charleston campus.

Forster would like to see 30 spots filled at both locations and noted that the school will have to continue to work with the specialized accrediting bodies.

“I’m confident we will find the right niche for Beckley. At one time MSU had 8,000 students. Do we have to be that big to be successful? No.,” he said.

Forster said he is convinced UC-Beckley can rebuild strong commuter and online enrollment and is convinced programs in health sciences will also succeed in the area.

“The question is what our scale will be. How much can we rebuild and what is the size that will allow UC to hold its own and what will that time frame be?,” he posed.

Regarding sports, UC-Beckley plans to have junior varsity men’s and women’s basketball and soccer, as well as volleyball.

Moreover, UC-Beckley plans to look into starting varsity sports teams in Beckley that are not already represented at the varsity level in Charleston, like swimming and track and field, said Forster

“We want to draw teen athletes from our area as well as outside our area. And we want international students, which is another pipeline once connected to the Beckley campus that is not connected right now,” he said.

Forster said junior varsity athletes at the Beckley campus will have the opportunity move up to the varsity level at Charleston.

“But we want a meaningful experience for the athletes at UC-Beckley, whether they move up or not. We want good competition and want them to be able to say, ‘I played at UC-Beckley.’”

Forster also pointed out that while the intent is to begin some varsity level sports teams, it is an arduous process that has to meet NCAA approval.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • W.Va. AG warns job seekers of fake job ad scams

    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning West Virginians about fake job postings and other employment scams online.

    July 22, 2014

  • Ex-state agency worker pleads guilty to fraud

    A former case worker for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is facing up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine after pleading guilty to fraud.

    July 22, 2014

  • Saints 1 Greenbrier ready for Saints

    The goal posts are up. The lines are on the field. The closets are stocked with Gatorade and the pads and helmets are hanging in the lockers. INCLUDES TOUT VIDEO.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Auto Fair winner Auto Fair attracts 15,000 visitors despite cool weather

    Although Mother Nature fast-forwarded to September temperatures throughout the weekend of the Friends of Coal Auto Fair, thousands of people came out to see the show and support the YMCA of Southern West Virginia.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • W.Va. health officials find clinic reused its needles

    Health officials on Monday advised patients of a West Virginia pain management clinic to be tested for blood-borne infectious diseases after an investigation found that needles had been reused.

    July 22, 2014

  • TWV raises $1,700 for Just For Kids

    Theatre West Virginia provides the southern part of the Mountain State an opportunity to see live, outdoor dramas, but this year, it’s giving back even more.

    July 22, 2014

  • WVDA expanding Hemlock Woolly Adelgid program

    Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick has announced that the West Virginia Department of Agriculture's (WVDA) Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) Program has expanded to include all counties currently infested with HWA.

    July 21, 2014

  • Two in custody after allegedly beating Whitesville man

    Two men remained in Southern Regional Jail Monday morning after they allegedly beat up another man in his home in Whitesville. The West Virginia State Police would not release the name of the victim, who came to Raleigh General Hospital on his own.

    July 21, 2014

  • Impersonating an officer

    More details emerged Sunday from the Mercer County Sheriff Department’s investigation into a male subject who used a blue, bubble-style dash light to initiate a traffic stop of a female driver Friday night on Route 20 near Athens.

    July 21, 2014

  • 'Ghost murals' being restored across Appalachia

    Coca-Cola Consolidated is working across Appalachia to restore “ghost murals.”

    July 21, 2014