The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

February 19, 2014

Bluefield State College president speaks to Beckley Rotarians on school’s impact on W.Va.

BECKLEY — Dr. Marsha Krotseng, president of Bluefield State College, said the school has as a key role to play in higher education in southern West Virginia, particularly as an increasingly important part of the area’s growing medical community.

Krotseng, addressing Beckley Rotarians at their weekly meeting Tuesday, discussed the college’s current and future endeavors in southern West Virginia.

Krotseng said the college is currently focused on increasing the “access to success” for southern West Virginia students, which falls in line with the school’s mission to provide students an affordable, accessible option for public higher education.

She also discussed the school’s impact on local economies, both at the college’s main campus in Bluefield and also at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center in Beckley.

Bluefield State is a significant economic driver in southern West Virginia, Krotseng said.

Based on last fall’s statistics, Bluefield State expended $14.3 million in salaries in benefits, $12.6 million in renovations and maintenance on its Bluefield campus, and $16.7 million in financial aid, Krotseng said.

“When you look at all that, that’s a tremendous impact in the region,” Krotseng said, adding that those numbers do not account for the local economic impact resulting from students purchasing things such as gas, housing and food in the region.

Bluefield State College has had a presence in Beckley since the late 1970s, Krotseng said, and the Erma Byrd Center now serves as the hub of the college’s Raleigh County programming.

With the need to pursue higher education only gaining, Krotseng said that Bluefield State’s affordability and accessibility are two of the college’s strong points, and its 14 nationally accredited programs are a highlight of its achievement.

Bluefield State offers three complete programs at the Erma Byrd Center: an associate degrees in nursing and radiologic technology and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Krotseng said.

Both of the associate degrees are accredited by their accrediting bodies, Krotseng added.

Krotseng said that speaking with local employers, business people and hospital administrators is one of her priorities in order to gain a better sense of the area’s needs.

“Clearly, health care and nursing is a major need in southern West Virginia, but also nationally, so that is an important area for us and we recognize that,” Krotseng said, adding that nursing is one of Bluefield State’s largest programs.

Additionally, Krotseng said that Bluefield State is focused on efforts for future expansion.

The college will launch a new ultrasonography specialization in the fall, which will supplement the radiologic technology degree, Krotseng said.

Also, Bluefield State nursing and radiologic technology students will share in the new New River Community and Technical College space that is under construction at the Erma Byrd site, slated to be completed in 2016.

“Our nursing and rad tech students will be able to use clinical space in that building once it’s constructed,” Krotseng said. “We’re really excited about that.”

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

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