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U. of Charleston's plans to open Martinsburg, Beckley campuses OK'd

Spring semester classes to begin Jan. 14, online classes a week earlier

December 11, 2012

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The University of Charleston announced Tuesday that it received approval from the Higher Learning Commission to open campuses in Martinsburg and Beckley, W.Va., and also will start online and technology-aided instruction.

UC-Martinsburg will operate all classes out of the former Mountain State University location at 214 Viking Way, the university said in a news release.

The university will begin spring semester classes Jan. 14 for new UC students, while also finishing the “teach-out” program for MSU students able to graduate by May 2013, the school announced in a press conference in Charleston, W.Va.

Online classes begin Jan. 7. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled at the new Martinsburg campus for the University of Charleston at 4 p.m. on Jan. 9.

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“This is a historic day for the University of Charleston,” said University of Charleston President Ed Welch in a news release.

“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,” Welch said.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he was proud of the way West Virginians came together to continue educating the students who were enrolled at Mountain State University.

“Our first goal has always been to make sure the students get an excellent education that prepares them for good-paying jobs,” Manchin said.

“I also wanted to make sure to recognize the faculty and staff who have poured their hearts into educating these students, and I am pleased that they will be able to continue in their mission,” he said in a news release. “Finally, this institution was vitally important to the community, and I am glad to know that it will continue to be a mainstay in the lives of the residents of Beckley, Martinsburg and Charleston.

UC said it 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.

The school said it has currently hired 65 former MSU faculty and staff members in Beckley and three in Martinsburg. Jerry Forster will serve as area president and direct UC’s operations at both new locations.

Degrees to be offered in Martinsburg, include bachelor's degrees in accounting, biology, business administration, organizational leadership, political science and psychology and master's degrees in strategic leadership and business administration, the school announced.

MSU’s accreditation was withdrawn by the Higher Learning Commission in June 2012, and later reinstated through Dec. 31 for the purpose of allowing MSU to implement a teach-out program for students who are eligible to graduate by the end of 2012.

Shortly after UC was named the primary teach out partner for MSU on Aug. 1, the school submitted a formal request to establish a permanent presence in Beckley and Martinsburg.

— Matthew Umstead

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