WVU will collaborate with regional schools on academics in Beckley

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The purchase is complete but developing the academic initiatives and staff for West Virginia University’s newest campus in Beckley won’t happen overnight.

“There’s a lot of work. We will have to make some filings with the Higher Education Policy Commission. For new programming, we actually have to go through our accreditation body. So, all of those things take time,” explained Rob Alsop, WVU’s vice president for legal and governmental affairs and entrepreneurial engagement.

In December, WVU officially offered $8 million for the former Mountain State University campus and assets. The Beckley school lost its accreditation requiring both board of trustees and court approval for the sale. A number of students sued MSU; and a portion of the money made in the transaction is earmarked for payout in that mass lawsuit.

According to Alsop, research prior to the purchase indicated a need in central West Virginia for academic programs in nursing and allied health, tourism, agricultural education and construction management. In the June 1 announcement, WVU hinted at classes beginning in a little more than year.

“We have been moving quickly. You know we’ll have to market for an incoming freshmen class in fall 2016 in Beckley. That will have to get started here in the coming months,” predicted Alsop.

Regional institution collaboration had been mentioned throughout the deal between Mountain State and WVU.

“All of the institutions need to be working together to get more people into school whether it’s 2 years, 4 years, get more certificates and more graduates. We think working together we can get there,” Alsop said.

WVU had said it hoped to work with Concord University, Bluefield State College and other area higher education institutions, as well as civic and industry leaders, to develop pathways for collaboration for the Beckley campus.

The Beckley campus will reportedly be used by the University of Charleston until June 30, 2015.