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University of Charleston to Establish a Center in Beckley at Mountain State University Site

Release Date:  Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Charleston, W.Va. - The University of Charleston today announced that it is cooperating with Mountain State University as its primary partner in the teach-out of current MSU students and that the two colleges have agreed to negotiate a separate agreement under which UC could establish four-year private college centers in Beckley and Martinsburg by the end of the year. 

MSU’s accreditation was withdrawn by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) in June 2012, and later reinstated through December 31, 2012, for the purpose of allowing MSU to implement a teach-out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.  In addition to being the primary partner in the teach-out program, UC will admit all MSU students in good standing who wish to complete their degree programs through UC.  To ease the transition, UC will teach classes at MSU’s campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg during the fall 2012 semester.

“The closing of Mountain State University is sad and tragic,” UC President Edwin Welch said, “for students, for faculty and staff, and for the Beckley and Martinsburg communities.  UC is committed to filling the void that will be left and to maintaining a private higher education presence in southern West Virginia and in the eastern panhandle.”

“This keeps a significant economic engine in Beckley,” said MSU Interim President Richard E. Sours, Ph.D. “We are thrilled at this opportunity. This assures that a four-year college presence will continue in Beckley under the UC banner.”

The University of Charleston will continue to use the Beckley campus for its programs when MSU’s accreditation expires on Dec. 31, 2012. UC will evaluate MSU’s programs and personnel at all MSU locations during the fall semester.

The Boards of Trustees of both institutions approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) unanimously.  Under the MOU, UC agreed to appoint board members from the Beckley community and to maintain a Beckley presence on the UC Board. 

Financial details remain pending. The MOU is a precursor to a more formal agreement that will be developed over the next few weeks. Included in the MOU is a commitment from the University of Charleston to maintain undergraduate and graduate programs on the Beckley campus.

The UC campus is approximately 60 miles from the main campus of MSU in Beckley, W.Va., and both schools are private, independent colleges.  UC is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The relationship between the two institutions is long and historic.  There was a time when many two-year graduates of Beckley College would transfer to Morris Harvey College to complete their baccalaureate degrees.  The two schools have changed their names but continue to share the mission of serving West Virginia and the Appalachian region.  The University of Charleston has a national reputation for its learning outcomes approach and its emphasis on assessment.  UC will benefit from the distance education experience and resources of MSU.

Students interested in continuing their education at the University of Charleston should contact the Admissions Office at (800) 995-4682 (GO UC).  UC personnel will be available on the Beckley campus Tuesday through Thursday, August 7 – 9, for individual counseling regarding academic programs and other student services. 

The University of Charleston is a private, independent college with approximately 1,400 students from 31 states and 26 countries.  U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks it among the top regional colleges in the South, and it is one of The Princeton Review’s Best 371 Colleges 2012 Edition. The University of Charleston offers 23 undergraduate majors, master’s programs in business and physician assistant studies, and a doctorate in pharmacy.

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Carrie Stollings
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