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Bluefield State University emerges from critical Higher Learning Commission report

By Greg Jordan, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. – Bluefield State University officials announced Friday that the university has received confirmation that corrective steps they have taken addresses the concerns raised last year in a critical report from the Higher Learning Commission.

Bluefield State University received a highly critical report from the Higher Learning Commission after a review team visited the campus in September 2023. The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accrediting body of degree-granting higher education institutions in an 18-state region. Its mission is to assure the education and effectiveness of its member institutions.

Issues the report raised in the 2023 report included the disestablishment of the faculty senate, the board and the president rarely communicating with faculty on areas of interest such as the curriculum, the faculty hiring processes and post-tenure review.

Dr. Darrin Martin, who was appointed on Nov. 21, 2023 as the university’s interim president after the retirement of Robin Capehart, the prevoius president, said to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph in December 2023 that his first task was to address the Higher Learning Commission’s report. Martin said then that Bluefield State was addressing the commission’s concerns and was in the process of working faculty and staff to make sure shared governance was happening. Several policies and procedures were being reviewed and amended so the faculty and staff would have a voice in the policies and procedures governing them. Bluefield State was also working on making sure faculty have a voice in its operations and decision making.

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