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WVU Tech President: “We are getting there.”


The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — “We are getting there,” WVU Tech President Carolyn Long told Beckley Rotarians Tuesday. “We are looking forward to being here and being part of the community.”

With the move, Long said Tech plans on turning its focus to southern West Virginia and recruiting students at area high schools.

“We don’t just want to increase the enrollment at tech, but increase the number of kids in southern West Virginia going to college. We need to find a way for these kids to go to college, and it is getting tough with increasing fees. We are going to have to work with scholarships,” she said.

They also have the potential to draw engineering students from neighboring Virginia counties because out-of-state tuition for WVU Tech is less expensive than in-state tuition at Virginia Tech, she said.

She explained that Tech can’t always find area students with ACT math scores high enough to go straight into their world class engineering program.

In the past students could enroll in the university and take developmental classes, which they do not receive credit for.

Tech plans to shift away from that model and toward pre-engineering courses that include a tutoring component. These classes would be for credit, she said.

In addition to accommodating for low math scores — which is a national concern — Long said Tech also has to reach out to students and help then understand what kind of degrees and job opportunities are available in engineering.

“We have to find a way to let students know what engineering really is, let them know they can do it, and help them find a way to do it. As we move Tech, we have to be a part of that,” she said.

The move from Montgomery to Beckley is on track, which faculty and staff moving the week of May 9. The rest of the move is expected to be completed by the end of June.

In all, the she anticipates the campus serving 1,500 students, which will fill all available dorms “and more.”

She expects the university will look to acquire additional dormitory or student housing in the near future.

She said Tech will need an engineering building, and fundraising for it could begin over the summer.

WVU has lost a total of $40 million in state funding, so the campuses have the challenge of providing quality education while increasing enrollment and retention, she explained.

“That being said, we will never, ever diminish our academic excellence,” she added.

Rotarian Susan Landis asked Long what the university’s plan is for the historic United Methodist Temple building across from Beckley City Hall.

Long said she doesn’t know. While the sanctuary is gorgeous, it is unsound.

“It could be it might go away,” she said.

Landis said it is important for the Beckley community to know what the plans will be.

The old United Methodist Temple is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Also of interest, during the meeting Beckley Rotary President Jeff Miller noted that 2017 marks the 30th year that women have been allowed to join the service organization.

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