Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


February 6, 2013

College collaboration — CU, BSC agreement important

We hear a lot of talk about the need for regional cooperation, but we often see little in the way of action when it comes to local entities working together for the betterment of the region as a whole. That’s why we welcome a new agreement announced last week between Bluefield State College and Concord University.

The two institutions of higher learning announced that they will be collaborating on a series of efforts to improve secondary education programs in southern West Virginia. Specifically the college and the university have partnered to form a series of subcommittees devoted to exploring various issues, including inclement weather schedules for both institutions, staff development and training, easing the transition from the community college system to four-year institutions, improving the overall economy and communicating with local lawmakers in southern West Virginia.

Jim Nelson, director of media relations at BSC, correctly notes that the new partnership will allow both colleges to save money while expanding programs and efficiency.

“Basically, the idea is that both institutions want to maximize their resources as an ability to serve this area,” Nelson said last week. “We had a meeting at Bluefield State with Concord about two weeks ago with the idea of exploring some projects we can both do while maintaining our own unique missions. We want to find ways to stretch our dollars and improve our abilities to serve the citizens of this region and the state.”

One area that both colleges can find common ground on is coordinating inclement weather schedules to accommodate students across the region. Nelson says BSC shares its higher education center in Beckley with CU. That’s why it is important for both colleges to work together on an inclement weather schedule for both institutions.  If students are attending both institutions, it is important for the inclement weather schedule to not prevent a student from having to miss one class to get to another early, Nelson said.

Both institutions also could benefit from sharing training programs. For example, if one school has an expert in a program or is bringing a high-powered speaker to their institution, both schools could participate in training during one speaker’s visit to the area.

 With budget cuts on the horizon, the schools also are correctly looking to work with regional lawmakers and using state funding to the best of their abilities. By finding areas where both institutions can work together through collaboration, the two schools together can be a more effective and stronger voice when it comes to communicating regional needs to lawmakers in both Charleston and Washington.

CU President Dr. Gregory F. Aloia  believes the partnership can also focus on improving academics as well as quality of life for area residents.

“This collaboration with Bluefield State College and Concord University reflects both institutions’ commitment to serve the citizens of this great state with the best academic programs,” Aloia said last week.

Both schools of higher learning are to be applauded for their willingness to work together. By doing so, both Concord University and Bluefield State College can leverage their strengths for the betterment of their respective institutions and the region as a whole.


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