Concord Receives “U” Designation from Legislature
Athens, W.Va. – West Virginia Governor Bob Wise signed SB448 late yesterday evening, designating Concord College and three other public colleges in the state with university status.
The language in the legislation directs Concord College’s Board of Governors to determine the “effective date on which the public baccalaureate institution becomes a university.”
The College’s Board of Governors is set to meet on Tuesday, April 20, and Margaret Sayre, chairperson of the Board, indicated that the name change would be an agenda item in the meeting.
Sayre stated that, “We’ve very pleased that Governor Wise has signed the bill which includes establishing university status for Concord, along with three other state colleges. We believe that conferring university status on Concord affirms the high standards and reputation for providing a quality education to our students that have long been associated with our institution.
“We affirmed in our October 2003 meeting that the name, ‘Concord,’ is significant. Here is the resolution language: ‘Be it further resolved that the Board of Governors affirms the historic significance of ‘Concord’ in the name of the institution and expresses its commitment to retain the name in any changes.’
“With our international students and our out-of-state students, there may be a draw with this name change. Concord began as “normal” school in 1872, and as such, we are following a national trend with the incorporation of university in our name.”
Dr. Dean Turner, vice president and academic dean said, “Concord University seems to be the logical option, and it seems to be the current preference, however, that decision will be up to our Board of Governors.
“I don’t see a fundamental change with regard to our programs, however, this might provide some new grant opportunities. We know that we are not getting increased funding from the state based on the language in the legislation. We remain concerned with other parts of SB448 and its impact on Bluefield State College. Having two strong institutions in southern West Virginia helps both. We’ll continue to look for opportunities to add market-driven master’s programs as needed.”
D.J. Boland from State College, Pa., vice president of the Student Government Association said that, “We’re excited about the name change, and the recognition it gives to the excellent education that we receive as students of the College’s undergraduate programs, in addition to acknowledging the Master’s program.”
“ The legislature, in SB653, established the expectation that Concord would provide master’s-level classes,” stated Concord College President Jerry Beasley. “I believe that this legislation, SB443, sends a signal that Concord, as ‘the’ university in southeastern West Virginia, can provide the lifelong educational needs of professionals. Concord, from the very beginning, has been expected to provide a high quality education to residents in this area. When the College was started in 1872, the legislature essentially said that ‘we will give you a charter, but it’s up to you to find the funding.’ Concord has a long history of success based on a combination of public and private support for the quality education that we provide.”
CONCORD COLLEGE NOTES: LANGUAGE FROM SB448 (P. 101)
§18B-2A-6. University status for public baccalaureate institutions of higher education.
(a) The purpose of this section is to redesignate certain existing public baccalaureate institutions as universities and to provide a mechanism for other public baccalaureate institutions to become universities. The change in name is based on each institution’s ability to meet minimum standards developed and adopted by the commission.
(b) Each governing board of a public baccalaureate institution is authorized to make changes which would further its eligibility to attain university status:
(1) If the college meets the eligibility requirements established by the commission to attain university status and if the commission grants university status, then the governing board shall determine the effective date on which the public baccalaureate institution becomes a university; and
(2) On and after the effective date designated by the governing board, the baccalaureate institution shall be designated a university.
(c) Concord college, Fairmont state college, Shepherd college and West Virginia state college, having met the eligibility requirements established by the commission to attain university status, are hereby designated as universities on the effective date of this section.
(d) An institution may not request or seek additional state appropriations as a result of the redesignation provided for in this section. No consequences, including the need to meet future accreditation requirements in order to maintain university status, which arise as a result of designating an existing state college as a university, provide sufficient justification for an institution to request or in any way seek additional state funds.
(e) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, Marshall university and West Virginia university are, and remain, the only research and doctoral degree-granting public institutions of higher education in this state.
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