BLUEFIELD — Trustees of Bluefield College explored new academic programs and were updated on the school’s new strategic plan during their annual spring meeting, April 17-18.
During their two-day meeting, trustees approved a teacher licensure curriculum for traditional students in instrumental music education. They also authorized the administration to explore development of a rural health care program for adult degree-completion students. Both initiatives were motivated by the school’s strategic plan, which aims to grow the college through new academic programs.
The new instrumental music education program complements the school’s offerings in the department of music and the division of education. Traditional students currently may earn a bachelor’s degree in music with concentrations in applied music, church music or general music — all three with the option to become teachers in those fields.
They also may earn teacher licensure in art, biology, business, chemistry, elementary education, English, health, history, math, physical education, social sciences and vocal music.
With the addition of the new instrumental music education program, students may pursue a degree that leads to a career as a band director or another instrumental music teaching profession.
To complement the college’s existing adult degree programs in management, criminal justice and behavioral science, trustees authorized the exploration of a rural health degree program for adults. With the board’s approval, BC administrators will determine market demand for such a major, study the feasibility of offering the program and learn more about the facilities and financial resources necessary to launch the curriculum.
In a related action, trustees gave the administration the authority to explore options with the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority to use the former Pocahontas High School facility in Pocahontas, about 10 miles west of Bluefield. The high school closed last year, and the deed for the property was turned over to the industrial development authority in April in hopes of finding businesses or industry that might use the facility for economic growth in the historic Tazewell County town near the West Virginia border.
In his report to the board, President David Olive shared the latest developments in the school’s brand-identity campaign, one of the initiatives of Bluefield’s strategic plan, adopted by trustees in the spring of 2008. The plan, which also included a new vision and mission statement, was followed in the fall of 2008 with the approval of a campus master plan.
Olive reported the completion of two pieces of the brand-identity campaign: a new BC logo and a visual identity system. Both are designed to complement the new vision, mission and brand identity, and will begin appearing in college marketing and visual identity pieces immediately.
During their meeting, trustees also recognized the service of associate dean of students Carrie Camden and granted faculty emeritus distinctions to three retired BC professors: David Armbrister, Gerald Clay and Will Gordon.
Camden will leave the college after 20 years of service to the school, including stints as registrar, director of student support services and associate dean of students.
"We want to thank her profoundly for her 20 years of devotion to the students of this college," said trustee Jack Marcom. "She will be missed."
The Armbrister, Clay and Gordon honors approved by the board are the first faculty emeritus distinctions awarded to a Bluefield College professor. Armbrister, a BC alumnus and author of the school’s published history, was a professor of history at the college for 32 years. Clay, who founded the school’s teacher education program, was a professor of education for 36 years. Gordon, who holds the longest tenure of any BC professor, taught business for 40 years.
Chris Shoemaker is director of communications at Bluefield College.