West Liberty University (WLU) is a forward-looking, four-year public college with a rich heritage. It is the oldest institution of higher education the state of West Virginia, first established as West Liberty Academy in 1837. The University offers undergraduate educational programs that serve students from the northern panhandle and the contiguous counties in OH and PA. Beyond the formal degree offerings, WLU serves the community by partnering for various projects, such as the Professional Development Schools in Ohio County Public Schools.
The curricula are broad and cover a wide range of offerings. The largest programs are Teacher Education, Business Administration and Criminal Justice, but the Health Sciences Programs, including pre-professional programs such as medicine, veterinary; dental hygiene, nursing, clinical laboratory science, and speech pathology are becoming increasingly popular.
West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC) is a public, multi-campus comprehensive community college which serves the six counties of Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel and Tyler. To satisfy community needs, the College offers courses at a variety of other sites within the six-county service area and participates in a tuition reciprocity agreement serving students in four neighboring Ohio counties: Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont and Monroe. As a comprehensive community college, West Virginia Northern offers a wide variety of programs and courses in the liberal arts and sciences, career-technical education, work place training, developmental studies, and community and continuing education. Under an open-door enrollment policy, the College admits all adults desiring postsecondary education. High school students recommended by their schools for early entrance are also admitted. Graduates receive Associate in Arts degrees, Associate in Science degrees, and/or Associate in Applied Science degrees and certificates. For additional information see Appendix A.
Wheeling Jesuit University is a private, co-educational Roman Catholic university located in Wheeling, West Virginia. It was founded as Wheeling College in 1954 by the Society of Jesus (known as the Jesuits). Today, Wheeling Jesuit University is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Approximately 1,200 undergraduate students attend WJU. The campus houses two prominent National Aeronautic and Space Administration buildings: Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center (NTTC) and Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies (CET). The CET building is the official home of NASA's Classroom of the Future.
WJU offers Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Sciences degrees in approximately 35 undergraduate majors across the humanities, social sciences, traditional sciences, applied sciences, and business. Most of the students come from West Virginia, Ohio or Pennsylvania. SAT scores average 1030, while high school GPAs average 3.4. Most (74%) live on-campus.
The 2007 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges ranks Wheeling Jesuit University 21 st in the “Best University Master’s Category” in the South, making it the highest ranked West Virginia institution in that category for 10 consecutive years. The magazine ranked 557 universities in the “Best Universities—Master’s” category within four geographic areas—North, South, Midwest, and West. WJU was also names as the fourth best educational value in the southeast.
Educational Infrastructure Colleges – 2 & 4 year, including population
Bethany College is a private college located in Bethany, West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany College is the oldest institution of higher learning still operating in West Virginia. Bethany College’s main campus is located approximately forty miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and fifteen miles north of Wheeling, West Virginia, in West Virginia’s northern panhandle. The Bethany campus encompasses more than 1600 acres of land. Bethany College offers a wide array of studies, awarding Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in more than 30 fields of study, including computer science. Students also may include as part of their programs one or more optional minors.
Franciscan University of Steubenville is a Catholic institution located in Steubenville, Ohio. The school was founded in 1946 by the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular. In 1985, the University changed its name from “College of Steubenville” to “Franciscan University of Steubenville”. The school offers five associate degree majors, thirty-five bachelor degree majors (including computer information science, and computer science), and seven graduate degree programs. The University maintains a 15:1 student-faculty ratio. The University is ranked in the top tier in its division in the 2007 U.S. News & World Report’s list of America’s Best Colleges.
West Virginia Business College’s Main Campus is located at 1052 Main Street, Wheeling, occupying a multi-level building approximately 11,00 square feet in size. A new addition was added in the year 2002 enhancing the adjoining building. There are general classrooms for business, keyboarding and computer classes. A library resource center, two private study areas, student lounge and a large auditorium are all available for student use. Computer rooms and the Library are Internet ready along with a media center with a VCR, television and overhead projector. Several offices for administrative use are located at the main entrance of the College. The College’s mission is to enroll students, train students and assist students in locating employment. In most cases, a high school education is not sufficient to equip a young man or woman with the specialized skills necessary to succeed in a vocation or profession. WVBC believes there is a need for specialized career training to prepare adults to successfully meet the challenges of the business world. It is the purpose of the college to provide students with the specialized skills necessary for a productive future and to develop in each student an understanding of the responsibilities and obligations involved in ethical, professional conduct. The energies and resources of the college are therefore wholly focused on teaching employable skills and building self-confidence in each student. In order to achieve this mission, the college assists students individually and encourages realistic goal selection and attainment. This individualized assistance is intended to prepare the student to enter positions with increased competence and confidence.
IT curriculum (2&4 year); majors in IT related focus
The School of Business Administration at West Liberty University offers two programs in computers/computer systems:
The B.S. degree in Business Information Systems offers a strong business core including accounting, finance, marketing and management. In addition, the student will complete courses in computers in areas such as programming, database management, spreadsheets, networking, management information systems and reporting techniques. This program is designed to prepare the graduating student to manage the information systems in an organization.
The B.S. degree in Business administration specializing in Computer Information Systems requires the student to complete the Business Studies Core which is a complete offering of courses in business including accounting, finance, quantitative business analysis, business communications, marketing and management. The CIS specialization includes courses in programming, database management, spreadsheets and operating systems. Students graduating fro this program could expect job opportunities as programmers or information services staff.
Both of these are taught in state-of-the-art computer laboratories by full-time faculty with extensive real-world as well as classroom experience I computers.
Northern offers both certificate programs and AAS degrees in Information Technology. Within the IT concentration, there are three paths for students to follow; networking, programming, and web development. Within the three areas, students can focus on Cisco, MOUS, and A+ certifications. Programming majors have course work in Visual Basic, Java, Web Publishing (HTML/XHTML) Unix/Linux, and Object Oriented Programming.
Northern is willing to develop a customized, accelerated (9 month) similar to the curriculum developed at Navarro College.
IT Curriculum (2&4 year); majors in IT related focus, continued
The WJU Computer Science program provides students with a board foundation in the various aspects of the computer professions, ranging from pure theory to concrete practical applications, with an emphasis on the solution of actual problems. The core language is currently C++, the industry standard, but many other languages are utilized during a student’s course of study, including Java and Web-enable languages. Also a strong mathematical component is part of the program since the successful computer scientist must have a working knowledge of the mathematical concepts underlying all of computer science. The course of study is aligned with the Association for Computing Machinery Curriculum Guidelines and, as such, provides an internationally standard foundation for students to either enter the work force or continue their education. About 20 percent of our graduates continue on toward advanced degrees and the remainder find jobs in the workplace. Currently, Wheeling Jesuit graduates are pursuing advanced degrees at West Virginia University, the University of Cincinnati, Johns Hopkins University, and the Illinois Institute of Technology. Our graduates are currently employed in a variety of positions, some of which are: analysts at the National Security Agency; web programming, system administration at PPG in Pittsburgh; database analyst/programmer, programmer at the Lockheed Martin in Fairmont, WV; fingerprint program analyst for the FBI; IT manager for a local legal firm; programmers at a variety of large and small companies, and even teaching here. Facilities and equipment include, in addition to campus-owned and operated labs, a networked, multimedia classroom with 23 Pentium 4 machines, a computer lab with Linux and Solaris servers, and a variety of other computers and networking machinery, and a computer haptics lab devoted to the investigation of virtual touch using a state-of-the-art PHANToM devise and Pentium 4 machine.
WLU: The University enrollment currently includes approximately 2300 students.
WVNCC: There are currently 160 students declaring IT as their major. Of the 160 students, 74 are ready to graduate within the next two semesters.
WJU: Current enrollment is approximately 1700 students.
Franciscan University: has 1,982 Undergraduate Students from all 50 states and 16 foreign countries, with a 74% 6-year Graduation Rate (1999 Entering Class)
Bethany College: has a current enrollment of approximately 900 students
West Virginia University: had a 2006 enrollment of 27,115. (15,626 were West Virginia residents)
University of Pittsburgh: has 30,301 total enrolled on 5 campuses.
Carnegie Mellon University: has more than 10,000 students on its Pittsburgh campus.
Where are students going for employment (export population %)
WLU: Approximately, 2/3 (or 67%) of our graduates are employed in the tri-state area. Each year, approximately 400-450 students are prepared to enter the workforce and a majority of our graduates want to stay in the area. The vast majority of our programs are career specific or profession specific, not liberal arts in nature.
WVNCC: The College does have data on student placement in IT, but the data is incomplete because students often do not respond to surveys. We do know 86% of Northern’s students live in the region after graduation.
The School of Business Administration at West Liberty University offers students the opportunity to complete an internship as part of a four-year baccalaureate degree program. Under the B.S. in Business Administration degree, four specializations require an extensive internship: Golf Management, Health Services Management – Long-Term Care Track (new specialization), Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Sports Management. All four of these specializations require a 450-hour internship as part of the curriculum. Over the years, the School of Business Administration has developed strong relationships with organizations in golf, hospitality and sports thereby providing students opportunities to complete approved internships during their junior and senior years. Health Services Management was offered for the first time in Fall 2007. There are two tracks under this specializations: Long-Term Care requiring a 450-hour internship and Health Care requiring a 250-hour internship.
Business students, who are enrolled in the remaining nine specializations or the BIS degree, have the opportunity to complete an internship for academic credit once it has been approved by a faculty member, these internships are developed through the intern employer once a job description has been submitted by the employer. The academic credit the student earns depends on the number of hours worked (75 = 1 credit hour; 150 = 2 credit hours; and, 250 hours = 3 credit hours). These internships are the result of either the employer making contact with the School of Business Administration requesting an intern or the student proposing an internship through a contact he or she has made with an employer. The student will submit a daily journal and comprehensive internship report at the conclusion of the internship. The employer will submit a completed evaluation report to the faculty member responsible for overseeing the internship.
As more students recognize the value of internships, the demand for internship positions has increased. The basic academic criterion for an internship is that it represents a meaningful work experience. Compensated internships are much more appealing to students.
Co-op and internships are in place for all majors. WVNCC has interns throughout the Ohio Valley.
The Career Development office coordinates the internships for all departments. Internships are strongly encouraged but not mandatory for our students in the business and computer science areas.
The University participates in public job fairs within one hour of campus and other job fairs based on student interest and availability of staff. WLU is a member of the Career Services Consortium, which hosts the Upper Ohio Valley Career Fair in Wheeling annually.
The College participates in job fairs throughout the region. Specialized job fairs for specific majors are held on a rotating basis.
College campus career offices
Career services are available through the Center for Student Success on campus, Monday-Friday 8 AM to 4 PM. Faculty and staff try to acquaint students with these services, beginning in their First Year Experience course taken as beginning college students. Other sources of support include software programs such as, SIGI Plus, a self-directed career search program. The Center for Student Success also provides assistance with job searches, resume-writing, interviewing and etiquette in the workplace.
Northern operates a single point of contact for career activities. The Career Center is located at the Wheeling Campus.
Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED) has established an Workforce/Education Task Force to address the current and future workforce needs of our region. RED has allocated resources to begin working with local secondary and post-secondary schools to continue preparing students for the future. We have conducted alumni outreach programs including a website with job postings, and resume submissions; matching businesses with current students for internships; specialized training programs, and curriculum additions. Recruiting Support
Active Alumni Associations ( outreach avenue for IT graduates)
West Liberty University Alumni Association assists graduates in a variety of ways. The most powerful of these is the College Central Networking (CCN) Services available through the West Liberty website. Alumni submit their names and resumes and are able to search for jobs targeted for WLU graduates. Employers may also search posted resumes for potential employees. Once an alumnus subscribes for CCN Services, the individual is able to search the Mentoring Network for profiles of others in their field. Also, networking events, which encourage interaction among alumni, are held in the local region and around the country.
Northern updated its alumni data base in May, 2007. The College identified 46,000 individuals that have taken courses at Northern. The addresses verify most of the community college’s previous students reside in the region.
West Virginia University has 6,189 registered alumni in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, and 9,819 registered alumni in adjacent counties in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Wheeling Jesuit University has 2,500 alumni in the Upper Ohio Valley and an additional 500 in the Pittsburgh area.