December 15, 2005
By Mason Adams
The Roanoke Times
The New College of Virginia Planning Commission announced plans Wednesday to offer Southside students classes to receive degrees from other state colleges, starting as early as 2007.
The classes would take place in New College institute facilities taught by both New College faculty and professors from other colleges. Rachel Kaplan, spokeswoman for the New College, said that planners have not yet chosen a location for the New College Institute, but that they're planned for Martinsville or Henry County.
The classes will target Southside students who have completed an associate's degree at a community college or who have completed a year or two of study in an undergraduate program, and planners envision a program to allow students to rapidly earn a degree, according to a press release.
The plan is the first part of a two-stage framework; the second step would be to develop the New College Institute into a baccalaureate college or branch campus.
"This framework is a crucial and significant step toward increasing baccalaureate degree opportunities and establishing a college in the Martinsville-Henry County area," said Peter Blake, Virginia secretary of education.
The classes starting in 2007 would help to establish a curriculum for the college, Kaplan said.
The framework resulted from consultations among the planning commission, Blake, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and Virginia Tech officials. It will require the General Assembly's approval. Kaplan said that planners hope the legislature will provide some funding to help launch the program.
In related news, the commission on Tuesday named Dr. Barry Dorsey as its executive director. Dorsey has been president of the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College in Ohio since 1991. He's also worked with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and Radford University.
Dorsey will begin his job in January.
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