September 26, 2004
The concept of a new college in the area unveiled last week is an innovative approach to making higher education a reality for students in Henry County, Martinsville and Southside.
Dr. Ronald E. Carrier, former president of James Madison University, envisions a two-tiered college. It includes a residential college which students would attend 10 months of the year and earn degrees in half the time of a traditional university. For students who could not attend college full-time, it would offer "weekend colleges" in this area and surrounding localities to provide supplementary classroom instruction through the Internet.
The goal of Dr. Carrier's concept is to serve students who might have thought a college education was unavailable, possibly because of the time needed to earn a degree, the lack of classes locally or their need to work. The model addresses all of those concerns.
It also satisfies the desire for a college campus and the economic growth it can spur, as well as the recognition that the Internet is a valuable tool for educating residents of rural areas.
The Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce directors endorsed this concept last week, and we do as well. It is creative and visionary as well as realistic, and promises a better future for this area and its work force.
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