West Liberty prepares students to be leaders

WEIRTON – West Liberty University’s Terry Wallace told Weirton Rotarians and their guests Wednesday the school is developing programs and competency standards to prepare students to be leaders in their chosen fields.

Wallace, vice president for research at West Liberty and a senior fellow in West Liberty University’s Institute for Innovation in Education, said West Liberty is in transition “from a good college that’s been around a couple hundred years to a great university.”

“A great university is not necessarily a huge university,” he added. “Great universities are the ones that have a significant positive impact on the community.”

Wallace said the school now offers a bachelor of arts in organizational leadership and administration program, aimed at those looking to advance their leadership skills within an organization, as well as a regent’s degree program, a non-traditional program designed for adults interested in obtaining a bachelor’s degree that takes life experiences into account.

The university’s new master’s degree program in business administration, in the final stages of the approval process, will emphasize a global perspective in the advanced study of business disciplines.

They’re also ramping up their Advanced Academy, a chance for motivated high school students to jump start their collegiate careers. While it’s not for everybody, he said students who are focused and results-oriented can be well on the road to a degree by the time they graduate from high school.

“High-performing youngsters can come to West Liberty before they finish high school,” he said, pointing out they can get both high school and college credits at no cost. “It’s a wonderful program for those for whom high school is a waiting process.”

He said the educational community’s focus currently tends to be on age-based curriculums rather than competencies and achievements. “At West Liberty, we’re putting in a competency-based program,” he said, adding a three-year degree program is also in the works “for kids who are goal-oriented, who want to get through school faster.”

“Kids who begin taking courses in high school could finish (college) a year after high school, then go on to grad school,” Wallace said. “Those kinds of options should be there. They’re not for everybody, but for those who are (highly motivated) it’s a good fit.”

He also said the university’s new research corporation has been unbelievably successful, “applying things we know can help the world be better, and we can do it throughout West Virginia.”

“We’re chasing excellence in everything we do,” he added. “If you achieve excellence, everything else will follow.”

The Rotarians meet each Wednesday at noon at Williams Country Club.