Shepherd University is working to expand the graduate studies to Martinsburg and meet benchmark goals set in the Graduate Studies and Continuing Education Strategic Plan.
The Martinsburg Center, a center for adult learners and professionals, will be focused on graduate programs. These programs will be targeted at specific needs of the population such as the large number of government and healthcare workers and educational professionals in the region. Like professional centers on other campuses, plans are to possibly move the entire MBA program to the Martinsburg Center. Shepherd will also look at cohort enrollment, targeting programs for specific employers or systems.
Shepherd is taking a two-pronged approach by examining the needs of the market in Martinsburg while continuing to offer programs on the Shepherd campus that have done well. These programs include the CSDA program and graduate education degrees.
Graduate student Brian Filon stated moving graduate studies is not the best move for Shepherd. He will graduate before the new campus is open and feels that funds would be better spent through improving Shepherd’s home campus.
Filon said, “I feel very strongly about the new campus. I think it’s a horrible idea. The money being used to build this new campus for graduates would be better spent improving the campus we already have through expanding and improving buildings and increasing salaries for those who haven’t had raises in years.”
Dr. Scott Beard, dean of graduate studies and continuing education, is confident in the development of graduate culture for the overall satisfaction of Shepherd’s graduate students. He believes that graduate students will greatly benefit from a more abroad student experience.
Beard said, “Our feeling is that if we work to enhance the graduate student experience, the graduate culture on campus will continue to develop, leading to greater student satisfaction and the ability in the future to offer more and different degree programs.”
Sophomore education major Toni Gaither said it would be nice to have another campus for graduate studies. Gaither plans to eventually enroll in the graduate program once she completes her bachelor’s degree at Shepherd.
Gaither said, “I think that it sounds like a great opportunity to experience a new side of what Shepherd is capable of offering. I’ll probably consider doing graduate studies and maybe even taking classes at the new campus. Moving forward may be difficult, but it’s never a bad idea.”
Beard said Shepherd’s growth rate of graduate degree production should be in the low 50’s per year. The university went from 34 graduates in 2010-2011 to 63 graduates in 2011-2012. This was an improvement of 85 percent.
A new Dean’s Graduate Student Advisory Council has recently been formed. The council will work to enhance the graduate student experience on Shepherd’s main campus while working to build the new graduate program in Martinsburg.