The Gilmer Free PressWe had Moody’s report about GSC’s lowered bond rating from its risky borrowing, exceeding $30,000,000, which was approved by the Gilmer County Commission. Next, we learned about GSC’s serious accreditation concerns from the iconic Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The WSJ reported that about 30% of an entering GSC freshman class does not graduate. The newest alarm is from the prestigious National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). At the beginning of the 21st century and decades before that time the College had one of the finest teacher education programs in America.

Sadly, that prized status ended. The NCTQ applied an evaluation process containing 20 criteria referred to as standards to rank teacher education programs including GSC’s. Mr. Charles McElwee, a distinguished Charleston attorney reported the rankings in the Gazette Mail.

To quote Mr. McAlwee, “six institutions [in WV]) fell in the bottom half of fully evaluated undergraduate or graduate elementary programs, too low to qualify for a ranking.” Unfortunately GSC’s teacher education program was among the six bottom place WV institutions.

What happened at GSC to degrade its teacher education program?

We hear mostly about the College’s expansive building program as if it alone is the answer to all challenges. However, there is no evidence to verify that the huge loan for building, enabled by the County Commission, helped to improve the College’s academic standing including its discredited teacher education program.

Ax grinders spew venom that GSC’s teacher education program’s problems originated approximately 20 years when another College President served.  An evaluation of facts provides convincing evidence that true causes for the troubled program link to the College’s more recent presidents and boards of governors.

Members of governing boards are determined locally and the Governor of WV approves the decisions automatically. Presidents are hired by sitting boards. How should current governing board members be graded for demonstrated personal knowledge of how a vibrant college should function? Have they comprehended the urgent need to plan for success and to hold administrators accountable, and have they understood the urgent necessity of redirecting GSC?

Assurances regularly emit from the hill that everything is just fine with enrollment and all its programs. Should anyone disagree a member of GSC’s attitude adjustment team dispatches to try to silence concerned dissenters. Regardless, GSC’s faithful well wishers consider the reputation of its teacher education program to be the bell weather of the College’s overall academic health and viability.

The future of GSC and Gilmer County is inseparable. With reference to the triage analogy in medicine we are near or past the “patient can’t be saved” condition.

Governor Tomblin and Dr. Paul H. Hill, the administrator of the WV Higher Education Policy Commission, should form a blue ribbon team of renowned experts to advise the State of options for rescuing the College’s teacher education program.  WV Legislators who oversee higher education functions must involve themselves too in efforts to solve the serious emergency.

If an option still exists, a comprehensive plan should be developed for restoring the teacher education program’s reputation. Those who remember GSC’s program as it once was want a fresh start at this critical period when the State has a teacher education crisis.

Why not re-position GSC to have the premier teacher education program in West Virginia?  That development would be a great asset as our State struggles hard to brighten the tarnished image of its K-12 education system.

08.25.2015
CommunityGilmer CountyGlenvilleEducationNews(7) Comments

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~~~ Readers’ Comments ~~~

GSC has the same failed mindset as the WVBOE.
Policies, programs, never ending experiments with the students.

Bells, whistles, baubles, glitz.  Unproductive and failing.

WVBOE believes that new, fancy, pretty buildings result in quality education.  Clearly GSC is stuck in the same rut.

By watcher  on  08.25.2015

It does not require geniuses to find one of the major reasons. Look at compositions of Boards of Governors.

Members of the same families have been represented since the BOG system started. The families control all other components of the College too.

Same families with strangle holds on the Court House, law enforcement, businesses to succeed and to fail, who gets jobs and who keeps them, who gets elected, what happens with our schools, who gets scholarship money, and everything else.

They like to portray appearances of watching out for us while the really watch out for themselves.

By Bob Gather  on  08.25.2015

A profession to be valued, certainly. But crucial shortages are widely reported to be in the areas of science, technology and special education.
There has been a downward spiral of the number seeking a Teaching degree nationwide for the past several years. Teach America recruitment is down.

Glenville State College should be valued as an asset for central WV, an area of this state historically ignored for infrastructure update by its Legislative body. Even more valued and protected during a troubled economy when even the largest colleges have seen decreased enrollment.

Can they afford to put all of their eggs in this basket? Can GSC afford expending all efforts and resources to be the education hero of West Virginia?

By Slippery Slope – Is It Practical?  on  08.25.2015

It seems to me that the emphasis at GSC is sports, not education. At least much more news coverage is given to sports than to academics.

By Skip Beyer  on  08.25.2015

We are already at rocky bottom of that slippery slope at GSC and other schools.

Teacher ed. is one of several programs of which WV has too many. Criminal justice is another. At last count there were 20+ CJ programs in WV’s colleges and universities.

Wanna thin them out? Have each one ranked in quality and demand that when a new student enrolls the list must be given out. Let the survival of the fittest function.

Something like that could be done for fields for which jobs are scarce to help cut the rate of college grads with huge college debts to pay off to have to work at fast food businesses to make a living.

When a new student enrolls in a program at an institution give out a fact sheet about chances for getting a job in that field and the pay prospects. That would cut down on getting degrees in poor opportunity fields.

If disclosure information is not required to be given out as a higher education version of truth in advertising, profs in the bottom fields will hold back because candidness would work against their personal interests in keeping their classes filled.

By Support The Winners  on  08.25.2015

GSC was once known far and wide for the quality of Teachers graduating.  Unfortunately with the current standings regarding the state of education in West Virginia how effective could such a program be?  It would take years to get a program off the ground and running, is there enough time?

Governor Tomblin is supporting the new State Superintendent of Schools agenda now. If the students sent to college aren’t ready then who will be trained as the high quality Teachers of tomorrow?

Begin at the beginning. There may not be a quick fix. It’s taken a lot of time and money to get where things are.

By AJ. Flack  on  08.25.2015

Sports does a lot to shore up the enrollment and the program has been very successful over the years. Team spirit is one thing GSC doesn’t lack.
That WACO center is a beautiful new facility and the Alumni and friend donate to keep the flag flying on the hill. What they want their money used for is up to the giver.

Online prisoner classes add to the count so there’s another contributor.

More community interaction would probably be a help. Thought they had a Teaching program but everything can always stand to grow.  How to get it done is the big problem. Do not see state revenues being the answer as the population statewide is on the down side. Didn’t the Governor have to cut all of the colleges in the states budget the last two or three years?

By Hang In There GSC  on  08.25.2015