University officials are looking at several sites with an announcement regarding their choice due in a few weeks.
Shipley told a gathering of 22 stakeholders at the first of three scheduled informational breakfast meetings Tuesday at the Holiday Inn that the new center will have eight classrooms, faculty and student lounges, study rooms, offices and IT systems and support space.
It will offer flexible course schedules for adult students, including evenings and weekends. Undergraduate programs will include a Regents bachelor of arts and graduate level business administration degrees.
Participants Tuesday represented health care, education and the arts, business and nonprofit agencies.
Participants included Jenny Allen, Higher Education Policy Board; Bridget Cohee, Contemporary American Theater Festival; John Reisenweber, executive director Jefferson County Economic Development Authority; Gina Miller, Shepherd University Foundation; Karla Troppman, Hospice of the Eastern Panhandle; and Peter Mulford, executive director of the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle.
Shepherd University’s current undergraduate enrollment is nearly 4,200 students, including 80 percent who are full time, Shipley said.
The retention rate from freshman to sophomore year is 68 percent. The six-year graduation rate is 46 percent, according to Shipley’s presentation.
The next two breakfast meetings are Thursday and Oct. 10. They also will be at the Holiday Inn.
Also Tuesday, Shipley and Peter Checkovich, president of Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg, signed an agreement to allow Blue Ridge associate business degree graduates to make a seamless transition into Shepherd to earn four-year bachelor’s degrees.
Checkovich said Blue Ridge’s enrollment exceeds 4,300 students, 60 percent of whom are part time. “The average age of our students is 35,” he said. One fourth go on to a bachelors degree, the other 75 percent join the work force, he said.