Leaders in the areas of Business; Education and the Arts;
Healthcare; and Non-Profits and Civic Service heard Shipley’s presentation
outlining the plan for the Martinsburg campus.
“So we’re working on a space decision now and hiring
decisions are next and then our curriculum decisions are in process while the
faculty puts the curriculum together so we’ll be out there offering courses in
the spring in different locations in the Martinsburg area,” Shipley said.
Shepherd hopes to have a Martinsburg
Center for Graduate and Professional
Studies open by next summer. Shipley said there are several reasons the
University is opening the satellite campus at this time.
“We have reached capacity on our campus,” She said. “We feel
like we’re at a good size, 4,200 to 4,500 students is a good size for our
historical campus. We’re in a small town, we don’t want to overtax the
resources of a small town.”
Shipley points out the Eastern Panhandle is growing along
the I-81 corridor and currently there’s no option for students wanting to get a
four-year degree from a public college or university.
“Blue Ridge has done a terrific job at the one and 200 level
and we really wanted to come out and be a stronger partner with Blue Ridge
Community and Technical and serve the area with an affordable public option for
bachelors degrees,” Shipley said.
Shepherd and Blue Ridge Community and Technical
College have signed an agreement
that will allow some students to take two years of classes at Blue
Ridge then continue earning a bachelor’s degree at Shepherd, which
will offer upper-level bachelor and
masters degree courses in Martinsburg.
Shepherd is working with Widmeyer Communications to research
and develop the $2.5 million facility.
CEO Scott Widmeyer said a study done in the four state region of Virginia, West
Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania shows there’s potential for a good bit of
“We can pinpoint that probably somewhere between 75,000 and
100,000 residents of this four-state area have some potential to be part of
this student audience that President Shipley is talking about building at the
Martinsburg Center for Shepherd,” Widmeyer said.
“That doesn’t mean 90,000 to 100,000 students are going to
walk in the doors of this center but even if you pull a couple percentage, one
or two percent of that market, those are huge numbers,” he said. “It gives
Shepherd a really great place to start in building this Martinsburg operation.”
One goal is to make classes more accessible for people who
work and have families. The Martinsburg center will be designed with these
older students in mind and will offer classes that run for eight weeks in the
evenings and on weekends. It will initially have eight classrooms, five study
rooms, faculty and student lounges and offices.
Shipley said there are also plans to offer classes in places
like schools, banks, hospitals and businesses and they will each have an online
“We’re calling this a hybrid model where you are in the
classroom with the instructor but you take a lot of work after your instruction
and you do a lot of homework, a lot of online instruction, before you come back
the next week,” Shipley said. “So you come to class less often, you spend less
time in class, but you’re expected to be an independent learning online in the
Shipley said Shepherd hopes the Martinsburg campus will help
the state meet its economic development goals.
“This state needs qualified bachelors degree graduates in
our workforce and that’s how we’ll build our economy and I’m just so pleased
that the Shepherd faculty and staff are engaged and excited about partnering to
deliver this to the state,” Shipley said.
Shepherd is in the process of leasing a building in
Martinsburg. The time lime calls for renovating the building and hiring staff
between January and March of 2013. The new center will also have to go through
an accreditation process.