A Brief History

  • 1966--Community college component was established to offer Associate level, 2-year degrees, which were awarded through West Virginia Institute of Technology.
  • 1970s to 1990s--Degree inventory developed to include TAC of ABET accredited engineering technology programs, computer technology, ADA accredited dental hygiene, printing technology, business, and health programs.
  • 1996--West Virginia Tech became a regional campus of West Virginia University and was known as WVU Tech.
  • 1999—WV State legislature established a separate community college system.
  • 2004—WV State legislature required all community colleges to seek independent accreditation. The Community and Technical College at WVU Institute of Technology (CTC at WVU Tech) was accredited as an independent institution by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
  • 2008 – WV State legislature mandated that all community colleges operate independent of any other institution. The Govenor appointed a separate Board of Governors to the CTC at WVU Tech.
  • May 19, 2009—The official name of the college was changed to BRIDGEMONT Community and Technical College.

 

PROFILE
 
Bridgemont Community and Technical College
 
Historical Overview
 
For a major portion of the 101 years, the focus of what is now known as West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) has been on the delivery of degree programs in the sciences, engineering, engineering technologies, printing technology, business, and health-care related areas.  A significant number of these programs were offered as two-year technical education programs aimed at preparing graduates for immediate employment and leading to the award of an associate degree.  The historic involvement of WVU Tech in the delivery of career-technical programs and the growth of the community college movement nationwide in the 1960s led to the authorization of the community and technical college division of West Virginia Institute of Technology (WVIT) in 1966 by the West Virginia State Board of Education, the higher education governing board at that time.  The Community and Technical College was formed by joining the already existing faculty, staff, students, and programs of Electrical Industrial, Mechanical Industrial, Civil, and Drafting and Design Technology programs with those of the associate degree Accounting, General Business, and Secretarial Science.  Tech’s Community and Technical College was the first such division of a four-year college established in West Virginia.
 
In writing about the Community and Technical College, L. Wood Buell, Director of the Community and Technical College at the time of its development, said:
 
“It is a separate administrative unit that will concern itself with vocational and technical type programs.  It is separate in order to provide academic freedom and the identity it deserves.”
 
In an effort to consolidate the programs and personnel involved in the delivery of community and technical college programs, Davis Hall was dedicated in 1971.  This building, designed and equipped to support technical programs  has served as the center of community and technical college education on the Tech campus since that time.
 
Also in 1971, A Plan for Comprehensive Community College Education in West Virginia was developed by the West Virginia Board of Regents.  Although the recommendations of that plan were not adopted by the legislature, they did become the basis for the 1972 Plan for Progress:  West Virginia Higher Education in the Seventies.  As a result of adoption of this 1972 plan, three free-standing community colleges were established in the state, and a number of the state colleges were directed to expand their role and mission to include a comprehensive community college component.
 
The recognition of the need for community colleges in West Virginia to embrace the comprehensive role typical of community colleges across the country at that time led to the expansion of Tech’s Community and Technical College (CTC) in the decade of the 70s.  Health programs, including associate degree Dental Hygiene, Medical Records, and Nursing were added to the offerings of the college.  The technology programs were restructured into engineering technology programs.   Additional programs were initiated and the first programs were nationally accredited.  The printing program, the oldest program on the Tech campus, was restructured into a two-plus-two A.S. Printing Technology, B.S. Printing Management structure, and the associate degree technology program moved to the CTC.  Other transfer programs were developed which provided opportunities for associate degree graduates to continue studies toward baccalaureate degrees.  An Office of Extension and Community Service was established to deliver educational programs, short courses, and community service activities in the college’s service region.  Lastly, an Intermediate Studies department was developed to address the special needs of developmental students.
 
The decade of the 80s and the first half of the 90s brought changes in the service region, including changes in the mix of business and industry employing graduates and major changes in the technology, especially computer technologies found in the workplace.  As a result, the skills needed by those entering and employed in the workplace had also changed.  In response to labor market changes, the CTC faculty suspended several associate degree programs (such as mining engineering technology) that no longer met service region needs and developed others aimed at meeting new and emerging needs.
 
The community and technical college was charged by the 1995 legislature to provide comprehensive community and technical college services to Region 5.  This five-county area includes Kanawha, Fayette, Clay, Raleigh, and Nicholas counties.  All counties in this service region are shared with other community colleges in the region.  The dean of the college became the provost, who reported to the President of West Virginia Tech.  In 1996, the two-year and four-year colleges merged with West Virginia University and were governed by the WVU Board.
 
With a series of legislative acts from 1999 - 2008, the community college system  emerged, with its own statewide governing body, the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education (Council).  Community college components were mandated to attain separate Higher Learning Commission North Central Association (HLC/NCA) accreditation from the baccalaureate institution to provide greater autonomy and flexibility required to meet the mission of community college education.  Budgets were separated, personnel policies changed, and specific “essential conditions” were defined.  Throughout this time, the college continued to add and delete programs in response to regional demands and instituted its Workforce Development unit to focus on customized training for area industry.
 
In 2004, Senate Bill 448 changed the governance structure for community college components across the state.  The position of provost was changed to President.  At WVU Tech, the college president began reported to the WVU Board of Governors rather than the WVU Tech President.  The community college component attained independent accreditation with HLC/NCA under the name of “The Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology. In 2008, House Bill 3215 assigned a separate Board of Governors to the Community and Technical College at WVU Tech, completing the separation of governance between the original component and baccalaureate institution.  This new board was charged with determining whether a new name should be assigned to the college.
 
On May 19, 2009, the Board of Governors approved the name change of the Community and Technical College at WVU Tech to Bridgemont Community and Technical College.
 
Bridgemont Community and Technical College Today
 
Since 2004, Bridgemont’s enrollment has increased 44 percent to slightly over 1,000 students; non-credit or credit workforce education programs average 1,700 participants per year.
 
Industry partnerships have resulted in new program options such as Diesel Technology and Blasting Technology and in the creation initiatives including the National Publishing Innovation Center and the Bridgemont Sustainability Institute.  In August 2011, two additional sites were approved by the Higher Learning Commission for course delivery:  the Charleston Job Corps and the West Virginia Regional Technology Park.
 
Bridgemont is playing a key role in meeting statewide goals through the new community college system, which is comprised of ten institutions. Focusing on increasing the college-going rate of adults in West Virginia, degree completion, and industry partnerships, Bridgemont will continue to grow and increase the pool of qualified technical workers through the use of alternative schedules, web-based instruction, compressed programs, off-site instruction, and affordable tuition.  The economic development of West Virginia depends on the accomplishment of the mission and vision for community college education.
 
Revised 3/2012