BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College President Dr. Scott D. Miller discussed “where we’ve been, the challenges and opportunities confronting us today, and our plans for the future” during his annual State of the College address Aug. 19 to faculty and staff in Commencement Hall.
“We strive to be a classical, residential, liberal arts college committed to teaching and student success, a place where academics and student life complement each other, for we recognize that learning takes many forms, both inside and outside the classroom,” he said.
Dr. Miller said that Bethany’s prominence as a national liberal arts college, the only such institution so categorized in West Virginia, continued to earn accolades for the campus. The College is one of just five National Liberal Arts Colleges in its peer group, the 35-member Appalachian College Association, to earn the national title. According to comparative IPEDS data provided by the ACA, Bethany is second in graduation rates and third in retention among the private colleges in West Virginia. Bethany is in the Top Tier of ACA members in retention and graduation rates, Dr. Miller said.
“It is especially significant that Bethany is among the top ten colleges in the nation lauded by U.S News and World Report for the number of alumni who attend graduate schools within a year of earning their baccalaureate degrees,” he said.
“As strategic planning for sustainable growth continues to undergird all our endeavors and programs, Bethany looks forward to a new academic year in which we continue to position the College to meet the needs of a volatile and highly competitive marketplace.”
Miller highlighted four key areas that will aid in the College’s success:
Dr. Miller also discussed ways Bethany is fostering affordable education while providing new options to students.
A new agreement with Webster University opens study-abroad possibilities for students through their programs in 11 countries around the world. The Webster program, coupled with the College’s relationship with Arcadia University, brings over 75 new opportunities to Bethany’s international portfolio, Dr. Miller said. The College also recently renewed its agreement with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in digital communications. These are two of the agreements Bethany has with 16 institutions around the world.
Among Bethany’s educational partners are dual degree offers with Columbia University, Case Western Reserve University, Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University and others.
The McCann Learning Center, which houses the PASS, Beth Bridge and tutoring programs, is also important to student achievement, Dr. Miller noted. The Center was recognized by the Washington, DC-based National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities as one of eight innovative programs nationally to assure student success.
In other citations and announcements, President Miller:
“Just as none of the College’s recent accolades would have been possible without the dedication and perseverance of those who have gone before us—as well as many of you here today—each of you will play a key role in fulfilling these future objectives,” Dr. Miller said to the campus audience. “We cannot hope to achieve continued vitality of our College without all of you.”
The oldest degree granting institution in West Virginia, Bethany traces its origins to the founding of Buffalo Seminary at what was then Bethany, Virginia, in 1818. The institution counts 1840 as its founding as a degree-granting college. Located on a beautiful, historic, 1,300-acre campus of 45 buildings in the wooded foothills of the Allegheny Mountains 39 miles from Pittsburgh, Bethany enrolled 1,100 students (headcount) in 2013-14.