HUNTINGTON — Campbellsville University is continuing steps toward an expansion into West Virginia.

The West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education, at a meeting Oct. 24 in Charleston, approved Campbellsville University, a Christian university in Kentucky, to offer associate degrees and certificate programs in West Virginia.

The university is first looking at the certificate in Christian ministries along with cosmetology and barbering, according to a release from the university.

“The certificate in Christian ministries offers practical education to those wishing to follow their calling into ministry,” said H. Keith Spears, senior vice president and assistant to the president of Campbellsville University. “And cosmetology and barbering prepare students to enter the workforce as credentialed and licensed professionals.”

The university is collaborating with organizations in Huntington and Williamson.

“This is a step in a series of approvals needed to move this project forward. The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) will allow us to begin with online courses as we move through the next stages of approvals by our accreditor,” said Donna Hedgepath, Campbellsville University’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Additionally, authorization will need to come from the West Virginia Cosmetology and Barbering Commission.”

An investment group has recently purchased the former Williamson Middle and High schools. The middle school was previously home to Ambassador Christian Academy.

Williamson’s mayor, Charles Hatfield, has formally invited the university on behalf of the investment group, which will facilitate space for an office, classrooms and other operational needs.

Christ Temple Church is sponsoring CU in Huntington, providing space for university needs.

Pastor Chuck Lawrence said the university is a natural partner that will augment the church’s outreach and education missions.

Both locations are working with Campbellsville University on academic and community-based projects, focusing on the development of servant leaders.

“These students will become licensed professionals, thus being able to pour back into their communities and bolster the economy,” said Amanda Roop, director of the cosmetology and barbering programs at Campbellsville University. “I have personally witnessed immense life change through these programs, and I am so excited to be able to offer this opportunity to other individuals seeking a work-ready career.”

The approval of associate degrees and certificate programs by the WVCCTCE come just one month after the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission approved degree programs from Campbellsville University’s School of Theology. The Southern Association of College and Schools’ Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) site approvals and other requirements still need to be completed.

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