Beginning with the Fall 2011 semester, West Virginia University’s business school will implement a four-year college system that will benefit students through earlier access to advisors and increased internship opportunities.

Jose V. Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean at the College of Business and Economics, said the four-year system directly admits students as freshmen instead of after they have met specific criteria prior to their junior years.

“We are excited about the four-year college because of the great things it will do for our students,” Sartarelli said. “First, students will have access to B&E advisors from the start of their academic careers at WVU, which will provide them with academic guidance tailored to their areas of study at a much earlier point.

“Second, students will have opportunities to meet with B&E faculty as freshmen and sophomores, as well as join B&E student clubs. Third, many students will be able to begin courses in their majors in their sophomore years,” he said.

“All of these will lead to opportunities for internships, which provide invaluable work experience and the qualifications for superior job placement when they graduate. In the end, this means a much more robust academic experience, greater exposure to and participation in the College of Business and Economics, and less uncertainty in their areas of study.”

The ability of students to begin business-specific coursework earlier in their academic careers can prove to be a significant advantage over the two-year college format. B&E students can take business introduction and business communications courses during their freshman and sophomore years, respectively, allowing students to be much better prepared for courses in their majors than in the past.

“For the past four years, B&E has admitted high achieving high school seniors directly into the College,” said Dr. Nancy McIntyre, associate dean for academic affairs. “These students are known as 21st Century Scholars, and they entered the business school as freshmen and took courses designed specifically to meet their needs. The 21st Century Scholars program has been overwhelmingly successful and has worked as a pilot program for the four-year college system.”

In addition to the benefits outlined above, B&E is working on the development of a Learning Center which will provide even greater support for students as they make the transition to college. The Learning Center would provide tutoring in computer, math and writing skills, and would be an important resource for students at all levels.

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CONTACT: Dr. Graham Peace, College of Business and Economics

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