The Regents Bachelor of Arts program, which has been housed within the West Virginia University College since 2013, was relocated to the College of Education and Human Services’ Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development, effective July 1. The move comes as a result of WVU’s decision to place degrees in academic colleges.
The RBA program was established in 1975 to accommodate adult learners and non- traditional students seeking their bachelor’s degrees. Individuals who have been out of high school for a minimum of four years and have a high school diploma or GED are eligible for enrollment. Since the program’s conception, WVU has granted over 4,000 RBA degrees and has recently increased the number of students graduating every semester.
Each RBA degree is unique, because students are encouraged to design their own programs of study. Students in the RBA program are also able to petition for “college-equivalent credits” based on life and work experiences, as well as, skills and qualified licenses and certificates that they have earned during their careers. The RBA program features highly flexible time, space and program options, which make it ideal for those with hectic schedules, such as working adults, adults with children, veterans and student athletes.
Dr. Gregory D. Epps Sr., the program’s new director, assures that although the RBA program is being relaunched within CEHS, its core mission—to recruit and support non-traditional students— will remain unchanged, and that the RBA program will only stand to benefit from its association with CEHS.
“Being under this academic umbrella provides greater opportunities for collaborations, partnerships, student scholarships, grant funding and many other forms of support for students,” Epps said. “It will also create greater promotional opportunities for recruitment, fundraising and alumni participation.” All of these tools will be useful in engaging the non-traditional student body which makes up the RBA program.
According to Epps, this can be a challenge, as some adult learners are hesitant to pursue a degree because they are concerned about dealing with the rigors of attending college in addition to their busy schedules, uneasy about attending classes with more traditional age students or believe a baccalaureate degree will not be beneficial to them. However, the WVU RBA program’s countless success stories indicate otherwise.
“Whether it is in the state of West Virginia, nationally or globally, the research clearly shows that there are a growing number of adults, many of whom have amassed a wealth of both professional and practical experiences, who could improve their market value, financial earning potential and their ability to positively impact the communities in which they live, once they are granted access to higher education and earn a degree,” Epps said. “Additionally, non-traditional students often have impactful and a variety of life and work experiences that many traditional students do not.”
Gypsy Denzine, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services, welcomes the program positively. “We are thrilled to have the Regents Bachelor’s Program integrated into the College of Education and Human Services. The RBA program at West Virginia University has a long-standing tradition of providing a high-quality and flexible degree pathway for adult learners. The RBA program has educated thousands of students, who have benefited from the ability to bring in in transfer credits, and credits for life experiences, into their degree program. Graduates of the RBA program at West Virginia University have achieved great success in their chosen field, and many have completed graduate degrees at top institutions,” said Denzine.
One notable RBA alumnus is former WVU Quarterback Pat White, who began his college football career with WVU in 2005. White says that through the RBA program he was able to learn valuable self-marketing skills that helped him throughout his career.
“The Regents Bachelor of Arts program has provided me with the opportunity to not only become a businessman, but be a business myself,” White said. “One of the best attributes one can possess is to be and honor thy self. This program allows students to achieve exactly that: it is a place where you can develop and master the skills to present yourself in the most effective manner.”
CONTACT: Christie Zachary; Director of Marketing and Communication WVU College of Education and Human Services 304.293.0224; Christie.Zachary@mail.wvu.edu
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