Latest Southern News

Jimmy Welch, Executive Director of the Credit Bureau of the Virginias Foundation, Inc. recently presented a contribution to the Southern West Virginia Community College Foundation. The Credit Bureau of the Virginias Foundation Scholarship program grants scholarships annually to students on the Wyoming Campus. Pictured are David Lord, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Wyoming Campus Director; Ron Lemon, Vice President for Development at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. Mr. Welch and Jim Sizemore, President of Pioneer Community Bank and a Board member of The Credit Bureau of the Virginias Foundation.
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Continuing Education Department is offering enrollment for beginner and intermediate level clogging classes. These classes will be held every Tuesday from September 8 through December 15 at Guyan Valley Middle School, instructed by Mr. Michael Midkiff. Classes for beginners will be held from 6pm to 7pm. Intermediate classes will begin at 7pm and conclude at 8pm. There will be a $35 fee for the class. Clogging is becoming more and more popular in today’s society. It is an American folk dance that is similar to tap dancing, making rhythmic tapping sounds with the feet. Special shoes are used to emphasize the tapping sounds. These shoes are usually made of soft leather with hard soles and attached, metal taps and are not required for the class. For more information or to register for this 14-week course, please contact Sandra Podunavac at 304.896.7434 or

Students enrolled in a technical program or class at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College now have their very own support system to bridge the gap between enrollment and graduation. The Bridging the Gap Program is an initiative funded by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant. The goal of the program is to help students succeed and graduate quickly. Southern’s Bridging the Gap staff consists of Counselor Cody Bailey and multiple Peer Coaches on the Logan and Williamson campuses. Staff members are focused on helping students in the program set and meet their educational and occupational goals. Peer Coaches are fellow students who have faced many of the same challenges participants face on their educational journeys, and the Counselor is readily available to help eliminate the barriers students face. Students who are part of the Bridging the Gap Program can expect an open line of communication with Peer Coaches and the Counselor whenever they need it. Monthly appointments are arranged with the assigned Peer Coach to check in and track progress, and the Counselor honors an open-door policy to eliminate a lengthy wait time. “I like to utilize an open-door policy so that students know they are my number one priority, that they can come to me at any time with whatever issues they may be facing,” said Counselor Cody Bailey. “My students are always welcome to drop by and discuss the challenges they are facing, or even just to say hello. My goal is to ensure that students know they are welcome any time, no appointment necessary.” Peer Coach Rachel Hicks expressed her hope that students would not hesitate to reach out to Bridging the Gap staff. “Having an open line of communication is so important, and students need to know we are here for them. It can mean the world to students simply to know that they have an entire group of people behind them to support them in their endeavors. We act as the shovels who are ready to pave the road to graduation for our students.” Any student enrolled in a technical, engineering, or welding class is eligible to participate in the Bridging the Gap Program. Specialized assistance can be given to students enrolled to earn a certificate or degree in mechatronics, welding, electrical engineering, information technology, or industrial technology. The Program is free to join, and the only step in joining is to sign a participation agreement. The agreement can be obtained from the Counselor or any of the Peer Coaches. Visit for more information.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today announced a partnership with Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (Southern) uniquely designed for individuals receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits to enroll in a cohort pilot program at Southern to gain skills to succeed in the workforce.  The ultimate goal of the program is to move more individuals and families toward achieving self-sufficiency. 

“This pilot program will provide support to individuals seeking to improve their opportunities for gainful employment,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling. “I appreciate the support of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, as well as Southern’s commitment to preparing individuals for careers and look forward to seeing how this partnership improves the stability of West Virginia’s children and families. This pilot is setting an example that will likely be emulated across the state and nation.” 

The pilot program was established by Secretary Bowling and First Lady Tomblin, former president of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.  There are 21 TANF recipients identified as cohort students which will begin classes in the fall 2015 semester and will work toward a certificate or degree program.  DHHR has assisted the cohort students in seeking financial aid and advisement from counselors in regard to the program they will choose.  

“We are pleased to be a part of this innovative project. Our faculty and staff are looking forward to working in collaboration with these students and the WV Department of Health and Human Resources to design a career path that will lead to professional and personal success,” said Merle Dempsey, Interim Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College President. 

Southern will offer these students assistance on all academic levels, from boot camps for math and English, to offering additional skills for their chosen program. Employers in the area were contacted to determine workforce needs so that individuals in the cohort would receive skills needed for emerging occupations in the area. 

Data will be collected through the pilot period and if it is successful, the program will be implemented in other areas of the state.  

The tuition payment deadline for students registered for Fall 2015 classes at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College is being extended. Due to some technical difficulties the college has announced that payment will be accepted until the close of business on Wednesday, August 5, 2015. For more information visit us online at or call 1-866-SWVCTC1.

Charleston, W.Va. – Four community and technical colleges within the West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS) were named as the most affordable two-year institutions in the United States. *BridgeValley, Southern WV, WV Northern and Eastern WV community and technical colleges were identified as having some of the lowest net prices in the country, according to the 2015 College Affordability and Transparency Center list released by the U.S. Department of Education. “The price of going to college extends beyond tuition,” said Interim Chancellor Dr. Sarah Tucker. “Our students have to consider cost of living, transportation and the continued ability to support their families. Our community and technical colleges make it possible for fellow West Virginians to access an affordable, high-quality education that will advance them into long-term, high-paying careers.” The annual College Affordability and Transparency list compares the affordability of public and private colleges and universities who grant four-year and two-year degrees. This list is based on data collected during the 2013-14 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data collection cycle. Average net price is calculated by subtracting the average amount of federal, state/local government, or institutional grant or scholarship aid from the total cost of attendance. Total cost of attendance is the sum of published tuition and required fees, books and supplies and the weighted average for room and board and other expenses. West Virginia University of Parkersburg, which also grants four-year degrees, was named as one of the most affordable four-year colleges. Complete listings from the U.S. Department of Education can be found at


* BridgeValley Community and Technical College was founded on March 20, 2014 after the consolidation of Bridgemont and Kanawha Valley Community and Technical Colleges. This data reflects the former Bridgemont Community and Technical College.

The Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Board of Governors is pleased to announce its 2015-2016 slate of officers, as elected during its regular Board meeting. Mr. Thomas A. Heywood, Attorney, Bowles Rice McDavid Graff and Love of Charleston was elected as Board Chair; Ms. Wilma J. Zigmond, retired Superintendent of Logan County Schools, was elected as Vice Chair; and Logan businessman, Mr. Glenn T. Yost, was elected as Secretary. The 12-member Board of Governors is the governing body of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. Of the 12 members, nine are citizen members appointed by the Governor, and three are institutional members elected by the constituent group they represent faculty, classified staff, and student body. Members of the Board of Governors work cooperatively with the college president and administration to establish institutional governance and strategic planning. In addition to Heywood, Zigmond, and Yost, citizen members appointed by the Governor include Linda Q. Akers, Shelly Huffman, Jada Hunter, George Kostas, and Terry Sammons. Southern's institutional members include Russell Saunders (faculty representative), Virginia Stepp (classified staff representative), and a student representative to be named.

The Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Board of Governors approved a Resolution of Commendation as President Emeritus for retiring President Joanne Jaeger Tomblin during its June 24, 2015 business meeting. President Tomblin retired June 30, 2015, ending a 33 year career of unwavering service working in various roles from instructor to chief executive officer at the College. Board Chair, Thomas Heywood, and Vice Chair, Wilma Zigmond, presented President Tomblin with a display of the approved resolution, along with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Board in appreciation of her years of service. President Tomblin was named the eighth president of Southern on November 16, 1999 and has held that post for 16 years making her the longest-serving president of the College, and the longest-serving president in the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia. She is the first female president of Southern and its first president to receive this designation. The extensive resolution honoring Tomblin cited her many accomplishments and acknowledged the College’s progress during her presidency. It noted the College achieved significant milestones including academic program development, enhancement of student life and the campus environment, expansion of campus facilities, community involvement, and surpassing more than $20 million in grant funds during her tenure. Special recognition was made of Tomblin’s leadership of the College. Tomblin is credited with guiding Southern through daunting challenges toward success, and citied that she championed academic excellence and placed a premium on open communication and close engagement with students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

There’s a new but familiar face in the president’s office at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. Dr. Merle Dempsey will serve as Southern’s interim president while college representatives continue to search for a permanent replacement for outgoing president Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, who retired on June 30. Dempsey began his term of service on July 1 and said that he is honored to have been asked by the Board of Governors to serve as Interim President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. “I want to thank the Board for the confidence they have shown in me by allowing me the opportunity to serve the College and community in this capacity.” Dempsey began his career as a teacher and principal in Mingo County Schools. He joined Southern Community and Technical College in Mount Gay, W. Va., in 1987 as assistant director of telecommunications and educational services. He was named vice president for instruction and student services in 1990 and later served as vice president for student affairs and vice president for academic affairs and student services. He served as interim president for five months in 1999 before being promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer, a position he held until his retirement in 2010. In 2012, he served as interim president for New River Community and Technical College in Beaver, WV. He now works as an educational consultant. Dempsey is a graduate of Marshall University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in teacher education, a master's in education administration and a doctorate in educational leadership with an emphasis on higher education administration. Southern provides accessible, affordable, quality education and training at each of its four campuses in Boone, Logan, Mingo and Wyoming counties and its Lincoln County High School site in Hamlin, WV. Dempsey plans to visit each campus and location as soon as possible. “I look forward to renewing acquaintances with those with whom I have worked in the past and to meeting new colleagues with whom I have not yet had the pleasure to work.”