Latest Southern News

Dr. Deanna M. Romano, Vice President for Academic Affairs
President Robert Gunter is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Deanna Romano as the new Vice President for Academic Affairs at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. Serving most recently as the Accreditation Liaison Officer and Associate Professor of Educational Technology at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, Dr. Romano will begin her new role at Southern on January 22, 2018.

"Her broad range of experience in leadership, accreditation, and higher education in general, will be a true asset to Southern as we continue to ensure that our academic programs meet the needs of students, business and industry. Dr. Romano is a key addition that will enable Southern to continue to grow in academic offerings, enrollment and quality, and I am pleased to appoint her to this vital role," said President, Robert E. Gunter, Ed.D. "Delivering quality education that supports student success is the foundation of everything we strive to do at Southern. Dr. Romano brings expertise, energy, and vision that will help us advance strategic plans and achieve our goals. I look forward to working closely with her and introducing her to our faculty, staff, students, and community this semester.”

“I am excited to assume this new role and look forward to working with the faculty, staff, and administration to advance the mission of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College,” Dr. Romano said. “During the interview process, I was impressed by the friendliness, professionalism, and dedication to the school shown by so many. It is clear that Southern is an integral part of the communities in this region. I feel fortunate to be selected for this position and to continuing to meet the needs of the students, community, and the workforce.”

Romano’s 17-year career at Ashland University includes serving as the Interim Associate Provost for the College of Online and Adult Studies, and as chair of several departments within the Dwight Schar College of Education. She has expertise in curriculum development, program implementation, assessment, and accreditation. Dr. Romano designed a nationally recognized Master of Education in Educational Technology, ranking in the top 10 online programs in Ohio. She has authored a book chapter, several refereed publications, presented at conferences across the country, and virtually presented at the International Technology, Education, and Development Conference in Valencia, Spain. She has more than 20 years of experience in the area of educational technology and distance education.

Dr. Romano earned her Doctorate degree in Instructional Technology and Distance Education from Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She earned a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Cleveland State University, in Cleveland, Ohio.

CHARLESTON, WV, December 21, 2017– The West Virginia Community and Technical College System (CTCS) facilitated an agreement between its nine (9) member schools and Marshall University last week.

The agreement allows students at any of the system’s nine community and technical colleges to continue their education to receive a Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) degree from Marshall University. Marshall will accept students who remain in good standing with their community college and allow up to 72 hours of college credit to be transferred for credit toward their RBA degree.

“We at Marshall University believe that the future prosperity of West Virginia depends on a highly educated workforce who contribute to the commerce of the state. As such, we are proud to collaborate with our colleagues in the community and technical colleges to find new and innovative ways to provide a high-quality education at the right time and place for each student,” said Marshall University’s Interim Associate Vice President of Outreach David J. Pettinger.

CTCS will provide academic advising and counseling for students to ensure their courses will lead them to a timely completion of the associates degree and help them stay on track to transfer as many credits as possible for the RBA at Marshall University. This extra assistance will give students of all ages an opportunity to get started with their first two years of college before making the transition to complete their bachelor’s.

“We are always looking for ways to assist students to continue their education,” said CTCS Vice Chancellor Dr. Casey K. Sacks. “This opportunity allows students to get their start at a community college where classes are smaller and more affordable and then transfer to Marshall University to finish their bachelor’s degree.”

A student’s prior experiences in work, military service, specialized training and civilian licensure could make them eligible to receive extra credits toward their associates degree and accelerate their progress in their first two years. All of these factors will be weighed in as the students discuss their next steps with advisors, in order to find the most efficient path toward an RBA.

“Agreements and partnerships between our colleges make higher education easier and more efficient for everyone,” said Sacks. “We hope this will make higher education a more accessible and more attractive option to West Virginians than it ever has been before.”

The agreement between Blue Ridge CTC, BridgeValley CTC, Eastern WV CTC, Mountwest CTC, New River CTC, Pierpont CTC, Southern WV CTC, WV Northern CC, WVU at Parkersburg, and Marshall University was signed on Wednesday December 6, 2017.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Samantha Willis at 304.558.0087 ext. 265 or

The Community and Technical College system of West Virginia (WVCTCS) serves nine community and technical colleges with campuses throughout the state. Our mission is to promote and provide high-quality, accessible, and responsive education and training opportunities that maximize student learning, improve the standard of living for West Virginians, and contribute to the economic vitality and competitiveness of our state.

Articulation agreement photo from left to right:

Back Row: New River CTC Dr. President, L. Marshall Washington, Marshall University Interim Associate Vice President for Outreach, Dr. David J. Pettinger, Pierpont CTC President, Dr. Johnny M. Moore

Middle Row: Eastern WV CTC President, Dr. Chuck Terrell, WVU at Parkersburg Interim President, Dr. Jane Milley, Southern WV CTC President, Dr. Robert E. Gunter

Front Row: BridgeValley CTC President, Dr. Eunice Bellinger, Mountwest CTC President, Dr. Keith J. Cortoneo, WV CTCS Vice Chancellor, Dr. Casey K. Sacks

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has granted funding to the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority as part of the POWER Initiative to help market the trail and assist potential entrepreneurs. Coupled with a separate ARC grant to the Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF), the funds have helped establish a program in partnership with Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (SWVCTC). Together, they aim to provide business coaching, small business training and risk capital to entrepreneurs developing businesses to support the in-demand trail system. The article in its entirety may be viewed here.
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College's Assistant Professor of History, Brandon Kirk, is featured in an article published by the Herald-Dispatch. He will participate in the Writers Can Read event scheduled for December 18, 2017, hosted by Empire Books and News at Pullman Square in Huntington, WV. The complete article may be viewed in the Herald-Dispatch.
Grant money used by company to create local scholarship

CHARLESTON, WV, December 13, 2017– Learn & Earn grants are an incredible opportunity for employers in West Virginia to have the chance to train ideal future employees. Employers select students who are studying at a local community and technical college (CTC) and are reimbursed from grant funding for up to half of the student’s wages while that student works for the employer and completes their studies at the CTC. This benefit is intended to be an incentive for employers to take on trainees; however, some employers also see is as an opportunity from a different perspective. Some see it as an opportunity to help their own employees continue their education here in West Virginia.

Right at Home, a local Charleston healthcare service has been partnering with BridgeValley Community and Technical College since 2015. What makes this learn and earn unique is that Right at Home uses their grant reimbursement to give back to students. Right at Home uses the funds to create a scholarship for students pursuing a Health Science Associates or Certificate degrees at BridgeValley. Starting December 2017, one intern will be chosen each semester to receive a $2,500 scholarship. The award goes to a student who shows hard work and excitement out in the field while they are working.

“We saw this as an opportunity to draw individuals with a passion for providing care to our program. We want to hire and show them that though this program there is a career path for professional growth.” said Right at Home President, Eric Hicks. When they graduate we want them to stay in West Virginia and in some instances, we will be able to employee them.”

Right at Home gives students hands-on experience in the healthcare field, by allowing them to visit clients in the home and provide “companion care” services such as meal prepping, house cleaning, and laundry. They also assist with “personal care” services such as bathing, feeding, dressing and incontinence care. Right at Home gives people the option of being able to stay in their homes safely by supplying caregivers to perform these tasks. Students receive a hands-on internship experience where they are paid $14 per hour and earn credit toward a degree in health care.

“This program is an exceptional opportunity for our students to gain real world experience and enhance classroom learning,” said Kim Knapp Associate Professor and Director of Grants and Contracts at BridgeValley. “In addition to earning a pay check to help cover expenses while attending college, these students also have an opportunity to apply for Right at Home’s scholarships to help pay for tuition. We appreciate Right at Home’s commitment to helping students overcome barriers and reach their goals.”

Right at Home said they plan to expand the learn and earn program to include their Beckley location by partnering with New River Community and Technical College soon. # # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Samantha Willis at 304.558.0087 ext. 265 or

The Community and Technical College system of West Virginia (WVCTCS) serves nine community and technical colleges with campuses throughout the state. Our mission is to promote and provide high-quality, accessible, and responsive education and training opportunities that maximize student learning, improve the standard of living for West Virginians, and contribute to the economic vitality and competitiveness of our state.

Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (SWVCTC) is now offering a series of courses on unmanned aerial systems. Newly enacted rules by the Federal Aviation Administration on routine commercial use of unmanned aerial systems has created a pathway to integrating the airspace and advancing growth to the $82 billion market and an estimated 100,000 new jobs over the next decade.

Southern is partnering with local and regional industry leaders and Maysville Community and Technical College through an Appalachian Regional Commission POWER Initiative grant to prepare students for this growing occupation. This new program will allow students to enjoy working with the latest in drone technology and explore a variety of career options while earning skill set certificates or a full degree.

Congratulations to Southern's Board of Governors member, Jada C. Hunter, who was named to the 2017 West Virginia Wonder Women by WV Living Magazine. Ms. Hunter was selected alongside 49 other female leaders in West Virginia to receive this honor and accepted her award at the 2017 Wonder Women Luncheon held recently in Charleston, WV. Below is the article featured in the fall issue of WV Living Magazine.

THE TRAILBLAZER - After earning a teaching degree by the time she was 19, Jada Hunter kickstarted the state Human Rights Commission case that forced Mingo County to integrate its teaching staffs in the mid-1960s. She ended up teaching in Mineral County, however, where after two years she was hired as supervisor of the county vocational center’s business department. With the encouragement of her principal, she became the first black contestant and winner of the Miss Eastern West Virginia beauty pageant.

Hunter moved back to her native Mingo County after a few years in Connecticut. She taught at Lenore High School before becoming the county’s first female high school principal, at Matewan High. She was then principal at Birch High for 14 years, retiring in 2003.

Hunter remains active in her community: tutoring at a youth center in Williamson, serving on Southern Community and Technical College’s Board of Governors, and presiding over Action in Mingo, a group that organizes the county’s King Coal Festival and the Great White Way holiday event, among other happenings.

Follow the link below to check out all of the other wonderful women recognized in this issue.

President Gunter has been featured in this Fall's upcoming edition of Bowles Rice, LLP's "Views and Visions" magazine.

In the article, President Gunter speaks on how "Reputation Is Everything" (in reference to the quality of Southern's faculty, staff, and students). The article in its entirety can be viewed here.

At its October 30, 2017 meeting, the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Board of Governors approved to renew the contract of its President, Dr. Robert E. Gunter, through June 30, 2022, following a comprehensive performance review.

The Presidential Review Committee’s findings were reported to the full Board at its October 30, 2017 meeting. President Gunter received from the Board of Governors a good review of his first two years as President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. In a challenging environment for Southern and other community colleges, he has admirably brought fresh eyes and innovative ideas to the institution, just as the Board had hoped. The Board commends the President’s foresight and fortitude, his overarching focus on students, his positive can-do attitude, his open-door policy, and the determination he has shown to prepare the College to meet the future needs of its students and the regional economy. The Board notes concerns expressed by some faculty members related to morale. It encourages Dr. Gunter to take the initiative in dealing with those concerns and informing the Board of Governors of his progress in doing so.

The purpose of this evaluation was to ensure that the institution is being well managed, pursuing sound institutional goals, and to help the president improve his performance. The governing boards of West Virginia’s higher education institutions are required by state statute to conduct a written performance evaluation of its President at the end of his/her initial contract period. President Gunter will complete his initial contract and second year as President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College on December 31, 2017.

President Gunter commented, “While the past two years certainly has had its challenges, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College is an institution full of potential and promise.” He thanked the Board of Governors for its support and commitment to Southern and to his Presidency, and looks forward to working with the Board, faculty, staff, and administration to advance Southern to its fullest potential.