Latest Southern News

Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Assistant Professor History/Sociology, Brandon Kirk, will be featured in an upcoming edition of The New Yorker magazine. Kirk was interviewed for his expertise in local history. The publication will be available on newsstands October 3rd. Kirk also recently attended the Lewisburg Literary Festival with a delegation of authors and publishers. The two day event featured renowned authors who found inspiration for their writing in the land and people of West Virginia. Kirk was on hand to sign and promote his published works. Kirk is a scholar on Appalachian feuds and Southern violence. He possesses an M.A. degree in history from Marshall University and has written more than fifty articles on Appalachian-themed topics for regional newspapers and books. His new projects include constructing a sequel to Blood in West Virginia, researching slavery and post-war life for freedmen in western Virginia and compiling a manuscript that details John Hartford’s final years.
Twin Falls State Park will be the site for the 4th Annual Mike McGraw Memorial Scholarship Golf Classic on Thursday, October 6, 2016. All proceeds of this tournament go to the Mike McGraw Memorial Scholarship Fund. The purpose of the fund is to provide assistance to deserving Wyoming County residents who want to pursue their education at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. For more information contact
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College will go tobacco-free on July 1, 2017. The policy will take effect on all campuses and sites. After this time, no tobacco use of any kind will be permitted on Southern property. This initiative will include the elimination of designated areas where employees, students and visitors are currently permitted to use tobacco products. “We are committed to the health and safety of our employees and students,” said Dr. Robert E. Gunter, President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. “We believe that we have a responsibility to take a leadership role on this major health issue, and establishing our entire campus as tobacco-free firmly supports that belief.” On average, 11 West Virginians die each day from smoking, and tobacco is the cause of more than one of every five deaths in the state and is the root cause of many illnesses and lost productivity. The US Surgeon General has confirmed that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke is a serious health hazard and that there is no risk-free level of exposure. Tobacco use in and around hospitals poses health and safety risks for patients, employees and visitors. The college will offer employees Smoking Cessation and Stress management classes to assist with the transition. “Reducing the harmful effects of smoking has led to our decision for establishing smoke free campuses,” Gunter added.
The West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership will conduct a seminar, Environmental Compliance and Permitting for Air, Water and Waste in the State of West Virginia. This one day course is designed to inform and guide participants to a better understanding of the required permits by the WVDEP and EPA for West Virginia businesses and manufacturers in air, water and waste. Upon completion of this class participants should have a clear understanding of the appropriate regulations applicable to their facility, understand the permit process, develop and implement a compliant SWPPP/GPP, SPCC plan, and/or a Spill Prevention Response Plans, (SPRP). Those already having a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan/Ground Water Protection Plan, or Spill Pollution Control and Countermeasures plan will have a clear understanding of the requirements and possible violations when plans are not properly maintained. The seminar will be held October 26, 2016 from 9am- 4pm on the Logan Campus of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. For more information contact or 724-710-0863. This 6 hour seminar is being conducted in coordination with WVU-Industrial Extension and the WVDEP with Dr. Terry L. Polen, DM, PE, QEP, Ombudsman from the WVDEP.
The Williamson Campus of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College will open its doors to welcome the public to the annual Community Appreciation Day on Sunday, September 18th,2016 from 1pm until 3pm. For nearly 20 years, Southern has hosted the event in conjunction with the King Coal Festival. According to Rita Roberson, Director of Campus Operations/Williamson, “this is a way to thank the community for being a part of Southern”. Those attending will be entertained by local musicians and share a traditional dinner of pinto beans, cornbread, fried potatoes, sauerkraut and wieners, desert and drinks.
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 Jim Sizemore, President of Pioneer Community Bank and a Board member of The Credit Bureau of the Virginias Foundation; 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 and Mr. Welch.
The Faculty Convocation is the first celebratory gathering that opens each new academic year at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. The annual event occurs during the first week of the fall semester and features guest speakers, special presentations and activities related to educational directives. The event is designed to welcome all returning and new faculty to campus, to provide updates on major developments at Southern over the summer and to offer a compelling presentation program to start the academic year. This year’s theme, “In It to Win It”, reflected a gameshow style presentation to enhance the excitement of sharing ideas. The day started with ‘auditions’ resulting in earning a nametag. The group was then welcomed by the ‘host’ Dr. Jack Dilbeck, Vice-president for Academic Affairs who also shared his thoughts for the academic year and Chris Gray was on hand to discuss textbooks before the ‘pick a curtain’ breakout sessions were to begin. Following the ‘intermission’ the Fabulous Faculty Showcase began. Several members of the faculty gave presentations on a variety of subjects. Some of which included: “Rediscovering your Love of Teaching’, Will Alderman, Associate Professor of Speech Communications led a roundtable discussion with participants sharing how they decided teaching was their passion. Institutional Technology Coordinator and associate professor, Matt Payne guided faculty through a ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ using gamification to create virtual world building to bring life to course content. Other faculty members making presentations were: Abby Michellini, Toni Redmiles, Lisa Redmiles, Anne Cline, Rebecca Farris, Nicole Vineyard, Martha Maynard, Chuck Puckett, Kim Hensley and Susan Baldwin. The day concluded with a grand prize. The faculty voted for the favorite presentation of the day. The winner of the Big Yellow Bird was (drumroll please!) Assistant Professor in Education Nicole Vineyard for her ‘Be in Kahoots with Students’ presentation. Vineyard explored the new interactive technology for the classroom. This app allows students to use any smart device to participate in real time surveys and quizzes. The Southern West Virginia Community College Foundation sponsored the hospitality for this event.
Free tutoring will be provided for all Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College students on all campuses and the Lincoln County site for a wide range of subjects. The tutoring centers provide academic resources and support to help students become more successful and achieve their academic goals. The current schedule is Logan Campus, Monday-Thursday 9:30am-7:30pm and Friday 8:30 am-2:30pm. The Wyoming Campus, Monday 9am-3:30pmand the Lincoln Site every other Monday from 8:00am-noon. The Boone Campus is posting hours as every other Monday 8:00am-noon, Tuesday 8:00am-noon and Wednesday 9:30am-3:30pm. The Williamson Campus hours are Monday and Tuesday 10:00am-5:00pm and Wednesday 10:00am-4:00pm. For more information contact Toni Redmiles at

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Students across West Virginia are busy checking off a long to-do list as they head off to college: purchasing text books, outfitting dorm rooms, making last-minute schedule changes and, for many, finding the resources to pay for it all. Student loans can help close funding gaps between college savings, scholarships and grants, but financial aid administrators from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission are advising students and families to think carefully in making borrowing decisions. “Without a doubt, choosing to pursue education and training beyond high school is a sound investment,” Brian Weingart, Senior Director for Financial Aid at the Commission said. “But, just like with any other financial decision, students need to make informed choices in deciding the type and amount of loans to accept.” To help students with that process, the Commission is offering eight tips for students who are planning to borrow funds to finance their education: 1. Choose federal direct subsidized loans over other types of loans. The U.S. Department of Education offers many students the option to participate in federal subsidized loan programs. These programs offer several advantages, including the ability to defer interest until after a student graduates from college. That means that interest does not accumulate on the loan during the time the student is in school — potentially saving students thousands of dollars in interest. Additionally, federal direct subsidized loans, Federal Perkins Loans, and even federal direct unsubsidized loans typically offer lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options than those provided by other lenders. To apply for these loan programs, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at 2. Borrow only what is absolutely needed. Students often qualify for more loan money than they actually need to cover the costs of tuition, fees and living expenses. By choosing to live frugally while in school and borrowing only as much money as is absolutely needed, students can avoid snowballing debt. In fact — nearly a third of West Virginia students are able to graduate without accumulating any student loan debt. When reviewing and accepting financial aid packages, students can enter the exact dollar figure they want to borrow and decline any additional funds. 3. Take at least 15 credit hours or more per semester. In scheduling classes, students should remember it takes “15 to finish.” On average, students must earn at least 15 credit hours per semester to complete a four-year degree in four years or a two-year degree in two years. Doing so not only reduces the time it takes to earn a degree, but also saves students money in tuition costs and allows them to enter the workforce faster. Additionally, studies have shown that students who take at least 15 hours or more tend to do better academically. Researchers think this is because students make more efficient use of their time and are better connected to the campus community — and the network of support their professors, classmates and advisors provide. 4. Research job and earnings prospects. As with any investment, students should carefully consider potential financial returns when selecting a college or program. Factors to consider include potential career earnings and the college’s graduation and job placement rates., the state’s free college planning website, offers a “Student Loan Over Projected Earnings” calculator that allows students to estimate whether or not their chosen careers are likely to provide enough earnings to offset the cost of repaying their student loans. Other websites, such as and, provide information regarding the average amount of debt students at each college incur, along with graduation and career placement rates. 5. Review loan requirements and complete counseling. Students who choose to take out federal student loans and other forms of financial aid must meet certain requirements to maintain eligibility for these funds. For example, some financial aid programs may require recipients to complete a certain number of credit hours each academic year and maintain a minimum grade point average to be considered for renewal. Additionally, first-time federal student loan borrowers must complete online financial aid counseling. Students should review carefully the details of any financial aid program they choose to utilize and take detailed notes. Students can go to to keep track of how much they have borrowed in federal student loans and visit to learn more about federal student loan programs. 6. Stay in school. Dropping out of school can be a costly decision that leaves students saddled with debt and lacking the competitive edge a college degree provides in the workforce. Students are far more likely to default on their student loans if they start college but do not finish. On the other hand, the majority of college graduates — even those who borrow large amounts of money — are able to pay off their debts, because earning a college diploma opens up job prospects and increases earnings. Students who find themselves struggling to stay in school should reach out for help by contacting their academic advisor and the counseling offices at their college or university.  7. Focus on financial literacy. Making the decision to borrow funds to pay for school has a broad impact on students’ finances, now and in the future. To make an informed decision regarding this investment, students should actively manage their day-to-day finances and engage in long-term financial planning. Students should start by making a budget to gain a clear picture of their living expenses and the amount of money needed to go to school and live on their own. Before taking out loans, students should make sure to fully understand concepts such as compound interest and terms of repayment. 8. Ask questions and work with financial aid advisors. Students should be in close contact with the financial aid office at their chosen college or university. Any student who is unsure of how to pay for school should call their campus aid office or the Commission’s division of financial aid at 888-825-5707 to speak with a financial aid expert. "Helping students is the financial aid offices’ number one priority,” Weingart said. “When in doubt, give us a call. We’re always happy to answer questions or offer clarification.”