Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College offers innovative Board of Governors Degree program

Mount Gay, W.Va. – Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College is proud to offer a degree program that enables students to apply their general course work and real-world experiences toward earning their degree.

Southern’s Board of Governors (BOG) Adult Degree Program is an alternative, non-traditional degree program that is specifically designed for adult students seeking a general education associate’s degree. This is one of Southern’s most useful degree programs, according to Brandon Kirk, the BOG coordinator and assistant professor of history at Southern.

“The BOG program is a flexible pathway designed for those persons who seek to apply earned credits or life/work experience toward a general associate’s degree,” Kirk said. “The BOG degree, while not directed to a specific area of expertise, such as nursing or electrical engineering, nevertheless gives an edge to a person’s employability, or, if already employed, can mean a promotion or an increase in salary.”

The Census Bureau estimates that a person with an associate’s degree will earn $400,000 or more over his or her lifetime than a person with a high school diploma.

The Board of Governors Adult Degree Program requires a 2.0 GPA. BOG candidates must have graduated high school or passed a high school equivalency exam more than two years prior to entry into the program. The student cannot possess another college degree. Twelve hours from a regionally accredited institution, including three hours at Southern, are required to graduate with the BOG degree.

The traditional pathway is to apply courses/credits toward the degree. The General Education Requirements are 21 credit hours: six hours in Communications (English, Speech), six hours in Math/Science, six hours in Social Science (History, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science), and three hours in Computer Literacy (computer class). The General Electives are 39 credit hours in most any non-remedial course.

“Southern’s BOG program is pleased to partner with West Virginia’s Remote Online Collaborative Knowledge System (WVROCKS) to offer anywhere from six to ten online courses every semester,” Kirk said. “These courses, offered exclusively to our BOG students, run in eight-week cycles. Aside from the benefits of an online experience, our BOG students gain more choices in terms of academic courses than non-BOG students. I believe strongly enough in their benefit to West Virginia students that I teach their Appalachian History and Culture course.”

WVROCKS courses do not show up in Southern’s schedule, however. They can only be accessed through an academic advisor, or Kirk. This semester, Southern is offering six WVROCKS courses to its BOG students: Allied Health 275: Science of Nutrition; History 275: Appalachian History and Culture; Math 275: Practical Math; Psychology 275: Drugs, Brain, and Behavior; Psychology 275: Principles of Mental and Emotional Health; Theater 275: Movies and Meaning: Communication in Film.

Students can also apply their life and work skills toward their BOG degree. Portfolios are typically the instrument of choice to show mastery over content areas and earn college credit. Southern offers a portfolio class to guide the student through the portfolio process and the program coordinator offers one-on-one guidance.

“I see many different types of BOG students,” Kirk said. “It’s a flexible program, so students come to me with many different scenarios and backgrounds. Some are students who have been enrolled at Southern for a certain period of time, switched programs or majors a few times, and have earned a relatively large number of credit hours. They are anxious to hold a degree in their hand, something to validate their hard work. Other BOG students are persons who have been enrolled in college on and off as life permitted, adding credits as they were able, perhaps without any specific direction. They may have completed or are close to completing the BOG degree and not realize it. Some BOG students bring an incredible life-work background to their college experience and can apply much of it earning credit for the BOG adult degree.”

If you are interested in learning more about the BOG degree program, or would like to register for classes, please contact BOG Coordinator Brandon Kirk at 304.307.0711 or Brandon.Kirk@southernwv.edu.