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Plenty of Education Opportunities Around Ohio Valley

July 25, 2014
By CASEY JUNKINS - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - Whether one wishes to study microbiology at a public university, theater at a private institution, or petroleum technology at a community college, higher educational opportunities abound in the Upper Ohio Valley.

Wheeling Jesuit University, West Liberty University, Bethany College, Ohio University Eastern, Belmont College, West Virginia Northern Community College, Eastern Gateway Community College and Franciscan University of Steubenville offer a variety of programs that allow students to explore numerous fields of study.

Public Universities

Although the Ohio University Main Campus is in Athens, the Eastern Campus west of St. Clairsville offers students education that is affordable and convenient - with the power and recognition of a major university and the comfort of a small college.

Officials said the average class size at OUE consists of 15 students, which allows faculty members to know each student.

OUE students can earn their bachelor's degrees in business, communication, early childhood education, exercise physiology, health services administration, history, human biology, middle childhood education, specialized studies, technical and applied studies. Students may also complete the first two years of almost any of Ohio University's 250 undergraduate programs at OUE before relocating to Athens.

Fact Box


  • Wheeling Jesuit University
  • West Liberty University
  • Bethany College
  • Ohio University Eastern
  • Belmont College
  • West Virginia Northern Community College
  • Eastern Gateway Community College
  • Franciscan University of Steubenville

At West Liberty, students may major in anything from accounting to tourism. School officials said the university offers "personalized education" via a team of faculty and staff members who maintain interaction with students. Small class sizes permit extensive interaction and individual instruction, according to the university.

Private Institutions

Wheeling Jesuit, Bethany and Franciscan offer many of the same fields of study as OUE and West Liberty, but in private school settings.

The focus of Wheeling Jesuit's master's of business administration program is providing the knowledge and skills essential to effective leadership in organizations, from start-up businesses and small enterprises to large corporations, according to the university.

At Bethany, the college states that its three most popular majors are education, communications and psychology. The serene Brooke County campus features classes with an average of 14 students.

Although Franciscan is widely known as a destination for those seeking a "passionately Catholic" learning environment, the university also offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs that attract students from the local area. Students may study education, business, engineering, history and many other majors.

Community Colleges

Belmont College in St. Clairsville, Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville, and the Wheeling, Weirton and New Martinsville campuses of West Virginia Northern Community College, offer many of the same programs. However, each campus provides a slightly different environment for students who are either seeking specific career training or looking to transfer and apply their credits at a four-year institution.

Vicki Riley, vice president of academic affairs at Northern, said the college seeks to help students make a smooth transition to four-year institutions. Part of this involves offering some programs totally online, with no classroom components.

"We expect these online opportunities to be very successful for those seeking degrees in business or computer information technology as well as the online transfer programs which will enable a smooth transition to four-year institutions," Riley said.

"In addition, Northern is extremely happy with the popularity of its new programs geared to industry, such as Mechatronics and Petroleum Technology. These have garnered much attention from students as well as from industry representatives."

The Building Preserva-tion/Restoration program at Belmont attracts students from across the nation. The program's emphasis on "hands-on" learning has established its curriculum as a national model for traditional trades' education, according to college officials.

Students ultimately travel into the field to practice the techniques learned in the workshops on preservation projects. Those in the program have worked on many local projects, including the restoration of the windows at Wheeling's Capitol Theatre.

According to Eastern Gateway, the college provides programs directly related to skills required for jobs in the natural gas drilling industry. Some of these programs feature company-specific training to allow successful students a chance to enter the workforce in a timely manner.

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