Panel to Address Appalachian Issues
Poverty. Crime. Substance Abuse. These and other problems in Appalachia will be the topics of discussion during an expert panel discussion at Bluefield College, Tuesday, April 10 at 7 p.m.

Panel to Address Appalachian Issues

By Chris Shoemaker | March 27, 2012 | RSS




Celebrate Appalachia Logo

Titled "Problems in Appalachia: A Panel Discussion," the event will take place in BC's Shott Hall and is open and free to the community. Part of the school's yearlong symposium, "A Celebration of Appalachia," the panel discussion will feature dialogue and Q&A led by local experts on Appalachian history and culture.


Hosted by students in BC's "Media in Appalachia" class, who will moderate and lead the Q&A session, the "Problems in Appalachia" event will provide an in-depth look into the following issues facing Appalachia with perspectives provided by experts in those fields (listed with each topic of discussion):


  • Higher education, Dr. Robert Shippey, BC's vice president for academic affairs who holds more than 20 years of experience as a college administrator and professor
  • Secondary education, Dr. Donna Watson, a longtime secondary schools teacher, turned professor of education, chair of the Division of Education, and director of Teacher Education at Bluefield College
  • Substance abuse, Tina Borich, clinical director of Southern Highlands Community Mental Health Center
  • Poverty, Craig Hammond, director of Bluefield Union Mission
  • Economic development, Art Mead, assistant director of the southwestern office of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, University of Virginia
  • Crime, Dr. Kelly Walls, longtime law enforcement officer, turned professor of criminal justice at Bluefield College.


The "Problems in Appalachia Panel Discussion" is part of an overall yearlong "Celebration of Appalachia" at Bluefield College, featuring lectures, concerts, exhibits, discussions, movies, theatre, tours and other educational and entertaining activities designed to honor the Appalachian heritage. Other events on the symposium schedule this spring include:


  • "Appalachian Festival," Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., outside on the BC Quad (inside the Dome Gymnasium in the event of inclement weather), featuring vendors, demonstrators, Appalachian author book sales and signings, storytelling, clogging, square dancing, and Bluegrass music from Stacy Grubb and Clinton Collins and the Creek Boys
  • "Mountain Jack," a rollicking presentation of mountain folk tales and rousing mountain music, presented by BC Theatre, Thursday through Saturday, April 19-21 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 22 at 2 p.m., Harman Chapel
  • "Eva Easley Quilt Dedication," Friday, April 20 at noon in Easley Library, recognizing the significant contributions of the Easley family, particularly the late Eva Easley, to the success of Bluefield College through the placement and dedication of a locally-handmade quilt representing her service to BC
  • "Spring Instrumental Music Concert," featuring Appalachian music by BC's Concert Band, Community Orchestra, and Jazz Ensemble, Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m., Harman Chapel.


For more information, visit, e-mail , or call 276-326-4212.

Media Contact

Chris Shoemaker, Director of Marketing and Public Relations