Bluefield University in the News


by | Dec 11, 2010

Bluefield College is taking its management and criminal justice baccalaureate degree programs online, thanks to the school’s new eSPIRE online learning community.

In an effort to make its quality Christ-centered liberal arts higher education available to even more students and in response to the growing demand for more flexible, convenient degree programs, Bluefield College launched its eSPIRE online learning community in the fall of 2010.

Designed specifically to meet the learning needs of working adults, people with families, college-bound high school students, and others who are too busy for traditional higher education, eSPIRE began initially with just individual courses for students.

However, the program quickly grew to incorporate BC’s entire criminal justice degree within the school’s accelerated degree completion program. Now, with the addition of the entire management and leadership curriculum this winter, the college is offering two opportunities for students to earn a bachelor’s degree completely online.

“We’re offering this online education as a method of increasing the educational opportunities for students,” said Dr. Robert Shippey, vice president for academic affairs. “The college encourages active learning and contact between students and faculty and believes this can be accomplished through diverse methods of learning. We are committed to providing a challenging and invigorating learning environment and graduating students who adapt readily to a changing world.”

To offer its criminal justice and management and leadership programs in an online environment, BC partnered with Learning House, an industry authority on Internet education. Founded in 2001 to aid small independent colleges, like Bluefield, in building distance learning programs that serve the needs of non-traditional students, Learning House works with more than 80 institutions across the United States and Europe in developing, delivering, and growing effective online education programs.

With a mission to offer students alternative ways to reach their education goals and change their lives in the most positive ways, Learning House helps colleges break the chains of tradition and adopt the best new technologies to offer the highest quality education to those who choose to or must obtain their education online.

“By choosing to create and deliver online degree programs, Bluefield College embarked in a journey of discovery, growth and innovation for the purpose of providing quality alternate learning options for its adult learners,” said Laura Dorman, a marketing manager for Learning House. “The driven attitude, passion, focus and forward-thinking are characteristic to each member of the academic, marketing and admissions teams at Bluefield, and I see great potential in our partnership.”

Because the two online majors are a part of BC’s accelerated degree completion program, students must have at least 54 transferable college credits to enroll in either of the eSPIRE online degree programs. Both programs, like all BC degrees, are fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and are set up on an eight-week course format designed to allow students the flexibility to maintain their personal and professional commitments.

The online criminal justice degree is a 63-credit-hour program offered entirely online that prepares students for work in a variety of fields, including corrections, the court system, law enforcement, or law school. Students in the program analyze the legal, social, economic and political contexts that shape our approach to criminal justice. They also develop theoretical and practical skills that can be applied toward a career that serves and protects citizens.

“We are excited to offer those seeking to further their education in criminal justice another alternative to do that,” said Dr. Jeff Fox, chair of the degree completion program for criminal justice. “We recognize that those who serve our communities on patrol, in correctional facilities, or in working shifts may not have flexible schedules which allow them to attend traditional class sessions. This online program is designed specifically with them in mind.”

Also a 63-credit-hour program, the online management and leadership degree emphasizes topics related to corporate, governmental and private business management, as well as organizational leadership and work place diversity. Taught by faculty who possess excellent academic credentials and diverse business experience, the management major deals with the realities of the workplace as they relate to strategic planning, ethics and personal integrity, and the overall functions of management, including leadership, research, quality assurance, team building, and change management.

“The online management degree is designed to prepare graduates to cope with constant change, competition, complexity, diversity, and other issues in the workplace,” said Dr. Larry Sinsabaugh, chair of the management portion of the degree completion program. “The courses in this program focus on contemporary issues and problems in the modern workplace and help students develop an understanding of normal and abnormal functioning of individuals, groups, and families.”

Dr. Shippey added that the school’s first two online degree programs enable the institution to further its global impact while maintaining small, personal classes with committed faculty.

“Traditional classroom learning does not suit the needs of all learners due to work schedules, family obligations, and other commitments,” Dr. Shippey said. “Online coursework provides an opportunity for these learners to continue progress toward a degree. Additionally, it allows us to reach a far broader constituency than possible through our on-site experience.”

To learn more about Bluefield College’s online baccalaureate degree programs in criminal justice or management and leadership, visit To learn more about other Bluefield College academic programs, visit

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