Bluefield University in the News


by | Feb 18, 2010

Graduates and students of Bluefield College’s Teacher Education Program (TEP) have known for years just how excellent the instruction is. And now, after completing a nearly two-year-long evaluation of BC’s Division of Education, TEAC knows, and the sanctioning body recognized as a national accreditor by the United States Department of Education acknowledged that quality with a full stamp of approval for BC’s teacher licensure program in its December Accreditation Committee decisions.

“Only a bare majority of the nation’s college and university teacher education programs are nationally accredited,” said Dr. Frank B. Murray, president of TEAC, about the less than 100 schools with TEAC-approved programs. “We welcome Bluefield College to this select group.”

TEAC earned its distinction as a nationally recognized accrediting agency in 2003 when the U.S. Department of Education completed an extensive review of the agency’s quality and integrity standards. An accreditor of undergraduate and graduate K-12 teacher education programs, TEAC is also recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Founded in 1997, TEAC is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving academic degree programs for professional educators. Accreditation by TEAC is a voluntary system of quality review designed to assure both education professionals and the public of an institution’s commitment to academic excellence, fiscal integrity, and ongoing review and improvement in its teacher education program.       “Graduates of accredited programs can be confident that they are well prepared as competent, caring, and qualified educators,” said Rebecca Pelton, vice president for TEAC. “That’s the main goal of TEAC.”

To be accredited, a teacher education program must demonstrate solid, independently verifiable evidence of its graduates’ competence.  In particular, the program must show that its graduates understand the subject matter they are certified to teach, understand the process of learning and teaching, and possess teaching skills that lead students to appropriate levels of achievement. The program must also have an ongoing process for reviewing and improving its curriculum and must demonstrate that it has the capacity to offer quality education.

“This accreditation is a significant accomplishment in the life of Bluefield College,” said Dr. Robert Shippey, vice president for academic affairs, “and the result of countless hours of service on the part of many in our academic community, particularly those in the Division of Education.”

Under the direction of Dr. Donna Watson, chair of the Division Education, and Phyllis Owens, instructor of education, Bluefield College began its pursuit of TEAC accreditation in the summer of 2008 with a nine-month process of collecting and analyzing data, conducting research, and writing and rewriting an Inquiry Brief for TEAC.

“The accreditation process required a lot of time and effort, but the rewards are many,” said Dr. Watson. “In addition to national accreditation, we were able to improve our program and connect with graduates, the community, and public school colleagues throughout Tazewell, Bland, and Mercer Counties. I appreciate the dedication and hard work of our Division of Education team, instructor Phyllis Owens and administrative assistant Jennifer Thorn.”

In April 2009, TEAC sent an auditing group to Bluefield to evaluate its Teacher Education Program. Following the on-site review, BC officials participated in an Accreditation Panel hearing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in November 2009. The result of the nearly two-year-long process: unanimous approval for accreditation from the TEAC Accreditation Committee in December 2009.

“I’m grateful for the support of our teacher education students, as well as the faculty and staff of Bluefield College,” Dr. Watson added. “I’m confident that the national accreditation of Bluefield College’s Teacher Education Program will provide many benefits for our graduates, not only while they are students, but also in their future careers.”

Since 1977, Bluefield College has graduated highly qualified educators who serve as outstanding teachers and administrators in public and private schools in Virginia and across the nation. With the Bluefield College transcript now reflecting national accreditation by TEAC, the highly qualified graduates of BC’s Teacher Education Program have an additional component to verify their credentials.

“Bluefield College is an excellent place for beginning teachers to explore the teaching world,” said alumna Bianca Adams, an eight-year veteran of the teaching profession who recently earned Teacher of the Year honors for Forsyth County Schools in North Carolina. “With great faculty and one-on-one, personalized attention, I grew in all aspects of my life. Bluefield prepared me for the types of obstacles and rewards I now encounter as a teacher.”

Also endorsed by the Virginia Department of Education and now joining the likes of Boston College, Michigan State University, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Temple University, and The University of Virginia with TEAC accreditation, BC’s Teacher Education Program offers undergraduate programs for teacher licensure in elementary education, art, health and physical education, music, biology, business, chemistry, English, history, mathematics, and social sciences. The program was founded in the mid-1970s by professor emeritus Gerald Clay, who actually began BC’s relationship with TEAC before his retirement by gaining affiliate membership with the organization in 2001.

“Dr Clay’s legacy of quality in teacher education is well known throughout the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Watson, “and his high standards, extensive data records, and clearly articulated goals, in addition to ongoing approval through the Virginia Department of Education, laid the foundation for TEAC accreditation for our Teacher Education Program. As a former student and colleague of Dr. Clay, I am honored to continue this tradition of excellence.”

Bluefield University

[email protected]276.326.4212

Do I only apply once?

  • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

How long is a semester?

  • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

Is there an orientation?

  • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

Where can I find a course description?

Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

  • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

  • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231


Meet our core Counseling faculty

Dr. Challen Mabry

Assistant Professor of Counseling

Dr. Kristen Moran

Associate Professor of Counseling

Brandy Smith

Assistant Professor of Education & Counseling,
Director of the Master of Arts in Counseling Program,
Title IX Confidential Counselor

Our team is here for you! How can we help?

This form requires credentials in order to request information.