Bluefield University in the News


by | Jan 12, 2017

Bluefield College will offer a course this spring designed to explore the power of literature and writing as a means of therapy. Titled “Literature and Healing, the class will meet on Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., beginning January 17.

Taught by Dr. Rob Merritt, professor and chair of the Department of English and dean of the College of Arts and Letters, the “Literature and Healing” class is open to the public at a cost of $65 per person.

“This course is about the power of narrative in our lives,” said Dr. Merritt, “and would be interesting to college students, health care professionals, and any members of the community curious to explore the power of writing to engage the mind, body and spirit; to foster personal growth; to promote personal healing; and to increase empathy and awareness for cultural healing.”

Participants will be encouraged to imagine ways to incorporate literature and creative expression into their lives. The literary works that form the basis of the course — including Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making by pioneer in the field John Fox — will focus on a range of universal themes, such as self-image, relationship patterns, finding balance and beauty in daily life, grief and loss; and adapting to life’s transitions.

The course will also explore scientific data behind the theory of literature and healing, including that of Professor James Pennebaker at the University of Texas, whose research documents the physiological benefits of expressive writing.

“In a supportive atmosphere fostering spontaneity and creativity, we will also engage in expressive writing activities related to these literary works,” said Dr. Merritt. “A variety of active teaching and learning methods will be used, including discussions, presentations, films, written assignments, and numerous group and individual hands-on class activities.”

Dr. Merritt added that he has spoken to doctors in our community who believe in the importance of helping patients tell their narratives in health care, particularly in palliative care and Hospice work. He said he knows counselors devoted to the power of metaphor in how we envision our lives. “Change your metaphor,” he said, “and change your life.”

The course is designed to appeal to those with a scientific or a humanities inclination for considering growth and healing, which must take place, Dr. Merritt said, within a supportive community. This class, he added, will be such a community.

“In the deserts of the heart, let the healing fountain start,” quoted Dr. Merritt from the work of W.H. Auden. For more information about the class, contact Dr. Merritt by phone at 276-326-4270 or by email at [email protected]. To register, contact Jennifer Lamb by phone at 276-326-4215 or by email at [email protected], or submit a “non-degree” application at

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

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