Virginia Wesleyan Announces Transition to University Status

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Change to take effect by 2017-2018 academic year, according to President Miller

News Release | April 11, 2017

Scott Miller Announces College Name ChangeVirginia Wesleyan College has received final approvals to transition to Virginia Wesleyan University by the start of the 2017-2018 academic year, according to President Scott D. Miller.

An announcement to the campus community was made on April 5, and President Miller has appointed an internal transition team to outline necessary steps and protocols to effect the change.

“Becoming a university is a natural outgrowth of the inevitable changes in our stature and standing as a higher-education institution of quality, dignity, and destiny,” President Miller said. “Our vision is to become Coastal Virginia’s premier university of the liberal arts and sciences.”

Addition of new graduate programs, an online-learning division, establishment of the Batten Honors College, and structuring of the academic program into three named schools, among other developments—all within the last year—resulted in the move to university status, President Miller said. Virginia Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees on February 15, 2017, unanimously approved a resolution for the transition. After an extensive review process, final approval and authorization was received from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

“This is the next historic step in affirming our success, raising our profile, and maximizing our potential as a top regional and national university,” President Miller said.

He cited a number of key developments that have preceded and recommended university status for Virginia Wesleyan. Among them are:

  • A successful reaffirmation of accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools—without any recommendations.
  • Achievement of level III status with SACS-COC, representing the addition of two new graduate programs and an online degree-completion program for adults.
  • A perfect review by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church—affirming Virginia Wesleyan’s affiliated status for 10 years.
  • Organization of the academic program into three schools—the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities, the Joan P. Brock School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and the Birdsong School of Social Science.
  • Launching of the Batten Honors College, with the first cohort of top students enrolling in fall 2017 for this prestigious learning experience.
  • Construction of the state-of-the art, second-to-none Greer Environmental Sciences Center.
  • Reinforcement of strong relationships with the Chesapeake Bay Academy on campus and establishment of a laboratory school, the Tidewater Collegiate Academy.
  • Construction of the Frank Blocker Youth Center for use by the YMCA’s Camp Red Feather and Virginia Wesleyan’s laboratory school.
  • Strengthening of the community service mission with the presence of Volunteer Hampton Roads on campus.
  • Enhancement of the Robert F. Boyd Institute for continuing education of United Methodist clergy and the stellar programs offered by the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom and Center for Sacred Music.

President Miller said that a year-long focus on campus master planning, which included studies on space utilization, parking, and future facilities development, and which was accepted by the Board of Trustees at its meeting in February, will be followed by next phases of academic long-range planning. That will be a comprehensive focus on academic, resource development, and co-curricular opportunities in support of the Vision 2020: Pathway to Prominence plan.

“Our long-range planning process will anticipate our opportunities for growth while honoring our traditions and heritage as a United Methodist institution,” President Miller said. “Virginia Wesleyan is indebted to those who have come before us...our founders and funders whose faith in our mission and steadfast support have brought us to this exciting crossroads in our history. Honoring their visionary leadership, we are still writing our story."