MADISON — The new president of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (SWVCTC), Robert Gunter, recently made a presentation to the Madison Rotary Club concerning issues the school faces and the best path he sees for SWVCTC going forward.
Gunter took the reigns at SWVCTC Jan. 1 after the retirement of former president and first lady, Joanne Tomblin.
Despite the school’s programs which include what is considered to be one of the best healthcare programs in the state, Gunter explained enrollment and retention rates have been declining at SWVCTC since 2008.
To address the school’s enrollment problem, a new marketing program for recruitment is being planned, but Gunter added the school must holistically take on the issue saying, “…it will take our entire faculty and staff to change the direction of this enrollment problem.”
Gunter added, in the short amount of time he has been at SWVCTC, he has learned the school has an excellent staff and very dedicated students which gives him confidence the school will be able to accomplish the tasks before it.
Gunter noted the school will also focus on expanding their student base by reaching out to so-called non-traditional college students who are over the age of 25 and high school students.
Gunter explained the area’s economy, which has one of the lowest labor participation rates in W.Va., is currently in need of people with something more than a high school education but still less than a bachelor’s or associate’s degree.
After students graduate from college, Gunter noted, “…in a lot of cases, they end up going back to a low level job they could have done without the college education they received.”
To address this issue, Gunter stated he hopes to work with local businesses to provide training in skills that are valuable to both the students and the communities they serve.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165 ext. 1661 or by email at [email protected]