It’s been a busy week at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon. Not only did the center break ground on a $2.6 million expansion of its facility, it also announced it would host a new master’s degree program for Radford University.
The expansion, funded by the Virginia General Assembly, will include expansion of the existing testing center, as well as new classrooms and meeting space, as well as a freight elevator.
The center hosts more than 65,000 visitors to various events throughout the year, including more than 2,500 students taking classes offered at the center by colleges and universities throughout Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.
The latest program to be announced is a master’s degree school counselor program offered by Radford University. It will begin with the spring 2020 semester. A $325,000 Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission grant enabled the program to come to the Higher Education Center.
The Radford school counselor program in Abingdon was developed to meet the growing need of school counselors and a school counselor training program in Southwest Virginia, said Carrie Sanders, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Counselor Education.
Prime candidates to enroll in the master’s program are “teachers who desire to make a change,” Sanders said, from the classroom setting to a role as a counselor.
“There are many teachers in Southwest Virginia who would be interested in furthering their education to include a master’s degree in school counseling. However, they may not be able to quit their job or drive a long distance to attend classes,” Sanders said. “That’s the reason we are offering the program in Abingdon, to take the program to them.”