Off-site programs in Emporia and Martinsville bring LU to students
Students at Southside Virginia Community College's (SVCC) Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia and the New College Institute in Martinsville may be more than 150 miles apart in southern Virginia, but they have one big thing in common. They are Longwood University students.
Through a partnership with these locations, students can earn their bachelor's degrees in liberal studies elementary education from LU without ever leaving town.
Offered through the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, the program is an example of the university's blended learning initiatives, which bring the quality of a LU education to off-site locations. Students utilize various technology resources to connect with each other, the faculty teaching their courses and the LU campus in Farmville.
The program offers a combination of in-person, online and virtual courses. Currently, there are 19 students enrolled at both locations, with plans to expand the program in the future.
For Sarah Poarch, a student in the SVCC-based site, the format works perfectly. Having classmates in various locations is beneficial because students are able to share different perspectives and ideas based on their area's unique school systems.
"I'm able to connect with faculty in person, through email, phone, Blackboard and even Skype," Poarch said. "We also use a poly-com system with other classes so we're able to see everyone and talk with our teachers and classmates as if we were all together."
After earning an associate's degree at SVCC, Poarch knew she wanted to continue on to a four-year college to earn a bachelor's degree in elementary education.
"As my graduation day approached, I learned about the new Longwood University program at SVCC, and I felt like everything had fallen into place," she said. "Attending Longwood had always been a dream of mine, and here it was, right in Emporia."