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NCI shows off degrees, facility at expo
Friday, June 1, 2007
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
John Minter of Axton wants a bachelor's degree in industrial technology but as a small-business owner, it would be hard for him to travel to Old Dominion University in Norfolk to attend classes.
However, instructors from ODU will be teaching courses needed for that degree this fall at the New College Institute in Martinsville. Minter went by NCI's "Academic Expo" on Thursday to find out about the program.
"I never would settle for a two-year degree," said Minter, who has attended Patrick Henry Community College and has a woodworking business. "I always wanted a four-year degree."�
He said that he was impressed by the helpfulness of NCI's staff, as well as its modern computer labs and technologically-advanced classrooms in the former Shumate-Jessie Furniture building on Courthouse Square uptown.
NCI officials estimated at least 50 prospective students stopped by to find out about courses being taught at NCI. The state-supported institute, which opened last year, is designed to give students local access to both bachelor's and master's degrees offered by colleges and universities across Virginia.
"It's been a steady stream of prospective students," said NCI Associate Director Leanna Blevins. "I'm really pleased the interest is out there."�
Ten academic degree programs now are being offered through NCI, and two more that also will be offered this fall will be announced soon, said Executive Director Barry Dorsey.
In talking with prospective students Thursday, Dorsey said he learned they "come from a variety of backgrounds and are interested in a lot of different things."�
During the expo, representatives of various institutions offering degrees through NCI talked with prospective students and handed out promotional items and printed information about academic programs.
At the institute, Radford University offers courses to help registered nurses earn bachelor's degrees in nursing. Ellen Taylor, director of continuing and extended education at Radford, said she was impressed with the caliber of prospective students she met at the expo.
Local residents told her they want to earn four-year degrees, Taylor said, and "they're just very happy they're not going to have to drive (to Radford) to do it."�
NCI had anticipated educating about 50 students during its first academic year. But that number has been exceeded - more than 80 now are taking courses there, officials have said.