West Virginia University at Parkersburg is a public college located in Parkersburg, West Virginia, United States. It is a stand-alone college with its own board of governors and degree granting authority, separate from WVU. Conceived as a community college to serve seven counties in west central West Virginia, it now offers some baccalaureate programs. It is the largest community college in West Virginia and the state's fifth largest public college with over 3,900 students.
WVU Parkersburg is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The college was founded in 1961 as the Parkersburg Branch of West Virginia University. It became Parkersburg Community College (PCC) in 1971 and was originally governed by the West Virginia Board of Regents. In a reorganization of the state's higher education governance structure in 1989, the West Virginia Legislature enacted S.B. 420 which, among other initiatives, renamed PCC as West Virginia University at Parkersburg, designated it a regional campus of WVU, and transferred its governance to the newly-formed University of West Virginia Board of Trustees.
In 2008, the governance structure of WVU Parkersburg was changed by the state legislature. WVU Parkersburg now has no relationship with WVU other than a commonality of names. WVU Parkersburg is now part of a state-wide network of independently accredited community colleges and is controlled locally by a Board of Governors.
WVU Parkersburg is the first and, thus far, only community college in West Virginia to offer any Bachelor's degrees. Bachelor's degrees that are currently awarded at WVU Parkersburg include: the Bachelor of Applied Technology, Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, the Bachelor of Arts in either Elementary Education or Multi-disciplinary Studies, and the Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) degree, which gives adult students college credit for past work and life experience and allows them to gain a general college-level education without selecting a specific major.
WVU Parkersburg also offers Associate's degree and certificate programs, as community colleges traditionally do, in a wide variety of other academic areas which are not offered as baccalaureate programs. The vast majority of these associates degrees are Associates in Applied Sciences degrees, meaning they are non-transferable into four year degree programs, and therefore not suitable for a student who seeks to continue their education beyond a two year degree.
WVU Parkersburg does not currently field any of its own intercollegiate varsity teams. However, it does field several sport club teams that compete with area colleges, including men's basketball and soccer and women's volleyball. These teams are known as the Riverhawks.
WVU Parkersburg is located on the outskirts of the city of Parkersburg. The campus is home to, among various buildings, a library, the main administrative building, the Workforce and Community Education Division, and the Caperton Center. WVU Parkersburg does not have any student housing on campus; it is a commuter school. The Jackson County Center is a smaller campus of WVU Parkersburg and offers a limited number of classes for students living closer to its Ripley, WV location.
Future facility plans include a Memorial Clock Tower and Applied Technology Lab building to be added in 2011 and 2012. Mid-term plans also include a new Early Childhood Learning Center, a Student Life and Wellness Center, and an expansion of the Jackson County Center in Ripley.
The school was founded as the Parkersburg Branch of West Virginia University in 1961. It became Parkersburg Community College in 1971. Under Governor Gaston Caperton in 1990, a redesign of the state system of higher education was proposed. The state Speaker of the House was from Parkersburg and added the renaming to the bill. In 1995 this system was replaced by yet another system of college organization under Governor Cecil Underwood, however the school retained the name WVU Parkersburg.
In 2008 the state adopted yet another system of college organization and completely "divorced" the community colleges from their parent institutions. WVU and WVU Parkersburg developed several agreements and a memordandom of understanding in the spring of 2009 allowing WVU Parkersburg to retain its name in an "evergreen" agreement.