Thanks to Glasgow's Regional Post-Secondary Education Center, area residents can count easy access to higher education as one of the many benefits of living in Barren County. Opened in 2002, the center houses satellite campuses for both Western Kentucky University (WKU) and Bowling Green Technical College (BGTC).
“Residents place a high value on our center because it truly does meet a need,” says Dr. Sally Ray, director of WKU-Glasgow.
Feeding the Community's Growth
Both WKU and BGTC offer a variety of academic programs at the Glasgow location. Nursing, elementary education and agriculture are the most popular of WKU-Glasgow's 20-plus degrees and certificates.
BGTC-Glasgow students can earn a degree or certificate in one of eight industrial-maintenance fields, and the school offers custom training for local businesses.
Thanks to a joint-admissions agreement signed in summer 2011, students also have the option to earn an associate's degree with BGTC, then transfer to WKU to complete a bachelor's degree.
With so many options on the table, it's no wonder that both campuses are seeing tremendous growth.
“We've added several degree programs and recently expanded our evening course offerings,” says Ron Baldwin, coordinating administrator for BGTC's Glasgow Technology Campus.
To accommodate WKU-Glasgow's growth, Ray is adding faculty positions and degree programs as well as food service for students.
Both administrators attribute their schools' growth to a reputation for personalized education.
“Our faculty genuinely care about students,” Ray says. “They're interested in what's going on in students' lives, and they're approachable and helpful.”
The same holds true at BGTC.
“We make teaching and learning a top priority," Baldwin says. "We have small class sizes and faculty and staff who are committed to student success.”
But the schools' presence doesn't just benefit students.
“WKU–Glasgow and the Glasgow Technology Campus are the primary pillars of economic development in our community,” says Dan Iacconi, executive director of the Glasgow/Barren County Industrial Development Economic Authority (IDEA). “They make the local environment more conducive for existing industries to expand and future industries to locate here.”
Leading outsourcer Sitel, for example, opened its newest contact center here in March 2010. The facility provides customer support for retailer Best Buy and employs more than 700 people. Many of those employees are students, but Sitel has also hired a number of people from the community at large.
“Sitel has helped to diversify our economy and provide employment for individuals who are looking for something other than traditional manufacturing jobs,” Iacconi says.
For WKU-Glasgow's Ray, it's not surprising that the college's presence would facilitate this kind of community-wide benefit.
“While we're here primarily for our students, we also provide a connection to the community in terms of economic development,” she says. “Whether it's offering educational opportunities or attracting new companies, a university provides tremendous benefits.”
Learn more on education in Glasgow.