Biology Department Working to Meet the Needs of Non-traditional Students

Contact: Dr. Donna M. Simon
(304) 766-3363

May 23, 2013
WVSU Biology Department Working to Meet the Needs of Non-traditional Students

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – Aspiring biologists with day jobs will find it easier to earn a college degree by taking classes at night through an innovative program offered by West Virginia State University (WVSU).

Every three years, the Department of Biology offers all of its required courses on a rotating schedule during evening hours. The program began in 2010, and with the Fall 2013 semester, the course rotation schedule starts over.

“The idea is that during a three-year time period every biology course is offered at night at least once, meaning you could earn your degree while taking biology classes at night,” said Dr. Richard Ford, associate professor of biology at WVSU.

“Without this class rotation schedule I would not be able to go to school and work full-time,” said Chad Ashworth, a non-traditional student who resumed taking courses after a nearly 20-year break from college.

“This is the end of my third year back in college,” said Ashworth, who works during the day at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. “I take at least six hours a semester, all in the evening.”

Ford said that the impetus behind offering courses at night on a rotating schedule was to attract even more students like Ashworth.

“We know there are a lot of non-traditional students out there who would like to continue their education, but they can’t do it during the day because of work or other commitments,” he said. “This type of schedule makes it possible.”

Ashworth is on target to graduate in the Fall of 2015 and said he appreciates the flexibility in scheduling offered at WVSU.

“This really helps people like me out,” said Ashworth, who has also been able to arrange to work as a research lab assistant at WVSU during evening hours. “There are a lot of good people in the Department of Biology and they will work with you.”

Classes to be offered at night during the Fall 2013 semester are Principles of Biology, Fundamentals of Biology, Nutrition, Pharmacology and Senior Seminar. In the Spring 2014 semester, five biology courses will be offered at night.

Registration for Fall 2013 classes is currently underway at WVSU. Fall classes begin on Monday, Aug. 19.

For more information, contact Dr. Richard Ford at, or (304) 766-5742, or visit
West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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