WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Aug. 28, 2017 — Growth in graduate degree programs is just one of the positive trends at West Liberty University this fall. With the increase in graduate programs like the recently added master’s in biology, there also is an increased opportunity for graduate assistantships (GA) being offered.
“Graduate Assistantships are a valuable career step. These positions provide students with professional experience in their field of study and enhance their academic experience as they earn graduate degrees,” said Sara Sweeney, director of the Office of Graduate Studies, located in Shaw Hall.
The office was established in Fall 2016 and Sweeney now has more than 25 GA positions to supervise. Also an alumna, Sweeney has been employed at WLU for 11 years.
Each year, her office offers a limited number of graduate assistantships to qualified graduate students. This includes graduate teaching assistantships (GTA), graduate research assistantships (GRA) and graduate service assistantships (GSA).
“We have plans to increase graduate programs next fall with two new degrees now working their way through the Higher Learning Commission process and President Greiner is focused on continued growth in GAs,” said Sweeney. The two new graduate programs seeking approval at this time are in clinical psychology and dental hygiene.
GAs are first and foremost, graduate students pursuing their degree. A GA position offers big academic pluses, since these students work closely with faculty and often teach, perform research, and take on administrative roles.
“I’m thrilled to have a GA position in the College of Education,” said Ramsey Core of Rayland, Ohio. “Dr. Miriam Douglas contacted me over the summer, suggesting that I apply and explaining the opportunity it offered. It’s perfect for me and gives me a chance to do research and a wide variety of other duties, including some recruitment and teaching.”
Core earned an undergraduate degree in Community Education in May 2016 and has a passion for conservation and the natural world. He hopes to eventually work in the management field of a non-profit that has a nature focus.
GAs are helpful to the WLU workplace too, since many GAs take on positions such as assistant coaches and teaching assistants.
“Zachary Brown is a perfect GA for our wrestling program and I’m glad to have him. He was a starter all four years for the Hilltoppers and a national qualifier, so he is an experienced athlete who knows the ropes,” said Head Wrestling Coach Mitch Smith, who describes his duties as “just about everything. He takes care of scheduling, practices and recruiting.” Brown is from New Cumberland, W.Va.
“Last spring, I met with all our GAs individually, and I’m happy to report that all had positive comments on our program. The experience they gain will definitely help them in their future careers. Several also told me that they appreciated the diversity of our college,” she added. The GAs this fall include three international students and a mix of ages, both male and female.
GAs and their departments include:
- Acrobatics and Tumbling, Emily Powers,
- Athletic Training, Laura Denning, Leanna McMillen and Kylin Sheets,
- Biology, Sam Canfield, James Healy and Audrey Sykes,
- Center for Arts and Education, Sydney Longworth and Nur Masarwa,
- Community Education, Ramsey Core,
- Criminology, Hannah Walters,
- Housing and Student Life, Kaitlynn Talkington and Kayla Waialae,
- Learning and Student Development Center, Andrea Puga,
- Library, Damia Moglienski,
- Men’s Soccer, Christopher Doran
- PACE School, Dennis Thorn,
- Physical Education, Mason Werner,
- Professional Education, Molly Kopa,
- Strength and Conditioning, Brian Wells,
- Women’s Soccer, Patrick Harris,
- Volleyball, Megan Bush,
- Wrestling, Zachary Brown.
GAs receive tuition remission for a maximum of 18 credit hours of graduate coursework per academic year regardless of in-state or out-of-state tuition rate. GA students living on campus also receive free housing and some positions may also include a stipend. Graduate assistantships last no more than two calendar years.
West Liberty University is a forward-looking, four-year public university steeped in a rich heritage as West Virginia’s oldest institution of higher education and offering nearly 70 undergraduate majors and 30 programs. Graduate programs include the Master of Arts in Education, the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, the Master of Professional Studies, the Master of Science in Criminology, the online MBA and the new MA/MS in Biology. To find out more about WLU’s graduate program, please visit westliberty.edu/graduate-programs or call 1.866.WESTLIB.