Thursday, June 27, 2013
Contact: Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation 304-746-1964

Marshall University selected to help implement energy and power curriculum for high school students

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University has been selected by the Southern Regional Education Board to help implement an energy and power program of study for high school students in West Virginia and other states.

As part of SREB’s Advanced Career program, faculty members from Marshall’s College of Information Technology and Engineering are working with the West Virginia Department of Education to launch a sequence of four courses intended to increase the number of students who leave high school prepared for further study, advanced training and careers in energy and power.

Engineering professor Dr. Richard Begley, who is directing the project at Marshall, said the field of energy and power was selected for the project because of its importance to West Virginia’s economy. The project is one of several similar initiatives SREB is developing in partnership with its member states.

“The Advanced Career program focuses on high-wage, skilled fields important to the participating state’s economy,” Begley added. “The goal is to deliver courses that start students down the path toward a recognized industry certificate, a community/technical college certificate, or an associate or bachelor’s degree in that field.”

According to Begley, the new courses were designed by teams from universities and high schools in partnership with industry experts. The curriculum incorporates a hands-on approach with experiments that use energy and power measurement instruments, data software and computer simulations. Participating students will learn to apply mathematical and scientific concepts, and will use technology and engineering to solve real-world problems found in the energy and power industry.

SREB Senior Vice President Gene Bottoms said, “This is what modern career-tech education looks like. Because the aim is to graduate more students with more options, the program is available to any and all mainstream students. It flips the switch for those students who aren’t sparked by traditional teaching styles and gives them a new way to learn. It’s a path we must take to not only graduate more students, but to prepare them for what comes after high school.”

Begley said Marshall’s primary role in the project will be training high school teachers to deliver the curriculum. Sessions to train selected West Virginia teachers will be held this summer. The trained teachers will pilot the new courses during the upcoming school year and next summer will help train teachers from other states.

Dr. Wael Zatar, dean of Marshall’s College of Information Technology and Engineering, said the cooperative project is testament to the quality of the university’s engineering faculty.

“The fact that our college was selected by SREB to help implement this program in West Virginia speaks volumes about our faculty, their skills and their dedication to helping students learn at all levels,” he said. “Work force development is at the heart of everything we do and this new curriculum will play a vital role in preparing high school students to continue their educations and contribute to our state’s economic future.”

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools James B. Phares said, “We welcome the opportunity to be part of this partnership with Marshall University and the SREB. This project promises to increase the level of engagement, motivation and effort for many students, while meeting a growing work force need in West Virginia, where energy and power play an important role in our economy. We look forward to sharing our work with other states in the Advanced Career consortium in the future.”

Dr. Gayle Ormiston, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Marshall, congratulated Begley and Zatar, saying, “We are pleased to be part of this important cooperative program with SREB and the West Virginia Department of Education. Thank you to Dr. Begley and Dean Zatar for their leadership. The hands-on approach of the Advanced Career program is perfectly suited to the style of teaching and learning we embrace here at Marshall.”

The Atlanta-based Southern Regional Education Board is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public education in its 16 member states. Visit

For more information about the Advanced Career program at Marshall, contact Begley at 304-696-3438 or

For further information, contact:  Office of University Communications
Marshall University | 213 Old Main | Huntington, WV 25755-1090
Fax: (304) 696-3197