Lee News

Charlotte Center to Merge with Division of Adult Learning

Lee University is merging its Charlotte, North Carolina, branch campus into its online format, according to an announcement by Lee president Dr. Paul Conn and Dr. Ken Bell, administrative bishop of the Church of God in Western North Carolina.

The transition, which will be complete on July 1, will mean that on-site classes will no longer be taught at the branch campus known as the Charlotte Center. The students who are pursuing degrees at that site are being offered special advising to complete their work online through the Lee University Division of Adult Learning.

The decision to merge the Charlotte school into the main Lee operation was made by the Lee University Board of Directors early this month, following a resolution of support from the Western North Carolina State Council, which met with Bell and Conn on May 2 to discuss the potential merger.

Charlotte Center was established in 1999 as a Lee branch campus, in partnership with the Church of God in that region, according to Bell. It was licensed by the state of North Carolina to offer religious instruction only and operated as a ministerial training center. At its peak, the center served 150 students per semester, who drove into Charlotte for classes from surrounding communities. In recent years, according to Conn and Bell, the demand for online classes has grown, and many Charlotte Center students now prefer courses in that format, which come from Lee's main campus in Cleveland, Tennessee.

“We are in a rapidly evolving educational environment," Conn said, "and I applaud the vision of the leaders in Western North Carolina for their willingness to change with the times in delivering college courses.” According to Bell, “the ministers here in this area have always wanted access to accredited college-level training in theology and ministerial studies. That hasn't changed over many years, and this new development simply changes the way Lee University helps provide that service.”

Dr. Jayson VanHook, the Lee vice president who supervises the Division of Adult Learning, said it is “a healthy online operation with over 700 students and an excellent faculty. We offer anything the Charlotte Center students have had available in Charlotte, and much more. I believe they will all be very happy with this transition.” VanHook added that his staff is already in personal contact with Charlotte students individually, helping each with a path to graduation in the new format.
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