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Registration is open for Shepherd’s new Appalachian studies certificate program

ISSUED: 24 November 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University is launching its new graduate certificate in Appalachian Studies beginning in January 2016, and registration for the first class, Appalachia: Time, Place and People, is now open.  The class, which also offers undergraduate credit, will meet Tuesdays from 5-7:40 p.m. and will take an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on the history, culture, and literature of Appalachia in order to delve into the heart and essence of the region.

Topics of discussion will include the mine wars, the social and political systems of the region, environmental issues, storytelling, and Appalachian literature. It will also explore film and documentary records of the region.

Dr. Sylvia Shurbutt, professor of English and coordinator of the Appalachian Studies program, said students could pair the course with any graduate degree.

“The graduate certificate can serve as a stand-alone certificate, and it pairs well with any graduate program, analogous to a minor in undergraduate studies,” Shurbutt said. “Such certificates are currently useful and being utilized in other states for workforce upgrading and professional educator in-service learning.”

Undergraduates may take the course as an elective, and Shurbutt said it’s especially suitable for students who plan to stay in Appalachia and work to create a stronger community.

Community members may register for and audit the undergraduate course for a small fee. For more information, contact Shurbutt at 304-876-3119, 912-655-2380, or by email at For more information about graduate programs at Shepherd University, contact Dr. Scott Beard, dean of graduate studies, at

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