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Union Commonwealth University announces updated Staff Teaching Policy

Barbourville, Ky. (WYMT) – Union Commonwealth University is offering a special opportunity for its staff. The university offers free tuition to all full-time employees who wish to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree.

“Being able to go through a graduate program and not have to pay tuition is a real added benefit and something we feel is kind of a value for our staff and the community,” said UCU President Dr. DJ Washington.

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 5:30

While the university already had a pre-existing policy, it covered fewer credit hours and required a year of employment before eligibility. Now, with the new updates, the policy has been extended to staff with at least six months of employment.

“We decided to kind of provide more opportunities for our staff to be able to take advantage of that,” he said.

Washington says offering this free opportunity to provide resources to its staff is a way to give back to those who give so much.

“When it comes to small private institutions and rural communities, we are not always the highest paid. We don’t always, necessarily, have all the human capital to be able to help us do our job,” he said. “So, anytime we can create resources or create opportunities to help our staff, it’s always a win-win.”

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 5:30

The policy allows the university to commit to its mission of serving others by providing opportunities for growth.

“This is a better way, beyond ourselves, that we can serve,” he said. “Whether it’s helping our staff from an educational standpoint, helping them feel more confident in their roles, or helping them continue to grow and advance.”

Following the school’s recent name change, President Washington wants to remind the Bulldog family that Union College will always be a part of who they are.

“We will always be Union College. We will always be Union. We will always have Bulldogs as part of who we are,” he said.

It’s Washington’s third week as interim president. He is a union alum, former union board member and former Bulldog athlete.

He said it’s great to be back home and have opportunities to work with union staff.

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