Dr. Robert Sandel became the president of Virginia Western Community College on July 1, 2001. Since his arrival, the college has experienced a double digit growth in students. The college has also made a strong commitment to the area of workforce development with the areas business and industry sector. He has emphasized that teaching and learning are the cornerstones of what makes a successful community college. In this effort, the college has added new programs, replaced outdated programs, and hired a number of new faculty and staff.
Under Dr. Sandel’s leadership, VWCC has initiated a strong partnership relationship with the Roanoke Valley Community. The college is now working in a proactive manner with various organizations, businesses, educational and governmental institutions, and the healthcare industry. In addition, the college initiated its first fund raising campaign with funds raised of approximately five million dollars. Also, over twenty million dollars in renovations and repairs have taken place on the campus since his arrival.
Sandel’s philosophy is that committed people make an institution successful. He stresses that the image and reputation of our college comes forth from the classroom. The college’s outstanding faculty and staff make this happen on a daily basis.
As president of Mountain Empire Community College, Dr. Sandel provided leadership in the implementation of a total quality management program and in acquiring funding for major construction projects. In 1997 and 1998, MECC was the only Virginia college/university to receive the U. S. Senate Quality and Productivity Award. His work with Tech Prep resulted in articulation agreements with local school divisions, as well as the development of an articulation agreement, the first of its kind in the nation, for the electronics and manufacturing technology programs between Mountain Empire Community College and the U. S. Navy. He is dedicated to academic excellence and has high expectations of all students, faculty, and staff.
During 1998, the Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System appointed Dr. Sandel to chair the Workforce Development Task Force with the charge of defining the direction of the VCCS in workforce development during the 21st century. He has also served as the chair of the Academic and Student Affairs, Human Resources, Budget and Finance, and the Technology Committees of the VCCS Chancellor’s Advisory Council of Presidents. In addition, he participated as a member of the SCHEV General Professional Advisory Committee and the Council of Presidents.
A graduate of The Citadel in 1967, Sandel went on to complete his master’s in education/business education from South Carolina State College in 1972. He holds a doctorate in Education/Administration from the University of South Carolina.
Dr. Sandel sees tremendous opportunities at Virginia Western in enrollment growth, continuing education services to the communities served by the college, and in the area of workforce training with business and industry.
His wife, Jane, is an English instructor at Salem High School, and they have four children.
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