Happy New Fiscal Year! And thanks to these grant champions

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We’re approaching July 1, that time of year when our Finance office is humming and new VCCS initiatives officially begin, such as the G3 program and the Opportunity 2027 Strategic Plan.

Virginia Western is working hard to finish our own strategic “bridge” plan, aligning our energy and assorted initiatives like Indiana Jones:

This is also the time of year when many grant projects are just beginning or ending.

Unfortunately, the New Fiscal Year does NOT involve a giant ball drop … and in fact, any talk of ball-dropping would make the fiscally focused among us very nervous.

At least there are some fireworks popping around town?

I will celebrate this underappreciated milestone with some overdue thank-yous.

First, a huge thank-you to the entire Financial and Administrative Services team at Virginia Western, led by Lisa Ridpath. They have some pretty tedious work in the best of times, but they have really gone into overdrive with the millions of dollars in federal HEERF funds awarded to the college during the COVID pandemic. You’ve heard all of the acronyms: CARES … CRRSAA … ARP. Our Finance office — in collaboration with Financial Aid — is managing them all. This process is unprecedented and fluid and overwhelming at times, and I appreciate their dedication as we continue to navigate the spending.

Shout-out to our Perkins award team, spearheaded by Yvonne Campbell and supported by Shana Roche. These funds must be spent by June 30 every year, and then our *new* annual Perkins award begins the very next day, on July 1. This is an ongoing cycle of needs assessments, spending decisions, and planning that impacts our CTE programs.

Road to Success in Virginia Program (RSVP): Over the past few years, a team from the School of Career and Corporate Training (CCT) has worked very hard to lead our RSVP grant project serving low-income families and TANF recipients. The pandemic made an already challenging job almost impossible; the project ends June 30. The RSVP team included Project Director Amanda Decker, RSVP Coordinator Melissa Marcus, Career Readiness Specialist David Williams, and online curriculum developer Sally McQuinn. They, along with Shonny Cooke and Milan Hayward, invested much time in building relationships with community organizations including the Roanoke Housing Authority, the Western Virginia Workforce Development Board, Region 5 Adult Education, and the Department of Social Services. Those relationships will outlast the grant dollars.

Finally, three grants awarded by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) are ending June 30, including:

  • Transform SWVA: Advancing Southwest Virginia’s Workforce Programs: A $19,000 award helped fund efforts in CCT to expand our automotive technology pathway. As a result of this award, VWCC is now offering NC3 certification programs. This was one of the only times I’ve seen Dr. Sandel given one of those giant “Price is Right” checks at an awards dinner, so this grant will always be special to me. The funding was made possible by a partnership between Appalachian Power, the AEP Foundation, and the VFCCE.
  • Anthem Foundation Hunger Relief Micro-Grant Program: With a $5,000 award, Natasha Lee led the development of “quick meal” recipe cards for the VWCC Student Food Co-Op, Fueled by Kroger. These recipe cards are designed to help students make nutritious meals with pantry staples available at the food pantry. I’ve been so impressed by Natasha’s creative ideas and proactive project management.
  • Healthcare Pathways Grant Award: This $67,000 award — funded by the ECMC Foundation, Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health — was designed to help us better integrate our credit and noncredit healthcare pathways. The pandemic made this extra difficult, but among the outcomes: The creation of EKG Technician, a new FastForward program. Staff in both CCT and Health Professions, including Carrie Speck, collaborated on this project.

If it wasn’t obvious by now, I will emphasize again that grants are interconnected team projects, requiring support from across the college:

  • Many thanks to the budgeting wizardry of Nicole Scott, Wanda Poff, and Fred Aaron in Finance.
  • We couldn’t function without the ongoing support of our HR team, especially Sarah Miller and Lindsey Weston, who help us navigate the hiring of grant-funded positions.
  • Over in the Educational Foundation, Carole Tarrant, Wanda DiMarco, and Amanda Mansfield have been very involved in managing the growing number of grants awarded to the Foundation.
  • And, of course, a huge thank-you to Marilyn Herbert-Ashton, whose overlapping roles as Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Director of Grants and Special Projects, and Dean of Nursing, make so much possible.

Standing ovation to you all.

Thanks again, and have a Happy New Fiscal Year!


Free professional learning opportunities

Go2Knowledge: I recently learned all VCCS faculty and staff have free, unlimited access to live webinars and on-demand training provided by Go2Knowledge. There’s a wide variety of topics for all roles at the college. The live webinars are highlighted at the top of the Go2Knowledge dashboard, but you can search through an entire library of recorded, on-demand sessions on topics including teaching and learning, campus safety, institutional effectiveness, and student success. Some upcoming live webinars:

  • June 17: Teaching Online: Best Practices for Asynchronous & Synchronous Delivery (back by popular demand), 1 to 2 p.m.
  • June 28: Barriers to Enrollment: Designing an Online Orientation Focused on Access, Equity & Inclusion, 1 to 2 p.m.
  • June 29: From Recruitment to Job Placement: A Retention Roadmap in the Age of COVID, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
  • July 6: Returning to Campus: Redefining the Student Services Experience, 1 to 2 p.m.
  • July 13: Examining Asynchronous & Synchronous Strategies for Active and Engaged Learning (back by popuar demand), 1 to 2 p.m.
  • July 15: Planning for a Safe Return to Campus: HR, Public Safety, Training and Communication, 3 to 4 p.m.

You can access Go2Knowledge on your MyVWCC dashboard or here: Go2Knowledge.org/vccs

The Future Trends Forum: Discussions about the future of education and technology with writer/futurist Bryan Alexander. June 17: How can we best spark conversations about using new technologies in learning? with Zach Lonsinger and Ryan Wetzel, the Penn State University creators of What the Deck?, a card game designed to elicit productive and thoughtful discussions about emerging ed tech. June 24: How can we revolutionize higher education? How can we improve students’ learning experiences? with Christina Katopodis, Executive Director at Transformative Learning in the Humanities at the City University of New York, and Cathy N. Davidson, professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). More upcoming programs. Video recordings available on YouTube.

Virginia’s Education Equity Summer InstituteJune 15-17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Virginia Department of Education hosts this conference for Virginia educators, school leaders, education policymakers, and more. Breakout sessions and keynotes will include professional development to support Virginia’s recently expanded History and Social Science standards and the implementation of the new elective course in African American History for high school students that will launch this fall. June 17: Culturally Responsive and Inclusive Educator Practice at Four Critical Levels.

The #RealCollege Virtual Journey, sponsored by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. A series of online workshops and engaging activities led by experts and delivered free of charge. July webinars focus on racial justice. Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in the Basic Needs Movement (July 14) and Work Requirements, Deservingness, and the Social Safety Net (July 14). Both at 3 p.m. Register here. Recordings of previous events are available by scrolling down this page.

Bookmark the VCCS professional development website

Thank you for reading. Why does Stephanie Ogilvie Seagle feature free learning opportunities on the Green House Grants Blog? Because we transform ourselves by learning like our students. All of us are teachers and learners, no matter our titles.

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About Stephanie

Stephanie SeagleStephanie Ogilvie Seagle has served as Grant Specialist at Virginia Western since 2016, but she prefers her honorary title: “Chief Joy Officer.” Stephanie spent most of her career at The Roanoke Times, a daily newspaper, where she served in various news and features roles including “Shoptimist” shopping columnist. She earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative studies at George Mason University and a master’s of arts in liberal studies at Hollins University. Stephanie is a mom to one human daughter and multiple chihuahuas … and is obsessed with reading nonfiction, Halloween, and crafting glow necklaces inspired by the Mill Mountain Star. Glow Roanoke!

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