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Compliance Office to launch online reporting system

UVa-Wise News - Wed, 08/05/2015 - 2:50pm

bewisereportitThe UVa-Wise Office of Compliance and Conduct is launching an online reporting system, called “Be Wise, Report It,” for incidents of sexual or gender-based violence.

“The system, which will go live on August 7, will allow for prompt reporting of instances of prohibited behavior that we learn about, witness or experience,” said Tabitha Smith, Title IX Coordinator and Director of Compliance Programming.

Smith explained that UVa-Wise is committed to maintaining a respectful, professional and nondiscriminatory academic, living and working environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

“This includes having an environment free from sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking sexual exploitation, complicity and retaliation,” Smith said.

Smith said Katelyn Sturgill, a senior majoring in history with a minor in women’s studies, came up with the name for the system.

“The Office of Compliance and Conduct encourages every member of the UVa—Wise community to use the Be Wise. Report It. system to promptly report incidents and to also have full confidence those reports will be treated seriously and investigated timely and impartially,” Smith added.

The “Be Wise. Report It” system will be available at https://home.uvawise.edu/complianceforms/forms/incidents-report-form

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Marching Highland Cavaliers donate drums to Lee High

UVa-Wise News - Wed, 08/05/2015 - 11:31am

The Marching Highland Cavaliers continued the band’s tradition of boosting the region’s high school music programs by donating several drums and accessories to Lee High School.

Rick Galyean, director of bands at UVa-Wise, said the Marching Highland Cavaliers have helped the music program in Dickenson County and at Twin Valley High in Buchanan County by donating gently used instruments and equipment from time to time. Several high schools have also been given a needed instrument or two over the years as the Marching Highland Cavaliers purchase replacement horns and equipment.

The Marching Highland Cavaliers came into existence nine years ago when the College began a full-fledged music program. The band has less than 100 members, but the Marching Highland Cavaliers top bigger Virginia colleges and several peer institutions in terms of the percentage of enrolled students who join the band.

A generous gift from the Hunter J. Smith Foundation helped the band grow over the years. Smith, in making the gift, expressed the hope that the band could promote music programs in the region’s schools and communities. Galyean said the band honors Smith’s intention by performing at various events in the region, helping local band programs and assisting local band directors when possible.

The music program at UVa-Wise has produced several graduates who are now teaching music or band in schools across Virginia and in other states. Ben Harding, band director at Lee High, is a 2010 graduate of UVa-Wise. Galyean said the donation to Lee High was special because the drums were donated to an alumnus who was part of the College’s first year of the marching band program.

“Purchasing new drums would have been a major financial hurdle our boosters would have had to face,” Harding said. “They can now use the money they would have spent on the drums on other pressing matters.”

Galyean, who often visits local schools to recruit students for the music program, noticed that Harding and his students had patched up their 20-year-old drums with duct tape or other adhesives.

“Our drums were 10 years old, but they were in much better shape that those 20 year-old drums,” Galyean said. “We were at the point where we had to purchase new ones, so we decided to help Lee High out.”

Harding said his students were excited to receive the drums and accessories. He said the equipment would make a difference, especially as the Generals get ready for another performance season. The drum donation amounts to about $15,000 worth of equipment.

Lee High has 78 band members on its roster this season. Harding said he always tells the students about his experiences at UVa-Wise, and he encourages them to keep his alma mater in mind when they begin to consider colleges.





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U.Va., U.Va.-Wise Students Preserve Past, Discuss Future in Appalachia, Va.

UVa-Wise News - Tue, 08/04/2015 - 8:53am

University of Virginia doctoral student and Institute for Public History summer fellow Meredith McCool once helped her students in Anchorage, Alaska collect oral histories from survivors of a 1964 earthquake, culling stories of survival, hope and resilience. U.Va.-Wise student Tessa-McCoy Hall, a research fellow for the APPalachian Prosperity Project and the Center for Appalachia Studies at U.Va.-Wise, is a poet who writes about the Southwest Virginia area where she grew up.

This summer, the pair brought these approaches to the small Southwest Virginia town of Appalachia, interviewing residents to preserve the town’s past and build hopes for its future. The summer fellowships are supported by the APPalachian Prosperity Project, a partnership between U.Va. and U.Va.-Wise and a number of public and private partners in the Coalfield Region of Southwest Virginia.

McCool, a student in the Curry School of Education, and McCoy-Hall, a senior studying communications, are working with the APPalachian Prosperity Project to build an oral history of Appalachia, population roughly 1,900.

Over the weekend, McCool and McCoy-Hall presented the oral histories during the annual Coal/Railroad Days festival and led discussions about the town’s past and, more importantly, its future. Residents viewed excerpts from the oral histories, recorded short snippets of their own thoughts and memories and shared ideas, both in-person and through the social media campaign #visionsofappalachia.

This fall, the Appalachia Cultural Arts Center will begin to develop the oral histories into a community play, to be performed at the center’s theater, which has anchored the town’s Main Street even as other businesses have come and gone.

“We hope this project will generate discussion about new economic drivers for the town, particularly the heritage tourism economy and, just as importantly, remind community members and others about the people, work, and place that made Appalachia a thriving town  ” said Suzanne Morse Moomaw, associate professor of urban and environmental planning in the U.Va. School of Architecture and faculty research lead for the APPalachian Prosperity Project.

Appalachia has been searching for a new economic engine since the decline of the coal mining and railroad industries and many see heritage tourism and recreation as the answer. McCool and McCoy-Hall are using their presentation at the Coal/Railroad days to spur new ideas for growth.

“It is one thing to be on the fringes of a problem and know that it is happening, but to sit down with people, hear their memories and realize what is truly at stake integrates you into the problem and makes you want to be a part of the solution,” McCoy-Hall said.

The pair hopes their efforts will bring more voices into that discussion and help people connect around common solutions.

“People here have so many thoughtful ideas about the future of the town. We want to honor the ideas that we have heard in our interviews and ask for other perspectives,” McCool said.

Historical photograph of a man standing with his two goats in Appalachia, Virginia

Appalachian resident Sally West, along with his herd of goats, came up in several anecdotes. (Photo provided by Meredith McCool)

Appalachia resident Sally West, along with his herd of goats, came up in several anecdotes. (Photo provided by Meredith McCool)

The oral histories, gathered through interviews with 22 longtime residents, speak both to the challenges of the region and the resilience of its people. Main characters emerged – 1950s police chief Charlie Blair; mischievous Sally West, who, together with his herd of goats, featured prominently in some of the more hilarious tales; or mysterious Bessie Kilbourne, who rarely left home without a black fur coat.

Some researchers might have stopped there, content with a few colorful anecdotes embodying the stereotype of small-town Appalachia that began with a 1964 LIFE Magazine story on the War on Poverty and continues today.

McCool and McCoy-Hall wanted their oral history to go beyond the stereotype. They heard stories of an extraordinary community – mothers waking early to sweep the town’s streets, fathers putting together Christmas baskets for neighbors in need. They met a photographer inspired by the landscape he grew up in, a memoirist motivated by her mother’s love of poetry, and a U.Va..-educated doctor who returned to revitalize the local hospital.

Key themes recurred: the constancy of change, the perils of a boom-and-bust economy, the joy and sadness of the “brain drain” as some of the town’s brightest children went beyond its borders, worries about the next generation, but above all, deep pride of place.

“Over and over, we heard not about the poverty of the town, but about its generosity, community spirit and the resilience bred by the mountains,” McCool said.

The pair did encounter some skepticism. Other scholars, they learned, had collected oral histories only to leave without sharing their results. They are determined not to repeat that pattern.

“Everything we collect, while it will be used for study, will be returned to the town,” McCool said. “One of our main goals is to preserve the dignity of the people that opened up to us and give them the respect they deserve. They are thoughtful and insightful and hilarious and just good people and I want to make sure that we are honoring that and immediately giving back.”

“I have enjoyed the companionship with the townsfolk,” McCoy-Hall said. “They have become our friends, and it is great to feel that if we were to return, they would be truly glad to see us.”

The project has generated fresh discussions around ideas for economic growth – a demonstration coal mine and scenic railroad for tourists, improved trail systems for hikers and even the legalization of gambling, which previously played a large role in the town’s economy. Such discussions could generate improvement beyond the borders of Appalachia.

“The story of Appalachia is not unique to this particular area. It really is a universal story of change and boom-and-bust cycles,” McCool said. It is also, she said, a lesson in the negative effects of stereotyping. It is part of a big-picture discussion about what arts and culture can do to broaden people’s perspectives and make sure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

by Caroline Newman

Media Relations Assistant

Office of University Communications

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UVa-Wise Emergency Alert System

UVa-Wise @Home News - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 4:20pm

Campus Community:
UVa-Wise has implemented an emergency notification system for the entire campus community to be informed in the event of a campus crisis or emergency situation.

All contact information entered will be used for both emergency and weather related announcements.

To make sure everyone has the best and latest personal notification information in the alert system, the College has developed a web page form to allow each campus community member to update their personal contact information for the emergency alert system.

  1. You MUST FIRST LOGIN (at the login box at the right) with your College email username (do not include @uvawise.edu) If you do not login first, you will get an “access denied” message.

  2. YOU MUST THEN CLICK HERE to opt-in or update your contact information. If students do not update their information through this webpage, their primary phone number, cell phone number (for SMS text alerts) and campus email address will be used for alerts. Faculty and staff will only be notified by email unless phone contact information is entered into the web form.

Users may also login to this web page and “opt-out” of the notification. UVa-Wise strongly recommends that users do NOT opt-out of this service so that our campus community members can be well informed of campus emergencies and weather related announcements.

REMEMBER: All campus users should visit https://home.uvawise.edu/alertsystem and login with your email username (do not include @uvawise.edu) and password.

We encourage you to update your contact information regularly so that UVa-Wise can keep you informed about campus emergencies and weather related announcements.

Thank you and have a great day.

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