WISE, Va. — The University of Virginia’s College at Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry kicked off the academic year Tuesday by predicting the college will bring the liberal arts experience into the 21st century and embrace new technology to enhance the higher education experience.
It starts, she said, by equipping full-time students, faculty and staff with new iPads, Apple pencils and keyboards as part of a new initiative to bring more technology to higher education. The chancellor did just that during the convocation.
The program, innovate2EleVAte, will allow students and faculty to explore ways the growing technology can improve the classroom experience. The $1.6 million program is funded through private money.
“We have decided to do something revolutionary,” Henry said in a news release. “That is innovate2EleVAte.”
Henry explained that technology is a fundamental tool to prepare students for the future.
“We also know that not all of our students have access to personal computing devices to complete homework, to conduct research, to collaborate with peers or to participate in online exercises,” she said.
Henry added that the devices will help students imagine the possibilities in all disciplines and engage them in academics, activities and help create a strong community.
Henry told the students, faculty, staff and UVA President Jim Ryan that she looks forward to watching how the UVa-Wise community uses the technology in the classroom, in student life and athletics.
Ryan helped distribute iPads to freshmen just before convocation. He also told the students about his fears as a teen on the Disney ride Space Mountain. He spoke about his sister’s bravery and his own fear of riding the indoor coaster. He used the story to relay a message to the freshmen.
“Don’t be afraid of Space Mountain,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy, but that’s true for everyone here. Being easy, at the end of the day, is not the point of college. If you really want to do something, don’t let your fear of the unknown stop you. College may be your personal Space Mountain.”