Breaking ground today for the new 96-bed Apartment-style living complex at Emory & Henry College are (L-R) - Jaynae Wright, Student Government President at Emory & Henry; Bill Prince, CEO of BurWil; Darryl Glenn, Director of Housing at E&H; Cathy Lowe, E&H Trustee; George Whitley, E&H Trustee; E&H College President John W. Wells; John Holloway, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at E&H; First Bank & Trust officials Brent Dyson. Commercial Loan Officer and Mark Nelson, President and CEO; E&H Trustee Israel O'Quinn; and Mark Graham, Vice President for Administration and Legal Counsel at E&H. Courtesy of Emory & Henry.

Here’s a round-up of education briefs. Want more education news? There’s no full-time education reporter west of Richmond. You can help change that. Help us fund this position.

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Emory & Henry breaks ground on apartments

Emory & Henry College broke ground Thursday on its newest apartment-style living complex, which will add 96 new beds to its inventory in the fall of 2023. 

The move comes as the school is posting record enrollments, part of the college’s bid to become the “the flagship higher education institution of Middle Appalachia.”

For background on Emory & Henry’s growth spurt, see our previous story: “Emory & Henry gonig through ‘creative reinvention.‘”

The E&H Board of Trustees approved building plans and made the announcement about the new housing in January 2022.

The apartment-style building is being constructed on the northwest side of College Drive across from the College’s Lynch Links golf course, on a 10-acre property owned by the College. The main access to the complex will be from Hillman Highway, just one mile from campus. Adding modern apartments will compliment the current apartment-style living in Emory and will offer a more independent living lifestyle to students. 

The apartment building will be three stories and house 96 beds in 18 apartments. A walking and bike greenway trail will be designed for easy access to campus, lined with trees, landscaping and lights. 

The new apartments with two handicap-accessible units will each be 1,200 square feet and feature two bedrooms, two baths and walk-in closets; an open kitchen plan with all modern appliances; dining and living space; pantry and laundry; and a private balcony or patio. Ample parking will be included in the project.

As housing needs grow, plans call for additional units, a clubhouse and an outdoor pool, which mimics what graduates would find in more contemporary housing complexes. The units will be accessed from Hillman Highway.

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Washington and Lee eliminates sale of single-use water bottles

Washington and Lee University has eliminated the sale of single-use bottled water at retail locations on campus.

During the 2021-22 school year, 11,410 single-use bottles of water were purchased on the Lexington campus.

Making a single-use plastic water bottle requires three times more water than the amount that fits in that bottle, and 2,000 times the energy required to produce tap water for a similar size serving, the school said in a statement. Furthermore, projections indicate that in our lifetime the world’s oceans will contain more plastic than fish.

“Most of us are accustomed to thinking about recycling as a solution for reducing waste,” said Jane Stewart, W&L’s director of sustainability. “However, even when an item can be effectively recycled – and the recycle rate for plastics is only 9% – that doesn’t mitigate all the expense and environmental harm that came from producing the product in the first place. The best way to reduce what we send to the landfill is to be thoughtful at the front end and reduce unnecessary purchasing.”

With this in mind, Stewart and numerous campus leaders began investigating the viability of removing single-use plastics from the W&L campus. The initiative gained traction in March 2021 after then-Governor Ralph Northam signed Executive Order 77, a directive to phase out the use of single-use plastics in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

State agencies were ordered to begin removing single-use plastic items from their operations immediately. This order also applied to all state-supported academic institutions. As a private institution, W&L was not required to follow the order, but a number of schools within the Virginia Association for Sustainability in Higher Education were taking steps to meet the mandate, working together to share ideas and solutions.

In an effort to reduce waste, the university will give all first-year students a voucher to obtain a free reusable water bottle from the university store. Providing vouchers, rather than giving each student a bottle regardless of need, also helps eliminate waste.

“Many students will already have a bottle of their own and we didn’t want to hand out bottles to those who didn’t actually need or want one,” said Stewart in a statement.

Additionally, W&L has created maps accessible through QR codes placed strategically around campus that detail the locations of bottle filling stations.

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Mountain Mission Schools wins re-accreditation

Mountain Mission School in Buchanan County)was recently notified of its re-accreditation status through the Association of Christian Schools International, according to MMS President Chris Mitchell and MMS Director of Education Jessica Hertzog.

MMS first became dually accredited by ACSI, the Association of Christian Schools International and Cognia (formerly AdvancEd) in the spring of 2016 for its K-12 educational program. This year marked the time for a reaccreditation site visit and evaluation.

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Virginia Tech names search committee for architecture, arts and design dean

A search committee has been formed to oversee the process of selecting the next dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture, Arts, and Design (AAD)

The new AAD dean will replace Rosemary Blieszner, who has served as interim dean since August 2021, when Richard Blythe left Virginia Tech for a position at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia.

Alan Grant, dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will chair the search committee and guide the application/nomination, candidate review and interview, campus engagement, and finalist selection processes. Search committee members are as follows:

  • John Ambrosone, associate professor and chair of theatre, School of Performing Arts
  • Jackie Bixler, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
  • Doug Bowman, professor of computer science and director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction
  • Jason Crafton, associate professor and chair of music, School of Performing Arts
  • Eiman Elgewely, assistant professor of interior design, School of Design
  • Michael Ermann, professor of architecture, School of Architecture
  • Aki Ishida, associate professor of architecture and interim associate director, School of Architecture
  • Devair Jeffries, assistant director for diversity and academic success, Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech
  • Paul Kelsch, associate professor of urban design, School of Architecture
  • Mintai Kim, professor of landscape architecture, School of Design
  • Ann-Marie Knoblauch, associate professor of art history and director, School of Visual Arts
  • Jeffery Loeffert, professor of music and director, School of Performing Arts
  • Shaila Mehra, assistant dean for diversity, equity, inclusion, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • Erin Poff, assistant dean for administration and finance, College of Architecture, Arts, and Design
  • Michelle Raines, administrative manager, School of Performing Arts
  • Liz Scharman, director of administration, Moss Arts Center
  • Eric Standley, professor of studio art, School of Visual Arts
  • Martha Sullivan, associate professor of practice and chair of industrial design, School of Design
  • Sharone Tomer,– associate professor of architecture, School of Architecture
  • Rachel Weaver, associate professor of creative technologies, School of Visual Arts

The search committee will be supported by a staff that includes Amy Hogan, assistant provost for leadership initiatives, and Leslie Sullivan, coordinator for faculty affairs.

Virginia Tech has engaged Parker Executive Search to assist with the process and welcomes nominations for the position. The position description, application/nomination process, and search updates will be posted shortly and be available on the Senior Administrator Search page of the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost website.

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