The University of Virginia's College at Wise. Courtesy of UVa Wise.

UVA Wise receives grant to launch peer mentoring program

With help from a $354,000 state grant, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise is implementing a peer mentoring program to help first-year Pell Grant-eligible students, especially those who are low-income or first-generation students.

The Mentorship and Adaptability Program initiative will begin this fall.

“Our data shows that if a student experiences success in the first year they are much more likely to persist and complete their degree,” Mike Shell, the school’s dean of student success and degree completion, said in a news release announcing the four-year grant from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. “UVA Wise currently offers a wide assortment of academic intervention tools, but we also understand success often requires assistance beyond the classroom and tutoring.”

UVA Wise has had success with a similar mentorship program for student athletes, the release said. The new MAP initiative is the first large-scale expansion of that approach at the college. 

First-year, Pell-eligible students will be matched with experienced upper-level Pell-eligible students who will serve as mentors and will help them navigate their freshman and sophomore years. Mentors will receive a $1,000 stipend. 

The program will be part of the college’s new Academic Success Center, which opens this fall inside the UVA Wise Library. 

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Ferrum College names vice president of finance and chief operations officer 

Ferrum College has hired Joseph Han as its new vice president of finance and chief operations officer.

Previously, Han served in executive roles including chief of police and certified law enforcement executive and numerous vice president roles with Fairmont State University in West Virginia. He also served as chief operating officer at the University of Louisville and Central Washington University, associate vice president of administration and operations at Cleveland State University, and associate vice president at Idaho State University.

Han’s academic credentials include a doctorate of education in higher education administration from Ohio State University, a master’s degree in organizational leadership and an MBA from Azusa Pacific University, and undergraduate degrees in physiology and biochemistry from the University of California San Diego. 

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Clinics offer free medical, dental care in Wise County

Free medical, dental and veterinary services will be available July 28-30 in Wise County.

The 21st annual Move Mountains Medical Mission, formerly known as RAM Wise County, will offer medical, eye care and veterinary services all three days. The event will be held at the Wise County fairgrounds. Registration starts at 7 a.m. each day. More information about specific services that will be offered is online, or call 276-328-8850.

The dental clinic, a project of Mission of Mercy, will be held July 28 and 29 at the convocation center at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Preregistration begins at noon July 27. For more information, go online or call 804-620-4032.

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City of Roanoke launches digital community engagement site

The city of Roanoke is launching Zencity, a new digital community engagement site designed to inform residents about upcoming plans and initiatives.

Through Zencity Engage, the city will create engagement sites for local projects, upload supporting information and invite residents to give input, according to a news release from the city.

The first projects featured on the new site will be the city’s equity initiatives, the Belmont-Fallon Target Area, the Washington Park Pool and the launch of a community survey.

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Forest Service temporarily closes road to Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area

The U.S. Forest Service will temporarily close a section of Hog Camp (Forest Service Road #48) in Amherst County to replace a failing culvert beginning July 17.

The road is the primary access to Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area, including access to the Appalachian Trail at Hog Camp Gap. 

Hog Camp Road will be closed to motor vehicles beginning at the intersection of Hog Camp Road and Cow Camp Road (Forest Service Road #520). Depending on weather conditions, the road work should be completed, and the road reopened, by July 20. 

For more information, contact the Glenwood Pedlar Ranger District at 540-291-2188, visit, or follow it on Facebook or Twitter.