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Have you tried this magical trick in your classroom?

I love to read … and my rising first-grader is learning how to read … so lately I’ve been reading books about sharing the love of reading with kids.

*Cue the “Inception” music*

Before she was even born, I was designing my daughter’s life around books. For her baby shower, I didn’t want registry gifts … I just asked guests to bring their favorite childhood book. I knew a future library would have more long-term impact than newborn clothes and toys.

But showcasing cherished books throughout the house just isn’t enough.

So I’ve been testing some small habits to help instill a love of reading.

When I was a kid, my stay-at-home mom required I spend some quiet time in my room reading while my younger sisters napped. I devoured Ramona Quimby books and “The Baby-Sitter’s Club” series (which inspired my very real neighborhood babysitting business). These regular quiet times were effective, but enforcing this habit is a little harder for our family, so I found another trick to pilot this summer.

In “The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life” author Julie Bogart mentions the bedtime rule she credits with a lifelong passion for reading. Each night, her mother allowed her to stay up as long as she wanted … as long as she was reading books.

So we’re trying something similar: My daughter must be in bed by 8:30 p.m., but she is free to read as long as she wants (with the help of a special flashlight especially for reading).

She’s a fledgling reader, so she still prefers reading together right before bed.

Another book on this topic: “The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction,” has inspired me to seek out books related to my daughter’s interests. I love themes (English major!) … theme parties, theme gifts … so I’m attempting to “theme” part of our summer around “The Wizard of Oz;” the film celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2019. She is signed up for Roanoke Children’s Theatre’s week-long camp: “Lions, Tigers, & Bears” in July. Before then, I’m hoping we’ll read the classic that inspired it all: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. I’m already dreaming up Oz-inspired ideas for the annual gingerbread house competition in Salem.

I really couldn’t believe an entire book was dedicated to the power of reading aloud … but “The Enchanted Hour” was eye-opening. We know reading with young children is powerful. That part was obvious. But author Meghan Cox Gurdon cites scientific research and numerous examples illustrating the magic of reading aloud to all ages. Examples include reading to folks who are recuperating in the hospital … military families who stay connected by reading books on video … and inspiring community college students by reading aloud in class.

I wanted to include the entire passage about Jane Fidler, who teaches remedial English for a Maryland community college. This is how she got students interested in fiction:

“Her classes were full of people who had slipped through the cracks of the public education system. Many of her students were working full-time as well as trying to get a degree. A few of them were combat veterans. A lot of them struggled. One of Fidler’s students, a young man who attended class through a day-release program, once came back from spring break without having done his homework because the prison where he lived had been on lockdown.

Most of her kids had never read a book all the way through before they go to community college, Fidler told me. “I say, ‘How did you pass high school?’ They say, ‘I just wrote papers on books without reading them.’ ”

To get her students interested in fiction, Fidler decided to read them the juiciest, most accessible material she could find: salacious thrillers with short chapters and lots of action.

“In my lower development class, we read Sail, by James Patterson [and Howard Roughan],” Fidler said. “It’s a very sexy book about a woman whose husband cheats on her, and she remarries, and he wants to kill her, and my students love it.

“‘Okay,’ I’ll say, ‘take out Sail and we’re going to read chapter twenty-five.’ And I’ll read to them about how Peter Carlyle is two-timing his wife and playing around with his student, Bailey. One student said to me, ‘I was up until four in the morning, finishing this book where you left off!’”

Fidler uses her unorthodox textbooks to teach specific lessons. She gets her students to draw inferences about what’s going to happen to the characters. She explains vocabulary words. “I can help them focus on things that they would not have thought about if they read it on their own. And what I see happening is, when students get to the end of the book, they’ll turn the page and see, ‘Ooh, there’s another book by Patterson, and this one sounds interesting.’ This from kids for whom it is the first book they’ve read! That’s pretty good.” (p. 133-134)

I’d love to hear if you are reading aloud to students … if you have any tips for creating a reading habit … or if you just want to share a good book recommendation. Email me at

— Stephanie Ogilvie Seagle, June 2019

Posted on June 19, 2019

G3 update: What’s the ‘secret sauce’ for student success?

What’s the “secret sauce” for student success?

You may already have a hunch.

Because it came up time and again during the first design thinking session facilitated by the Education Design Lab on April 30.

About 30 faculty, staff, and administrators from the college (including Dr. Sandel) gathered in the Natural Science Center for a three-hour session to learn more about design thinking and how it relates to our G3 Healthcare Pathways Design Challenge (catch up on the backstory here).

Our special guests for the day included Todd Estes, Director of Career Education Programs and Workforce Partnerships, who is overseeing the G3 initiative for the VCCS, as well as eight students in various healthcare programs. We were thrilled so many students were able to participate, as students are the heart of our mission and this design thinking process.

Small groups of our faculty and staff interviewed each of the eight students, starting with these questions:

  1. Tell me about your decision to attend VWCC? Why?
  2. What has been your favorite experience at VWCC?
  3. What could have gone better?
  4. Tell me about your major and how you decided on that path.
  5. What are your goals after graduation? Tell me more about how you got to this decision.
  6. What are your goals five or ten years out? Who has helped influence these goals?

The discussion was robust — and it’s hard for me to capture all of the insights — but I thought I would focus on a recurring theme that we heard reported out from multiple interview teams that day.

Over and over again, the students talked about the personal relationships they have developed on their Virginia Western journey. Anne Marie Battista, one of our guests from the Education Design Lab, called these personal relationships the “secret sauce.”

Students mentioned faculty members, tutors, advisors, and TRiO coaches who made the difference. Studies show good relationships — more than money or fame — are what keep people healthy and happy throughout their lives, so no big surprises here.

These relationships also relate to more themes that emerged during the session, such as educating students about the resources and supportive services already available at Virginia Western (perhaps we regularly refresh faculty and staff memories during in-service?) and helping prospective students become more familiar with our campus (a visit to an actual lab classroom is what made one student finally follow through with her application). I’m reminded of our summer camps and the free movies we offer in Whitman, which can help kids and their parents get more comfortable with campus years before they even consider enrolling.

Later in the session, the group was asked to add some sticky notes under a series of questions, including: What more do we need to know?

I zeroed in on one of the anonymous stickies, which asked: “How can we create more opportunities for fostering meaningful connections?”

I interpret “meaningful connections” as going beyond our hard-working faculty, advisors, and staff (all of whom can only connect so much) to include other students, mentors, employers, and alumni — as well as “meaningful” experiential learning opportunities (internships, apprenticeships, community service) that make lessons concrete and relevant. Perhaps we should consider the college’s role not just as an educator or training provider … but as a connector … a bridge builder … a community builder … which helps our students become the changemakers they want to be (another observation shared during the session).

I’ll be chewing on “meaningful connections” as we continue our G3 journey … to see how we can amplify those opportunities within the stackable career pathways required by the grant project.

Social interaction already seems to be a major theme on my blog, as I have explored:

As always, I would love to hear your ideas on that topic and any questions you may have about G3. I’ll be sure to post occasional updates on our progress.

– Stephanie Ogilvie Seagle,

This initiative is 100% supported by a federal U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) award made to Virginia Western Community College by the pass-through entity, Virginia Community College System. The total program cost for this initiative is $176,068.

Posted on May 3, 2019

How to have more fun with your coworkers

I’m a collector of ideas. I read a crazy amount of books and reports and Twitter threads … and I’m always ready to share useful or inspirational tidbits. Here a few ideas that might bring our campus teams together (which gets the creative juices flowing …. and the grant projects popping).

1. Lunch clubs. I’m aware of at least one small group on this campus who occasionally meets for a potluck lunch and board games. I love this idea, and this recent NPR story gives some examples of coworkers delighting in cooking meals for each other. “These lunch clubs can range from a two-person swap to a five-person rotation. Sometimes people use a communal lunch as an excuse to sit down together during a busy day; others simply take their lunches whenever they have time, then thank the meal’s maker later via text message. Wherever there are people who want something more than their sad desk lunches or expensive to-go food, there are co-workers who have found a way to share a meal in a way that works for them.”

2. Join a choir. Seriously.

Just as I noticed the fliers for the Virginia Western Singers events, I was reminded of another book I just finished reading.

Best-selling author Daniel Pink just *raves* about the benefits of choral singing in “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” (available in our own Brown Library).

Pink writes:

“The research on the benefits of singing in groups is stunning. Choral singing calms heart rates and boosts endorphin levels. It improves lung function. It increases pain thresholds and reduces the need for pain medication. It even alleviates symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Group singing — not just performances but also practices — increases the production of immunoglobulin, making it easier to fight infections. In fact, cancer patients who sing in choirs show an improved immune response after just one rehearsal.

And while the physiological payoffs are many, the psychological ones might be even greater. Several studies demonstrate that choral singing delivers a significant boost to positive mood. It also lifts self-esteem while reducing feelings of stress and symptoms of depression. It enhances one’s sense of purpose and meaning, and increases sensitivity toward others. And these efforts come not from singing per se but from singing in a group. For example, people who sing in choirs report far higher well-being than those who sing solo.” (p. 195)

The Virginia Western Singers spring concert is 7 p.m. Saturday, April 27, in Whitman Theater. Tickets are available at the door and cost $7 for adults and $5 for kids. Free admission for VWCC students.

3. Bowling nights. I once joked about starting occasional bowling nights based around career clusters — an advanced manufacturing team, for example, which could serve as ongoing alumni connection and a welcoming event for adults students who were curious about our programs. A group of Virginia Western folks could just decide to meet at a bowling alley for some family-friendly social time. Deal alert: Lee-Hi Lanes in Salem offers 99-cent games on Mondays and Tuesdays (shoe rental is $3.50). While we’re talking deals, I should mention the Skate Center of Roanoke Valley offers $2 admission and $2 skate rentals on Mondays (a new tradition in my family). The fliers write themselves, people! “Get your career rolling …”

Posted on April 19, 2019

What would your life’s work sound like?

Andrei Matorin moved me to tears during the Tom Tom Summit & Festival in Charlottesville.
Photo by Daria Huxley /

When I attend professional conferences — especially one focused on “entrepreneurial ecosystems” — I don’t expect to be moved to tears.

But there I was, fighting back an ugly cry, in the middle of the Tom Tom Summit & Festival in Charlottesville last week.

Even stranger, I wasn’t moved by anyone speaking. It was during a live performance by Andrei Matorin, a professional violinist and composer.

Matorin accompanied the marquee keynote by Pamela Abalu and Chindeu Echeruo, who delivered a dramatic presentation about designing environments and organizations for love and happiness.

But it was while listening to Matorin’s music when I made a powerful connection to another message I heard earlier in the conference.

Just minutes before, I watched Jason Feifer, energetic editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur magazine, talk about how he defines entrepreneurs (“anyone who makes things happen”) … and three key entrepreneurial mindsets, all centered on the willingness to embrace change.

Feifer emphasized true entrepreneurs never see themselves as finished … they are never one thing, always evolving. This has been referred to as being in “permanent beta.”

I saw this concept embodied in Matorin’s music.

When we expect to hear a violinist, that familiar, classical sound comes immediately to mind, doesn’t it? Matorin was not this. He started quietly, plucking the violin strings while fidgeting with a couple of contraptions at his feet. I’m not that familiar with musical instruments, so I later learned these were looper pedals, which Matorin uses to record snippets of music and then layer all of his loops together into harmonizing beauty.

I found one of his YouTube videos to show you exactly what I mean:

As Matorin plucked for a few moments and then switched to gliding across the strings, building layer upon layer of sounds, I realized our work lives mimic this individual symphony.

Perhaps we start one job … our days and years becoming a routine loop … then we shift and do something else, building a different kind of sound. I tried to imagine my own career path like this looped song … what the beat would sound like, where the flares of joy would burst out, when the pace would become more erratic, like around the time I switched from a career in newspaper journalism to community college grant work. All of those exciting and proud and scary memories welled up into tears as I listened to Matorin perform.

What would your life’s work sound like?

Thinking about career loops in musical terms doesn’t seem as scary, especially when you are the artist in control. The song would be extremely boring if we didn’t layer and change it up and experiment with new sounds.

We all face anxieties about our jobs … about our skills, about technology, about what we don’t have much control over. The members of our community are struggling with the same uncertainty. How can Virginia Western help them compose the most beautiful, imaginative songs as possible, for just one loop or a few loops in their lives?

— Stephanie Ogilvie Seagle |

Posted on April 17, 2019

Why I’m so excited about our G3 grant project

In the three years I have worked at Virginia Western, I haven’t been this enthusiastic about a grant project.

And not to get too dramatic, but I’d rank my excitement level at “Buddy the Elf.”

This is because our G3 planning grant — which I will explain more in a bit — is funding the services of the Education Design Lab, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that helps design higher education models that improve opportunity for historically underserved learners.

How do they do this? Through design thinking, which the Lab explains in its latest white paper:

“We strongly believe in the potential of human-centered design and the principles of design thinking. They can draw institutions outside of their normal — all too often, confining — framework. Individual educators, by and large, have always put the needs of students first; if they were not mission-driven, they would select other, less stressful, better-compensated careers. But most of the institutions we work for, and the centuries-old practices of compliance and incentive, create an unwieldy, multi-layer structure that serves a lot of competing stakeholders. Students figure in there, but the tools of human-centered design pull their needs to the forefront.”

Thanks to this grant, a team from the Lab will guide Virginia Western through a design-thinking process focused on creating stackable pathways for the G3 initiative.

What is G3?

This is the initiative that was in the news around the holidays last year. G3 is a shortened version of: Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back; and it encourages all Virginia community colleges to create or refine stackable pathways so that skills training begins at the start of each program. What does that mean? At the bottom of this post, you will find a three-level framework provided by the VCCS. Faculty from targeted G3 programs have been invited to statewide meetings to discuss these in more detail. Ultimately, the hope is that funding will become available for a statewide last-dollar scholarship program, similar to our own CCAP program, but that’s still to be determined.

While the state identified five high-growth career sectors eligible for this program, Virginia Western chose to focus on just one — healthcare — for a few of reasons:

1. Local jobs data shows the greatest industry demand and potential for growth is in healthcare, as the Roanoke region is the medical center of western Virginia. While the fastest growing occupation with higher-than-average pay in the U.S. is registered nurse, it should be noted that the recent explosion of healthcare employment has been non-clinical administrative jobs, such as receptionists and office clerks. Looking to the future, healthcare is also a good bet for continued long-term employment. Because healthcare work is so place-based and dependent on human interaction, it can weather the forces of automation and artificial intelligence.

2. The aggressive grant timeline. We only have until Oct. 31 of this year to spend the grant money and complete the long list of deliverables, which I have also listed at the bottom of this post.

3. Because time is short, we wanted to really take the time and focus on one sector — to dig deep and think it through. By bringing in the Education Design Lab, the college will learn the design-thinking mindset, which will help us replicate the process for additional pathways in manufacturing, IT/computer science, the trades, and early childhood education, as well as institutional challenges beyond G3. I like to think of this more as professional development than a one-time project.

What is design thinking?

I have written about design thinking before on this grants blog … about how it can help us address “wicked” problems using a methodology that truly puts students at the center of our decisions.

This 8-minute video — by a forward-thinking Florida hospital — does a great job explaining the steps of design thinking (and it’s fun). If you only have time to watch for a minute or two, focus on the first and most important step: Empathy. Watch it here.

The project plan

For our G3 planning grant, the Education Design Lab will facilitate a series of three design workshops on our campus. We will be inviting faculty, staff, students, employers, alumni, and K-12 partners to participate at various stages in the process. In addition to helping us create or refine at least one stackable pathway in the healthcare sector, the other big design question we’ll be exploring is how we might create a more seamless, “one-door” student onboarding experience, another expected grant deliverable.

The first workshop with the Education Design Lab is planned for Tuesday, April 30, in the Natural Science Center. A broad representation of the college has been invited to the morning session, which will feature a design-thinking exercise. The core design team (listed below) will dive deeper into the challenge that afternoon and over the next six months.

If you’re curious to learn more about the Lab, I encourage you to watch this video — which shows them kicking off a similar “Seamless Transfer Pathways” project — or check out their website or recently released white paper, The Learner Revolution, which reflects on the Lab’s five years of work with 100-plus institutions.

And if you have not yet received an invite and are interested in attending one of the upcoming workshops, please raise your hand:

G3 Healthcare Pathways Core Design Team:

  • Kathy Beard, Dual Enrollment Coordinator
  • Jeffrey Gillette, Professor, Medical Lab Technology
  • Carole Graham, Dean of Health Professions
  • Tracy Harmon, Associate Professor, Administrative Management Technology
  • Lauren Hayward, Director of Nursing
  • Marilyn Herbert-Ashton, VP of Institutional Advancement (and Project Director)
  • Rachelle Koudelik-Jones, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness
  • Carol Rowlett, Coordinator of Research & Assessment
  • Stephanie Seagle, Grant Specialist

Grant deliverables due to VCCS by Oct. 31:

  • G3 curriculum proposals and approvals
  • A clearly articulated stackable pathway identifying regional employment outcomes
  • Documented credential standardization activities to include course and credential results
  • Agreements with regional K-12 partners for dual enrollment options
  •  Industry credential assessment results
  • Articulated strategy for course schedule and delivery to serve targeted pathways
  • Documented employer endorsements and commitments to support G3 pathways to include opportunities for work-based learning
  • Community service partner agreements and draft communication plan for student advisement
  • Itemized equipment list identifying needs to support program expansion
  • Formal agreements to work with regional workforce agencies and investment boards
  • Institutional procedures for G3 student onboarding

Stackable, Three-Level Framework

According to the VCCS, associate in applied science degree programs should, to the extent possible, adhere to the following three-level framework:

Level 1 – Core Competencies

• 16 – 20 credit hours – Career Studies Certificate

• All classes stackable to AAS

• When appropriate, FastForward course(s) may be integrated into Career Studies Certificates. To be eligible for G3, FastForward course(s) must be evaluated by qualified faculty to determine credit equivalencies, following the college’s policy on evaluating, awarding, and accepting credit for prior learning.

• Embedded industry certification(s), when appropriate

• Opportunity to complete through dual enrollment*

• Employment outcome – entry-level position in targeted industry sector

Level 2 – Operational Skills

• 16 – 20 credit hours – Career Studies Certificate

• All classes stackable to AAS

• Embedded industry certification(s), when appropriate

• Employment outcome – technician-level position in targeted industry sector

Level 3 – Advanced Technical Proficiency

• 28 – 34 credit hours after Level 1 and 2 completion – Associate of Applied Science (60 – 66 credit hours total)

• Embedded industry certification(s), when appropriate

• Employment outcome – technologist-level position in targeted industry sector

* At least one pathway should include an option to complete Level 1 through dual enrollment.

This initiative is 100% supported by a federal U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) award made to Virginia Western Community College by the pass-through entity, Virginia Community College System. The total program cost for this initiative is $176,068.

Posted on April 9, 2019

How ‘Traction’ is changing my life and work

Earlier this winter, I finally checked out the business book “Traction” (by Gino Wickman) from Brown Library.

I heard about the book in December at the VCCS Hire Education conference, where Jeanian Clark and Bill Pence explained how they used “Traction” to transform their Workforce division at Lord Fairfax Community College. It was my favorite session of the conference, as it was both inspiring and useful. This is going to sound extremely nerdy, but I just loved the idea of aligning bite-sized daily goals with a long-term vision. That’s how you get things done … how you gain traction.

One of the most memorable takeaways was the concept of “Rocks,” which the author actually credits to an analogy in Stephen Covey’s book “First Things First.” Wickman writes:

Picture a glass cylinder set on a table. Next to the cylinder are rocks, gravel, sand, and a glass of water. Imagine the glass cylinder as all of the time you have in a day. The rocks are your main priorities, the gravel represents your day-to-day responsibilities, the sand represents interruptions, and the water is everything else that you get hit with during your workday. If you, as most people do, pour the water in first, the sand in second, the gravel in third, and the rocks last, what happens? Those big priorities won’t fit inside the glass cylinder. That’s your typical day.

What happens if you do the reverse? Work on the big stuff first: Put the rocks in. Next come the day-to-day responsibilities: Add the gravel. Now dump in the sand, all those interruptions. Finally, pour the water in. Everything fits in the glass cylinder perfectly; everything fits into your day perfectly. The bottom line is that you need to work on the biggest priorities — your Rocks — first. Everything else will fall into place.

While the book is aimed at businesses, I used its trademarked Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) to create my own personal plan. It forced me to think through my core values and personal “Rocks.” After chewing on the ideas for weeks, I chose 12 areas to focus on, including “health,” “wealth,” and “adventures.” What do I want to see happen in each category in 10 years? In three years? In one? And then … how can I get closer to that vision in the next 90 days? I don’t want to organize my life in corporate terms (quarters), so instead, I organize by the natural seasons. My first 90-day plan began on the first day of spring. I track my goals and progress using a template provided in the book.

In the time between reading “Traction” and officially kicking off my plan, some amazing progress began to happen, including a daily at-home yoga practice (65 days and counting!). One of my “Rocks” is to make more home-cooked meals, so I started what my family now calls “Sunday feasts.” Each Sunday, my husband, our 5-year-old daughter, and myself decide on a menu and cook lots of food — enough for dinner, leftovers to pack for lunches, and even some to freeze for future meals. In just over a month, these feasts have become sacred, as my mom (Grandma) also joins us around the table in the dining room — which was not used as a true dining room until now. Grandma brings decades of cooking knowledge and family lore to share. Also: she makes amazing pies. So far, we’ve hand-breaded chicken cutlets, roasted many Brussels sprouts (inspired by the hot bar at Earth Fare), and experimented with a few Instant Pot recipes. My favorite menu to date celebrated St. Patrick’s Day: Loaded baked potatoes; homemade soda bread with Irish butter; and Grandma’s lime cream pie.

So what does “Traction” and lime cream pie have to do with grants? Because successful grant projects function like successful enterprises. We try to align our vision with the funder’s mission; set measurable project goals; and gather data to show need and impact. Or to boil it down further with real talk: What are we doing? Why are we doing it? Does it make a difference?

Perhaps a grant project could help you fulfill some of your visionary career goals. What are your most cherished “Rocks”? Check out the book … or come chat with me about making them happen.

Grandma’s lime cream pie.
Posted on April 1, 2019

Want a super team? Start with dynamic duos

Image from IDEO U course: “From Superpowers to Great Teams”

Last fall, I wrote about my philosophy of life and approach to being a parent … about how I ask myself:

What are your superpower(s), and how will you use them to help others?

So you can understand why I had to sign up for an online course called “From Superpowers to Great Teams” — which helps you hone your unique superpowers while also exploring how to strengthen the relationships in your work teams.

The class summary explains:

Work is most joyful—and its outcomes are most impactful—when we embrace relationships as opportunities and focus on bringing out the best in our collaborators. It begins with you showing up as your best self at work, and then building the relationships and conditions for people around you to thrive.

The non-credit course is offered by IDEO, a global design company that has pioneered design thinking (another topic I have blogged about before).

For $199, I accessed this self-paced course (found at IDEO U) which features a series of short, well-produced videos and related exercises to do on my own.

One of my most profound takeaways was the focus on duos, which the course defines as “the smallest atomic unit of trust on any team.”

Some of the dynamic duo examples in the course include Tina Fey and Amy Poehler from “SNL” and Frodo and Sam from “The Lord of the Rings.”

I look back at my own career and recognize my best, most creative work has been accomplished with another person … (but not necessarily the same person). What we produced together was better than what we could have produced as individuals … which is the sign of a strong duo.

According to this IDEO course, if you focus on your duos, you can greatly improve yourself and the performance of your teams: “We believe a team’s foundation is based on the strength of duos within it.”

Try this quick exercise from one of the class videos:

  1. Identify your duos: Think about people you interact with consistently at work; who you partner with to achieve your goals.
  2. Evaluate bonds: What’s the current state of those relationships? Assess where they are at, from unbreakable to broken.
  3. Look for patterns: Why are some bonds stronger than others? What creates unbreakable duos? What conditions make for weak or broken duos?

As you consider grant opportunities, perhaps approaching them as a duo would make projects more manageable (and fun). I would be happy to help talk through your ideas and navigate the process. Email or call 540-857-6084.

Posted on March 5, 2019

Innovation Grant update: 30-minute coaching sessions now available

How’s your Innovation Grant journey going?

No matter where you are in the process, VWCC Grant Specialist Stephanie Seagle wants to help.

Take advantage of 30-minute, one-on-one coaching sessions, which might include:

  • An overview of the application process (especially if you missed the “5 Secrets to a Funded Innovation Grant” session at in-service)
  • Brainstorming and feedback about your idea
  • Specific questions you might have about your proposal (where do I even start with the budget?!?!, etc.)

Sign up here:

About the Innovation Grant: These annual grants are awarded by the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation. The maximum award is $10,000, and projects are expected to be finished in about 10 months (May 2019 to March 2020). All members of Virginia Western faculty and classified staff, including adjunct faculty and part-time employees, are eligible to submit proposals. The deadline for applications is March 29 … but there are key requirements due before then, so don’t delay reading the application closely and reaching out if you have questions. Note that in order for your grant proposal to be eligible for consideration, you must meet with grants office staff (Stephanie) at least once for guidance in completing the application. Previous workshops fulfill that requirement.

You can access the application below … along with the scoring matrix and FAQs.

Posted on February 5, 2019

5 Secrets to a Funded Innovation Grant: Workshops on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1

If you missed the “5 Secrets to a Funded Innovation Grant” session during in-service, you can see the same presentation at 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, or 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 1, in the grants office conference room (top floor of Fishburn Hall, Room 204).

Stephanie Seagle will go over the application, explain the mysterious lollipops on the table (pictured), and will answer any other questions you might have about the process.

Please sign up here:

Note that in order for your grant proposal to be eligible for consideration, you must meet with grants office staff (Stephanie) at least once for guidance in completing the application. These workshops fulfill that requirement.

If you prefer a one-on-one discussion with Stephanie, please email or call 540-857-6084.

About the Innovation Grant: These annual grants are awarded by the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation. The maximum award is $10,000. All members of Virginia Western faculty and classified staff, including adjunct faculty and part-time employees, are eligible to submit proposals. The deadline for applications is March 29 … but there are key requirements due before then, so don’t delay reading the application closely and reaching out if you have questions.

You can access the application below … along with the scoring matrix and FAQs.


Posted on January 22, 2019

Innovation Grant proposals due March 29

Thanks to everyone who attended the “5 Secrets to a Funded Innovation Grant” session during in-service. We were encouraged to see the interest and hope more folks want to learn more about these annual grants awarded by the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation.

The maximum award is $10,000.

The deadline for applications is March 29 … but there are key requirements due before then, so don’t delay reading the application closely and reaching out to me if you have questions.

New this year: In order to be eligible for consideration, you must meet with grants office staff (Stephanie Seagle) at least once for guidance in completing the application. The in-service session fulfilled that requirement … and so will workshops that will be scheduled in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned.

You can access the application below … along with the scoring matrix and FAQs.

— Stephanie Ogilvie Seagle, , 857-6084

Posted on January 11, 2019

Contact Us

Grants Development Office
Location: Fishburn Hall F204
Phone: 540-857-6372

3093 Colonial Ave., SW
Roanoke, VA 24015