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Notice of partial closure of Parking Lot 9 from 7/6-7/17

Please be aware that two bays of parking in (upper) Lot 9 along Colonial Ave. (between the STEM Building and College Services Building) will be closed for milling, paving and restriping from this Monday, 7/6/20 through Friday, 7/17/20.  During this time, student parking on South Campus will be available in Lots 1, 2, 3 & 4, with Faculty/Staff Parking also being available in Lot 1E. Upon completion, this portion of Lot 9 (including new ADA parking spaces near the STEM Building and Transportation Plaza) will be fully available for use. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we complete these campus improvements!

Educational Foundation awards Innovation Grants

The Virginia Western Educational Foundation awarded nearly $24,000 to six Virginia Western faculty and staff members to support innovative initiatives designed to positively impact student success and advance novel ideas. 

This year’s awardees received between $500-$7,200 apiece to fund their initiatives. The Educational Foundation’s Innovation Grant program has awarded 52 grants totaling more than $250,000 in the past decade.

This year’s winning projects are as varied as the curriculum at Virginia Western. One grant will purchase more microscopes and slides for a STEM lab; another will enable outreach and collaboration between the College and Northwest Roanoke in an effort to attract more students from that area.

“We’re always looking for bright ideas and creativity in action,” said Marilyn Herbert-Ashton, Vice President of Institutional Advancement. “We are pleased that the funds will go to address real needs and enhance student success.”

The Innovation Grant program is funded by donors to the Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the College. The program’s growth is the result of a concentrated effort to create awareness of the funds available and educate faculty and staff on the opportunities, steps to apply, and evaluating the overall application process with staff to make improvements the following year.

The investment made by the Foundation is much greater than microscopes and slides or other project materials, according to Edwin “Ed” Hall, Chair of the Foundation’s Scholarship and Grants Committee.

“The goal of the Foundation is to attract really good faculty and improve education to the highest level possible so our students are employable,” said Hall. “We’re focused on the long-term growth of the individual student as well as our community, and these grants provide a means for us to continue delivering on that.”

Applications for 2021-22 funding will be available in December, and proposals are due in March. All faculty and staff are eligible to submit proposals.

For more information, contact Carolyn Payne, Scholarship Coordinator, at cpayne@virginiawestern.edu or (540) 857-6376.

2020-21 Innovation Grant Recipients

Proposal NameProject DescriptionAwardee/DeptAmount Awarded
Alleviating Barriers for Adult Learners Through Portfolio AssessmentProject phase 1 creates an innovative and more consistent credit for prior learning program for adult learners through portfolio development, assessment and evaluation. Professional development will educate us on how to engage key players, administer processes, create a pipeline of faculty evaluators, and outreach to students.Cathy Ferguson, School of CCT$5,000
Microscopes and Slides for STEM CenterThe primary goal of this project is to obtain microscopes and slides for the STEM center. Students will have greater access to microscopes in which they can utilize to enhance their technique and study for Biology laboratory exams.Matthew Goff, School of STEM$7,242
VWCC/Northwest Collaborative: United for ImpactTo increase the footprint of Virginia Western in Northwest Roanoke through collaboration with neighborhood, nonprofits and grassroots organizations which promote health, education and training and community development.Cheryl Hilton, TRIO Pathways$5,000
Accelerating the Automotive Technology PathwayIncrease students in BTT’s Automotive Analysis & Repair CSC courses. Expand program capacity, increase opportunity for new course development in automotive technology and support new automotive course partnerships focused on new English language learners.Wil Preston, School of CCT$3,000
Improv for Creative Teaching and LearningHelp foster a more creative culture at Virginia Western — ultimately improving the student learning experience — by providing an opportunity for faculty and staff to learn the basic techniques of improv theater.Stephanie Seagle, Institutional Advancement$500
Expanding Machining Program CapacityRestructure teaching space to create two dedicated teaching areas for the Machining Lab at the current Melrose campus, rearrange the machine shop layout to group machines to match the curriculum of the classes (Fundamentals, Milling, Turning and CNC Programming). We will also consolidate the former Industrial Maintenance lab equipment with newly purchased Mechatronics Fundamentals equipment into the STEM building for our partnership with the Mechatronics academic program.Bryan Walke, School of CCT$2,700

Campus re-opening plan for Summer Semester

Dear Virginia Western campus community,

During Spring Semester, Virginia Western made unprecedented changes to how we deliver academic courses in order to keep our students, faculty and staff healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. I applaud everyone involved for the efforts to rapidly transform Virginia Western into primarily an online and remote institution in order to complete the semester with as little disruption as possible.

As we prepare to resume a limited number of face-to-face labs and classes with clinical instruction — in accordance with guidelines from the CDC, the Virginia Department of Health and Governor Ralph Northam — I want to share with you our plan for reopening in Summer Semester 2020. This plan is our first iteration – designed to provide a framework for our limited return to campus this summer. Certain CCT training programs will pilot the re-opening of classes next week, with a priority on completing incomplete Spring courses. The rest of the campus will begin a limited return on June 30. As with most things right now, it is a fluid document and will be adjusted as additional guidance is received from the system office, the state and local health agencies.

A cross-functional team has explored regulations, recommendations and best practices in order to create this plan. The plan takes multiple perspectives into account to balance health and safety measures with the need and desire to move forward in fulfilling our mission.

We are pleased to share this with you as a means to communicate our progress and intentions. To view the plan, please visit: https://www.virginiawestern.edu/covid19/.

Please share your thoughts and questions with your supervisor or faculty member so we can work to address specific matters. We fully expect this plan to evolve throughout the summer and as we approach further campus classes in the fall. Thank you for your support!


Dr. Robert H. Sandel
Virginia Western Community College

A message from President Sandel

As we struggle as a nation to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and the deaths it has caused, we must also come to grips with the fact that countless unnecessary deaths in our country have originated from a place of hatred and institutionalized racism. We are fortunate in our region that the majority of those protesting the tragic death of George Floyd and others before him are peacefully making their voices heard. We also are fortunate to have government leaders and police officers who honor the first amendment and the rights of those protesters while also protecting public safety. There are no easy answers here and I will not pretend that I have a solution to the turmoil and anger that is boiling over in our nation.

What I do know is that education has always been and will always be the great equalizer. It gives individuals a way to uplift their lives and the place of their families in our society. It teaches us to approach others with understanding. At Virginia Western Community College, I am most proud of the “community” in our name. I believe we have fostered a community where anyone, no matter the color of their skin, their economic situation or their place in life can find their path to personal success.

Dr. Glenn DuBois this week released a statement regarding steps Virginia’s Community Colleges will take to ensure all individuals across the Commonwealth have equal access to opportunity no matter their race. He has appointed a task force to examine what all VCCS institutions are doing to ensure equity and to develop goals and measurable strategies to increase it. He also appointed a panel to examine the curricula used across the system to educate law enforcement officers in criminal justice.

I fully support Chancellor DuBois for taking this important step. As the first community college in Virginia, founded in 1966, Virginia Western has always been a leader in providing educational opportunities. Today, we must also be a leader in helping to tear down racism and build a stronger future for the Commonwealth and our nation.

As we proceed to make changes to how we operate in response to the pandemic, I promise you we will not change our dedication to our core values of diversity, integrity, respect, success and teamwork. We will continue to foster a marketplace of ideas in the region. We will continue to help all our students reach their goals through education. This is our community and we are committed seeing it remain safe and healthy, and to seeing it thrive.

Dr. Robert H. Sandel


Virginia Western Community College

Summer Semester update

Virginia Western’s campus is currently closed to students until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is holding online and remote learning classes for Summer Semester. The college is planning to reopen for limited in-person labs and clinical classes when permitted during Phase 2 of Governor Northam’s Forward Virginia reopening plan and when the appropriate health and safety protocols and supplies are in place.

Students, the public and guests will not be permitted on campus unless to attend specified laboratory, clinical or hands-on classes. Students who are not taking those specified classes or guests who need to visit campus must schedule an appointment. Not all buildings will be open.

Watch the 2020 Graduation Video

Virginia Western honored its 2020 graduates and conferred their degrees with a special video message. You can watch it here:

Be sure to see special Thank You messages from our students, faculty and staff here:

We look forward to honoring our graduates in person when it is safe to do so!

A message to graduating students from President Sandel

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy. As we begin the final stretch of Spring Semester, it is a time that many of us would normally be preparing for and imagining a special commencement ceremony to honor you, our upcoming graduates. Unfortunately, due to the impact of COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, we have had to cancel Virginia Western’s in-person commencement ceremony that was scheduled for May 15, 2020.

It is my great desire, and that of the Virginia Western faculty and staff, to honor those students who have worked so hard to complete their degree or certificate. On May 15, we will post a video through Virginia Western’s social media outlets and on our website to virtually confer degrees and recognize the graduating class of 2020’s academic achievements. We also will invite the Class of 2020 to participate in the next in-person Virginia Western commencement ceremony when it is appropriate and safe to do so.

In addition to the graduation video, we will continue the tradition of compiling a “thank you” video where students may recognize those who have helped them along the way like family, friends, faculty and staff. To submit a video (Maximum 3 minutes), upload a video onto your Google Drive or Dropbox, then email mediageeks@virginiawestern.edu. The deadline to submit is May 1 and guidelines for your video are listed here.

On May 15, we hope to see an abundance of Virginia Western spirit across social media. Through the student bulletin and on social media, we will provide printable signs you can show off and images for social media you can share to let everyone know about your graduation. Please share to our social media accounts too!

For students who already placed a regalia (cap and gown) order that was being shipped to Virginia Western, this order will be cancelled and payment refunded. Should you wish to have regalia to take photos in and have a keepsake of your important milestone, Oak Hall is opening a “ship to home” website for you to place a new order to be sent to you. To order regalia, visit:  https://vwcc.shopoakhalli.com/.

Unfortunately, this pandemic has changed almost everything about our regular ways of life. While it has prevented our ability to conduct an in-person commencement ceremony this May, it will not stop us from celebrating your achievements! Please join us as we honor the Class of 2020.


Dr. Robert H. Sandel


Virginia Western Community College

Public notice: State Board for Community Colleges to Consider 2020-21 Fees at May Meeting

In accordance with Section 23.1-307 (D) of the Code of Virginia, the State Board for Community Colleges provides notice that it will consider tuition and mandatory fee increases for Virginia’s Community Colleges, effective fall 2020, at 9 a.m. on May 21, 2020, via a virtual meeting. The address for that meeting will be posted on the Commonwealth Calendar no later than 5 p.m. on May 13, 2020.

The State Board will consider mandatory fee increases of between 0 percent and 2.2 percent for all undergraduate students, subject to provisions of the 2020 session of the General Assembly.   The community colleges will use revenue generated from any increases in mandatory fees to pay for contractual obligations, debt service, and proposed adjustments to student fees.

Public comment will be received at the meeting following approval of minutes of the preceding meeting and prior to committee reports.  The public comment session will be available by via a virtual meeting, the location of which will be posted to the Commonwealth Calendar.  

Individuals who wish to speak to the Board must notify, or provide written comment, to the Office of the Chancellor at least 5 working days prior to the scheduled meeting by emailing rmowen@vccs.edu.

All remarks before the State Board for Community Colleges must be matters germane and relevant to the agenda of the day.

Student update 4/6/20

A message from Dr. Elizabeth Wilmer:

I hope that this communication finds you healthy and moving forward with your spring semester classes. As we have said before, but I want to say again, Virginia Western is committed to supporting you and helping you to complete these classes with the needed learning to successfully move on to future classes or graduate. COVID-19 had forced us to deliver your classes in ways that none of us intended. For this reason, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) had made some emergency policy changes only for Spring Semester 2020 to help the colleges and our students. These changes can be found at https://www.virginiawestern.edu/covid19/grading/.

The changes and what you need to do are listed below:

  1. Withdrawal Deadline

The Withdrawal deadline has been extended to May 8, 2020 for all but third four-week classes. The withdrawal deadline for third four-week classes is April 17.

  1. To withdraw from a class up until the deadline, you will go into the Student Information System through MyVWCC and withdraw from the class. This process is the same as it has been in the past with the exception of the deadline. Instructions on how to do this can be found at https://virginiawestern.edu/iet-services/myvwcc-help/withdraw-from-a-class/
    1. Guidance on Withdrawals:
      1. A “W” grade does not count towards your GPA but does appear on your Virginia Western transcript.
      1. A class with a “W” graded does not count towards graduation requirements
      1. If you are on financial aid, a “W” grade could impact future financial aid. Please note that the financial aid office will approach all appeals (impacts) with leniency and expedited turn around during this time.
      1. Students are only allowed to repeat a class three times. A “W” grade counts as one of these repeats.
  • Grading Scale

The default grading scale for spring semester will be the P+, P- W scale. Unless students select the A-F scale, faculty will use the default grading scale. The “WC” grade will be treated the same as a “W” grade.

Letter Grade What does the Grade Mean? How does it Apply?
P+ Pass with a grade of “C” or higher Applies to college transfer and technical education courses. A grade of P+ will not impact a student’s GPA. A grade of P+ will transfer.  
P- Pass with a grade of “D” Applies to college transfer and technical education courses. A grade of P- will not impact a student’s GPA. Will count towards Virginia Western graduation but will not transfer.  
W WC Withdraw     Withdraw/COVID-19 A student-initiated withdrawal through the revised deadline of May 8, 2020   A faculty member may award a WC for a student who did not initiate the withdrawal or did not pass.
I Incomplete The faculty member and student may agree to a plan to complete the remaining course requirements. The College has waived the requirement that students must complete 60% of course competencies and attendance requirements in order to receive a grade of Incomplete.  The Colleges has also agreed to allow students up to two semesters to complete the requirements for the course.
  • Students may opt for the standard A-F grading scale.
    • An assignment will be added to all Canvas shells that gives students the opportunity to select the A-F scale. This assignment will not count toward your grade for the class but is simply designed to give you this option. The option will be the only question on the assignment. If you select the A-F option:
      • You must do so by May 8, 2020
      • You may only do this once. Once it is done, you have selected the option and can’t change it. You will receive a grade on the A-F scale rather than the COVID-19 P+, P-, W grading scale above.
      • Guidance on when you might want to consider this option:
        • If you are transferring to UVA, an out of state college, or a private college that has not agreed to accept the P+ grade in transfer. Please check with your transfer institution.
          • Please note than when a course transfers, it only transfers for course credit and does not impact a student’s GPA at the transfer institution.
        • If you are a veteran and are concerned about the impact of a “W” on benefits. Please contact your veteran’s advisor for advising.
        • If you are trying to raise your GPA for graduation or academic standing purposes.
        • If you simply want a letter grade.
  • Incomplete Grade
    • If your class is not completed this semester, an incomplete is an option. This option must be agreed upon for just reason by both the faculty member and the student. All normal paperwork processes for documenting the incomplete should be followed. The exceptions are that the requirement that 60% of the work has been completed has been waived and the deadline has been extended to the last day of classes for Fall 2020.
      • Students in hands-on classes or clinicals where the class has not been able to meet in-person to complete the necessary in-person requirements of the class will receive an incomplete. We will ensure that you have the opportunity to complete this instruction to remove this incomplete. Your instructor will provide additional guidance as more information is available regarding when we can resume in-person classes.
      • Other students with extenuating circumstances should contact your instructor and follow the normal process with the two above exceptions.


Dr. Elizabeth Wilmer

Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

Virginia Western Community College

Employee update 4/3/20

Dear Virginia Western employees,

As you may have seen, Governor Northam ordered all state agencies such as Virginia Western to take immediate steps to freeze spending and plan for reduced budgets because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor is preparing for the potential of up to $1.8 billion in losses to state revenue, leading to a recession. As of this morning, there are more than 2,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth with 46 total deaths attributed to the pandemic.

We are seeking more guidance from the Governor’s Office as well as the VCCS as to what this will mean for Virginia Western. Here is what we have been directed to do as an institution so far:

  • Maximize carry-forward balances by eliminating discretionary spending for the remainder of the fiscal year; all non-essential spending should cease immediately.
  • Prepare for a full assessment of current and planned initiatives and commitments in order to maximize budget savings for the next biennium.
  • Freeze all hiring of classified and wage positions funded in whole or in part by general fund dollars. We are seeking additional guidance regarding faculty and non-general fund positions.

I understand the anxiety this message from the Governor’s Office can create as we work together as a state to stem the tide of this terrible pandemic. Please be assured that we are doing everything in our power to gather more information for you and take steps to ensure a strong future for Virginia Western.


Dr. Robert H. Sandel


Virginia Western Community College