Roanoke College Receives Verizon Grant

Faculty created program to help students improve technological skills

SALEM, Va. - Dr. Gary L. Whitt, associate professor of education and faculty advisor in the Center for Learning and Teaching, and Mark D. Poore, director of instructional technology and an adjunct faculty member in computer science, recently helped the College to receive a grant from the Verizon Foundation through a program of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.

"We are excited about the opportunity the Verizon grant affords us to better meet the needs of our students. Thanks to their participation, Verizon has enabled us to ensure these students have the technological skills needed to succeed in the college classroom," says Whitt.

The $22,500 grant will be used for Freshmen Improving Technology Skills (FITS), a program designed to substantially improve the computer-related skill sets of a select group of entering freshmen. The program will begin this fall and continue for two years under the Verizon Foundation Grant. Whitt will serve as the program director for FITS and will be the main instructor for the program. Poore will serve as assistant director and will help plan the sessions, also serving as a technical resource to the participants.

The program will ensure that the freshmen selected have the technological skills to be successful at the College. FITS will include eight hands-on training sessions. The program will serve 20 students in its first two years, ten participants each year. Each will receive a handheld wireless PDA to help them manage schedules, track assignments and due dates and communicate with professors.

FITS will occur in the fall semester with eight different hour-long sessions. Throughout the spring semester, program participants will meet individually with the program director to discuss their mastery of the program goals. Training sessions will be open to all freshmen, but will target students who receive incentives. Based on the success and continued need for FITS within the first two years, the College hopes to be able to allocate funding for the program to continue.

Roanoke College, an independent, co-educational, four-year liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a classic, undergraduate setting. Roanoke prepares students for their futures through its commitment to providing a true classic college experience. Roanoke is one of just 276 colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review names Roanoke as one of the "best in the Southeast."

For additional information, call the Roanoke College Public Relations Office at (540) 375-2282.

Released: July 24, 2009
Contact Name: Public Relations
Contact Phone: (540) 375-2282
Contact Email: gereaux@roanoke.edu