A public, four-year residential college located in the lush mountains of southwestern Virginia, The University of Virginia's College at Wise is recognized as a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. The only branch campus of the University of Virginia, UVa-Wise currently enrolls just over 2,000 students, covers over 400 acres and is located less than one hour from Tri-Cities.
UVa-Wise was founded in 1954 as Clinch Valley College, a two-year academic institution. In June 1970, the school began to grant four-year baccalaureate degrees. Since that time, UVa-Wise has granted more than 8,000 baccalaureate degrees. For several years students at UVa-Wise have graduated with one of the lowest debt loads of any public liberal arts college in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.
UVa-Wise offers 30 majors, 32 minors, 7 pre-professional programs and 18 licensures, organized in 10 academic departments. Four majors are accredited: computer science (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology - ABET), education (Teacher Education Accreditation Council), nursing (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) and software engineering (ABET). Three degrees are offered: the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The college offers programs at the campus in Wise and at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon. Face-to-face instruction, the college’s primary mode of teaching and learning, is complemented through online and hybrid courses, using Moodle, an open source community-based web learning application.
Teaching is the primary focus of the institution. UVa-Wise employs 87 full-time teaching faculty and 88 part-time faculty. The student-faculty ratio is 15 to 1. Endowed professors in nursing, history, chemistry, and political science contribute significantly to the academic program and to their disciplines.
The Honor Code is foundational to the academic enterprise and all students pledge to cooperate in acting honestly and honorably. The honor system creates an atmosphere of personal integrity and freedom through individual and collective responsibility. It is administered by an honor court elected by the student body.
The Faculty Senate and various faculty committees guide the development of the academic program and academic policies and procedures. The faculty also leads a growing undergraduate research program. Student research fellowships are available in the natural sciences and health, and research assistance is available in all disciplines. Students participate in regional research symposia as well as regional and national conferences.
The Office of International Programs sponsors international travel and study for students and faculty. With seven sister institutions in six countries, Germany, Spain, Austria, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg, the college coordinates faculty and student exchanges for semester or year-long experiences. Faculty lead international study trips to a variety of locations. Recently completed and planned trips include destinations such as China, India, Scotland, England and France (London-Paris), Germany, Ecuador-Galapagos, and Ireland. Students can choose to study abroad at over 350 universities in 50 different countries through affiliations with Academic Programs International, the Institute for Study Abroad, and the International Student Exchange Program, among others.
Vibrant visual and performing arts enliven campus and community life and involve arts majors as well as many students from other disciplines. The new $14.5 million Gilliam Center for the Arts includes an art gallery, ceramics studio, a well-equipped reconfigurable black box theatre, rehearsal space, a scene shop, a digital design lab, and more. Four choral ensembles and fifteen instrumental ensembles are active, including a jazz ensemble, a string ensemble, the Marching Highland Cavaliers, and a brass quintet.
The John Cook Wyllie Library houses a collection of more than 146,000 book volumes, 26,300 volumes of bound periodicals, 69,500 units of microforms, and 2,000 videos/DVDs, plus compact discs and other audio-visual media. The library has access to 14,000 online books, plus 700 print and 2,800 online subscriptions to magazines and newspapers of scholarly and general interest. Faculty, students and other patrons have access to VIVA (the Virtual Library of Virginia), and OCSC/SOLINET for interlibrary loan, and databases such as MLA, Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, NetLibrary, Lexis-Nexis, EBSCOHost, and others. A new six-story, $50 million library, currently in design, will break ground in the summer of 2012.
UVa-Wise has more than 50 active student clubs and organizations, which are a vital component of the academic community. Seven Greek organizations focus on academic excellence, service and leadership, but there is no Greek housing on campus. The college boasts one of the top intramural programs in the south, offering 15 major sports that draw high student, faculty and staff participation.
The Center for Student Development provides career services, counseling services, health services, and sponsors Multi-Cultural Affairs.
UVa-Wise offers a variety of campus living arrangements from traditional rooms and suites, to apartments for 775 students. McCraray Hall is a living and learning community for first-year students that includes a tutoring center, increased faculty interaction outside the classroom, interpersonal and personal skills development, and an assistance network to ease the transition to college life.
SERVICE AND OUTREACH
Service and outreach to the surrounding region is a key component of the college’s public liberal arts mission.
The college’s Office of Economic Development operates the Southwest Virginia Technology Development Center in Lebanon, Virginia, which offers professional development and technology development programs to the region’s employers, including Northrup Grumman and CGI. The 32,000 square foot facility provides full voice/video teleconferencing, meeting rooms for small and large audiences, a tiered classroom, and wireless access.
The Center for Teaching Excellence serves the professional development needs of hundreds of teachers and administrators in public schools throughout Southwest Virginia and the Commonwealth. Additional outreach to public school educators includes the Appalachian Writing Project, the Southwest Virginia Early Childhood Conference, Spanish Immersion Weekends, and study abroad. The college also serves as the home base for the Southwest Virginia Public Education Consortium.
UVa-Wise, the University of Virginia and the Virginia Coalfield Coalition are partners with dozens of regional organizations in the Appalachian Prosperity Project (APP), an initiative to advance education, health and economic prosperity in Southwest Virginia. The Healthy Appalachia Institute, the UVa-Wise/Darden Executive Education Program, and SWELL, an early language and literacy program, are examples of the many projects underway.
Since 2005, 13 capital projects have been completed on the campus with a total investment of $110,129,000. Projects include the renovation of and/or additions to Crockett Hall, Gilliam Center for the Arts, Leonard W. Sandridge, Jr. Science Center and Smiddy Hall, as well as construction of the Hunter J. Smith Dining Commons, the main campus entrance and boulevard, the walkway to the athletic precinct, the softball field, and the David J. Prior Convocation Center. The Leonard W. Sandridge, Jr. Science Center obtained LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
In 2010, the Lila Vicars Smith House (chancellor’s residence) was rededicated after extensive remodeling and the addition of an entertainment pavilion, a new serving area and deck. The beautiful 6,630 square foot Georgian home is located on the campus in a private area within convenient walking distance of the campus. It serves both the public and private needs of the chancellor. The public areas of the house are furnished.
Three additional projects are currently funded and in design: a new 65,000 square foot library, a health and wellness center, and the McGlothlin Plaza with the Rosebud Smiddy Garden. These three additional projects are funded at $58,425,000.
The College is a member of the Mountain East Conference. About 200 students participate in men's and women's programs. Lacross is the most recent sport added to athletics and will be played in Carl Smith Stadium. UVa-Wise is currently in its second year of candidacy for admission to the NCAA Division II.
Most of the athletic facilities are new or have been renovated in recent years. The recently opened $30 million David J. Prior Convocation Center hosts men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball. The Humphreys-Thomas Field House includes a training and weight room. Greear Gymnasium underwent recent renovations.
Click here to view a printable campus map of the UVa-Wise campus in a .pdf format.
Use the Google map below with the zoom tools to view the location of the campus within the region.