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NEWS RELEASE

Contact:  Kirsten Nelson
(804) 786-2627
kirstennelson@schev.edu
For Immediate Release

March 28, 2013

Colleges Continue to Deliver on Promise of Innovation

RICHMOND — The Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011, Governor Bob McDonnell’s landmark higher education legislation, called on the Commonwealth’s institutions of higher education to create or enhance programs that lead to more college graduates, greater employability, and a strong economy for the future of all Virginians. In the spirit of this legislation, also known as Top Jobs for the 21st Century TJ21), SCHEV created a web page to highlight innovative programs designed to achieve these goals at Virginia’s colleges and universities.

Today SCHEV presents the third edition of “Innovation in Higher Education” (http://www.schev.edu/innovation.asp), which includes submissions from nine schools across the Commonwealth and one consortium. One example is Virginia Tech and the creation of the National Tire Research Center in Halifax County. Tech is partnering with General Motors and the Tobacco Commission to research more fuel efficient and safer tires. The Tire Center will also bring participants from all over the world to Southside and create jobs and other economic activity.

This edition also highlights a new online tool that matches Virginia college students with Virginia companies offering paid summer internships. This exciting new resource is offered by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. One electronic application makes the student’s profile available to more than 85 companies across Virginia interested in hiring interns. Companies are in control of the selection process and hire students directly. The application process is closed for summer 2013, but will reopen by September 2013 for the next internship cycle.

Private institutions such as Ferrum College also are represented on the "Innovation in Higher Education" page. Ferrum’s certificate programs seek to differentiate graduates in the very competitive and challenging job market by providing them with proof of real-world experience and career-ready skills. Direct involvement, in addition to degree-related coursework, enhances a student’s educational experience by providing opportunities with practical impact upon their chosen field of study. Currently, students have the opportunity to explore the areas of Agricultural Entrepreneurship, Global Perspectives, Professional Accountancy, and Stewardship toward Sustainability. Professional certificates are awarded at commencement and focused within a chosen major.

"Virginia's colleges and universities have long focused on creativity and innovation," says Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash. "Since the passage of TJ21 two years ago, these institutions have taken their capacity for ingenuity to an even higher level." "As the coordinating agency for higher education in Virginia, SCHEV is honored to provide a venue to showcase these accomplishments," says SCHEV Director Peter Blake.

SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for Virginia’s system of higher education. The agency provides policy guidance and budget recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly, and is a resource for information on higher education issues.

For more information, contact Kirsten Nelson, Director of Communications and Government Relations, at kirstennelson@schev.edu or (804) 225-2627.

 

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