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WVU to launch projects to build resilient communities | WVU today


Frankie Tack, Clinical Assistant Professor and Minor Coordinator of Substance Abuse Studies at West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services, addresses attendees of West Virginia University’s inaugural Academic Innovation Summit. 23 October 2021.
(Photo WVU / Kallie Nealis)

The University of West Virginia will launch several projects and programs designed to address the challenges facing rural Appalachia – from small-scale farming to supporting the state’s aging population.

The new solutions were showcased at WVU’s inaugural Academic Innovation Summit, which is part of the University’s global academic transformation initiative.

“This event underscores our role as a high-level research institution, and it speaks to the very heart of our land grant mission,” said President Gordon Gee. “I was thrilled to see the innovative spirit of our campus and the surrounding community come together to help envision a better future for our university and for West Virginia. “

The two-day event, organized by the Bureau du Provost in partnership with WVU Health Sciences and the WVU Research Office, brought together nearly 60 University faculty and staff and community members for an event hackathon style focused on the theme “Creating Sustainable Rural Communities.”

Ten teams were faced with specific challenges relating to one of the following themes: energy and sustainability; the economy; education; aging; and addiction and recovery. Participants were nominated by academic leaders and their peers for their expertise in these areas of interest and their reputation as innovative and collaborative colleagues. Each team had to present their project idea to a panel of academic and external experts.

The review committee selected the main proposals that it believed showed the most promise and potential impact and allocated nearly $ 400,000 to the three projects. Funding for the event and prizes was provided by a variety of sources including WVU Health Sciences, the West Virginia Department of Education, funds from the Provost’s Foundation, and private donors including Nathalie and Wes Bush, who sponsored the event itself.

“From the start, we wanted this summit to provide a platform for cross-disciplinary collaboration, team building and innovative thinking,” said Maryanne Reed, vice president and vice president of academic affairs. “As part of our transformation efforts, we want to support new ideas that can generate new high-demand curricula, cutting-edge research and impactful awareness. The reviewers believe that these projects will contribute to one or more of these areas. ”

Smart Ag WV

The “Smart Ag WV” project came from a team from Davis, Chambers and Statler Colleges and the Energy Institute tasked with finding a solution to advance West Virginia’s economy. Their project will use data and automation to improve the efficiency and capacity of West Virginia’s small-scale agriculture and related cottage food production industry. The project will receive up to $ 131,000.

Community engagement collaboration

The Community Engagement Collaborative program was developed by a group of faculty and staff from Eberly and Reed Colleges, the Faculty of Pharmacy, University Relations and Enrollment Management and Extension Service in response to the challenge. of higher education. This challenge focused on how WVU can differentiate itself as a modern land granting institution in a highly competitive higher education landscape. The program offers mini-grants to support students who will develop and deploy community engagement projects that provide them with a real-world experience and have a positive impact on local communities. The program will receive up to $ 150,000.

Visiting Neighbors Program

The “Neighbors Visiting Program” was presented by a group of health professionals and faculty from Eberly College, WVU Extension Services, and Schools of Nursing and Medicine. They were tasked with providing a medical solution to advance healthy aging, but instead developed a non-medical solution that reviewers strongly supported for its simplicity and potential impact. The Visiting Neighbor Program will train older people in sample communities to “visit” older neighbors to provide companionship, educate them on healthy lifestyle choices and connect them to useful resources in the community. and online. The program will receive up to $ 116,000.

To receive funding, each group will need to submit a full proposal, including a full budget and a confirmed list of team members. They will receive their funding in two installments – starting in January – and they will need to demonstrate several milestones to receive the second installment.

“The review committee was so impressed with the quality of all of the proposals that the members decided to allocate an additional $ 70,000 to provide planning grants of up to $ 10,000 to each of the remaining seven teams,” Reed said.

To generate even more ideas, the Prévôté will announce in early 2022 a program of mini-grants for innovation, open to the entire university community.

Full details on each of the teams, their challenges, and proposed projects and programs are available on the Office of the Provost website at https://provost.wvu.edu/academic-innovation-summit.


kb-ak / 11/10/21

CONTACT: Kimberly Becker
Communication director
Marshal’s office
304-293-9919; [email protected]

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