Davis & Elkins College continues to grow and serve the Mountain Highlands region through scholarships, opportunities and career preparation. D&E has enjoyed a stellar year, welcoming its largest entering class since 1947, receiving a $10 million, five-year grant from the McDonnell Family Foundation (the largest donation in college history), and making welcome improvements to its athletic facilities and residence halls.
D&E's innovative Highlands Scholars program continues to provide a private education at the public school price to qualified students from our seven surrounding mountain counties. This spring semester alone, 166 Highlands Scholars are receiving $1,085,648 in scholarships.
And the Highlands Scholars program is motivating more and more area students to pursue the dream of a college degree. Looking forward, D&E anticipates expanding its services to students through new programs and campus improvements.
COLLEGE FAIR — One of the ways Davis &?Elkins College?helps students prepare for their college career is by hosting fairs that provide information about the various options available. (File photo)
Student Centered Study Abroad
Davis & Elkins College is partnering with one of the country's leading study abroad programs to provide Student Centered options for international study in universities around the world. Knowledge Exchange Institute (KEI) opened its first on-campus office in the United States at D&E in February, where it will serve D&E students and coordinate international programs for more than 400 colleges and universities nationwide.
Julie Pollard, KEI's Study Abroad advisor at D&E, helps students select or design study abroad programs that meet their interests. She also works with faculty to identify professional experiences rooted in cultural exchange. KEI has established programs at 14 leading universities in Peru, Bulgaria, China, Ecuador, England, France, Ireland, India, Kenya, Russia, Spain, Tanzania and Thailand. Students can opt for a semester or a summer abroad, with some choosing a "gap year" experience prior to their freshman year. By partnering with D&E, program details are simplified for students. All arrangements, including tuition and fees, are simply part of a student's package with Davis & Elkins College.
According to Pollard, KEI strives to provide an authentic cultural and academic experience in the host country. "Our students study in foreign universities with foreign faculty. They receive a complete study-abroad experience. My role is to counsel the students on their options and help them choose the right program based on what they want to study, where they want to live and why they want to go there."
Headquartered in New York, KEI has a long-standing relationship with West Virginia University and several other colleges within the Appalachian College Association. Through their new office at D&E, they will be a hub for international study for our region.
Career Management Center:
A Fundamental for Success
The Davis & Elkins Career Management Center is equipping students with the fundamentals for career preparation and success under the leadership of Lisa Reed, an experienced career counselor who joined the college this year. From coordinating career fairs, to networking with area companies, Reed is expanding D&E's services to students.
Reed has developed a four-year career plan designed to help students think clearly about their futures early on. "The Career Management Center is a resource to D&E students," Reed says. "It provides assistance in college major and career selection, personal coaching for resume development and interview skills, and job fairs. We are also working with alumni and community employers to develop job and internship opportunities as well as very personalized programs that will give students a 'day in the life' experience in their chosen career."
Located in the Madden Student Center, the Career Management Center also provides extensive online resources through CollegeCentral.com. Students are encouraged to work closely with Reed, beginning their freshman year. It's a head start for graduates when it's time to enter professional life.
Thinking "Outside the Box"
to Enrich Education
D&E strives to serve the "whole" student with personal attention and programs designed to expand opportunities for academic, personal and spiritual growth. Two innovative programs geared to enhance learning and relationships "outside the box" are the Outdoor Adventure Program and the Parent Program.
The D&E Outdoor Adventure Program provides off-campus outdoor recreation opportunities for students. During the current academic year, activities have included hiking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, bicycling, alpine skiing, snowboarding, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and collaborating on three environmental service projects. Future offerings will include backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, canoeing and kayaking. Director of the Outdoor Adventure Program and Adjunct Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Tom Tesar says the mission of the program is to facilitate student growth by providing opportunities for lifelong health and wellness, meaningful social connections, experiential learning, interaction with nature and environmental stewardship. It's certainly a natural fit for our area - affirmation of our wild and wonderful West Virginia.
Parent Program Connects
Families and Students
The D&E Parent Program is reaching out to our students' most important teachers - their parents. The fact is, many of today's parents need help with the transition when a child leaves home. Through our Coordinator of Parent Relations Lisa Senic, D&E is providing that assistance, through information, special events and care packages. Now in its second year, the program is popular with students and parents alike.
"I am here as a resource for parents," Senic says. "Once a student enters college, they generally don't look to their parents for day-to-day guidance. But they do look to them for support and encouragement. What I do provides opportunities for parents to support their student and stay connected."
Recent events include the Basketball Senior Day pre-game party with student-athletes, parents and basketball alumni. A similar event is in the works for the Senator Baseball and Softball teams this spring. It's one more way D&E ensures that parents are a big part of our family.
The Naylor Learning Center
Long a leader in supported learning programs, Davis & Elkins has greatly expanded its academic support programs thanks to the funding and creation of The Naylor Learning Center. Housed on the second floor of Albert Hall, the Naylor Learning Center provides a wide range of academic assistance, from organizing study groups for individual classes, to providing one-on-one tutoring, to comprehensive support with assistive technology for students with specific learning disabilities. Expanded through a generous grant from the Naylor Family Trust in 2009, the Learning Center also organizes workshops on test anxiety, note taking strategies and other study skills to help all students excel.
Director Mary Ellen Schubert adds that peer tutoring is also available through the center. She notes that students from every major benefit from the Naylor Learning Center's services and that the program is ensuring students adopt practices and habits proven to help students succeed. Seventy-five students are currently using the center on a regular basis, but all students at D&E may opt in for assistance when necessary.
Upgrades to campus facilities are ongoing at D&E. Recent improvements include major renovations to Moyer Hall and the Martin Field House. This spring, the community will see significant changes to the Harpertown Athletic Fields. Thanks to work under way by J.F. Allen Co., the softball and soccer fields have a new drainage system and improved contours to provide a more consistent playing surface. And, thanks to trustee and alumnus Jim Bialek, the baseball field has a new press box and VIP seating area.
Other improvements the community will notice this spring include progress on the new Myles Gate and green space which will great visitors at the corner of Randolph Avenue and Sycamore Street. With the arrival of spring, construction will continue with anticipated completion in May.
Since 1904, Davis & Elkins College has strived to serve the community and the region through scholarships, opportunities and career preparation. We are proud to be a part of West Virginia's beautiful Mountain Highlands proud to be home to today's Highlands Scholars and a key player in the economic growth and development of our region.