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What Are Your Dreams?
What Are Your Dreams?

Dr. Chris Gilmer, President


I have some dreams for WVU Parkersburg which will be unveiled this summer. What dream, large or small, do you have for our community? We might or might not be able to make it come true, but we can surely dream it, together and without judgment, and be better for the conversation.

One thought on “What Are Your Dreams?

  1. I grew up within a couple of blocks of my elementary and middle schools. Because of this, I ended up arriving at school early and helping to coordinate physical education classes for kindergartners and other groups, my early foray into teaching. When I hit middle school, I arrived about an hour early one day and saw a group of students on the wooden bleachers in the old gym. Some were attempting to do their homework, other simply slept.

    I asked about them and was told that they rode the “early bus.” They lived far out in the hills and a bus had to go and get them first, drop them off at school, and then head out to pick up another group of students. I realized then that these students had to get up ridiculously early to do their farm chores, ride the bus, and then sit on the wooden bleachers, all before they stepped foot in a classroom.

    I instantly saw their competitive disadvantage and, because I had attended grade school with many of them as well, understood that that daily effort was negatively impacting their academic achievement. It simply was not an even playing field and no one seemed to notice. I remember imagining what a difference it would make to have an option that would lessen the need for busing.

    Fifteen years later at Ohio State, thinking of these same students, I jumped at the opportunity to develop some of the first online courses, and ended up offering the first faculty trainings for online learning at Ohio University as well. While that was gratifying, I couldn’t help but focus on the inequalities of broadband access, and I dreamt of the day when text-based online courses would give way to true multimedia teaching and learning that could be delivered out into our WV hollers and provide access to state-of-the-art learning experiences.

    Twenty years later, my dream is becoming reality. We just purchased Zoom for WVU Parkersburg. Zoom delivers online web conferencing services and we are their first formal .edu account in West Virginia. We will be able to broadcast all over WV (and elsewhere) from our own classrooms, offices and even smartphones.

    Zoom has a vision for a video-enabled campus that can positively impact our academic and career advising and tutoring, faculty and staff recruiting, faculty online office hours, online program orientation and coordination, and the delivery of webinars for WED. Not only can we reach those students that concerned me so much, we can communicate and extend services to faculty located remotely as well. It’s my dream plus a whole lot more!

    I’m very excited about the future at WVU Parkersburg and grateful for the chance to implement my dream!

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