A member of the prestigious Council for Public Liberal Arts Colleges, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVA Wise) is an inspiring place to teach, lead, learn, coach and call home. With a student faculty ratio of 13:1 and 1,900 students, UVA Wise is committed to excellence in teaching, personalized attention, and individual growth, as well as to the advancement of the region through economic and community development
The only division of the University of Virginia located outside of Charlottesville, UVA Wise has a beautiful 396-acre campus that is nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia. Here, students learn from faculty who are encouraged to engage in scholarship and service that complements their teaching, and the environment is ideal for the task. In addition to Appalachian arts and culture, on-campus wetlands and impressive geography, and a region full of opportunities for study and outdoor adventure, there are many opportunities to build partnerships with organizations, agencies, and businesses in the area and beyond. Professional staff and a dedicated senior leadership team are driven by the vital mission of ensuring access and affordability to this robust, quality higher education.
The College’s student population is largely from rural communities across the Appalachian region. Many are first-generation college students. For all, UVA Wise offers access and affordability along with challenging academic work in the liberal arts tradition. The result is well-rounded graduates who earn fulfilling work at leading organizations and pursue graduate study at prestigious universities, as evidenced by both U.S. News & World Report rankings for social mobility and Washington Monthly honors for “Best Bang for Your Buck.” And in 2023, UVA Wise was ranked the #2 public college in the U.S. for seniors graduating with the least debt by U.S. News & World Report.
In fall 2023, UVA Wise saw not only an increase in the number of new first-time freshman but increases in transfer enrollment and retention of all students as well.
UVA Wise Values
Public Liberal Arts: We embrace our identity as a public liberal arts institution. We are inspired by the world of ideas and a diversity of perspectives. We encourage all members of our community to seek understanding beyond the boundaries of their current knowledge, to deepen understanding through critical reflection and analysis, and to share understanding through clear and persuasive communication.
Affordability and Accessibility: We believe in the transformative power of higher education for all individuals. We prioritize affordable access to an excellent, inclusive, and comprehensive college experience. We are committed to degrees that open doors to a range of careers, create economic and social mobility, forge a path to global citizenship, and serve as a conduit for a fulfilled life.
Commitment to the Individual:We value the unique contributions of all members of our community, who represent diverse populations and rich cultural heritages. We are committed to creating a culture of listening that opens minds to new perspectives and fosters the habit of reflection that deepens self-awareness. Through our actions, we seek to be engaged citizens who work for positive impact in our community.
Engagement with the Community: We respect the history and culture of our home in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. We aspire, through teaching and scholarship, to deepen our understanding of the unique characteristics of the region and to apply and share that knowledge broadly. We partner with organizations and individuals to develop strategies for health and wellness, economic growth, job opportunity, and community vitality through the arts, education, culture, sports, and recreation. We are committed to stewardship of the community’s resources and trust.
History of the College
On a cold and snowy night in December, 1953, a winter storm stranded Samuel R. Crockett Jr., an extension agent from the University of Virginia, at The Inn at Wise in Wise, Virginia. Crockett initiated a conversation with local residents Mary Thompson, Jane Knox, and Lois Tracy, known now as “The Three Wise Women,” about Southwest Virginia’s need for a public college so residents could pursue higher education closer to home.
After the initial conversation with Crockett, three local men, Kenneth P. Asbury, Fred B. Greear, and William A. Thompson Sr., known now as “The Three Wise Men,” traveled to Charlottesville to convince UVA to support the plan. A few months later, a little school called Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia, now UVA Wise, opened its doors.
The Commonwealth of Virginia offered $5,000 to open, staff, and operate the two-year school for one year, with another $5,000 if a second year could be accomplished. Local citizens from Wise County donated more than $6,000 to furnish and equip the classrooms, with the County donating property and two sandstone buildings that were remnants of the county poor farm.
In September 1954, the College welcomed 109 freshman, two-thirds of whom were Korean War veterans. The first class of the College’s graduates went on to become some of the region’s most successful professionals, and, as more graduates of the two-year college expressed their preference for baccalaureate degrees, the College became a four-year institution. The first Bachelor of Arts degree was conferred in 1970, the Bachelor of Science followed in 1973, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing was added in 1996. All told, more than 10,000 students have earned bachelor’s degrees in one or more of the College’s academic disciplines.
UVA Wise’s heritage of providing access to affordable, quality higher education continues today.
“At UVA Wise, our mission is simple: student success and service to the region.” - Donna Price Henry, Chancellor
In 2020, a cross-campus Strategic Planning Committee was formed to envision the future of UVA Wise. The result of their efforts is an updated mission and a comprehensive strategic plan, Your College for a Lifetime, that reimagines the college experience for the 21st century and for students to whom a college education may seem like an unattainable goal. Through the strategic planning process, the College has put forward a bold new vision that embraces the traditional liberal arts while also intentionally developing professional competencies and honing skills in communication and critical thinking. The experience is designed to prepare graduates for their first career, or graduate school, and second and third careers, ultimately empowering graduates for the world they live in today and for the world they will inherit and shape in the future.
The strategic plan is built around five strategic pillars:
Re-imagine the core requirements.
Align program portfolio with institutional mission, student demand, and regional need.
Invest in faculty and staff recruitment and development to achieve enhanced diversity, collaboration, and satisfaction.
Attract, engage, and retain students who thrive at UVA Wise.
Update systems, policies, and processes to ensure sustainability and efficiency.
The UVA Wise Mission
Through excellence in teaching, personalized attention and commitment to individual growth, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise prepares students to be engaged citizens. Drawing upon its foundation as a public liberal arts institution in the Appalachian region of Virginia, the College strives to build a diverse community of learners with the drive to serve and lead in their communities, the nation, and the world.
UVA Wise is committed to excellence in teaching, personalized attention, and individual growth. The liberal arts foundation emphasized at UVA Wise prepares students for professional careers, graduate study, and lifelong learning. The College’s liberal arts foundation promotes the thoughtful development of ideas, insights, values, competencies, and behavior of an educated person. Small classes taught by faculty who focus on teaching excellence, creative and scholarly activities, and community service characterize the student-centered learning environment. More than 100 full-time faculty and over 30 part-time faculty teach classes. Students and faculty are supported by 230 full-time and 30 part-time staff.
UVA Wise offers undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences as well as undergraduate professional programs in business, software engineering, nursing, teacher education and other fields, all characterized by a strong liberal arts experience. The College offers 33 majors, 39 minors, 5 pre-professional tracks, and 24 teaching licensures through ten academic departments, ranging from business & economics to education, language & literature, and visual & performing arts.
The College introduced its first graduate program in fall 2023 with a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Other recently launched programs include undergraduate offerings in hospitality & tourism, data analytics, and the new 2+2 Business Degree Pathway, an online program designed for working adults who have an associate degree or two years of college classes to finish their bachelor of science degree in business administration.
With 55 student organizations, ranging from student government, Honor Court, and marching band to academic-based clubs, like Finance and Investing or Nursing, and gaming or sports clubs, there are ample opportunities for students to engage in campus life and grow their leadership skills at the College. UVA Wise students also are active in intramural sports and outdoor recreation, taking advantage of all that the outdoors of Southwest Virginia and the Appalachian region have to offer.
Intercollegiate athletics at UVA Wise
The Highland Cavaliers are members of NCAA Division II and the South Atlantic Conference, which is comprised of competitors from Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. We compete in 17 varsity sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis, and track & field for men; basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball for women.
The mission of the UVA Wise Athletic Department is to provide individualized attention and support for our student-athletes, cultivating all around collegiate success that begins with a family first mentality. Membership in NCAA Division II reflects the College and Athletic Department’s vision of providing the best opportunities for our deserving and dedicated student-athletes.
Highland Cavalier Athletes
At UVA Wise, student athletes comprise approximately 30% of the student body. Here are some statistics that characterize our students:
Over the last five years, 40% of student athletes were eligible for Pell grants to attend college.
In 2012-22, 68% received academic merit awards to attend which totaled $1.5 million.
Academically, UVA Wise athletes succeed. In 2021-22, their average grade point average was 3.01. In the fall, 82 students were named to the dean’s list and 72 were honored in spring. During the same year, 100 student-athletes earned SAC Commissioners’ Honor Roll recognition, and 38 student-athletes earned Division II Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement Awards.
Top academic majors of student athletes in 2021 were as follows: education (41%), social sciences (19%), business and economics (19%), natural sciences (8%), and computer science and math (6%). The remainder are distributed across our nursing, visual and performing arts, history and philosophy, and language and literature programs.
Student athletes at UVA Wise come from around the Commonwealth and throughout the Appalachian Regional Commission, which stretches from New York to Mississippi and in which the College provides significantly reduced tuition.
Current Goals of the Athletic Department
During the 2022-23 year, the Department of Athletics finalized a new strategic plan that aims to empower students to succeed in competition, in the classroom and in their communities. The following are central goals of that Plan.
Athletic Achievement: One of our central goals is to provide student-athletes with the tools they need to compete successfully on the field of play. In order to do this, teams must have financial aid, operating budgets, coaching staff, and facilities to place them into a position to be successful. In order to achieve that, UVA Wise is currently reviewing the use of resources (scholarships, operating budgets, staffing, etc) to develop and refine them.
Community Relations: UVA Wise recognizes that athletics is often the “front porch” of the College. Our goal is to provide quality experiences to our community which includes our student-athletes, student body, faculty, staff, fans, and community. Our student-athletes and staff will have opportunities to incorporate service into their experience while competing in an environment with positive sportsmanship values.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: The UVA Wise Athletic Department seeks to promote an environment of respect in our community by empowering student-athletes and staff in their own identity. An inclusive athletic setting characterized by intentional listening will deepen understanding and place emphasis on belonging for each team member.
Health, Safety, and Wellness: UVA Wise embraces our responsibility to provide an environment where the health, safety, and well-being of student-athletes and staff is paramount. We understand that many variables influence experience and success, and our goal is to provide tools and techniques to help build a foundation for lifetime wellness.
Program Integrity: UVA Wise takes seriously the conduct of our athletic program and will operate with a high standard for ethics and compliance. UVA Wise will promote an atmosphere of compliance and advance the NCAA principle of institutional control through rules education, monitoring, open communication, and self-reporting. This goal also includes developing opportunities for consistent professional development for all staff members.
Student Athlete Success: UVA Wise has desire to see our student-athletes become successful members of society while providing them with a quality education. The athletic department will establish a student-athlete development program which will be led by our Associate AD for Student-Athlete Development. This program will seek to provide opportunities for wellness, service, and learning life skills.
Recent Successes Toward Athletics Goals
The Department is proud to report much initial success on its goals, including:
The UVA Wise endowment sits at $159,760,704.31 at June 30, 2023 with $19,608,452.88 designated for athletics. UVA Wise is currently in the middle of a $100 million capital campaign with $20 million designated for growth in athletic scholarships and facilities.
In community relations, the athletics and advancement staff of the College have increased corporate athletic partnerships through the CAVS Athletic Partners program, hosted a kid’s day during a men’s basketball game, a 2019 NCAA DII Conference Award of Excellent for our Operation Christmas Child service project, and placing second in the SAC in 2021-22 for our contributions to Make-A-Wish programming.
At the same time, the Highland Cavalier athletics communications team has built an impressive website and social reach engagement with the College’s fan base. The athletics website received 254,000 unique pageviews with an average view duration of 1 minute 17 seconds in fall 2022 and the athletics Facebook received over 164,000 individuals reached in 2021-22.
In the categories of health, safety and wellness as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion, the College became an early adopter of the Tracy Rule which aims to prevent interpersonal violence on campus. Athletics also collaborates with the College’s DEI and Title IX office to ensure the efficacy of safety campaigns such as the Red Flag campaign and One Love initiative.
About UVA Wise FootballFacilities
After kicking off in the fall of 1991, the UVA Wise football program has grown from playing as “Southwest Virginia’s team” at local high schools to playing at its own Richmond-Beaty Field at Carl Smith Stadium, which opened in 1999. Permanent bleachers were added in 2001, the Humphreys-Thomas Field House was built in 2003, and the College’s first installation was in 2011, with turf being updated for the fall 2023 season with FieldTurf XT Slit Film Turf System.
Also this year, the Humphreys-Thomas Field House was upgraded to Activ Plus flooring with inlaid logo platforms. New state-of-the-art equipment was installed including Sorinex equipment and accessories, 10 Base Camp racks and Power Block Pro dumbbells. The upgraded weight room serves approximately 350 student-athletes on campus.
NCAA Division II, South Atlantic Conference (SAC), 17 sports
Professional Membership allowance
Cell phone provided
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise seeks an accomplished, energetic, and creative Head Coach to lead the football program. UVA Wise is a four-year, public liberal arts college located in the beautiful mountains of southwestern Virginia. A division of the University of Virginia, the College is a NCAA Division II school competing in the South Atlantic Conference.
The successful candidate will be a leader who can establish a winning culture and appreciates the transformational mission of UVA Wise. The Head Coach - Football reports directly to the Director of Athletics and will lead the Highland Cavalier football program. The Head Coach will lead and oversee all areas of the football program including:
Providing leadership and vision for the football staff and student-athletes.
Establishing a culture of success; belonging; accountability; and discipline.
Developing a network that will allow the program to recruit and retain high quality students who can be successful in the classroom, in competition, and in the community.
Engaging and inspiring the college community, friends, fans, and donors.
Creating an environment that promotes and expects compliance with College, NCAA, SAC and Commonwealth policies and procedures.
Assisting the Athletic Department and the College in efforts related to increasing brand awareness and a positive image through academic and athletic success.
The successful candidate must have a bachelor’s degree with significant relevant experience. Candidates must also exhibit a thorough knowledge of the full scope of overseeing a football program; ability to evaluate, recruit and retain high quality student athletes that will be successful in the classroom, in the community and in competition; ability to recruit and retain assistant coaches and staff that understand and support the mission of UVA Wise; a record of success in college athletics; a record of outstanding interpersonal, relationship building and communication skills; a record of demonstrated sound strategic thinking and execution; and a demonstrated ability to provide the leadership necessary to have a successful program.
A master’s degree and experience as a head coach or coordinator
NCAA Division II experience
An established recruiting network in Virginia
Appreciation for the Appalachian Region
A strong commitment to diversity and student success
High level of personal integrity
Commitment to maintaining a record of progressive leadership
The Head Coach will be responsible for overseeing and managing all aspects of the football program, including practice preparation, game strategy and preparation, film review, and player management, as well as the recruitment of quality student-athletes and the identification of potential players. Administrative duties will include monitoring the football budget, coordinating team and staff travel, and scheduling practices and games. The Head Coach will assist the Athletic Development team with effective fundraising and community outreach. Other duties, such as planning football camps and monitoring the academic progress of student-athletes will be assigned by the Director of Athletics.
The salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Nomination and Application Process
All correspondence relating to the position of Head Football Coach should be directed in confidence to the College’s executive recruitment consultant:
Review of applications will begin immediately but for those applications received before the end of the day on Sunday, December 3 , 2023 will receive full consideration. The position is open until filled.
A member of the prestigious Council for Public Liberal Arts Colleges, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVA Wise) is an inspiring place to teach, lead, learn, coach and call home. With a student faculty ratio of 13:1 and 1,900 students, UVA Wise is committed to excellence in teaching, personalized attention, and individual growth, as well as to the advancement of the region through economic and community development.