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During spring 2020, as in-person activities were being shelved due to the developing COVID-19 pandemic, Pamplin College of Business leadership recognized the need for new classroom delivery models that would help solve emerging challenges while maintaining continuity and excellence Pamplin students are accustomed to.

Developed in response to the pandemic, the Pamplin Engage Program provides undergraduate teaching support for online education. Implemented for the fall 2020 semester to serve faculty and students in the new blended learning environment, the program engages high-performing students as undergraduate teaching assistants (UTAs) to assist faculty in the development and implementation of online teaching, fostering a culture of mentorship in online learning.

“The Engage Program is something that I think will give Pamplin an additional edge to what we already have at our college,” explained Michelle Seref, Pamplin Engage Program coordinator. “We are a cutting-edge business school with top students who are wanting and willing to go beyond the class and the grade to give back, to teach others, to support our program, and make it always better.”

The overwhelming success of the Pamplin Engage has led to an interest in continuing the program beyond the impact of the pandemic. That is, however, dependent upon funding. Fortunately, several benefactors have stepped forward with a challenge tied to Giving Day – beginning noon, EST, Feb. 24, until noon, EST, Feb. 25 – that could unlock over $75,000 in additional funds for the Pamplin Engage Program.

Giving Day is all about engagement, so the Pamplin Engage Challenge goals will be directly tied to the number of unique donors to the Pamplin College of Business.

The Pamplin Engage Giving Day Challenge is possible thanks to Brian Cook ’79, MBA ’81; Jeff Hartman ’79; Jim Hatch MACCT ’72; Donald Neff ’90; James Pearman ’70; Greg ’77 and Kathy Thompson; John ’70, MBA ’72 and Phyllis Thompson M.S. ’73; and Scott Wells ’91.

The Engage Program is an exciting, transformational opportunity to support faculty in the online environment while offering compensation and experiential learning opportunities to outstanding students serving as UTAs,” explained Hatch.

“Supporting the program is important to me because it offers a means to help overcome some of the challenges with online learning and create a better student experience as a result.”

The Pamplin Engage Giving Day Challenge is not the only way that the program can earn additional funds via participation during Giving Day. Pamplin Advisory Council Cabinet Chair Jake Lutz ’78 has donated $10,000 for the Pamplin Leadership Board to help spur a friendly competition between units within the Pamplin College of Business. The funds will be distributed on a sliding scale to the top 10 Pamplin units with the most unique donors on Giving Day.

“My Pamplin degree provided a great foundation for success in my career – and I would not have made it without the help of others,” explained Lutz, a partner with the law firm Troutman Pepper. “Giving to Virginia Tech and Pamplin pays back for the help I received and is an investment that will enable others and provide a sound foundation for our future.” 

Lutz continued, “Anyone on the fence about giving should reflect on the impact of Tech on their life and career, the needs of others, and the gift matching and leverage – especially at Giving Day.”

For more information about Giving Day, please visit our Pamplin Giving Day Toolkit page. To become a Giving Day ambassador, please visit our Giving Day ambassador page.

To give to Pamplin prior to Giving Day, please visit our early giving page. To give to Pamplin on Giving Day, please visit the Pamplin College of Business Giving Day page.

To learn more about the Engage Program and its participants, please visit Pamplin's YouTube page to watch the full video.