Celebrating 100 Years: 1915-2015

From the beginning of Extension at UVA in 1915, through its many name changes, world wars, economic depression, and social unrest, the School has been consistent in its mission to provide outreach to underserved communities, while using the latest technologies available. The following highlights the accomplishments and initiatives undertaken by the directors and deans who created our past, and influenced our future. Enjoy the journey. 

The Beginning of Extension at UVA

Bureau of Extension, Charles G. Maphis, Director, 1915-1925

  • UVA professors begin traveling the Commonwealth, providing lectures to the public on request
  • Bureau of Extension established
  • School hygiene campaign launched to improve the health of school children
  • First course for college credit offered in Staunton, 40 miles away
  • School of Citizenship created to prepare women for voting
  • Women admitted to UVA for graduate study on limited basis in 1920
  • The Bureau is tasked with managing Summer Session for UVA

Expansion, the Depression, WWII & Post-War Era

Division of Extension, George Baskerville Zehmer, Director, 1925-1957

  • Package Libraries make books available to communities without local libraries
  • Bureau of Teaching Materials created
  • Weekly book reviews broadcast on WRVA Radio in Richmond
  • Engineering courses begin in Hampton Roads, graduate study added by 1948
  • The Department of Home Study created
  • Extension begins broadcasting lectures on WDBJ Radio in Roanoke
  • The Extension Library Program offers lending to African Americans by 1940
  • African Americans invited to meetings on Community Services programs, after considerable discussion
  • Northern Virginia Center opens
  • Community improvement programs based on the "Virginia Approach" formulated to enrich Virginia localities

Outreach to Underserved Communities

Division of Extension & General Studies, James W. Cole, Jr., Dean, 1958-1961
School of General Studies, James W. Cole, Jr., Dean, 1961-1968

  • African-American teacher admitted to graduate Extension program at Richmond Center
  • Bureau of Conferences and Short Courses established
  • The Southwest Virginia Center opens in Marion
  • UVA founds Clinch Valley College, administered by Extension
  • George Mason College two-year program begins as outreach of UVA Extension

Extension & the Community College Systems

School of General Studies, Andre C. de Porry, Dean, 1968-1973

  • The 35 acres donated to UVA for the Roanoke Center and State Board of Community Colleges becomes Virginia Western Community College
  • Two televised courses offered: Mathematics for Teachers and Theory of Probability and Statistics
  • Centers serve as precursors to the Virginia Community College System
  • The School offers courses on drug abuse in 1968
  • The School’s role ends at George Mason College when it becomes a four-year university
  • The School and George Mason College create a cooperative program for students to complete their degree through George Mason

Building Partnerships

School of Continuing Education, Bruce Nelson, Dean, 1974-1977
Division of Continuing Education, Adelle F. Robertson, Dean, 1978-1986

  • George Mason University and Mary Washington College become independent from UVA
  • FBI National Academy at Quantico created
  • Northern Virginia Center offers professional certificates in management, accounting, public administration, and engineering
  • Master’s degrees, in cooperation with other schools at UVa, are offered at the Northern Virginia Center
  • Noncredit, 10-day Egyptian Study Tour and Oceanic Education cruise are developed as part of the sea-study program

Innovation & Partnership

Division of Continuing Education, Philip Nowlen, Dean, 1988-1995

  • Provides programs for Naval Air Systems Command
  • Summer on the Lawn program begins
  • Center for Liberal Arts established to support K-12 teachers, housed at the Division
  • Virginia Festival of American Film created to highlight the Virginia film industry
  • TEMPO delivers graduate reading courses throughout Virginia via satellite broadcasts
  • Citizen Scholar Program begins, allowing members of the community to take courses on Grounds

Serving the Commonwealth & Beyond

Division of Continuing Education, Sondra Stallard, Dean, 1996-2000

  • Executive training provided to Drug Enforcement Agency senior executives
  • Center for Executive Development created
  • Center for State and National Programs offers conferences and workshops for K-12
  • Training provided to law enforcement at International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, Hungary
  • Master’s degrees expand to Northern Virginia, Southside Virginia, Richmond, and Lynchburg
  • The Associate’s Program is created, becomes the Engaging the Mind series
  • Library services expanded—students gain access to electronic materials
  • The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, a degree completion program, is launched on Grounds
  • A robust portfolio of noncredit programs offered, many assumed by the UVA Office of Engagement

Pathways to Success for Working Professionals

School of Continuing & Professional Studies, Billy Cannaday, Dean, 2008-2015
Sondra Stallard, Dean, 2000-2007

  • Growth in web-based courses
  • Agreements allow certificate completers to transfer credits to select graduate degrees
  • Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies expands to Tidewater, Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Williamsburg
  • Workforce Development Academy launched in 2003 and continues through 2013-14
  • Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical program begins
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management launched as first fully online degree
  • National Criminal Justice Command College launches in partnership with Virginia State Police
  • A robust portfolio of Travel and Learn programs is developed, and later moves to the UVA Office of Engagement
  • Many certificate programs moved to online formats, allowing for greater access