The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) received a Governor's Technology Award on September 11 at the Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium (COVITS) 2006 held in Roanoke.

An academic partnership involving Virginia Tech, Averett University, and Danville Community College, IALR research centers in the fields of polymers, unmanned systems, high value horticulture and forestry, and motorsports engineering, are designed to make major strides in their specialty fields, as well as attract small and mid-sized companies seeking access to their advanced infrastructure and expertise. Additionally, each research center offers educational opportunities uniquely focused on current research.

Now in its seventh year, the Governor's Technology Awards program honors outstanding achievements and recognizes innovative technology initiatives in the public sector throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The IALR was a winner in the "Innovation in Higher Education" category that recognizes the innovative use of technology to support the unique missions of Virginia's colleges and universities. Awards were also presented in six other categories.

Secretary of Technology Aneesh P. Chopra recognized the winners at the conference. "Virginia is a national leader in the innovative use of information technology to meet citizen needs and promote the public's agenda," Chopra said. "The exceptional work for which these winners are being honored inspires us all to challenge ourselves to drive even greater success within government, in service to the citizens of Virginia."

The IALR was recognized for its delivery of graduate level courses via online and distance learning methods that allow maximum flexibility for student access. IALR faculty can now remotely deliver the appropriate courses to Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia, and other institutions of higher learning. The IALR has enhanced these offerings by recording class sessions using "MediaSite" technology, which has greatly enhanced classes because it allows all courses to be captured with slide presentation content embedded in the recording. The courses can be streamed live to a website, streamed at a later time, or reproduced on CD or DVD, thus affording students maximum flexibility in how they access information.

"The IALR is committed to developing seamless academic pathways, from high school through the doctorate level, that offer the people of Southside increased access to higher education and a direct link to IALR's strategic research disciplines," said Timothy V. Franklin, IALR executive director. "The Governor's Technology Award recognizes how the institute is using innovative methods to provide Southside with access to degree programs. Access to degree-granting universities is integral to the economic transformation efforts of Southside Virginia."

For more information about the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, visit www.ialr.org

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