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Lia Wheatley Announced as Director of the Personal Learning Center

Lia Wheatley has been named the director of the Personal Learning Center (PLC)—a first-of-its-kind center at Southern Virginia University that provides a further layer of learning coaching and support to all students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds. To pioneer new methods for assessing and optimizing a student’s individual learning style, the PLC uses innovative new technology that is not yet available at any other institution in the U.S. 

“We all have strengths and weaknesses,” said Wheatley. “At the Personal Learning Center, we help identify the student’s strengths and build on them. Then we take a step back and help them recognize where there’s room for improvement and develop a personalized learning plan to progress in those areas that may need some work.” 

“We’re working to build a very supportive environment and our goal is to empower students who work with the Personal Learning Center to gain confidence in their abilities” Wheatley continued. “We want to empower students.”

Not only does Wheatley bring to this role an educational background in classroom technology integration and educational philosophy, but she also brings personal experiences from her time in college as a first-generation student.

“This is my dream job,” said Wheatley. “I get to work with a variety of student demographics, including helping first-generation students with the same challenges I faced in college. There’s this presentation for educators I love about being who you needed when you were younger, and that’s what I get to do every day.” 

As the Virginia Department of Health has lowered its COVID-19 related restrictions over the last six months, Wheatley is looking forward to serving even more students this academic year. 

“We kicked off the Personal Learning Center in the midst of a pandemic, so most of our work has been virtual or by appointment only,” said Wheatley. “I’m very excited to be open to all students—all of the time.”

Wheatley first joined Southern Virginia University in 2019 as an enrollment coordinator and then later served as an admissions director. She earned her master’s degree in English with a concentration in education from Hollins University and her bachelor’s degree in humanities and philosophy from Brigham Young University.