LaunchPad Initiative

We Are an Apple Distinguished School

What began in 2017 as an initiative to equip our students with the tools they need for academic and career success has led to Southern Virginia University becoming an Apple Distinguished School–a center of innovation, leadership, and educational excellence that uses Apple technology to inspire creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. This distinction is held by only a handful of colleges around the globe.

In our mission to Gather, Lift, and Launch, we equip our students with the tools they need for academic and career success by placing an Apple iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard, and Apple Pencil in the hands of every student.

View our 2022 Apple Distinguished School Application


The Initiative

Southern Virginia University supplies every full-time student, faculty and staff professional with:

These devices are owned by the University and made available to students for academic or personal use. Every full-time student who graduates from Southern Virginia will own their devices once they complete their degree.

Additionally, each of our classrooms is equipped with a 55″, 65″ or 75″ high-definition monitor and self-contained Apple TV system for live interactive teaching and learning.


The Impact

Our educational model has never been top-down. Teaching and learning take place through collaboration, discussion, and participation, with both faculty and students favoring a “guide-on-the-side” more than the traditional “sage-on-the-stage” approach. Adding the iPad Pro and other technology to the classroom complements and enhances our student-centered approach to teaching and learning.

Since its implementation in 2017, the LaunchPad Initiative has enhanced the classroom experience and improved student learning outcomes, all while driving down the cost of expensive textbooks. Several faculty members have even introduced new, content-rich, interactive class materials such as self-published Smartbooks.

“Everything we do in our department is fully integrated with Apple technology. Everyone’s sheet music is stored on their iPad which we use to practice and perform. Even our acapella ensemble uses the devices for wireless sound mixing during live performances…The iPad makes students more independent and empowered musicians.”

— Fine & Performing Arts Division Chair Dr. Eric Hanson

The LaunchPad Initiative is the backbone of a standardized technological ecosystem that gives our students equal access to state-of-the-art technology, facilitates collaboration with their professors and professional staff, and prepares them to launch into successful lives and careers.


Are you ready to Launch?

LaunchPad in Action: Agility in the Face of COVID-19

Thanks to the LaunchPad initiative—having already integrated Apple hardware and software into Southern Virginia University’s teaching and learning ecosystem long before March 2020—we were able to quickly pivot to online instruction in just 10 days after public officials recommended social distancing and other preventative measures to slow the spread of the novel virus.

“We have been able to make quick decisions in response to COVID-19 in large part because of the shift we made when we implemented the LaunchPad initiative in 2017. While we never predicted the initiative would help us during a global pandemic, University leaders…knew that becoming an Apple Distinguished School would create a campus-wide technological ecosystem that enables quick, responsive shifts that allow us to properly keep students’ needs at the forefront even during the current global outbreak.”

— Chief Technology Officer Dr. Jon Wallin

Read more about the LaunchPad Initiative’s role during the COVID-19 pandemic


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