How West Virginia University and local businesses work together to meet community needs will be among the outreach-at-work presentations arranged for WVU faculty when they visit Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Pendleton and Randolph counties May 14-15 during the West Virginia Country Roads Scholars Tour.

The touring class comprises 32 WVU faculty members who will be asked to examine what it means to”put knowledge to work”in a community setting and also challenged to begin examining new ways they may add their skills to the University’s outreach into communities.

Guiding that exploration will be Gerald Lang, WVU provost, and Larry Cote, WVU associate provost and Extension director.

On Wednesday, May 14, the scholars will visit Gourmet Central (a community-supported specialty food products company) and Haines’Fee Fishing Farm in Hampshire County. The afternoon’s itinerary takes them to Hardy County, where they will tour the Con Agra Poultry Group’s facility and visit a child-care facility to see how community-developed care is supporting economic development.

Under the theme of”Celebrating Education,”the scholars will join community leaders and WVU officials for a dinner program at the Moorefield Middle School. The program includes remarks by WVU President David Hardesty and recognition of the 17 students from Hardy County who are 2003 WVU scholarship recipients.

Dinner speakers are West Virginia Senators Mike Ross and Walt Helmick, who will discuss”Challenges Facing Higher Education.”

The tour resumes Thursday, May 15, at Grant Memorial Hospital in Petersburg. The new focus will be how local health care issues are being addressed by the Eastern W.Va. Rural Health Education Program Consortium, an initiative of the WVU Rural Health Education Partnership.

Thursday’s other”classes”include tourism and Seneca Rocks in Pendleton County and the wood industry, J.C. Lumber Co., Greenfield Cabinetry and the West Virginia Wood Technology Center in Randolph County.

The annual tour is sponsored by the WVU Provost’s Office and WVU Extension Service.

All WVU faculty, including those at the three regional campuses, are invited to participate. Preference is given to those who have been hired within the last three years.