December 17, 2017

Shaffer Comments in Inside Higher Ed Article

Kris Shaffer, an instructional technology specialist at the University of Mary Washington, was recently quoted in Inside Higher Ed. In the article “Net Neutrality Rollback Concerns Colleges,” Shaffer said that many students working from home already have slow internet, making it difficult for them to access course materials. “If ISPs start charging customers more for content such as video, this issue may get worse,” he said.

At Mary Washington, said Shaffer, many students take part in an institutionwide initiative called Domain of One’s Own, in which they are encouraged to create their own websites and share the content with friends. He said that the university works with small companies to provide this service to students — companies that, he worries, wouldn’t have the cash to buy prioritization from ISPs, potentially making the websites less accessible to the public.

“The internet was invented for universities. If educational content is now going to take a back seat … it’s disheartening, to say the least,” said Shaffer.

Foss Publishes Article on Oscar Wilde and Disability

Professor of English Chris Foss has published an article titled “‘For the future let those who come to play with me have no hearts’: The Affect of Pity in Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Birthday of the Infanta’” in the Fall 2017 number of Journal of Narrative Theory, a special issue on Dis/Enabling Narratives edited by Essaka Joshua.   JNT is a refereed, international journal in its fifth decade that “showcases theoretically sophisticated essays that examine narrative in a host of critical, interdisciplinary, or cross-cultural contexts.”

In his article, Foss argues that Wilde’s fairy tale about the death of a performing Dwarf at the Spanish court may appear mired in damaging stereotype and maudlin melodrama, but it nonetheless suggests more progressive emotionally-based possibilities for sympathy, acceptance, and even identification rather than paternalistic pity.  Wilde’s text invites readers to recognize its seemingly simultaneous manipulation of the narrative toward a reliance upon and a critique of the consumption of pain necessary to the workings of the affect of pity.  It further forces readers to acknowledge their own complicity in this pity and pain, ultimately revealing crucial complexities inherent in such emotional responses to disability and difference.

Farnsworth Publishes Chapter on Late-Night Humor, 2016 Presidential Campaign

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, is co-author of a chapter entitled, “Donald Trump and the Late-Night Political Humor of Campaign 2016: All the Donald, All the Time,” in a new book, The Presidency and Social Media: Discourse, Disruption and Digital Democracy in the 2016 Presidential Election, just published by Routledge.

Al-Tikriti Speaks at NYC’s LaGuardia Community College

New York City’s LaGuardia Community College hosted Associate Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti at a Nov. 2 career planning event titled “Between the World and Me.” Al-Tikriti, former vice president of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders USA, spoke to LaGuardia student and faculty audiences twice in the day, joining panels that also featured Rashida Bumbray Shabazz, a curator and choreographer and the senior program manager at Open Society Foundations for the Arts Exchange, and Prof. Mark Kovic, associate program director for the occupational therapy doctorate program at Midwestern University and a practitioner with extensive service projects in Central America.

During the morning, the three panelists spoke about how their identities and intellectual trajectories shaped their careers and resulted in impactful ethical engagement in global affairs. This session aimed to connect the panelists’ work to current events, and highlight how the relationship between the global citizen and ethical action can help guide LaGuardia students in their personal lives and career paths.

After the morning panel, Dr. Al-Tikriti spoke about the importance of a humanities education for his humanitarian career in front of Prof. Ece Aykol’s comparative literature class.

In the afternoon panel, the same three participants moved from the theoretical to the more practical aspects of careers that place global engagement and experience at the center. Planned in conjunction with LaGuardia’s Office of Student Affairs and Center for Career and Professional Development, the two panels provided students insight and advice on course selection, career planning and ethical professional practices.

Cooperman Presents Research on Political Party Polarization

cooperman_webRosalyn Cooperman, Associate Professor of Political Science, presented research on polarization of Democratic and Republican party delegates at the 2017 State of the Parties conference sponsored by the Ray Bliss Institute of Politics at the University of Akron.

Stommel Quoted in Inside Higher Ed

Jesse Stommel, executive director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at UMW,  and founding director of the Hybrid Pedagogy journal, was quoted recently in Inside Higstommelher Ed. In the article, “Do Professors Need Automated Help Grading Online Comments?,” Stommel said that he found Blackboard’s proposal to evaluate student writing in this way to be alarming. “There is certainly space for technology to help us create dialogue in an online class, but using a technology to assess the success of a discussion, ultimately it reduces student engagement to a rote series of behaviors. ‘Write a comment of 60 words, citing two sources, responding to at least one of your classmates’ — those kinds of behaviors do not make a discussion successful. They’re arbitrary markers.”



Schiffrin Interviewed by Voice of America

Schiffrin_250Holly Schiffrin, professor of psychology, was recently quoted in Voice of America. The article, “Does Your Mother Still Do Your Laundry?,” discussed the problems of helicopter parenting.  “Helicopter parenting is … parents being involved at a level that is inappropriate,” she said. Schiffrin told VOA that she sees students struggling to deal with issues ranging from anxiety to maturity to handling simple tasks that come with independence, such as doing laundry or cooking a meal.


Wilson Publishes, Presents Paper on Rape Acknowledgment

Lwilsonaura Wilson, assistant professor of psychology, has published a paper with colleagues from the University of Central Florida and Virginia Tech. Dr. Wilson, along with Drs. Newins and White, wrote a paper about how the way rape survivors conceptualize the incident impacts their functioning. This process is called rape acknowledgment. Up to this point, researchers have primarily focused on how the label the survivor uses to conceptualize the incident explains depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, without taking other factors into account. The findings of this more recent study suggest that the label matters in the context of the survivor’s beliefs about sexual victimization. The paper, “The impact of rape acknowledgment on survivor outcomes: The moderating effects of rape myth acceptance,” was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Dr. Wilson also presented the study with Dr. Newins at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies conference in Chicago this month. They presented as part of a symposium they arranged including esteemed colleagues from Duke University School of Medicine, East Carolina University, and University of New Mexico.

Lorentzen Presents a Paper at the Victorians Institute Conference

Eric Lorentzen

Eric Lorentzen

Eric Lorentzen, Associate Professor of English, recently presented a paper, “Oliver Twist’s Recovery: Wordsworthian ‘Abundant Recompense’ or Freudian ‘Primal Scene?'” at the annual Victorians Institute conference in Greenville, South Carolina.

Farnsworth, Hanna Columns on Virginia’s Changing Dynamics

Op-ed columns by Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science, and Stephen P. Hanna, professor of geography, appeared recently in  The Washington Post and The Richmond Times-Dispatch respectively. The columns, “This one map shows the Republicans’ problem in Virginia” and “Virginia’s Changing Dynamics,” provided a post-mortem of the Virginia elections.