November 29, 2022

Hirshberg Participates in International Research Institute in Japan

Dan Hirshberg, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Associate Director of the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies, and Director of the Contemplative Studies program, participated in the Mind & Life Institute’s first International Research Institute in Kyoto, Japan as a Senior Investigator.

Held at Myoshin-ji, a fourteenth-century Zen monastery, the Institute drew scholars, scientists, professionals, and contemplatives from eleven countries. Its theme was “Contemplative Practice in Context: Culture, History and Science,” exploring meditation in a broadly interdisciplinary, genuinely collaborative, and deeply enriching dialog.

For three decades, the Mind & Life Institute has catalyzed pioneering research and thoughtful interdisciplinary dialogue at the intersection of Buddhist thought, other contemplative wisdom traditions, and the modern Western sciences. Ultimately, their goal is to alleviate human suffering and foster individual and societal flourishing.

UMW Marks Constitution Day with Debate on Presidential Power

The University of Mary Washington will celebrate Constitution Day with the debate “Resolved: Congress Should Restrict the President’s Power to Use Nuclear Weapons.” Four members of UMW’s Debate Program – Parker Coon ’19, Sarah Pietrowski ’21, Gabriel Lewis ’19 and John Huebler ’20 – will discuss presidential power in the Digital Auditorium of the Hurley […]

Angie White Presents Twice at SAA

Digital Resources Librarian Angie White presented at the Society of American Archivist’s annual conference in August. She presented at the Users Group meeting for Preservica, the digital preservation software used by UMW Libraries, and also at a midweek automation and transparency in digital preservation session. In the latter session, White discussed the implementation experience of UMW’s Special Collections and University Archives Digital Collections, including the migration process, user interface customization, and future goals.

Lorentzen Publishes Article on Dickens and Education

Associate Professor of English Eric G. Lorentzen published an article in Dickens Studies Annual on Dickens and education entitled “This Schoolroom is a Nation: Subverting the Catechistic Method in Dickens.”

The catechistic method was a popular form of the rote memorization pedagogy which dominated Victorian schools, and sought to keep at-risk learners content with their marginalized social positions.  In fact, this educational praxis became so popular that its tactics were embraced by many figures desiring social power beyond the schoolroom, a point upon which Dickens dwells at considerable length throughout his texts.  This essay surveys a few varieties of catechistic primers that were designed for these disciplinary functions, and examines some of the more infamous ways catechism was utilized in early nineteenth-century British literature.

Subsequently, the essay scrutinizes the almost overwhelming number of instances of the catechistic method in Dickens’s novels to demonstrate both his critique of this question and answer power dynamic, and the ways in which his characters deploy, evade, co-opt, and subvert the ideological directives of catechism, as they strive for their own liberation and agency.  By recognizing the evolution of Dickens’s critique of catechistic method, both in and beyond the arena of the Victorian classroom, Lorentzen argues that we can much better appreciate the extent of the novelist’s cautionary tales about the ways in which education functioned as a normalizing force of social control.

Farnsworth Delivers Research Paper on Political Humor

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, recently delivered a research paper entitled, “Dominating Late Night: Political Humor and the Donald Trump Presidency,” at the American Political Science Association Pre-Conference in Political Communication in Boston.

The OnTheSquareVA Program

Don’t forget about the OnTheSquareVA program that was announced in May from the Governor’s office.

The Program includes a series of events designed to get us up and moving and enjoying Capitol Square. You can find more information, including a calendar of events, at

Some upcoming events include:

• The first Governor’s Capitol Classic Car Show, Sept. 15
• The Governor’s Race 5K and First Lady’s Kids Run, Sept. 23.
• The OnTheSquareVA Fishing Challenge, Oct. 8 at Claytor Lake State Park

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

With everyone now back on campus and getting a handle on their schedule for the fall, we thought it would be a good time to remind faculty and staff about conserving energy in and around your work space.

Whether you work in an office with a lot of people or just a few, chances are there’s that one room or area where the lights are probably kept on even when not in use.  Is it a copy room that might have a few people going in and out every hour, but the lights are turned on in the morning and kept on until the last person leaves for the day?  What about your office kitchen?  It probably sees the most traffic early in the morning and between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., but are the lights left on all day?

We don’t want to be working by candlelight or microwaving our Smart Ones Chicken Fettuccines in the dark, but take a moment to consider those spaces and other areas in your office where lights are left on for extended periods of time when clearly the space is not in use.

Consider your own personal office space as well.  My office has two light switches.  Flipping just one on in the morning does the trick.   Do you have windows in your office?  (Lucky!)  Consider the feasibility of using the natural light your office receives as opposed to the overhead fluorescent lighting.  Also, if you’re attending a short meeting, walking across campus, going to lunch – do you turn off the lights in your office?   Do you turn off your monitors? It’s in the best interest of maintaining a green office to do so.

Another tip in conserving energy is turning off your computer, printer, monitors, etc. when you leave for the day.  Even reducing the brightness of your laptop screen or computer monitor reduces energy use.

Hopefully you’re already doing some if not all of these little things that help to conserve energy.  If not, there’s no better time than now to start making these small changes.  And while you’re at it, take the opportunity to set an example for your co-workers by posting reminders and having these types of discussions during staff meetings or office gatherings.

If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable office environments, please feel free to leave a comment or email me the suggestion to be featured in a future Sustainability Tip of the Week.

Kevin Caffrey is the Senior Associate Registrar at UMW and serves as Staff Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Sustainability.  Formed in the fall of 2009, the PCS consists of faculty, staff, and students and reports both to the Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance and the Provost, serving a critical role in shaping administrative goals and objectives relating to campus sustainability.  Their first meeting of the fall semester will be held this Monday September 10th at 4:30PM in HCC 307.  Meetings generally last one hour and are open to employees, students, and the public .

UMW Police Joins Short List of Accredited College Agencies

The UMW Police Department has become only the fifth campus police agency in the commonwealth to achieve accreditation from the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission (VLEPSC), the accrediting agency in Virginia. The milestone is also a first in the history of UMW Police. Out of 340 police agencies in the commonwealth–campus departments or otherwise–only […]

UMW Galleries Highlights Faculty Artists

The works of 11 faculty members in the Department of Studio Art will be featured in one of two exhibitions hosted by the University of Mary Washington Galleries, beginning Thursday, Sept. 6. The exhibits, UMW Studio Art Faculty Exhibition in the duPont Gallery, and Museums as Viewing Machines: Work by Jeffrey Abt in the Ridderhof […]

UMW Art Professor Takes Historic Photography Cross-Country

Everything Rosemary Jesionowski needed to document the country in albumen prints fit into the custom-built box in the hatchback of her Subaru. There was the 4×5 view camera and a stack of reference books on the historic photographic process she plans to replicate. There were mounds of photo paper she’d spent weeks painstakingly coating in a […]