December 8, 2019

Pete Kelly: Teaching is Power

Pete Kelly believes in the power of teachers.

Pete Kelly is dean of UMW's College of Education. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Pete Kelly is dean of UMW’s College of Education. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

As a kid growing up in a chaotic environment, he faced his share of struggles in school. A couple of key teachers (Mr. Wright and Mr. Stoffsky – he still remembers their names) took the time to make a difference, inspiring Kelly to become a teacher himself.

Now, as dean of UMW’s College of Education (COE), Kelly is in a position to make his own impact – on the Mary Washington faculty who train future educators and on those they’ll go on to lead in the classroom.

“Good teachers have enormous power to make a difference in the lives of students,” he said.

Kelly – whose wife, Julia DeLancey, is a professor of art and art history at UMW – worked for a while teaching history in high school, where he gravitated toward learners like himself, who tend to choose seats at the back of the class. He earned a master’s degree in special education, spent six years teaching in the prison system and, like President Paino, came to Mary Washington from Missouri’s Truman State University.

Kelly’s résumé provides the breadth of experience he needs in his job, where he works to empower others. And with funding back on track for the renovation of Seacobeck, set to be COE’s new home, UMW is poised to offer educators-in-training more power than ever, he said.

“It’s a remarkable demonstration of support for teacher education at UMW.”

Q: What brought you to your position at UMW?
A: The opportunity had great appeal. Social justice and diversity are a part of the DNA of this place; these are important ideas for me and for teacher preparation.

Q: How is UMW helping with the region’s teacher shortage?
A: We’ve developed ways to allow students to earn a degree and certification during their undergraduate programs. And we’re working with high school students and community colleges to encourage young people to teach, and to streamline their education.

Q: How has teaching changed throughout your career?
A: Meeting the needs of diverse student populations, including English language learners and those with disabilities, is one of the biggest challenges new teachers face. We must prepare teachers to meet the learning needs of ALL the students in their classrooms. Our democracy depends on it.

Q: What item in your office is most meaningful to you?
A: In my first year of teaching, my principal gave me a Weeble. It’s a small toy from the ’70s with a round bottom. When you knock it down, it pops right back up. New teachers need this superpower of resilience.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: Cooking a meal to share with others is my favorite thing to do. I’m proud to have shared my love of cooking with my kids.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: If you can cook a good meal, you will always have friends.

Q: What’s the best gift you ever received from a student?
A: I still have a folder with notes from students from when I completed my student teaching 30 years ago. Those were very important to me early in my career. Thanking a teacher who made a difference in your life is a powerful thing to do.

Message from the President: Campus Environment Presidential Ad Hoc Committee Final Report

To the campus community:

In 2017, the Board of Visitors asked me to appoint a Campus Environment Presidential Ad Hoc Committee to evaluate the campus environment and make recommendations to ensure that Mary Washington is welcoming to all.

After a nearly two-year exhaustive study of art, monuments, and other representations of the University’s history and community, the committee identified incidences where the portrayals are inaccurate, historically incomplete, or inconsistent with UMW’s public education mission and community values.

As the committee looked at campus, it became clear that the University’s history and its depiction of UMW life was frozen in time. Select murals and buildings present a one-dimensional interpretation of UMW’s history.  Further, they reflect only a fragment of its students and alumni. The final 74-page report, which was further shaped by the input of the campus community and alumni, was presented to the Board of Visitors at its November 15 meeting. A copy of that final report accompanies this email.

Following the presentation, the UMW Board of Visitors unanimously voted to endorse all of the committee’s 17 recommendations. Effective immediately, the Board authorized the President to convene a new standing committee to develop a plan that is expedient, but judicious and fiscally responsible, to implement these recommendations. Among the specific actions to be undertaken are:

  • Reinstituting the full names associated with campus buildings, thus recognizing the contributions of leaders, particularly women, over the University’s history. For instance, Lee Hall would return to its given name of Anne Carter Lee Hall.
  • Identifying a new name for Trinkle Hall in 2020, utilizing this opportunity for celebration, positive growth, and affirmative identity of the campus.
  • Explore avenues of contextualization, concealment, or relocation of select murals and providing insights on the cost and logistics of these options.
  • Commission the development of new and inclusive murals focused on UMW as it exists today and in more recent history, ensuring broad representation of its community. 

In endorsing the recommendations, Rector Heather Mullins Crislip ’95 said, “This is an important moment for Mary Washington. The Board of Visitors took action to deepen our roots while communicating that we are an inclusive and welcoming environment for the students of the future.”

This Board of Visitors has stated its commitment to creating an environment that attracts students of every background and affirms the campus as a welcoming, vibrant community. The Board is cognizant of the faculty, staff, and students’ deep connection to the campus and recognizes they must have an active voice in planning and implementing these changes. Thus, the Board has charged me with establishing a standing committee with up to nine diverse representatives of these groups. Independently, a committee of alumni and campus members will be selected and charged with soliciting input and making recommendations for the Trinkle Hall renaming.

The Board expects demonstrable progress towards all the goals within three years, but leaves it in the hands of me and the administration to define the timeline and sequence of events to occur. It anticipates the first report of the standing committee, as well as recommendations from the committee on Trinkle Hall’s renaming, by April 2020.

The Board of Visitors’ intent is not to reinterpret history but, rather, to expand upon it, by fully conveying the stories – plural – of the people who make and have made UMW extraordinary. The goal is to share the entirety of its account and to ensure that it provide an environment where students of any backdrop and persuasion can thrive. The Board’s acceptance of the Campus Environment report allows UMW to open its doors wider and to confidently know it is truly serving its public mission.

I look forward to announcing the memberships of the standing and naming committees in short order after consulting with our institutions of shared governance. 

Finally, I want to thank publicly all of the members of the Campus Environment Presidential Ad Hoc Committee for all their work over the last two years.

Troy 

Kimberly Young: Connect-Ed

It’s hard to pin down Kimberly Young.

UMW Executive Director of Continuing and Professional Studies Kimberly Young

UMW Executive Director of Continuing and Professional Studies Kimberly Young

As executive director of Continuing and Professional Studies, she darts daily among UMW’s three campuses, canvassing for community partners, zipping up connections wherever she can.

She was already revved up when she came to Mary Washington in spring 2017 from the University of Missouri, where she built a similar program from scratch. She set straight to work sweeping herself into the culture of UMW and the greater Fredericksburg area, matching faculty expertise to the region’s professional needs.

In just over two years, she’s established relationships with key organizations like Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and Mary Washington Healthcare, and launched more than a dozen non-credit and single-credit courses.

Thanks to a grant that came through this spring, a new cybersecurity certificate program that targets an underserved area is now up and running. It’s the result of a hugely collaborative effort.

“It was a lot of work,” Young said. “Getting everyone on the same page and willing to work together was a tremendous feat that required shared vision and a commitment to improving our region through education.”

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: When my work makes an impact. I love seeing a faculty member teach an executive class and nailing it, or putting together a program to help a client do business more innovatively.

Q: Most challenging?
A: In order to increase our presence and credibility in regional workforce and professional development, I have to dynamically prioritize daily. That requires a broad base of knowledge, from regional economic development to the latest trends in adult learning.

Q: What question do colleagues most often ask?
A: How they can help. I love that! Faculty and staff call and pitch ideas for classes. We help each other grow and build.

Q: What’s the most interesting course you’ve come across? Is Underwater Basket Weaving really a thing?
A: I’m not opposed to it! We had a collaboration with an art museum in which we applied Visual Thinking Strategy to works of art to help participants sharpen observation and problem-solving skills. They learned about 19th-century artists, as well as how to think deeply and ask questions to become better leaders.

Q: What are the characteristics of an effective leader?
A: Self-awareness, empathy, and the ability to formulate and communicate vision. The lack of self-awareness is a big de-railer. It limits the ability to recognize blind spots and impairs a leader’s ability to be flexible and adaptable.

Q: What item in your office is most special to you?
A: My graduation stole from Duke University. My senior class was the first to allow kente cloth stoles for African American students to wear during graduation. We worked tirelessly to impress upon university administrators the importance of representing both this great accomplishment and our heritage. It reminds me who I am and where I come from, and makes me proud.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I love to cook. I’m passionate about the art of the dinner party and home entertaining. There’s nothing more special to me than creating and sharing a meal with someone or having them do the same for me.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: To whom much is given, much is required.

Get Involved in COAR’s Head Start Gift Box Drive

It’s time for COAR’s annual Head Start Gift Box Drive! Each year we ask students, faculty and staff to fill boxes full of necessities and toys for children 3 to 5 years old in the Head Start programs in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania schools.

Boxes can be checked out now through Nov. 22 in the University Center Lobby from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or in the Center for Community Engagement (Suite 320) during normal office hours, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We can also deliver boxes to you at your office and pick them up as needed. If you would like a box delivered or picked up, please email us at coarumw@gmail.com.

All gift boxes that are checked out will need to be returned by Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 5 p.m.

Required items for the boxes are hats, gloves, scarves, small toys, coloring books, crayons and markers, and small books (all of these items will need to fit inside a shoe box-sized box).

We appreciate your continued support of service at UMW. Thank you and happy holidays!

Grothe Pens Article on El Niño in ‘Geophysical Research Letters’

UMW Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pam Grothe has published a paper – Enhanced El NiñoSouthern Oscillation Variability in Recent Decades – in Geophysical Research Letters. The biweekly peer-reviewed scientific journal of geoscience is published by the American Geophysical Union.

The article includes the following plain language summary:

Recent modeling studies suggest El Niño will intensify due to greenhouse warming, Grothe’s paper states. Here, new coral reconstructions of the El Niño‐Southern Oscillation (ENSO) record sustained, significant changes in ENSO variability over the last 7,000yrs, and imply that ENSO extremes of the last 50 years are significantly stronger than those of the pre‐industrial era in the central tropical Pacific. These records suggest that El Niño events already may be intensifying due to anthropogenic climate change.

“In short, this work suggests that El Nino events may already be more extreme than before the industrial era,” Grothe said, “suggesting that anthropogenic climate change may be the reason, as the climate models predict.”

Richardson Column in The Free Lance-Star

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson’s weekly column in The Free Lance-Star discusses the dynamic of hiring for optics. Read HIRING FOR OPTICS.

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

RICHARDSON: Hiring for optics

I WAS talking with someone recruiting for a newly created position with fairly structured duties. The organization chose to do an internal search, wanting to promote from within.

The message from the supervisor of the person I was talking to is that he needs to hire a woman. It wasn’t that he needs to hire a woman if she’s the best qualified for the position, it was that he needs to hire a woman.

OK, so I’m a woman. And I can tell you that I never have wanted to be hired because I am a woman.

So let’s unpack this. When we hire people into positions in our organizations, in my opinion, we should first and foremost hire the people who are the best qualified to do the work required. These hires are generally people who have done similar work or have transferable skills to ensure they can successfully perform the tasks assigned.

Of course, in order to select the best fit for our position, we must create as diverse a pool of candidates as possible. This may be more difficult for internal hires, but less problematic for external hires. If we cast a wide net, we’re likely to have a robust group of candidates to select from.

If we don’t hire the most prepared or best qualified candidate, we are most likely going to hurt the organization. Or, as a supervisor, we are either going to be micromanaging or dealing with the results of poor performance. Neither works for me, for either the supervisor or the organization. Read more.

 

 

 

 

Sammy D. Eagle: Time to Fly

Have you heard? There’s a new bird in town.

Students take advantage of some camera time with UMW's longtime mascot, Sammy D. Eagle in 2013. The old Sammy will pass the torch to his successor during tomorrow evening's Mary Rock event on Ball Circle. Photo by Katie Koth.

Students take advantage of some camera time with UMW’s longtime mascot, Sammy D. Eagle in 2013. The old Sammy will pass the torch to his successor during tomorrow evening’s Mary Rock event on Ball Circle. Photo by Katie Koth.

The old Sammy D. Eagle is retiring after 33 years on the job, and UMW is welcoming a new one. His feathers are fluffed, his beak is buffed, and he’s ready to fly. Fans will get a first glimpse of Mary Washington’s fresh-faced mascot tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. when he makes his début during the Mary Rock event (details below) on Ball Circle.

Filled with school spirit, the new Sammy is ready to soar, with Homecoming high jinks, social media savvy, new dance moves and more. But he’s got some big feet to fill.

The old Sammy has been supporting Division III athletes and attending university-wide events since becoming Mary Washington’s official mascot in fall of 1986. That’s lots of Homecomings and Reunion Weekends, lots of pumping up crowds and posing for pictures, lots of hugs and high-fives. Tomorrow, he’ll pass the torch to his successor.

We can’t show you new Sammy’s face until then, but below, he opens up – at least a little – about and his plans for shaking things up across campus.

Q: What Mary Washington tradition are you most looking forward to?
A: Homecoming! And welcoming generations of proud alumni back to the nest.

UMW students pose with Sammy D. Eagle at a baseball field dedication in September 1988. Photo by Barry Fitzgerald. The Centennial Image Collection, UMW Digital Archives.

UMW students pose with Sammy D. Eagle at a baseball field dedication in September 1988. Photo by Barry Fitzgerald. The Centennial Image Collection, UMW Digital Archives.

Q: What prepared you for the job of Mary Washington mascot?
A: I’ve admired old Sammy for years and plan to borrow plenty of the signature moves that everyone loves. It seems like a job I can really wrap my wings around.

Q: What are you looking forward to most about being mascot?
A: Supporting Division III athletes and the entire UMW community, and spreading my infectious Eagle spirit through campus. See you on the Battleground!

Q: What do you think will be most challenging?
A: Juggling all my many fan bases – students, student-athletes, alumni, fans at the games, community members, prospective Eagles. And finding Mary Washington spirit wear in my size.

Q: Are you a Devil or a Goat?
A: That’s a silly question. I’m an eagle.

Q: Did the old Sammy give you any advice?
A: Just wing it.

The Mary Rock event takes place tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 18, 6 -8 p.m., on Ball Circle. There will be free food trucks, a beer garden, outdoor games, with the unveiling of the new Sammy at 6:30, and a concert featuring Indie pop band Smallpools at 7 p.m.

Arab-Israeli Conflict Specialist to Discuss New Book, Oct. 23

Khaled Elgindy will discuss his new book, “Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians from Balfour to Trump,” on the U.S. role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The talk will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Lee Hall, Room 411. A key adviser to Palestinian peace negotiators from 2004 to 2009, Elgindy is a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, the oldest policy-oriented “think-tank” in Washington, D.C. A specialist in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, he also was a key participant in the Annapolis negotiations held throughout 2008. His talk is open to the public.

College of Business Honors Alumni

The College of Business (COB) will honor alumni at two separate events next Thursday and Friday.

The Executive-in-Residence Business Leaders Breakfast on Thursday, Oct. 17, will feature UMW alumnus Pat Filippone ’88, owner of the 7th Inning Stretch, which owns and operates minor league baseball teams. Pat is a veteran of 29 seasons of professional baseball with a passion for exposing what the game has to offer to local communities. RSVPs are due by Oct. 10 at eir@umw.edu or ext. 1223.

Held in conjunction with Homecoming Weekend, the Alumni Awards on Friday, Oct. 18, will honor nine successful COB alumni who are successful, respected leaders in their fields. Registration is due by Oct. 14.

Both events will take place in the Jepson Alumni Executive Center’s Rappahannock Grand Ballroom. For more information about either event, contact Kelsey Whitacre at kwhitacr@umw.edu or ext. 1223.

Troy Paino: Great College [President] to Work For

How does he do it? That’s a question often asked about UMW President Troy Paino, who constantly juggles meetings with alumni, speaking engagements, trips to Richmond to secure more funding for Mary Washington, board meetings, family time, one-on-ones with his Cabinet members and physical fitness.

University of Mary Washington President Troy Paino plans to continue the work that led UMW to the Great Colleges to Work For recognition it received this week. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

University of Mary Washington President Troy Paino plans to continue the work that led UMW to the Great Colleges to Work For recognition it received this week. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

To keep his commitments and do it with flair, Mary Washington’s 10th president relies on the adrenaline boost he gets from interacting with students, faculty and staff.

“Their enthusiasm and spirit for this place is infectious,” Paino said. He hopes UMW’s new designation as a Great College to Work For – the results of a survey of the University’s more than 800 full-time employees that came out this week – ramps up that mojo.

Since taking office in 2016, he’s used feedback from a previous Great Colleges study as a compass for what was working and what needed work – communication, collaboration and compensation. “When people start feeling that they can actively participate in making a place better, morale is going to improve,” said Paino, who crisscrosses campus, the local community and the state Capitol on behalf of our school.

But college presidents need downtime, too. He finds it when he can curl up on the couch with wife Kelly and dog Oscar (both daughters have left the nest) binge-watching Billions. But Mary Washington is never far from his mind.

“I’ve become more energized since I’ve been here, working with people to articulate a vision, create a plan and begin implementing it,” he said. “I feel a lot of good forward momentum. I’m excited to be part of it.”

Q: You worked eight years at Truman State University, six of them as president. What brought you to Mary Washington?
A: I would not have left Truman for just any place. I fell in love with Mary Washington’s mission and thought I could use my talents and skill sets to make a difference here.

Q: What’s a typical day like on the job?
A: I have meetings with my Cabinet members and surprises on campus that need to be addressed. I keep my eye toward external audiences – fundraising, politics, community, corporate relations. I find opportunities to interact with students wherever I can, even just walking down Campus Walk and striking up conversations. I’m teaching a class this semester. The more interaction I can get with students, the more it keeps me grounded and reminds me why we’re doing this work.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: When I get to interact with a student and see that their Mary Washington experience has sparked something inside them – a passion, a purpose, a direction, a vocation.

Q: What’s most challenging?
A: Having to make tough decisions with limited resources to empower those who work here to do everything they want to do for our students. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive, tight-knit community, so it’s always a challenge trying to hold it together when it seems there are issues in our world that are pulling us apart.

Q: Any mottos you live by?
A: “It’s not about you, stupid.” It’s easy in life to become self-absorbed. I try each day to remind myself that this isn’t about me. It’s about the mission. It’s about the students. That’s why I’m here.