December 14, 2018

About Marty Morrison

Stommel Op-Ed Appears in Chronicle

An op-ed co-written by Jesse Stommel, Executive Director  of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies appeared recently in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. To read the article, visit

Farnsworth Presents Research on U.S. Midterm Elections

Stephen Farnsworth, Professor of Political Science and Director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, recently delivered an invited research presentation entitled, “The Trump Presidency in a Divided America: A Midterm Assessment,” at the International Conference on Trump, Canada and the World after the Midterms Elections. The conference was held at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).

Holiday Gathering, Friday, Dec. 14

Please RSVP by December 11 at

Nabil Al-Tikriti Monitors Presidential Elections in Georgia

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Dr. Nabil Al-Tikriti served as an election monitor for the second round of the Georgia presidential elections, Nov. 24 – Dec.1. Joining 32 other Americans in the U.S. delegation some 250+ observers total, Al-Tikriti worked as an OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) STO (Short Term Observer) in 8-9 rural villages and the main town in the somewhat remote mountains around Tsagera. His observation partner was a Czech diplomat based in Prague. For more information on these Georgian
elections, and OSCE’s support of these elections, please see:

In the course of his visit, Al-Tikriti also spent two days in Zestafoni, a former industrial base in central Georgia, and  two days in the capital Tbilisi, where observers carried out preliminary briefings. Upon the conclusion of the elections, he spent a day visiting a cave, churches, and historical sites around Kutaisi, Georgia’s second city.

In the election itself, backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, Georgia elected its first female president, former French diplomat Salome Zurabishvili. She claimed victory over opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze, winning approximately 59% of the vote.

This is the 13th OSCE-monitored election Al-Tikriti has observed since 1997.

McClurken Co-Authors Chapter on Undergraduate Research in Humanities

Jeffrey McClurken, Professor of History and American Studies & Chief of Staff, recently published a co-authored chapter on “Undergraduate Research in the Humanities” in High-Impact Practices in Online Education: Research and Best Practices.  Co-written with Ellen Holmes Pearson of UNC, Asheville, the chapter explores the landscape of digitally enabled undergraduate research in the humanities.  In particular, it details the ways that integrating digital humanities projects into online classes increases engagement, captures many of strengths of the traditional liberal arts classroom, and trains students in an outward-facing approach to undergraduate research.

Larus Publishes Commentary on 2018 U.S. Midterm Elections and Taiwan

Elizabeth Freund Larus, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, published the commentary “The Results of U.S. Midterm Elections and its Implications for Taiwan and Cross-Strait Relations,” in Taiwan Insight, the online magazine of the Taiwan Studies Program at the University of Nottingham (U.K.). The article can be found at

Center for Economic Development Launches Business Reference Guide

The University’s Center for Economic Development Business Reference Guide is available for Small Businesses in Virginia to utilize for quick and reliable information.

Since 2006, the Center for Economic Development has compiled the Business Reference Guide as a business intelligence tool for Virginia small companies. Each year more information is added and validated to create what the guide has become today.

Some major topics included in the guide are: Business Data and Statistics, E-commerce and Retail, Main Street Resources, and Local Impact for a Small Business.

“Business Intelligence is an advantage for entrepreneurs and business owners,” says Brian Baker, the Executive Director of the Center for Economic Development. “The 13th Annual Business Reference Guide is designed to help them find answers and save time from a comprehensive source.”

The UMW Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a program at the Center for Economic Development, uses the resource guide to help small business clients. The SBDC provides assistance to the small business community through management training, industrial and demographic research, and confidential one-on-one consulting with a focus on capital access and management planning.

“I always include the business reference guide as a resource to our new business owners,” says Angela Kelley, Early Venture Specialist of the Small Business Development Center. “It provides them with valuable resources to help them start and grow their business.”

To view the 2018 Business Reference Guide, please click here.


UMW Announces 16th Season of Great Lives Lectures

South African revolutionary Nelson Mandela, jazz legend Billie Holiday and baseball superstar Cal Ripken are among the larger-than-life figures to be featured during this year’s William B. Crawley Great Lives lecture series. The lectures take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, from Jan. 15 to April 9, at Dodd Auditorium on the Fredericksburg campus. They are free and open to the public without admission tickets. Read more.


Hirshberg Presents at American Academy of Religion Meeting

Dan Hirshberg, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Contemplative Studies program, presented a new paper, “Where is my mind? Teaching critical subjectivity at an inclusive university,” for the Contemplative Studies Unit at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion.

The paper highlights the unique features of UMW’s Contemplative Studies program, the roots of which extend back to 1999 with its first practicums offered by Professors David Ambuel and Angela Pitts in 2012, and presently culminates in a minor and two recently approved Special Majors. It then surveys Hirshberg’s contemplative pedagogy for training and sustaining “meta-awareness,” the cognitive ability to establish a critical separation from mental content. Rather than automatically identifying with thoughts and feelings, the meditator centers attention and observes that content as the object of contemplation.

There is consensus in current psychological research that, for many people, mind wandering is closely connected to a range of negative emotional impacts, and that meta-awareness is closely connected to many of meditation’s therapeutic outcomes. Despite the cogency of meta-awareness in the contemporary discourse of the contemplative sciences, its primary functionality is vague and often disputed in classical Buddhist phenomenologies of mind – a topic of Hirshberg’s ongoing textual research.

Hirshberg introduced the acute relevance of these pedagogies for UMW’s current student population, as demonstrated by the results of a 2016-18 controlled study completed with Professors Miriam Liss and Mindy Erchull on UMW’s introductory Contemplative Practice course (CPRD 104). It documents statistically significant decreases in anxiety, depression, and disassociation, and statistically significant increases in attentional awareness, self-compassion, and non-reactivity, among other positive outcomes, for students who completed the course. He also addressed some of the risks of contemplative practice.

The audience of the conference panel (60-80 people) had an especially enthusiastic response to Hirshberg’s design of a contemplative exercise to closely observe the personal impact of smartphones in our present environment.

Farnsworth Discusses New Presidency Book on C-Span

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, discussed his new book, “Presidential Communication and Character: White House News Management from Clinton and Cable to Twitter and Trump” at the Fall for Book Festival, held at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

The book talk was recently broadcast on C-Span. Link here: