December 4, 2020

McCall, Hydorn and Clayton Receive Grant

Dr. Venitta McCall, professor of the College of Education, Dr. Debra Hydorn, professor of mathematics and Dr. Courtney Clayton, assistant professor of the College of Education have received a $35,600 grant from the Virginia Department of Education. The purpose of the grant is to train 30 teachers from critical teacher shortage areas in Spotsylvania County, Stafford County and Fredericskburg City to become Clinical Faculty members for the College of Education.

Selected teachers will be trained in effective mentoring practices, in best practices for instructing English Language Learners and in using learning analytics – the appropriate collection, use and analysis of data to facilitate instructional improvement. Research has shown that having highly skilled Clinical Faculty is a key component in enhancing teacher retention.

Gift Supports New Makerspace Program

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Left to Right: UMW Professor of Education George Meadows, Interim Dean of the UMW College of Education Nina Mikhalevsky, Dominion External Affairs Manager James Beazley, and UMW Vice President for Advancement and University Relations Torre Meringolo

The University of Mary Washington received a $15,000 gift to support its “E3 Makerspace Network.” Awarded by the Dominion Foundation, the funds will help create a collaborative network with two UMW colleges, the Friends of the Rappahannock, and the England Run Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system.

UMW Professor of Education George Meadows says the new network will sustain and expand makerspace technology and the engineering/design process to provide creative approaches to teaching about energy and the environment as well as researching and developing technological solutions to environmental problems.

“UMW students from the College of Education and students enrolled in science disciplines within the College of Arts and Sciences can now do some exciting things with real world technology and applications,” says Meadows. “The fact that we will be collaborating with area organizations to solve problems and share solutions makes for a great teaching environment.”

Out of nearly 400 applications for the 2015-16 academic year, the Dominion Foundation awarded grants totaling $1.5 million to more than 140 schools and educational institutions in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Dominion Foundation grants are funded by shareholder dollars and support nonprofit causes that meet basic human needs, protect the environment, promote education and encourage community vitality.

Gifts count toward the $50-million Mary Washington First Campaign, which began July 1, 2011. As of Sept. 15, 2015, Mary Washington alumni, parents, friends, faculty, staff, and businesses have committed $41 million in gifts and pledges. The Campaign is scheduled to conclude June 30, 2016. Visit or call 540-654-2059 for more information.

UMW Hosts Virginia Education Specialist as Educator-in-Residence

The University of Mary Washington’s College of Education hosted Robert Fugate ’03, an assessment specialist for the Virginia Department of Education, for its 5th annual Educator-in-Residence. He presented as the keynote lecture at the College of Education’s Graduate Research Symposium on Saturday, April 25. 20150425_ UMW Graduate Program Ceremony Fugate’s lecture recounted his experience with UMW’s Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program. With the theme of “The Writing was on the Wall,” Fugate noted that he had first become aware of the program from an announcement posted on the mailroom wall at the middle school where he was an English teacher. Traveling between Richmond and Fredericksburg for two years to complete the program, Fugate attested to how the program rejuvenated his professional spirit and afforded him countless opportunities through which he continues to be energized, challenged and fulfilled. As an assessment specialist in limited English proficiency (LEP), Fugate manages the statewide administration of the English language proficiency assessment testing program and provides technical assistance regarding LEP students’ participation in the Standards of Learning assessments. The Graduate Research Symposium featured more than 40 research projects by current students in the education program and the presentation of several awards. Local chapters of Delta Kappa Gamma recognized two graduates: Holly Perucci for the Initial Licensure Award from Beta Eta Chapter and Stephanie Kobuchi for the Educational Leadership Award from Alpha Tau chapter. The Barbara Bishop Mann (’66) Virginia Educator Award was presented to Julia Gatusso.  This award recognizes a student pursuing elementary licensure with passion and demonstrated leadership, who is committed to teaching in a public elementary school in Virginia. For more information about the symposium and keynote address, contact the College of Education at (540) 654-1290.

UMW Organizes Fifth Annual EdTech Conference

The University of Mary Washington’s College of Education will merge cutting-edge technology, teaching, engaging speakers and hands-on activities during its fifth annual EdTech Conference, taking place Friday, March 20 at the Stafford campus.   Teresa-Coffman_featuredWith a theme of “Learning, Innovation and Technology,” the 2015  conference will offer educators and those interested in education a close look at current technology and its impact in the classroom. The conference will take place between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the North Building on the Stafford campus. Registration closes March 16 and the $50 fee includes all presentations and a catered lunch. Keynote speaker Judi Harris will open the conference with a presentation that demonstrates how to balance technology integration with a well-developed teaching curriculum. Harris is a professor and the Pavey Family Chair in Educational Technology in the School of Education at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg. EdTech also will have interactive workshops on engaging game-based strategies in the classroom. Attendees will explore innovative teaching models, discover emerging technologies and work through game-based curriculum design. For additional information and registration, visit

UMW Professor Named Innovative Educator of the Year

Professor Teresa Coffman uses new technologies to teach her education graduate students. Teresa Coffman, University of Mary Washington professor of education, was recently named the 2014 Innovative Educator of the Year by the Virginia Society for Technology and Education. The VSTE created the award as a way to give recognition to teachers who implement and encourage “innovative educational practices –especially those that champion the smart integration of technology.” “Dr. Coffman consistently demonstrates her professional commitment to and passion for innovative teaching that is grounded in compelling research,” said Mary Gendernalik-Cooper, dean of the College of Education. “She brings these qualities to bear with her students in ways that encourage them to think differently about who they are becoming as educators, and how their uses of technologies will shape transformational learning experiences for their own students.” 11-2014-Intern-Google-Glass-(3) Coffman’s areas of expertise and scholarly research include educational theory, pedagogy, technology in instruction, and teacher preparation. She is also the author of “Using Inquiry in the Classroom: Developing Creative Thinkers and Information Literate Students” and “Engaging Students through Inquiry-oriented Learning and Technology.” Coffman’s most recent venture into technology is researching how Google glass can be utilized in the classroom. “I’m examining how we can improve upon our practice as educators and learners by using technology,” said Coffman. She explains how asking questions in class quickly escalates with the curiosity of students and the technology is so easy that students say, “OK glass, tell me how this works.” Coffman sees the future of education integrated with technology, “Teaching needs to be more transformational. We need to extend beyond the creativity into innovative thought that can help us solve real world problems.”

College of Education Co-Hosts Kindergarten Transition Conference

The University of Mary Washington College of Education, Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area and Germanna Community College came together Saturday, Nov. 8 to host the inaugural Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area Kindergarten Transition Conference.

Early childhood educators, caregivers, kindergarten teachers and school administrators participated in the event with the theme “Peek-A-Who,” which focused on cultural diversity, self-reflection and enhancing school-family-community partnerships.

The event featured a keynote presentation by Ken Smythe-Leistico from the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development. He is a nationally recognized early childhood education expert on transition best practices and developed the “Ready Freddy” program, which is being used by Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area.


Gardner Presents at Conferences

Roberta Gardner, assistant professor in the College of Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction, presented a paper, “Moving from Essence to Tentative Manifestations in Post-Intentional Phenomenology,” at the International Congress of Qualitative Research held at the University of Illinois May 21-24.

Gardner also presented research at the International Reading Association Conference May 11 in New Orleans, La. Her research presentation at IRA highlighted the socio-cultural dimensions of race, place, class, and gender as lived experience variables that inform and animate the literate lives of children. Gardner’s literacy research employing lived experience methodology is highlighted in the recently released book Crafting Phenomenological Research (Vagle, 2014).


Educator-in-Residence Talks Leadership with Graduates

Martha Abbott ’72 believes that teachers are leaders who make an impact in the world. “[Leaders] take people to a place where they couldn’t have gone without them…and that’s exactly what teachers do,” said Abbott, executive director for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. She spoke at the fourth annual Educator-in-Residence event at the University of Mary Washington on Saturday, April 26. Martha Abbott '72, the 2014 Educator-in-Residence, shows attendees the beanie she wore as a student at UMW. Abbott earned her B.A. in Spanish with a minor in Latin from the University of Mary Washington and spent 32 years in education before joining the nonprofit sector. She also holds a master’s degree in Spanish linguistics from Georgetown University and was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2004 by UMW. She gave graduates advice on impacting student’s lives and how to find success in a teaching career. “You need to have the fundamental attitude that all kids can learn,” said Abbott. “They have to feel that you think that they can learn.” She also urged graduates to be open to new and innovative ways to teach in the classroom and to stay out of the teacher’s lounge. “Teacher impact: it’s what we do,” said Abbott. “When someone asks, ‘what do you do?’ You can say, ‘I make a difference: I teach.’” Laura Gomez (left) received the Barbara Bishop Mann (right) Award. Olivia Costello received the Outstanding Master of Education Student Award. The daylong event at the Stafford campus also featured graduate presentations that included such topics as using virtual zoo webcams to teach science, employing cameras to teach English language learners and utilizing visual arts to bolster story recall and comprehension. The day ended with a number of College of Education awards. Students Anne Roberts and Merilee Grubb received the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International Virginia Scholars Awards; Laura Gomez received the Barbara Bishop Mann Award; and Olivia Costello received the Outstanding Master of Education Student Award.

COE Faculty Present at AERA Conference

Janine Davis, Courtney Clayton, and John Broome, all assistant professors in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, presented their research at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association on “The Power of Educational Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy” in Philadelphia on April 6, 2014.  Their study investigates the ways that action research impacts professional identity among preservice teachers.

AERA is concerned with improving the educational process by encouraging scholarly inquiry related to education and evaluation and by promoting the dissemination and practical application of research results. AERA is the most prominent international professional organization for educational researchers, with the primary goal of advancing educational research and its practical application. Its more than 25,000 members are educators; administrators; directors of research; persons working with testing or evaluation in federal, state and local agencies; counselors; evaluators; graduate students; and behavioral scientists.

Education Students Share Research and Hear from Expert, April 26

Marty Abbott ‘72, executive director for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), will serve as the keynote speaker at the University of Mary Washington’s fourth annual Educator-In-Residence event on Saturday, April 26. Abbott will speak at 12:45 p.m. at the north building of UMW’s Stafford campus. martyabbott (2)Prior to the lecture, graduating students from the College of Education will present their research projects from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Abbott’s speech will be followed by recognition of the College of Education graduates at 1:20 p.m. The lecture and presentations are free and open to the public. The recipient of UMW’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2004, Abbott began her career in Fairfax County Public Schools as a language teacher, foreign language coordinator and director of high school instruction. She currently leads ACTFL’s national public awareness campaign, “Lead with Languages!” which will launch in 2014. Abbott has held many roles in national organizations, including president of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, chair of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and President of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia. Her work helped develop student standards, beginning teacher standards and performance assessments in foreign languages. Abbott received her bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in Latin from Mary Washington and a master’s degree in Spanish linguistics from Georgetown University. For a full list of student presentations, visit