January 25, 2020

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.

Jepson Science Center Renovation Revs Up Student Research

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Lynne Richardson: And the Metzger Goes To …

The sand pail and shovel in Lynne Richardson’s office remind her of the challenges she faced with her team as inaugural dean of the University of Mary Washington’s College of Business (COB).

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson won the Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award at today's 26th annual Women's Leadership Colloquium @ UMW. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson won the Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award at today’s 26th annual Women’s Leadership Colloquium @ UMW. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

“Each faculty and staff member received one to remind us that we couldn’t achieve our big goals until we learned to play well in the sand box together,” she said. “And we have!”

Richardson was honored in part for those efforts this morning, when she received the Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award – to a standing ovation – at the Leadership Colloquium for Professional Women. Given each year, the honor goes to someone who has demonstrated leadership in her field, personal and professional integrity, and commitment to community service.

Richardson’s accomplishments put her “far above and beyond these basic criteria by mentoring, teaching, supporting, publishing and leading …” said last year’s Metzger-winner, Central Rappahannock Regional Library Director Martha Hutzel, who presented the award. “She holds a leadership position in a male dominated field.”

As coordinator of the Colloquium and a pinch-hitter for a seminar presenter who suffered a last-minute family emergency, Richardson emceed the event and even introduced Hutzel. The recipient of an unprecedented 19 Metzger nominations, Richardson had no prior knowledge that she had won the award.

After serving as dean at Mississippi State and Ball State universities, Richardson came to UMW eight years ago to, among other things, merge the business programs on the Stafford and Fredericksburg campuses. She got down to brass tacks, laying the groundwork for the COB to earn its prestigious AACSB International accreditation last year. Mary Washington also recently ranked fourth on a list of Best Colleges in Virginia for Business Majors.

What sets UMW’s business school apart from others, she said, is the personalized attention faculty give students, opportunities for applied learning projects and the University’s strong relationship with local businesses.

“External recognitions always benefit us,” said Richardson, who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama and also teaches marketing at UMW. She also has “They’re validations that the work we’re doing is exemplary.”

She should know. She also received last year’s Patricia M. Flynn Distinguished Woman in Business Education Award for thought leadership. And through her weekly newspaper columns, community service and solid advice, she shares that wisdom.

“Be confident in your abilities and speak up,” she tells students. “You can do anything you decide to do.”

Q: Where do you draw inspiration for your Free Lance-Star columns?
A: My answer is always the same whenever I’m asked that – I just talk to people about their workplaces! I often get emails and handwritten letters from readers who say they feel like they know me before even meeting me because of the column.

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
A: They are one and the same – completing the long journey that earned us AACSB accreditation. It was a team sport, but someone had to be the coach … and that was me.

Q: What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
A: I was the official scorer for the University of North Alabama baseball team in 1984-85.

Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: My husband and I are empty nesters, so we attend many UMW athletics events. I’m also a voracious reader.

Q: Have you read any good books recently?
A: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is one of the most complex and surprising books I’ve read in years.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: If it is to be, it’s up to me!

Actors Split Role in UMW Musical ‘Fun Home’

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Andréa Smith: Tombstone Teacher

Fredericksburg is home to many historic landmarks, but graveyards may not immediately come to mind. The St. George’s, Masonic, Confederate and City cemeteries are all within walking distance of Mary Washington. Nearby is Shiloh, a historic burial ground for the City’s three sister African American congregations, as well as Fredericksburg National Cemetery, final resting place for more than 15,000 Union soldiers.

Professor of Historic Preservation Andrea Livi Smith

Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Andrea Livi Smith. Photo by Matthew Sanders.

All those ghost stories and headstones are enough to frighten some, but Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Andréa Livi Smith’s students sign up for a semester full of them.

When her Historic Fredericksburg Foundation cemetery tours drew crowds a couple years ago, Smith decided to offer her students the chance to explore these haunts for themselves. Now in her second semester teaching the 400-level historic preservation course “Graves and Burial Grounds,” Smith is still amazed by the waitlist that crops up for the class.

She believes burial sites say lots about the lives of the dead, and her students’ final projects – including the documentation of concrete graves in Fredericksburg, a brochure of a local family cemetery and headstones sculpted in 18th-century designs – reflect that notion.

Hired in 2008, Smith landed her “dream job,” she said, since UMW’s program is revered in historic preservation circles. Her days are spent like any other professor’s, with plenty of teaching, grading and advising. But Smith’s particular gig scares up some additional duties, like surveying historic houses and photographing gravestones.

Now that’s spooky.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Helping students discover their passion. I’ve never had someone come to UMW saying they desperately want to become a preservation planner. But some realize they love it and subsequently go into that career. Knowing I played a part in that discovery is an incredible feeling.

Q: The most challenging?
A: Balancing all that needs to get done. Also, getting enough sleep.

Q: What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?
A: I once challenged myself to quote The Princess Bride in every class until someone called me on it. No one ever did, so I kept it up all semester long.

Q: What in your office is meaningful to you?
A: I have a lot of LEGOs, including a mausoleum designed by a student who took the Graves course.

Q: What’s your favorite burial site?
A: I love the “Woodmen of the World” tombstones, which all look like logs or tree trunks. Woodmen was – and still is – an insurance company that used to provide gravestones for their members; apparently it was great advertising.

Q: People are often superstitious or scared of cemeteries and burial sites, especially at Halloween. What would you say to help quell their fears?
A: In the 19th century, there were no public parks, so people went to cemeteries to enjoy the outdoors. Just imagine families picnicking and children playing tag among the gravestones. Or is that even more spooky?

Dynamic Decade: Women’s and Gender Studies Program Turns 10

Six years after graduating from the University of Mary Washington, Sam Carter ’14 still draws daily on some of the lessons she learned as an undergrad. “Everyone has a different cultural experience,” said Carter, a Women’s and Gender Studies major who’s now a digital director for the House Budget Committee majority staff. “It’s important that […]