August 15, 2020

President Paino’s All-University Address

The following message is from the Office of the President.

As is his tradition, President Paino will launch the upcoming semester with an all-University address on Monday, August 17, from 9 to 10 a.m. This session, however, will not be in Dodd Auditorium; it will be via your computer screen. Please plan to access the live address via Zoom or YouTube. Neither platform requires registration, and the YouTube recording will be available afterward for those unable to join Monday morning.

Crawley Announces Creation of Scholarship Honoring Jack Bales

Jack Bales at the celebration held by the University of Mary Washington in honor of his new book. Photo Credit: Erin Wysong.

Jack Bales at the celebration held by the University of Mary Washington in honor of his new book. Photo Credit: Erin Wysong.

A message from Bill Crawley.

When classes resume at UMW for the fall semester, things will not be the same — and not just because of the COVID-19 restrictions. Something will be missing – or, more accurately, someBODY will be missing. Jack Bales. Yes, difficult as it is to imagine the University without Jack, he has, in fact, embarked upon a richly merited retirement, effective at the end of last month.

I am sure that you will agree with me that the extent and quality of Jack’s contributions over the past 40 years are unparalleled – both to our students in their research and to us as faculty in our courses.  Many are the students whom I have heard say, “I would never have graduated without Mr. Bales” – or words to that effect. Many of them, I suspect, are not exaggerating, such was the attention and professional care he offered to any student who came knocking at his (always open) door.

To honor Jack for his exemplary service, a scholarship is being established in his name, which seems an altogether appropriate means of perpetuating his legacy of service to students. Activation of the award will require total donations of at least $25,000 – a goal to which I believe many of you would like to contribute as acknowledgement of the help he has given through the years.

To begin the process, my wife and I are donating $5,000, and we respectfully request that you consider joining us in whatever amount you wish. You may make your contribution at:

http://umw.edu/onlinegiving

Every donation will help to achieve our goal, which will serve as an appropriate tribute to this wonderful friend of the University and its students.

Great Presidential Lives: Announcing a New Online Mini-Series

With large in-person gatherings currently prohibited on campus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Lives program is offering a mini-series of videotaped lectures focusing on several notable Presidents — an approach that seems particularly appropriate in this presidential election year.

Each lecture will be delivered by UMW Professor Emeritus of History William B. Crawley, who is the founding director of the Great Lives series. This year marks the completion of Professor Crawley’s 50 years on the Mary Washington faculty, during which he has won numerous awards for teaching excellence, focusing largely on political history.

All lectures will be pre-recorded and released on the dates listed below. They will remain posted throughout the series, after which they will be available in the Great Lives archives. Please refer to the schedule below and click on the media link to view the lecture.

Aug. 11 Thomas Jefferson: Paragon of Democracy or Racist Hypocrite?
Aug. 25 Theodore Roosevelt: The Patrician Progressive and the Bully Pulpit
Sep. 8 Woodrow Wilson: Self-Righteous Idealist or Far-Sighted Visionary?
Sep. 22 Franklin D. Roosevelt: Savior or Spoiler of American Democracy?
Oct. 6 Harry S. Truman: The Accidental President and the Triumph of True Grit
Oct. 20 John F. Kennedy: “Camelot” and the Question of Style vs. Substance

 

UMW Alumna Lands National VP Position to Support Teachers

Princess Moss, who graduated from Mary Washington in 1983, was named vice president of the National Education Association last week. Moss, who credits her success in part to leadership skills she gained in college, has served as NEA secretary-treasurer since 2014. Photo courtesy of NEA.

Princess Moss, who graduated from Mary Washington in 1983, was named vice president of the National Education Association last week. Moss, who credits her success in part to leadership skills she gained in college, has served as NEA secretary-treasurer since 2014. Photo courtesy of NEA.

A position Princess Moss won last week with the National Education Association (NEA) will give her a larger voice for teachers and students throughout the country. A 1983 Mary Washington graduate, Moss will trade her current post as secretary-treasurer of the nation’s largest professional organization, representing three million educators, to become vice president.

She was a Mary Washington music major when she began her nearly four decades of service with NEA, becoming a student member of the affiliated Virginia Education Association (VEA), of which she later served two terms as president. With the COVID-19 crisis further exposing inequities in public schools, Moss wants teachers to know that, in her new role announced last week, she will work to provide safe learning spaces for all, and that she stands with them.

She’s been there, having spent 21 years in the classroom as a public school elementary music teacher. Along the way, she’s held influential positions, supporting the NEA’s mission to ensure students receive well-rounded educations and advocating for the arts in schools. Moss credits her success, at least in part, to her undergraduate career, which gave her strong leadership and communication skills, she told University of Mary Washington Magazine in 2014. Read more.

Alum Skyrockets in Career as NASA Videographer

Paul Morris, who received a bachelor’s degree in theatre from UMW in 2010, is now a video producer for NASA. A documentary he created for the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope has garnered more than 400,000 views on social media. Photo courtesy of Paul Morris.

Paul Morris, who received a bachelor’s degree in theatre from UMW in 2010, is now a video producer for NASA. A documentary he created for the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope has garnered more than 400,000 views on social media. Photo courtesy of Paul Morris.

Paul Morris ’10 grew up recording epic space battles on stop-action film. He’d pose and re-pose Star Wars figures, capturing them with a Sony Super 8 camera that kept conking out.

Now a video producer for NASA, Morris’s outer-space odysseys are a bit more high-tech. A documentary he created – from conception to final cut – for this spring’s 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, went into orbit on social media. With a theatre degree he didn’t know existed when he got to college – and the teamwork and storytelling skills that came with it – Morris turned his innate fascination with all things galactic into a soaring career.

“It’s been an absolute dream,” he said. “I’ve always been obsessed with space and with NASA.”

UMW, too, was ingrained in Morris, whose grandparents Marceline Weatherly Morris ’50 and Elmer “Juney” Morris Jr. ’50, married seven decades this month, began their courtship at Mary Washington. Paul Morris took a cue from the couple, meeting fellow theatre major Cassie Lewis ’11 on campus and marrying her beneath a magnolia tree in his Nana’s backyard. Read more.

Professors Pool Resources to Focus on ‘Compelling Courses’

Assistant Professor of Biology April Wynn is among the dozens of UMW professors participating this summer in Compelling Courses, a faculty learning community to help instructors design engaging courses.

Assistant Professor of Biology April Wynn is among the dozens of UMW professors participating this summer in Compelling Courses, a faculty learning community to help instructors design engaging courses.

To teach mitosis, April Wynn has students in her class act out the process, portraying chromosomes that divide into nuclei. The assistant professor of biological sciences hopes to replicate lively exercises like this – but virtually – in the fall.

“My goal is to promote the same level of engagement, energy and enthusiasm in an online space,” said Wynn, who, as faculty director of the University of Mary Washington’s First-Year Experience, is helping other instructors do the same for their classes.

Professors often spend their breaks on scholarly research, but Wynn is among dozens of UMW faculty members who went back to school this summer. Through a new faculty learning community called Compelling Courses, representatives from nearly every academic department have been teaching each other how to deliver dynamic online lessons and incorporate the best of the UMW experience into distance learning.

In March of this year, UMW professors – the majority of whom had never taught online – abruptly had to shift to a new method of teaching. The succeeding months have given these instructors time to tinker with and tweak tools so that they are fully prepared to teach virtually if necessary. Many, like Wynn, have found that this modality can even offer benefits.

“We believe teaching can be excellent regardless of medium,” said Professor of Economics Steve Greenlaw, who launched the group with Professor of Communication Anand Rao. “It all depends on how you design the course.” Read more.

Read ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ with UMW Book Club

Looking for a way to stay connected to other alumni? We are beginning the next round of reading in our online literary group–the Mother of All Book Clubs!

Alumni read and discuss via a private Facebook group, so only approved members can see posts or participate in the discussion. This is informal and low-pressure–read along with us and chime in on the discussion as much or as little as you like.

Our next selection is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman whose cells were removed and then cultured without her permission during cancer treatment in the 1950s. In the decades since–and still today–her cells have been reproduced and used in 60,000 medical research studies all over the world. Lacks’ cells have benefited global society immeasurably.

From a review in The New York Times: “…Rebecca Skloot introduces us to the ‘real live woman,’ the children who survived her, and the interplay of race, poverty, science, and one of the most important medical discoveries of the last 100 years. Skloot narrates the science lucidly, tracks the racial politics of medicine thoughtfully, and tells the Lacks family’s often painful history with grace. She also confronts the spookiness of the cells themselves, intrepidly crossing into the spiritual plane on which the family has come to understand their mother’s continued presence in the world. Science writing is often just about ‘the facts.’ ­Skloot’s book, her first, is far deeper, braver and more wonderful.”

Pick up a copy of the book and start reading–we will begin posting discussion questions on Monday, August 24. You might have a small-business bookseller you like to support, or you might want to try your local library system, some of which even offer ebooks. But if you need the book shipped, below are some links to larger online providers.

We look forward to reading with you!

 

All the best,

The Alumni Relations Team

 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Target

James Farmer Multicultural Center Thanks #UMWRun4Justice Participants

The James Farmer Multicultural Center thanks everyone who participated in the Virtual #UMWRun4Justice 5K this past weekend, especially UMW Women’s Lacrosse and Coach Maddie Taghon, Women of Color, and the Black Student Association, as well Alumni Relations for help with spreading the word. The event raised $2900 that will be used in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice initiatives at UMW. The desire is to create opportunities to help open conversations and develop a more inclusive campus. Please enjoy the video below of JFMC Director Marion Sanford thanking participants.

 

 

UMW, Germanna, Stafford Schools Strive to Ease Teacher Shortage

A new agreement between the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools gives students who want to become teachers the opportunity to secure college credits while still in high school. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

A new agreement between the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools gives students who want to become teachers the opportunity to secure college credits while still in high school. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

The University of Mary Washington has signed an agreement with Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools to make it easier for local students to become educators and help ease the state’s teacher shortage.

Streamlining the path from high school to college, the memorandum of understanding, signed last month by UMW President Troy Paino and Germanna President Janet Gullickson, was finalized last week with the signature of Stafford County Schools Superintendent Scott Kizner.

The agreement creates dual enrollment and workforce programs to pave the way for future educators, offering pathways in education and early childhood education to participants in Stafford Schools’ Teachers for Tomorrow (TfT) initiative. The state-recognized high school curriculum has been lauded as a successful “grow your own” teacher program. UMW holds a similar partnership with Spotsylvania County Public Schools, said UMW College of Education (COE) Dean Pete Kelly.

“As a COE at a public university, we have a responsibility to help address the chronic teacher shortage in our area schools and in Virginia,” Kelly said. “We worked together to align coursework and curriculum to ensure students have the learning experiences they need to be successful in the COE at UMW, and in their work as teachers after graduation. We also worked to make sure students get credit for the courses they take.” Read more.

UMW Chooses New Name for Building: James Farmer Hall

The University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors today voted to change the name of Trinkle Hall to James Farmer Hall. With this action, the Board memorialized a beloved member of the Mary Washington community who spent most of his career fighting injustices.

University of Mary Washington’s Board of Visitors voted to change the name of Trinkle Hall to James Farmer Hall. Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., one of the “Big Six” leaders of the civil rights movement, spent his final years as a professor of history at Mary Washington. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

University of Mary Washington’s Board of Visitors voted to change the name of Trinkle Hall to James Farmer Hall. Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., one of the “Big Six” leaders of the civil rights movement, spent his final years as a professor of history at Mary Washington. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

“I commend the action of the Board today,” said Rector Heather Crislip. “We are talking about one of the most beautiful and iconic buildings on campus, and its name should reflect our community and our values.”

The vote to change the name of this building comes at a pivotal time in our nation’s history. Today’s action was precipitated by the exhaustive work of UMW’s Campus Environment Presidential Ad Hoc Committee. That group was charged in 2017 with evaluating campus art, monuments, and other representations of the University’s history and community in order to ensure that Mary Washington is a welcoming environment for all.

In its subsequent 74-page report presented to the Board in November 2019, the committee’s research revealed that certain works of art and artifacts present a one-dimensional interpretation of UMW’s history. The Board unanimously voted to endorse all 17 of the committee’s recommendations for addressing the issues, with the greatest urgency placed upon identifying a new name for Trinkle Hall, named for a former governor of Virginia who was an active proponent of eugenics and segregation. The board further directed that the new name provide an opportunity for celebration, positive growth, and affirmative identity of the campus.

Earlier this year, a Naming Committee of UMW alumni, faculty, staff, and students solicited nominations for consideration. The committee then narrowed the field by tallying the top five nominees, surveyed the community regarding these nominees, and conveyed the results to President Troy Paino, who voiced his support of the committee’s recommendation to the Board. Read more.