October 26, 2020

UMW Presents Top Faculty Awards

The University of Mary Washington bestowed honors on several professors at the general faculty meeting on Monday.

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss received the 2020 Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award.

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss received the 2020 Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award.

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss received the 2020 Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award, presented by College of Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger.

Established in honor of 1952 alumna Shirley Van Epps Waple, the nomination-based award recognizes instructors who have made significant contributions to their scholarly or creative area of expertise. The recipient must be a full-time faculty member for at least seven years.

“Exemplifying the UMW teacher-scholar model,” Liss has coauthored published research with more than 40 students in her two decades at Mary Washington, presented at numerous professional conferences and written several books, Mellinger said. “In the words of her department chair, Liss’s ‘ongoing record of stellar and consistent professional activity places her in the very top tier of our talented faculty.’”

Professor of History and American Studies Allyson Poska received the J. Christopher “Topher” Bill Award.

Professor of History and American Studies Allyson Poska received the J. Christopher “Topher” Bill Award.

Professor of History and American Studies Allyson Poska received the J. Christopher “Topher” Bill Award for her contributions to the University and her involvement and leadership in the greater community. Since 2003, this award has been presented annually to a member of the full-time teaching faculty who has served at UMW for at least seven years and has a significant record of service accomplishments.

In her 28 years at Mary Washington, Poska has served on or chaired over 20 university committees, said Assistant Professor of Biology Parrish Waters, who presented the award.

She also helped establish UMW’s Women’s and Gender Studies major, serving as chair for six years. Poska “elevated the program’s stature through impactful speakers, a student research forum and making it an integral and essential part of the UMW experience,” Waters said.

In the community, Poska “brings a strong voice to advocate for those who may otherwise go unheard,” said Waters, citing her service to local organizations like Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault, Empowerhouse and the Fredericksburg Food Bank.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Stephen Davies earned the Grellet C. Simpson Award.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Stephen Davies earned the Grellet C. Simpson Award.

Several awards traditionally given at Commencement were also presented, with the exception of the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award, which will later be selected by the Class of 2020.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Stephen Davies earned the Grellet C. Simpson Award, the institution’s most prestigious honor for excellence in undergraduate teaching, given to a senior faculty member.

Known for “extremely challenging but exceptionally creative courses,” Davies creates materials and assignments tailored specifically for his students, said Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, who presented the annual award. He’s also authored three textbooks that have been adopted by other UMW instructors for their classes, she said.

“He treated my knowledge with respect and curiosity,” said one of Davies’ students, “driving home for me the important lesson that the most learned people always seek to expand their knowledge and are humble about whom they learn from.”

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences April Wynn received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences April Wynn received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences April Wynn received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, presented annually to an exceptional member of the faculty who has served the institution for at least two years but no more than five.

Praising Wynn’s empathy and enthusiasm as both a faculty member and director of UMW’s First-Year Experience, Andrew Dolby, University Faculty Council chair, presented the award to his colleague. “[Wynn] is thoughtful, diligent and meticulous in carrying out every service or obligation she agrees to take on,” Dolby said.

“She is a fantastic professor and a truly wonderful person,” said one of Wynn’s students. “Her classes are streamlined, organized and hyper-efficient – but boy, are they fun!”

John Burrow, a lecturer in the College of Business (COB), was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award, showcasing an exceptional full-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in graduate teaching and professional leadership in a graduate program. The person selected must have served in a full-time position at UMW for at least two years.

John Burrow, a lecturer in the College of Business, was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award.

College of Business Lecturer John Burrow was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award.

Presenting the award, COB Dean Lynne Richardson quoted a recent student, who said that “everyone respects and thinks highly of Burrow.”

At UMW, Burrow has established relationships with local organizations to provide real world challenges for his students, Richardson said. He also helped create a project management certificate and MBA opportunities for cohort classes at the Dahlgren Campus, she said, “extending the reach” and “enhancing the brand” of both UMW and COB.

Wild Encounters Prepared Alumna for Zoo Job

Cage diving with great white sharks. Swimming alongside humpback whales. Getting close to lions and leopards on an African safari. It sounds like a nature TV show, but it’s not. It’s how Nikki Maticic ’14 spent one summer break as a Mary Washington student. Now she cares for lions, tigers and Andean bears – oh, […]

Roseate spoonbill’s rare appearance in Fredericksburg has local birders swooning (The Free Lance-Star)

Geo Series: Are Birds Dinosaurs?

Dolby Joins Board

Andrew S. Dolby recently joined the Friends of the Rappahannock’s Executive Committee as a board member. Dolby currently works with FOR staff and volunteers to learn more about the birds living in or visiting our area through a research project on the Rappahannock River. Also, on June 3, Dolby will lead a 2-mile walk along the Rappahannock with the Fredericksburg Birding Club, a chapter of the Virginia Society of Ornithology, as part of the Rock the River event.

Biology Professors Present at National Conference

Deborah O’Dell and April Wynn presented a poster titled “Transforming the Biology Major Through Course Based Research” at the AAC&U/PKAL meeting “Transforming Undergraduate STEM Education” held Nov. 4-5 in Boston. The poster was co-authored by O’Dell and Wynn and Biology Professors Andrew Dolby, Lynn Lewis, Alan Griffith and Deborah Zies. The presentation described changes in the biology major that ensure that every biology student participates in authentic research before they graduate.

Dolby Receives Ornithology Award

Andrew Dolby, professor of biological sciences, was awarded the 2015 Eike Award for outstanding service to the Virginia Society of Ornithology (VSO).

Dolby became active with the VSO soon after arriving at Mary Washington. He served on the VSO’s Board of Directors from 2005 to 2008. Dolby then served as vice president from 2009 to 2011, as President from 2011 to 2013, and as Past President from 2013 to the summer of 2015. Dolby began making significant contributions to the VSO in 2004 when he served as Research Committee Chair and organized the Northern Neck Foray. Over the next four years he coordinated four additional forays: Russell and Wise Counties in 2005, Virginia State Park System in 2006, Northern Saw-whet Owls in 2007 and the Riparian Area Breeding Bird Foray in 2008 in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. His reports of the first four surveys can be found in “The Raven,” the journal of the VSO, and were presented to both the VSO and the Virginia Academy of Science annual meetings. Dolby also organized and managed two successful VSO Annual Meetings, including one in Fredericksburg in 2009. Dolby currently serves as editor of “The Raven.”

The award is named in honor of James Eike, a member of the VSO from 1933 until his death in 1983. Eike’s long, faithful service, his dedication, and his enthusiasm in promoting the work of the VSO gave him a unique status in the organization. Dolby will be recognized by the presentation of a silver Raven pin.

UMW Undergrads Get Chance to do Original Research (The Free Lance-Star)

Seeking Feathered Friends

For Andrew Dolby, a stressed-out bird is a big deal. Dolby, professor and chair of the biology department, is researching the stress response in birds, specifically, the Tufted Titmouse. During the spring semester he worked with three students to catch birds on UMW property and at sites in southern Stafford County. They took their measurements [...]

Andrew Dolby to Present “Bird Song: No Idle Chatter” at Belmont

AndrewBird Song: No Idle Chatter  

Sun, March 11, 2 p.m.
Illustrated Presentation
Dr. Andrew Dolby, University of Mary Washington Biology Department Chair and Virginia Society of Ornithology President will introduce the anatomy, physiology, and ecology of bird song and will explain the modern tools that biologists are using to decipher their hidden messages. Bird song may sound like nature’s pleasant background music to our ears, but for the birds, singing is serious business. The lecture will be held at Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont and is free for members of Friends of Belmont or included with regular museum admission.