June 21, 2018

Volunteers and Video Submissions Needed for Common Experience

We’re looking for volunteers and video submissions for UMW’s 2018-2019 Common Experience, Dear Evan Hansen and the accompanying soundtrack.

The Common Experience is one of the first opportunities to engage incoming students with the rest of the UMW community;  this shared intellectual experience can promote critical exchange of ideas and create a sense of community, and we’re looking for volunteers.

We hope you will join the discussion from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on August 24.  First-year students from the same FSEM course will discuss the book with one or two faculty, staff, administrators, or upper class students.  We will provide questions and supporting information in advance to help guide the discussions.

If you would like to volunteer to co-facilitate a discussion group, please indicate your interest on the following Google form https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1dpPN3gDNSfRPv5sdNrZIRhuMcZobG-jSP23QJ49rINQ/edit?ts=5ad8aae3.  If you have any questions about the discussions, please contact Kelli Slunt, kslunt@umw.edu.

We would also would like to create a video of UMW community members singing “You Will be Found” from the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack.  Piano accompaniment for your recording is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wfaBzHd5QA.  A copy of the sheet music can be found at https://dearevanhansen.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/You_Will_Be_Found_Vocals.pdf.

We still need video footage to make this project a reality.  We are going for the virtual choir effect and individuals or groups can submit either the complete piece or excerpts from the song.  If you are interested in providing footage, please contact Anand Rao, arao@umw.edu.

Featuring a high school student with a social anxiety disorder who struggles to make social connections, Dear Evan Hansen is a 2015 stage musical with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and a book written by Steven Levenson.

The musical premiered in Washington, D.C. in 2015 and opened on Broadway in 2016. Dear Evan Hansen’s original Broadway cast recording entered the Billboard 200 at number eight in February 2017.

Thank you in advance for your support of the 2018-19 UMW Common Experience.

Rao Elected President of Faculty Senate of Virginia

P. Anand Rao, associate professor of communication and Director of the Speaking Intensive Program, represented the University of Mary Washington at the Faculty Senate of Virginia’s meeting at Longwood University on April 16. At that session, he was elected President of the FSVA for next year. This group includes representatives from the faculty senates and councils of schools across Virginia, including public, private, four- and two-year institutions.

Rao Publishes Piece in Communication Center Journal

P. Anand Rao, associate professor of communication and director of Speaking Intensive Program, recently co-authored with three colleagues at different institutions the piece “Strategies for Assessment in Communication Centers: Perspectives from Across the Field,” which was published in the new Communication Center Journalhttp://commcenters.org/content/05-journal/communication-center-journal-vol-1.pdf 

UMW to Host 2015 NACC Conference

The University of Mary Washington will host the 2015 National Association of Communication Centers Conference on April 17-18, giving professionals across the country the opportunity to share in research and discussion about communications centers.   Information and Technology Convergence Center The two-day session will take place at UMW’s  Information and Technology Convergence Center. The NACC conference, now in its 14th year, focuses on management and utilization of communication centers. The conference will feature more than 90 presenters from 25 different colleges and universities. More than 100 are expected to attend, including faculty, staff, and student consultants from communication centers. With the theme “Come Together at the Center,” keynote speaker Lauren Bell will discuss how communication centers can interact with other academic services and give tips on how to improve communication centers for students. Bell is a political science professor and dean of academic affairs at Randolph-Macon College. The conference will be a win-win for UMW and other colleges, according to Anand Rao, associate professor of communication, director of UMW’s Speaking Intensive Program and the Speaking Center, and planner for the 2015 conference. “Hosting the conference is a wonderful opportunity for the UMW Speaking Center consultants to engage and learn from colleagues from across the country,” said Rao. Registration information, directions and hotel reservations can be found on the conference website. For additional questions about the conference, contact Rao at arao@umw.edu.

Rao Presents at Assessment Institute

P. Anand Rao, associate professor of Communication and director of the Speaking Intensive Program and the Speaking Center, presented at the Assessment Institute conference in Indianapolis from Oct. 19-21 on using technology to assess oral communication skills. He discussed how UMW designed and conducted an assessment of oral communication skills over the last decade and provided guidance on best practices for assessment, including tips for using online tools for speech assessment.

Separation Anxiety (The Health Journals.Com) (Anand Rao)

Rao Presents at Summit

P. Anand Rao, associate professor of communication and director of the Speaking Intensive Program and the Speaking Center, presented as an invited speaker at the Future of Health Technology Institute’s Summit on May 5, 2014. The meeting was held at MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. The Future of Health Technology Institute is an MIT think tank that supports research on health care developments. Rao’s talk was titled “Persuasive Health Communications” and was on a program that included researchers and speakers from MIT’s Media Lab, the Whitehead Institute, and Harvard Medical School.

Rao Presents at National Association of Communication Centers Conference

Anand Rao, Associate Professor of Communication and Director of the Speaking Intensive Program and the Speaking Center, gave two presentations at the National Association of Communication Centers conference at Arizona State University-West on Friday, April 11, 2014. The first was on “Assessment Best Practices,” and the second was on “Negotiating Identity and Place at Institutions without Communication Majors.”

Local High Schools Participate in UMW Workshop

Public-Speaking-WorkshopThe Speaking Center and the Office of Admissions co-sponsored the Public Speaking  and Advocacy Workshop Feb. 1, 2014. The workshop included instruction on effective speaking, delivery skills, handling communication apprehension, and advocacy, given by Anand Rao and Tim O’Donnell. Students gave a three to five minute speech that they prepared in advance, and also participated in a town hall debate. Speaking center consultants observed those speeches and debates and provided feedback to the students. A total of 20 students participated, including students from Colonial Forge High School, Mountain View High School, Stafford High School, Spotsylvania High School, Riverbend High School, and the Fredericksburg home school speech and debate club. You can find more information about the workshop at: http://academics.umw.edu/speaking/speaking-intensive-program/public-speaking-advocacy-workshop-feb-1-2014/

UMW’s Speaking Center Achieves National Certification

The University of Mary Washington’s Speaking Center recently received certification from the National Association of Communication Centers, making UMW one of only eight certified communication centers in the country. UMW Speaking Center staff (left to right): Mariah Young, Russell Michelson (lead consultant), Cate Stackhouse, Michael Friedmann, Abbie Yirrah (lead consultant), Alex Obolensky, Danielle DeVille, Jerome Mueller, Catie LeBouton, Ray Celeste Tanner, Kailey Krystyniak, Madison Thorpe, Erin Raderstorf, Anand Rao (Speaking Center Director), Tom Pacheco (lead consultant) The certification is based on a review of the training program of the center’s tutors and consultants. At UMW, Speaking Center consultants are undergraduates who receive training to provide peer tutoring and consultations to fellow students. “The center’s training program was revamped this past fall and now provides broad support and communication training for new consultants,” said Anand Rao, associate professor of communication and director of the Speaking Center. “The center does more than just work on public speaking assignments – the center’s consultants run workshops and classroom presentations on a variety of communication topics, and work with individuals and groups of students on presentations, class discussions and interviews.” UMW’s Speaking Center was established nearly 20 years ago and has been housed in Combs Hall since 2002. The center will move to the new Information and Technology Convergence Center this summer. Last year, the center served more than 1,600 students through individual consultations, class visits and student workshops. For more information about the center, visit http://academics.umw.edu/speaking/speaking-center/ or contact Rao at (540) 654-1546.