January 27, 2021

Subramanian Published in Elle Magazine

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Sushma Subramanian, assistant professor of journalism in Communication and Digital Studies, wrote an essay for the October issue of Elle Magazine about what she learned about herself by joining massage school and how it relates to living through a pandemic. The story also promotes her forthcoming book “How to Feel: The Science and Meaning of Touch,” which recently received a positive review from Publishers Weekly.

Subramanian Published in The Atlantic

Assistant Professor of Journalism Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Journalism Sushma Subramanian

Sushma Subramanian, assistant professor of journalism in the Communication and Digital Studies Department has written a piece for The Atlantic about endangered pink river dolphins in Brazil. The story explores what the myths surrounding these dolphins can teach us about ourselves and is based on her travels in the Amazon. Read more.

Virginia Business Profile on UMW

Lee Hall

President Troy Paino, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger and Professor of Communication Anand Rao were interviewed for a Virginia Business profile on the University of Mary Washington entitled, “The Mother of Innovation.”

Don’t try to be something you’re not.

That’s one way to sum up the approach that Troy Paino has taken to guiding the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg since assuming the school’s presidency in July 2016.

“I knew as an outsider that Virginia had a crowded and competitive marketplace for higher education,” says Paino, who previously served as president of Missouri’s Truman State University. “I don’t think I fully appreciated it until I got here.” 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.

‘COVID-19 in Context’ Course Highlighted on Education Blog

UMW’s eight-week “COVID-19 in Context” course was highlighted in a post on Bryan Alexander’s blog, “Academia Next: The Futures of Higher Education.” The article primarily focused on private liberal arts institutions – singling out the University of Mary Washington as a public liberal arts university.

The University of Mary Washington – that unusual thing, a public liberal arts university – also taught/teaches a summer seminar on the pandemic. Topics include biology, policy, communication, elections, climate change, social justice, art, literature, chemistry, geography, history, and finance. Professors of communication and math facilitate. Read more.

Mellinger, Rao Interviewed by University Business

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger and Anand Rao, Professor of Communication and Director of the Speaking Intensive Program and Speaking Center at UMW, were recently interviewed by University Business about UMW’s new “COVID-19 in Context Course,” being taught over Zoom by over 40 faculty members to thousands of participants worldwide.

In just two days, enough professors from the University of Mary Washington agreed to donate their time to help launch a free coronavirus course in five weeks for students and the community this summer.

The popularity of the then-upcoming COVID-19 in Context online course, now still in session, rapidly grew after a faculty member was inspired by another school’s offering to pitch the idea to leaders at the Virginia public university. Soon, nearly 2,000 people enrolled in the free COVID-19 course, including more than 800 students. “It was a logistical nightmare,” says Keith Mellinger, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We had to ensure our more than 40 faculty members were on the same page and learn how to work with numerous departments that are typically not part of course development since we would be reaching such a large audience.” Read more.

 

Free UMW Course Turns COVID-19 Inside Out

Communications Professor and Chair Anand Rao, who is facilitating the eight-week “COVID-19 in Context” series with Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger, taught Monday’s course on how messaging about the pandemic impacts policies, along with Assistant Communications Professor Elizabeth Johnson-Young.

Communications Professor and Chair Anand Rao, who is facilitating the eight-week “COVID-19 in Context” series with Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger, taught Monday’s course on how messaging about the pandemic impacts policies, along with Assistant Communications Professor Elizabeth Johnson-Young.

Political leaders and health experts who communicate the impact of COVID-19 to the public are just like anyone else. Some hit the mark. Some don’t. Understandable terms, relatable ideas and the confident presentation of useful information are key to delivering a successful message, said UMW Professor of Communication Anand Rao.

And competent public discourse during pandemic-scale events, he said, can mean the difference between life and death.

The lesson, delivered Monday, was part of UMW’s COVID-19 in Context, a series of biweekly lectures that turn the virus holding the world captive inside out, examining everything from its economic impact to its influence on art. Created for current and incoming students who can receive academic credit, and offered for free to all, it’s quickly become UMW’s largest course ever. More than 1,900 registered participants are in 39 states, plus Washington, D.C., and countries across the globe, including Canada, England, France, Switzerland, Japan and Ghana.

“We have been floored by the response,” said Rao, who presented Monday’s course – “Communicating COVID-19: How We Talk About a Pandemic Changes What We Do” – with assistant professor Elizabeth Johnson-Young live via Zoom.

Nearly 40 faculty members from across the university – from fine arts and humanities to the sciences and social sciences – joined forces, along with guest speakers, agreeing to share their expertise on all facets of the pandemic. Beginning last week with a biological exploration of the virus and a look at how it affects public policy, 16 hourlong sessions take place on Mondays and Wednesdays through July 22. Read more.

Coronavirus Course Boasts Largest Enrollment In UMW History (Patch.com)

Rao Added to Virginia Education Work Group

Anand Rao, professor of communications and director of the Speaking Intensive program and Speaking Center

Anand Rao, professor of communications and director of the Speaking Intensive program and Speaking Center

Professor of Communication Anand Rao was recently added to the Virginia Education Work Group to help guide processes for safe, equitable reopening of schools. He is serving as the representative for the Faculty Senate of Virginia. You can find the Governor’s announcement here: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2020/may/headline-856846-en.html?fbclid=IwAR1VlsMzzuPSkST9uDp9_K10RppUvbdEiV-KNuyu4DKD5xkHW0ZFroaM5Yg

Rao Presents on Speech Anxious Students at National Communication Association Conference

Professor of Communication Anand Rao

Anand Rao, Professor of Communication, presented last Friday at the National Communication Association conference held in Baltimore, MD. The title of his presentation was “Helping Speech Anxious Students Survive and Thrive” and was part of a panel about speech apprehension and the basic course. In the presentation, he discussed what UMW has done to help address communication apprehension for first-year students at UMW through the FSEM, as well as the special sections of COMM 205: Public Speaking that he has offered for highly apprehensive students. Anand reports that the panel had a great turnout–approximately 35 in attendance–and a wonderful discussion after the panel.