April 14, 2021

Rao Pens Editorial on Gandhi for ‘Great Lives’ Lecture

Professor of Communication and Chair of the Department of Communication and Digital Studies Anand Rao

Professor of Communication and Chair of the Department of Communication and Digital Studies Anand Rao

Professor of Communication and Chair of the Department of Communication and Digital Studies Anand Rao penned an editorial on the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, in The Free Lance-Star in advance of his ‘Great Lives’ lecture on Thursday, March 11. The lecture can be watched here.

WHILE touring India in 1959, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Mani Bhavan, the house where Mahatma Gandhi had lived in Mumbai. It was in this home that Gandhi launched his Indian movement for truth and nonviolence, called satyagraha.

The home had been turned into a museum, and the upstairs room where Gandhi had slept still held his mattress and shoes. When King visited, he asked if he could spend the night in that room, saying, “I am not going anywhere else. I am going to stay here, because I am getting vibrations of Gandhi.”

The curators pulled two cots into the room, and Rev. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, spent the night next to Gandhi’s mattress. Soon after, King told All India Radio that he had decided to adopt Gandhi’s methods of civil disobedience as his own.

Gandhi’s philosophy of satyagraha inspired development of our own civil rights movement. Dr. King returned from his trip to India committed to employing a Gandhian strategy of nonviolence.

But Dr. King was not the only civil rights leader to follow Gandhi’s philosophy. While Dr. King was introduced to Gandhi and his practice of nonviolent protest in the late 1940s, James Farmer started following the teachings of Gandhi as early as 1940. Farmer employed the techniques and practice of satyagraha in the first civil rights sit-in in Chicago in 1942. Read more.

UMW Faculty Learning Community Publishes Online

Eleven UMW faculty from a variety of disciplines worked together in 2020 as the Advocacy, Deliberation, and Civic Engagement Learning Community. The group was led by Leslie Martin and Anand Rao, representing the Center for Community Engagement and the Speaking Intensive Program. The goal of the group was for the participants to work together to develop course materials that incorporate advocacy and deliberation activities to support civic learning in their courses. Modeled after a similar initiative at VCU, the UMW faculty learning community met through the Spring 2020 semester to study the ways that advocacy, deliberation, and debate, could be used in class, and the faculty then developed materials, including activities, assignments, and rubrics, for use in college classes. The materials were collected and were recently published online through UMW Eagle Scholar. The publication is titled “Supporting Advocacy, Deliberation, and Civic Learning in the Classroom,” and includes contributions from the following faculty: Leslie Martin (Sociology), Anand Rao (Communication), Adrienne Brovero (Communication, UMW Debate), Gonzalo Campos-Dintrans (Spanish, FSEM), Steve Greenlaw (Economics, FSEM), Pamela Grothe (Environmental Sciences), Jason Hayob-Matzke (Philosophy), Jodie Hayob-Matzke (Environmental Sciences), Christine Henry (Historic Preservation), Joseph Romero (Classics), and Andrea Livi Smith (Historic Preservation).

Subramanian on With Good Reason

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Sushma Subramanian, assistant professor of journalism, appeared on a special Valentine’s Day episode of With Good Reason to talk about her new book on the sense of touch, which was released this week  https://withgoodreasonradio.org/episode/my-pandemic-valentine/

Subramanian Published in Elle Magazine – “Your Husband Cheated. Should You Be Able to Sue His Mistress?”

Elle Magazine – Feb 4, 2021

Sushma Subramanian, assistant professor of journalism, published a story in Elle Magazine’s February issue covering a North Carolina case involving “alienation of affection,” a legal term used to describe the breakup of a marriage by a third party. It asks questions such as: Is marriage a contract just like any other, or is it mostly an emotional affair? Read more here:

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.