October 26, 2020

Podcasts on UMW Activism Spell ‘Good Trouble’ for Students

As part of this year’s Common Experience, first-year students are listening to “Good Trouble: UMW,” an 18-episode podcast that chronicles the long history of student activism at Mary Washington. Logo by Peter Morelewicz at Print Jazz.

As part of this year’s Common Experience, first-year students are listening to “Good Trouble: UMW,” an 18-episode podcast that chronicles the long history of student activism at Mary Washington. Logo by Peter Morelewicz at Print Jazz.

Eliza Vegas marched in her first protest this summer for Black Lives Matter. The University of Mary Washington is inspiring her to do more.

“An overwhelming sense of home and community brought me here,” said Vegas, a Mary Washington first-year student who learned of the University’s long history of student activism when she listened to a new podcast on the topic. “Now I have a deeper appreciation for my new school.”

Since 2015, incoming students have read and discussed written works with the UMW community as part of the Common Experience. This year, instead of a book, they’re exploring four timely and topical podcasts about COVID-19 and civil rights, connecting events of the past to the present. They’re also listening to “Good Trouble: UMW,” a new podcast named for the late Congressman John Lewis’ lifelong philosophy, which he shared in his 2011 Commencement address at Mary Washington.

The 18-episode podcast series chronicles Mary Washington student activism throughout the decades, relating back to Lewis’ directive to get in “good trouble, necessary trouble.” Read more.

Podcasts on UMW Activism Spell ‘Good Trouble’ for Students

Eliza Vegas marched in her first protest this summer for Black Lives Matter. The University of Mary Washington is inspiring her to do more. “An overwhelming sense of home and community brought me here,” said Vegas, a Mary Washington first-year student who learned of the University’s long history of student activism when she listened to […]

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.

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.

Professors Pool Expertise to Create ‘Compelling 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 […]

Common Read 2020 – Civility and Political Action – seeking nominations

Dear UMW Community:

The UMW Common Read is one of the first experiences for incoming first-year students to interact with members of the greater UMW Community. The Common Read is both an academic and social experience where incoming students have the opportunity to engage critically with each other, returning students, faculty, staff, and community members. The Common Read Committee has selected Civility and Political Action as the theme for the 2020 Common Read.

As President Paino mentioned a few weeks ago, “2020 will be a particularly significant year” both for our campus and nationally. We are soliciting suggestions from the UMW community that will embody the Farmer Legacy 2020 and our commitment to our Community Values (ASPIRE). Please review the tips below and nominate your selection(s) by Tuesday, November 5, 2019.

Here are a few tips as you consider your nomination(s):

  • Non-partisan
  • Multi-disciplinary perspectives
  • Appropriate level for first-year students
  • Relevant to today
  • Likely to generate rich discussions
  • Not limited to texts – common experiences, music, videos, podcasts, or hybrid experiences can be nominated as well
  • 2020 milestones:

o   the 100th anniversary of Dr. James Farmer’s birth

o   the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment ratification (women’s suffrage)

o   the 30th anniversary of the James Farmer Multicultural Center

o   the 30th year of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

o   the 10th anniversary of UMW’s Women’s and Gender Studies program

o   National election in November

  • Past UMW Common Read works:

o   The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

o   Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County by Kristen Green

o   Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

o   Dear Evan Hansen (musical) by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Steven Levenson

o   Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

For questions about UMW Common Read, please contact April Wynn, Faculty Director of the First Year Experience at awynn@umw.edu.

 

Thank You to the Co-Facilitators of the Common Read 2019!

Book cover of Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

The Common Read Committee would like to extend a big thank you to this year’s Common Read discussion facilitators! The Common Read couldn’t have happened without your time, effort, and willingness to engage over 900 incoming Eagles! Sixty-four freshman seminar sections discussed Tara Westover’s Educated: A Memoir, facilitated by approximately 140 upper-class students, faculty, staff, and members of the UMW community. As the first academic experience, first-year students had a voice in the discussion of themes in the book, including family, class, gender expression, and education (of course!). We are deeply grateful to everyone who made this a successful campus-wide discussion!

Join the Discussion – Become a 2019 Common Read Facilitator

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.

The UMW Common Read is one of the first experiences for incoming first-year students to interact with members of the greater UMW Community. The Common Read is both an academic and social experience where incoming students have the opportunity to engage critically with each other, returning students, faculty, staff and community members. The 2019-2020 Common Read is Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. This book features a young woman who leaves all she knows in search of an education and how her identity is shaped by her own decisions and the actions of her family.

Please join the Common Read discussion with our incoming students on Friday, Aug. 23, at 9 a.m. First-year students will kick off their academic experiences in FSEM sections along with one or two community members. Question prompts and additional information will be provided in advance to help guide discussion. We hope that you will help shape the discussion as we welcome the 2019-2020 incoming students to UMW.

If you would like to volunteer to guide a discussion group as a co-facilitator, please indicate your interest and need for a copy of the book. Please let us know if you have any questions.

If the hyperlink above does not work please copy this address into your browser to volunteer: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfLemkstAR_HgZNFk53FACV6AmXaZhH4S84SXLMhIQbItjaHw/viewform.

For more information, contact April Wynn, Faculty Director of the First-Year Experience, at awynn@umw.edu.

Wynn Named Faculty Director of the First Year Experience

Dr. April Wynn has accepted the position of Faculty Director of the First Year Experience.  Dr. Wynn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the MWCF Herbarium Coordinator, having joined the UMW faculty in 2015.  She is the chair of the First-Year Seminar Committee and serves as a Faculty Fellow in the Office of Academic Services.

Dr. April Wynn was named Faculty Director of the First Year Experience at the University of Mary Washington.

Dr. April Wynn was named Faculty Director of the First Year Experience.

She received her Ph.D. in Genetics from North Carolina State University (2013) and has an M.S. in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from Texas A&M University (2006), and a B.S. in Natural Science from McMurry University (2004). Previously, she served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Dr. Wynn’s passion for working with First-Year students has been a consistent thread throughout her career and professional development. Prior to her graduate work in genetics, she served as a first-year student Resident Hall Director at Boston College, where she oversaw the Honors Living Learning Community. Preceding that, she oversaw the Peer Diversity Educators and trained and supervised Resident Assistants at Texas A&M University.

In this position, Dr. Wynn will work closely with the faculty, deans, and department chairs, as well as the Offices of Residence Life, Academic Services, Orientation, and Student Involvement as UMW strives to institutionalize and sustain elements of the Quality Enhancement Plan, and further develop the experiences of our first-year students.

 

Wynn Publishes Work on Student Misconceptions about Plants

Assistant Professor of Biology April Wynn and colleagues had a recent paper published in the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education. The paper is a meta-analysis of the misconceptions that students of all levels hold about plants biology. The goal of this work is to be a resource for instructors to identify misconceptions in order to focus on enriching the education in these areas of plant biology.

http://www.asmscience.org/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v18i1.1253