September 27, 2021

UMW Alumna Lands National VP Position to Support Teachers

Princess Moss, who graduated from Mary Washington in 1983, was named vice president of the National Education Association last week. Moss, who credits her success in part to leadership skills she gained in college, has served as NEA secretary-treasurer since 2014. Photo courtesy of NEA.

Princess Moss, who graduated from Mary Washington in 1983, was named vice president of the National Education Association last week. Moss, who credits her success in part to leadership skills she gained in college, has served as NEA secretary-treasurer since 2014. Photo courtesy of NEA.

A position Princess Moss won last week with the National Education Association (NEA) will give her a larger voice for teachers and students throughout the country. A 1983 Mary Washington graduate, Moss will trade her current post as secretary-treasurer of the nation’s largest professional organization, representing three million educators, to become vice president.

She was a Mary Washington music major when she began her nearly four decades of service with NEA, becoming a student member of the affiliated Virginia Education Association (VEA), of which she later served two terms as president. With the COVID-19 crisis further exposing inequities in public schools, Moss wants teachers to know that, in her new role announced last week, she will work to provide safe learning spaces for all, and that she stands with them.

She’s been there, having spent 21 years in the classroom as a public school elementary music teacher. Along the way, she’s held influential positions, supporting the NEA’s mission to ensure students receive well-rounded educations and advocating for the arts in schools. Moss credits her success, at least in part, to her undergraduate career, which gave her strong leadership and communication skills, she told University of Mary Washington Magazine in 2014. Read more.

Coffman Discusses Inequity in U.S. School Districts on WalletHub.com

Professor of Education Teresa Coffman

Professor of Education Teresa Coffman

College of Education Professor Teresa Coffman was recently interviewed for a WalletHub.com article on “States with the Most and Least Equitable School Districts.” The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the discrepancies that already existed between more affluent schools districts, which tend to receive a greater amount of funding per students, and those that are less affluent, the article states. Coffman was one of six professors from universities across the country to share their expertise.

Dr. Coffman: It has become common knowledge, and unfortunately an almost accepted practice, that many of our nation’s teachers pay for their classroom supplies out of their own pockets because of the inequity in funding. This means that particular groups of students are left behind, even before the instructional day begins in a school. Currently, the coronavirus pandemic and the need for schools to move to virtual learning due to the contagious nature of this disease has placed a spotlight on the inequities in opportunity within communities and funding for schools. Even beyond funding, this has resulted in varying questions relating to the purpose of our public schools as it relates to the needs of our country and all who live in its jurisdiction by many state leaders, parents, and community members. Read more.

Broome Talks ‘Education Innovation’ on With Good Reason Radio

College of Education Professor John Broome created the Higher Ed Learning Collective to help faculty members around the world adjust to teaching online. The Facebook group now boasts over 30,000 members in more than 100 countries. Photo by Kristi Meacham.

College of Education Professor John Broome created the Higher Ed Learning Collective to help faculty members around the world adjust to teaching online. The Facebook group now boasts over 30,000 members in more than 100 countries. Photo by Kristi Meacham.

University of Mary Washington Associate Professor of Education John Broome will be featured on the With Good Reason public radio show. The episode, “Education Innovation,” will air daily beginning tomorrow, Aug. 15, continuing through Aug. 21. When COVID-19 shuttered college campuses worldwide, Broome quickly made a Facebook group for professors to support and teach each other. Now an international resource, more than 30,000 professors are working together to prepare each other to teach this fall. With Good Reason airs Sundays at 2 p.m. on Fredericksburg’s Radio IQ 88.3 Digital and at various times throughout the week on stations across Virginia and the United States. Check the website for show times.

UMW, Germanna, Stafford Schools Strive to Ease Teacher Shortage

A new agreement between the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools gives students who want to become teachers the opportunity to secure college credits while still in high school. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

A new agreement between the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools gives students who want to become teachers the opportunity to secure college credits while still in high school. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

The University of Mary Washington has signed an agreement with Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools to make it easier for local students to become educators and help ease the state’s teacher shortage.

Streamlining the path from high school to college, the memorandum of understanding, signed last month by UMW President Troy Paino and Germanna President Janet Gullickson, was finalized last week with the signature of Stafford County Schools Superintendent Scott Kizner.

The agreement creates dual enrollment and workforce programs to pave the way for future educators, offering pathways in education and early childhood education to participants in Stafford Schools’ Teachers for Tomorrow (TfT) initiative. The state-recognized high school curriculum has been lauded as a successful “grow your own” teacher program. UMW holds a similar partnership with Spotsylvania County Public Schools, said UMW College of Education (COE) Dean Pete Kelly.

“As a COE at a public university, we have a responsibility to help address the chronic teacher shortage in our area schools and in Virginia,” Kelly said. “We worked together to align coursework and curriculum to ensure students have the learning experiences they need to be successful in the COE at UMW, and in their work as teachers after graduation. We also worked to make sure students get credit for the courses they take.” Read more.

UMW Supports K-12 Teachers in Online Teaching

After doing their best to teach remotely for three months due to the global pandemic, Virginia’s K-12 teachers got word in June that they likely would return to teaching this fall – and at least some of it would be online. The sudden switch in spring had been hard enough; few of the state’s teachers had been trained in remote education or in keeping off-site students engaged.

They needed help. That’s when the University of Mary Washington’s College of Education (COE) stepped up. In collaboration with Continuing and Professional Studies (CPS) at UMW, a Summer Virtual Teaching Series quickly emerged.

“It has been an exciting opportunity to share the experience and knowledge of the College of Education faculty with local schoolteachers,” said Kristina Peck, UMW’s Director of Clinical Experiences.

In just four weeks, based on local educators’ input, UMW prepared six one-credit professional-development courses providing best practices in online instruction. Despite the tight schedule, UMW didn’t sacrifice quality, said Kimberly Young, CPS executive director. The classes had to meet the same standards as other COE courses. Read more.

Coffman Interviewed on Online Training for Teachers

Professor of Education Teresa Coffman

Professor of Education Teresa Coffman

Professor of Education Teresa Coffman was interviewed for an article in The Mercury (Manhattan, Kansas) entitled, “Kansas teachers will get little training on how to run classrooms online.”

After the sudden shift to online classes in March, more training is the last thing some Kansas teachers are thinking. Instead, they’ve been using their summer vacation time to decompress.

“This has been an extremely stressful time,” said Teresa Coffman, a professor of education at the University of Mary Washington. “Teachers need a little bit of a break.” Read more.

UMW Professors Find Creative Ways to Teach Through COVID-19

Assistant Music Professor Christopher Ryder (top, center) teaches conducting over Zoom. “I’ve been impressed by the students’ ability to adapt to very difficult circumstances,” said Ryder, who is among the UMW faculty who are now finding new and creative ways to teach remotely.

Assistant Music Professor Christopher Ryder (top, center) teaches conducting over Zoom. “I’ve been impressed by the students’ ability to adapt to very difficult circumstances,” said Ryder, who is among the UMW faculty who are now finding new and creative ways to teach remotely.

Teaching at Mary Washington looks a bit different lately. Andi Smith films YouTube videos with her children to demonstrate architectural principles. Zach Whalen uses cartoons to teach a digital studies lesson. Smita Jain Oxford holds Zoom office hours for business majors on her daily jog.

When the University moved to virtual classes last month due to the coronavirus pandemic, UMW faculty had to adapt quickly. Some already had experience with online instruction, while others became students themselves, seeking advice from tech-savvy colleagues – as well as the Digital Learning Center, Center for Teaching and UMW Libraries. Armed with a variety of technology tools, they’ve been finding creative and engaging ways to educate, support and stay connected to students through the end of the semester and beyond.

Students are facing multiple challenges as they complete their coursework, said Janine Davis, an associate professor in UMW’s College of Education. Dealing with limited internet access, caring for sick family members and serving in essential jobs are among their chief concerns, she said, and they’re also managing a wide range of emotions.

“We have to give students some space,” Davis said, “but also let them know we’re here and we want them to succeed and be healthy.” Read more.

Through Pandemic, Research Remains Top Priority at UMW

Held annually on campus, UMW’s Research and Creativity Day went virtual this year, due to COVID-19. The event allows students to share projects they’ve worked on all year.

Held annually on campus, UMW’s Research and Creativity Day went virtual this year, due to COVID-19. The event allows students to share projects they’ve worked on all year.

They put in the hours – late-night study sessions, one-on-one meetings with faculty members, conferences, presentations and projects. All year long, students have been working hard on one of the University of Mary Washington’s top priorities: undergraduate research.

A pandemic wasn’t about to stop the 14th annual showcase that highlights all of their efforts. Filled with posters in the form of PDF images and oral synopses on video, the UMW Research and Creativity Day Virtual Symposium covers everything from math and science to the performing and visual arts. The online event will be open tomorrow through Friday for questions and comments, and for all-around marveling over UMW students’ ingenuity and drive.

“It’s a time for all of us to pause to celebrate our students’ hard work, their creativity, and the knowledge they’ve produced,” said Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Betsy Lewis. “When it was clear we wouldn’t be able to do this face-to-face on campus this year, I really wanted to find a way to replicate that sense of community and celebration.” Read more.

Broome’s Higher Ed Learning Collective Highlighted in The Free Lance-Star

College of Education Professor John Broome recently created the Higher Ed Learning Collective to help faculty members around the world adjust to teaching online. The Facebook group now boasts over 25,000 members in more than 100 countries. Photo by Kristi Meacham.

College of Education Professor John Broome recently created the Higher Ed Learning Collective to help faculty members around the world adjust to teaching online. The Facebook group now boasts over 25,000 members in more than 100 countries. Photo by Kristi Meacham.

College of Education Associate Professor John Broome was interviewed in The Free Lance-Star about his recently launched Higher Ed Learning Collective.

John Broome didn’t realize that the Facebook group he created had gone global until a professor in Australia noted that there, the current semester isn’t “Spring 2020” but “Fall 2020.”

“Literally, that is the first moment I realized, ‘Um, this has gone global. I had no idea,’” said Broome, an associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Mary Washington.

Intuiting what was to come, on March 11, the day before the university announced that it was moving all courses online in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Broome created a Facebook group to share tips and tricks for remote teaching.

“I expected it to be a group mostly of friends and extensions of friends to help each other, knowing that some of us are trained in online instruction but some of us aren’t prepared for it,” Broome said. “I added maybe 75 or 100 of my friends.”

But by the end of the first day of its existence, 3,000 people had joined the group and now, the Higher Ed Learning Collective has 25,000 members in more than 100 countries and has accumulated 400,000 posts, comments and reactions. Read more.

UMW Professor’s Online Initiative Attracts Tens of Thousands

The University of Mary Washington is among countless educational institutions worldwide that have switched to virtual classes due to the coronavirus threat, or COVID-19. Suddenly, students are at home, and so are their teachers. The transition has been daunting for many professors, especially those who have never taught online.

Higher Ed Learning Collective But one UMW faculty member saw it as an opportunity.

College of Education Professor John Broome launched the Higher Ed Learning Collective (HELC), a grassroots, we’re-all-in-it-together kind of Facebook group for sharing high- and low-tech remote-teaching tools, sprinkled with a dose of self-care. He never imagined the Collective would gain traction across the globe in just a few weeks, morphing into a worldwide movement with over 24,000 members in more than 100 countries … and counting.

HELC already has introduced a website and YouTube channel, and dozens of universities, libraries and online learning sites are recommending the group, as is UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The Collective is creating a sense of community in a world that desperately needs one, and Broome hopes HELC will outlive the coronavirus pandemic, driving faculty to better address the diverse needs of students.

“Not everyone has access to good online or hybrid pedagogy,” said Broome, who – like so many fellow academics – was anxiously posting on social media. “We’re struggling as educators and as humans … so why not teach each other for free?” Read more.