August 15, 2020

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.

Q&A Session Focused on Recruitment and Retention

UMW faculty and staff tuned in yesterday to a Zoom presentation and Q&A session centered on fall enrollment and retention in the time of COVID-19. Facilitated by Chief of Staff Jeff McClurken, the hour-long event included Vice President for Enrollment Management Kimberley Buster-Williams, Director of Undergraduate Admissions Melissa Yakabouski, Executive Director of Continuing and Professional Studies Kimberly Young and Director of Graduate Admissions Christy Pack.

Vice President for Enrollment Management Kimberley Buster-Williams

Vice President for Enrollment Management Kimberley Buster-Williams

Buster-Williams and Yakabouski, who together have worked half a century in college admissions, said that the recruitment-related woes they’ve faced throughout their careers have been trumped by unemployment rates, health concerns and other disruptions caused by the current pandemic.

COVID-19 has taken an increasingly competitive college-enrollment landscape to new heights, the administrators said, forcing them to re-imagine strategies for recruiting and retaining students, and pose innovative solutions. At the time of the talk, first-year deposits stood at slightly more than 100 less than anticipated, according to Buster-Williams. This mirrors a downward trend across the country, she said. Mary Washington, like other schools, has extended the enrollment deposit deadline to June 1.

“We find ourselves in the midst of a recruitment crisis, and the outpouring of support has been truly appreciated,” she said of faculty, staff, alumni and other members of the Mary Washington community who are pitching in to help yield a strong incoming class.

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Melissa Yakabouski

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Melissa Yakabouski

After working for years to build a 2020-21 UMW undergraduate cohort – visiting schools, attending college fairs, reading applications and more – “our entire operation went online,” Yakabouski said. Without the overwhelming support, she said, “we could not have pivoted as quickly or as well.”

Among incoming students’ top concerns, she said, are a need to connect and a desire to know if Mary Washington will be able to meet its goal of providing in-person learning this fall or if the coronavirus crisis will force courses back online.

Pack and Young said they also have been “sorting through uncertainties” to meet the changing demands of adult learners by enhancing testing and pathway options, and financial support opportunities.

Director of Graduate Admissions Christy Pack

Director of Graduate Admissions Christy Pack

Together, Pack said, the two have hosted virtual sessions throughout the past six weeks for 150 students interested in enrolling in UMW’s MBA, M.Ed., MSGA, BSN, BLS, GIS-certification and other professional development programs.

“Uncertainty means we have hope,” said Young, who is keeping a close eye on the ways in which UMW can help meet the changing needs of area industries, such as offering COVID-19-influenced courses required of educators.

Participants posed a host of questions about such topics as how other schools’ decisions impact UMW’s admissions operations and what unique enrollment strategies are being considered.

“We are making sure we’re being really brilliant at the basics,” Buster-Williams said.

Executive Director of Continuing and Professional Studies Kimberly Young

Executive Director of Continuing and Professional Studies Kimberly Young

In answer to Professor of Chemistry Nicole Crowder’s question on how the entire UMW community can continue to support this crucial effort, Yakabouski suggested being responsive to inquiries from prospective students and their parents, and sharing innovative ideas.

“Recruitment isn’t just about the four of us on this panel,” Young said. “It’s about all of us.”

Watch the May 20 Q&A session on YouTube.

UMW-Dahlgren Partnership Addresses Critical Needs

And a handshake makes it official. President Troy Paino and Capt. Casey Plew finalize the partnership after signing documents of agreement. To the left is UMW Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, and NSWCDD Acting Technical Director Darren Barnes is on the right. Photo by Robert A. Martin.

And a handshake makes it official. President Troy Paino and Capt. Casey Plew finalize the partnership after signing documents of agreement. To the left is UMW Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, and NSWCDD Acting Technical Director Darren Barnes is on the right. Photo by Robert A. Martin.

Individuals who work at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) contribute toward a lofty goal: develop technology that improves the U.S. military’s ability to fight, win and bring troops home safely.

The institution of higher education located in closest proximity to Dahlgren – University of Mary Washington (UMW) – wants to contribute toward NSWCDD’s goal.

The first step has been taken.

NSWCDD employees – 40 percent of whom have advanced degrees – now have a chance to improve their skills and, possibly, achieve yet another degree. All they have to do is leave the office and drive across Highway 301 to Mary Washington’s Dahlgren Campus.

UMW’s College of Business, in collaboration with Continuing and Professional Studies, has enrolled its first cohort of Dahlgren leaders in a project management certificate program. Those admitted for the program are qualified, if interested, to pursue a master’s in business administration after December 2021 when they earn their certificates. Read more.

Coffee Talk at the Kalnen Inn, Feb. 11

Hosted by the Women’s Leadership Colloquium @ UMW.

Share, learn and grow from other professionals in the Fredericksburg area at a monthly coffee, held the second Tuesday of each month.

Please join us! Walk-ins are always welcome.

February 11, Susan Coleman, Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, Talent is Never Enough, Real Growth Requires Passion

8:00am-9:00am
Kalnen Inn, Jepson Alumni and Executive Center
1119 Hanover St, Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Street parking is available on Hanover Street.

Cybersecurity Certification Program to Foster Region’s Tech Talent

UMW is leading a consortium of local governments and educational entities to offer a non-credit preparatory program for the Certified Information Systems Security Professionals, or CISSP, exam. The program is the only one of its kind in the region. Photo by Norm Shafer.

UMW is leading a consortium of local governments and educational entities to offer a non-credit preparatory program for the Certified Information Systems Security Professionals, or CISSP, exam. The program is the only one of its kind in the region. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Information technology professionals in the Fredericksburg region will have access to locally based training to help them earn one of the industry’s most sought-after cybersecurity certifications, with registration open now.

UMW is leading a consortium of local governments and educational entities to offer a non-credit preparatory program for the Certified Information Systems Security Professionals, or CISSP, exam. The program – the only one of its kind in the region – is made possible by a grant from GO Virginia, a statewide economic development initiative, and King George County, as well as the Fredericksburg and Stafford County economic development authorities. Read more.