October 30, 2020

Family Weekend: Connecting With UMW From the Comfort of Home

Every fall, University of Mary Washington students gather with loved ones on campus for exciting events and activities that showcase Eagle life. Now in its 47th year, Mary Washington’s Family Weekend is going virtual for the first time. Even in the digital realm, this beloved tradition, held Oct. 29 through Nov. 1, promises families ample […]

‘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.

Free UMW Course Turns COVID-19 Inside Out

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 […]

UMW Opens ‘COVID-19 in Context’ Course to Community

Those who think they’ve heard everything that can be said about COVID-19 can guess again.

UMW faculty will share their perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic in a free eight-week online summer course open to incoming and current students, faculty, alumni, staff and the broader community.

UMW faculty will share their perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic in a free eight-week online summer course open to incoming and current students, faculty, alumni, staff and the broader community.

Experts at the University of Mary Washington are sharing their perspectives through COVID-19 in Context, an eight-week online summer course starting June 1 that will be open free of charge to not only UMW students, faculty, alumni and staff, but also the broader community. The 16 classes will be delivered right to cell phones, tablets and computers via Zoom. All participants need is Internet access.

Each session will look at the coronavirus pandemic from a different angle – the effect on climate change, the history of pandemics, the potential impact on our upcoming presidential election, the chemistry of disinfectants, and even how COVID-19 has influenced the fine and performing arts.

Each Monday and Wednesday through July 22, at 4 p.m., faculty from varied disciplines across the University, from psychology and communication to geography and economics, will broadcast a 30-minute lecture followed by an interactive Q&A session. The inaugural class, on June 1, will be a biologist’s look at the virus itself. Read more.