June 20, 2024

UMW Faculty and Staff Make a Difference on Mary Wash Day

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs Jack Kramer taught countless students during his decades-long career at the University of Mary Washington.

For the second year, Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jack Kramer has pledged $15,000 to the Beyond the Classroom Endowment if 750 gifts are made to any program in UMW's College of Arts and Sciences.

For the second year, Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jack Kramer has pledged $15,000 to the Beyond the Classroom Endowment if 750 gifts are made to any program in UMW’s College of Arts and Sciences.

After retiring in 2020, Kramer turned his attention to UMW’s Beyond the Classroom Endowment, or BTC. The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) initiative supports experiential learning for students, such as internships, study abroad and undergraduate research.

“BTC is critically important, giving Mary Washington students the financial means to pursue their educational dreams and fulfill their human potential,” Kramer said. The endowment aligns with UMW’s mission of providing a quality public liberal arts and sciences education filled with high-impact learning opportunities, he said.

For today’s Mary Wash Day, for the second consecutive year, Kramer is sponsoring a challenge. This year, he will unlock a $15,000 gift if 750 donations are made to BTC or any other area within CAS. He and wife Mary Lou are also sponsoring a dollar-for-dollar match on gifts to the Department of Political Science and International Affairs, up to $2,024.

Kramer is among several current and retired faculty and staff members who have issued challenges and matches on April 4 to encourage the UMW community to participate in the 24-hour celebration of philanthropy and engagement.

The event, now in its seventh year, kicked off this morning with a “grab and go” breakfast for faculty and staff on the steps of the Cedric Rucker University Center. The celebration will continue with special events throughout the day where alumni, friends, families, students, faculty and staff can showcase their Mary Wash pride and give back in support of more than 80 areas across the University.

“Working on the front lines with our students, UMW employees are among our most dedicated donors,” said Director of Annual Giving Shelby Orlando ’14, who encourages supporters to make gifts of any size on the Mary Wash Day website. A total of 256 faculty and staff members contributed during 2023’s event, helping to raise $621,528 for Mary Washington students, faculty and programs.

Digital Knowledge Center Director Cartland Berge (left) works with senior AJ Gluchowski, a member of the UMW Eagle Pipe Band, to 3D print a bagpipe. Berge is joining Shannon Hauser and Jerry Slezak in sponsoring a match in honor of DKC's 10th anniversary.

Digital Knowledge Center Director Cartland Berge (left) works with senior AJ Gluchowski, a member of the UMW Eagle Pipe Band, to 3D print a bagpipe. Berge is joining Shannon Hauser and Jerry Slezak in sponsoring a match in honor of DKC’s 10th anniversary.

More than $400,000 in challenges and matches sponsored by generous donors is just waiting to be unlocked this year, Orlando said.

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Digital Knowledge Center, DKC staff are sponsoring a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $1,000. For the past decade, the center has provided guidance, tools and spaces to help UMW students tackle ambitious digital projects and stay on the forefront of innovation and technology.

“We’ve seen students accomplish some incredible things over the last decade, from building a wealth of online resources that document UMW history to designing and 3D printing their own custom bagpipes,” said DKC Director Cartland Berge, who is teaming up with Associate Director Shannon Hauser and Digital Learning Support Director Jerry Slezak for the match. “We want to keep enabling amazing projects!”

Other challenges and matches include:

  • If gifts are made from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., Vicky Nichols Wilder ’80 and former UMW Chief of Staff Marty Wilder will donate $6,000 in support of current and future students
  • Dean Emeritus Cedric Rucker ’81 will unlock a $1,000 gift to the Cedric B. Rucker ’81 SOS Fund when 100 current students make a gift to any area on Mary Wash Day
  • Linda Lemanski Blakemore ’84 and Associate Professor Emeritus of History Porter Blakemore will unlock a $6,000 gift when UMW women’s basketball receives 60 gifts of $50 or more
  • UMW Men’s Lacrosse Coach Drew Delaney and his wife, Linda, will give $1,000 when Friends of Men’s Lacrosse receives its first $2,000 in gifts
Tamara Garrett ’23, an alum and AmeriCorps member, stocks shelves in the Gwen Hale Resource Center. Faculty members Anand Rao, Miriam Liss, Kashef Majid and Sarah Dewees are sponsoring a challenge in honor of Hale. They will give $1,000 to the center if 200 faculty and staff members make a gift to any area on Mary Wash Day.

Tamara Garrett ’23, an alum and AmeriCorps member, stocks shelves in the Gwen Hale Resource Center. Faculty members Anand Rao, Miriam Liss, Kashef Majid and Sarah Dewees are sponsoring a challenge in honor of Hale. They will give $1,000 to the center if 200 faculty and staff members make a gift to any area on Mary Wash Day.

Professor of Communications Anand Rao, Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss, Professor of Marketing Kashef Majid and Center for Community Engagement Director Sarah Dewees have also issued a challenge to honor late Writing Center Director Gwen Hale.

They’ll make a $1,000 gift to the Gwen Hale Resource Center – which provides food, clothing, toiletries and other necessities to students in need – if 200 faculty and staff members make a gift to any area on Mary Wash Day.

“Gwen was my conscience, always encouraging me to be kind and understanding,” Majid said of Hale, who created a small food pantry in her office that later expanded into the two-room center in Lee Hall. Created to alleviate food insecurity on campus, the space has clocked more than 1,000 visits since it opened in 2019. “The center meant so much to her. It makes such a positive difference in our community here at Mary Washington.”

Browse areas of support and make your gift April 4 on the Mary Wash Day website. More information about Mary Wash Day can be found on the FAQ Page. Read more giving stories at giving.umw.edu.

Stommel Comments on EdTech Apps

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, senior lecturer of digital learning, commented on the ubiquity of edtech apps and tools and the dangers they poise to student privacy on an education blog.

“The onus has to be on the tech companies themselves to educate the users about data security and data monetization … say ‘here’s why I’m collecting it, here’s what I hope to do with it, here’s why it should matter to you’,” Stommel said. He also shared concerns about colleges and universities adopting these technologies widely on campuses. “When certain companies become universal, staff and students don’t have a way to say ‘I won’t use it because I don’t want them to have my data’,” he said.  Read more. 

 

Stommel and Burtis Featured on Connected Teaching and Learning Blog

Executive Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies Jesse Stommel and Digital Knowledge Center Director Martha Burtis’ recent EdSurge.com interview on Critical Digital Pedagogy was discussed on the Connected Teaching and Learning Blog. The author shared highlights from the interview, specifically focusing on their views on grading in the classroom. Read more. 

Peer Mentoring Elevates Domain of One’s Own

More than 1,000 University of Mary Washington students have created their digital identities, thanks to a pioneering program the university launched less than two years ago.   Jim Groom teaches a class The innovative initiative, Domain of One’s Own, encourages students to develop an online presence. The groundbreaking project provides free, personal domain names and web hosting to help students take responsibility for their online identities, as well as explore the creation of their own portfolios and websites. “We’ve had an increasing number of students, faculty and staff creating their own websites through the program,” said Jim Groom, executive director of teaching and learning technologies. “We’ve created cheap and easy web publishing for our campus.” Since its official launch in the fall of 2013, Domain of One’s Own has inspired 20 other colleges and universities to adopt a similar program. Among those schools are Brigham Young University, Davidson College and University of Oklahoma. UMW’s program has been featured in such national publications as The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wired and Campus Technology. Although originally intended as a resource for incoming freshman students, the UMW program expanded to the entire university. Currently, more than 1,300 domains have been developed by current students, alumni, faculty and staff.  UMW’s senior class leads the way with nearly 50 percent of the 2015 class in the digital sphere. “It’s a space entirely for me,” said senior Jessica Reingold, who uses the site as a digital resume and portfolio. For this geography major, the space is an opportunity to show potential employers the experience and skills she’s had throughout college. “I’ve listed my domain on every single job application I have filled out and also have it listed on my resume,” said Reingold. Bolstered by faculty support, UMW incorporated Domain of One’s Own into its curriculum. The result was a more meaningful first encounter with digital creations, giving students a taste to inspire future projects, according to Jim Groom, executive director of teaching and learning technologies. One key factor to the initiative’s success: the creation of the Digital Knowledge Center (DKC), said Groom. Modeled after the university’s writing and speaking center, the DKC provides peer tutoring to all UMW students on digital projects and assignments. The student-run operation assists with media production and editing, 3D printing and use of web-based tools. “We have nine well-trained students who are able to help their peers and manage the center,” said Martha Burtis, director of the digital knowledge center. “Working with peers is important – it’s the mentality of ‘if she can do it, I can do it.’” Not only critical for student success, the DKC has been essential for getting faculty to bring Domain of One’s Own into their classrooms. “The DKC is a safety net for faculty,” said Groom. “It encourages faculty to integrate digital into their curriculum because it provides a resource to support their student assignments.” With more colleges and universities continue to adopt the program, Domain of One’s Own is poised for growth as well. As Burtis explains, each school models the program a slightly different way, providing a learning opportunity. “It creates a collective of people thinking about what the system can do,” said Burtis. “We’re finding out about uses that we hadn’t thought of.”