June 24, 2024

UMW Launches Robust First-Year Program

The University of Mary Washington will launch a comprehensive new program for the freshman class beginning in fall 2015.   class 08 (1)The program will feature residential clustering for first-year seminars, comprehensive advising and the university’s second-ever common book. Incoming students will be able to choose a required first-year seminar and housing assignments once deposits are paid. Residential clustering will allow students to live with their peers in their first-year seminars, creating a community that combines living and learning to enhance their academic experience. UMW will offer more than 60 first-year seminars on topics ranging from game theory to Jane Austen. “First-year seminars are proven to engage students” said Tim O’Donnell, associate provost for academic engagement and student success. “Our studies show that students who participate in a first-year seminar have higher GPA’s at the end of their first year and are more likely to return for a second year at Mary Washington.” More than the proven results, the new program enhances the overall student experience during the first year. “It brings together the best of both worlds at Mary Washington,” said Douglas Searcy, vice president for student affairs. “Combining the out-of-class experience and the in-class experience is proven to increase student learning and will simply help first-year students have a better, seamless learning experience.” The comprehensive advising program will provides a support network that consists of the student’s first year seminar faculty, a professional advisor and a peer mentor. In addition, each student will receive a copy of Rebecca Skloot’s New York Times Bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks with a reading and writing assignment to prepare for August orientation programming and discussions. The following semester, Skloot will visit the university as a guest speaker for the 2016 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. For the full list of first-year seminars, visit http://academics.umw.edu/fsem/.

UMW Hosts 41st Family Weekend

More than 1,500 friends and family of current students visited the University of Mary Washington Sept. 19-21 for Family Weekend 2014. Family Weekend, now in its 41st year, welcomes the families of students to UMW to showcase campus life, academics and the Fredericksburg community.   Family Day  -v2“The parents and families of our students are truly a part of our extended Eagle family,” said Doug Searcy, vice president for student affairs. “We love having the chance to invite them to campus and show them what life at Mary Washington is all about.” The weekend featured more than 25 events including an education abroad fair, a student club showcase, a family cookout and a tour of Brompton, the home of UMW President Richard V. Hurley. The faculty and deans participated in open houses, hosted lectures and greeted families at a breakfast and reception on Saturday morning. UMW also partnered with the Fredericksburg Visitor’s Center for the second annual Bingo in the ‘Burg program, which invited families to tour historic downtown Fredericksburg with bingo cards featuring the names of businesses. More than 30 participating businesses gave out stickers that corresponded to the spaces on the bingo cards, and winners were eligible to receive prizes, including a free semester of textbooks worth up to $600. The next Family Weekend will take place September 18-20, 2015.

Searcy Selected for SACSA Leadership Position

During SACSA’s 64th Annual Conference in Norfolk, Va., Nov. 2 to 4, Dr. Doug Searcy was selected to lead SACSA’s non-conference programming. Searcy will be able to shape the organization’s emphases and direction on issues critical to the future of student affairs. The Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA)  is a regional organization dedicated to providing professional development opportunities for practitioners, educators, and students engaged in the student affairs profession.


Searcy and Rettinger Present at SACSA Conference

Dr. Doug Searcy, vice president for Student Affairs, and Dr. David Rettinger, executive director of the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service, presented a program on UMW’s Center for Honor, Leadership and Service at the 64th Annual Conference of the Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA) in Norfolk, Va., Nov. 2 to 4.

The presentation focused on sharing strengths of the center program and its development of best practices that seek to raise the bar for industry standards in developing similar programs that create a seamless experience between curricular and co-curricular components of the University.

Searcy also facilitated a senior-level panel on campus collaboration as a tool to address student needs and support student learning, and served on a panel to discuss threat assessment and behavioral intervention teams and the models for implementing and successfully maintaining these teams that are now critical for supporting student success and persistence to graduation.

Building Global Leaders

Students gain new perspectives during a two-week study abroad trip to Tanzania.

Rettinger & Searcy Publish Research

David Rettinger

David Rettinger

Doug Searcy

Doug Searcy

Executive Director of the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service and Associate Professor of Psychology David Rettinger and Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Searcy’s article “Student-led honor codes as a method for reducing university cheating” appears in volume 12 of the journal Economic and Environmental Studies. The article provides support for student-led honor systems through a case study of UMW.