August 6, 2020

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.

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.

UMW to Hold 14th Annual Research & Creativity Symposium Virtually, April 23-24

Over the past academic year our students have been hard at work on their individual or team research and creative projects. Some of them have completed these projects as part of a course, as a capstone project, or even to achieve departmental honors recognition. Given the limitations placed on us by the current COVID-19 crisis, the University has created a virtual site for students at the University of Mary Washington to showcase their work, and for the UMW community to give them feedback and encouragement. Please visit http://umwrcd.net/ for the online application and for a list of presentations and presenters.

Applications are through the Google form on this website under the tab Applications. Student submissions will be due by midnight April 17, 2020. The Virtual Symposium will begin, here on this site, on April 23, 2020 and continue through midnight April 24, 2020.

UMW to Offer Japanese Language Courses

Japanese Minister of Public Affairs Takehiro Shimada (second from the left) and Takeshi Yoshida of the Japan Foundation (far right) visited UMW today to celebrate the announcement of the University’s new Japanese language program, funded by a grant from the Japan Foundation. From L-R: Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Betsy Lewis, Mr. Shimada, Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, Center of International Education Director Jose Sainz, Professor Steve Rabson, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger and Mr. Yoshida. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Japanese Minister of Public Affairs Takehiro Shimada (second from the left) and Takeshi Yoshida of the Japan Foundation (far right) visited UMW today to celebrate the announcement of the University’s new Japanese language program, funded by a grant from the Japan Foundation. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Spending a semester in Japan, UMW senior Kaitlin Viloria was in a shop when a young woman asked her a question. The woman spoke no English and Viloria’s Japanese was limited, but they still managed to strike up a conversation.

Viloria wishes she was more proficient, she said, “but in that moment, I was proud of my ability to overcome the language barrier.”

Future Mary Washington students who travel to Japan will be able to communicate with confidence, thanks to the Japanese language courses UMW will offer starting this fall. Earlier today, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger and Center for International Education Director Jose Sainz joined guests from the Japanese Embassy, faculty, administrators and city officials at the Jepson Alumni Executive Center to announce the new program. Japanese Minister of Public Affairs Takehiro Shimada gave a talk after the ceremony. Read more.

Betsy Lewis Appointed Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences

Modern Languages and Literatures Professor and Chair Betsy Lewis was appointed Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences.

Modern Languages and Literatures Professor and Chair Betsy Lewis was appointed Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences.

A Message from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Betsy Lewis as the Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences.

In her new role, Dr. Lewis will take over much of the work associated with support of our undergraduate research programs, including management of URES 197, the undergraduate research grant budget, and the annual Research & Creativity Day event. In addition, Dr. Lewis will support the college on more enhanced assessment of our activities in these areas, and will focus on better communication and promotion of student accomplishments by building a healthy relationship with University Relations and the Advancement offices.

Author of two books and more than 20 articles, Dr. Lewis earned her Ph.D. in Spanish literature from the University of Virginia and has spoken at dozens of conferences and universities around the world on topics ranging from gender in 18th-century literature to digital pedagogy. At UMW, she has been active in a variety of leadership and service roles, establishing important relationships with offices around campus. She is currently serving her sixth year as chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

I would like to thank the search committee of Brooks Kuykendall, Lynn Lewis, and Margaret Ray, chaired by Associate Dean Grant Woodwell, for their valuable recommendations and insights during this process.

I personally look forward with eager anticipation to having Betsy as a colleague and partner in the work of the Dean’s office. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Betsy Lewis into her new position as Assistant Dean of CAS. She will formally assume this role in January 2020.

Sincerely,

Dr. Keith E. Mellinger, Dean
College of Arts and Sciences

 

 

Comparative Literature Luncheon series presents talk by Elizabeth Franklin Lewis (Penn State News)

UMW Hosts Eighteenth-Century Conference

The 47th Annual Conference of the East-Central American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies met at UMW on Oct. 27-29. Marie McAllister (ELC) served as 2016 Conference Chair. Program Committee members were Ben LaBreche (ELC), Betsy Lewis (MLL), Will Mackintosh (HIST), and Maya Mathur (ELC). Marie Wellington (MLL) and Richard Hansen (emeritus, ELC) served as registration volunteers. The nearly one hundred attendees hailed from institutions in Virginia and neighboring states, and from schools across the country. Events included a keynote address by Catherine Ingrassia of VCU and walking tours of Historic Fredericksburg. LaBreche and Mackintosh also presented their scholarly work at the conference, and Wellington served on the Molin Prize Committee.

The conference was supported by the Wendy Shadwell ’63 Program Endowment in British Literature, the CAS Dean’s Office, and the ELC, HISP, HIST, and MLL Departments. Special thanks to our student aides and to the many wonderful staff members from Events, Setup, Catering, Copy Center, Admissions, University Center, Parking, CAS, ELC, HISP, HIST, and MLL who contributed their knowledge and assistance.

 

UMW Students Help with Research Project Abroad

A group of University of Mary Washington students camped out in a Madrid library, scrolling through decades-old microfilm to learn more about Spanish women’s social and civic activities during the early 20th-century.

(From left to right): Sarah Abbott, Lara Pugh, Madeline Albrittain and Katie Lebling visit the Roman Bridge in Salamanca, Spain

“We got a better sense of the breadth and depth of what charity meant at that time,” said Betsy Lewis, professor of Modern Foreign Languages, who led the nine-day trip to Spain this summer.

Sophomores Sarah Abbott, Madeline Albrittain, Katie Lebling and Lara Pugh, read and cataloged women’s publications from the period of Spain’s civil war through the early Franco dictatorship. The magazines, a window into trends and culture of the time, are not digitized or readily available outside of Spain, making the journey from UMW a necessary one.

The trip was the capstone of the research team’s semester-long project, “Women and Charity in Spain,” one of 15 undergraduate research projects for spring 2012 and one of dozens of projects to receive an undergraduate research grant for the spring or summer.

Part of a larger project on the evolution of women’s charity from the late 18th- through the early 20th-centuries, this year’s research team examined several Spanish women’s magazines published by the Sección Femenina de la Falange, the fascist women’s organization supported by dictator Francisco Franco.  The group from Mary Washington explored how women’s civic activity and charitable work through the Sección Femenina was presented in the weekly and bi-monthly magazines, which also included  features typical of women’s publications such as fashion, home decorating, recipes, love advice, child-rearing tips and crossword puzzles.   Placing the work of the conservative Sección Femenina in the context of women’s civic work and social action, searching for the points of contact and divergence with their more progressive predecessors sets this research apart from other current work, Lewis said.

University of Mary Washington students in front of the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, Spain

In the semester prior to the trip to Madrid, Lewis and the students did preliminary research, worked on data collection techniques and explored background reading on the time period.

“This was an amazing experience for me because it gave me so much experience with Spanish and gave me time to work one-on-one with a professor,” said Albrittain, a Spanish major.

This is the second year Lewis has taken a group of students to Spain as a part of her larger research project, though each trip has taken a different focus.

During this year’s trip, the students spent four to five hours each morning at the Biblioteca Nacional de España, the National Library of Spain, poring over documents, then used the afternoon to visit museums, exhibits and historic sites.

“The students had all these opportunities, mostly unplanned, to see history still alive,” Lewis said, noting an exhibit on women’s history that the students stumbled upon during the trip.

For Lebling, the semester of research and the trip to Spain provided a new perspective on her academic work.

“It was a great experience to be able to take all my knowledge I have been learning in Spanish classes and be able to apply it in real life,” she said.

Because of UMW’s undergraduate research grant, the students were able to take the trip without cost as a factor, Lebling explained.

“The whole experience has made me feel I definitely belong at Mary Washington,” she said.

Lewis and the four students will continue the project this fall to expand their work with the information and data they collected over the summer.

“The most rewarding thing is being able to include students in my research,” Lewis said. “I can cover a lot more ground in a short period of time with their help.”