June 27, 2022

Historic Preservation Professor to Appear on Radio Program

Michael Spencer, assistant professor of historic preservation, will appear on the public radio show “With Good Reason” to discuss his class’s efforts to preserve a small church in Falmouth. The show, “Dreams of the Civil War,” will air beginning on Saturday, Nov. 2.

Michael Spencer

Michael Spencer

The program also will feature commentary from instructors from several Virginia institutions, including Christopher Newport University and Norfolk State University. Topics of the show will include life during the Civil War, the influence of slave culture and American colonial essayists. Audio files of the full program and its companion news feature will be posted online the week of the show at withgoodreasonradio.org/2013/11/dreams-of-the-civil-war/.

“With Good Reason” is a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. The show airs weekly in Fredericksburg on Sundays from 1-2 p.m. on Radio IQ 88.3 Digital. To listen from outside of the Fredericksburg area, a complete list of air times and links to corresponding radio stations can be found at http://withgoodreasonradio.org/when-to-listen/.

Janusz Konieczny Leads Seminar at VCU

Janusz Konieczny, professor of mathematics, gave an invited talk, “The Commuting Graph of the Symmetric Inverse Semigroup,” at the Analysis, Logic and Physics Seminar at Virginia Commonwealth University.

UMW Faculty Featured on C-SPAN This Weekend

University of Mary Washington faculty members were featured on C-SPAN from Friday, Sept. 20 to Sunday, Sept. 22 as part of the cable network’s Fredericksburg Weekend.

Tim O’Donnell, professor of English, discussed the accomplishments of American civil rights leader James Farmer and the impact he had on the movement in a segment about the James Farmer Collection that will air on Book TV. Farmer taught the history of the civil rights movement to Mary Washington students for about a dozen years before his retirement in 1998. That year, President Bill Clinton awarded Farmer the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Also on Book TV, Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of UMW’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, delved into his book, “The Nightly News Nightmare: Media Coverage of the U.S. Presidential Elections, 1988-2008.” The book examines news coverage of presidential nominations and election campaigns from 1988 to 2008, focusing on changes in the amount, tone and focus of news coverage in these different electoral contests.

Author and Professor of History Jeff McClurken discussed the difficulties families faced once their loved ones returned from the Civil War.  McClurken, author of “Take Care of the Living: Reconstruction of Confederate Veteran Families in Virginia,” explored the consequences of the war for more than 3,000 Confederate soldiers and their families in Virginia during a segment of the same name.

During a segment on American History TV, Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library, discussed James Monroe’s life from his time as a student at William and Mary, to his role as Secretary of War during the War of 1812, and his time as president of the U.S.  Editor of the Papers of James Monroe Dan Preston presented an inside look at the fifth president, including at Monroe’s collection of books and personal letters.

The interviews were recorded during visits to Fredericksburg in August. For a full schedule of air times, visit http://www.booktv.org/schedule.aspx or http://www.c-span.org/History/schedule_print.aspx?Network=AHTV&Offset=0.

Keith Mellinger Publishes Research Article

Keith Mellinger, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics, recently saw his co-authored research article Embedding cycles in finite planes published in the Electronic Journal of Combinatorics.  The article addresses graph cycles in planes, a topic that has been connected to certain soft-decision decoding algorithms for error-correcting codes.

UMW Philosophy Professor Wins Service Award

Craig Vasey, professor of philosophy at the University of Mary Washington, has been recognized with the J. Christopher Bill Outstanding Faculty Service Award for his contributions to the university as well as involvement and leadership in the community. Craig Vasey “He has an impressive and extensive record of service,” said Douglas Sanford, professor of historic preservation, who presented the award at an open faculty session Thursday, Aug. 22. Vasey, who joined the university in 1986, has been an integral part of the establishment of women and gender studies curriculum at UMW. He also has served as chairperson of the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion since 1998. Vasey, an expert on race theory, contemporary French philosophy and feminist philosophy, edited and translated Jean-Paul Sartre’s fourth volume of “Roads of Freedom” into a book “The Last Chance – Roads of Freedom IV.” Vasey’s book, published in 2009, is the first English translation of this unfinished Sartre work. He has spoken at conferences across the country and has led UMW’s annual commemoration of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. Vasey was co-director of Mary Washington’s Race and Gender Curriculum Development Project for eight years. He also has served on numerous university committees, including the University Faculty Council, the Faculty Senate, the James Farmer Visiting Professorship Committee and the Steering Committee for the Strategic Plan. Outside of UMW, Vasey is on the board of directors for Fredericksburg’s Sister City, Association and is a founding member of the Maury Neighborhoods Association. He also is a  member of the Virginia Humanities Conference, the Virginia Women’s Studies Association, the Society for Phenomenological and Existential Philosophy and the American Philosophical Association. He is the president of the Virginia Conference of the AAUP and was elected to a three-year term on the AAUP’s National Council. Vasey received a bachelor’s degree from Towson State College, a doctorate from the Université de Paris-Nanterre and a Ph.D. from Brown University. An endowment that funds the service award was established through the generosity of the former students, colleagues, friends and family of the late Christopher Bill, professor of psychology. The award recognizes Bill’s extraordinary service as a member of the UMW teaching faculty from 1972 to 2001. Bill died in December 2001. The selection criteria for the award stipulates that the recipient must have served a minimum of seven years as a member of the Mary Washington teaching faculty and must have been heavily and consistently involved in a variety of service capacities, including departmental, university-wide and community service. Nominations may be submitted by any member of the teaching faculty, staff or student body of the university.

Leo Lee Presents at US-Korea Conference

Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Jangwoon “Leo” Lee, recently presented “Domain Decomposition Methods for Solving Stochastic PDEs” at the annual US-Korea Conference (UKC 2013) in New Jersey.  In addition to attending many research talks at the conference, Dr. Lee chaired an applied mathematics session.

Keith Mellinger Presents at Meetings

Mellinger, Keith10Keith Mellinger, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics, recently traveled to two conferences to present various results of his research.  First, was the 2nd Annual Conference for the Exchange of Mathematical Ideas, a conference he helped to organize, held at the University of Northern Iowa.  There he spoke about Blocking Semiovals and Their Applications to Cryptography.  He also traveled to London, England, for the 24th British Combinatorial Conference where he delivered the presentation titled Minimal Kakeya Sets.

Farnsworth Lectures at Boys’ State of Virginia

Stephen Farnsworth

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, delivered a lecture entitled “Virginia’s Candidate Selection Process: Examining Recent Primaries and Conventions” to the roughly 800 high school students attending the American Legion Boys’ State of Virginia at Radford University on June 17.

UMW Awarded Emeritus Status at Commencement

Four longtime professors and a veteran administrator were awarded emeritus status at the University of Mary Washington’s undergraduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11.

Meta R. Braymer was named Vice President for Economic Development and Regional Engagement Emeritus; Roy F. Gratz was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry; Margaret A. Mi was named Professor Emerita of Marketing; Denis Nissim-Sabat was named Professor Emeritus of Psychology; and Larry W. Penwell was named Professor Emeritus of Management and Psychology.

The title of emeritus is bestowed on faculty members who have served the university for at least 15 years and who have attained the rank of professor or associate professor.

Meta Braymer

Meta Braymer

Meta Braymer joined UMW in 1990 as associate vice president for academic affairs and director of graduate and continuing education. As dean of graduate and professional studies, she directed and planned all academic programs for the James Monroe Center, now the Stafford campus, which opened in 1999. In 2003, she was the second person to whom the university awarded its highest honor, the Washington Medallion for Service to the University of Mary Washington.

From 2000 through 2010, Braymer served as vice president of graduate and professional studies and dean of faculty. In 2011, she was named vice president for economic development and regional engagement and was responsible for the Center for Economic Development.  She chaired the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, the UMW Economic Development Conference, and the Strategic Planning Committee on Regional Engagement and Leadership. She was co-chair of the Executive-in Residence Program and served on the Executive Management Committee for the Dahlgren Education and Research Center.

Braymer served on Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s Advisory Transition Policy Committee for Higher Education, was a founding and board member of the Virginia Foundation for Women, and was a member of the Virginia Executive Committee to the American Council on Education for the Office of Women in Education. She was a founder of the Annual Leadership Colloquium for Professional Women and has been director since 1994.

Braymer earned a bachelor’s degree from Maryville College, a master’s degree from The Ohio State University and a doctorate in English from the University of Tennessee.

Roy Gratz

Roy Gratz

Chemist Roy Gratz joined the Mary Washington Department of Chemistry in 1975 after having taught for four years at Salem College in North Carolina. He specializes in organic and polymer chemistry.

He has taught the sophomore organic chemistry courses at Mary Washington since 1977 and also has taught experimental methods in chemistry and polymer chemistry. He has sponsored many students in independent study and honors research. He served as department chair, as faculty senator for chemistry, and on numerous university committees.

Gratz did postdoctoral research at the Medical University of South Carolina and spent eight summers at NASA and Navy labs. His research has been published in several professional journals, and he holds seven patents from his work at NASA.  He has held several leadership roles in the Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society, including section chair in 2000.

In the community, he has lectured Advanced Placement students at Fredericksburg’s James Monroe High School and served on its parent-teacher advisory council. He is chair of the Fredericksburg Planning Commission and has served on the city Board of Zoning Appeals.

Gratz earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Duke University and a bachelor of science in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.

Margaret Mi

Margaret Mi

Margaret Mi joined the Department of Business in 1989. Along with numerous other service roles at UMW, she served as president of the College of Business Faculty Senate. She has served as president of the Virginia Consortium of Asian Studies and vice-president of the Hai Hung Foundation.

Her publications, presentations, lectures, professional associations and honor societies are numerous. Mi was recommended by Del. William J. Howell to be a member of Gov. George Allen’s Task Force on Telework in 1995, and she served with Shirley J. Ybarra, former Virginia Secretary of Transportation. She edited a white paper for “Telecommuting for the Commonwealth” for Gov. Jim Gilmore. The Harvard Business Review invited her to comment on the case study “How Do You Manage an Off-Site Team?” She served as vice president of the International Telework Association and Council and was founder and editor of its TeleTrends newsletter.

Mi has spoken on telecommuting and marketing in classrooms and conferences in Bulgaria, China, Japan, England and Canada. She was awarded the annual direct marketing award from the Direct Marketing Association of Washington, D.C.

She holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in business from Eastern New Mexico University and a doctorate in business administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Denis Nissim-Sabat

Denis Nissim-Sabat

Denis Nissim-Sabat joined the Department of Psychology in 1976, and he practiced clinical psychology in the Fredericksburg area as he rose to full professor. His areas of interest are broad: In teaching they include clinical psychology and the theoretical and philosophical foundations of the discipline; in research they include third-party reimbursements in public mental health and the stigma of mental illness.

Nissim-Sabat was awarded a congressional science fellowship by the American Psychological Association (APA) and served as legislative assistant for health care policy in the office of Illinois Sen. Paul Simon in 1989-1990. He has published widely in psychological journals and has presented dozens of papers at professional conferences, including reporting his findings on Soviet psychology. He also has had numerous articles published in the popular press.

Nissim-Sabat has served on many UMW committees and was faculty representative to the Board of Visitors and president of the Faculty Senate. His leadership roles with the APA include senior policy analyst and chair of its Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest. He served the community as member and chair of the board of directors of the Rappahannock Community Services Board.

Nissim-Sabat holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Case Western Reserve and a doctorate in clinical psychology from Temple University.

Larry Penwell

Larry Penwell

Larry Penwell came to Mary Washington in 1989 to teach and pursue research in the disciplines of psychology and business. With a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Cincinnati, he had been an organizational change consultant for GE Aircraft Engines.

Penwell has published extensively and his work has been referenced in articles, books and dissertations in eight languages and in studies sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the European Space Agency and NASA. His work on human performance in extreme environments has been applied to trauma surgery teams, Mars mission design, polar research bases, crisis management, offshore oil rigs, and for fire, rescue and military officer training.

His extensive group-relations work with the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems led to his directing the first group-relations conference in Fredericksburg and his subsequently serving on the board of the A.K. Rice Institute. His work in conflict management led to his involvement as a trainer, board member and president the Rappahannock Mediation Center.

As co-director of the 2000-2003 Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaccreditation study, Penwell facilitated Mary Washington’s transition to a university. From 2009 to 2011, he helped launch the UMW College of Business, first serving as executive director and then as acting dean.

Leo Lee Presents Research at Regional Conference

Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Jangwoon “Leo” Lee, traveled to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, last weekend to deliver an invited talk at the Spring Central Sectional Meeting of the American Mathematical Society. His talk was titled Discretization of Stochastic Optimal Control Problems by the h x p Version of the Stochastic Galerkin FEM.