August 15, 2020

Faculty Members Receive Emeritus Status

The 2020-21 school year will start with five noticeable voids as long-serving faculty leave the University of Mary Washington with emeritus status. The College of Education will say goodbye to professors George R. Meadows and Leslie Jo Tyler, the Department of Theatre and Dance will do the same with Professor Helen M. Housley, and two Jacks – Kramer and Bales – are departing the College of Arts and Sciences.

Professor of Education Emeritus George Meadows

Professor Emeritus of Education George Meadows

George Meadows came to Mary Washington in 1997 not only with an Ed.D. from West Virginia University, but also with a wealth of teaching experience. After earning degrees in geology – a bachelor’s from Marshall University and a master’s from Emory University – the West Virginia native served more than two years with the Peace Corps as a lecturer in geology at the National University of Malaysia, where he taught in the local language.

Meadows was an early adapter to technology. Known today for his instructional technology skills, he was already teaching online in the 1990s when he was research instructor for a National Science Foundation-funded project to support K-12 science teachers across a large geographic area. At Mary Washington, he was as likely to help faculty as students on use of technology, said longtime colleague Professor of Education Marie Sheckels.

She said that Meadows’ students loved his classes and appreciated the opportunities he gave them to explore new technologies, instructional equipment and hands-on material. She said his career demonstrated “he is a generous person who enjoys sharing his knowledge, expertise and excitement for learning with others.”

Meadows has focused in recent years on community outreach in the development of technology and makerspaces in local schools and libraries. He volunteers to support environmental education and STEM studies for the Fredericksburg area’s diverse, low-income children, and he plans to continue both in retirement.

Professor Emeritus of Education Leslie Jo Tyler

Professor Emeritus of Education Leslie Jo Tyler

Leslie Jo Tyler was hired in 1999 for a new master of education post-baccalaureate program in what was then the Mary Washington College of Graduate and Professional Studies. She “single-handedly directed the development” of UMW’s program to prepare classroom teachers to support English language learners – just when the need was taking off in the Fredericksburg area, according to Professor of Education Jane L. Huffman in a tribute to her colleague.

A linguist with a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a master of education from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Florida, Tyler taught linguistics, sociolinguistics, cross-cultural communication, phonetics, phonology and other courses.

Huffman said that Tyler’s students recognized her demanding standards, just as they recognized her excellence. She became known for hosting annual gatherings so graduates and area professionals could get to know one another and share knowledge and best practices.

“Jo embodies the standards of quality, principles of innovation, and collaboration that are at the core of our programs,” Huffman said.

Professor Emeritus of Theatre Helen Housley

Professor Emeritus of Theatre Helen Housley

In her two decades at Mary Washington, Helen Housley directed 29 productions and was the department’s primary vocal instructor and coach. She taught an impressive variety of theater courses and stepped forward to develop a first-year seminar, which she taught every fall since its inception, according to Gregg Stull, department chair and professor of theater. An example of Housley’s devotion to her craft is that she volunteered over the years to watch thousands of high-schoolers audition for UMW Theatre.

An expert in the Lessac technique of voice, speech and movement training, Housley holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, a master of arts from Western Illinois University, and a bachelor of arts from St. Mary’s College.

In a tribute to Housley, Stull said the department in 2019 scheduled Much Ado About Nothing just so his colleague could direct her favorite Shakespeare comedy before retiring. Rehearsals were under way when the pandemic hit, and the production seemed doomed.

But Housley’s show went on. She innovated and directed the performance via Zoom. More than 1,500 people in 37 states and five countries watched a livestream of the performance, and thousands more saw it on YouTube.

“I never would have imagined when we left campus on March 12 that this semester, in all of its uncertainty, would reveal to me, yet again, Helen’s gifts as a teacher, director and colleague. But it has,” Stull said. “Helen ends her career at UMW in the same way she has lived it for the last 20 years – by giving tirelessly to our department and selflessly to our students, demanding as much from all of us as she does from herself. Such is her hallmark of excellence.”

Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Jack Kramer

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs Jack Kramer

Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Jack Kramer is retiring with numerous distinctions after half a century at Mary Washington. During his long tenure, Kramer served as visiting professor of strategy and policy at the United States Naval War College, research fellow for the Russian Research Center at Harvard University, senior fellow for the National Defense University, and Fulbright-Hayes Fellow in the former Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

After earning an undergraduate degree at LaSalle College and a master’s at the University of Virginia, Kramer received a doctorate in political science and Soviet area studies from U.Va., where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a DuPont Fellow and a University Fellow. In 2002, the Virginia Social Science Association named him the “Outstanding Political Scientist of Virginia,” and UMW awarded its 2006 Grellet C. Simpson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching to Kramer. He wrote The Energy Gap in Eastern Europe (D.C. Heath, 1990) and numerous articles and professional papers on political life in Communist and Post-Communist polities in Europe. In addition, he was the longtime co-leader of Mary Washington’s unique study-abroad program called European Capitals.

“I’m a happy camper,” Kramer declared on the eve of his retirement. “I’ve had a good run [having] been blessed with many fine colleagues and wonderful students and been paid to teach and write about a subject I still find fascinating and gripping.”

His colleague and current department chair, Professor Elizabeth Freund Larus, said Kramer, longtime chair, “has been the cornerstone of the department … building a collegial environment in which we all appreciate what each of us contributes to the department and the discipline.”

Kramer added: “I had never heard of Mary Washington – or Fredericksburg, for that matter – before I came here; I took the job because we were dead broke and desperately needed money.”

He used that experience as a life lesson for his students, many of whom have gone on to fill high-ranking government positions. “It’s good to plan,” Kramer said, “but don’t obsess about it.” He added, “Life works in funny ways and much of what happens in it is purely serendipitous so be open and receptive to unanticipated opportunities and seize the moment to exploit them.”

Reference and Humanities Librarian Emeritus Jack Bales

Reference and Humanities Librarian Emeritus Jack Bales

After four decades at Mary Washington, Reference and Humanities Librarian Emeritus Jack Bales has retired from the University of Mary Washington. But the meticulous researcher and expert on the history of baseball won’t quit studying and writing about his beloved Chicago Cubs.

“What am I going to do without Jack?” asked University Librarian Rosemary Arneson, his friend and colleague. Bales has led about 100 research sessions for students annually, she said, and his Citing Sources is UMW Libraries’ most popular guide, with over 6,000 hits. Faculty depend on him for support, too, including some of his former students who now teach at their alma mater.

“He is happiest when he is in the library early on a Saturday morning, poring over the microfilm of early Chicago newspapers, and he loves nothing else so much as a good footnote,” Arneson said in a tribute to Bales.

The Positivity Post, a UMW student-led weekly newsletter designed to spread good news during the gloomy COVID-19 days, recently described Bales as a UMW “institution.” The article went on to say that Writing Center director Gwen Hale once hailed Jack Bales as “the Mick Jagger of librarians.” A student countered, according to the article, ‘‘Mick Jagger is the Jack Bales of rock and roll!”

In 2019, Bales released Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team, published by McFarland & Co. A book about the life of Violet Popovich, the woman who shot Cub Billy Jurges, will be published later this year by The History Press. Bales’ books include literary studies on American authors Horatio Alger Jr., Kenneth Roberts (Northwest Passage), and Esther Forbes (Johnny Tremain).

In addition, he’s written extensively about the late Southern author Willie Morris, who is best known for his award-winning North Toward Home and the memoir My Dog Skip, which was made into a popular film. Morris and Bales became friends, leading to Morris’ memorable guest lectures at Mary Washington in 1998, during which he captivated students, faculty and community members.

“Jack is much more than a great teacher and researcher,” Arneson said. “He is a generous colleague, always willing to take an extra shift on the reference desk or to offer words of praise. We will all miss him greatly. And we hope he doesn’t have to wait another 100 years to see the Cubs win the World Series again.”

Meadows Provides 3D Design/Printing Workshops in Borneo

George Meadows working with Hutan Education team

George Meadows, professor in the College of Education, recently delivered a series of on-site workshops on 3D printing and design to an Education Team from HUTAN. Headquartered in Sukau, Malaysia, HUTAN is a French NGO that researches Malaysian Borneo wildlife including Oranghutan and Pygmy Elephant. The Education team works with local people, focusing on issues linked to human-wildlife interaction. They hope to use the 3D printer to build models that can be used in their teaching. Meadows has worked with HUTAN several times in the past on both educational issues and technical issues such as the use of video-equipped drones to survey re-forestation efforts.

Gift Supports New Makerspace Program

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Left to Right: UMW Professor of Education George Meadows, Interim Dean of the UMW College of Education Nina Mikhalevsky, Dominion External Affairs Manager James Beazley, and UMW Vice President for Advancement and University Relations Torre Meringolo

The University of Mary Washington received a $15,000 gift to support its “E3 Makerspace Network.” Awarded by the Dominion Foundation, the funds will help create a collaborative network with two UMW colleges, the Friends of the Rappahannock, and the England Run Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system.

UMW Professor of Education George Meadows says the new network will sustain and expand makerspace technology and the engineering/design process to provide creative approaches to teaching about energy and the environment as well as researching and developing technological solutions to environmental problems.

“UMW students from the College of Education and students enrolled in science disciplines within the College of Arts and Sciences can now do some exciting things with real world technology and applications,” says Meadows. “The fact that we will be collaborating with area organizations to solve problems and share solutions makes for a great teaching environment.”

Out of nearly 400 applications for the 2015-16 academic year, the Dominion Foundation awarded grants totaling $1.5 million to more than 140 schools and educational institutions in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Dominion Foundation grants are funded by shareholder dollars and support nonprofit causes that meet basic human needs, protect the environment, promote education and encourage community vitality.

Gifts count toward the $50-million Mary Washington First Campaign, which began July 1, 2011. As of Sept. 15, 2015, Mary Washington alumni, parents, friends, faculty, staff, and businesses have committed $41 million in gifts and pledges. The Campaign is scheduled to conclude June 30, 2016. Visit http://umw.edu/marywashingtonfirst or call 540-654-2059 for more information.

Meadows Presents at Leadership Learning Exchange

George Meadows, professor in the College of Education, presented at the Spotsylvania County Schools Leadership Learning Exchange program on June 24. The title of his presentation was “In the Sandbox with Dr. Meadows: Makerspaces, Engineering, Robotics and New Technology for Your Classrooms.”

During the presentation, participants explored several new technologies and Meadows demonstrated and discussed possible applications in education. The technologies included 3-D printers and scanners, alternative input devices, circuitry components such as LittleBits and Circuit Stickers, and physical computing devices such as the Hummingbird board and the Arduino. Meadows also discussed the role of engineering labs/makerspaces and examples of existing educational makerspaces.

Free Learner Space Summer Camp, July 21-22

A student learns about circuitry by using tools in UMW's LearnerSpace

A student learns about circuitry by using tools in UMW’s LearnerSpace

The College of Education is hosting a free LearnerSpace Summer Camp for children of UMW faculty and staff on July 21 and 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will learn about the maker’s space, 3D printing, robotics and rockets. The camp is open to children ages 9 to 13 and takes place on the Stafford campus in the north building, room 112. Registration is required for each day at http://bit.ly/1Bn5D0Z. Contact Linda Falden at lfalden@umw.edu with questions.

 

UMW Partners with Local Elementary Schools to Tackle Oil Spills

The timer winds down outside Anne E. Moncure Elementary School in Stafford County. Precious seconds tick away while fifth-graders watch with anticipation to see if their creation will clean up oil dumped in a makeshift waterway. “You guys made this. It’s driving around. Be proud,” said Principal Greg Machi, applauding the group crowded around a blue and white inflatable pool, exhorting their motorized sponge-like devices, built from PVC pipe, pool noodles and oil absorbency pads, to soak up the blackish oil dumped in the clear water. “No wonder they call it trial and error,” said 10-year-old Zoe Lenzmeier, as her group’s machine struggles to move through the water. Her group’s machine successfully cleaned up oil, but will need some modifications to move better in the water. University of Mary Washington Professor of Education George Meadows, who oversaw the student testing, deemed all the inventions a success. “They built a remote-control machine with a purpose,” said Meadows, who spearheaded this project through a $2,390 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Professor of Education George Meadows spearheaded a project to teach Stafford elementary school students about oil spills. Photos by Reza Marvashti. Students built machines from PVC pipe, pool noodles, oil absorbancy pads and recycled materials. Students planned and designed their machines over the course of a few weeks. The final phase of the project was testing their machines. More than 300 students were able to test their machines during the last week of school. Meadows partnered with principals and teachers at Anne E. Moncure, Hartwood and Ferry Farm elementary schools and Friends of the Rappahannock to educate more than 300 students about water pollution caused by oil spills before starting the building process. Through the grant, the schools were able to purchase all of the materials and participate in workshops led by educators from Friends of the Rappahannock on watershed, human impact on rivers and oil spills. “I hope they realize that they can make a difference,” said Lowery Pemberton, education coordinator for Friends of the Rappahannock, as she watched the next group test their machine. “And that this motivates them to figure out solutions for themselves.” Students in groups of four to five were given a real-world scenario where they had a $1,000 budget to purchase materials. Then they had about five total hours to build over the course of a few weeks. During the last week of school they tested and observed the machines by simulating an oil spill. “This is what 21st century learning must increasingly be for all students—multifaceted meaningful engagement that builds complex knowledge and skills, that emphasizes collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, and that embraces the importance of iterations to deep, nuanced, and useful understandings,” said Mary Gendernalik-Cooper, dean of the UMW College of Education, who also came to observe the students as they tested their machines. After testing, students returned to their classrooms to discuss, but some students already were planning improvements. “I would probably attach the funnel that turns – that filters the oil into water – to the machine so it doesn’t create drag,” said 10-year-old Seamus Gutierrez, after his machine finishes its test run. “It was hard to control and maybe it was too long because it jammed against the corners.”

Scanning Through History

It’s the ultimate combination of old and new.

Decked out in full body armor as a gladiator from the ancient Roman Empire, Senior Harry Rol clamps on his helmet and steps onto a 3-D printing scanner in the University of Mary Washington’s 21st century classroom known as the ThinkLab.

“You really look the part,” said Associate Professor of Classics Joe Romero, as Rol strikes a pose, knees bent with shield and sword at the ready.

Scanning Through History

Students relive the past using 3-D technology.

Education Professors Host 5th Annual EdTech Conference (individual.com)

Meadows Featured on the Cover of @Your Library Magazine

George Meadows-Cover-@Your Library

George Meadows, far left, works with Central Rappahannock Regional Library to bring the latest technologies to local families.

George Meadows, professor of education, introduces area students to high-tech tools for scientific learning at the England Run MakerLab as a way to provide opportunities for local community members and University of Mary Washington students. The partnership with Meadows and Central Rappahannock Regional Library was featured on the cover of the library’s @ Your Library magazine.

“I think the MakerLab provides an extremely valuable community resource,” said Meadows in the interview. “It exposes people to some of the newest advances in technology – things you might be surprised to find at a library.”

Meadows highlights the necessity for UMW students and children to have the opportunity to use and learn with the technologies in the MakerLab, including a 3-D printer, engineering kits and digital microscopes.