May 28, 2020

Q&A Addressed Employee Concerns

Faculty and staff tuned in yesterday afternoon for a Q&A session livestreamed on Zoom. During the hourlong video chat, Chief of Staff Jeff McClurken, Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, Vice President of Student Affairs Juliette Landphair and Executive Director of Human Resources Beth Williams answered an array of questions about their respective areas.

“I just wanted to say thank you for all you’ve done,” McClurken said at the start of the session. He pointed to moving pieces – state budget calls, fall enrollment figures, government health orders and SCHEV suggestions – that will inform future decisions.

Grades are in, and face-to-face education is still the plan for the fall, McClurken said, reminding participants of President Paino’s task force designed to wade through the uncertainty and decipher how the details of in-person learning might play out.

“We know our students want to be here,” said Landphair, who stressed that UMW’s academic mission and its responsibility to maintain safety on campus are inextricable. Departments like dining, athletics and housing, she said, are already drafting plans for multiple scenarios in the fall.

The past few weeks have revealed the strengths of our community, said Landphair, who shared examples of parents’ positive feedback on University-issued communications.

Mikhalevsky praised faculty. “You all have done an absolutely incredible job and we have the data to prove that,” she said, referencing an upcoming open forum for faculty members.

Williams echoed that positivity, adding that she has found it “inspiring” to be part of the UMW workforce, with employees who have been “adaptable and flexible,” during this time of turmoil due to COVID-19. She issued reminders about the May 15 open enrollment deadline for health benefits; Employee Appreciation Day on Monday, May 11; and ongoing open Staff Advisory Council chats on Thursdays at 11.

Q&A participants raised questions about the ability to revamp course descriptions as circumstances become more clear, the status of funding for travel and its impact on tenure-track faculty, and how furlough and salary-reduction situations could play out if they become necessary. Other inquiries delved into current enrollment numbers, where branding efforts stand and the availability of personal protection equipment (PPE) .

The panelists addressed questions to the best of their ability. McClurken’s response to the question about PPE could have been applied to many inquiries. “I promise you, we are exploring the options,” he said. “I absolutely understand your concern, and we will bring that info to you as soon as we have it.”

Learn more by viewing the May 6, 2020, Q&A session on YouTube.

New Student Orientation

A message from the Office of Student Affairs and Office of the Provost.

Dear Colleagues,

For the University of Mary Washington, New Student Orientation is a special and significant time. Over the summer, orientation typically welcomes new students to campus with a program that is educational, practical, and energetic, allowing them to learn about UMW’s academic expectations and institutional values while planning for fall classes and meeting peers in an overnight visit.

This summer, we plan to deliver New Student Orientation virtually. While students and their families will not be on campus physically, they will experience UMW in an engaging and innovative way that highlights our distinctive strengths and enfolds students into our community. For 2020, the Orientation planning team has created a schedule distributed throughout the summer that utilizes both synchronous interactions and self-paced asynchronous components. It will be personal, emphasizing one-on-one advising meetings with faculty and small group interactive sessions with peers as well as offering numerous opportunities for enrichment, engagement, and fun. And finally, it will emphasize the proposition that we need to orient students for a future now understood to be indeterminate, rapidly changing, and requiring an adaptability that is illustrative of the liberal arts experience.

You will soon hear more about how to participate in the 2020 New Student Orientation. We are particularly grateful to the Orientation planning team members for their hard work, innovative spirit, and commitment to the student experience as we welcome new students to UMW. Feel free to contact or either of us with questions or concerns.



Juliette Landphair, Ph.D.

Nina Mikhalevsky, Ph.D.

Campus Update on Coronavirus

To students, faculty, and staff:

As members of our community return from spring break, when many of us have been traveling, we would like to provide an update on the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). Rest assured that UMW’s medical and emergency management officials have taken proactive steps and are continually monitoring the situation and are regularly in touch with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

There are no confirmed cases in our community or in Virginia. At this point, VDH recommends self-quarantine only for individuals who have traveled to or been in close contact with residents of China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. In addition, the same protocol is recommended for anyone who has been in physical proximity with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

We realize many students, faculty, and staff have traveled widely during the past week. While the risk of contracting COVID-19 is lower if you have not traveled to any of the four countries named above or been in close contact with someone who has, we urge all members of the campus community to practice vigilance in regard to their health.

As a means of ensuring your safety as well as the safety of the campus community, we ask that you inform student health via this link of where you have traveled in the past several weeks.

The symptoms associated with COVID-19 are similar to the common flu – fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other respiratory complaints.  Students who are ill or think they may be ill should stay home from class and must contact their instructor via email or telephone to discuss appropriate adjustments. Faculty will be provided guidance on ways to accommodate students who may temporarily need to participate or complete assignments remotely. Faculty members who have questions about how to do this may find assistance through the Center for Teaching and Digital Learning Support.

As with any cold or flu, it is important for everyone to follow these self-care habits to reduce the chance of infection:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid eating or drinking after others or sharing e-cigarettes.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

There is currently no treatment available for COVID-19; for more than 80% of people who contract the virus, cases are mild and the virus runs its course. However, if you test positive with coronavirus, VDH recommends self-isolate for 14 days so as not to expose anyone else to the virus.

If you have medical questions or are in need of a thermometer, please call the Student Health Center at 540-654-1040.

For any other questions or concerns, please email or call/leave a message at 540-654-1999.

Further information on COVID-19 can be found at Virginia Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and/or x211 (press 9).

We continue to work closely with local, state, and federal health officials, and we will regularly update the campus.

Your well-being is a top priority. In our commitment to minimizing the health risks to our students, staff and faculty, we will provide as clear and timely communications as possible.


Juliette Landphair, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
University of Mary Washington


Farmer Legacy 2020 Co-Chairs Johnson & Landphair Speak with WVTF Radio IQ

A wreath on the James Farmer bust on UMW’s Campus Walk recognizes Farmer’s 100th birthday and UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration. Photo by Tom Rothenberg.

A wreath on the James Farmer bust on UMW’s Campus Walk recognizes Farmer’s 100th birthday and UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration. Photo by Tom Rothenberg.

Farmer Legacy 2020 co-chairs Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Equity and Access and Chief Diversity Officer, and Juliette Landphair, Vice President for Student Affairs, were recently interviewed on WVTF Radio IQ, an NPR affiliate, about civil rights icon and late Mary Washington professor Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. and UMW’s yearlong celebration of his life and legacy that launched in January, on the day after the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Johnson spoke of the impact Farmer had as a professor. “He touched the lives of so many students,” she says.  “It was the most popular class on campus.  It brought in historic numbers.”

Landphair spoke of Farmer’s concern that those who led the civil rights movement would someday be forgotten. “There’s a danger sometimes or a risk when you just reflect and celebrate as if the story is over. We have to hold on and protect and not backslide when it comes to the progress that’s been made.” Read more.

Annual Alcohol and Drug Reports

The following message is from the Vice President for Student Affairs:

To Members of the UMW Community:

I am writing to bring to your attention an important institutional responsibility: to maintain and communicate our established alcohol and drug policies.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended by the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1994) requires that any institute of higher education receiving federal financial aid, such as the University of Mary Washington, must adopt and implement a program to prevent the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol by students and employees.

Drug and alcohol prevention information is accessible on UMW’s website at  An “Alcohol & Drug Reports & Notifications” tab can be found on the left side of the referenced website.  Students and faculty/staff are encouraged to review this information. The topics covered include:  1) Standards of conduct related to alcohol and drugs; 2) Legal sanctions; 3) Health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol; 4) Drug and alcohol counseling, treatment, rehabilitation, and re-entry programs; and 5) Disciplinary sanctions. Clicking on the tab will lead to both an Annual Notification (February 2020) and a Biennial Report (February 2020). The latter document contains information concerning what actions were taken in 2017-18 and in 2018-19 related to alcohol and drug prevention, what the results were, and what further actions are planned.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (540-654-1062) or the Office of Student Conduct and Responsibility (540-654-1660)  if you have questions regarding this material.

Juliette Landphair, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs


Launch Party Ignites Farmer Legacy 2020 Celebration

A wreath on the James Farmer bust on UMW’s Campus Walk recognizes Farmer’s 100th birthday and UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration. Photo by Tom Rothenberg.

A wreath on the James Farmer bust on UMW’s Campus Walk recognizes Farmer’s 100th birthday and UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration. Photo by Tom Rothenberg.

Nearly 500 people turned out yesterday to help UMW kick off Farmer Legacy 2020, a yearlong celebration of Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., the day after what would have been his 100th birthday.

The hourlong launch party packed plenty of emotion, from student accounts of life-changing experiences they’ve gained through UMW – and learning about Farmer’s legacy – to a moving rendition of Happy Birthday by Mary Washington gospel ensemble Voices of Praise.

Held in the UMW University Center’s Chandler Ballroom, the celebration commenced a year of events paying tribute to Farmer, the late Mary Washington history professor who founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and made an immeasurable impact on the civil rights movement as a member of the Big Six. Fredericksburg residents, Board of Visitor members and colleagues in higher education joined UMW students, faculty and staff in recognizing Farmer and his contributions, and vowing to follow in his footsteps by dedicating themselves to civic action and inclusion.

Honorary celebration chair, Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, the last surviving member of the Big Six, had to cancel plans to attend yesterday’s launch due to a recent cancer diagnosis. Attendees signed a card for him. Read more.

UMW Receives Aid from JED for Student Mental Health Assessment Program

JED CampusWith financial aid from the Jed Foundation (JED), the nation’s leading organization dedicated to young adult mental health, the University of Mary Washington will launch a four-year program of assessment and strategic planning to support students with mental health concerns.

The New York-based JED, a nonprofit founded by the parents of a young man who died by suicide, features a key component called JED Campus. JED Campus is a comprehensive public health approach to supporting the emotional well-being and success of college and university students by enhancing mental health and suicide prevention programs on campus.

An interdisciplinary UMW team will work in partnership with JED’s experts in program and policy development with customized support to build upon existing student mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention efforts. UMW will also administer the annual Healthy Minds survey to help better understand and support the emotional health of Mary Washington students.

UMW’s Vice President for Student Affairs Juliette Landphair said the grant is a huge boost for Mary Washington’s efforts in supporting students’ mental health and well being. “We are always looking for innovative ways to help our students thrive at UMW,” she said. “In higher education, JED is celebrated for its collaborative spirit and expertise, and we feel very fortunate for this opportunity to grow our resources even further with JED’s guidance.” 

She added, “This work will support several tenets of UMW’s strategic vision, primarily the goal of inclusive excellence and adapting students to an age of accelerations.”

UMW joins a select nationwide list of about 250 JED campuses, including the College of William & Mary, George Mason University, VCU, Old Dominion University, and the University of Richmond.

UMW’s ASPIRE Values Promoted at AAC&U Conference

Vice President for Equity and Access Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Student Affairs Juliette Landphair, and Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker at AAC&U Diversity, Equity, and Student Success Conference in Pittsburgh.

Vice President for Equity and Access Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Student Affairs Juliette Landphair, and Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker at AAC&U Diversity, Equity, and Student Success Conference in Pittsburgh.

Vice President for Equity and Access Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Student Affairs Juliette Landphair, and Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker presented a poster session on UMW’s ASPIRE community values, The Value of Community Values, at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Diversity, Equity, and Student Success Conference in Pittsburgh on Friday, March 29.


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