October 1, 2022

Three professors win Colleague-Chosen Awards (71bait.com; premiere.news; salsabil.online)

Three Professors Receive Colleague-Chosen Awards

University of Mary Washington professors bestowed prestigious awards on three of their colleagues at the Fall 2022 Faculty Address earlier this month. Professors of English, German and physics were praised for their commitment to their fields, the art of teaching and the importance of service.

Maya Mathur

Maya Mathur, Associate Professor of English

Associate Professor of English Maya Mathur

Professor of English Maya Mathur received the Grellet C. Simpson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. The honor recognizes full-time faculty members, who – like Simpson, UMW’s fourth president – place an emphasis on quality teaching and the liberal arts.

Since earning the rank of associate professor six years ago, Mathur has created six courses, including sought-after first-year seminars Shakespeare and Popular Culture and From Cinderella to Harry Potter: Fairy Tales and Fantasy Literature. Tailored to the interests of 21st-century students, Mathur’s courses blend canon with modern topics, prompting exploration of class, race, gender and power within texts.

“The enthusiasm and engagement my students bring to class both enhance my understanding of literary texts and help me develop new ways to analyze it,” said Mathur, whose meticulously constructed Canvas pages and use of engaging applications like Padlet and Flipgrid stand out.

She shares innovative ideas and has worked with the Center for Teaching to co-sponsor workshops, including one focused on race in the classroom. “Many faculty and students are eager to address race,” said a nominator. “Professor Mathur is leading the way in guiding us to do so.”

Marcel Rotter

Associate Professor of German Marcel Rotter

Associate Professor of German Marcel Rotter

Associate Professor of German Marcel Rotter received the J. Christopher “Topher” Bill Outstanding Faculty Service Award for those who have taught at UMW at least seven years and held significant service roles in their departments, colleges and community. The award was established in 2003 in honor of longtime UMW psychology professor Topher Bill.

Rotter, who chairs the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, works to promote and improve German language instruction at Mary Washington and in Virginia, organizing continuing education events for teachers and cultural immersion experiences for students. “His work cultivates key relationships and promotes UMW as a cultural hub and an institution with a global mindset,” said a nominator.

In 18 years at Mary Washington, Rotter also has served as chair of the University Faculty Council, leading a revision of the general education curriculum, and as treasurer for the Faculty Senate of Virginia, all while keeping students top of mind.

“Many of our students have never left Virginia, let alone the U.S.” said Rotter, who also is VP for the Society of German American Studies. “My colleagues from around the world and I are here to show them what’s out there.”

Varun Makhija

Assistant Professor of Physics Varun Makhija

Assistant Professor of Physics Varun Makhija

Assistant Professor of Physics Varun Makhija won the Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Award, for those who’ve taught full time at Mary Washington for two to five years.

At the end of his first semester at Mary Washington in fall 2019, Makhija found himself the sole physics professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics. And so, in three years, he taught 21 of the 24 physics offerings in the course catalog; supervised 19 students in individual studies, internships and Summer Science Institute research; and reinvigorated UMW’s chapter of the Society for Physics Students, which won awards in 2020 and 2021.

Makhija is “the glue,” said nominators, “that has, through sheer enthusiasm and love for teaching and physics,” held the program together.

At Mary Washington, he has worked to connect the campus physics community with scholars in the field and published six papers in leading journals, often with undergraduate co-authors.

“The primary motivation for me has been our students,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot from them, and I’ve tried my best to provide an environment in which they can do things they’re passionate about, and then go to the places they want to go after UMW.”

Thanks to Associate Professor of Mathematics Education Kyle Schultz, who provided a transcript of his awards presentation, and to the members of last year’s Committee for Sabbaticals, Fellowships and Faculty Awards.

Rotter Joins National Shared Governance Meeting

National Council of Faculty Sentages

National Council of Faculty Senates

Associate Professor of German Marcel Rotter, who serves as parliamentarian of UMW’s University Faculty Council, joined 21 other governance leaders in Houston to discuss national shared governance issues at the meeting of the National Council of Faculty Senates.

Rotter joined leaders from the Faculty Senates of Ferris State University, Illinois State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Sam Houston State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Stockton University, SUNY Faculty Senate, SUNY Oswego, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University at Kingsville, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of the District of Columbia, University of Houston, University of North Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, and Virginia Tech.

The meeting was held at the University of Houston. This was the first face-to-face meeting of the National Council of Faculty Senates in three years.

Marcel Rotter Receives AATG Award for Outstanding Service

Marcel Rotter, associate professor of German, recently received the Ronald Horwege Award for Outstanding Service to the Profession from the Virginia chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German.

“Anyone paying attention for the last decade knows how much time and energy Marcel has put into making the AATG in Virginia a vibrant entity,” said ougoing AATG-VA president Brett Martz at the organization’s Oct. 5 business meeting in Williamsburg.

“The award’s namesake, Ron Horwege, served the state by organizing immersion weekends, and therefore it seems perfectly fitting that the winner of this award is the person directly responsible for keeping this valued tradition alive,” Martz continued. “[Marcel] also served as the president of the Virginia AATG from 2012-2016, and Brett is grateful that he patiently continues to answer his questions about the job. During his tenure as president, Marcel moved the infrastructure and responsibilities for the National German exam to the University of Mary Washington, where it still functions today.

“He is also a regular presence at national conferences, such as ACTFL, and local conferences, such as FLAVA. In short, he is very supportive colleague and continues to do yeoman’s work for the state’s chapter of the AATG. Marcel deserves the award and a hearty congratulations.”

Rotter received the award during the annual meeting of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia, of which AATG is a member.

 

 

Snyder Performs with Students in Germany

nbe_spargel

Becky Brown, harp; Austin O’Rourke, drums; Mark Snyder, guitar & vocals; John White, bass

Assistant Professor of Music Mark Snyder performed 15 of his original songs with his band Nature Boy Explorer in Schwetzingen Germany, on June 11 and 12 as part of the delegation representing Fredericksburg and UMW in Fredericksburg’s German Sister City.

Senior music major Austin O’Rourke played drums and also sang and played guitar on his own song Almost but Not, which he wrote in his Technology for Musicians course in Spring 2016.

 

2015 music and computer science graduate Becky Brown played harp and performed two of her original songs — Formaldehyde, which was written in her MIDI Composition course, and Underwater, which was written in her Audio Recording course. John White ’13, UMW music major and German minor, played bass.

The performance on June 11 was on the main stage for the annual Spargelfest, which this year was combined with celebrating Schwetzingen’s 1250th year. The performance on June 12 was at Musikschule Bezirk Schwetzingen, which is the local music school.

Dr. Snyder and the students also participated in many of the activities that were planned for the delegation such as lunch and dinners, lectures by Schwetzingen’s archivist, city planner and mayor. The group visited the fire station and participated in the inauguration of the Square of Friendship. The delegation from Fredericksburg consisted of  Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw, Cathy Herndon, Jurgen Brat, UMW professor emeritus of German Sammy Merrill, Betty Merrill, UMW Women’s Rugby coach Bill Lucas and UMW Associate Professor of German Marcel Rotter.

In addition to performing in Schwetzingen, the group spent time in Cologne, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Mannheim and Hanover, Germany; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Malmö and Scania, Sweden.

Hamburg

Hamburg

Fire truck ride with Professor Rotter

Fire truck ride with Professor Rotter

With all of the sister city mayors! mayors

With all of the sister city mayors! mayors

Heidelberg

Heidelberg

Mannheim

Mannheim

Cologne

Cologne

Hannover

Hannover

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

 Ales Stenar (Swedish stone henge)

Ales Stenar (Swedish stone henge)

Overlooking the East Sea in Scania

Overlooking the East Sea in Scania

Malmö Castle

Malmö Castle

Fredericksburg Delegation at the dedication of Platz der Freundschaft

Fredericksburg Delegation at the dedication of Platz der Freundschaft

Austin Performing his song at Musikschule Bezirk Schwetzingen e.V.

Austin Performing his song at Musikschule Bezirk Schwetzingen e.V.

Performing at Musikschule Bezirk Schwetzingen e.V.

Performing at Musikschule Bezirk Schwetzingen e.V.

Fredericksburg delegation at the fire station.

Fredericksburg delegation at the fire station.

 

UMW Re-creates Fall of the Berlin Wall for 25th Anniversary (The Free Lance-Star)

UMW Commemorates 25th Anniversary of Berlin Wall

The University of Mary Washington will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with “Fall of the Wall Campus Weeks” starting Monday, Oct. 13.   Berlin WallCampus Weeks, coordinated by UMW’s German Program in cooperation with the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., will continue through Thursday, Nov. 6. All events, with the exception of the German Gala on Nov. 6, are free and open to the public. The program will open with the building and painting of a wall in memory of the assembly of the Berlin Wall by the German Democratic Republic in 1961. Construction will begin on Monday, Oct. 13 on Campus Walk in front of Ball Circle and concludes on Thursday, Oct. 16 with a ceremony at 4 p.m. Other program events include:
  • Film Screening of Sonnenallee, Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in Combs Hall, Room 139
  • German Game Night, Monday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. in Lee Hall, Room 412
  • Film Screening of Nikolaikirche, Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. in Combs Hall, Room 139
  • Panel Discussion, “Living (with)out Walls: The Korean, Palestinian, and Mexican Experience,” Thursday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in Lee Hall, Room 411
  • Reading and discussion with German author Martin Jankowski, Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 5 p.m. in Lee Hall, Room 412
  • Halloween Celebration and Film Screening of We are the Night, Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. in Combs Hall, Room 237
  • Film screening of Berlin is in Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. in Combs Hall, Room 237
  • German Gala, Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Faculty Staff Dining Room at Seacobeck Hall
Campus Weeks will conclude with the destruction of the wall on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 4 p.m. on Campus Walk in front of Ball Circle. The community is invited to participate and take home a piece of the wall as a reminder of the occasion. For more information, contact Marcel Rotter at (540) 654-1996 or mrotter@umw.edu.  

Marcel Rotter Receives Grant

Marcel Rotter, associate professor of modern foreign languages, will receive a grant by the Goethe Institut Munich to participate in the training workshop “Blended learning for teaching and in teacher training” in August 2012.

Fourth Annual World Language Day This Weekend

UMW Hand Percussion Club performs for World Language Day participants

On Saturday, March 24, University of Mary Washington’s Department of Modern Foreign Languages will give area high school students a chance to see what they offer through the Fourth Annual World Language Day, an annual outreach program dedicated to the appreciation and study of foreign languages.

On World Language Day, more than 100 high school students from across Virginia will spend a day at the university participating in competitions in foreign languages.

Marcel Rotter, founder of the event and associate professor of German, was inspired to start the event when he witnessed a day celebrating German language and culture at the University of Wisconsin.

“I thought that it seemed like something we should have here at Mary Washington, but I decided to include everyone by having all the major languages,” said Rotter.

With a whole day dedicated to languages, the event reinforces how important languages are at UMW and shows potential future students what the UMW foreign language department can offer them.

For more information about World Language Day, read the full press release from Wednesday, March 21.