May 28, 2020

A Message from the President

A message from the President. 

To faculty and staff:

While the conclusion of our spring semester was one none of us could have imagined in January, through the talent of our faculty and staff, resilience of our students, and hard work of all, we were able to bring our academic year to a successful conclusion. This semester was a testament to the vital role each person plays in providing a university of this quality and a mission of this significance. As we return to work following Employee Appreciation Day, I want to extend my and my cabinet’s deepest gratitude to every one of you. I hope yesterday served as a reminder that you are valued as a person and professional.

The virtual celebration of graduates this past weekend provided a joyful reflection, as well as a vantage point of what it means to be an Eagle over a lifetime. I encourage you to watch it and be reminded of how timeless our work is. To me, the video also points to how nimbly and agilely the whole campus responded when put to the test. I believe we can face the future with a sense of confidence in ourselves and each other, as well as our collective ability to navigate well if pressed into a new path.

As we look to the summer, we realize that this season will be different than any we’ve experienced. With online summer school and virtual orientation, faculty and staff are being asked to again find new ways to do their work. Success will demand our best effort, as it is critical that students’ experiences lead them to a deeper relationship with the University and commitment to return in the fall.

Students will have every right to expect us to prepare for multiple contingencies and to enhance our offerings, whatever form they may take. This spring we had to react, but now we can proactively plan for myriad possibilities. To that end, I have assembled a Task Force charged with the responsibility of considering all the options before us in terms of reopening. The Task Force is comprised of seven subgroups that have begun to examine operational issues in areas that touch every member of the University community: Public Health, Work Life, Academics, Student Life, Residence Life, Dining, and Technology.

As you may imagine, comprehensive planning in the face of so much uncertainty is enormously complex. The subgroups will look at issues both broadly and in specificity. However, each one of you understands your role in a way that no one else can. I ask you to think deeply about the issues that may not be obvious to others. If ever there was a time for anticipatory planning and thinking ahead, this is it.

I ask each supervisor to ensure that every employee not only learn about this communication, but that all be informed about the issues that will be shared in the months to come. For employees without direct access to digital communications, managers should help ensure a means of regular communication to and from them.

It is our hope to have most twelve-month employees return to campus as soon as possible. The task force subgroups will be working on this plan; however, the earliest that I anticipate a gradual, tiered return to be possible will be once the state begins Phase II of the Governor’s plan to reopen Virginia. Until then and perhaps beyond, the University will provide weekly updates about our planning and decision making. Some communications will be related to the task force and the subgroups, while others may be more general updates. In the first weekly update later this week, task force members Jeff McClurken and Tim O’Donnell will share a more detailed overview of the purpose of each subgroup.

The University is also providing weekly livestream opportunities for various groups through the month of May. This week, I will participate in the UFC meeting on May 13. On May 20, enrollment management staff will share a fall recruitment update, and on May 27, you can learn more about virtual orientation. The May 20 and 27 events will be broadcast through Zoom and YouTube, and they are open to all employees. My Cabinet and I are committed to communicating frequently and transparently so that you are aware of and understand the state of the University.

Financial matters are among your most frequently expressed concerns. This past Friday, the Board of Visitors met virtually to address University business. Citing the rising unemployment rate and financial uncertainties for families, the Board unanimously approved a tuition and dining cost freeze.  Housing will increase by 2% and the Auxiliary Comprehensive Fee will be raised by 8%. The total increase of $498 for a full-time, undergraduate student living on-campus and subscribing to a meal plan reflects a 2.1% for in-state students and 1.2% increase for out-of-state students.

These rates were set in March, prior to the impact of COVID-19. The University is working to more closely align room and board charges to the full cost of delivery for these services, while still ensuring its affordability and student success. Although this rate increase will be insufficient to meet the larger costs of operating in a COVID-19 environment and to balance UMW’s 2020-21 budget, the modest financial adjustment may help more students enroll this fall.

As I shared previously, we intend to have students on campus in August, assuming that we can do so in a way that is prudent and meets state guidelines. The Task Force groups are working to identify potential issues and establish protocols to allow us to return to on-campus, in-person classes, as well as the alternatives we must consider, from hybrid models to virtual ones. We know we won’t get every decision right nor be able to address every concern, but we will try to anticipate and plan for the ones that are most crucial. We’ll endeavor to prepare and be ready to pivot as needed.

Finally, I thank you again for all you do to make Mary Washington such an extraordinary University. Like a UMW education, the impact of its employees is greater even than the sum of its parts. It’s a powerful equation, and I am humbled to lead this University and community.

 

My best to all,

Troy

President Paino Column Published in Richmond Times-Dispatch

Mary Washington President Troy Paino. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Mary Washington President Troy Paino. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

UMW President Troy Paino had a column published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “The importance of community in times of COVID-19,” on April 25.

Loneliness, isolation, social distancing. Our lives have been disrupted in ways we could not have imagined just a few weeks ago. While we know that now is not the time to leave our homes or relax our commitment to social distancing, now is the time to think about our lives after the pandemic ends. What will we have learned?

I am dubious of attempts to explain the particularities of anyone’s sorrow or the reasons for the more general suffering visited upon humanity in times of war, famine, natural disasters or pandemics. But amid the suffering, it is important to try to learn what the experience has taught us about ourselves and the world in which we live.

While nobody welcomes what we are going through, we have an opportunity to find meaning and purpose amid our collective suffering. In fact, suffering lays bare those things that infuse our lives with purpose in contrast to those things, while costly in time, energy, and money, that offer little in the way of enduring happiness and meaning. Read more.

A call for volunteers for the Virginia Medical Reserve

Dear faculty, staff, and students:

On behalf of Governor Northam, I am writing today to encourage you to consider volunteering for one of the worthiest causes in our society at this time:  fighting the COVID-19 virus. The Governor is looking for an additional 30,000 medical and non-medical volunteers to provide support for the immediate surge in our hospitals, long term care facilities and alternate care sites. These volunteers would become a part of the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).

The MRC is a force of dedicated volunteers who stand ready to support Virginia communities in the event of a public health emergency. Signing up to help in this life-saving venture is a great opportunity for health care majors and other students interested in doing their part to assist fellow Virginians, and to fulfill UMW’s commitment to service. Medical experience is recommended but not required. There are many opportunities for everyone.

To sign up as a Virginia Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer, please visit Virginia Volunteer Health System(http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/mrc/). If you have any questions, please contact vamrc@vdh.virginia.gov.

As we approach the end of this challenging semester, I am reminded yet again of your resilience as we have been striving to provide you the best education possible during this unsettling time. I know it has not been easy, but our UMW family is strong. As is our Commonwealth. Let’s continue to work together to keep us moving forward.

 

Sincerely,

Troy Paino

Commencement Update from President Paino

A Message to the Class of 2020 and the UMW Community:

I know that graduating seniors and their families are devastated that the University can’t hold commencement on May 9 due to the coronavirus and the CDC’s ban on gatherings of over 50 people for two months. So are we. Commencement is one of UMW’s favorite times of the year, a chance to celebrate all that you have accomplished and to look forward to all that you will achieve. Few moments in the life of the University are as purely joyous as commencement.

So, I want you to know that the commencement ceremony for the class of 2020 is not cancelled; it is postponed until the fall. Grades are still due May 5 in order to confer your degrees by May 15. You will be able to get an official transcript that indicates you are a UMW graduate as you start jobs or the next stage in your education.

I don’t yet know the exact date for the class of 2020’s commencement this fall or any other details, but I know all of us want to celebrate you and give you a chance to walk across that stage. You are a unique class in the history of Mary Washington, full of resilience and determination in the face of unprecedented obstacles. Over the next few weeks we will pull together our commencement planning team — along with students, faculty, and staff — to find the right day, time, and way to celebrate during the fall semester.

In the meantime, please know how proud we are of you.

Sincerely,

Troy

A Message from the President regarding COVID-19

To the campus community:

I am writing to share important information about the University’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In recent days, the University’s Emergency Operations Team has been closely monitoring the situation and has been working to plan and prepare for possible disruptions to our operations. We have consulted with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Governor’s Office, local officials, and our colleagues in higher education around the Commonwealth and beyond. Though we have no known cases of infection among members of the University community, the virus’ spread across the mid-Atlantic region is continuing and it is likely that this will be the case for some time.

In this challenging time, we appreciate your positivity and cooperation as we try, first and foremost, to ensure the safety and well-being of our campus community. Equally important is our commitment to keeping all students on track to complete their course work for the semester and maintain progress towards graduation. We realize that the virus, as well as the uncertainty of what lies ahead, may cause heightened anxiety across our campus community. Your concerns are understandable, and we will continue to communicate with you as frequently as possible to give you accurate and current information.

Based on the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the VDH, we will immediately initiate a series of steps designed to mitigate the risk of transmission. The goal of these efforts is to promote social distancing by minimizing gatherings in which members of the community spend long periods of time in close proximity. We know from public health officials that this step is essential to help slow the spread of the virus in the United States.

First, all classes will be cancelled this Thursday, March 12, and Friday, March 13. This will provide faculty and staff an opportunity to virtualize instruction and prepare to move teaching and learning online and to alternate formats beginning next week. All in-person class meetings will be suspended and instruction will be moving to online and alternate learning options for a three-week period beginning on Monday, March 16, and continuing through Friday, April 3, pending further developments.

Provost Nina Mikhalevsky will soon provide faculty with additional information in support of this effort. The University will continue to monitor the situation and will make appropriate adjustments as necessary to the timetable outlined above.

Let me be clear: the University will remain open with operations and services continuing with minimal interruptions.

While all in-person classes are being moved online and to alternate learning approaches, this will allow residential students to depart the campus. All residential students are strongly urged to return home by the end of this weekend. The Office of Residence Life & Housing will be available to work with and support students during this transition and Vice President Juliette Landphair will be sharing additional information with all students shortly.

To further ensure the health and safety of members of the University and local communities, we will also limit gatherings and travel during this critical time period. Effective tomorrow, all University events and programs, as well as all other events scheduled for the Fredericksburg and Stafford campuses, are cancelled through April 6. Varsity athletic conference competition will continue while we work with athletic conference partners and the NCAA.

Further, all University-sponsored international travel is suspended until at least May 15. All members of the UMW community are strongly encouraged to exercise caution in domestic University-related and personal travel. Further guidance about travel will be provided in a follow-up communication from Vice President for Administration and Finance Paul Messplay.

In taking these actions, our goal is to ensure the health and safety of the University community while maintaining the continuity of our academic programs so that students remain on track to complete the semester and, in the case of our graduating students, to receive their degrees.

While we hope that we will be able to return to in-person classes at the beginning of April, we must also understand that this may not be possible. We will update you as events warrant for this very fluid and rapidly evolving situation.

Please also continue our tradition of care for one another. We encourage you to acknowledge the hard work of the people working in residence halls, facilities, services, and classrooms as they prioritize student learning and the safety of all members of our community. In keeping with ASPIRE, UMW is committed to creating an environment that supports the wellbeing of all students, faculty, and staff with all members of the community being treated with dignity and respect.

Thank you for your help and leadership as we work collaboratively to face COVID-19 as a united community and take steps to respond in this complex situation.

President Troy D. Paino
University of Mary Washington

 

Coffee with President Paino, March 17

Mary Washington President Troy Paino. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Mary Washington President Troy Paino. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Dear UMW Faculty and Staff,

President Paino invites you to join him for coffee and conversation as we continue the series of coffee talks this semester. Please plan to attend one of the following:

  • Tuesday, March 17, 9:30-10:30 a.m., Lee Hall, Room 412
  • Wednesday, April 1, 4-5 p.m., Stafford Campus, South Building, Room 210
  • Monday, April 20, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Monroe Hall, Room 111

Thank you.

Office of the President

UMW, Rappahannock Community College Sign Transfer Agreement

UMW President Troy Paino and Rappahannock Community College President Shannon Kennedy signed a transfer partnership agreement this week at UMW’s Dahlgren Campus. Photos by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

UMW President Troy Paino and Rappahannock Community College President Shannon Kennedy signed a transfer partnership agreement this week at UMW’s Dahlgren Campus. Photos by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

“I’m in the right place” is a phrase Miles McCrimmon would like to hear from as many students as possible. Those were five key words in a text message McCrimmon, dean of dual enrollment and community outreach at Rappahannock Community College, received recently from his son Pablo.

For Pablo, expressing to his dad excitement about his major, that place is University of Mary Washington.

McCrimmon shared that text exchange on Tuesday at a Rappahannock Community College (RCC)/UMW Transfer Partnership Agreement event. The signing ceremony, which took place at Mary Washington’s Dahlgren campus, provides a seamless path for RCC students to enroll at UMW. In addition to describing his personal interest in such an agreement, McCrimmon stated the partnership is a sign of the “mutual respect” between the two schools.

He said he views it as an important way to produce more graduates, especially in the fields of health care, education and the social sciences.

UMW President Troy Paino echoed those sentiments by saying the agreement is “a testament to how these two institutions have developed a trusting relationship.” Educating all students is essential, he added, and the goal should be to remove barriers to access.

After their brief remarks, Paino joined RCC President Shannon Kennedy in officially signing off on the transfer agreement. Read more.

Ribbon-Cutting Marks New Chapter for Willard Hall

The ribbon is cut during the Willard Hall dedication. The group includes BOV members and student representatives, along with Assistant Dean of Residence Life and Housing Dave Fleming and BOV Rector Heather Mullins Crislip ’95 (far left), UMW President Troy Paino (front) and senior Maggie McCotter (with scissors). Photo by Matthew Brooks.

The ribbon is cut during the Willard Hall dedication. The group includes BOV members and student representatives, along with Assistant Dean of Residence Life and Housing Dave Fleming and BOV Rector Heather Mullins Crislip ’95 (far left), UMW President Troy Paino (front) and senior Maggie McCotter (with scissors). Photo by Matthew Brooks.

UMW senior Maggie McCotter loves the sunlight that streams into her third-floor Willard Hall room. She likes the rustic gleam of the refurbished hardwood floors under her feet, her view of the bubbling Palmieri Fountain, the building’s proximity to the post office and Vocelli Pizza.

“I take pride in being one of the first to live here” after an extensive renovation, she told students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends gathered in the structure’s main living area for a dedication on Friday.

A Willard Hall resident assistant, McCotter joined 156 first-year students who moved in at the start of the spring semester in January, but last week’s event, part of a daylong Board of Visitors meeting, makes it official. Generations have made their home at Mary Washington’s oldest residence hall, built in 1911. But McCotter and her charges are among the first to enjoy a new type of turn-of-the-century splendor, where modern touches – a media room, “teaching” kitchen and transformable spaces – mingle with prized pieces from the past.

Architects worked tirelessly to preserve the elegance of the building, which originally housed dining, offices and classrooms, plus a post office, infirmary and gift shop, according to History of Mary Washington College by Edward Alvey Jr. The $19.3 million renovation salvaged brick walls, maple hardwood floors, ornate iron banisters, molding and trim, and original skylight shafts, along with parts of the building’s open floorplan. Read more.

UMW-Dahlgren Partnership Addresses Critical Needs

And a handshake makes it official. President Troy Paino and Capt. Casey Plew finalize the partnership after signing documents of agreement. To the left is UMW Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, and NSWCDD Acting Technical Director Darren Barnes is on the right. Photo by Robert A. Martin.

And a handshake makes it official. President Troy Paino and Capt. Casey Plew finalize the partnership after signing documents of agreement. To the left is UMW Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, and NSWCDD Acting Technical Director Darren Barnes is on the right. Photo by Robert A. Martin.

Individuals who work at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) contribute toward a lofty goal: develop technology that improves the U.S. military’s ability to fight, win and bring troops home safely.

The institution of higher education located in closest proximity to Dahlgren – University of Mary Washington (UMW) – wants to contribute toward NSWCDD’s goal.

The first step has been taken.

NSWCDD employees – 40 percent of whom have advanced degrees – now have a chance to improve their skills and, possibly, achieve yet another degree. All they have to do is leave the office and drive across Highway 301 to Mary Washington’s Dahlgren Campus.

UMW’s College of Business, in collaboration with Continuing and Professional Studies, has enrolled its first cohort of Dahlgren leaders in a project management certificate program. Those admitted for the program are qualified, if interested, to pursue a master’s in business administration after December 2021 when they earn their certificates. Read more.

Coffee with President Paino, Feb. 13

Mary Washington President Troy Paino. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Mary Washington President Troy Paino. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Dear UMW Faculty and Staff,

President Paino invites you to join him for coffee and conversation as we continue the series of coffee talks this semester.  Please plan to attend one of the following:

  • Thursday, February 13 3:30-4:30 p.m., Trinkle Hall, Room 140
  • Tuesday, March 17 9:30-10:30 a.m., Lee Hall, Room 412
  • Wednesday, April 1 4-5 p.m., Stafford Campus, South Building, Room 210
  • Monday, April 20 10:30-11:30 a.m., Monroe Hall, Room 111

Thank you.

Office of the President