May 28, 2020

A Message from the Task Force

Good afternoon,

This is the first of weekly communications with the campus community from the Task Force that President Paino has initiated to answer questions about what resuming face-to-face education in the fall might look like.

As we’ve gotten beyond the initial discussion of the overarching issues, President Paino has added to the Task Force to include representatives from the University Faculty Council (UFC) and the Staff Advisory Council (SAC), as well as a number of other units and areas of expertise. The Task Force has divided its efforts into seven subgroups: Public Health, Academics, Student Life, Residential Life, Dining, Work Life, and Technology. Each of these subgroups has membership beyond the core Task Force and is focused on the many different issues that we must work on in order to be prepared to open. Subgroup topics covered include, but are not limited to, the following:

Public Health: alignment with federal and state guidelines; testing, contact tracing, isolation capabilities; sufficiency of personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as policies and legal analysis of PPE requirements; regional preparedness including the adequacy of area health care facilities and relationship building with partners.

Academics: faculty development and support for remote/online instruction; governance and approval of remote/online instruction; planning for a variety of alternative ways to provide instruction; analysis of classroom limits and social distancing requirements; sufficiency of academic support services and resources; academic policies and procedures; guidance and plans for remote/online laboratory, studio, and experiential classes; cleaning of academic facilities; classroom policies.

Student Life: protocols for remote/online student support services; planning for behavioral issues; redevelopment of co-curricular events and activities in accordance with social distancing; alterations to the campus infrastructure to reduce large gatherings; athletic team competition; fitness facilities.

Residential Life: adequacy of isolation spaces; evaluation of reasonable student density and placement within residence halls; policies and procedures to support social distancing in residential spaces; move-in plans; staff training; closure and cleaning protocols.

Dining: design and implementation of plans to promote social distancing in dining facilities; development of plans for quick pick-up, delivery and takeout; processes to ensure delivery of meals to students in isolation; policies and procedures around personal protective equipment (PPE) for Sodexo workers and patrons.

Work Life: adequacy of the University’s infectious disease preparedness and response plans; implementation of infection prevention measures; policies for prompt identification and isolation of sick employees; development, implementation, and communication about workplace flexibilities and protections, including PPE; implementation of workplace protocols to encourage safe practices.

Technology: assessment and remediation of gaps in student and faculty access to computers, internet access, and specialized software (especially focused on addressing the digital divide and the equity imperative); adequacy of telecommunications and infrastructure to continue to support remote instruction and work.

See the membership lists and chairs below for the Task Force and these subgroups. We encourage you to contact members of the subgroups to share your ideas and suggestions.

Currently the Task Force is raising and beginning to answer questions about all the areas that we would need to address to be ready for the fall. The work is framed in four primary scenarios:  1) reopening campus, 2) monitoring the health conditions to detect infection, 3) containment to prevent the spread of disease if/when detected, and 4) return to remote operations if that becomes necessary. The Task Force is also identifying the needed resources to improve our readiness in all of these areas (for example, how much PPE and how many masks we would need to acquire and how). Again, the prevailing goal is to move forward on fulfilling our educational mission while addressing the safety needs of staff, faculty, and students.

The work of the Task Force is influenced by research and guidance from a variety of agencies, offices, and organizations, including Governor Northam’s “Forward Virginia” plan, the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins, the Harvard/Rockefeller Foundation “Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience,” theOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the American College Health Association (ACHA) and the Report of the Higher Education Subcommittee to Reopen Connecticut, among others. The Task Force is also looking forward to further guidance from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). 

As President Paino announced in his email two days ago, in addition to a weekly email from the Task Force, you can expect to see a number of interactive sessions going forward, including the UFC meeting yesterday and more Zoom/YouTube Q&A sessions with campus leaders. We will also be setting up a web page for the Task Force with a place where you can submit your ideas and suggestions.

Our hope is to provide information to you regularly, quickly, and transparently as the Task Force and its subgroups examine complex issues and identify solutions to allow the University to move forward safely and successfully.

 

Jeff McClurken, Chief of Staff

Tim O’Donnell, Associate Provost

 

Task Force Membership

Troy Paino (chair)
Lisa Bowling
Audrey Burges
Andrew Dolby
Dave Fleming
Sabrina Johnson
Pete Kelly
Juliette Landphair
Lynn Lewis
Jeff McClurken
Keith Mellinger
Nina Mikhalevsky
Mike Muckinhaupt
Tim O’Donnell
Christy Pack
Anand Rao
Lynne Richardson
Jerry Slezak
Debra Schleef
Stuart Sullivan
Nancy Wang
Beth Williams
Kimberly Young

 

Public Health Subgroup

Jeff McClurken (co-chair)
Mike Muckinhaupt (co-chair)
Anna Billingsley
Lisa Bowling
Patrick Catullo
Dave Fleming
Melissa Jones
Juliette Landphair
Sue Lafayette
Lynn Lewis
Paul Messplay
Nina Mikhalevsky
Tim O’Donnell
Chris Porter
Stuart Sullivan
Nancy Wang
Beth Williams
Susan Worrell

 

Academics Subgroup

Nina Mikhalevsky (chair)
Andrew Dolby
Pete Kelly
Jeff McClurken
Keith Mellinger
John Morello
Tim O’Donnell
Anand Rao
Lynne Richardson
Debra Schleef
Kimberly Young

 

Student Life Subgroup

Juliette Landphair (chair)
Dave Fleming
Melissa Jones
Brittanie Naff
Cedric Rucker
Kelly Shannon
Nancy Wang
Tev Zukor

 

Residence Life Subgroup

Dave Fleming (chair)
Nolan Akau
Matt Brooks
Megan Brown
Cece Burkett
Michelle Brooks
Lee Roy Johnson
Jessica Machado
Mike Muckinhaupt
Hunter Rauscher
Stuart Sullivan
Mary Taylor
Nancy Wang

 

Dining Subgroup

Juliette Landphair (chair)
Dave Fleming
Mike Greenfield
Roy Platt
Chris Porter
Cedric Rucker

 

Work Life Subgroup

Beth Williams (co-chair)
Christy Pack (co-chair)
Rosemary Arneson
Terri Arthur
Mike Hubbard
Sabrina Johnson
Melva Kishpaugh
Mike Muckinhaupt
Michelle Pickham
Stuart Sullivan

 

Technology Subgroup

Jerry Slezak (chair)
Hall Cheshire
Jeff McClurken
Keith Mellinger
Tim O’Donnell
Anand Rao
Debra Schleef

Influencers and Outcomes: UMW Alums Reunite with Their Mentors

Each alum was reunited with the person at UMW who most influenced their career paths. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Each alum was reunited with the person at UMW who most influenced their career paths. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

This place we call Mary Washington is actually a launching pad.

It’s where confidence is built, bonds are formed and careers are sparked.

It’s a setting for rich experiences, profound interactions with professors and development of meaningful mentorships.

Students who come here are grounded; from here, they soar. The exhilarating thing is that they occasionally make their way back to the nest.

UMW’s Office of University Relations recently captured four of those joyful returns, along with a recent graduate on the verge of taking flight. Each graduate returned to campus for a reunion and discussion with the person who most influenced their career paths; the 2019 graduate sat down with his current professor.

Chef Erik Bruner-Yang worked his way through Mary Washington, graduating in 2007 with a degree in business administration. The person on campus with whom he shared his hopes and dreams was Dean of Students Cedric Rucker. Bruner-Yang, who says he “found himself” at UMW, now owns five successful restaurants in the D.C. area.

Laura Mangano, a 2018 grad, returned to campus to see Rita Thompson, who had mentored her through the Rappahannock Scholars program. Laura is now a graduate nursing student at Johns Hopkins.

Matt Tovar, who graduated three weeks ago, is one of the first students to be admitted through UMW’s partnership program to George Washington University School of Medicine. Matt knew where he was going while still an undergraduate. He also knows – and made clear to his mentor, Associate Professor of Chemistry Leanna Giancarlo – what he plans to do: discover a cure for brain cancer.

Abernathy Bland, a member of the Class of 2005, is a teacher, professional artist and designer in Richmond, Va.  She said her mentor, Art Professor Carole Garmon, made clear that she had an awesome talent for art. What else could she do, Abby asked, than go out and be awesome.

Corey Taylor, a 2017 grad, is putting his computer science degree to work as a software engineer at Tech Wizards in Dahlgren. He said his mentor, Professor and Associate Provost Tim O’Donnell, helped him figure out what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There are few aspects of the college experience more important than forming meaningful mentor relationships. Students need mentors to assist in navigating the complexities of university life, and the uncertainty and anticipation of what post-college life has in store.

Steven Spielberg once said that “the delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”

Take a look at this video to see what UMW grads, with nudging from their mentors, have created. You are among the first viewers of this video, which will be shown to incoming students and their parents at Orientation sessions starting next week.

 

 

Facilitators for the Common Read Needed

The UMW Common Read is one of the first opportunities to engage the incoming first-year students with classmates, upper-class students, faculty and staff in a shared intellectual experience, which can promote critical exchange of ideas and create a sense of community. The Common Read for 2017 is Hidden Figures. The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. We are hoping that you will join the discussion on the morning of Aug. 25 at 9 a.m. First-year students from the same FSEM course will discuss the book with one to two faculty, staff or upper class students. We will provide questions and supporting information in advance to help guide the discussions. We hope that you will join in welcoming the first-year students and participating in the fruitful discussions that will kick off their academic experiences at UMW. If you would like to volunteer to co-facilitate a discussion group, please indicate your interest (or check to make sure that you are already participating) on the following google sheet https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DrRUIaR5MaZ0Qdv-zAaPv4Spnv0uJdmODe2aZ-63BRE/edit#gid=0. If you are teaching an FSEM course, you will be assigned to your group of students unless you indicate otherwise. Please let us know if you have any questions or need a copy of the book.

Thank you,

Kelli Slunt

Tim O’Donnell

“Common Read” Books are Available!

Copies of the 2016-2017 Common Read, Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County by alum Kristen Green, have arrived and are now available. If you would like to participate in the discussion groups on Friday, Aug. 26, please email Tim O’Donnell or Kelli Slunt.  Copies of the book are also available at the Academic Services window in Lee Hall.

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY REPORT REVEALS MEDIAN WAGES FOR LIBERAL ARTS MAJORS (GOODCALL.COM)

LIBERAL ARTS DECLINING OR IN METAMORPHOSIS? SURVEY REVEALS UNIVERSITY LEADERS DIVIDED (GOODCALL.COM)

Life Raft Debate Comes to UMW!

In celebration of Founders Day, we will convene the first ever “Raft Debate” on Monday, March 14, at 4 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium.  All members of the University community are invited to attend and participate. This entertaining program will feature three members of the UMW faculty arguing that their disciplinary perspective should be given the last seat on the life raft. The event will be moderated by Provost Jonathan Levin and will include:

  • Randall Reif, Assistant Professor of Chemistry (representing the natural sciences)
  • Leslie Martin, Associate Professor of Sociology (representing the social sciences)
  • Gary Richards, Associate Professor of English (representing the humanities)

Popular on many liberal arts campuses, “raft debates” are an engaging way to approach discussions about disciplinary pathways. UMW’s event is timed to coincide with spring semester advising and major declaration.

 

Georgetown Report Reveals Median Wages for Liberal Arts Majors (GoodCall.Com)

Why Companies Like Grads With a Liberal Arts Degree (Investopedia.com)

Academic Services Welcomes New Director

We are pleased to welcome R. Wesley Hillyard III as the new Director of Academic Services. Wes is a 2005 graduate of UMW and majored in Business.

As the Director of Academic Services, Wes will lead our team of academic advisors and administer a portfolio of student success efforts including our focused efforts with transfer students, students in academic jeopardy and academic success programs.

Since he left UMW a decade ago, Wes has been busy working in management positions in private industry as well as in higher education. He completed his Masters in Higher Education at the University of Virginia in 2009. For the past four years, he has been at Northern Virginia Community College where he has served in multiple roles, most recently directing their Student Success division. Prior to that, he served as Residence Hall Director at James Madison University.

Wes has remained true to his alma mater, serving in several different capacities, including being a member of the Alumni Board and the Vice President of Regional Networks.

He and his wife Michele live in Woodbridge and have a 5-month-old daughter, Ali. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, amusement parks, and learning the ropes of fatherhood.

We welcome Wes on his return to the UMW family.