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University of Mary Washington

August 2014

Welcome back to the start of a new academic year.  Please let me know if you have questions or comments about any of the many items covered in this issue of the newsletter.

Jonathan Levin

Looking Ahead to My Second Year — Moving Forward on Several Fronts

By Jonathan Levin, Provost

I’m excited to be entering my second academic year at UMW, and am hopeful, too, that we will be able to make considerable progress on a number of fronts. We’ve had a lot of change in the Office of Academic Affairs over the past several years, but I firmly believe that with my team fully in place, their leadership will play a major role not only in helping reverse recent enrollment trends but also, perhaps more important, in giving us a clearer, more potent sense of who we are and what we’re about.

Read more. . .
Moving from QEP to First Year Seminar

By Keith Mellinger, QEP Director

With the formal launch of our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) this academic year, it is well past time to stop using the language of accreditation and shift to language that better describes this critical component of the university’s undergraduate curriculum: the first-year seminar.  While the development of our plan “Research, Write, Speak” will continue, the QEP nomenclature does little to explain its purpose—that is, to ensure strategic growth and development of a first-year seminar program that is the cornerstone of the UMW undergraduate academic experience.

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From the Newest Building on Campus!

By Jeffrey McClurken, Special Assistant, Technology, Teaching, and Innovation

The ITCC opened to students and classes on Monday to great excitement. The Convergence Center includes three classrooms (with more than 20 sections scheduled here this fall), an incubator classroom, four collaboration spaces, three collaboration rooms, six conference rooms, a two-story media wall, and the 4th floor’s unique Spun Chairs. The building houses IT Support Services, Network Services, Writing Center, Speaking Center, Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation, Teaching and Learning Technologies, a Library checkout point, and the Library’s new digitization lab. Many of these services and spaces opened fully ready on day one, and we will be rolling out a number of others over the course of the fall semester.

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On Student Success and Early Alerts

By Timothy O’Donnell, Associate Provost, Academic Engagement and Student Success

If you knew that a student was seeking to drop out or transfer, what would you do about it? Who would you call if a member of your class exhibited disruptive behaviors? What would you do if a student stopped coming to class? Would you say nothing? How would you reach out to a student who is performing poorly on assignments or not participating in the class discussions?

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Enrollment Management Update — the “Beta” Mindset

By Kimberley B. Williams, Associate Provost, Enrollment Management

As I have shared with colleagues since my arrival at UMW in late May, successful universities adapt in the face of confounding challenges (ex. diminished resources; exploding competition; growing human diversity; increased accountability; etc.). We are truly in the midst of an “adaptive challenge” in enrollment management at UMW. To productively engage the adaptive challenges that exist, we will be moving forward with a “beta” mindset.

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Upcoming Deadlines – Sabbaticals And Jepson Fellowships

These important due dates are coming soon. Sabbaticals and Jepson Fellowships are competitive programs, and the first step is for those eligible to submit the required application. While the eligibility criteria and the application procedures for these two programs are different, they share one thing in common: applications for sabbaticals and Jepson Fellowships are both due on Monday, September 8.

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Report on External Grants – Activity, Results, and a New Incentive Plan!

By John T. Morello, Associate Provost, Academic Affairs

UMW faculty and staff are continuing to submit external grant and contract proposals and to achieve success. Congratulations to Dan Preston (James Monroe Papers), Kelli Slunt and Dianne Baker (Departments of Chemistry and Biological Sciences), Neil Tibert (Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences), Davis Oldham (Department of Chemistry), and Janet Asper (Department of Chemistry) who learned that their proposals have been funded! Several other faculty and staff members have submitted projects for external funding since the last report in the April 2014 newsletter. And a new plan to “incentivize” applications for external funding is underway. Keep reading for details on all of these developments.

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First “McAllister & Quinn” Project Submitted – and Call for New Project Proposals

Nicole Crowder (Department of Chemistry) and a team of UMW staff successfully developed and submitted a National Science Foundation proposal for a five-year grant of $599,925 to provide scholarships and new academic support structures for talented low-income STEM students. This was the first project to be developed under the terms of UMW’s contract with McAllister & Quinn. We are launching a call for proposals that might be submitted in 2015 as part of our work with McAllister & Quinn; read on for additional details.

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NEH Summer Stipend Applications – UMW Nomination Process Announced

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) summer stipend program requires that any applicant who is teaching at a college or university must be nominated by their institution in order to be eligible for consideration.  Each institution may nominate up to two persons, and the NEH requests that institutions announce their nomination procedures.

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Photo Credit: Jeff McClurken