Friday, July 31, 2015

Great turnout for today's summer admissions Open House at Virginia Wesleyan College. Enjoyed lunch at the outdoor patio of Godwin Hall with parents and prospective students. Pictured with Jim and Suzanne Peters of Westminster, Maryland.

Nota Bene: New Center for Experiential Learning

A number of office moves have occurred on campus this summer and I'm writing to share details of the creation of the new Center for Experiential Learning on the first floor of Clarke Hall.

Strategic priority #1 in our plan addresses the development of a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), which is also a part of Virginia Wesleyan's reaccreditation process. Our QEP, which will launch in fall 2015, and will endeavor to improve student engagement and learning by expanding opportunities for students to undertake an internship, study away, or conduct research. Toward this effort, Virginia Wesleyan will be opening this new Center for Experiential Learning. The new Center will bring together three programs: the Career Development and Internship Program (CDIP) (formerly Career Services), the Study Away Program (SAP) (formerly the Office of International and Intercultural Programs) and the Undergraduate Research Program (URP).

Housed at the new Center will be the following:

Dr. Sara Sewell, Executive Director of the Center for Experiential Learning and the QEP (Clarke 114)

Amy Rush, Deputy Director of the Center for Experiential Learning and the QEP (Clarke 109)

Dr. Soraya Bartol, Director of the Undergraduate Research Program (URP) (Clarke 113)

LaShay Wyatt, Director of the Career Development and Internship Program (CDIP) (Clarke 115)

Steven Young, Associate Director of the Career Development and Internship Program (CDIP) (Clarke 116)

Lena Johnson, Director of the Study Away Program (SAP) (Clarke 117)

Christine Pritchard, Administrative Assistant (Clarke 109)

I encourage you to visit the new Center for Experiential Learning, talk with the staff, and learn more about this exciting new venture.
Looking forward to Wesleyan Wednesday (August 12) at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Enjoyable evening at First Presbyterian Church (300 36th St., Virginia Beach). The program: "Let Heavenly Music Fill This Place" took place as part of the Virginia Wesleyan College Center for Sacred Music 2015 Worship & Music Conference.
Discussed collaboration, community initiatives and mutual higher education issues with long time colleague Dr. John Broderick, President of Old Dominion University. John was a contributor to our Presidential Perspectives book last year.
Wonderful visit today with long-time Virginia Wesleyan College trustee Minette Cooper at her beautiful home on the Lafayette River in Norfolk.
Lunch at popular Virginia Beach lunch spot Eurasia Cafe with Virginia Wesleyan College trustee John Trinder, President and COO of Max Media. Trinder Athletic Center is named in honor of John's generosity to the College.

Nota Bene: Welcome New Board Members

I'm delighted to share that Linda Thomas-Glover, President of Eastern Shore Community College, and Jon Pruden, Co-Owner and CEO of Taste Unlimited, have joined the VWC Board of Trustees. I have no doubt that their experience and expertise will be a welcome addition to our Board. You can read more about them and their connections to Virginia Wesleyan on the homepage of our website:

Please join me in welcoming them to the Virginia Wesleyan family.
Annie and I enjoyed dinner with Bob and Marilyn Burstein at the Town Center City Club in Virginia Beach. Marilyn is President of the Art Institute of Virginia Beach.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Great visit with Bill Joseph, former long-time Chief Financial Officer of Virginia Wesleyan College.

Nota Bene: Kudos to our Hofheimer Library Staff

My executive assistant and chief of staff, Laynee Timlin, and I had the pleasure of dropping in to a staff retreat in the Princess Anne Room yesterday. The Hofheimer Library staff were surrounded by flip charts and markers, actively engaged in planning for the future.

They spent the morning using the Strengthsfinder 2.0 tool to identify the strengths of their team. They had first used this tool at their 2013 summer retreat and have continued to do so each subsequent year, to include new staff members. Yesterday, library staff was focused on identifying commonalities and differences in the current missions of the library and instructional technology, since Robin Takacs, our director of instructional technology, has now joined their team. (You can visit Robin in her new space on the first floor of Hofheimer Library.)  We left them brainstorming ways to connect their new mission to the strengths of their team.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Happy to greet Maryanne Lafler, director of student leadership for Virginia Beach Public Schools, who is on our campus all week with 120 energetic high school student leaders.

Nota Bene: Homecoming 2015

For many Virginia Wesleyanites, the most exciting highlight of the upcoming fall term is not one of our holiday breaks, but rather Homecoming. That special occasion will be celebrated October 2-4 this year.

While Lina Green, our Director of Alumni Relations, has worked with others to offer a full line up of events to make for an enjoyable time, it's not simply a roster of events that makes a Homecoming special. Our students, faculty, alumni, friends, and guests matter most. The best part is to keep the rich traditions of the Virginia Wesleyan community alive for all the memories yet to be made. 

Click here for a schedule of events for Homecoming 2015. You are always welcome to join us in that wonderful expression of devotion to our College. That is one of the special things we do at Virginia Wesleyan.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I am pleased to welcome Linda Thomas-Glover and Jon Pruden to the Virginia Wesleyan College Board of Trustees:

Wonderful visit and opportunity to show off Virginia Wesleyan College to long time friends Pam and Patrick Balch. Pam is President of West Virginia Wesleyan College and former Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bethany College. Annie, Pam, Patrick and I enjoyed dinner at "One Fish, Two Fish" this evening.
Plenty of construction at Virginia Wesleyan College. Top: steel work for the new scoreboard at Birdsong Field. Middle: site prep work continues at Birdsong Field -- artificial turf arrives in two weeks. Bottom: a new parking lot that will serve Village II and Birdsong Field.

Nota Bene: 2015 Worship & Music Summer Conference

I'd like to call your attention to an outstanding program sponsored by our Center for Sacred Music. The 2015 Worship & Music Summer Conference starts today (Monday) and runs through Saturday.

Over the course of this week, some 200 persons from 18 states - from Arizona to the west, Florida to the south, and Toronto to the north - will enjoy workshops led by 17 nationally recognized experts in the field.

A full schedule of evening events is available here:

Established in 1983, the mission of the Center for Sacred Music is to inspire, enlighten, and prepare. It does so through the Church Music Certificate program, the Worship & Music Summer Conference, a fall hymn festival, and an exploration of the worship music and ritual of various world religions through its annual Sound & Symbol Lecture Series.

Kudos to Dr. Sandra Billy, Director of the Center for Sacred Music and Artistic Director of the VWC Concert Series, for coordinating an outstanding week of events.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Offered some thoughts on the topic "Working With Your Boards" at the annual meeting of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Church, held this year at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg. The talk was followed by a panel discussion on board of trustee relations along with Dr. Elizabeth A. Dinndorf, President of Columbia College, and Dr. Steven E. Titus, President of Iowa Wesleyan College. The 119 schools, colleges and universities in the United States recognized by the University Senate of The United Methodist Church are members of NASCUMC.

Great to visit with Bob Clark, new President of Wesley College in Dover, Delaware. I served as President of Wesley from 1997 to 2007.

Warm welcome back to United Methodist higher education by long time colleague and friend Dr. Ken Yamada, Associate Secretary for the General Board of Higher Education Ministry of the United Methodist Church. I was actively involved with GBHEM and the Board of Directors of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church during my 10 1/2 years as President of Wesley College.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A full weekend of games for 38 teams at Dave Macedo's Virginia Wesleyan basketball camp.

Fear the Fish!

Enjoyable meeting with Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms. Virginia Wesleyan College is pleased to be a partner in a vibrant community.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Let's Connect...

Join us...

Welcomed 29 students to Virginia Wesleyan College as a part of our new partnership in China. Pictured from left: Pete Colbert, Associate Dean of Admissions; Dr. Tim O'Rourke, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Kenneth R. Perry Dean of the College; Dr. Scott D. Miller, President; Sam Fong, International Programs, Shenzhen University; William Becker, Visiting Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies; Doug Kennedy, Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

Nota Bene: Organizational Changes for 2015-16

Thanks to many of you for the kind notes and comments about our new processes of campus wide communication updates. I am writing this morning to inform you of changes in the organizational model as they relate to senior administration of the College. These changes are customary during presidential transition.

I am pleased to report that Laynee Timlin has been promoted to Executive Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff. She will continue to play a leadership role in strategic planning and campus communication.

Jodi Bryant has moved from the College Advancement Office to Administrative Assistant to the President. Among her many responsibilities will be coordinating my schedule and President's Office events. She replaces Judi Sands, who recently retired.

Our President's Cabinet will consist of Ms. Timlin and the five Vice Presidents listed below. Please note that responsibilities and reporting relationships in some areas have changed, effective immediately.

President’s Cabinet  2015-16

Dr. Timothy O’Rourke, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Kenneth R. Perry Dean of the College

Cary Sawyer, Vice President for Finance

David Buckingham, Vice President for Student Affairs

Bruce Vaughan, Vice President for Operations

Marguerite Vail, Vice President for College Advancement

Laynee Timlin, Executive Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff

To place a stronger operational emphasis in certain key administrative areas, the following positions will be non-cabinet direct reports and serve on our executive staff.

President’s Executive Staff  2015-16

Nelson Davis, Dean of Admissions

Joanne Renn, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics

Don Stauffer, Director of Institutional Research

To place a stronger emphasis on academic and administrative technology, the new Chief Information Officer will also be a part of the Executive Staff after that position is filled through a national search.

A new organizational chart is being developed and will be shared with the campus soon. If you have any questions, please feel free to stop by for a visit.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I am now in my third week at Virginia Wesleyan College and I am enjoying the opportunity to get to know all of you. My focus has been on meeting as many people connected with the College as I can and in learning as much about life at VWC as possible. I was pleased to share some of my insights and experiences recently with a reporter from Inside Business.You can read the article from the July 17 issue here.

President Greer has positioned the College well for forward momentum and positive change and I am poised to capitalize on that momentum in order to make immediate improvements and strategize for long-term growth.

This is the first of many messages of special note you will receive from me. I will be regularly sharing information in "Nota Bene." My philosophy on communication in higher education has been inspired by my good friend and longtime colleague, Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University: Effective internal communications serve as the platform for external strategy and planning.

I look forward to working with each and every one of you in the days and weeks ahead as we strive to make Virginia Wesleyan College a "beacon for the liberal arts in the 21st century."​

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Matting is going down on Birdsong Field. Next up, artificial turf. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Productive meeting of the Presidential Transition Team today in the Jane P. Batten Student Center. From left, Greg West (Chaplain), Laynee Timlin (Assistant to the President), Cary Sawyer (Vice President for Finance), David Kaufmann (Trustee), Scott Liverman (Faculty), Paul Ewell (Faculty). Unable to attend: Joanne Renn (Athletics), Amy Rickard (Alumni Association), Mita Vail (Vice President for Advancement)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Yesterday afternoon...a break in the storm and a rainbow at the entrance to the campus.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Crews working hard on a Saturday morning on the $2.5 million Birdsong Field project at Virginia Wesleyan College.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Had the privilege of gathering today with Charla Smith-Worley '72; Dr. Stephen Mansfield, College Archivist; and James Bergdoll H'10, former development officer, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking for Village I of the College.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

With Dr. Tom Kepple, President of the American Academic Leadership Institute, at today's Executive Leadership Academy. Spoke to aspiring presidents about Presidential Transitions.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Check out all of the "I am Virginia Wesleyan" features on the front of our website (
Had a great visit with Jason Seward, Dean of Freshmen, and Mary-Rae Ratigan (soph., Franklin, Va.) in the Jane P. Batten Student Center this morning.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Good morning Virginia Wesleyan. Another beautiful day in Norfolk/Virginia Beach!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Enjoyable visit with a group of mathematicians at Virginia Wesleyan College this week to work on the SIMIODE project (Systematic Initiative for Modeling Investigations and Opportunities with Differential Equations). This group includes Drs. Burney, Kennedy, Malagon and Reese (pictured) from the mathematics department at VWC along with 14 other mathematicians from across the country.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Visit to the impressive Brock Environmental Center with Virginia Wesleyan colleagues.