Monday, August 31, 2015

Enjoyed talking NCAA Division III athletics and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference today with ODAC Commissioner Brad Bankston and Joanne Renn, Virginia Wesleyan Athletic Director.
A "must have" for any Virginia Wesleyan College golfing alumni and friends. Our golf head coach Bryan Hearn has new Virginia Wesleyan Titleist golf balls with our logo and founding date.

Nota Bene: Health Screenings

As you know, Virginia Wesleyan College joined the Virginia Private Colleges Benefits Consortium, previously the CICV, on January 1, 2014. As part of our membership, the consortium provides us with a part-time on site health coach who visits our College twice per month for private consultations. Enrolled spouses are also eligible. 
Additionally, the consortium provides annual biometric screenings to ALL eligible employees and spouses enrolled in our medical insurance. Our screenings are scheduled for October 13, 14 and 15 and will occur in the CMAC. Should an employee and/or spouse participate in the annual biometric screening, or have their physician submit the required information, AND complete our online health assessment survey, the participating employee and spouse are each eligible for a $15 monthly credit towards the medical premium. Therefore, should both the employee and spouse participate, a $30 monthly credit is applied. Eligibility begins January 1 of each year. 
I encourage you and your and spouse to register for one of the screening dates. I also encourage you to attend one of the two Town Hall meetings scheduled for Wednesday, September 9 to discuss our upcoming screening process. 
Once we, as employees, have completed the biometric screening, we are then eligible to participate in wellness challenges offered by the College and administered through beBetter Health, another resource offered through the consortium. We sponsor quarterly prizes for participants which typically include Target gift cards or items from our bookstore.
Joining the consortium has certainly provided us with resources that have been very beneficial to our employees and their families. Thanks to Karla Rasmussen, our director of human resources, for coordinating this for all of us.
Pleased to recognize three outstanding alumni at Fall Convocation this week:

Sunday, August 30, 2015

VWC Grounds Recognized Nationally -- Virginia Wesleyan College has once again been recognized by the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) with an Honor Award in its 2015 Green Star Awards competition. The College has been acknowledged for exceptional maintenance of its 300-acre campus in the University and College Grounds category. Virginia Wesleyan will be recognized for this accomplishment at the 43rd Annual Professional Grounds Management Awards Ceremony in Louisville, Kentucky on Oct. 23. The College will also be recognized in the PGMS newsletter, The Forum. The Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence and recognizes individual professional efforts leading to high standards and high quality landscape appearance. In a recent communication to campus. President Scott Miller applauded the efforts of Vice President for Operations Bruce Vaughan, Assistant Director for Housekeeping and Grounds Mike Rigby, and the entire Grounds staff: “Their hard work and diligence in maintaining our beautiful campus helps us present Virginia Wesleyan College in the best light possible. We are all proud of their efforts.” Virginia Wesleyan also received a Green Star Award in 2014 and a Green Star Merit Award in 2013.
Bob Marlin asked me to remind all Virginia Wesleyanites to register to vote as a part of our campus wide campaign!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Bubble soccer.
Have to admit...never heard of a Zorb ball until today.
Crews will be working thru the weekend putting the finishing touches on new Birdsong Field. The opener is Tuesday at 3 p.m. with St. Mary's College. Pictured with: Joanne Renn (Athletics Director), Christina Restivo (Field Hockey Coach), George Birdsong (VWC Trustee and benefactor), Chris Brandt (Hourigan Construction), and Bruce Vaughan (Vice President for Operations).
I am pleased to introduce the first Virginia Wesleyan College President's Assistants (students) during my tenure as president here: Mario Thourogood, a junior business major, and Connor Pederson, a junior Psychology major.

This is a program that has been close to my heart since 1998. It provides an opportunity for students to work with the President of the College and office staff on projects that support the mission and purpose of Virginia Wesleyan College. Typically, Presidential Assistants/Associates do not receive academic credit, unless they make arrangements through their department to complete departmental internship requirements. They do receive a wage and usually work 10-15 hours per week. The number hired in a given semester is dependent on a range of factors, but I have utilized from two to 10 in any semester. Most Presidential Assistants/Associates are appointed for the academic year and they can be re-appointed for additional years.

Projects and responsibilities include: Presidential communication, legislative research, social media, student leadership program, athletics and recreation, walkabouts, Greek life, diversity, presidential archives.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Village IV picnic last night.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Great visit with our friends and neighbors at Chesapeake Bay Academy led by Head of the School Dr. Judy Jankowski. For 25 years, Chesapeake Bay Academy has been transforming the lives of Hampton Roads children and their families. Chesapeake Bay Academy is an invaluable resource to the Hampton Roads community, filling a critical need and providing essential services to intelligent children who struggle to learn in traditional school settings.
Thanks to Gary Bonnewell '79, Chair of the Virginia Wesleyan College Board of Trustees, for arranging a productive discussion of partnership possibilities with Scott Kennedy (center), President and Headmaster of Norfolk Collegiate School. Located on Granby Street, Norfolk Collegiate School has remained one of the leading educational institutions in Hampton Roads for over 65 years. Gary is a former Board Chair at Norfolk Collegiate School.

Nota Bene: Norfolk Academy Neighbors

I recently had the opportunity to visit with the headmaster of neighboring Norfolk Academy, Dennis G. Manning. The visit was coordinated by Virginia Wesleyan trustee David Kaufman, a proud Norfolk Academy grad and parent of two students there. I toured their beautiful 64-acre campus and learned more about their academic programs.
Founded in 1728, Norfolk Academy is a co-educational day school serving approximately 1,100 students in grades 1-12 in three divisions: Lower, Middle, and Upper. As many of you know, the school has a rich history and a well-defined philosophy. 

As represented in a wide variety of materials, the students who attend Norfolk Academy come from all areas of Hampton Roads and from diverse backgrounds. The faculty and staff are highly qualified and dedicated to making sure that their students achieve their highest potential.
Norfolk Academy boasts a strong sports program and an exciting arts program. By offering these varied opportunities, the school helps each student learn to appreciate and enjoy the full spectrum of quality education.
The 1966 merger with the Country Day School for Girls in Virginia Beach, and the concurrent move to the school’s present location transitioned the Academy from small independent school to national leader. I am impressed by the most recent additions -- the Tucker Arts Center and Athletic Pavilion -- that have been recent additions since headmaster Manning took the helm.
Norfolk Academy and Virginia Wesleyan College have been good neighbors and friends for over 50 years. The Academy's history has been marked with strong leadership and an uncompromising focus on mission and quality. As I mentioned in the State of the College address, we would be wise to consider further avenues of collaboration. I welcome your thoughts.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Great conversation and lunch in Boyd Dining Hall on campus with Pat Richardson, president, Pilot Media & publisher, The Virginian-Pilot, and Steve Gunn, Editor.

Nota Bene: Virginia Wesleyan Awarded PGMS Green Star Award

I am delighted to inform you that Virginia Wesleyan College has won an Honor Award in the 2015 Professional Grounds Management Society Green Star Awards Program. 
The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS), founded in 1911, is "a membership organization of grounds professionals advancing the grounds management profession through education and professional development." Virginia Wesleyan will be recognized for this accomplishment at the 43rd Annual Professional Grounds Management Awards Ceremony in Louisville, Kentucky on October 23. The College will also be recognized in the PGMS newsletter, The Forum.
This is the second year in a row that the Virginia Wesleyan physical plant and grounds team has earned this award. Kudos to Vice President for Operations Bruce Vaughan, Assistant Director for Grounds/Housekeeping Mike Rigby and the entire Grounds staff. Their hard work and diligence in maintaining our beautiful campus helps us present Virginia Wesleyan College in the best light possible. We are all proud of their efforts.
Early morning signage installation at Birdsong Field.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Welcome to Norfolk/Virginia Beach! First-year students Grace Willard (left) and Airiel Herrera start the semester off right with a little break in the giant Adirondack chair in the a center of campus.
Great to visit today with Mark E. Butts '79, former Marlin basketball standout and Virginia Wesleyan College Athletic Hall of Famer. He is a teacher and basketball coach at First Colonial High School.
With Andrea Hoover (Head Volleyball Coach/Senior Woman Adminstrator), Dr. Susan E. Larkin (Associate Professor of English and Director of the Women's Resource Center), Joanne Renn (Director of Athletics), and Dr. Lawrence D. Hultgren, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the PORTfolio Program at the first meeting of the Athletics Management Council. Drs. Larkin and Hultgren are our NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives.
Great to meet Kim (Kliemisch) Moss '92 (center), Account Manager with Studio Center, who was on campus today to meet with members of Virginia Wesleyan's Marketing and Communications Office including Leona Baker, Director of Marketing and Communications (right).

Nota Bene: Title IX

On April 4, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights issued the "Dear Colleague Letter" to every institution of higher education defining our responsibilities under Title IX. Whether we are a member of the student body, faculty or staff, understanding our roles in matters involving Title IX is a priority for each of us.
On July 1, 2015, three Virginia Campus Sexual Assault Bills were signed into law by Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe. The laws include:
o Va. Code § 23-9.2:15. Reporting of acts of sexual violence ( requires responsible employees to report any information about an act of sexual violence to the Title IX coordinator “as soon as practicable” after addressing the victim’s immediate needs.
o Va. Code § 23-9.2:18. Academic transcripts; suspension, permanent dismissal, or withdraw from institution ( requires that academic transcripts indicate with “a prominent notation” if a student has been suspended or dismissed because of an offense involving sexual violence, or voluntarily withdraws from the college during an investigation of such an alleged offense. The notation shall be removed if the student has been found not to have committed an offense of sexual violence under VWC policy or completes the suspension, returns to the college and is in good standing.
o And finally, Va. Code § 23-234. Powers and duties; jurisdiction; mutual aid agreements; memoranda of understanding ( requires notification to the commonwealth’s attorney of a law enforcement investigation of a felony sexual assault occurring on campus, in a non-campus building or property, or on public property, within 48 hours of beginning an investigation.
Mandatory training related to Title IX is being provided to our campus community.

The following topics associated with Title IX are addressed:
1. What is Title IX?
2. Dear Colleague Letter
3. Sexual Misconduct Offenses
4. Reporting Incidents
5. New Virginia laws as of July 1, 2015
6. Q&A Session (Please contact one of our Title IX Coordinators provided below.)
Should you have any questions directly related to Title IX, you may contact:
Mrs. Karla Rasmussen
Director of Human Resources
Title IX Coordinator
Mrs. McCarren Caputa
Associate Dean of Students & Director of Residence Life
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Mr. Jason Seward
Dean of Freshmen & Director of the Jane P. Batten Student Center
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
My monthly column in "The Huffington Post": Unpacking the Briefcase for a New Presidency

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rip Tide (Norfolk Tides) is no match for our Bob Marlin!
Enjoyable visit with Cindy Rodriguez, Virginia Wesleyan College trustee and officer of Bay Mechanical at their corporate offices in Virginia Beach.
The Marlin Milers are a group of faculty, staff, and students of varying fitness levels who run or walk for fitness. Last year, the Marlin Milers made appearances at off-campus events such as the Samaritan House 5K, the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler, the Wicked 10K, the Harbor Lights Half-Marathon, and the One City Marathon. Some Marlin Milers train together while others meet up in their VWC gear at local races. This year, we'd like to add a new component: volunteering as a group at running events. If interested, contact Kate Griffin, Director of Student Activities, Greek Life, and Commuter Services.

Nota Bene: Fall Enrollment

It has been my custom to share day one enrollment with our campus community. The enrollment report for August 24, 2015 includes an overall headcount of 1,444 students, including 1,290 traditional full time students, 29 full time learners for the fall semester in the American Culture and Tourism Management Internship Program, and 27 full time students in the Adult Studies Program (ASP), where overall enrollment totals 95. 
I wish all of our 1,444 students a successful fall semester and academic year. Thanks to all faculty and staff who support their efforts and are committed to their success. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

It was a pleasure to meet Tom Betz and former Mayor of Norfolk Joe Leafe to discuss the Johnny Brown Memorial Golf Tournament scheduled for October 7, with proceeds benefiting the track and field program at Virginia Wesleyan College. For details, contact Mat Littleton (head track/cross country coach)
Attended the first team meeting of the new year with Coach Brandon Elliott and the Virginia Wesleyan College softball Marlins. Was particularly impressed with the involvement and comments of Dr. Hilve D. Firek, Batten Associate Professor of Education. She serves as the academic advisor to the team.
Checked out progress on Birdsong Field today with Bill Shelhorse '70 (center), President of Chesapeake Bay Contractors and a member of Virginia Wesleyan College's first graduating class. Bill has been an outstanding Trustee and benefactor to the College. Joining us for the picture is Bruce Vaughan, Vice President for Operations.

Nice to visit with Virginia Wesleyan College trustee Jon Pruden, Co-Owner & President of TASTE Unlimited, at his Norfolk location. TASTE is Virginia’s leading family-owned and operated specialty food experience. From its founding as a single wine and cheese shop in 1973, TASTE has grown to seven locations throughout the Hampton Roads region.
Athletic director Joanne Renn and I were the guests of Coach Christina Restivo and the Virginia Wesleyan College field hockey Marlins for the first practice on new Birdsong Field. The Marlins are preparing for their home opener against St. Mary's College on September 1.
Talked private higher education, Virginia Wesleyan College, and Coastal Virginia living this morning as the guest of Cathy Lewis on WHRV-FM's "HearSay."
First day of classes, I visited the Henry Clay Hofheimer II Library and discovered my promo for student/staff use of library materials. Thanks to Patty Clark (pictured), Sue Erickson, and Stephen Leist for orienting me to our outstanding library operations.
First day of classes: Complimentary coffee on the College Quad hosted by Dean of Freshmen Jason Seward (left). Enjoying some coffee, Mindy Bertram, a senior double major in biology and international studies from Ashland, VA and Nicholas Hipple, a junior theatre major from Tappahannock, VA.

Nota Bene: Classes Start Today and Hearsay Interview

I hope the first day of classes for the fall semester gets off to a great start today. When I addressed students at the Freshman Honor Convocation on Friday, I encouraged them, as a first step toward academic success, to go to class. That will be a very important habit throughout the semester. It’s critical that students go to class, complete all assignments, and ask for help when needed. I am confident that this will be a successful and productive semester.

Today, while you are hard at work in your classes, I will be sharing our plans for the future of the College with our greater community. I am very much looking forward to my first visit to the studios of WHRO Public Media in Norfolk, where I am scheduled as a live interview guest on Hearsay with Cathy Lewis. The show airs at noon on 89.5 FM public radio.

My conversation with Cathy is scheduled to take place between 12:06 and 12:36 p.m. We will be discussing plans and challenges ahead for Virginia Wesleyan College. As many of you are aware, Cathy Lewis is a long-time friend to the College who received an honorary degree in 2009.
I invite you to tune in or stream the show live from here:

The show will also be archived here:
Bob says: Get up and go to class!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Spirit filled opening chapel service in Monumental Chapel. Pictured: Music leader George Scott '07 and Rev. Greg West (Chaplain). We have some remarkably talented students who participated in the service, also.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Great to visit with our own Virginia Wesleyan College Sports Information Director Cody Clifton, Public Address Announcer for tonight's Norfolk Tides v Toledo Mud Hens AAA baseball contest. Joining Cody and I for the press box visit is Virginia Wesleyan Athletics Director Joanne Renn.
From our trip on the Virginia Wesleyan College Ocean Explorer! From left, Jodi Bryant (Administrative Assistant to the President), Laynee Timlin (Executive Assistant to the President & Chief of Staff), and Annie Cook Miller.
Picture day for Virginia Wesleyan College field hockey.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Freshman Honors Convocation today in Convocation Hall of the Jane P. Batten Student Center.
Nice to meet loyal Virginia Wesleyanite Randy Story '76 in Boyd Dining Hall today.

Nota Bene: Campus Security

Since I arrived on campus, I have been impressed with the work of our campus security officers. The department is continually looking for ways to improve campus safety and security. 
Last year our LiveSafe Mobile App was introduced to the community. I encourage you to register for this app as it also serves as our campus emergency notification system. Learn more about LiveSafe on our website.
Electronic guest registration at the front gate is another tool that may be used to allow students to register their guests online prior to their arrival. In addition, we currently have 31 security cameras on campus that allow for monitoring for safety and security reasons.
Virginia Wesleyan College Call Boxes, though not new, are yet another valuable tool to help students and others should they need assistance from security while on campus.  Call boxes provide a direct line of communication to the gatehouse and can be activated by simply pushing a button.  Officers are then dispatched immediately to the area where the call box is located.  Call boxes are in the following locations:
Godwin Lot
Fine Arts Lot
Village II Lot
Batten Lot
Village III Lot
Village IV Lot
Ball Field Walkway

You can also reach Campus Security at their emergency number by calling 233.8888.

New to security operations this year are body cameras for security officers to use as they patrol the campus community. Body cams will be worn mainly by supervisors and officers at the gate. This prudent step was taken to ensure that there is an accurate record when needed. 

Responsibility for campus safety belongs to all of us. I encourage you to work with our campus security officers to maintain and promote a safe environment for living and learning.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Good visit and discussion with Dr. Aaron Spence, Superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools. As superintendent, he oversees the operation of 86 schools (serving almost 69,000 students) as well as all administrative support functions for the school division. Virginia Wesleyan has had a wonderful relationship with VBCPS.
Freshmen attending a panel discussion of the common read.
Enjoyable lunch and discussion today with Dr. Terry Lindvall, C.S. Lewis Endowed Chair and Professor in Communication and Christian Thought.
Productive meeting with the architect and general contractor for the new 40,000-square-foot Greer Environmental Sciences Center.

New parking adjacent to Birdsong Field.

Nota Bene: Virginia Wesleyan College and the Virginia Tidewater Consortium

I had the opportunity to visit last week with Dr. Lawrence "Larry" G. Dotolo, President of the Virginia Tidewater Consortium for Higher Education, a collaborative of 13 institutions located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. He has been President of the Consortium since 1975, about the time Virginia Wesleyan College became a member.

The Virginia Tidewater Consortium for Higher Education (VTC) includes four community colleges, four public colleges and universities, four private colleges and a National Defense University. Established in 1973, the Virginia Tidewater Consortium enhances the educational opportunities for nearly 150,000 students.
The mission of the Virginia Tidewater Consortium helps develop and share ideas, information, programs and resources to achieve its goals, which include promoting cooperation and collaboration among its member institutions to serve the people of the Tidewater region through higher education and related services. The VTC functions independently of any one institution to serve all its members.

Here are some distinctive areas of cooperation that I wish to call to your attention:

Cross-Registration (Guidelines) 
Students may register on a credit or audit basis at another consortium institution for courses not offered in the current semester at their home institution. 

Articulation Agreements  
All four-year consortium institutions recognize A.A. and A.S. degrees from community colleges as fulfilling lower division academic requirements.

Cooperative Degree Programs  
Designated degree programs offered cooperatively by two or more consortium institutions (i.e. The VWC/ODU engineering agreement).

Faculty Development
The Consortium offers Faculty Development throughout the year for the improvement of teaching and learning. Faculty members also participate in academic exchange programs throughout the year.

Educational Opportunity Center 
The Consortium sponsors the federally-funded Educational Opportunity Center, which is a program that provides academic, career and financial aid information to adults seeking to participate in higher education.

Library Services
The Consortium provides seamless interlibrary exchange. Students and faculty may check out library materials from another member institution’s library by using the Consortium’s borrowing card. The Consortium provides a courier service for the transportation of library materials among the institutions.

These are a few of the many collaborations available through the Consortium. This is another great resource available as a Coastal Virginia institution. I encourage you to fully explore applicable opportunities.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

With Student Government Association President Cassandra "Cassie" McEwan and Vice President Jeance Reed at the new student Marlin Assembly in the Jane P. Batten Student Center. Approximately 440 new students will join the Virginia Wesleyan Family this week.
Student Government Association President Cassandra "Cassie" McEwan '16 addresses new students at their first Marlin Assembly in the Jane P. Batten Student Center.

Nota Bene: State of the College Address on Website

Thanks to many of you for the kind notes and comments about yesterday's lunch and State of the College Address. As promised, the address is on the College's website.

State of the College Address:

Feature web story:

Heartfelt thanks for your friendship, support and many contributions to this special place.

Nota Bene: 2015-16 Virginia Wesleyan Organizational Chart & Employment Website

I have recently announced a number of changes to our organizational structure that are intended to impact organizational efficiency and effectiveness. I am providing the link to the most recent organizational structure for your information and reference:
Additionally, Virginia Wesleyan College regularly posts career opportunities on our website. Please know that this website also provides important information about our hiring practices including downloadable employment applications. For more information on our employment opportunities, please visit
Also, information pertaining to our competitive benefits package may be found by visiting
Thanks to Karla Rasmussen, Director of Human Resources, for leading a very consumer friendly program.
Crews out early working on the Concession Building at new Birdsong Field.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wonderful visit with Paul D. Fraim, Mayor of the City of Norfolk. So many good things happening in the City. Mayor Fraim and his staff are good friends to Virginia Wesleyan College.
Virginia Wesleyan named 40th in the nation (NCAA Division I, II, III); 11th in NCAA Division III:
A few minutes for a picture with our Village Coordinators after the State of the College.
Thanks to all for the wonderful turnout at the State of the College luncheon and address in the Convocation Hall of the Jane P. Batten Student Center. Annie and I are so appreciative of the warm reception we have received here.

Nota Bene: 2015 State of the College Address

I hope you will join us in the Convocation Hall of the Jane P. Batten Student Center for my first State of the College Address. Our faculty are back on campus and we’ll soon welcome our entire student body. I’m certainly looking forward to the fall semester and I hope you are as well. 
Lunch today will begin at 11:30 a.m. and my address will start at 12:15 p.m. The address will also be published on our website following the event today. I look forward to sharing my perspectives and plans with our community this afternoon.
A beautiful day to start the academic year. Looking forward to visiting with faculty at breakfast, the faculty/staff lunch and State of the College. It's a great day to be a Marlin!
Annie and I enjoyed a great dinner and discussion with devoted Virginia Wesleyanites Martha Jo Wilson, Fann and Billy Greer and Alice Clarke at 37 North. Fann and Billy preceded Annie and I at VWC, Martha Jo's late husband was for many years Vice President, and Alice is the widow of long time president Lambuth Clarke.