Tuesday, January 31, 2017


With Walter Kimbrough, President of Dillard University, at the NAICU meeting in Washington, DC. Walter and I are two of the most active social media college presidents in America, according to "#FollowTheLeader: Lessons in Social Media Success from #HigherEd CEOs" by Dan Zaiontz.

Visiting with Mark O'Connell '92

So nice to visit over lunch today at The Hamilton in Washington, DC, with Mark O'Connell '92. A former soccer player and Political Science major, Mark is Director of Government Affairs at Cognizant.

Breakfast with VWC Grads Heera Khanna and Punna Khanna Hayes

Enjoyable breakfast this morning at Avenue Grill near the White House with Heera Khanna and Punna Khanna Hayes. They are two of the Khanna triplets that graduated from Virginia Wesleyan in 1997. Both have government jobs in the Washington, D.C. area. Their sister Moti lives in Chesapeake.

Nota Bene: VWC Partners With The Learning House to Market New Online Programs

In December, I announced that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has approved Virginia Wesleyan to move from a Level II to Level III institution. This classification enables the College to offer the master’s degree as the highest degree. We will soon expand our academic program to include a Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.), an online Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), and online degree-completion programs at the undergraduate level.

Last week, Virginia Wesleyan formally marked a new partnership with The Learning House, the premier provider among private colleges nationwide for enrollment management and marketing support services of online programs. A signing ceremony was held in The Lighthouse where members of the College community and The Learning House officials celebrated the occasion (view photos).

The Learning House will meet recruitment performance goals, invest in marketing, and implement best practices for Virginia Wesleyan’s online programs. The partnership reflects the changing landscape of higher education while remaining consistent with the College’s core values as a liberal arts institution.

The College will begin offering an online Master of Business Administration in the summer of 2017 and two online bachelor’s degree-completion programs for adult students in the fall of 2017. These flexible online programs will introduce an unprecedented level of convenience for students and have the potential for significant growth.

A traditionally delivered Master of Arts in Education is also scheduled to begin in summer 2017. It will be a 4+1 program in which students complete an undergraduate degree in four years focused on a content major related to secondary education, and then complete a year of graduate study devoted to preparation for teaching.

Online learning no longer plays a supporting role in higher education—it plays a leading role. And though it will never replace our residential, campus life experience, online options will be increasingly valuable as we reach out to new audiences seeking a distinctive, affordable, and convenient way to take courses.

Thank you to our faculty and support staff for their hard work in bringing this important project to fruition.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Wishing a Good Friend Well at NASCUMC

My good friend Ted Brown (center) was recognized in Washington today by the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church (NASCUMC) on the occasion of his retirement after 19 years as President of Martin Methodist College in Tennessee. We are both graduates of West Virginia Wesleyan and have been friends and colleagues for many years. We are pictured with John Wells, Associate General Secretary of the Division of Higher Education Ministry of The United Methodist Church.

Political Analyst Charlie Cook

I so enjoyed visiting with political analyst Charlie Cook, who specializes in election forecasts and political trends, at the NAICU meeting in Washington. Charlie writes election forecasts and rankings in his own publication, The Cook Political Report, and in other media. He is a political analyst for the National Journal and since 1994 with NBC. Charlie writes two columns for the National Journal, "The Cook Report" for the main publication and "Off to the Races" for the online National Journal Congress Daily. Since the 1984 U.S. presidential election, he has provided election night commentary for various television networks.

NAICU and More in Washington

In Washington, DC for two days of legislative briefings, private college advocacy day on Capitol Hill, and meetings with area alumni. Pictured with good friends David Warren, President of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and Doug Clark, long-time government relations specialist, at the NAICU meeting in Washington. Doug was recently named Dean and Executive Director of the Lutheran College Washington Semester. Since 1976, NAICU has served as the unified voice of the nation’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities. With more than 1,000 member institutions and associations, NAICU reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States.

Nota Bene: Best Wishes for a Great Spring Semester

Welcome back, Marlins! Today is the first day of classes for the second semester.

I hope your winter break was enjoyable and that you are focused and motivated to begin this new semester. I wish all of you a productive and enlightening spring semester. For the Class of 2017, this semester is the final one, and I encourage you to enjoy it and to finish strong in the months leading up to graduation on May 20.

The semester schedule is filled with activities and events. Make the most of this exciting time on our campus by taking advantage of the many and varied opportunities available to you. Our campus events calendar is accessible on the homepage of our website and by clicking here:

Best wishes for a great Spring 2017 Semester.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

NASCUMC Keynote Speaker Bob Sevier, Senior Vice President of Stamats Strategy

With keynote Bob Sevier, center, Senior Vice President, Stamats Strategy; Marcia Hawkins, left, President of Union College (and President of NASCUMC); and Amanda Allen, Director of Schools, Colleges, and Universities, Division of Higher Education at the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church (NASCUMC) in Washington, DC. Bob addressed "What Lies Ahead: United Methodist Higher Education in 2017 and Beyond."

Reconnecting with Old Friends at NASCUMC

Enjoyed visiting with John Wells, Associate General Secretary of the Division of Higher Education Ministry of The United Methodist Church, and Amanda Allen, Director of Schools, Colleges, and Universities, Division of Higher Education at today's Winter Meeting of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church (NASCUMC) in Washington, DC.

The Winter Meeting of NASCUMC

Attending the Winter Meeting of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church (NASCUMC) in Washington, DC. The 18-member Board represents the 119 schools, colleges and universities in the United States recognized by the University Senate of The United Methodist Church. Pictured with long-time colleagues and friends, Marcia Hawkins, center, President of Union College (and President of NASCUMC), and Colleen Keith, President of Pfeiffer University.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Progress on the New Greenhouse

Construction is moving along on the new greenhouse, which will be located next to Blocker Hall on campus.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Discussing Collaborative Opportunities with LifeNet Health

We met with representatives from LifeNet Health today to discuss internship and employment opportunities for Virginia Wesleyan students. Pictured with me are Suzanne Savage, VWC Associate Vice President for Advancement, Dr. Joyce Easter, Dean of the Batten Honors College, Dr. Maynard Schaus, Associate Provost, Rony Thomas, President and CEO of LifeNet Health, and Doug Wilson, Executive Vice President of LifeNet Health and a 1986 graduate of VWC. LifeNet graciously hosted Dr. Easter and Dr. Schaus on a tour of their facility.

Rony Thomas, President and CEO of LifeNet Health

So nice to visit with Rony Thomas, President and CEO of LifeNet Health, at their offices in Virginia Beach today. For over 30 years, LifeNet Health has been the world's most trusted provider of transplant solutions, from organ procurement to new innovations in bio-implant technologies and cellular therapies—a leader in the field of regenerative medicine, while always honoring the donors and healthcare professionals that allow the healing process.

Best Wishes to Capt. Manny White

Such an enjoyable afternoon in the Jane P. Batten Student Center as we recognzied Emanuel "Manny" White with a retirement celebration for his 18 years of service to Virginia Wesleyan College as a Security Officer. Pictured with Keith Moore, Vice President for Student Affairs, Manny White, his wife Janie, and Jerry Mance, Director of Campus Security. 

This Week's @vawesleyan

Catch up on the latest VWC news in this week's @vawesleyan newsletter, including updates on the 2017 VFIC Ethics Bowl (to be hosted on our campus), the College's celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., VWC's spring arts offerings, Class Notes, and more: http://conta.cc/2kpnPRk

Welcome, New Students!

It's another great day to be a Marlin! So wonderful to welcome our newest students to VWC this morning at an orientation Welcome Breakfast with, from left, David Waggoner, Vice President for Enrollment, Geronimo Sutphin, Director of Early Enrollment and Community Colleges, and Robert Leitgeb, Chief Information Officer. (Anyone else sense a theme in this photo?)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Formally Marking The Learning House Partnership

I was proud today to formally mark Virginia Wesleyan's partnership with The Learning House, the premier provider among private colleges nationwide for enrollment management and marketing support services of online programs. The College will initiate an online Master of Business Administration program this summer and an undergraduate degree-completion program this fall. Pictured here at the signing ceremony with Todd Zipper, President and CEO of The Learning House.

Catching Up with Congressman Bobby Scott

Enjoyed lunch and discussion today with Congressman Bobby Scott at the River Stars Recognition Luncheon in Portsmouth. Congressman Scott has been a dear friend to Virginia Wesleyan College for many years.

River Stars Recognition Luncheon

Attended the River Stars Recognition Luncheon today at The Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel. Great conversation with Dr. Bill Gibson, VWC Professor of Political Science, and Marjorie Mayfield Jackson, Executive Director of the Elizabeth River Project, at the reception prior to the event.

Nota Bene: TCA Partnership/Early Enrollment Initiatives

In December I announced a new educational partnership between Virginia Wesleyan College and Tidewater Collegiate Academy (formerly Tidewater Community Academy). I’m pleased to share that this relationship is off and running and TCA has a new home on the College’s website at www.vwc.edu/tca.

Beginning in July, Tidewater Collegiate Academy, which serves Pre-K through 12th grade students, will rent space on our campus in areas of Pruden Hall and the forthcoming YMCA Partnership Building. It will function as an on-campus laboratory school for our teacher-education students, enriching learning experiences while generating revenue and providing additional opportunities for dual enrollment at the College.

Outstanding high school juniors and seniors enrolled at TCA will have the opportunity to gain real-world college experience by taking dual-enrollment classes at Virginia Wesleyan. Upon successful completion of the coursework, students will receive a college transcript reflecting their achievement and positioning them to graduate early from a higher educational institution. Naturally, we hope they continue their educational experience at Virginia Wesleyan.

During the past year, we have reorganized the Center for Enrollment Services to reflect a more contemporary model. Recently, the College welcomed Geronimo Sutphin, who serves as Director of Early Enrollment and Community Colleges. Geronimo comes to Virginia Wesleyan with extensive enrollment experience from Norfolk State University and Bryant & Stratton College. In addition to dual-enrollment efforts with TCA, he will help grow our Advanced Scholars Program and cultivate relationships with area community colleges.

For more information about Tidewater Collegiate Academy and our enrollment initiatives, visit the VWC website or stop by the Center for Enrollment Services on the first floor of Godwin Hall.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Roundball Insiders Dinner

Wonderful dinner for the Roundball Insiders with the men's basketball team before tonight's game against Randolph-Macon. Coach Dave Macedo is addressing guests.

Catching up with Tim Munford '91

Great to catch up with Tim Munford '91 during his visit to campus today. Tim regularly comes to town for men's and women's basketball games.

Residence Life Welcomes RJ Chittams

This week we welcomed RJ Chittams (center) to Virginia Wesleyan as our Director of Residence Life. RJ will work closely with Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Keith Moore, also pictured.

Chuck and Nancy Moon, Class of 1979

It was a pleasure meeting and sharing the College's future plans today with Chuck and Nancy Moon, proud Class of 1979 Wesleyan graduates. Also pictured is Lori McCarel '94, Executive Director of Annual Giving & Alumni Relations.

A Visit from Bryan Smith '98

So nice to meet this morning with Bryan Smith (center), VWC Class of 1998, who works for Pilot Media. His wife, Rebecca (Sullivan) Smith, is 2000 graduate of the College. Also pictured is Senior Vice President Mort Gamble.

Nota Bene: President's Leadership Council

Last year I established a President's Leadership Council (PLC) in an effort to broaden discussion and participation in shared governance and to foster collaborative processes on key administrative issues. The PLC serves in an advisory capacity to me and provides a forum for exchange of information among administrative staff members and departments and other College constituencies.

The President's Cabinet and the following members of the Virginia Wesleyan community serve on the President's Leadership Council:

Robert Albertson, Dean of the Birdsong School of Social Science
Leona Baker, Director of Marketing and Communications
Bill Brown, Director of Counseling Services
Regina Bynum, Registrar
Julia Wickham Capewell, Director of The Learning Center
Ralph "RJ" Chittams, Director of Residence Life
Beth Clarke, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment
Valerie Covington, Director of Health Services
Sue Erickson, Director of Hofheimer Library
Kate Griffin, Director of Student Activities
Chris Haley, Kenneth R. Perry Dean of the Joan P. Brock School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Debbie Hicks, Assistant Provost
Diane Hotaling, Director of Community Service
Robert Levinsky, Director of Physical Plant Operations
Tim Lockett, General Manager of Dining Services
Travis Malone, Dean of the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities
Lori McCarel, Executive Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations

Karla Rasmussen, Director of Human Resources
Mandy Reinig, Director of Study Away Programs
Teresa Rhyne, Director of Financial Aid
Mollie Robertson, Director of Career Development and Internships
Suzanne Savage, Associate Vice President for Advancement and Board Relations
Sara Sewell, Executive Director of The Lighthouse
Maynard Schaus, Associate Provost
Jason Seward, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
Donald Stauffer, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst
Laynee Timlin, Executive Director of College Relations and Strategic Planning
Greg West, College Chaplain
Denise Wilkinson, Associate Dean of Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning

I appreciate the input of the President's Leadership Council in the decision-making process and look forward to our continued collaboration to further the good future of Virginia Wesleyan College. View the PLC webpage and learn more about other President's Councils and Committees at: http://www.vwc.edu/about-us/president-and-leadership/president-leadership-council.php

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Hampton Roads Chamber Kick-Off 2017

Good friends visiting at tonight's Hampton Roads Chamber reception at the 14th floor Clark Nexsen building in Virginia Beach: Edna Baehre-Kolovani, President of Tidewater Community College, and Bryan Stephens, President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber.

Marlin Connection at Hampton Roads Chamber Reception

Great to meet Virginia Wesleyan grad Ben White '91, Assistant Director of Economic Development, City of Chesapeake, at tonight's Hampton Roads Chamber reception at the 14th floor Clark Nexsen building in Virginia Beach. Ben's wife, Robin, is also a member of the Virginia Wesleyan Class of 1991.

Hosting Rick Weddle of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance

This afternoon Senior Vice President Mort Gamble and I visited with Rick Weddle (center), President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance. We enjoyed sharing our future plans and showcasing the new Greer Environmental Sciences Center.

Students Visit Senator Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr.

Virginia Wesleyan juniors Justin Smith, Gwendolyn Malone, and Alana Peters visited with Senator Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr. yesterday during a trip to Richmond. The students traveled to the capital to show the College's support of the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant.

Representing VWC at the General Assembly

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Seward (left) visited the General Assembly in Richmond yesterday to show Virginia Wesleyan's appreciation for the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG). Pictured with him are exceptional VWC juniors Justin Smith, Gwendolyn Malone, and Alana Peters.

Nota Bene: Promoting Private Colleges at the General Assembly

Last week, on January 17, I had the opportunity to travel to Richmond to visit members of the General Assembly and make the case for private college initiatives. My trip was planned in coordination with the Council of Independent Colleges of Virginia (CICV), a group which, among its many areas of support, serves as the voice of Virginia’s independent higher education community before state agencies and legislators.
Throughout the day I visited with various representatives, many of whom had personal connections to the College (view photos). These meetings included:
  • State Senator Richard Stuart, a 1989 VWC graduate
  • Delegate Margaret Ransone, a former VWC student who now represents the Virginia House of Delegates 99th District
  • Delegate Glenn R. Davis Jr., representative for the Virginia House of Delegates 84th District and a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, and his Legislative Assistant Andrew Petrey, VWC Class of 2015
  • Delegate Joseph C. Lindsey, representative for the Virginia House of Delegates 90th District, which encompasses Virginia Wesleyan
  • Delegate Barry Knight, who represents the 81st District in the Virginia House of Delegates, serving Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, and traces friendships with Virginia Wesleyan back to the College's founding
I was able to thank each representative and encourage continued support of private college and university initiatives across the Commonwealth. This includes support for Virginia’s Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG), a program from which more than 23,000 Virginia families will benefit this year. At Virginia Wesleyan, 840 students received over $1,341,000 in TAG support for the fall term. By spring, we’ll have received a projected $2,682,720 from the Virginia TAG program. That's a significant percentage of our students, and an essential investment in their future.
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Seward showed further support for TAG on Monday of this week by visiting the General Assembly with VWC juniors Justin Smith, Gwendolyn Malone, and Alana Peters (view photo). I thank them for helping to make Virginia Wesleyan’s voice heard on this valued component of students' financial-aid opportunities.
During my trip to Richmond, I also had the chance to discuss Virginia Wesleyan’s exciting progress and forward momentum on the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association’s award-winning program Cable Reports. The show, hosted by Woody Evans, highlights key issues impacting Virginia and helps build a better understanding of state government. It is filmed in the Virginia General Assembly Building. You can watch the full interview (and others) on my President's Videos webpage at: http://www.vwc.edu/about-us/president-and-leadership/video-message.php
Visits like these are extremely important in our efforts to bring increased funding to programs assisting our students, leverage collaborative opportunities with like-minded individuals and organizations, and highlight the contributions of the private colleges to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Monday, January 23, 2017

President's Winter Session Reception

Just returned from the President's Winter Session Reception held in the Shafer Room inside Boyd Dining Center. Heard many exciting stories of Winter Session classes here and around the world.

Nota Bene Goes Global

Dr. Taryn Myers (pictured), Batten Associate Professor of Psychology, found this "notable" café for me while journeying through Amsterdam last week with her Winter Session travel course. I look forward to hearing more about their adventures during a special on-campus reception for Winter Session participants this afternoon!

Coaches Macedo and Francis Highlight Norfolk Sports Club Luncheon

Great to attend the Norfolk Sports Club Luncheon at Harbor Park this afternoon where Virginia Wesleyan's Head Basketball Coach Dave Macedo and Head Baseball Coach Chris Francis were the featured speakers. Pictured here (from left) with Jack Wheeler, a coach at Ocean Lakes High School and a 2000 graduate of VWC, Conrad Parker, former VWC softball and golf coach, Jack Ankerson, the sports voice of Hampton Roads, Chris Francis, Joanne Renn, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, and Dave Macedo.

NCAA Convention: Division III Actions

A summary of Division III actions from the NCAA Convention in Nashville: http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/division-iii-graduate-transfer-proposal-defeated

Photo courtesy of the NCAA

Meeting With MOCA

It was wonderful to learn about the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art today and discuss potential partnership opportunities with Executive Director Debi Gray. We are pictured here in front of the Rodriguez Pavilion, named in honor of Rod Rodriguez, a great VWC friend and husband to VWC Trustee, Cindy Rodriguez.

Nota Bene: Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Set

On Saturday, February 4, we will host a reception and luncheon in the Pearce Hospitality Suite of the Jane P. Batten Student Center for the 2017 Class of the Virginia Wesleyan College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Members of the ninth class represent the best of the best from Virginia Wesleyan’s athletic history. The five inductees for 2017 are:

Rebecca Leedom Bradford '10, Volleyball (2007-10)
Cara N. Byrd '06, Field Hockey (2003-06)
Christine M. Clancy Davis '07, Field Hockey and Women’s Lacrosse (2003-07)
Gary W. DePalma, Men’s Soccer (1994-97)
Megan E. Parris '06, Women’s Lacrosse and Women’s Soccer (2002-05)

Read more about these talented Marlins on our website at:

The VWC Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 2007 to honor those who, by outstanding achievement in athletics, by service to athletics, or through significant contributions to athletics have made lasting contributions to Virginia Wesleyan’s intercollegiate athletic program.

Should you wish to join us for the luncheon honoring this year's class, please visit
www.vwc.edu/HOF or contact Suzanne Savage at ssavage@vwc.edu or 757.455.8736. Registration is $45 per person, which includes your meal and admission to both basketball games.

Congratulations to this year's inductees. We’re proud to honor your accomplishments!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Senior VP Mort Gamble Profiled on Future of Circus

Virginia Wesleyan's Senior Vice President and longtime circus enthusiast and historian Dr. Mort Gamble is profiled in this morning's Wheeling (WV) newspaper, The Intelligencer, commenting on the future of the circus in America.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dinner With Randy '80 and Debra Peele

Such an enjoyable evening with Randy Peele '80 and his wife Debra at The Southern Steak and Oyster House in Nashville. Currently the associate head coach at Tennessee State University, Randy previously was head coach at Winthrop University and University of North Carolina, Greensboro. He also served as assistant coach at Division I Virginia Tech, University of Tennessee, Martin, Georgia Southern, and Campbell.

NCAA Convention Presidents' Social

With Mark Emmert, President of the NCAA, and Javier Cevallos, President of Framingham State University in Massachusetts, at the presidents' social at the NCAA Convention in Nashville. Before becoming President of the NCAA in 2010, Mark was a long time presidential colleague at University of Washington and Louisiana State University. Javier was President of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania before going to Framingham. We both serve on the Board of Directors of Academic Search, Inc.

Catching Up With Old Friends in Nashville

Good to catch up with long time colleagues and friends Brian Rose and Mike Drass at the NCAA Convention in Nashville. Brian is Athletic Director at Bethany College and Mike is Athletic Director/Head Football Coach at Wesley College.

Friday, January 20, 2017

ODAC Winter Meeting

With Brad Bankston, Commissioner of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, and Jeff Bowers, VWC Associate Athletic Director, before the ODAC Winter Meeting at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention. The ODAC Winter Meeting is traditionally held at the NCAA National Convention.

D3hoops.com Features Senior Khory Moore

"Sometimes the opportunities an athlete doesn't get turn out to be blessings in disguise. Virginia Wesleyan senior Khory Moore is the perfect example." Great article on Khory by D3hoops.com: http://www.d3hoops.com/columns/around-the-region/south/2016-17/moore-seizes-opportunity

Nota Bene: 2017 Organizational Structure

Thanks to many of you for the kind notes and comments about recent promotions and organizational changes. I am writing this morning to inform you of updates in the organizational model as they relate to senior administration of the College.

President’s Cabinet
Dr. Timothy O’Rourke, Provost and Vice President
Dr. Mort Gamble, Senior Vice President
Cary Sawyer, Vice President for Administration and Finance
Dr. Keith Moore, Vice President for Student Affairs
David Waggoner, Vice President for Enrollment
Robert Leitgeb, Chief Information Officer
Joanne Renn, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
Stephanie Smaglo, Executive Assistant to the President

To place a stronger emphasis on certain key administrative areas, the following positions are non-Cabinet and in some cases hold dual-reporting relationships to Dr. Gamble, who plays an important operational role in central administration.

President's Support Staff
Jodi Bryant, Administrative Assistant to the President
Don Stauffer, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst
Suzanne Savage, Associate Vice President for Advancement and Board Relations
Teri Eddleman, Scheduler for the President/Center for Advancement

The updated organizational chart for 2017 can be viewed on the
VWC website. Please let me know should you have any questions.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Randy Peele '80 and his TSU Tigers

Thanks to Randy Peele '80 and his lovely wife Debra for an enjoyable evening at the Tennessee State University/Tennessee Tech overtime thriller in Nashville. Randy's TSU Tigers dropped a tough 80-74 decision in Ohio Valley Conference action. Wonderful seats and atmosphere behind the Tigers bench!

Working Lunch With NCAA Leaders

Great to be in Nashville this week for the annual NCAA Convention. Enjoyable working lunch today with NCAA leaders David Armstrong, President of Thomas More College, Dan Dutcher, Vice President of the NCAA, and Jay Lemons, President of Susquehanna University and Vice Chair of the NCAA Board of Governors.

Nota Bene: NCAA Convention

Greetings from Nashville where Associate Athletic Director and Head Women’s Soccer Coach Jeff Bowers and I are representing Virginia Wesleyan College at the annual NCAA Convention (January 18-21).

Each year, NCAA members travel from campuses and conferences nationwide to attend the NCAA Convention. College sports leaders gather to vote on rule changes, which are developed by members and committees throughout the year in an effort to best support student-athletes. The Convention also provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of current and former athletes, coaches and administrators. A President's Agenda Day will allow me to have more direct conversation on athletics issues with NCAA leadership, and Coach Bowers and I will attend the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) meeting taking place on site during the Convention.

Division III members will vote on nine proposals during governance meetings. Among other proposals, delegates will decide whether to implement a policy that ensures providers have autonomous, unchallengeable authority for medical decisions regarding student-athletes and whether graduate and post-baccalaureate students with remaining eligibility will be able to compete at the school of their choice. The voting will take place at the Division III business session on January 21.

Follow along with Convention and NCAA news at www.ncaa.org. I will be sure to keep our campus community informed of NCAA Division III issues and actions.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Celebrating the Support of Henry and Eleanor Watts

Enjoyed being with Henry and Eleanor Watts today in celebration of Henry's birthday. On behalf of the College, I presented the original artwork from Virginia Wesleyan's 2016 Christmas card to Henry and Eleanor in appreciation of their longtime support of VWC (pictured). Henry was Chair of the College's Board of Trustees in 1999 when Godwin Hall opened. He continues to serve today as Board Parliamentarian. The artwork is by Virginia artist and proud VWC parent Robbie Garrity.

Hampton Roads Chamber Education Series: "Scale Up to Grow"

Wonderful presentation by Jim Lant (pictured) at today's Hampton Roads Chamber Leadership series in Norfolk. Through his role with Old Dominion University's Strome College of Business, Jim directs the Regional Export Acceleration Project. REAP aims to grow the amount of goods and services exported from Hampton Roads.

Nota Bene: Peer Institutions

Over the past two years, I have repeatedly been asked for my perspective on competitors and peer institutions. Because of the outstanding work of many, Virginia Wesleyan has grown in reputation regionally and nationally. This is reflected in our positive ranking in a number of national ratings.

Most realize that because of our location and cost, our primary competition for applications comes from publicly funded institutions. However, several different groups exist that are peers in operational philosophy and that share characteristics with us. These include national liberal arts colleges, United Methodist Church-affiliated colleges, and Old Dominion Athletic Conference colleges.

Each year, colleges submit comparison groups to the U.S. Department of Education for data analysis, effectively identifying institutions they see as their peers. These lists are usually not dominated by primary cross applications or even head-to-head competitors. Rather, most colleges select aspirational peers.

Mainstream higher education has recognized The Carnegie Classification™ (a.k.a. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education), as the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four decades. According to their website, starting in 1970, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed a classification of colleges and universities to support its program of research and policy analysis.

Derived from empirical data on colleges and universities, the Carnegie Classification was originally published in 1973, and subsequently updated approximately every five years to reflect changes among colleges and universities. In 2014, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching transferred responsibility for the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to Indiana University Bloomington's Center for Postsecondary Research.

This framework has been widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and control for institutional differences, and also in the design of research studies to ensure adequate representation of sampled institutions, students, or faculty. Also, according to their website, to ensure continuity of the classification framework and to allow comparison across years, the 2010 Classification update retains the same structure of six parallel classifications, initially adopted in 2005. They are as follows: Basic Classification (the traditional Carnegie Classification Framework), Undergraduate and Graduate Instructional Program classifications, Enrollment Profile and Undergraduate Profile classifications, and Size & Setting classification. These classifications provide different lenses through which to view U.S. colleges and universities, offering researchers greater analytic flexibility.

These classifications were updated using the most recent national data available as of 2010, and collectively they depict the most current landscape of U.S. colleges and universities. In addition to the all-inclusive classifications, the Carnegie Foundation also completed another round of its Elective Classification on Community Engagement. Unlike the all-inclusive classifications based on secondary analysis of existing national data, elective classifications rely on voluntary participation by institutions, permitting analysis of attributes that are not available in the national data.

Because of our extensive mission-driven commitment to community service and service learning and the outstanding work of Diane Hotaling (Director of Community Service), Dr.  Kathy Stolley and Dr. Denise Wilkinson (the leaders of the initiation of our Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning), and Rev. Greg West (Chaplain), I think we would be wise to seek classification in the Community Engagement category.

I place a strong emphasis in data-driven decision making. When I arrived here, I asked three independent researchers to give us a better understanding of our peers and to look at 10 years of data for Virginia Wesleyan in determining our peer and aspirational peers. They not only reviewed data, but looked at mission and church affiliation. I then asked Don Stauffer, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst, to do some additional research and refinement. He presented those results.

The institutions listed below were chosen through extensive analysis of schools with similar educational mission, resources, and a series of 25 "matching fit" characteristics. The goal was to build a benchmarking group of institutions comparable to Virginia Wesleyan in most aspects of the educational experience.

Selected Peer Groups of Virginia Wesleyan College

Peer Group

Albright College                                    Reading, PA
Allegheny College                                 Meadville, PA
Austin College                                       Sherman, Tx
Birmingham‐Southern College              Birmingham, AL
Bridgewater College                              Bridgewater, VA
Elizabethtown College                           Elizabethtown, PA
Hartwick College                                   Oneonta, NY
Hood College                                        Frederick, MD
Illinois College                                       Jacksonville, IL
Juniata College                                     Huntingdon, PA
Lebanon Valley College                        Annville, PA
Lycoming College                                 Williamsport, PA
Lynchburg College                                Lynchburg, VA
Millsaps College                                   Jackson, MS
Moravian College                                  Bethlehem, PA
Muskingum University                           New Concord, OH
Oglethorpe University                           Atlanta, GA
Presbyterian College                            Clinton, SC
Randolph‐Macon College                     Ashland, VA
Roanoke College                                  Salem, VA
Susquehanna University                       Selinsgrove, PA
West Virginia Wesleyan College           Buckhannon, VW

Methodist Peer Group
Adrian College                                      Adrian, MI
Albright College                                    Reading, PA
Allegheny College                                 Meadville, PA
Birmingham‐Southern College              Birmingham, AL
Centenary College of Louisiana            Shreveport, LA
Lebanon Valley College                        Annville, PA
Lycoming College                                 Williamsport, PA
Millsaps College                                   Jackson, MS
North Carolina Wesleyan College        Rocky Mount, NC
Ohio Wesleyan University                    Delaware, OH
Randolph‐Macon College                     Ashland, VA
West Virginia Wesleyan College          Buckhannon, WV

I hope you find this information helpful as we continue to affirm our leadership and standing among top liberal arts colleges.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Talking Politics, Private Colleges and VWC on "Cable Reports"

Talked politics, private college initiatives, and Virginia Wesleyan College with host Woody Evans (pictured) on today's Cable Reports, an award-winning program by the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association (VCTA). The show highlights key issues impacting Virginia and helps build a better understanding of state government. It is filmed in the Virginia General Assembly Building in Richmond. Watch the interview here: https://youtu.be/09Ug3qeVaIU

Tracing Friendships to the College's Founding

So nice to visit today with Barry Knight, who represents the 81st District in the Virginia House of Delegates. Delegate Knight serves Virginia Beach and Chesapeake and traces friendships with Virginia Wesleyan back to the College's founding.

Serving Virginia Wesleyan's District

Wonderful to meet Delegate Joseph C. Lindsey during my visit to the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond today. Delegate Lindsey represents the Virginia House of Delegates 90th District, which encompasses Virginia Wesleyan.

Senator Richard H. Stuart, VWC Class of 1989

It was a pleasure to provide campus updates and talk private college issues today with Virginia Wesleyan graduate Richard Stuart '89, Senator for the 28th Senatorial District.

Meeting With Delegate Glenn R. Davis Jr.

Great to visit with Delegate Glenn R. Davis Jr. (right), Virginia House of Delegates 84th District and candidate for Lieutenant Governor. We are pictured here with his Legislative Assistant Andrew Petrey, a 2015 graduate of Virginia Wesleyan.

Margaret Ransone, A Delegate and a Marlin

Traveled to Richmond today to visit members of the General Assembly and make the case for private college initiatives. Pictured here with Margaret Ransone, a former VWC student who now represents the 99th District in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Nota Bene: Fall 2016 President's List

I'm pleased to announce the Fall 2016 President's List. Congratulations to the following students for achieving a 4.0 grade point average for the fall semester. A reception will be held later this spring to celebrate the outstanding achievements of these students. Well done!

Virginia Wesleyan College Fall 2016 President’s List

Amanda C. Albert               Stephanie N. Mathieu
Sarah C. Antozzi                Kevin F. Murray
Tiffany A. Barndt                Travon D. Nimmo
Alexander V. Benevento    Tyler S. Ostrovecky
Elizabeth M. Brisson          Sierra N. Parrott
Katie C. Brooks                  Kathleen M. Peloquin
Emilee K. Caldbeck           Ashley N. Peterson
LeMar  Callaway III            Brianna  Peterson
Warren A. Canady             R. Kellen Phillips
David  Caraballo                Sarah M. Puchalla
Andreas J. Combos           Sarah C. Pybus-Elmore
Eve N. Craig                      Mickella J. Rast
Allyce L. DeSimone           Stephanie M. Reidell
Tara J. Donahue                Kristara B. Richards
Christopher D. Fegan        Kelsi P. Robins
Melissa P. Fisher               Laura E. Robusto
Brandon L. Foster              Dillon E. Rudiger
Sierra M. Garnett               Miranda C. Santiago
Shae E. Geary                   Emma L. Senecal
Megan E. Gerhart              Kennedy M. Skala
Brenna V. Gonzales          Christian M. Spivey
Kyle B. Grabulis                 Jordan W. Sprouse
Vernon K. Hanbury II         Jake Q. Stokke
Allison R. Heitsman           Earl M. Toler
Nicholas G. Hipple             Joy S. Vernon
Abigail L. Horgan               Lindsey P. Walker
Riley M. Koenig                 Brittany L. Wentzel
Katy J. Kopaskey               Tayler L. Wilson
Trevor J. Maloney

Monday, January 16, 2017

Collaborating with the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

It was a pleasure to visit the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater in Virginia Beach this afternoon to talk about collaborative opportunities between UJFT and Virginia Wesleyan College. Pictured here with (from left) Dr. Craig Wansink, the Joan P. and Macon F. Brock, Jr. Director of the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan, David Waggoner, VWC Vice President for Enrollment, Harry Graber, Executive Vice President of UJFT, and Jay Klebanoff, President of the UJFT Board of Directors.

Honoring the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wonderful morning at Heritage United Methodist Church commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Volunteers from Virginia Wesleyan joined Western Bayside Communities United and students from Bayside High School for the fourth annual community day in Dr. King's honor. A special guest from Chick-fil-A joined in this picture with (from left) Rev. Michelle Louk, Pastor of Heritage United Methodist Church, Rev. Ned Alderman '84, Senior Pastor at Epworth United Methodist Church, Rev. Greg West, VWC Chaplain, and Dr. Keith Moore, Vice President for Student Affairs.