Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Virginia Beach Vision's 25th Anniversary

Enjoyable Monday evening at the beautiful new Zeiders American Dream Theater in Town Center as the Virginia Beach Vision Board of Directors celebrated VBV’s 25th Anniversary. Pictured with Paul Merritt, President of Virginia Beach Vision; Mayor Bobby Dyer; and Joash Schulman, Joash F. Schulman, P.C. And Town Center Office Suites. Below, with Marilyn Burstein, recently retired President of the Art Institute of Virginia Beach.

Marlins SportSplash

Catch the latest in Virginia Wesleyan Athletics in the newest edition of Marlins SportSplash: https://conta.cc/2FzaYcd

Monday, January 14, 2019

Virginia Wesleyan Hosts STEM Education Workshop

It was great to see our friends from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and other member institutions on Saturday as Virginia Wesleyan hosted part two of the VFIC STEM education workshop series. The workshops are meant to provide a foundation for a long-term initiative in this area. Host institutions were selected in part to highlight some of the recently completed facilities among VFIC institutions. The VWU workshop was held in our award-winning Greer Environmental Sciences Center. Read more here.

Many thanks to our talented faculty for their participation in this program, including: Chris Haley, Kenneth R. Perry Dean of the Joan P. Brock School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and Professor of Earth Science; Katrina Henry, Assistant Professor of Physics and Earth and Environmental Sciences; Maury Howard, Associate Professor of Chemistry; Elizabeth Malcolm, Professor of Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences; Bill McConnell, Assistant Professor of Education; and Maynard Schaus, Associate Provost and Dean of University College.

2019 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction

We hope you can join us on Saturday, February 9, as we hold a special induction ceremony for the eleventh class to become members of the Virginia Wesleyan University Athletic Hall of Fame. A large crowd is expected. Please RSVP to secure your spot. Event details and registration information can be found here
 

VWU Alumni Gathering: Richmond

I hope our Virginia Wesleyan Alumni and friends in the Richmond area are making plans to join us on Thursday, January 31, at Southern Railway Taphouse. Learn more here.







Inside Higher Ed: "Presidents Urge Methodist Church to End Antigay Rule"

"The 93 presidents of United Methodist Church colleges and universities this month adopted a statement urging 'full inclusion' in the church for all people, including those of all sexual orientations and gender identities," reports Inside Higher Ed

I am proud to be one of the 93. Read more here.

Nota Bene: Weekly Update

Despite the chill in the air, our campus is bustling with January Term in full swing. In what is the largest winter term in Virginia Wesleyan history, students are accelerating their studies through unique courses, including study-away experiences to Costa Rica, Berlin, Israel, Mexico, and Hawaii.

The first mandatory January Term for first-year students has been a successful one. With our announcement last week of our participation in the new CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium, opportunities have grown considerably for student success in a cost-efficient and timely manner. 

The expansion of January Term is one of the pillars of our commitment to accessibility and affordability.  Additional efforts to make a VWU education more accessible include the Virginia Beach College Success Scholarship; freezing our tuition and fees at their current level for the second year in a row; establishing and growing the Opus student-work program; creating the endowed Batten Honors College; expanding our early- and dual-enrollment programs; and the Four-Year Graduation Guarantee. We also offer competitive financial aid packages and other scholarships. 

ET CETERA
In addition to the hustle and bustle that comes along with January Term, our construction projects are also keeping campus quite lively. I'd like to share a few updates regarding the various projects in motion. 

Last week, work began on the installation of a new roof on the S. Frank and Wilma Williamson Blocker Hall. The facility houses many of Virginia Wesleyan University's science programs. Block Roofing of Norfolk is completing the work, estimated at over $130,000.  As much of the project as possible is being completed during concentrated January Term.

Work also began last week on a new Auxiliary Building for Birdsong Field.  The facility will mirror those recently constructed at the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center and TowneBank Park / Broyles Field.  

Artificial turf installation continues at VWU's TowneBank Park / Broyles Field. It is coming along nicely!

Landscapers from Winn Nursery began plantings at The Beacon. When the weather warms up this week, sod will be installed around the base.

Construction continues on the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, scheduled for completion in March. This collage shows the exterior from multiple perspectives as well as two interior spaces: the Joan and Macon Brock Theatre and The Eleanor and Henry Watts Grand Lobby and Gallery.

The new Hammer Throw/Discuss facility at the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center is nearing completion. It is the finishing touch to our beautiful new track and field complex that will host the 2020 ODAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

In related news, our development partners, the Franklin Johnston Group, report that important aspects related to the start date of Oxford Village are delayed as a result of the federal government shutdown. Please stay tuned.

# # #

As I shared with you in a special Nota Bene last week, the Board of Directors of the National Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities of the United Methodist Church (NASCUMC) met in Scottsdale, Arizona, recently to discuss the upcoming Called General Conference. A joint statement regarding issues coming before the Called General Conference in February was drafted by the NASCUMC Board of Directors presidents and unanimously approved by the NASCUMC Board of Directors and by all of those gathered for the winter meeting. 

Following the release of this statement, Religion News Service published the article: "Methodist university presidents call on denomination to amend LGBTQ policies." The article has also been shared in Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education's Daily Briefing. On Friday, I was interviewed by The Washington Post on the topic.  I am proud to be a signatory on this important national issue and statement. And, proud to be a national spokesperson on the topic on behalf of the Methodist college/university presidents. Read more here.

AROUND TOWN AND ACROSS CAMPUS
On February 9 we'll be inducting a talented class into the Virginia Wesleyan University Athletic Hall of Fame. A large crowd is expected. If you have not yet RSVP'd, please secure your spot here.

It was great to visit with Chris Brandt and Mark Roy, both Vice Presidents of the Hourigan Group, last Friday. Hourigan has been a wonderful corporate partner, building many new facilities on Virginia Wesleyan's campus during the last four years. Mark and Chris delivered Hourigan's gift of $10,000 to The Excellence Fund. We are grateful for their continued support. 

Special thanks to Portsmouth Mayor John Rowe for sharing this photo with our student volunteers at Calvary Baptist Church as part of Virginia Wesleyan's 2019 Winter Shelter experience. More than 70 VWU students are engaged in this important service-learning initiative this week at five shelters sites across Coastal Virginia! We are so proud of the work they're doing and grateful to our faculty members leading this effort. 

There have been some beautiful sunsets on our campus lately and I've enjoyed seeing the photos our campus community has captured. I think the magnificent facilities are the best part, though: The Beacon at sunset taken by Jenna Wilson, dusk at the under-construction Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center from the light tower at Birdsong Field, and the sun setting behind the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center taken by Coach Littleton.

In case you missed it, Virginia Wesleyan University's online course offerings have grown through two new partnerships: the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium, a collaboration which facilitates online course sharing among members of the Council for Independent Colleges, and ed2go, a national provider of career training and continued education courses. Read more here.   

Great visit last week with Jaclyn Bailey Ruelle '03, Senior Vice President for MullenLowe U.S. in Boston, MA. Jaclyn was a communication major and enjoyed playing softball and field hockey for the Marlins. 

Bryson Mortensen, Co-Chair of the Music Department and Director of Choral Music, and Tammy Dhority, Theatre Manager, are enjoying the new Steinway Concert Grand Piano which was delivered to campus last  Monday. This is the first of two new Steinways to reside on VWU's campus, both made possible by a grant from the E.K. Sloane Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Our second Steinway will be delivered in early March to its home in the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center. 

STAY CURRENT ON VWU NEWS AND FEATURES

HIGHLIGHTS FROM MY WEEKEND READING
  • "How colleges are preparing students for jobs that don't exist yet," by Gretchen Frazee of PBS News Hour. The article reports a predicted eight-five percent of the jobs students will have in 2030 that don't exist yet. "That might seem like a high number to reach in only 12 years. But think about the now-mainstream careers that did not exist just a handful of years ago: drone operator, social media manager, app developer and cloud computing engineer, among others," reports Frazee.
  • In "Reflecting on 2018, and (Tentatively) Projecting the Future," Mark Lieberman explores "A  new online institution, a transforming textbook market, shifting landscapes for MOOCS and alternative credentials, increasing interest in mobile, and more. Experts make sense of a convoluted year." Read more in Inside Higher Ed.
  • Why are we called Hampton Roads? A decision in 1983 by the U.S. Postal Service contributed to the popularization of the name "Hampton Roads" for the seven cities of southeast Virginia. Read more in the Daily Press.
  • Virginia Beach officials say the city is losing money with no convention center hotel. A new sports field house under construction nearby has sparked renewed interest in building one. Read more in The Virginian-Pilot.
  • "Older students often have different learning needs. Here are four, expert-recommended strategies for recruiting and retaining the," reports Education Dive. Read more in "Higher ed administrators can better serve adult learners--here's how."
  • "What's the blueprint for a 21st-century college campus?" by James Paterson in Education Dive. "With enrollments declining and technology advancing, colleges are breaking ground on spaces that give students and faculty new ways to engage," reports Paterson.
  • In "There is no true student-loan crisis," Chris Howard of Robert Morris University reports, "The crisis is that too few college students graduate so they cannot afford to repay their loans." Read more in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
REFLECTIONS
I hope you find these links useful to my recent columns and publications:
 
PRESIDENTIAL EVENTS
I invite you to stay updated on these activities here.
 
CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Instagram: @prezscottmiller
(Be sure to subscribe to Dialogue for daily updates via email)

# # #

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

VFIC STEM Education Workshop

Welcomed Matthew Shank, new President of the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges, to campus this Saturday morning as we hosted a STEM Education Workshop for VFIC faculty. The event was held in the Greer Environmental Sciences Center. Matt is a longtime colleague having served as President of Marymount University. Joining us for the picture is Maynard Schaus, VWU Associate Provost and Dean of University College.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Hourigan Donates $10,000 to The Excellence Fund

It was great to visit this afternoon with Chris Brandt and Mark Roy, both Vice Presidents of the Hourigan Group. Hourigan has been a wonderful corporate partner, building many new facilities on Virginia Wesleyan's campus during the last four years. Today, Mark and Chris delivered Hourigan's gift of $10,000 to The Excellence Fund. We are grateful for their continued support.

Landscaping at The Beacon

Landscapers from Winn Nursery began plantings at The Beacon. When the weather warms up next week, sod will be installed around the base. 

Roof Installation on S. Frank and Wilma Williamson Blocker Hall

Work began this week on the installation of a new roof on S. Frank and Wilma Williamson Blocker Hall. The facility houses many of Virginia Wesleyan University's science programs. Block Roofing of Norfolk is completing the work, estimated at over $130,000. As much of the project as possible is being completed during concentrated January Term. 

VWU's 2019 Winter Shelter Experience

Special thanks to Portsmouth Mayor John Rowe for sharing this photo with our student volunteers at Calvary Baptist Church as part of Virginia Wesleyan's 2019 Winter Shelter experience. More than 70 VWU students are engaged in this important service-learning initiative this week at five shelters sites across Coastal Virginia! We are so proud of the work they're doing and grateful to our faculty members leading this effort. 

Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center

Construction continues on the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, scheduled for completion in March. Views of the building are shown above, taken from the parking lot (left) and the light tower at Birdsong Field (right). Pictures below feature two interior spaces: the Joan and Macon Brock Theatre (left) and The Eleanor and Henry Watts Grand Lobby and Gallery (right).

Hammer Throw/Discuss Facility

The new Hammer Throw/Discuss facility at the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center is nearing completion. With the recently completed Auxiliary Building, the Hammer Throw/Discuss is the finishing touch to our beautiful new track and field complex that will host the 2020 ODAC Championships. 

It's Official: VWU to Host 2020 ODAC Championships

Virginia Wesleyan University's beautiful new Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center will host the 2020 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

VWU Expands Online Course Offerings

Have you heard the exciting news? Virginia Wesleyan University's online course offerings have grown through two new partnerships: the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium,  a collaboration which facilitates online course sharing among members of the Council for Independent Colleges, and ed2go, a national provider of career training and continued education courses. Read more here


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Jaclyn Bailey Ruelle '03

Great visit today with Jaclyn Bailey Ruelle '03, Senior Vice President for MullenLowe U.S. in Boston, MA. Jaclyn was a communication major and enjoyed playing softball and field hockey for the Marlins. Joining us for the picture is (far left) Brandon Elliott '03, VWU Softball Head Coach, and (far right) Lori Harris '94, Executive Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations.

"Methodist university presidents call on denomination to amend LGBTQ policies"

Proud to be a signatory on this important national issue and statement. And, proud to be a national spokesperson on the topic on behalf of the Methodist college/university presidents. Read more in this Religion News Service article: "Methodist university presidents call on denomination to amend LGBTQ policies."

Thanks to the E.K. Sloane Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation

Bryson Mortensen, Co-Chair of the Music Department and Director of Choral Music, and Tammy Dhority, Theatre Manager, enjoying the new Steinway Concert Grand Piano which was delivered to campus on Monday. This is the first of two new Steinways to reside on VWU's campus, both made possible by a grant from the E.K. Sloane Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Our second Steinway will be delivered in early March to its home in the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center. 

President to President: Chapter 5

The fifth chapter is now available for the 2018-19 series of President to President, a higher education thought leadership publication by university presidents for university presidents. My longtime friend and colleague Dr. Marylouise Fennell and I edit this series. In chapter five, "Bridging the Town-Gown Divide," Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Ph.D., examines the complexity of relationships between colleges and the communities they inhabit. Read more here.

New Roof Installation

Work began this week on the installation of a new roof on S. Frank and Wilma Williamson Blocker Hall. The facility houses many of Virginia Wesleyan University's science programs.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Progress Continues

Artificial turf installation continues at VWU's TowneBank Park / Broyles Field.

Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center

Another beautiful picture from our beautiful campus.

Nota Bene: UMC Presidents Statement Regarding Methodist Called General Conference

As you may know, the 20-member Board of Directors of the National Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities of the United Methodist Church (NASCUMC) met in Scottsdale, Arizona, last week to discuss the upcoming Called General Conference. The NASCUMC Board represents the 119 colleges, universities, independent schools, and seminaries that are affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The winter meeting of NASCUMC was the largest gathering of presidents in more than a decade. 


One of the important outcomes of this meeting was the creation of a joint statement from the Board to leaders of the Church regarding issues coming before the Called General Conference in February. The joint statement was drafted by the NASCUMC Board of Directors presidents after an extensive discussion about the Commission on Way Forward report with Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball, co-moderator of the Commission. The statement was then presented to the overall presidents of the colleges and universities in attendance at the business meeting the following day. It was approved unanimously by the NASCUMC Board of Directors and by all of those gathered for the winter meeting. Read the statement here.

I serve as one of three NASCUMC spokespersons on the issue along with Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President of NASCUMC, and Dr. Mark Hanshaw, Associate General Secretary for Higher Education. I share this with you because this is a critical time in the life of the Methodist Church and Methodist higher education as we look ahead to the February Called General Conference.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Goode Center at Dusk

A beautiful sunset picture of the under-construction Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center from the light tower at Birdsong Field.

TowneBank Park and Broyles Field

With weather improving, work has continued on new VWU TowneBank Park / Broyles Field.

Marlins SportSplash

Catch the latest in Virginia Wesleyan Athletics in the newest edition of Marlins SportSplash: https://conta.cc/2CUfT5G

Monday, January 7, 2019

Sunset on The Beacon

Beautiful sunset picture of The Beacon at Virginia Wesleyan University by Jenna Wilson.

CIC's Presidents Institute Awards Banquet

Great to catch up with some longtime colleagues and friends at last night’s Council of Independent College’s Presidents Institute Awards Banquet in Scottsdale, Arizona. Above, with Michael Mihalyo, President of Wheeling Jesuit University, and Patrick Balch, former presidential spouse at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Michael was our Provost at Bethany College. Below, with Nancy Gray, former President of Hollins University and now a fund raising consultant with Gonser Gerber, and Ken Garren, President of the University of Lynchburg.

ASI Board of Directors

Academic Search, Inc. Board of Directors dinner on Monday evening at Mastro’s Ocean Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Nota Bene: Weekly Update



For the past 28 years, I have opened the new year by attending the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Presidents Institute. It is the premier annual meeting of college and university presidents and the largest in the country. Although my schedule is routinely filled with a variety of meetings and events on campus and around the country, I always find this CIC gathering of 360 private college presidents to be a time of personal reflection and restoration.

Based in Washington, D.C., CIC works to raise the quality of education and strengthen resources at some 770 independent colleges, universities and higher education organizations. CIC's 2018 Presidents Institute explored the theme of "Leading Strategic Change" and other important issues of presidential leadership, drawing on the lessons learned by experienced campus CEO's and the perspectives of other distinguished speakers. 
The time was very productive. I was able to accomplish: 
  • A meeting with the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church Board of Directors to discuss the controversial work of the Commission on a Way Forward.  This important work will help shape the future of the United Methodist Church and will be discussed and decided at the 2019 General Conference Special Session;
  • With Richard Cook, President-emeritus of Allegheny College, led a session on "Battling Climate Change."  Dr. Cook is past Chair of the Board of Directors of Second Nature.  I currently serve as Chair of the Climate Leadership Network and as a member of the Second Nature Board;
  • A meeting with Academic Search, Inc., Board of Directors, a group I chair;
  • A meeting with the American Academic Leadership Institute Board of Directors (I serve as vice chair);  
  • A meeting with the Council of Independent Colleges Online Course Sharing Consortium, a collaborative recently joined. (See additional details below);
  • A meeting with The Learning House, our partner in developing VWU Online;
  • A meeting of the 25 private college leaders nationwide selected to meet with Mexican university rectors in Guadalajara, Mexico;
  • A meeting with Ellucian, our partners on campus technology;
  • A meeting with Stephen Sprouls, Principal, Derck & Edson of Lititz, PA, the firm that facilitated our 10-year Campus Master Planning efforts.
Throughout the week, as I visited with my colleagues in these meetings, a theme arose. In the turbulent, often uncertain, world of higher education, many things remain constant. These include the need to build and maintain healthy enrollments and endowments, to teach well, and to give our efforts an honest and thorough assessment. We will always want to recruit the best students, faculty, and administrative staff that we can. A mainstay of Virginia Wesleyan's history is the devotion of all members of the campus community to academic, career, and life success for students. Our beautiful campus needs constant care, too, and the challenges of security and resource development in every area of the University are ongoing. 

Although there are many recent developments and trends that bring uncertainty and demand vigilance--for VWU and other institutions--I am confident that with persistent effort on campus and through strong connections to colleagues in the higher education community and beyond, we will know success.

# # #

I am pleased to announce the addition of two exciting partnerships to our already robust Virginia Wesleyan University Online: CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium and ed2Go. 

As mentioned above, VWU proudly joined the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium with whom I met with last week. This collaborative provides access to technology that facilitates online course sharing among members of the Council for Independent Colleges that have similar goals for academic quality, commitment to the liberal arts, affordability, and accessibility. Through this arrangement, a single platform is available for participating accredited CIC institutions to share online courses to better meet students' needs. The flexibility and increased opportunities support students' timely academic progress and degree completion. Read more here.

VWU Online has finalized an agreement with ed2gothe world's largest provider of web-based, instructor-supported training programs, to offer alumni and members of the community the opportunity to take non-credit courses online for professional and personal development.  Partnering with ed2go allows VWU to offer a wider array of online courses and to deliver them in a highly desirable format to accommodate all lifestyles. 

Please stay tuned for more information as we will be rolling out both systems in the coming month. Kudos and many thanks to Dr. Maynard Schaus, Associate Provost, for his excellent leadership in the success of these and all of our online initiatives. 

# # #

As the safety of our campus community is always paramount in my mind, allow me to share a reminder of Virginia Wesleyan's emergency procedures and the ways in which we communicate important updates to our students, faculty, and staff in the event of extreme weather or other emergencies. Please take a moment to review the following methods of contact utilized during situations such as these:

Emergency Information
Emergency Website: https://vwu.edu/emergency
Inclement Weather Hotline: 757.455.5711
VWU Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Emergency Contacts
Emergency Number: 757.233.8888
Non-emergency Number: 757.455.3349 (day) / 757.455.3289 (evening)
DeFord Gate House: 757.455.3289

Please stay safe and exercise caution when traveling around campus and throughout the surrounding area.

ET CETERA


Newbury College, a private institution near Boston, announced in December that it will close following the spring 2019 semester. Newbury's decision follows a similar announcement by St. Joseph's College in Vermont, Wheelock College in Massachusetts, and Mt. Ida College, also in Massachusetts.

Longtime colleague Brian Mitchell, former President of Bucknell University and Washington and Jefferson College, writes a popular weekly higher education blog in "Academic Innovators." In a recent post he states: "The sky is not falling (for private higher education), but warning clouds are looming." In "Another Small College Bites the Dust," he argues that colleges must begin to act now to safeguard the quality of their academic programs into the future. New approaches, strategic partnerships, and the adaptation of existing or creation of new products must be explored--and implemented--if colleges are to break out of the cycle of over-reliance on declining net tuition revenue.

AROUND TOWN AND ACROSS CAMPUS
With pride, we share the Fall 2018 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 University Fall 2018 President's List 

Reina Araujo
Alyssa Balanta
Allison Brewer
Mary Brockenbrough
Katherine Burton
McKayla Calapp
Emilee Caldbeck
Madalyn Chevalier
Storie Cook
Taylor Coutts
Zoe Cruz
Kayleesue Currier
Alyssa D'Emanuele
Lauren Davidson
Austin Davis
Iyana Downie
Brooke Erickson
Christopher Fegan
Isabelle Figueroa
Bayli Foley
Kathryn Gerrish
Sophia Gonzales
Mary Gower
Vernon Hanbury
Michael Harrison
Hayley Heath
Ezekiel Herrera-Bevan
Lyric Hinton
Abigail Horgan
Jonathan Huckabee
Ebonie Johnson
Catalina Jones
Teresa Jones
Destiny Kinka
Ashley Kline
Katy Kopaskey
Skyler Lattuca
Isabel Laxton
Morgan Lucas
Ryan Mason
Mayanni McCourty
Morgan McDonald
Caleb Mercer
Ann Marie Moffett
Christopher Morris
Kirsten Powell
Alex Powers
Dalton Powers
John Provine
Emily Purdin
Mickella Rast
Nicholas Rich
Justin Robins
Skye Seutter
Garry Sjodin
Jake Stokke
Jennifer Suarez
Jessica Suter
Millie Taylor
Caroline Tryfiates
Keith Wallace
Cecilia Ward
Kwonsha Washington
Lindsay Weitzel
Taylor Wilhelm


# # #

Kudos to Sarah Stermer, Virginia Wesleyan freshman, on receiving the Joseph E. and Bertha White Harry Scholarship from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. She is nicknamed "Sarah Sapling" and for good reason. Sarah has worked to secure funding for and has planted more than 1,200 trees in Virginia Beach to remedy the city's tree canopy levels. She has also planted more than 1,800 trees in Haiti where deforestation is widespread. We are grateful for her environmental advocacy on our campus, in our city, and around the globe. Read more about Sarah's story and work on the front page of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation (HRCF) Fall/Winter 2018 newsletter.

Also featured in the HRCF newsletter is VWU's Tiffany Williams, Director of Stewardship and Special Gifts, for her support of The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit sponsored by HRCF at the Slover Library in Norfolk. The exhibit celebrated Black Philanthropy Month. 

# # #

I enjoyed the "unveiling" of the new basketball locker rooms with the men's and women's basketball teams last week. Thanks to the Paphites family for their generous support! View the photo gallery here.

In case you missed it, work was completed December 22 on the stands/press box and auxiliary building at Virginia Wesleyan University's new TowneBank Park / Broyles Field. The new stands/press box at Birdsong Field are scheduled for completion within the next month. These additions at Birdsong Field will be named in honor of the Dale Foley family-proud graduates and generous supporters of Virginia Wesleyan University.  Blacktopping of the new 259-space parking lot at the new Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center is complete. Dedication of the Center is set for March 30. Taken last week is this photo of the sunrise through the trees at Renn Reserve and Pond on Marlin Way.

Read the latest happenings from our friends in the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at VWU in "Action Steps You Can Take in 2019."

Kudos to alumna Marissa Coombs '18, newest member of New Balance's Garden State Track Club Emerging Elite team! In an interview, Marissa discusses her experience at VWU and how it prepared her for a post-collegiate career in running. Watch the video here.


Congratulations to Vox Vera, Virginia Wesleyan's student choir, who performed at the White House on Tuesday, December 18. Led by Choral Director Bryson Mortensen, the choir sang in the East Room under portraits of President George Washington. I'm proud of these talented students for receiving the invitation, and appreciate their representing the University so well at our nation's capital. The week prior, Vox Vera performed their "Sing We Now of Christmas" concert on campus and it was fantastic. Read more here.

STAY CURRENT ON VWU NEWS AND FEATURES

HIGHLIGHTS FROM MY WEEKEND READING
  • "The top 10 higher ed trends of 2018" as reported by Education Advisory Board (EAB). Discover them here.
  • From the United Methodist News Service: A group of bishops has debuted a website to provide information on the One Church Plan, one of multiple proposals heading to the special General Conference. The new site is getting push-back, but also support, Heather Hahn reports in "Bishops' website spotlights One Church Plan." Read the story here
  • "Teaching the Students We Have, Not the Students We Wish We Had," in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Natalya Balnova for The Chronicle reports,"As educators, we need to lead the way and design our pedagogical approaches for the students we have, not the students we wish we had. This requires approaches that are responsive, inclusive, adaptive, challenging, and compassionate. And it requires that institutions find more creative ways to support teachers and prepare them for the work of teaching. This is not a theoretical exercise--it is a practical one."
  • "How America Pays for College." According to Sallie Mae and Ipsos, families pay nearly half of college costs. Read more here.
  • "Analyst:  Virginia Public School Enrollment Sees First Drop in Decades," reports WVTF.  After decades of steady increase, Virginia's public school enrollment dropped 2,000 students this year. It's the first decline in enrollment since 1984. Hamilton Lombard at the University of Virginia says it's probably a welcome relief to Northern Virginia, where taxpayers have been financing a massive growth in schools in recent years. Read more here.
  • "U.S. college completion rate climbs to 58%." Although six-year completion rates are rising across the board, significant differences among several groups persist. Read more in Education Dive
  • "Low-income student enrollment up 3.5% at top U.S. colleges." Education Dive reports:  "A group of 100-plus colleges has committed to increase equity and access in higher ed, and early reports show they are pacing to meet their goal." Read more here.
  • "Creating video content that appeals to college students." University Business reports, "Educators seek ways to streamline presentation in this age of short attention spans and new tech capabilities." Read more here.
  • "Report: Virginia's economy looking good, but dependence on federal spending still problematic." Read more in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
  • "The liberal arts may not survive the 21st century," reports The Atlantic. "Wisconsin built a public higher education system that was admired around the world. But it may not withstand a tech-hungry economy." Read more in  University Business.
  • "What a Liberal Arts College Is and What You Should Know." U.S. News and World Report writes: "Historically, a 'liberal education' has focused on broad knowledge, particularly in the humanities, sciences and social sciences, notes the Association of American Colleges & Universities website, emphasizing the development of 'social responsibility; strong intellectual and practical skills that span all major fields of study, such as communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills; and the demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.'" Read more here.

REFLECTIONS
I hope you find these links useful to my recent columns and publications:
 
PRESIDENTIAL EVENTS
I invite you to stay updated on these activities here.
 
CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Twitter: @vawesleyanprez
Instagram: @prezscottmiller
(Be sure to subscribe to Dialogue for daily updates via email)

# # #

Have a great week!