Monday, February 25, 2019

Nota Bene: Weekly Update

The Virginia Wesleyan University Board of Trustees held its winter meeting on February 20 in the Greer Environmental Sciences Center. We enjoyed our time with the Trustees, whose agenda included:
  • Reports and actions from the Committees on Trusteeship, Audit, Investment, Finance and Administration, Academic Affairs, Advancement, Student Affairs, and Enrollment.
  • A special topic presentation, "In Pursuit of Civic Engagement," by Dr. Brian Kurisky, Director of Wesleyan Engaged, and Kaniah Elkerson, a junior psychology major and student volunteer.
  • A dedication of the D. Henry Watts School of Professional Studies.
  • A Board/President "Fireside Chat" on the current controversy in the United Methodist Church nationally, construction projects, enrollment market analysis, college/university rankings, the state of politics in Richmond, Batten Honors College, January Term, partnerships/collaboratives, and China/Japan initiatives.
  • Review of updates on capital projects and corresponding available resources.
  • Approval of recommendations for promotion and tenure.
  • Acceptance of the University audit by Brown Edwards.
  • Dedication of The Beacon.
  • Tours of the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center.

As always, we are grateful for the leadership and guidance of Board Chair David L. Kaufman. We announced last week that John F. Malbon of Virginia Beach has been elected as the next Chair of the Board of Trustees. He will assume the role on July 1 when current Chair David Kaufman concludes his three-year term.
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Thank you to the faculty and other members of the campus community for kind notes received on the appointment of Maynard Schaus as Vice President for Academic Affairs. We are fortunate that Maynard's extensive history with Virginia Wesleyan, his distinguished teaching and research career, and his leadership in program innovation have recommended him strongly as Tim O'Rourke's successor. As Maynard settles into the position, he will be making a number of decisions on various issues related to our academic operation. I certainly invite any comments that our campus community wishes to make as we go forward in our mission of teaching, scholarship, and service under Maynard's leadership. Details will be forthcoming on our plans to honor Tim's retirement later this spring.
In other administrative news, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Chris Davis has been named our new Chief Information Officer. He will join the Marlin family in May.  
Dr. Davis is currently the Chief Information Officer and Assistant Professor of Education at Lourdes University in Ohio and was previously Vice President for Information Systems and Technology/CIO at the University of Central Arkansas. He holds a B.S. in Education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. in Education/Instructional Technology from Duquesne University, and a Ph.D. in Instructional Management and Leadership from Robert Morris University.
He brings to Virginia Wesleyan extensive experience as an administrator and instructor, including in the online space. His background is an ideal fit as we grow our web-based programs through VWU Online. 
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The Council of Bishops has called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church to be held February 23-26 in St. Louis, Missouri. The purpose will be to receive and act on a report from the Commission on a Way Forward based on the recommendations of the Council of Bishops. The 32-member Commission was authorized by General Conference 2016 and appointed by the Council of Bishops to examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and exploring options to strengthen the unity of the church. For those wishing to follow the livestream, it will be available at
Following the Special Session of General Conference, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis will hold an address titled "State of the Church: Where do we go from here?" on Monday, March 4. The event will also be livestreamed from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. featuring an address by Bishop Lewis and time for questions and answers. Questions for this Q &A period may be sent to prior to the event and during the event. The event footage will also be archived for later viewing.

Despite the rain, our first Marlins Day of the semester was a huge success. Our future Marlins and their families explored campus, met VWU faculty and staff, and learned about academic offerings, scholarships, and the financial aid process. They also participated in special parent, freshman, and transfer break-out sessions as well as an Academic Department Fair in the Jane P. Batten Student Center. The next Marlins Day Open House is scheduled for Saturday, April 13. Prospective students can learn more and register at

The Black Student Union and other campus organizations have joined together to organize activities in honor of Black History Month. From Soul Food Night, to a Wax Museum, Black History Month Jeopardy, and a discussion entitled "What the Health?," students collaborated to host events that raise awareness and educate the campus community about the significant contributions and achievements of African-Americans throughout our nation's history as well as issues that are important today. Read more on the VWU website.

There is always something to do at VWU. I encourage you to browse our campus events calendar to learn more about what's happening on campus. Tonight in Hofheimer Theatre, the Center for Sacred Music will present "An Evening of Bach" at 7:30 p.m. Performers will include soloists Billye Brown Youmans, Charles Humphries, Douglas Lynch, and Jeremy Yoder, joined by Dr. Bryson Mortensen and the Virginia Wesleyan Camerata. The Wren Masters of the College of William and Mary will also accompany.

Virginia Wesleyan students and alumni are invited to attend the spring Career and Internship Fair on Thursday, February 28, from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. in the C-MAC. We'll have 60 employers joining us from various industries, including Armada Hoffler, Dominion Enterprises, ForKids, GEICO, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, the NATO Innovation Hub, Norfolk Botanical Garden, the Port of Virginia, the United States Marine Corps, the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, the Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake Police Departments, the YMCA, the YWCA, WAVY TV 10, WVEC Channel 13, and more. I strongly encourage you to attend, as this is an excellent opportunity for students and graduates to network with employers.

Join the Women's Resource Center and Planned Parenthood for "Let's Talk About Sex: The Personal and the Political," a discussion on reproductive justice and sexual health on Thursday, February 28, at 11 a.m. in the Pearce Hospitality Suite. Also come hear international peace educator Paul K. Chappell discuss peace as not merely a goal, but as a practical skill-set that can empower people to heal the root causes of human problems and increase realistic peace in their personal lives, communities, country, and the world. His talk, "The Journey from Rage to Radical Empathy and Realistic Hope" will also take place on Thursday, February 28, from 7:00-9:15 p.m. in Blocker Hall Auditorium. Earlier that morning, Chappell will present "Protecting Ourselves and Our World from Our five God-like Technological Powers" from 8:00-9:30 a.m. in the Pearce Hospitality Suite in the Batten Student Center. Brought to you by the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom.  

It's always a great day to be a Marlin, and our February 16 Marlins Day was no exception as we welcomed prospective students and their families to campus for our spring open house. View the photo gallery from this exciting day.
Renovation started last week on the Raymond Pearce Hospitality Suite on the second floor of the Jane P. Batten Student Center adjacent to Convocation Hall. Thanks to the Pearce Family for their generous support!
Enjoyed showing off new developments on campus to Tim Bailey '83 of Charlotte, NC, a member of our Board of Trustees and President of Compass Group/Canteen in Charlotte. We visited the Eleanor and Henry Watts Grand Lobby and Gallery in the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center and stopped by the new Broyles Field at TowneBank Park.
Enjoyable visit on campus with Sabrina Wooten, Virginia Beach City Council member. We talked about a wide variety of topics including our new P3 project with The Franklin Johnston Group. Scheduled for groundbreaking in April, the project will include eight buildings and 248 units of mixed use housing  

News Briefs
VWU Athletics
Virginia Wesleyan University Magazine
Faculty Focus


  • Here's who Virginia selected as contractor for the HRBT expansion project on All-News 102:Hampton Roads Connector Partners, a design-build team, is the contractor for the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion project, Gov. Ralph Northam announced.
  • How to Make Students Better Thinkers in the Chronicle of Higher Education: The refusal to recognize philosophy's centrality for teaching the art of critical thinking is damaging not only for the philosophers who are eager to provide this service, but also for colleagues across our campuses who have to endure the poor reasoning of their students. But it is incalculably harmful for our students, who will leave college without the intellectual tools necessary to navigate their lives in a rational way, or to protect themselves from unsupported opinions and everyday nonsense in an age when the spread of irrationality has become a crisis.
  • How to Get Students to Fill Out the FAFSA? Enlist Instagram Influencersin the Chronicle of Higher Education: Instagram influencers, or people who have a bevy of followers and manicured photos on the social-media website, will try to sell you weight-loss tea, prepared-meal kits, or subscription boxes of dog treats. Now, a select few influencers are hawking the FAFSA.  
  • Good News For The Liberal Arts And Small Colleges in Forbes: Number of the Week-73-the percentage of liberal arts majors who strongly agreed they had at least one professor who excited them about learning (compared to 62% in the social sciences, 54% in science and engineering and 53% in business). It's been a rough patch recently for the liberal arts and small colleges. Students are fleeing the humanities, foreign language programs are disappearing, and a spate of small, private colleges are shuttering their doors or courting merger partners ... So a recent survey of currently enrolled college students brings welcome news.
  • Higher ed is pushing STEM diversity, but is change happening fast enough? in Education Dive: Efforts to draw underrepresented students into science and tech fields are making progress, but a new report reveals more work is needed.
  • To Assert Relevance, Liberal Arts Colleges Lean into Skills Training, Business Partnerships in Hartford Business: Lynn Pasquerella, president of AAC&U, said there's a disconnect between executives and hiring managers in the premium they place on a liberal-arts education. "CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have said, 'Oh we love liberal arts majors, we want people who have majored in the humanities,' but do your hiring managers know that? Are they actually hiring people with these degrees?" Pasquerella said. "There's been a false dichotomy in the narrative that disconnects curriculum to career, and there's nothing inconsistent about a liberal arts education and career preparation."
  • International Student Enrollment Drops for Second Year, Report Says in the Wall Street Journal: For the second year in a row the number of students from abroad who enrolled in U.S. graduate schools fell by 1%. The drop was led by a decline in students from Saudi Arabia and India, according to a report released Thursday from the Council of Graduate Schools, a Washington, D.C.-based organization whose members include 500 colleges and universities.

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Have a great week!