Monday, February 4, 2019

Nota Bene: Weekly Update

I'm pleased to announce the launch of Virginia Wesleyan University's new online continuing education program designed for working professionals. The beauty of these courses is not only that they provide advanced professional skills in a variety of career fields, but they are created by professionals in each respective field so they are incredibly effective and relevant. Furthermore, the format--instructor-led or self-paced courses--can be chosen to best suit the preferred learning style of the student as well as his or her lifestyle. The program is part of our VWU Online offerings, managed in partnership with ed2go, the world's largest provider of web-based training programs. Both personal and professional development courses are available as well as career training certificates. Read more here.
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The initial mandatory January Term for all first-year students was, by all accounts, a tremendous success.  Eighty-six percent of our "First Years" have returned in 2019, a four percent increase from last year. Overall, approximately sixty percent of our traditional population took advantage of expanded January Term offerings. Of particular note, all 39 freshmen in the Batten Honors College returned for Winter Session. In the first two years of that program, the program has a ninety-seven percent retention rate. Thanks to our faculty and staff for their excellent work and support of January Term and our students!  

The sixth chapter of the 2018-2019 President to President thought leadership series that I edit along with Dr. Marylouise Fennell, was published online this week. In "Meeting the Needs of the Next Generation of Learners: The Agile University," University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D., explains what it means to be an agile university and outlines the benefits to students, faculty, and the institution itself. He also presents key strategies that institutions can implement to become more agile. 

In this year's series, titled "Ten Challenges Facing Higher Education: Shaping the Student Experience," college and university presidents share their perspectives regarding a variety of issues occurring on college campuses today. These unique insights and creative approaches can help other higher education leaders identify new ways of addressing the needs of their own institutions. We hope you find value in this series and enjoy reading the ideas these industry leaders offer.
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Virginia Wesleyan students took action last Wednesday to show members of the General Assembly how vital Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) funding is to our students, families, institutions, and communities. I spent the following day in Richmond at the Virginia State Capitol advocating for higher education and Virginia Tuition Assistance Grants with fellow administrators such as colleague Greg DeCinque, President of Tidewater Community College (TCC). It was great to meet with policy-makers, including delegates and senators, who have been wonderful supporters of Virginia Wesleyan. Many of them represent us in Coastal Virginia, including Senator Bill DeSteph, Delegate Jerrauld "Jay" JonesDelegate Chris Stolle, Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowlerwho is a VWU alumna. I enjoyed visiting with Cynthia Daiger, Legislative Assistant to Delegate Margaret Ransone, who is the mother of alumna Emily Daiger '09. It was great to visit with Charleston Yancey, current TCC student who will be attending VWU upon graduation. It's great to see our Marlin family network far and wide! I also enjoyed visiting with higher education friends and colleagues such as Greg DeCinque, President of Tidewater Community College.

We recently received the 21st Century Declaration of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) plaque, signifying Virginia Wesleyan University's membership in CUMUThe Coalition was formed in 1989 by leaders of metropolitan and urban institutions who realized their unique challenges and opportunities as they looked to the future of higher education. Over 60% of its members hold the Community Engagement Classification through the Carnegie Foundation. 

Bill Brown, Director of Counseling Services at VWU, describes what it's like to survive a plane crash (and the four small miracles that saved him) in the latest Coastal Virginia Magazine. Read more here.

Kudos to Jacob Pilarski of the Virginia Wesleyan University baseball team on being named to the Preseason All-America Second Team as a utility player by Jacob is a two-time, back-to-back All-American player as he earned Third Team All-American honors last season.

Great to visit on campus with former Penn State and Minnesota Vikings football standout D.J. Dozier. We enjoyed talking about common acquaintances, his amazing career, and his new book "Decide to Dominate."

Check out these four amazing drone videos showing different projects on campus from a fascinating perspective: progress of the soon-to-be completed Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts CenterThe Beacon which will be dedicated later this month, the recently completed Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center, and TowneBank Park/Broyles Field which is home of the back-to-back defending NCAA National Softball Champion Marlins. 


  • Here are new and interesting case studies from our partners at The Learning House that I thought you might find interesting. This is how they help universities enroll more students while remaining true to their mission. I have found they understand the power of collaboration to find innovative solutions to challenges.
  • In Inside Higher Ed's article "Survival of the Proactive," two case studies on Allegheny College and Chatham University explore transformation models. 
  • An interesting opinion piece in Forbes: "Four Predictions for Higher Education in 2019."
  • The article "Sea level rise could cost Virginia Beach billions of dollars, study says" in The Virginian-Pilot, states: "Projections show that the cost of doing nothing to combat the problem would be sky high. Several areas--including Sandbridge, Pungo, the Oceanfront, and around the Lynnhaven Inlet--face most of the future risk associated with sea level rise."  Read more here.
I hope you find these links useful to my recent columns and publications:
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Have a great week!