Despite this summer heat, activity on campus shows no signs of cooling down. Last week we welcomed rising high school juniors and seniors to campus for Virginia Private College Week, hosted by the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia. We offered in-person and virtual information sessions and addressed myths about the cost of a private college education. It was a pleasure to welcome these prospective Marlins and their families to campus.
Last month I had the honor of announcing the recipients of our 2022 Alumni Awards— Michael J. White ’81 (Distinguished Alumnus Award), Brandon L. Adair ’12 (Alumni Service Award), and Jessie K. Dawe ’08 (The Beacon Award). We’ll celebrate these graduates as part of our annual Founders Day celebration on September 8. The Honorable Deborah Paxson, Virginia Wesleyan Class of 1975 and member of the VWU Board of Trustees, will serve as the Founders Day keynote speaker.
DeFord Manor, the president’s on-campus residence, has officially been recognized as a "River Star Home" by the Elizabeth River Project, meeting a seven-part pledge to keep pollution from entering the Elizabeth River and related waterways. Read more about these sustainability efforts in our feature story linked below.
We know that, for some students, graduating in an accelerated time frame is a way to make education more affordable. To assist with this, we have formed three-year degree pathways for 27 of Virginia Wesleyan’s academic programs. These pathways provide students with the framework, if they choose, to complete their degree requirements in three years. Students can visit the Majors & Minors section on our website for more information.
We have several construction projects in motion on campus. Work has begun on The Cove, a new outdoor eating and entertainment venue located adjacent to Harbor Grill. Upgrades are nearing completion on the Trinder Center, a structure within the Tassos Paphites Soccer Complex that houses a multi-use locker room, officials’ locker room, public restroom, concession, and entertainment suite. We’re waiting for permitting approvals to begin construction on Watts Fieldhouse for Broyles Field at TowneBank Park, which will include a locker room for women’s softball and public restrooms.
Finally, each August prior to the start of the fall semester, I deliver a State of the University address to our campus community featuring highlights, initiatives and significant accomplishments from the past year and the strategic direction of the University’s future. This year's address will take place on Friday, August 19 at noon and will be livestreamed on the VWU Digital Broadcasting Network.
Enjoy these final weeks of summer!
Virginia Private College Week
Visitors received a $1,000 Visit Grant and were entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Read More
DeFord Manor: 'River Star Home'
The home is designed to keep pollution from entering the Elizabeth River and related waterways. Read More
Welcome, New First-Years!
Incoming students prepare for campus life during Marlin Nation Orientation.
Great to catch up with good friends Karla Kincannon ‘76, H ‘18 and Jim Noseworthy H ‘20 over dinner at Etta’s Channel Side Restaurant on Chincoteague Island. Now retired, both are recognized as national leaders in the United Methodist Church.
The Batten Honors College is a program of national distinction, one of only 147 honors colleges in the United States. Enrolling a highly selective group of 160 scholars, the Batten Honors College’s mission focuses on Environmental Stewardship, Global Engagement, and Leadership. I thank Travis Malone, Dean of the Batten Honors College, for his outstanding leadership of this niche program.
The Batten Honors College boasts an $80.2 million endowment that funds scholarships, environmental, global and leadership opportunities for scholars and supports teaching faculty.
I am pleased to announce Batten Professors for the new academic year:
Travis Malone, Dean of the Batten Honors College and Batten Professor of Theatre
Jill Sturts, Assistant Dean of the Batten Honors College, Chair of Sport and Recreation Professions, and Batten Associate Professor of Sport and Recreation Professions
Joyce Howell, Batten Professor of Art History
Larry Hultgren, Batten Professor of Philosophy
William McConnell, Director of Teacher Education and Batten Associate Professor of Education
John Rudel, Director of Undergraduate Research, Curator of Exhibitions for the Neil Britton Art Gallery, and Batten Professor of Art
Maynard Schaus, Director of Graduate Programs, Coordinator of Sustainability Management, and Batten Professor of Biology and Environmental Science
Sally Shedd, Chair of Political Science and Batten Professor of Theatre
Antje Schwennicke, Dean of the Birdsong School of Social Science, Coordinator of NATO Partnership, and Batten Associate Professor of Political Science
The Batten distinction is a renewable term appointment (July 1-June 30) afforded to full-time faculty teaching in the Batten Honors College for the corresponding academic year. Those teaching short-term study away courses are not eligible.
DeFord Manor has officially been recognized as a "River Star Home" by the Elizabeth River Project. I am pictured receiving the designation banner last week from Joshua Harris, President of the Board of Directors of the Elizabeth River Project. River Star homes meet a seven part pledge to keep pollution from entering the Elizabeth River and related waterways.
Completed in March, DeFord Manor serves as the on-campus residence for the University president. In keeping with the University's environmental sustainability initiatives, approximately 460 trees, shrubs and plants fill the landscape surrounding DeFord Manor. Nearly a mile of underground stormwater chambers and a bio pond are also a part of the project.
DeFord Manor circle and driveway are "green," the surface helping to control runoff, prevent flooding and replenish groundwater by allowing water to penetrate through the driveway rather than running off the top. Surface water is absorbed through the permeable driveway material, and the soil below filters the water, preventing chemicals from vehicles and other sources from getting into the ground water or contaminating the water in storm drain systems.
DeFord Manor is named in honor of generous benefactors and long-time Trustees Bob and Nancy DeFord. Bob is currently a Trustee Emeritus. Nancy is the Vice Chair of the Board.
I had an enjoyable visit last week with our collaboration partner and friend Judy Jankowski, Head of School at Chesapeake Bay Academy. Located on the Eastern side of the Virginia Wesleyan University campus adjacent to TowneBank Park, CBA has been empowering children who learn differently for over 30 years. Sue Larkin, Vice President for Academic Affairs, joined us for the meeting. Learn more.
VWU welcomes rising high school juniors and seniors to campus this week for Virginia Private College Week, hosted by the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV). Virginia Wesleyan, along with 22 other member institutions, will offer in-person and virtual sessions about admission, financial aid, and academic programs. Enrollment counselors will also address common myths about the cost of a private college education.
We look forward to welcoming these prospective students and their families to campus throughout the week. Learn more.
Two years ago, we announced our partnership with the Sentara College of Health Sciences (SCHS) and creation of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program. Through this program, students take coursework at both institutions. SCHS is located two exits east of campus off I-64.
We have had a strong interest in this new program and have our second full cohort of students enrolling this fall. Our first cohort began coursework at SCHS in January 2022.
We also have an articulation agreement that guarantees students admission into SCHS’s Master’s Entry into Nursing Practice (MENP) program. The first two students began this program at Sentara College of Health Sciences during the 2021-22 Academic Year.
Earlier this month I participated in the ASI/AALI summer Board of Directors meetings in Portland, Oregon, for which I serve as chair and vice chair, respectively. It was a pleasure to hear progress reports of both organizations. Despite the pandemic, both are flourishing and serving our sector well by developing the next generation of leaders.
Over the last decade, AALI has earned acclaim as the nation’s leading nonprofit organization committed to leadership development in higher education. AALI partners with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to offer a wide range of leadership programs, networking opportunities, and mentorship experiences to prepare administrators to advance to higher positions of responsibility at public and private colleges and universities. Founded in 1976, Academic Search is an executive search firm dedicated to serving higher education institutions and related organizations and is the only search firm in the nation with a formal relationship to a premier leadership development program.
It was also good to catch up with leaders of the ASI (Jay Lemons, President) and AALI (Linda Bleicken, President) along with Marjorie Hass, the President of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), Richard Ekman, President-emeritus of CIC, and Mildred Garcia, President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. These transformational leaders don’t always get the recognition they deserve for their impact nationwide. I encourage you to explore the websites of both organizations, as VWU has benefited from their services.
It’s always refreshing to spend time with leaders of these organizations because they give me a realistic assessment of the current condition of higher education and challenges facing our sector. Virginia Wesleyan is responding well to these challenges, and I look forward to participating in other meetings of these boards later this year.
Several months ago, I shared that AALI had selected Keith Moore, Vice President for Campus Life and Operational Management, and Sue Larkin, Vice President for Academic Affairs, for participation in the Executive Leadership Academy and Senior Leadership Academy, respectively. Both have started participation in workshops and are acquiring knowledge, skills, and experiences germane to the responsibilities and activities central to the work of a senior-level leader in higher education. I also mentioned recently that Loren Marquez, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, completed the Emerging Leaders Institute, offered by New American Colleges and Universities (NACU).
I am grateful these professional development opportunities exist and pleased that our campus leadership is taking advantage of them.
I am pleased to share new faculty and academic staff for the 2022-2023 Academic Year.
Crit Muniz has been promoted to Executive Director of Academic Support Services. He will oversee all academic support services, including Advising, Global Engagement, and Career Development.
We have three new faculty members joining us in the fall: Kristen Fedesco, Assistant Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies; James Moskowitz, Lecturer in Political Science; and Annika Quick, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science.
Paris Bogle joined us earlier this month as the Coordinator for Accreditation, Data Collection, and Reporting. Paris works to support both the Department of Education and Academic Affairs.
Lauren Nelms is moving to western Virginia, and Courtney Knudsen, our Assistant Registrar, will step into the role of Registrar on October 1. Rachael Burgess is moving from Advancement to Academic Affairs and will serve as the Academic Records Specialist working out of the Office of the Registrar.
You might also have noticed that we are conducting a search for a new head women’s basketball coach. Liz Hudy, our coach for the last three seasons, suffered a serious injury that prevented her from coaching most of last season. She has decided to leave coaching and assume a job in the private sector (Director of Talent Acquisition for Empact Strategic Partners) as she recovers.
A new women’s basketball coach will be named in the very near future.
For some students, graduating in an accelerated time frame is a way to make education more affordable. To assist with this, 27 Virginia Wesleyan academic programs now have three-year degree pathways available to students. These pathways provide students with the framework, if they choose, to complete their degree requirements in three years. Students can visit the Majors & Minors section on our website to view the three-year degree pathways.
Just a reminder that, if you haven’t responded already, I welcome your input regarding the following topic:
Dr. Sue Larkin is serving as Vice President for Academic Affairs for a term of December 31, 2021 until June 30, 2023. It is important to me to be participative in this process for staffing this important position beyond that date.
I am committed to making the choice that is best for VWU, and my decision will be guided by the University’s mission, values and environmental context. As I’ve said previously, I welcome input from the faculty and campus community.
Internal comments will be accepted until August 31. No group or anonymous messages will be considered. Messages with author attribution should be sent directly to my private email address. All responses will be received in a completely confidential manner.
AROUND TOWN AND ACROSS CAMPUS
VWU/Virginia Beach Economic Development Partnership
I had an enjoyable lunch and visit at DeFord Manor last week with Ihsane Mouak (right) and Autumn Bailey (second from right) of Virginia Beach Economic Development. VBED and VWU have been wonderful partners on a variety of projects focusing on workforce development and programming at The Hive in Town Center. Joining us for lunch (next to me from left), Heather Campbell, Vice President for Enrollment, Larry Belcher, Director of Enrollment, VWU Global Campus, and Marion Hibbler, Director of Lifelong Learning, VWU Global Campus.
The Norfolk Forum celebrates 90th Anniversary
I am honored to serve on the Board of Directors of The Norfolk Forum, the oldest publicly-subscribed speakers’ forum in the country. Through a sponsorship arrangement, a select number of scholars from the Batten Honors College attend each lecture, including a social with the speakers.
Learn more about The Norfolk Forum from this feature in the Compass section of the Virginian-Pilot.
Academic Calendar Update
I share with you the most updated version of the Academic Calendar for Summer 2022 through Summer 2023 here. Please take note, an earlier version of the calendar had an incorrect date for Fall Break. Fall Break 2022 will be October 17-18 in order to avoid conflicts with Homecoming and Family Weekend.
National Night Out - Mark your calendar
On August 2, Virginia Wesleyan University and the Virginia Beach Police Department’s 3rd Precinct are hosting National Night Out on campus from 6-8 p.m. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. Members of the campus and surrounding community are invited to attend for an evening of games, food, and fun.
United Methodist News: Conferences Diverge in Handling Church Exits
With no formal separation plan, United Methodist annual conferences have a lot of leeway in administering church disaffiliations. Amid varied conference policies, the number of church departures is climbing. Heather Hahn of United Methodist News provides this update.
Is The United Methodist Church Really…?
“Ask The UMC,” a ministry of United Methodist Communications, has received many questions from congregations wondering about the future of the denomination. These have included recurrent questions that reflect misperceptions or misinformation that congregations are receiving as they discern their next steps:
Trinder Center: Upgrades are nearing completion on the Trinder Center. Located at the Tassos Paphites Soccer Complex, the Trinder Center serves as a multi-use locker room, officials locker room, public restroom, concession, and entertainment suite for men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse and field hockey.
The Cove: Work has begun on The Cove, a new outdoor eating and entertainment venue located adjacent to Harbor Grill. When completed, The Cove will not only feature a relaxing place to eat or study, but will include a fire pit and several recreational features including sand volleyball.
Watts Fieldhouse: The University is waiting for permitting approvals to begin construction on Watts Fieldhouse for Broyles Field at TowneBank Park. The fieldhouse will include a locker room for women’s softball and restrooms for spectators.