Research by Richmond faculty has been strengthened by several recent grants.
A grant to the University of $646,168 from the National Science Foundation will support research and training of student researchers by funding an inverted microscope that can perform laser micro-dissection of minute portions of individual neurons and cells. The grant supports the work of Craig Kinsley, professor of neuroscience, who studies maternal and paternal brains in a wide variety of species, including humans.
The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a $50,400 fellowship to A. Linwood “Woody” Holton, professor of history and American studies at the University. The grant will support Holton’s research and writing for the book Liberty is Sweet: An Integrated History of the American Revolution.
Richmond's quality has been recognized in several recent national ratings of universities.
In March, Bloomberg Businessweek magazine ranked the University's Robins School of Business No. 15 overall on its 2012 list of America's best undergraduate business programs. Among specific measures, the Robins School ranked No. 3 for academic quality, No. 5 for student satisfaction, and No. 15 for students going on to MBA studies. It is the seventh year running that the school ranked in the top 25.
Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the Robins School of Business MBA program 18th in the country on its list of "The Best Part-Time MBA Programs." The Richmond MBA was the only professional MBA program in Virginia to be included in the top 25 of the rankings. The program earned an "A" for teaching quality, curriculum, and caliber of classmates, all while having the smallest average class size in the country.
The Princeton Review named Richmond to its 2012 list of 75 best-value private colleges and chose the Robins School of Business for inclusion in its newest guidebook, The Best 294 Business Schools (2012 Edition). Schools were selected for the guidebook based on 19,000 student surveys that rated job placement, potential for real-world business experience, and professors, among other factors.
Finally, in its 2011 Open Doors report, the Institute of International Education ranked the University of Richmond third in total study abroad students among the 40 U.S. baccalaureate institutions recognized. The University, whose baccalaureate and masters programs have placed in each of the last ten Open Doors reports, sent 582 students abroad in the 2009–10 academic year. Named the "Hottest School for International Studies" by Newsweek, the University maintains a study abroad portfolio of more than 75 programs in 30 countries, with 59 percent of the 2011 class studying abroad.
Professor Nicole Sackley was awarded a $37,500 Truman-Kauffman Research Fellowship from the Harry S. Truman Library Institute for her studies of American social scientists who sought to modernize undeveloped parts of the post-1945 world.
Jory Brinkerhoff, an assistant professor of biology at the University, received a $25,000 research award from the Thomas F. Jeffress and Kate Miller Jeffress Memorial Trust of Richmond for his research on the emergence of Lyme disease in Virginia.
Critical Language Scholarships from the U.S. State Department enabled two University of Richmond juniors, Simrun Bal and Andrew Lyell, to participate in intensive study abroad programs this past summer. Bal, from Springfield, Va., visited India to continue studying the Punjabi language. Lyell, of Chantilly, Va., a two-time recipient of the scholarship, returned to Bangladesh to study the Bengali language.
The University is expanding its footprint in downtown Richmond through the renovation of the lower level at UR Downtown and with the construction of a new café.
This externally funded expansion builds on the success of UR Downtown’s four programs—the Law School’s Carrico Center for Pro Bono Service and Lipman Family Law Clinic, SPCS’ Partners in the Arts, and CCE’s Richmond Families Initiative—by providing additional opportunities for the University to engage with the broader Richmond community. The renovation of the lower level at UR Downtown into a multipurpose room provides space for class meetings, events, and campus-community collaborations. Lockers and office space help faculty, staff, and students take advantage of programmatic offerings at UR Downtown and other sites in the area.
The new café, Richmond on Broad, will complement the activities at UR Downtown. This casual restaurant on the first floor of the building will showcase the University’s high-quality food service.
Save the date—December 13, 2012—and plan to attend the Chapel Guild Christmas House Tour, which includes a luncheon and tours of marvelously decorated and spectacular Richmond homes. The event costs $30 per ticket and all proceeds support the Cannon Memorial Chapel, the Chaplaincy, and the presentation of Handel’s Messiah.
Invite some friends and make it a day, or organize
a mini class reunion by
inviting classmates to meet for the luncheon at a specific time. You can use the Class Connections section of the next issue of the magazine as an invitational tool. To submit an invitation to your classmates to join you for lunch on December 13, email email@example.com, fax it to (804) 287-6501, or mail to Molly Field, Office of the Chaplaincy, Wilton Center, Suite 200, 28 Westhampton Way, University of Richmond, VA 23173. Deadline for submission is June 8, 2012.
More than 10,000 students applied to be a part of the University of Richmond Class of 2016. As of the University’s January 15 application deadline, Richmond had received 10,121 applications for the 765 seats that are available in the next first-year class.
The number breaks last year’s record of 9,461 applications and continues a series of annual increases that have continued through most of the past decade.
Three University faculty members have been appointed to be associate deans in the School of Arts and Sciences. Malcolm Hill, an associate professor of biology, has taught at the University since 2004 and is a former chair of the biology department. Vincent Wei-cheng Wang, an associate professor of political science, has taught at Richmond since 1996 and served several years as chair of the political science department. Lisa Gentile, associate professor of chemistry, has taught at Richmond since 2006 and chairs the chemistry department. The appointments were effective in January.
Having traveled to France, Peru, Japan, Uganda, Rwanda, and India, Oldham Scholar Maria Sebastian, '12 (above right, with her grandfather), now pursues her international ambitions at the University of Richmond.
Last summer Sebastian, who is majoring in political science and international studies, conducted an independent research project through an Arts and Sciences summer research fellowship in her home state of Kerala, India. Her research analyzed local perceptions and outcomes of a form of political activism called hartals, essentially a form of mass strike organized by political parties and other groups to shut down all businesses, daily services, and social activities.
"This sort of political expression in Kerala is rather common and viewed as a powerful tool," Sebastian said. "Although there is near unanimous opposition to hartals, they continue to plague Kerala society."
Sebastian's interest in Kerala's political atmosphere began years before she arrived at the University of Richmond. Although raised in the United States, Sebastian continues to identify with her family's place of origin and travels to Kerala almost every other year.
Approaching her research through a broad theoretical framework of scholarly discussions on public participation and social choice theory, Sebastian studied how enhanced political freedom affected development and how this issue was reflected in Kerala. Her research included in-depth questionnaires and interviews with a broad cross-section of citizens.
Sebastian's faculty mentor for the research was political science professor Rick Mayes. "The guidance and support of Dr. Mayes encouraged me to complete independent research in India," she said, adding that "he has been an incredible inspiration for me by sharing my belief that a passion for social justice has an important role to play in academic scholarship."
Two members of the faculty have won 2011 Theresa Pollak Prizes for Excellence in the Arts. Myra Daleng, director of dance, won the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Tanja Softi?, professor and chair of the Department of Art and Art History, won in the fine arts category. Richmond Magazine presented the awards, which are named for well-known Virginia artist Theresa Pollak, W’21 and H’73 (1899–2002).
Vincent Wei-cheng Wang, an associate dean and professor of political science at the University, was selected to participate in the international delegation selected to observe Taiwan’s elections in mid-January.
In light of ongoing interest in the relationship between Taiwan and China, the elections generated keen interest around the world. Wang said such work helps connect universities and the world.
Dave McCoy, the chief of police at the University of Richmond, may not have a background in sustainability, but when he arrived at the University this past spring, he saw a way to increase fleet efficiency while supporting the University’s sustainability goals. The solution? Replace Ford Crown Victorias with more fuel-efficient Ford Fusion Hybrids. For every Fusion added to the campus police force, the fleet is expected to save approximately 190 gallons of gas per year. Emissions will be lower, too.
When the technology is right, the University also will move to replace other vehicles on campus, such as facilities trucks, with more energy-efficient models.
Recent financial support to the University includes gifts from Elizabeth R. Dunkum, W’59, and Ellis M. Dunkum, B’59 and GB’69, supporting the Ellis M. Dunkum Scholarship; Burrell Williams Stultz, W’55, and John L. Stultz, B’58, supporting multiple University initiatives; Virginia Marion Lewis, G’55, supporting the SPCS Teacher Licensure Program; and Dr. Sarah S. Maldonado, W’69, and Dr. Wilford E. Maldonado, to establish the “Doctors Sarah S. and Wilford E. Maldonado Scholarship.” This scholarship will support full-time Westhampton College students majoring in the sciences.
In addition, the University has received gifts from the estates of Dr. Marvin McRae, R’30, supporting the University of Richmond Endowment; and Roger Beck, R’70, supporting the Joseph E. Nettles Scholarship in Journalism.
The University’s Academic Skills Center celebrated 20 years of helping students achieve academic excellence this academic year.
One of the Center’s hallmarks includes the Peer Advisors and Mentors (PAM) program, now in its 19th year of operation. PAM is designed to enhance the leadership skills of first-year mentees. The PAM program pairs first-year students with upper-class mentors who help them navigate their first year of college life. Both mentors and mentees gain valuable leadership experience through private advising sessions, group activities, and leadership opportunities.
Retaining students is one of the program’s chief goals––90 to 100 percent of PAM first-year mentees return to Richmond for their second year of college.
As underscored in the University’s strategic plan, The Richmond Promise, the University is committed to strengthening its ties with the local community. A major employer in the region, Richmond has a long history of support for local businesses. To enrich that engagement, a new supplier diversity initiative is enhancing the University’s relationships with women- and minority-owned businesses. Through the initiative, spearheaded by the Office of Strategic Sourcing and Payments, the University is actively identifing and contracting with diverse businesses.
The University held its inaugural Supplier Diversity Fair in Jepson Alumni Center in January. The fair offered vendors and University departments the opportunity to get to know one another and identify potential ways to work together.
Outdoor learning spaces benefit children in many different ways. Now, the University is helping teachers consolidate lessons learned from those experiences.
Cary Jamieson (above), a program specialist with the School of Professional and Continuing Studies' (SPCS) Landscape Design Program, designed the Sustainability and Nature Institute for Educators, one of the first programs of its kind, to give teachers the tools they need to build an outdoor learning experience from the ground up.
"Students are spending a tremendous amount of time in front of a screen," Jamieson says. "They don't have the same freedom to explore nature as generations that came before them. It's become the responsibility of teachers to expose them to outdoor settings in the safety of the school."
To that end, teachers from schools in both rural and urban Virginia, and even as far away as Florida, gathered on campus last July to learn the art and science behind outdoor classrooms from John Hayden, a professor of biology, and Steven Koprowski, an instructor of landscape design at the University.
In addition to exploring biology and other natural science topics, participants learned how outdoor education can apply to a variety of subjects. Teaching Shakespeare can be enhanced when students write nature-inspired poetry. Creating a gourd orchestra brings life to music classes. Measuring trees and sidewalks shows the application of math principles. Field trips to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and local schools gave participants a look at gardens and outdoor programs.
The program was designed to both help urban teachers find lessons available in the natural resources on school grounds and guide their rural counterparts to draw out deeper lessons from the abundant natural settings in their surroundings.
Watch the video below to hear about what participating teachers learned from the institute.
The University of Richmond’s ensemble-in-residence, eighth blackbird, captured its second Grammy Award on Feb. 12. The group won in the category Best Small Ensemble Performance for its recording of “Lonely Motel: Music from Slide.”
Based in Chicago, eighth blackbird has been affiliated with Richmond since 2004. In addition to performing on campus at the Modlin Center for the Arts, the six-member group regularly instructs classes, conducts master classes, lectures, and coaches music students. Known as one of the leading new music ensembles of their generation, the group won a Grammy in 2008 for the album, “Strange Imaginary Animals.”
Hugh Liebert, Terry L. Price, and Gary L. McDowell edited Executive Power in Theory and Practice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). Price and McDowell are on the faculty in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, where Liebert was a visiting research fellow in 2009–10.
University President Edward Ayers edited America’s War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on their 150th Anniversaries (American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities, 2011).
Assistant professor of philosophy Ori Belkind is the author of Physical Systems: Conceptual Pathways between Space-time and Matter (Springer, 2011).
David Brandenberger, an associate professor of history, is the author of Propaganda State in Crisis: Soviet Ideology, Indoctrination, and Terror under Stalin, 1927–1941 (Yale University Press, 2011).
Arthur B. Gunlicks, professor emeritus of political science and international studies, has published Comparing Liberal Democracies (iUniverse, 2011), a discussion of the institutional structures and backgrounds of the democracies of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the European Union.
Douglas A. Hicks and Thad Williamson, who teach in the Jepson School, edited Leadership and Global Justice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). Williamson also is editor, with Martin O’Neill, of Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).
Lazaro Lima, a professor of Latin American and Iberian Studies and American Studies, is the author of Ambientes: New Queer Latino Writing (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011).
Anne Marie Morgan, an adjunct professor of political science in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, co-edited a textbook, Governing Virginia (Pearson Learning Solutions, 2011), which describes Virginia’s politics and government through the centuries.
Tracy Roof, an associate professor of political science, is the author of American Labor, Congress, and the Welfare State, 1935–2010 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011).
Robert A. Phillips, an associate professor of management in the University’s Robins School of Business, is the editor of the book Stakeholder Theory: Impact and Prospects (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011).
Louis Schwartz, a professor of English, edited Their Maker’s Image: New Essays on John Milton (Susquehanna University Press, 2011), along with Mary Fenton of Western Carolina University.
Harry M. Ward, William Binford Vest Professor of History Emeritus and scholar-in-residence at the University, is the author of the book For Virginia and for Independence: Twenty-Eight Revolutionary War Soldiers from the Old Dominion (McFarland & Co., 2011).
Among recent staff appointments on campus, Megan Wallace has joined the University as director of business development in the Office of Alumni and Career Services and Diana Burkett is the new communications manager. In that same office, Katybeth Lee was recently promoted to manager, internship programs.
Elsewhere on campus, Max Vest, the University’s director of student activities for 37 years, has decided to retire. Beginning his service to the University in 1975, Vest mentored generations of students and professional staff and is credited with having developed the Office of Student Activities from “scratch.”