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Continuing Connections

SPCS Dean’s Update, Fall 2017

Letter from the Dean

Photo: Dean Wilson

Dear Friends:

We’ve had a very busy fall semester and are happy to share some of our happenings in this inaugural edition of Continuing Connections, our e-newsletter with news and information from the School of Professional and Continuing Studies. The academic year kicked off with the implementation of the SPCS Strategic Plan. We launched UR Coding Boot Camp with Trilogy Education Services, a new professional certificate in full stack web coding. Our first cohort of the Beer Brewer Professional Certificate program graduated. We’ve proudly captured these stories here, compiled photos from a variety of exciting SPCS events and shared the successes of several SPCS students, alumni, faculty and staff.

We plan to publish Continuing Connections once per semester in hopes of connecting you to information and resources from across the School and campus. Since coming to SPCS in 2015, I’ve heard numerous stories about the way people connect at SPCS. Faculty sharing new ideas to broaden a student's perspective. Students connecting each other to new job prospects. Alumni members serving as mentors. Osher members meeting new friends. Staff providing support during difficult times. Students expanding their professional networks. And countless people in every part of the School making lifelong friends.

This e-newsletter is a simple way for us to continue to connect. I think it’s an important part of what we do, but we need your help. Take a few minutes to let us know what and how you’re doing. Complete the simple Keep SPCS Updated form below.

As we head into a busy holiday season, remember to take a few minutes to connect with those who have made an impression on you — here at SPCS, in your career and your personal life.

Take good care,

Signature: Jamelle
Jamelle S. Wilson, Ed.D.

Faculty & Staff Notes

  • Lee receives trailblazer award

    Dr. Lauranett Lee, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts, was awarded the John Jasper Trailblazer Award by Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond. The award is presented to those who have made significant contributions to the African-American community.

  • Watson receives Osher grant

    Peggy Watson, W’77, recently received a second $25,000 capacity-building grant on behalf of UR’s Osher Institute from The Bernard Osher Foundation. The award supports local membership and fundraising development efforts.

  • McAdams partners in receiving $1.3M grant

    Rob McAdams, director of University of Richmond’s Partners in the Arts, collaborated with Richmond Public Schools to receive a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for a partnership to establish the Arts Integrated Learning Certificate Project. 

  • Artist-in-Residence Mad Skillz featured on Virginia Currents

    SPCS Artist-in-Residence Donnie “Mad Skillz” Lewis was featured in an episode of Virginia Currents that highlights how he helped put Virginia on the hip-hop map in the mid 1990s by promoting the ”Virginia sound.”

  • Voice of Hip-Hop class featured in Times-Dispatch

    “The Voice of Hip-Hop in America,” a class team-taught by SPCS professor Dr. Erik Nielson and SPCS artist-in-residence Donnie “Mad Skillz” Lewis, is featured in a Richmond Times-Dispatch article, Teaching Hip-Hop: Mad Skillz at University of Richmond; Rapper-songwriter-DJ covers Hip-Hop History, Culture in Class.

  • Hocutt publishes article in Present Tense journal

    Daniel Hocutt, Web Manager and Adjunct Professor of Liberal Arts in SPCS, published an article titled Algorithms as Information Brokers: Visualizing Rhetorical Agency in Platform Activities in Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society.

  • Kuti uses DOE grant to develop online ESOL training

    Dr. Laura Kuti, Interim Assistant Chair, Teacher Licensure Preparation and Assistant Chair, Curriculum & Instruction, has received a $25,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Education to offer a fully online, statewide ESOL Praxis training module. Region 6 teachers will participate in the training module this spring.

  • Laursen receives SPCS Innovation in Teaching Award

    Dr. Erik Laursen, Adjunct Associate Professor of Education, has been named the 2018 recipient of the SPCS Innovations in Teaching Award, which honors an adjunct professor for creativity and innovation in the classroom.

  • Thornton Among Top 100 Leadership Speakers

    Linda Fisher Thornton, Adjunct Associate Professor of HR Management & Leadership, was named one of The Top 100 Leadership Speakers for 2018 in an Inc. magazine list curated by Kevin Kruse, founder of LEADx and producer of the LEADx Leadership podcast.

  • Leeper named by ALA to advisory board

    Angela Leeper, Director of the UR Curriculum Materials Center (CMC), has been named by the American Library Association (ALA) to the ALA-Children's Book Council Joint Committee for a two-year term through June 2019. The committee fosters collaboration and communication on the content, format, distribution, and promotion of materials for children and young adults.

Alumni Notes

  • Nicole Hood, GC'15, named director at The Bryn Mawr School

    Dr. Nicole G. Hood, GC’15, has been named to the position of Upper School Director at The Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore effective July 1, 2018. Hood earned a Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at the School of Professional & Continuing Studies.

  • Ruby Decker, GC'15, earns grant for school

    Ruby M. Decker, GC’15, who earned her Graduate Certificate in Teacher Licensure Preparation at SPCS, applied for and received a Crayola-funded Champion Creatively Alive Children grant for the school where she teaches, Montpelier Elementary School in Prince George County, Maryland. 

  • David Johns, IOP graduate, named Ferrum College president

    Dr. David Johns, who earned a Fund Development certificate from the University of Richmond Institute on Philanthropy last summer to help prepare himself for a higher education leadership position, has been named the 12th president of Ferrum College in Ferrum, Virginia, effective January 1, 2018.

  • Manyang Kher, C'17

    To raise money for the Sudanese refugee crisis, Manyang Kher, C’17, a Sudanese refugee himself, started his own coffee company last year called 734 Coffee, named for the Gambela region where they source their coffee beans. Read more on Spider Pride.

  • Frenishee Smith, GC'12, GC'16

    Frenishee Smith, GC’12, GC’16, has been awarded a 2017 R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence by The Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation. Smith’s award will fund visiting schools that engage students living in poverty in innovative ways along with attending The International Conference on Urban Education in Nassau, Bahamas.

  • Grace Creasey, GC'14

    Grace Creasey, GC’14, has been named the Executive Director for the Virginia Council for Private Education, effective October 16, 2017. Creasey earned a master of education degree in educational leadership and policy studies in December 2014.

  • Dan Sullivan, C'17

    Dan Sullivan, C’17, a graduate of the SPCS Weekend College program, was featured in a Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star article highlighting his success overcoming adversity to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies.

  • Zack Grossfield, '15, GC'17

    Zack Grossfield, '15, GC'17, recently published an article based on research completed in his Master of Liberal Arts class, Rap Lyrics on Trial, taught by Dr. Erik Nielson. The article, Bad News Beartrap: Twain Gotti, addressed the use of rap lyrics as evidence in rapper Twain Gotti's criminal trial for a 2007 double homicide.

  • Jerry Clemmer, C'11, GC'14

    Jerry Clemmer, C’11, GC’14, credits his Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM) as a signficant contributing factor in his recent promotion to Director of One Card and Business Development for Campus Services. Clemmer has earned both degrees through the School of Professional & Continuing Studies.

  • Joseph Sattelmaier, C'17

    Joseph Sattelmaier, C’17, a recent graduate of the School’s Information Systems program, was selected for a newly created position at Wells Fargo, responsible for managing all inventory and technicians at their technology center. Sattelmaier directly credits his new degree for the promotion. 

SPCS-Specific Alumni Directory Coming to UROnline

UR Alumni Services is working with the SPCS Alumni Association to provide an SPCS-specific alumni directory in UROnline. If you have an SPCS undergraduate or graduate degree, you can be included in this listing to making it easier to find SPCS classmates.

To be included, you must have an active account in UR Online. Visit to activate your alumni account. This will also help us stay in touch with you more effectively.

If you prefer not to be included in the SPCS Alumni Directory, please log into to make your listing private OR contact to make your request.


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Beer Brewer Professional Certificate Award Ceremony

Certificate award ceremony for the inaugural cohort of the SPCS Beer Brewer Professional Certificate program

Bring on the Brew Social

SPCS Alumni Association-sponsored social event for the SPCS community at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

SPCS Homecoming Tailgate Party 2017

SPCS Alumni Association and Student Government Association sponsored Homecoming tailgate party for the SPCS community

Is Our Education System Prepared to Assist Immigrant Children?

Graduate Education Speaker Series Panel, November 2, 2017

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