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Graduate Education Newsletter

Fall 2016

Greetings from the Chair

Tom Shields - image

Greetings. Hope you have had a productive, but relaxing summer. We all need the opportunity to take time away from our hectic lives to decompress and reflect on the past year and recharge our batteries for the upcoming school year. This could be done by walking a beach, hiking a mountain, traveling to see friends or family, or maybe hopping on an airplane for a far-off destination. Whatever our means of relaxation, we all need the ability to stop, contemplate, and understand what motivates us and fulfills our purpose.  

Similarly, our organizations need to perform this reflection and understanding of purpose and meaning. In fact, healthy and purposeful institutions constantly need to understand changes happening in the external environment and redefine expectations, including mission and vision, for future growth. For an organization, this is usually done through strategic planning and can be a very engaging and helpful process.

At the University level, our new President, Dr. Ronald Crutcher, has embarked on a multi-year strategic planning process. This process has involved many stakeholders and looks to build on the success and foundation of our last strategic plan, The Richmond Promise. I have the privilege of serving on the Thriving and Inclusive Community Working Group, one of several working groups that has been created to help guide the plan. The link to the process and emerging plan for the University can be found at

At the School level, our new Dean, Jamelle Wilson, embarked on a strategic planning process for the School of Professional and Continuing Studies. This has been a very thoughtful and engaging process. A Strategic Planning Steering Committee has been created and Graduate Education is fortunate to have Dr. Scott Bray, Assistant Chair of the Teacher Licensure Program, and Dr. Julia Burke, Program Manager, be members of that group. We are pleased that full-time faculty and staff in Graduate Education are well-represented and engaged in these processes. Please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the program Assistant Chairs if you have questions or concerns about the processes or plans.

In this fall edition of our e-newsletter, you will read about the work and successes of our Graduate Education faculty, staff, and students. We bid a fond professional farewell to Dr. Thelma Wheeler, extend a Spider welcome to two new Education Department team members, offer hearty congratulations to several of our alumni and adjunct instructors, highlight a newly published article on redistricting and school closures in Richmond Public Schools, and feature the most pressing professional development needs as identified by our area’s school divisions. Please mark your calendars for October 20 and join us on campus for an event co-sponsored by the Center for Educational Leadership and Graduate Education — a discussion with Dr. Genevieve Siegel Hawley on her new book, When the Fences Come Down: Twenty-First-Century Lessons from Metropolitan School Desegregation

As we start another academic year, the faculty and staff of Graduate Education wish you all the best with your studies and teaching. This time of year is always full of excitement and anticipation and we hope that you have an amazing semester full of wonder, inquiry, and enrichment.

Tom J. Shields, Ph.D.
Graduate Education Chair

In This Issue

Scroll to read each each section.

  • Upcoming Events & Deadlines
  • News & Information
  • Faculty & Staff Updates
  • Student Reminders
  • Education Features
  • Submit Your News
  • Join our Facebook Group
  • Connect

Previous Issues

Upcoming Events & Deadlines

Desegregation Book Talk

The Center for Leadership and Education and the Graduate Education program will sponsor a book talk by Genevieve Siegel-Hawley on her book When the Fences Come Down: 21st-Century Lessons from Metropolitan School Desegregation on October 20, 2016.

Spring SPCS Scholarship Deadline

The application deadline for SPCS scholarships for the spring 2017 semester is November 1, 2016.

Spring Semester Registration

Spring 2017 course registration begins November 8. If required by your program, please remember to meet with your academic advisor to discuss your course plan prior to registering for spring courses.

Comprehensive Exams for M.Ed. Students

Comprehensive exams for ELPS and C&I students will take place on Saturday, November 12. Eligible students will be contacted with further details by their respective program in early fall.

News & Information

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Faculty & Staff Updates

  • Cassada named CLE director

    SPCS professor of education Kate Cassada, assistant chair of the Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program, has been named director of the Center for Leadership in Education (CLE), following former director Tom Shields’ appointment as SPCS associate dean.

  • Jackson named coordinator of leadership academy

    Dr. Dana Jackson has been named part-time coordinator of the Next Generation Leadership Academy (NGLA), a school leader training program of the University’s Center for Leadership in Education.

  • Laursen publishes book

    SPCS adjunct professor of education Erik Laursen has published his first book, Intentional Responsive Adult Practices: Supporting Kids to Not Only Overcome Adversity But to Thrive. The book is based on his experience and research on intentional responsive adult practices that help children overcome adversity.

  • Shields named SPCS associate dean

    Dr. Tom Shields, Associate Professor of Education, Graduate Education program chair, and Center for Leadership in Education director, has been named the SPCS Associate Dean for Academic & Student Affairs, effective July 1, 2018.

  • Kassner receives grant to attend conference

    Dr. Laura Kassner, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Education, recently earned funding from University of Richmond’s Faculty Development Committee to attend the National Learning Forward Conference.

  • Nabors receives grant to attend conference

    Dr. Autumn Nabors, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Education, recently earned funding from University of Richmond’s Faculty Development Committee to attend the National Learning Forward Conference.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kassner, Cassada co-author journal article

    Dr. Laura Kassner, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Education, and Dr. Kate Cassada, Assistant Professor and Assistant Chair of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, co-authored a paper titled Chat It Up: Backchanneling to Promote Reflective Practice Among In-Service Teachers published in the Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education.

Student Reminders

Graduation Application Reminder

Do you plan to complete your graduate certificate or degree in December 2016, May 2017, or August 2017? If so, please remember to file your degree application in BannerWeb. Degree applications for SPCS students are due by Friday, October 28, 2016. Additional details regarding degree application and commencement can be found on the Registrar’s website. Please contact your respective Graduate Education program for additional assistance.

Student Employment

Effective, August 22, 2016, certificate students enrolled at least half-time in the Teacher Licensure Preparation Program are eligible for Student Employment and to be paid under Student Payroll. TLP students enrolled at least half time and who are interested in Student Employment should visit The only exception to this policy are full-time UR staff members enrolled on a half time basis in a certificate program in any given term. An individual cannot be employed as a student while also employed as a regular staff person.

Inclement Weather Reminder

In case of inclement weather, the University is open unless an official announcement is posted to the emergency hotline (804-289-8760) and website (, or broadcast by voicemail or email from the Emergency Response Team (ERT). The University normally operates on schedule even when other area schools and businesses are closed, so always check the hotline or website for the latest update. When the University remains open during inclement weather, commuting students, faculty and non-essential staff should exercise their best personal judgment with regard to road conditions and other safety concerns. Be sure to update your contact information for alerts: Log in to BannerWeb, click on the Personal Information tab, and then click on Emergency Information Collection.

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Join our Facebook Group

Engage with other members of the University of Richmond Teacher Education community by joining our Facebook Group.

The group is for students, alumni, faculty and staff affiliated with the Teacher Education programs at the University of Richmond. The group celebrates the accomplishments of our members and shares information related to teaching and learning.

Group membership must be approved by a group administrator or other member of the group.

Connect on Campus

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