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Graduate Education Newsletter

Fall 2017

Greetings from the Chair

Tom Shields - image

As I write this, we are grappling with the tragic and awful events that happened in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017. We are trying to understand — the incivility, the bigotry, the prejudice — that was on display and continues to grip our nation. I believe the key to restoring our democratic values of care, understanding and compassion is through our education system. To thwart the hateful beliefs — of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and xenophobia — we need to turn to our education system where we are able to confront these ugly behaviors and help students understand the importance of a pluralistic society.

In the coming weeks, children, young adults, and adult learners will return to classrooms with excitement and with some anxiety. It will be our job to make sure that they feel welcome, safe and secure, yet challenged to face the complexities of a diverse country. At this crucial juncture in our country’s long, embattled history with these issues, there is no greater calling than to be an educator where one is able to create a thoughtful and considerate dialogue with students. Paolo Freire, the great Latin American educational philosopher, called this the crafting of co-intentional knowledge where teacher and student have the opportunity to co-create an elevated conscientiousness of respect and trust.

Our faculty and staff in Graduate Education at the University of Richmond believe that teachers and school leaders serve as powerful role models of respect and tolerance. Over the coming academic year, we will do our best to assist our current students, graduates, and the greater community in understanding the importance of a civil and trusting culture in classrooms and schools. I believe the leadership of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education, said it best in a recent letter to its membership: “As educators, we must work together and support one another to educate children who are committed to creating a better and more just society.”

In this edition of the e-newsletter, you will see how our faculty, staff, students and graduates in UR’s Graduate Education are leading the way in their classrooms, in service to the community, in research and writing, in receiving honors and accolades for their practice, and in being leaders on state educational associations. As you will notice from the accomplishments that are detailed, we believe that nothing should hold us back from making sure our students and graduates are prepared for the challenges they will face in trying to create a just and tolerant world.

As we conclude a summer filled with challenges and injustices, we should look forward to the start of another academic year as an opportunity to fulfill what Martin Luther King, Jr. said about the role of education: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”

Wishing you all the best with your studies and teaching this fall semester!

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

In This Issue

Scroll to read each each section.

  • Education Features
  • Upcoming Events & Deadlines
  • News & Information
  • Faculty & Staff Updates
  • Student Reminders
  • Contact Us & Connect

Previous Issues

Education Features

ELPS Students & Recent Grads at Fall 2017 CCPS Leadership Retreat

At the Chesterfield County Public Schools 2017-18 Leadership Retreat, students and graduates who have moved into leadership roles: Front, L to R: Jenny Andrews, GC’16, Cecelia Smith Greenwood, GC’16, Deanna Varljen, GC’18 & Elisa Tedona, GC’17; Back, L to R: Sandra Judge-Harden, GC’15, Lesley Harris, GC’16, Brittany Jones, GC’16, Kenneth White, GC’16 & Kimberly Lincoln, GC’16.

Upcoming Events & Deadlines

2017-18 Graduate Education Speaker Series

Details are being finalized for events in the 2017-2018 Graduate Education Speaker Series. Mark your calendar and look for additional details for the following events.

Overview and Explanation of Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA): September 7 at 4:30 p.m.

Dr. Lynn Sodat, Director of the Office of Program Administration and Accountability at the Virginia Department of Education, will give an overview and explanation of the Act. Thursday, September 7, 4:30 p.m., International Commons, Carole Weinstein International Center.

Henry Cole Book Talk and Signing: October 11 at 5 p.m.

Children’s author, illustrator, and Virginia native Henry Cole will give a presentation of his work on Wednesday, October 11 at 5:30 p.m., Alice Haynes Room, Tyler Haynes Commons. A book signing and reception will follow.​

Is Our Education System Prepared to Assist Immigrant Students? November 2, 6 p.m.

Panel representing a linguistic academic expert, local school division, state DOE, parent, and community advocate on Thursday, November 2, at 6 p.m., International Commons, Carole Weinstein International Center. Additional details TBA.

Awareness and Recognition of Trauma and Violence in Social Media: April 19, 6 p.m.

Panel representing a bullying academic expert, school representative, community advocate, parent and/or student on Thursday, April 19, 2018, 6 p.m., International Commons, Carole Weinstein International Center. Additional details TBA.

Book Talk with author Richard Rothstein: Spring 2018, Date TBA

Author Richard Rothstein will talk about his book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.

News & Information

View more related articles

Faculty & Staff Updates

  • Roberts named chair of statewide school attorneys council

    Wendell C. Roberts, adjunct associate professor of education, has been elected chair of the Virginia Council of School Attorneys (VCOSA). The council is an affiliate of the National Council of School Attorneys and the only statewide organization for attorneys who represent public K-12 school boards.

  • Carpenter to serve on Staff Engagement Committee

    Liza Carpenter, administrative coordinator in the Education department, has been invited to serve for a second term (academic year 2020-2021) on the School of Arts & Sciences Staff Engagement Committee.

  • Spires earns promotion to associate professor

    Dr. Bob Spires, professor in the SPCS graduate education program, has been approved by the University Board of Trustees for promotion from assistant professor to the rank of associate professor.

  • Spires co-authors journal article

    Dr. Bob Spires, Assistant Professor of Education, co-authored Cambodian Youth Perspectives on Social and Educational Barriers, a case study published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education. Spires’ co-authors are Jeremy Tost of Colorado Mesa University and Sokleng In of Love Without Boundaries in Poipet, Cambodia.

  • Wilson addresses leadership summit

    Dr. Jamelle Wilson, dean of the School of Professional & Continuing Studies, recently addressed attendees of the Virginia Foundation of Independent College’s inaugural Women’s Leadership Development Summit in Richmond. She spoke on “Leading Authentically,” positing that we lead most effectively from a place of knowing who we are and where we are at a particular time.

  • Spires to participate in anti-slavery research

    Dr. Bob Spires, assistant professor of education, will participate this summer with Dr. Monti Datta, associate professor of political science, in grant-funded research in Assam, India, to assess the effectiveness of NGOs in liberating enslaved people.

  • Education faculty present at leadership conference

    Four members of the Graduate Education faculty — Dr. Tom Shields, Dr. Kate Cassada, Dr. Dionne Ward and Dr. Dave Myers — co-presented Undergraduate Leadership Studies Curriculum and K-12 School Leader Development at the global meeting of the International Leadership Association in Ottawa, Canada. Dr. Sandra Peart, Dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, chaired the panel.

  • Spires collaborates on article

    Dr. Bob Spires, assistant professor of education, published an article co-written with graduate students & colleagues from Valdosta State University. The article, Effects of the Post-It Note Strategy on Reading Achievement among Eighth-Grade Students with Learning Disabilities, appears in Becoming: Journal of the Georgia Middle School Association.

  • Laursen co-authors article with SPCS graduate

    Dr. Erik Laursen, adjunct associate professor of education, has co-authored with alum Kirsten Logan, GC’18, the article Does Mindfulness Strengthen Self-efficacy in First Grade Students? in the Journal of Teacher Action Research.

  • Shields co-authors report highlighting value of school diversity

    Dr. Tom Shields, SPCS associate dean and associate professor of education & leadership studies, has co-authored a report highlighting the value of school diversity. Written with scholars from VCU and the Virginia Housing Alliance, the report focuses on Richmond’s school rezoning efforts.

Student Reminders

Fall Academic Schedule

Fall courses begin the week of August 28th. Please visit the Academic Calendar via the Registrar’s Office webpage for important fall semester dates and deadlines.

Comprehensive Exams

Fall Comprehensive Exams will take place in November. Eligible students will be contacted with further details by their respective program in early fall.

Commencement and Graduation Reminders

The online degree application is now available for all students intending to graduate in May or August 2018 (or also December 2017 for SPCS students). This application may be found on BannerWeb under Student Services and must be submitted by Friday, October 27. Students should contact the Registrar's Office with any questions about the degree application process.

Scholarship Deadline for Spring

The deadline for scholarship applications is November 1, 2017, for the Spring 2018 semester. Visit the Scholarships page for details.

Free VASCD Memberships for First-Year Teachers

VASCD is offering a free annual membership​ to any new teacher in Virginia. Visit for organization information, and download the membership offer flyer.

Photos from Spring & Summer 2017 Education Events
End-of-Year Education Celebration: Dr. Tom Shields, Chair, and Dr. Jamelle Wilson, Dean, address attendees.
End-of-Year Education Celebration: Faculty, staff and students join the festivities.
End-of-Year Education Celebration: Attendees gathered around Dr. Shields and Dr. Wilson.

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School of Professional & Continuing Studies
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28 Westhampton Way
University of Richmond, Va. 23173

(804) 289-8133 • fax (804) 289-8138

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