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Graduate Education Newsletter

Winter 2017

Greetings from the Chair

Tom Shields - image

As educators, we work to impact our students, but sometimes we don’t know until months or even years later the extent of that impact. It is a highlight of our profession to receive an email, note, or to bump into former students and hear what they learned in our classes, how much they have achieved in their positions, or where they are in their life’s journey. Staying connected with students is truly one of the greatest rewards of our profession — a gift that keeps on giving. One thing is for sure, Graduate Education faculty and staff love to hear about our students’ successes — big and small!

In this edition of the Graduate Education e-newsletter, we celebrate some of the incredible successes of our students. You will learn about a current student recently awarded “Teacher of the Year” by her school division, others who have won major regional awards for their instruction, and some who are writing blogs, op-eds, and articles on cutting edge topics in education. And this is just a small sample of the accolades that are being received by our tremendously skilled current and former students. So, please continue to inform us of the successes and celebrations that are happening in your lives — we love to hear from you!

We also realize that an academic community shouldn’t stop at the classroom door. In response, we seek opportunities to create conversations with our students, graduates, and practitioners on topics that are important to K-12 education and to raise awareness regarding the quality of our graduate programs. We started this in the fall semester when we sponsored a book talk by Dr. Genevieve Siegel-Hawley on K-12 school segregation in the Richmond area. This talk was well-received with over 100 people in attendance.

Building on the success of that fall event, Graduate Education set out to develop a spring speaker series focused on critical K-12 topics. These events range from a book talk by an award-winning children’s author and illustrator, a discussion on the Commonwealth’s need for quality education in a changing economy, and a film screening and related panel discussion on trauma and resiliency practices in schools.

As you will read, there is a lot going on in Graduate Education this spring semester. We hope to see you at a spring event, look forward to celebrating with you at the end of the semester (keep reading for details on our annual Graduate Education party!), and wish you each a fantastic spring 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
  • Student Teacher Orientation
  • Contact Us & Connect

Previous Issues

Upcoming Events & Deadlines

Role of Education in a Transformed Virginia Economy

The Graduate Education program will sponsor a morning forum titled “The Role of Education in a Transformed Virginia Economy.” The keynote speaker will be Steve Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction. Panelists are Jamelle Wilson, SPCS Dean; James Lane, Superintendent of Chesterfield County Public Schools; and two Chesterfield County students who have benefitted from high school redesign. Moderator: Scott Bray, Assistant Chair, TLP. Monday, April 24, 8:30-10 a.m., Jepson Alumni Center; free and open to the public, Continental breakfast included.

Department of Education Children’s Author

The Department of Education will be hosting a book talk by children’s author and illustrator Jason Chin. Wednesday, February 22, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Keller Hall Reception Room. Free and open to the public.

Trauma Informed Care & Practices Film Screening

The Graduate Education program will host a screening of the documentary Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope (KPJR Films, 2016) followed by a moderated panel discussion. Thursday, March 30, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Ukrop Auditorium; free and open to the public, light refreshments included.

Annual Graduate Education Student Reception

Calling all Graduate Education Students! You are invited to join faculty, staff, and fellow students for our annual Graduate Education End-of-Year Reception. Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 2, 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the Westhampton Green in front of North Court.

News & Information

View more related articles

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

Career Services

Career advising is available to all UR graduate education students! Please contact Tonya Osmond (Assistant Director and Career Advisor) for individualized assistance and learn more about services offered including Spider Connect (main portal), UR Online (an alumni database), and Resume Check (a resume database) at

Comprehensive Exams

Spring 2017 Comprehensive Exams for Educational Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction will take place in April. Each respective program will be contacting all students scheduled to take their spring comprehensive exams later this month.

Commencement and Graduation Reminders

Do you plan to graduate in either May or August of 2017? If so, please remember to register to participate in the May 2017 Commencement Ceremony and contact the Registrar’s Office to apply to graduate on your respective date.

Inclement Weather Reminder

As winter weather easily creates travel hazards, please check UR Alerts for inclement weather and campus closure updates at

Spring 2017 TLP Student Teacher Orientation

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Contact Us

Graduate Education Program
School of Professional & Continuing Studies
North Court
28 Westhampton Way
University of Richmond, Va. 23173

(804) 289-8133 • fax (804) 289-8138

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