Graduate Education Newsletter

Spring 2022

Welcome to the newsletter of the Graduate Education program at the University of Richmond School of Professional & Continuing Studies (SPCS). We publish twice annually, once each in the Fall and Spring semesters.

Pictured are STEP residents in the MT program Victoria Wain (right) and Quinn DeBerry (left) receiving baskets of school supplies. They were being celebrated (on St. Patrick’s Day) at Johnson Elementary School in Henrico County Public Schools for accepting full time teaching contracts for the 2022-2023 school year.

Greetings from the Chair

Tom Shields headshot With the end of the semester and commencement quickly approaching, it is only natural to look back and to take stock and reflect. One of the things that I continue to think about is where we were two years ago at the onset of the pandemic and where are we are now that we are hopefully in the endemic phase.

Looking back over the past two years, it has been challenging for all educational institutions, particularly at the K-12 level. The pandemic has caused education to be disrupted in terms of student attendance, mental health and well-being of students and staff, pedagogical and curriculum implications, teacher recruitment and retention, and of course so many leadership questions. However, as we emerge and begin to return to normalcy, not all the news is dour. With any disruption there are always strategic opportunities. In Graduate Education, we continue to think about and develop new approaches to our teaching and learning, engagement with students, and partnerships with local school districts and educational nonprofits.

As we remove the required barriers of physical and social distance, we are also seeing a return of the value of relationships and human-to-human connections that are integral to education. Our use of technology (and Zoom!) in our meetings and learning approaches and platforms will remain, but we are finding it a thrill to be back in the close proximity of others — to walk into a classroom full of chattering students, to sit next to colleagues at a seminar or conference, or just catch up with someone over a cup of coffee at Passport Café or another location on our beautiful campus. That bond of human connectivity is returning and like an old sweatshirt, well-fitting ball cap or worn pair of jeans, it is feels so nice and comforting to be back.

In this edition of the Graduate Education e-newsletter, you will see how we are adapting and capitalizing on these opportunities. There is information about the awarding of a $386,322 grant from the R.E.B. Foundation for the Provisional License Support (PLuS) Program, which includes two initiatives: The School-Based Teacher Education Program (STEP) and the Teacher Licensure Completion (TLC) program. These programs in Teacher Education will support low-income schools across the Richmond area in coaching support, academic advising, professional learning, and mentorship for inexperienced and provisionally-licensed teachers. This past year, Partners in the Arts (PIA), concluded a successful multi-year $1.3 million grant with Richmond Public Schools to transform instruction in schools through arts integration. In this newsletter, you will read about how PIA also received a $15,000 grant from the R.E.B. Foundation to support its work in schools and the local community.

In addition, you will see stories about how our Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) faculty continue to expand their reach in the metro-Richmond area and in Virginia. The Next Generation Leadership Academy, which is in its 17th year, has broadened its appeal and now trains participants from eight local school divisions! The ELPS curriculum has also seen an update with new classes and a reduced number of credit hours required in the M.Ed. These changes are in response to the needs of local schools and divisions. There are also many other stories on the successes of the faculty, alumni and students in ELPS. As always, please be sure to check out (and follow) @URleaders on Twitter.

This time of year is full of milestones and celebratory events - it is what makes being in the field of education so special. As we reclaim some form of normalcy, please take time to reflect about what we have been through, but also appreciate that good feeling of slipping into the comfortable fit of connecting with others.

Have a great spring and summer everyone!

Be safe and be well!

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

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Graduate Education Highlights

April 18, 2022
SPCS Faculty Update
Retired professor Sam Perry named adjunct professor emeritus by trustees

Dr. Sam Perry, retired adjunct professor of education, has been awarded the title and status of Adjunct Professor Emeritus by the University of Richmond Board of Trustees.

January 7, 2022
SPCS Faculty Update
Faculty promotions, awards announced during spring SPCS faculty meeting

Faculty in the School of Professional & Continuing Studies celebrated promotion announcements and service awards during the annual awards ceremony held during the spring faculty meeting on January 6, 2022.

December 9, 2021
Education Programs in UR's School of Professional & Continuing Studies Receive More than $400K in Grant Support
The School of Professional & Continuing Studies has been awarded two grants from the R.E.B Foundation to support education programs.

#SpiderSpotlight: Nick Sherrod, MT student, joins the Big Dance

January 12, 2022
'Super seniors' tip off together
A COVID-19-related extra year of NCAA eligibility gave four talented teammates a chance to play together for one more season.
March 22, 2022
Observations from our March Madness

As we settle back in following a thrilling March Madness run, Spiders everywhere are returning to familiar routines. But we will not return to “normal.”

March 21, 2022
Three generations of March Madness

Nick Sherod followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, as he took the court in Buffalo.

ELPS Curriculum Updates

Fewer classes required for M.Ed. plus course updates to meet school & division needs
Announcements & Reminders

Summer 2022 Registration

Summer registration is now open and the class schedule is available online. Class start across several terms. Review the summer academic calendar for details.

Graduate Application

If you plan on graduating in May or August 2022, you should have already submitted your degree application. If you missed this deadline and require assistance, please contact your respective Graduate Education program advisor. Additional details are available on the Registrar’s Graduation pages.

Graduate Education End-of Year Celebration

Our annual end-of-year celebration will be held in-person on May 3, 5:30-7pm, in North Court Gillette Courtyard, just outside of the Ed Leadership office and Perkinson Recital Hall. All Graduate Education students are welcome!

SPCS Night

Our annual SPCS Night awards ceremony will be held in-person on Wednesday, May 4, 6-8pm in Alice Jepson Theatre of the Modlin Center for the Arts. Graduating students and their guests, along with faculty and staff, have received invitations. Please RSVP using the link in the invitation email you received.


2022 Commencement Exercises will be held in-person on Saturday, May 7, in the Robins Center Arena. Graduating students should arrive to the Weinstein Center for Recreation by 7:30am (7am if you need to collect your academic regalia) for robing and line-up. Arena doors open to guests at 8am, and the ceremony begins at 9am. Reception follows in the Robins Stadium Red Zone.

Upcoming Events

Faculty Updates

Tom J. Shields
Shields Participates in Policy Symposium

Tom Shields, SPCS associate dean and chair of graduate education, participated on the education panel of a policy symposium with current- and former-staffers of Congressman Bobby Scott, who represents the 3rd District of Virginia and is chair of the House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee.

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Bob Spires
Spires Contributes to Report on Trust, Human Trafficking

Bob Spires, associate professor of education, contributed to an Arise report by Monti Datta, associate professor of political science, titled “Trust and Liberation.” The report studies the relationship between trust and the prevalence of human trafficking globally, and it finds trust levels to be a reliable predictor of human trafficking & the cross-national variation of slavery.

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Katherine (Kate) Maurer Cassada
Cassada Re-Elected as VPEL President

Kate Cassada, associate professor of education and chair of educational leadership & policy studies, has been elected to a second term as president of Virginia Professors of Educational Leadership (VPEL). VPEL is a statewide organization of university professors that prepare public school administrators and supervisors at the masters, educational specialist and doctoral levels.

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Bob Spires
Spires placed on Fulbright Specialist Roster

Bob Spires, SPCS associate professor of education, was recently placed on the Fulbright Specialist Roster for a tenure of four years. As a candidate on the Fulbright Specialist Roster, Spires is eligible to be matched with projects designed by host institutions in over 150 countries globally.

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