Professor of Mathematics Caren Diefenderfer
Professor of Mathematics Caren Diefenderfer, a nationally recognized educator who influenced and inspired countless students during her academic career, passed away on March 30.
Diefenderfer joined the Hollins faculty in 1977 after completing her Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Over the next 40 years, her accomplishments and passionate devotion to teaching earned her the Hollins University Distinguished Service Award, the Herta T. Freitag Faculty Award, and the Roberta A. Stewart Service Award.
In January, the Mathematical Association of America presented Diefenderfer with the 2017 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for encouraging students in the classroom and beyond, and for developing and teaching interdisciplinary courses that help students develop communication skills. In the wider mathematical community, she was a pioneer in Quantitative Literacy, a field of education whose goal is improving college students’ reasoning proficiency when using quantitative content.
A scholarship fund has been established in Diefenderfer’s name. It will support a current Hollins student who has a sincere interest in advancing her mathematics knowledge and skills.
Campus Welcomes Special Advisor on Inclusivity and Diversity
Hollins’ new Special Advisor on Inclusivity and Diversity Idella Glenn is a collaborative leader who has steered diversity and inclusion programs for two decades.
Glenn has oversight of and coordinates all inclusivity and diversity activities at Hollins. Previously she was director for diversity education and retention initiatives at Virginia Commonwealth University. Before coming to VCU, she spent 18 years at Furman University, where she served as assistant vice president for student development and director of diversity and inclusion; assistant dean for diversity and inclusion; and director of multicultural affairs.
Glenn completed her Ph.D. in educational leadership at Clemson University.
Veteran Equestrian Is New Head Riding Coach
Claudia Roland is sharing more than three decades of hands-on experience in her new role as head coach of Hollins’ equestrian program.
“Claudia is an accomplished horsewoman and trainer with a wealth of knowledge in horsemanship, equitation, and hunters,” said Director of Riding Nancy Peterson.
Roland owned and operated Fox Hollow Farms in Atlanta and was head trainer at the Wellington Show Stables and Sunlight Saddle Club in Florida.
“With her vast expertise,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Patricia Hammer, “we are certain Hollins’ equestrian program will continue to be one of the nation’s strongest.”
In April, Roland led the riding team to its twenty-first Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship, and was named ODAC Coach of the Year for 2017.
Hollins Earns Tree Campus USA Designation
Hollins has received the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA designation for effective campus forest supervision and engaging students and staff in conservation goals.
Anna Copplestone ’06, of the university’s information technology department, helped spearhead the Tree Campus USA campaign. “Our campus has always appreciated the natural beauty of its trees, but through this project, many people came together to demonstrate measurable and significant ways in which trees physically benefit our environment. We have shown our commitment to long-term sustainability efforts.”
Hollins officially celebrated the designation during its Arbor Day festivities on April 28.
Hollins Celebrates 175 Years at Hollins Day
Hollins commemorated Founder’s Day and the university’s 175th anniversary by paying tribute to all who played a crucial role in its history during Hollins Day: Celebrating 175 Years, held February 23.
“We honor our founder, Charles Lewis Cocke, who devoted his life to ‘the higher education of women in the South,’” President Nancy Gray stated. “We also pay tribute to all men and women who helped us become the institution we are today, including those who worked as enslaved people.”
The Hollins Heritage Committee, composed of students, faculty, and staff, planned the event. Associate Professor and Director of International Studies and Heritage Committee Chair Jon Bohland told the convocation audience that Hollins has recently become part of the Universities Studying Slavery consortium, a group of 25 North American colleges and universities that meets twice a year “to share best practices and to draw strength from our collective efforts.”
Another highlight of the celebration was Voices from Our Past, featuring current students, faculty, and staff reading first-person accounts of members of the campus community from throughout the school’s history, including an African American who was enslaved at Hollins.
Following the convocation, Hollins’ senior class continued its tradition of processing to the Cocke family cemetery to place wreaths on the family’s graves. This year, for the first time, the seniors also placed a wreath outside Wyndham Robertson Library to honor the contributions of enslaved men and women.
Hollins’ senior class (top) continued its tradition of processing to the Cocke family cemetery to place wreaths on the family’s graves. This year, for the first time, seniors also placed a wreath outside Wyndham Robertson Library to honor the contributions of enslaved men and women. (right).
Photos by Sharon Meador
QEP Emphasizes Connection between Student Well-Being, Academic Success
Hollins is launching a new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that champions an integrated approach to student learning.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Patricia Hammer said the QEP focuses on three areas. “Students learn time management and goal setting skills. They develop practices and strategies that allow them to overcome obstacles and thrive academically. And, they learn self-care – rest, nutrition, and physical activity.”
QEP: Supporting Academic Success will be assessed at both the program and institutional levels. “Are students achieving the learning outcomes in each area? Are we improving well-being in support of academic success? Those are the issues our QEP seeks to address,” Hammer explained.