Hollins Senior to Pursue Graduate Degree in One of the Nation’s Top Landscape Architecture Programs

This fall, international studies major Mikaela Murphy ’16 will begin work on completing a Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) degree in the College of Environment and Design (CED) at the University of Georgia (UGA).  She will receive full funding for two years through an assistantship.

UGA’s CED is consistently ranked as having one of the best M.L.A. programs in the country alongside Harvard University, Cornell University, and Virginia Tech. Each year, the program selectively admits only about 16 new students.

This past January, Murphy completed an internship at UGA’s CED that was coordinated by Laura Kviklys ’07, who finished her Master of Historic Preservation at UGA and now leads FindIt!, the CED’s public outreach program.

“My very positive internship experience with Laura and the FindIt! program prompted me to apply to UGA for a degree in landscape architecture,” Murphy said. “I will concentrate my M.L.A. studies on urban design and planning.”

After completing her M.L.A. degree, Murphy hopes to practice landscape architecture through either a private firm or a municipality, and someday work abroad. “Landscape architecture is a growing field in China, a country that has captured my academic interest during my time at Hollins,” she explained, adding that after gaining a few years of experience, she would like to pursue a Ph.D. in geography or urban studies/design.

 


Sophomore Receives Distinguished Student Researcher Award

The School for Field Studies (SFS) has recognized Lan Nguyen ’18 with its Distinguished Student Researcher Award, honoring the work she completed at the SFS Center for Mekong Studies in Cambodia during the fall of 2015.

Each semester, SFS faculty nominate one student from their Center who has demonstrated exceptional skill and care in contributing to the Center’s research agenda, as evidenced by their Directed Research paper, oral presentations, and approach to the research project.

“The award recognizes not only excellence and diligence in research, but also teamwork and leadership shown during the semester,” said SFS Dean of Academic Programs Mark Seifert. “Of those nominated students, only a few are selected to receive the Distinguished Student Researcher Award.”

Seifert noted that Nguyen’s Directed Research paper, “Morphology and niche partitioning of fish assemblage in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve – a case study in Prek Toal core area,” “provides a sound foundation for future research at the SFS Center for Mekong Studies.”

In her nomination, SFS Research Advisor Chouly Ou stated that the Hollins sophomore was “passionate about [her] research topic and [was] proactive, diligent, and efficient…[and] exhibited strong leadership skills, particularly in the area of cultural and community engagement.”

With the award, the double-major in environmental science and economics is also eligible for a small stipend to help offset costs incurred if she presents her research at a conference this next academic year.

Nguyen is the second Hollins student to be honored with the Distinguished Student Researcher Award in the past six months. Kayla Deur ’16 was recognized last September for the research she conducted during the spring of 2015 at the Center for Mekong Studies.

SFS creates transformative study abroad experiences through field-based learning and research. Its educational programs explore the human and ecological dimensions of the complex environmental problems faced by its local partners, contributing to sustainable solutions in the places where people live and work. The SFS community is part of a growing network of individuals and institutions committed to environmental stewardship.


Education Department Receives National Accreditation

The Hollins University education department has been accredited for a seven-year term by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). The council supports the preparation of competent, caring, and qualified professional educators through an evidence-based accreditation process.

The education department received the highest ratings in all categories of evaluation:

  • Evidence of student learning
  • Institutional learning
  • Quality control

Providers accredited under TEAC Quality Principles, as well as those accredited under the National Council for Accreditation standards, are now served by the single specialized accreditation system for educator preparation in the United States, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). More than 900 education preparation providers participate in the CAEP accreditation system.

 


Sophomore to Speak at Prestigious Academic Conference

Katherine Nelson ’18 will present her paper, “Katniss Everdeen, Apologetic Feminism, and the Glorification of Masculinity,” at the eleventh biennial Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) Gender Studies Conference, which takes place February 19-21 at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

The interdisciplinary conference, whose theme is “Gender Across…,” will showcase work that explores how gender and sex are represented across the disciplines of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and fine arts, as well as across race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, disability, space, place, time, bodies, culture, and genres.

Nelson’s philosophical-gender studies essay focuses on the “manifestation of ‘apologetic feminism'” in the character Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy. “I argue that although she is powerful, Katniss portrays that power as it pertains to masculinity, to the standards of which men are judged,” Nelson explains in the paper’s abstract. “She uses her masculine traits to survive in her world. I further suggest that Katniss, and the society of the Capital – the city in which the wealthy and powerful elite reside – and the Districts – the areas in which the other citizens reside in ranging degrees of poverty – in this work of fiction are reflections of Western capitalist societies, and the story draws parallels to the world we live in.

“One such parallel for women is that sex-based oppression, especially in a capitalist society, only allows women to succeed by shirking or repressing their traits that are typically considered feminine and conforming to society’s standards of masculinity.”

Nelson further argues that The Hunger Games and Katniss Everdeen convey the message to girls and young women “that they cannot succeed because of their gender, but in the rare case that they try, women are only as successful as their measure of masculinity allows them to be.”

She concludes that “we must not apologize for our femininity. Rather, the embrace of all aspects of feminine, masculine, and gender-ambiguous traits is necessary to combat the idea in our society that masculinity is key to success and survival.”

Nelson notes, “I’m very excited to attend the conference, present my work, and meet the other contributors, and I am excited to represent Hollins.”

 


Hollins to Host 17th Annual Ethics Bowl, Jan. 31 – Feb. 1

The statewide collegiate Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl is coming to Hollins University for its 17th annual competition.

Co-sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC), the two-day event takes place January 31 – February 1. Student teams from Virginia’s leading independent colleges and universities will participate and debate a variety of case studies highlighting potential ethical dilemmas faced by citizens. The theme of the 2016 Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl is “Ethics and Civic Responsibility.”

Teams of three to five students from 15 VFIC schools will be paired in head-to-head competition that will be judged by panels of distinguished leaders from across Virginia and Maryland. Many notables from the business sector, law, education, finance, journalism, and other fields will listen and offer reaction to team and student presentations.

The Ethics Bowl kicks off with an opening session on Sunday, January 31, at 2:30 p.m. in Hollins’ Babcock Auditorium. The first matches begin at 3:30 p.m. in various locations throughout Moody Student Center and Dana Science Building. On Monday, February 1, rounds three and four start at 8:45 a.m. The final round of competition takes place at 11:15 a.m. in Babcock Auditorium. The public is invited to attend these sessions free of charge. The winner of the 2016 Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl will be announced on Monday at 12:30 p.m.

As the host institution, Hollins will have two teams competing in this year’s event:

Team 1
Lauren Earley ’16
Erin Harrover ’19
Lisa Sekwababe ’19
Audrey Spangler ’19

Team 2
Darcy Brauchler ’19
Julia Brooks ’19
Valerie Heflin ’19
Madchen Specht ’16

The faculty coordinator for both teams is Associate Professor of Philosophy Michael Gettings.

Founded in 1952, the VFIC is a nonprofit fundraising partnership supporting the programs and students of Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin College, Marymount University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, University of Richmond, Virginia Wesleyan College, and Washington and Lee University.


Mellon Grant to Support Innovative Faculty Development Program

Hollins University has received a $100,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to invest in a 30-month pilot project entitled “Faculty Development to Advance Liberal Arts Education in the 21st Century.”

The project will commence on January 1, 2016, and is scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2018.

“This grant will enable Hollins to design a new faculty development program to address many of the challenges that our faculty face with current students, particularly in teaching critical thinking and writing,” Hollins President Nancy Gray explained. “The program will help Hollins faculty identify factors that interfere with student learning and critical thinking; develop new strategies to implement a ‘whole learner’ approach to education and strengthen students’ proficiency in critical writing; and use this knowledge to revise existing academic courses to better meet the needs of today’s students.”

Vice President for Academic Affairs Patricia Hammer will serve as the project’s principal investigator. She said that initial activities “will include identifying experts who will provide training for Hollins faculty during the 2016-17 academic year, and selecting 18 Mellon Fellows to participate in the new faculty development program during its inaugural year. With 18 Fellows to be selected each of two academic years, a total of at least 36 existing courses will be revised.”

Hammer is confident the project “will position Hollins to take a new approach to liberal arts education in the 21st century and demonstrate the enduring value of a liberal education.”

Gray added, “The proposed project will also provide a model for faculty development that can be replicated at other institutions.”

ABOUT THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION

Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.


U.S. News Places Hollins Among the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges

Hollins University is one of the top liberal arts colleges and universities in the country, according to the publication, 2016 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges.

U.S. News released this year’s rankings online on September 9.

Hollins is ranked number 108 in the category, Best National Liberal Arts Colleges. It is tied with Hampden-Sydney College as the fourth highest-ranked liberal arts college in Virginia, behind Washington and Lee University, the University of Richmond, and Virginia Military Institute.

Hollins is also among the nation’s ten highest-ranked women’s colleges.

U.S. News states that it calculates its rankings using “quantitative measures that education experts have proposed as reliable indicators of academic quality.

“The indicators we use to capture academic quality fall into a number of categories: assessment by administrators at peer institutions, retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, graduation rate performance and, for National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges only, high school counselor ratings of colleges.”

For more information, visit http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges.

 


Political Science Professor Sees Oman’s Significance to U.S. Foreign Policy During Middle East Fact-Finding Trip

Hollins University Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch recently traveled with seven other American academics to the Middle East nation of Oman as part of a trip sponsored by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR).

Lynch, who was selected as an Oman Alwaleed Fellow by NCUSAR in July, journeyed to the Omani cities of Muscat, Nizwa, and Salalah, August 13 – 23.

Lynch said the trip highlighted the importance of Oman to U.S. foreign policy, especially in the wake of the proposed nuclear deal with Iran. “The first contacts between the Obama Administration and the government of Iran occurred because the Omani government was able to talk to both sides and get them together,” Lynch said. “This is a part of the story that the U.S. media is not telling.”

Oman’s foreign policy is based on the principle of “friend to all, enemy to none.” Its leadership has been particularly friendly to the U.S. government. Lynch was told by one U.S. official, “There isn’t much that we ask of the Omanis that they don’t provide.” Lynch added that Oman’s actions were instrumental in all but destroying the threat of piracy from Somalia.

Lynch emphasized that Oman’s friendship is crucial to American consumers: 60 percent of the world’s oil flows through its territorial waters. “Any serious upheaval in Oman could result in the return of $4 or $5 gas in the U.S.,” he explained.

The trip also made it clear to Lynch that this U.S. ally will potentially be in great trouble in the near future. The long-time Sultan is elderly and in ill health. He has no children or brothers and has not named a successor.

At the same time, Oman finds itself in a difficult position in between mortal enemies Saudi Arabia and Iran. A civil war in Yemen threatens Oman’s southern province. While spared the violence and upheaval of the Arab Spring so far, Lynch said Oman’s future is far from clear.

Founded in 1983 and based in Washington, D.C., NCUSAR  is an American non-profit, non-governmental, educational organization dedicated to improving American knowledge and understanding of the Arab world. Hollins will continue its relationship with the organization this fall when the university hosts the Appalachian Region Model Arab League, November 6 – 8.

Photo caption: Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch meets with  H.E. Mohamed Al Hassan, Chief of Minister’s Office, Oman Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Senior Receives Distinguished Student Researcher Award

In recognition of the exceptional environmental research she performed while studying abroad during the spring of 2015, The School for Field Studies (SFS) has presented its Distinguished Student Researcher Award to Kayla Deur ’16. She was recognized for the research project she conducted at the SFS Center for Mekong Studies in Cambodia.

Each year, the SFS honors a student from the Center who has demonstrated extraordinary skill in contributing to the Center’s research agenda, as evidenced by their Directed Research (DR) paper, oral presentations, and approach to the research project. The award not only cites excellence and diligence in research, but also teamwork and leadership shown during the semester. Outcomes of the projects provide information and recommendations to community members and other stakeholders on critical, local environmental issues.

Deur explored the usage of traditional medicine on a household level, as well as how traditional knowledge is being transmitted cross-generationally and spatially across village domains. According to Lisa Granese, SFS vice president for enrollment and institutional relations, “Her work provides a sound foundation for future research at the Center, and Professor Lisa Arensen, Deur’s DR advisor, comments that her project ‘is an impressive example of undergraduate research.'” Through her work, Deur contributed to a growing list of plants that were indicated as medicinally important by locals.

SFS creates transformative study abroad experiences through field-based learning and research. Its educational programs explore the human and ecological dimensions of the complex environmental problems faced by its local partners, contributing to sustainable solutions in the places where people live and work. The SFS community is part of a growing network of individuals and institutions committed to environmental stewardship.


Hollins Lacrosse Among IWLCA Division III Academic Honor Squads

The Hollins University lacrosse team is one of 129 colleges and universities from across the nation, and one of six Old Dominion Athletic Conference member schools, that have been cited as Division III Academic Honor Squads for the 2015 season.

Schools with a team GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible for Academic Squad recognition. Division I, II, III, and NAIA schools that earn this designation are announced annually by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA).

Hollins Lacrosse’s 2016 schedule kicks off  February 27 with a match at the University of the District of Columbia.