U.S. News: Hollins Boasts One of the Nation’s Lowest Student-Faculty Ratios

Hollins University is among the 21 liberal arts colleges in America with the lowest student-faculty ratios, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Hollins has eight students for each faculty member.

“Attending a college with a low student-to-faculty ratio can mean more personalized attention for students,” explained Jordan Friedman of U.S. News. “Prospective students looking to learn in a tight-knit classroom environment may want to consider U.S. liberal arts colleges instead of larger universities.”

U.S. News determined the top 21 schools based on data provided by the 222 National Liberal Arts Colleges ranked by the publication. “Student-faculty ratio is among the many factors U.S. News considers when ranking the Best Colleges,” Friedman said.

Joining Hollins in the top 21 are such prestigious institutions as Wellesley College, Williams College, Amherst College, Bryn Mawr College, Claremont McKenna College, Pomona College, Swathmore College, and Vassar College. The other Virginia schools on the list are the University of Richmond and Washington and Lee University.


Hollins Announces Winners of the Inaugural Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

  • The annual award showcases the most distinguished picture book manuscript as selected by a panel of judges.
  • This year’s recipients are Phil Bildner for his book Marvelous Cornelius, and Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, co-authors of You Nest Here With Me.
  • The Margaret Wise Brown Prize is among the few children’s book honors with a cash award.

A former New York City public school teacher who has written more than 20 children’s books has been named the winner of the first annual Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature.

“Margaret Wise Brown said, ‘A good picture book can almost be whistled….All have their own melodies behind the storytelling,’” said judges Elissa Haden Guest and Judy Schachner. “In that spirit, we award the Margaret Wise Brown Prize to Phil Bildner for Marvelous Cornelius,” a book about a simple, musical man who inspired the cleanup of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Illustrated by John Parra and published by Chronicle Books, Marvelous Cornelius is geared toward children ages 4 – 7.

Guest, who has written numerous children’s books including Bella’s Rules and the award-winning Iris and Walter series, and Schachner, creator of the Skippyjon Jones picture book series, also presented authors Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple with the Margaret Wise Brown Prize Honor Book for their work, You Nest Here With Me, a lyrical goodnight book illustrated by Melissa Sweet and published by Boyds Mills Press.

Hollins University established the Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature as a way to pay tribute to one of its best-known alumnae and one of America’s most beloved children’s authors. Winners receive a $1,000 cash prize, which comes from an endowed fund created by James Rockefeller, Brown’s fiancé at the time of her death.

“The Margaret Wise Brown Prize is one of the few children’s book awards that has a cash prize attached,” said Amanda Cockrell, director of the children’s literature program at Hollins.

Winners also receive an engraved medal conceived by award-winning sculptor, painter, and Hollins alumna Betty Branch of Roanoke. Winners and Honor Book recipients are presented a certificate designed by Ashley Wolff, author and/or illustrator of over 50 children’s books. Winners are invited to accept the award and present a reading on campus during the summer session of Hollins’ graduate program in children’s literature.

Margaret Wise Brown graduated from Hollins in 1932 and went on to write Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and other children’s classics before she died in 1952. Hollins celebrated her life and work with a year-long Margaret Wise Brown Festival in 2011 and 2012, which featured stage and musical adaptations of her work along with readings, workshops, guest lectures, and other activities for all ages.

The study of children’s literature as a scholarly experience was initiated at Hollins in 1973; in 1992, the graduate program in children’s literature was founded. Today, Hollins offers summer M.A. and M.F.A. programs exclusively in the study and writing of children’s literature, an M.F.A. in children’s book writing and illustrating, and a graduate-level certificate in children’s book illustration.

 

How to submit books for consideration for the 2017 Margaret Wise Brown Prize:

The deadline for submission for books published in 2016 is January 15, 2017. A three-judge panel, consisting of established picture book authors, will review the nominations and choose a winner, which will be announced in May 2017.

 


Hollins Sophomore Earns Prestigious Summer Residence Internship in Economics

Lan Nguyen ’18 has been awarded an eight-week Summer 2016 Residence Internship at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) in Massachusetts.

Nguyen, who is double-majoring in economics and environmental science, was selected from a highly competitive pool of qualified candidates. Her internship will take place June 20 – August 12.

Founded in 1933, AIER is a widely recognized independent source of economic information, stemming from its proprietary research and publications. The institute’s internship program provides highly accomplished high school and college students with an introduction to economic research. Students work closely with AIER research fellows, which enhances their understanding of economic concepts, theories, and real-world applications.


Byrd Advances to IHSA Nationals

Elizabeth “Randi” Byrd ’18 is heading to the 2016 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championships after an outstanding performance at the Zone 4 Regional Championships on Saturday, April 9.

Byrd won the Intermediate Equitation on the Flat title at the zonal competition, hosted by the University of Mary Washington at Hazelwild Farm in Fredericksburg. She was one of two Hollins riders who participated in the event: Jessica Michael ’17 captured fifth place in her division, Walk Trot Canter.

The IHSA Nationals take place May 5 – 8 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

Photo: Joined by Hollins Riding Head Coach Sandy Gerald, Randi Byrd ’18 displays her Zone 4 championship ribbon.


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.

 


Niche Ranks Hollins Among the Best Liberal Arts Colleges

The ranking and review website niche.com has named Hollins University one of the 100 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in the country, and listed it among the five Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Virginia.

Niche ranks Hollins #79 in its national listing, and #4 in the commonwealth. A complete profile of the university may be found here.

According to the website, “The 2016 Best Liberal Arts Colleges ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews. The top Liberal Arts colleges are elite academic colleges that provide a good value and an exceptional overall college experience through a smaller and more personalized learning environment.”

Niche says it “takes into account  key factors such as the strength of the academic program, the aptitude of professors, the quality of campus amenities, the general character of student life, as well as student reviews in an attempt to measure the overall excellence of the college experience.”

Niche was founded in 2002 by Carnegie Mellon University students as CollegeProwler.com. The website offers reviews and expert insight to make easier the choice of a a neighborhood, college or university, or K-12 school.


Kennedy Center Honors Hollins Playwright, Director

The national committee of The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) has recognized the play Coupler by Meredith Dayna Levy ’12 with its “Distinguished Production of New or Devised Work” award.

Levy is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree in the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins. This is not the first time the KCACTF has acknowledged her achievements: In 2013, she won the National Partners of the American Theatre Playwriting Award, considered a gold medal, and the regional David Shelton Award for her original script, Decision Height. The following year, she received the Mimi and Harold Steinberg National Student Playwriting Award, which encourages college students to write for the stage by providing the opportunity for them to collaborate with actors, directors, and others through all stages of production, including rehearsals and performances.

Described as “whimsical comedy,” Coupler takes place in the London Underground, where the occupants of the last car on the Northern Line have lost parents, partners, and possibly themselves. They criss-cross through the heart of the Underground, holding on to what was and hoping for what might be.

The award also honors Playwright’s Lab Director Todd Ristau, who directed the production.

Coupler was staged during the 2016 Hollins-Mill Mountain Theatre Winter Festival of New Works, held in January.

Established in 1969, the KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide. It serves as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theatre in the United States. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theatre departments and student artists showcase their work.


Senior to Intern with Prestigious Economic Training Program

Hilla Haidari ’16 has been awarded an internship at the 2016 American Economic Association Summer Training Program (AEASP), hosted by Michigan State University’s Department of Economics.

The intensive, eight-week residential program takes place June 4 – July 31, and is conducted in collaboration with Western Michigan University.

Since 1974, AEASP has increased diversity and helped prepare talented undergraduates who are seriously considering post-graduate studies in economics. The program offers students the opportunity to develop and solidify their math and other technical skills, which in turn will enable them to successfully meet the high demands of academically challenging doctoral programs. Students work alongside prominent professors and develop career-long mentorships.

Haidari is double-majoring at Hollins in economics and international studies.

 


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.