Showcase Presentations

Showcase Session 1 – 9:30AM – 10:30AM

Breakout Room: Zen Garden

Making Groups Work Online

Presenter: Bridget Brew
Students in my in-person classes spend a considerable share of their time working together. A major loss in the transition to online classes was the ability for students to collaborate in groups organically after being told to turn to their neighbors to work on a problem, debate a policy, or dissect a reading. It was important for me to try to recreate that feeling remotely. While there is no substitute for the real thing, I developed some strategies during the pandemic that made group work in Zoom breakout rooms less awkward and more useful over time.

Break the Zoom Ice

Presenter: Marissa Miller, Stefanie Lucas-Waverly
Hear about our engaging techniques to support training and small group conversations in virtual settings that increase “camera on” participation. These techniques are useful in and out of the classroom.

Zooming Towards Democracy: Civic Engagement in a Pandemic

Presenter: Sarah Dewees
While registering students to vote in the fall of 2020, UMW Votes students discovered a challenge: campus residence halls are divided into three different voting wards in the City of Fredericksburg. In the spring of 2021, a group of students met weekly to learn about redistricting (both local and statewide). An unexpected advantage of using Zoom was that we were able to schedule meetings with policy experts to learn about the local and statewide redistricting process and what will happen when Census data are released. Meetings with the Mayor of Fredericksburg, the Voting Registrar, and a member of the Fredericksburg Electoral Board helped students learn more about redrawing local voting wards, and meetings with OneVirginia21, Virginia21, and the League of Women Voters helped educate students about the statewide redistricting process. Along the way students learned what it would take to put a polling place on UMW’s campus, and formed a Youth Advisory Council that will soon work with City Council. This presentation will talk about the unexpected ways that using Zoom facilitated student learning and engagement with the broader Fredericksburg community.

Breakout Room: The Fountain

AND PIVOT! Engaging and Welcoming UMW’s Newest Eagles

Presenter: Britni Greenleaf
New Student Programs switched from a two-day in-person orientation program to a virtual-one day program with synchronous and asynchronous components throughout the summer. I will discuss ways in which we kept current Orientation Leaders engaged and welcomed the newest Eagles into the UMW community. We learned a lot about our processes along the way and I will share components of the virtual experience that are here to stay for good!

The Library, Luck, and COVID

Presenter: Paul Boger
Before the COVID closure in March 2020, the Simpson Library was working on three different initiatives involving OER, e-books, and the Stafford Campus Library’s book collection. By sheer luck, our early work on these initiatives provided the library with additional flexibility in supporting our students at a time when access to the library’s collection was severely restricted. Paul Boger will talk about his experiences in supporting these efforts.

Open to Debate: Taking Debate Online in a Pandemic

Presenter: Adrienne Brovero
UMW Debate participates in both competitive intercollegiate tournament debates and public debate exhibitions. There are also debate practicum courses for both competitive and public debate. COVID presented several challenges to our traditional approaches to debating, but also opened some new opportunities for our students. This presentation will discuss some of the challenges but focus primarily on the surprising silver linings that emerged over the past year that create new learning and engagement opportunities for our students and broader communities beyond our classrooms.

Breakout Room: The Amphitheater

Taking 3 Things I Tried That Worked This Year

Presenter: Miriam Liss
I will describe three things I did this year that worked well in my synchronous online classes:
1) video extension assignments that allowed students to research and present material to the class
2) selective use of asynchronous days (e.g., Flexible Fridays) to allow students to learn at their own time/pace and to vary the format of the material they learned.
3) the use of regular self-evaluations where students reflected on their own level of participation and engagement.

Working in the Virtual World with Students in Academic Jeopardy

Presenters: Brian Strecker, Janet Asper, Claudine Ferrell, Cate Brewer
The pandemic forced the Academic Warning workshops offered at the beginning of each fall and spring semester, in to Zoom presentations. With the help of three faculty members who have served as panelists for previous Academic Warning workshops, as well as for the spring, 2021 semester virtual Academic Warning workshop, I would like to describe that journey to Zoom, and what we tweaked, to make the spring, 2021 Academic Warning workshop work.

An Interdisciplinary Continuum of Learning: Threading Topics of Interest Throughout Coursework

Presenters: Jennifer Walker, Chris Foss, Julia DeLancey, Christine Henry, Jessica Machado, Virginia Mackintosh, Lauren McMillan, Danielle Smith, Kevin Good, Melissa Jenkins
This presentation will address how a common topic of interest (e.g. disability studies, social justice, ASPIRE) can be embedded and infused across disciplines to create an interdisciplinary continuum of learning for students. Through an informal community of learning, presenters will explain how eight faculty and staff came together to identify and develop lessons and units using a common thread of interest and their own areas of expertise, resulting in a team-taught three credit course. Ideas for collaboration for coursework will be provided for colleges, departments, offices, and centers across campus.

Breakout Room: Jeffy Square

Freedom from the Doc Cam: Facilitating Class Annotation and Problem-Solving via iPad Screen Mirroring

Presenter: Robert Wells
Central components of the music theory courses I teach are composition, analysis, and quantitative problem solving, which require a combination of written notation, annotation of existing musical scores, textbook work, and computation by hand. Prior to COVID-19, I relied on the classroom document camera for such activities, simply displaying papers, books, and printed scores for class annotation and analysis. However, this was not ideal for many reasons. For instance, visibility was often poor due to doc cam focus issues, awkward zooming in and out, and light glare on my pencil markings; I would constantly have to twist my head around to see what the students were seeing on the projector screen; and I would have to run back and forth between the doc cam and the classroom piano to play the music we were working through.
COVID-19 hybrid/online teaching forced me to find an alternative solution, as a doc cam was not always accessible or easy to integrate while Zooming from my laptop. My solution was to broadcast my iPad screen to the main Zoom meeting, from which I could annotate scores, musical manuscript paper, and other documents—all of which students in the classroom and on Zoom were able to see. I would like to continue using iPad screen sharing in post-COVID teaching, perhaps via a “solo” Zoom meeting projected into the classroom. This would give me freedom to move around the classroom space while annotating; facilitate erasing, zooming in or out, moving objects around, or annotating in multiple colors; allow easy uploading of class annotations to Canvas for students to study later; and result in fewer accumulated papers.

Using MS Teams Effectively In and Out of the Classroom

Presenter: Parrish Waters
I will describe the successes and troubles that I met as I incorporated MS Teams into my courses this year. This includes an all online course in Fall 2020, and a Hybrid course in Spring 2021.

OER in the Foreign Language Online Classroom

Presenter: Marcel Rotter
While the importance of Open Educational Resources (OER) has been recognized by UMW before the pandemic hit, in times of crisis the need for cost-savings becomes even more significant for many of our students. This short presentation outlines the use of electronic OER in German Intermediate level language classes (201&202). Using “Comprehensive Input” as overarching principle and using only free web resources created by native German speakers for native German speakers, we will see some of the materials and free web applications used to engage students in an online language classroom.

Showcase Session 2 – 10:45AM – 11:45AM

Breakout Room: Spirit Rock

Transfer in the Time of Covid-19: What We’ve Always Known is Still True

Presenter: Charles Tate
Transfer students at UMW have faced the same stressors as our first-year class over the last year. What we understand fundamentally about transfer students has not changed in the context of Covid-19 reshaping higher education in the United States. Many of our conclusions have been reinforced. The “new normal,” whatever that turns out to be, could be beneficial for transfers. This presentation will discuss what we know concerning transfer students at UMW and nationally, what Virginia is doing to smooth the pathways from two-year schools in the Commonwealth to four-year schools, and what work remains to be done.

Faculty Learning Community: Community Engagement and Racial Justice

Presenters: Marie McAllister, María Laura Bocaz, Dan Hubbard, Angela Pitts, Hilary Stebbins, Suzanne Sumner, Sarah Dewees, Leslie Martin, Joe Romero
Members of this community engagement learning community will speak about their work together this spring on antiracism and critical service learning.

Easing Textbook Access with Library Reading Lists

Presenter: Olivia Vander Bleek, Paul Boger
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we in the library have been very aware of the need for helpful and accessible e-resources. During the initial shutdown, our doors were closed and staff was reporting to work only as needed. Even with our best efforts to provide an easy process for curbside pickup of materials, it was not enough with students and staff being either unable to come to campus or wary of the risks. Because of this, we began our scanning initiative that many of you may be familiar with. (more than 83,000 pages since the beginning of the pandemic as of 3/30/21).
In the beginning, we were sending limited scans to faculty and students via email, but we soon found a better way to provide resources using the Leganto plugin to Canvas that we own.
We likely cannot continue to provide scanned pages as liberally as we have been in the future due to our obligation to be copyright compliant, but the across-the-board use of Leganto and Canvas that has been an effect of remote learning has illuminated some amazing ways to use this software to bring the cost of course resources down while increasing ease of access.
Consider Leganto (Library Reading Lists tab) as an easy-to-access hub for all of your students’ course materials. If all of your course materials can be provided through the library, your students could pay $0 for materials for your class!

Our Non-Academic Virtual Lives

Presenter: Suzanne Sumner
In addition to switching our classes to a virtual format, our other, non-academic, work switched as well. A guest speaker’s visit to campus suddenly became virtual. An honor society’s induction ceremony needed to be handled virtually. This session will offer advice, creative solutions, and campus resources on how to make these types of virtual format switches operate more smoothly. **Please note this will not be a live presentation but a shared recording**

Breakout Room: Convergence Garden

Do Less to Get More: Increasing Student Agency to Improve Engagement

Presenter: Cartland Berge
I will talk about some instances where I gave students the opportunity to make important decisions about course structure and student staff management, and the benefits I’ve seen from those decisions.

You Have To See/Read/Hear This: Using Student-Curated Content to Think/Talk/Teach About Race & Ethnicity in U.S. Politics

Presenter: Rosalyn Cooperman
This presentation will discuss strategies I employed in my on-line, synchronous, Spring 2021 seminar on Race & Ethnicity in U.S. Politics, often using student-curated content, to create meaningful connections between participants as we evaluated research on race and ethnicity and its significance to contemporary U.S. politics. Specifically, I will discuss an interactive assignment that required students to share something substantive (e.g., a short article, post, podcast, image, song, story) with the class they connected to a specific course theme or reading to broaden our collective conversation about the messages participants took away from the curated content and the research material on race and ethnicity.

Geologic Concept Sketch Portfolios in the Introductory-Level Classroom: A Tool for Deeper Understanding or a Grading Nightmare?

Presenter: Sarah Morealli
For the 2020-2021 academic year, I designed and implemented a new assignment in my course EESC 111: Our Dynamic Earth, which was taught partially online during the fall and spring semesters. This assignment, The Concept Sketch Portfolio (CSP), was initially designed to replace exams and provide students with multiple completion options. The CSP required students to draw and annotate a series of sketches based on geologic concepts. This presentation will discuss the project, how it evolved between semesters, how I graded student submissions (using “Specs Grading”), and how I hope to implement the project in the future.

Breakout Room: Ball Circle

Digitally Intensive Across Disciplines

Presenters: Zach Whalen, Melina Patterson
The Digital Intensive requirement expects that students will be able to locate, evaluate, produce and exchange information using the Internet. In this presentation we will demonstrate two discipline-specific approaches to this kind of learning from the perspectives of Geography and English, respectively. These approaches include students navigating the multiple layers of knowledge production across different databases, maps, and WikiPedia.

Cross-institutional collaborative research helps motivate students in Biology classes

Presenter: Swati Agrawal
During the Spring semester Biology students completed a research-intensive class in collaboration with students from Georgia State University. Research intensive (RI) classes in biology provide students with a rigorous experience of the scientific process. Students research a topic, design experiments, conduct several long research projects, analyze the results and present the results in a formal presentation. This class is mostly taken by Senior biology students. To inspire intrinsic motivation in students during these difficult times, this semester in Molecular parasitology RI we teamed up with students at Georgia State University. Students collaborated throughout the semester to meet every week to design experiments, refine them, execute and present to each other. This experience culminated in a joint research presentation at the GSU STEM conference by students at both institutions. This effort not only reflects the true nature of Scientific research, it also helped build confidence in students and made them realize the importance of their research.

A Conversation with UMW’s SoTL Scholars

Presenter: Melissa Wells, Maya Mathur, Alex Dunn, Kevin Good, Melissa Jenkins, Kelli Slunt, Gonzalo Campos-Dintrans, Marcus Leppannen, Robert Wells, Brenta Blevins, Cate Brewer
Want to learn more about how to research your own teaching through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)? Join the 2021 cohort of UMW SoTL Scholars for an informal discussion of what SoTL is and what research projects we will be implementing in Fall 2021.

Breakout Room: Brompton Lawn

Virtual Travel in ARTH 310 Greek Art

Presenter: Joseph Dreiss
During the fall semester 2020, I taught ARTH 310 Greek Art, a standard art history offering albeit one that I have never taught before. Unlike most of the courses which I teach in the areas of modern and contemporary art and architecture, this course deals to a significant degree with works of architecture and archeological sites that can and indeed should be understood in relationship to their existing spatial context. This, together with the online and asynchronous nature of the course, provided a clear opportunity for me to utilize web resources that have become available over the past twenty years or so that would provide students with a virtual experience of the buildings in situ and of the archeological sites to be studied.

While the core content of the course was delivered using VoiceThread technology (PowerPoint with voiceover) and required readings, I augmented this approach by introducing a virtual travel theme. Students were required to write a semester long ongoing travel journal based on the idea that they were awarded a government grant to allow them to travel to specific virtual locations for the purpose of studying art, architecture and archeological sites in person.

The primary resources that I referenced that might form the basis of their virtual travel account included:

  1. Interactive virtual tours of sites such as the Athenian Acropolis and the citadel at Mycenae
  2. Tourist video footage with no or very minimal verbal commentary.
  3. Drone videos of temple locations to communicate the siting of buildings, which is a crucial aspect of Greek temple architecture.
  4. A series of live webinars conducted in situ by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens entitled “Live from the Agora” (this particular and quite excellent resource was suggested by Professor Liane Houghtalin)
  5. Museum websites

My brief Zoom presentation will present a sampling of these resources.

The Silver Lining: Discussing the Pandemic’s Impact on Class Projects

Presenter: Adria Goldman
The transition to online learning in spring 2020 caused many challenges. For students in COMM 460: Seminar in Digital Rhetoric, one major hurdle was deciding how to finish the class projects they designed and started implementing. At the start of the semester, students were tasked with brainstorming and executing a project that promoted digital literacy for a specific audience of their choice. Proposed final projects included a podcast on digital media, a website on social media influencers, and a digital literacy fair for the community. The mid-semester move online posed several hurdles for the project, which relied heavily on class and small group meeting time. As I prepare to teach the course again spring 2022 I reflect on the challenges posed by the pandemic, as well as the resources and tools I learned due to those challenges. This presentation will discuss the updated version of the class project assignment, particularly noting how changes were impacted by the pandemic, online group work in my other courses, and my work with the Center for Teaching’s Assignment Revision Group. The presentation will highlight the issues caused by the pandemic as well as the silver lining of the experience—an improved assignment. While the presentation focuses on a specific COMM 460 assignment, audience members will learn strategies for online or hybrid class projects that may be useful for other classes.

How the Genius Hour Saved My Teaching Career

Presenter: Janet Asper
Inspired by a presentation in ReFocus, I added a Genius Hour assignment to my fall Chemistry and Society class. The presentations at the end of the semester showed me that there were engaged students behind those black boxes! Inspired by this success I replaced an exam with a Genius Hour in the spring General Chemistry class, again with inspiring results.

Panel Descriptions

Panel Session 1 – 1:15pm – 2:15pm

Mentoring Outside the Classroom 

Everyone who works with a student during their time at UMW helps shape that student’s UMW experience, and the mentoring relationships we build outside the classroom can be just as impactful as traditional instruction. Just as instructors were forced to adapt their teaching methods over the last year, the way we build mentoring relationships also needed to change. This panel will focus on ways that supervisors, coaches, trainers, advisors, internship coordinators, and anyone else who works with students outside the traditional classroom continued to mentor students through the pandemic. Panelists will discuss their experience, the strategies they tried, and what they might take going forward.  


  • Sandrine Sutphin, Director-Student Activities & Engagement 
  • Justin Wilkes, Director-Student Transition Program 
  • Scott Gerseny, Head Women’s Soccer Coach-Athletics 
  • Milton Kline, Student Paint Project Lead-Facilities Services 
  • Kelli Slunt, Professor of Chemistry-Chemistry & Physics and Director-Honors Program 

Working Outside the Screen 

‘Workspace’ has taken on a whole new meaning since March 2020. Changes to our physical workspaces have also shaped our internal spaces. We have questioned what ‘balance’ means and how to remain healthy amid a global health crisis. Panel discussants will share how they reimagined their work lives to balance professional productivity and personal health. The group will also discuss how lessons learned can positively shape and promote a healthy work life at UMW in the future. 


  • John Hughey, Assistant Director of Residence Life & Housing-Office of Residence Life & Housing 
  • Michelle Pickham, Sr. Contract Officer & SPCC Program Administrator-Procurement Services 
  • Michael Stebar, Senior Lecturer-Biological Sciences 
  • Jennifer Walker, Associate Professor & Program Director-Special Education  

Panel Session 2 – 2:30pm – 3:30pm

Communities Through Connection 

The pandemic has challenged our ideas about what it means to be connected, especially when we cannot rely largely on shared physical spaces. During this panel, discussants will reveal how they creatively forged or maintained connections to students and/or colleagues. The group will also explore how connections and broader ideas of community have evolved over the course of the pandemic and what it means for strengthening a ‘UMW community’ going forward. 


  • Andrew Dolby, Professor-Biological Sciences 
  • Rita Dunston, University Registrar-Registrar’s Office 
  • Leslie Martin, Associate Professor-Anthropology & Sociology and Faculty Program Director-Center for Community Engagement 
  • Kristina Peck, Director of Clinical Experiences-College of Education 
  • Chris Williams, Assistant Director-James Farmer Multicultural Center 

Teaching, Learning, and Working in Physical Spaces During a Pandemic 

During this panel we will discuss how the physical campus spaces used for teaching and learning were changed as part of our pandemic response.  Moving furniture, blue squares, hand sanitizer, and increased housekeeping were all part of our response, but so were things like streaming technology, schedule adjustments, signage and tents.  Our panelists will share how they reimagined and transformed campus spaces to engage students and provide services. 


  • Erin Devlin, Assistant Professor-History and American Studies 
  • Christine Henry, Assistant Professor-Historic Preservation 
  • Robin Parker, Classroom and Public Computing Manager-IT Support Services 
  • Stuart Sullivan, Executive Director Facilities Operations