The Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences reached a crucial benchmark this week in pursuit of full accreditation by the internationally recognized Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), allowing students to be accepted into Mary Baldwin’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.
“The accreditation process is exceptionally rigorous, and for good reason,” said Linda Seestedt-Stanford, founding vice president of the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences. “Accreditation protects the public and ensures that our students demonstrate the required skills and competencies for entry-level physical therapy practice.”
Classes in physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) are slated to begin in June 2014. Earning “candidate for accreditation” status from CAPTE indicates that Murphy Deming leaders have completed a self-study, an initial site visit, and a review by members of the CAPTE board, Stanford said. A similar process is underway to receive accreditation for Murphy Deming’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program.
Mary Baldwin has steadily received applications for its PT and OT programs since July, and each program will accept approximately 30 students into its inaugural class. Some prospective students have had the opportunity to meet directors and faculty from the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences at graduate school fairs, open houses, and information sessions.
“We are impressed by the caliber and number of applicants coming in from around the region, state, and nation, and we are eager to admit them into our program,” said Lisa Shoaf, physical therapy program director. “It is exciting to think about welcoming those first students who will experience our innovative curriculum with a focus on interprofessional education that will set us apart in the field.”
In the meantime, construction is progressing on Murphy Deming’s initial three-story, 57,000-square-foot building on the site off Goose Creek Road in Fishersville. Instructional technology for the state-of-the-art facility has also been finalized, including simulation labs, lecture capture capability, videoconferencing, and projection of multiple images on large flat-screen monitors in classrooms. In addition, MDCHS faculty and staff have connected with key community partners through the Augusta Community Forum and the Mary Baldwin College service learning network to develop ongoing projects.
A $15 million gift from longtime MBC benefactor Bertie Murphy Deming Smith ’46 launched the development of the college of health sciences and jump started construction. In addition to the DPT and OTD, a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies is also planned to open in 2015.
Find out more about the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences.
Dave Koontz was in the office during regular business hours, but he never really stopped working to ensure the online security of Mary Baldwin College. His wife, Ann — who came to MBC herself seven years ago and now serves as campus switchboard operator — recalled Dave monitoring system updates and fielding inquiries while the couple was watching a movie at home or during their annual vacation to Virginia Beach.
“He knew that he was dealing with issues and systems that don’t take breaks,” Ann said. “He didn’t mind the round-the-clock work; he enjoyed being needed and was very committed to doing what he could to keep things running properly and maintaining the best network security possible. He was proud of how tight the system had become.”
Dave Koontz, 51, passed away November 6 at Rockingham Memorial Hospital. His Mary Baldwin tenure began in 1997, and his most recent position was lead systems analyst in the Office of Information Technology.
Before he found his niche at MBC, Koontz worked in a variety of positions including video store management and office equipment distribution. Dave’s wife of 23 years said he was “into computers before they were mainstream” and that “there were motherboards all over the house” when he dove into computer rebuilding projects as a hobby. Before Facebook and instant messaging, he created and facilitated a type of chat forum that he referred to as a bulletin board, Ann Koontz said. He completed several courses and special programs at Blue Ridge Community College to enhance and update his knowledge in the field.
At Mary Baldwin, he worked closely with colleagues to introduce and update the campus email system, roll out an effective ID card system, and ensure security for campus credit card transactions.
Dave Koontz was born in Florida and spent most of his childhood near Dallas. He finally convinced Ann to travel to the city with him in 2011, where he enjoyed reminiscing and attending a Dallas Cowboys game.
A celebration of Koontz’s life is planned for November 23 in the Student Activities Center Ballroom. The event will begin at 7 p.m. and will include a family receiving line, a prayer by former college chaplain Patricia Hunt, refreshments, and an invitation for attendees to share memories.
“Dave was faithful, but not religious in the traditional sense,” Ann said. “I felt like this kind of memorial at Mary Baldwin would be appropriate because of his deep connection to this community.”
Contributions in Koontz’s memory can be made to the Staunton Fire and Rescue Department, 500 N. Augusta St., Staunton, VA 24401 or to the Staunton/Augusta Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 2566, Staunton, VA 24401.
One out of every three women worldwide has been beaten, sexually violated, or abused by a partner, relative, friend, employer, or stranger in her lifetime, according to the Reproductive Health Response in Crises Consortium. Of these crimes, less than 50 percent are reported to authorities.
It is time to Take Back the Night.
From the first documented event in Philadelphia in 1975 in response to the murder of a young woman, Take Back the Night observances in the United States and worldwide have raised awareness of crimes against women. In connection with the international event, Mary Baldwin College (MBC) students and community members are invited to participate in a Take Back the Night ceremony and walk November 14.
Student members of MBC’s PERSIST (Promoting Excellence and Reinforcing Success in Student Traditions) program will sponsor the event and several have roles in the ceremony, which begins at 7 p.m. in Miller Chapel on campus. Guest speaker Nichole Burchette of New Directions Inc. will talk about the services offered at the women’s shelter, located in Staunton. Greater Things Dance Ministry and Anointed Voices of Praise will also perform during the event, which concludes with a candlelight march and procession of banners.
For more information, contact the Office of Inclusive Excellence and Multicultural Affairs at 540-887-7270.
Tamra Willis, associate professor of education and director of the Environment-Based Learning (EBL) program, received the Virginia Resource-Use Education Council’s (VRUEC) Environmental Education Award at Virginia’s Environmental Education Conference on October 17. The prestigious award, known as The Otter, is given annually to an outstanding Virginian who has made major contributions to promoting public knowledge and understanding of natural resources in the state. The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated state and/or regional leadership in fostering working relationships and programs that benefit the educators and students of Virginia.
Willis has been an inspiration to environmental educators in Virginia for 25 years. She began her career as an elementary classroom teacher, taking students into diverse learning environments whenever possible. Through courses in Mary Baldwin’s Master of Education program, she ensures that the next generation of teachers will take their students outdoors and encourage exploration of the world around them. She is responsible for helping to bring the strategy of using the Environment as an Integrating Context (EIC) to Virginia by leading a grant project with five elementary schools.
Willis is an an active partner in the Shenandoah Valley Environmental Education Alliance and serves as policy co-chair for VRUEC. She is also co-editor of the Natural Teachers Network, the newsletter for the Children and Nature Network.
Her efforts in the environmental community have been sustained and have had significant impact on environmental education in Virginia, according to a press release from VRUEC.
Instructional technology (IT) in the state-of-the-art Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences building has been finalized. Educational technology in three large classrooms on the first floor — which will be used by faculty in occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), and physician assistant studies (PA) programs — will allow for lecture capture capability, videoconferencing, and projection of multiple images on large flat-screen monitors.
A smaller classroom will have the same capabilities and will be used for active learning and problem-based activities. Teams of students will be able to display their work on monitors around the room, encouraging class discussions.
Laboratories have also been equipped with specialized IT that allows procedures to be captured and projected onto screens. A special simulation lab designed to support OT, PT, and PA students in interprofessional virtual patient experiences uses highly sophisticated mannequins — known as patient simulators — to help students assimilate concepts in a way that is not possible through lecture or lab experiences alone.
There is wireless capability throughout the entire building. An electronic security access system will allow students and faculty keyless entry to designated laboratories and other spaces.
Consistent with the mission of Mary Baldwin College, the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences (MDCHS) is committed to addressing the growing need for health care in the Shenandoah Valley while educating future clinicians. Through the Augusta Community Forum and the Mary Baldwin College service learning network, MDCHS faculty and staff have connected with key community partners to develop ongoing projects that will be mutually beneficial.
Murphy Deming representatives recently attended the grand openings of Albemarle Therapy in Charlottesville and Western State Hospital’s new state-of-the-art mental health facility (Director of Occupational Therapy Ben Herz, Del. Richard P. “Dickie” Bell, and Director of Physical Therapy Lisa Shoaf pictured at right). They have also initiated collaboration with leaders of community organizations such as Rebuilding Together Greater Augusta and the Augusta Regional Free Clinic. MDCHS faculty also engage with community members through their clinical work in hospitals, rehab centers, and other health facilities.
Mary Baldwin College Artist-in-Residence Claudia Bernardi returned to campus October 30 to deliver a multimedia presentation about her latest collaborative project with the college and the Staunton community. During the May Term 2013 project Threads of History/Holos de Historia, Bernardi worked with students and faculty to interview alumni of Booker T. Washington High School about the city’s transition from segregation to integration. The course included the creation of a travelling mural and two others at the high school — which is now a community center — and hundreds of hours of footage that are being edited into a documentary film.
“The goal of the project was to transit history from the past into the future, coming through a difficult period,” Bernardi said. “The murals capture the breadth of the area’s African-American history, from the emergence of a core African-American community to the dreams, fears, hopes, and aspirations of today’s young citizens.”
The interdisciplinary class involved students with many different majors and interests and drew on the talents and knowledge of Associate Professor of Art Marlena Hobson, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Film Allan Moyé, and Associate Professor of History Amy Tillerson-Brown in addition to Bernardi and instructors from her School of Art in Perquin, El Salvador. MBC Artist-in-Residence since 2006, Bernardi is working with Hobson, Moyé, and Spencer Center Executive Director Steve Grande on plans for another collaboration in 2014.
Coverage from Staunton’s The News Leader
As Michelle Radford ’14 investigates interactions between antimicrobial proteins and DNA in the new senior research lab of Pearce Science Center, she knows that her research mentor, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Maria Craig, isn’t far if she needs assistance. The first phase of renovations in Pearce — completed in winter 2011 — relocated faculty offices adjacent to labs on the first floor and made possible equipment updates and other enhancements that benefit students in and out of the classroom. Still, $6 million remains to be raised to complete upgrades to the building. A positive response from students, faculty, and community members inspires eagerness to finish this core component of Ever Ahead: The Campaign for Mary Baldwin College.
“The availability of resources has increased since the renovation, and they’re better organized. The senior research lab also feels more like our space — where we can do our research outside of areas primarily used for instruction,” said Radford, a chemistry major with an emphasis in biochemistry. “Leading our own research better prepares us for graduate school as a possible next step.”
“The senior research space has brought students together naturally, and they are exchanging ideas more frequently,” said Craig. New equipment, such as a gel imager and fluorescence microscopes, has further modernized Pearce. Another of Craig’s favorite updates is the entranceway, where posters showcase student research.
Pearce Science Center opened in 1970, and while it has remained a thriving research hub over the years, it has needed modern refurbishments to better serve the collaborative faculty-student research environment that is an integral part of the sciences at MBC. The first renovation phase included an environmental systems classroom and research lab, a mammalian vivarium, an enhanced imaging suite with electron microscopes, a senior research suite, a new classroom, and a new entrance to the first floor. Also, classrooms on the first and second floors received modifications to meet today’s instructional needs.
Inna Kirilyuk ’14 is working with Assistant Professor of Physics Nadine Gergel-Hackett to build memristors — small, flexible electronic chips that retain memory without power — to better understand the physics behind how they function. The research could revolutionize technologies such as artificial intelligence and computing.
“She is collecting results significant enough to be submitted for presentation at the American Physical Society March Meeting,” said Gergel-Hackett. “Being in an environment that better matches our vision of cutting edge technology is inspiring for students,” she said.
Kirilyuk transferred from community college and chose MBC based on small class sizes and frequent interaction with professors. “I wouldn’t have an opportunity for this level of research with such accomplished faculty as an undergraduate at a larger university,” she said.
A triple major in biology, chemistry, and psychology, Sophia Stone ’14 spends ample time in Pearce. Since the first phase of renovations, she has observed a distinct increase in collaboration among students across academic disciplines. Chemistry and biology students frequently use the research spaces at the same time and can assist and learn from one another, she explained. Under the guidance of Paul Deeble, associate professor of biology, Stone is performing prostate cancer research in hopes of learning how an antimicrobial peptide may affect the invasiveness of cancerous cells.
She is also teaming up with Louise Freeman, assistant professor of psychology, on an examination of sexual differentiation in the Asian musk shrew. This research could be important in better understanding the role testosterone plays in sexual differentiation in the brains of primates.
“Some of the most valuable skills I’ve acquired at Mary Baldwin have come from my time spent in Pearce. I’ve learned how to think critically, to become a better researcher, and how to mentor other students who are interested in scientific research. When I walk into a lab and things have gone wrong — unanticipated problems have arisen — I have to work with my faculty advisors to find a solution, and that makes me a better researcher. Research is full of trial and error, but through the process, we learn so much and eventually find our way,” Stone said.
The new mammalian vivarium — including four rooms in a suite with its own ventilation system — allows Freeman to separate male and female musk shrews for a more controlled observation environment. While Freeman enjoys her research, the skill development student researchers undergo at MBC is just as gratifying. “It’s remarkable what our undergraduates can do,” she said.
The second and final phase of the renovation will target the third and fourth floors of Pearce, where chemistry and physics labs will receive upgrades. Classrooms will be reconfigured, modern hoods and improved ventilation will be installed, and other updates will round out a contemporary, well-equipped science center. With the launch of the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences (MDCHS) in August 2014, Craig anticipates increased interest in the sciences at Mary Baldwin. The completion of the Pearce renovation will be essential to best supporting future MDCHS students at the undergraduate level.
“We’re excited about the future and look forward to the potential growth Murphy Deming may bring,” Craig said.
Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL) cadets left a lasting impression on several of the top-ranking women officers in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard during the Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS), held recently in Arlington.
“The distinguished guests were particularly impressed with the dedication it takes for a VWIL cadet to stick with the program,” said Deputy Commandant Melissa Patrick ’78. “In addition, they noted how well-prepared our cadets are for pursuing civilian careers, and many complimented our students’ demeanor and professionalism, which is a positive reflection on the VWIL experience.”
The theme of the 10th annual symposium, “Called to Serve: Leading Boldly into the Next Decade,” was designed to empower women military officers to lead confidently and to enable positive change in military culture.
Mary Baldwin juniors Kishina Beckett, Jade Baker, Erica Johnson, Jasnique Rolle, and Tye Fulton, and sophomores Danielle Hunt and Moniefia Maitland joined cadets from West Point, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Virginia Military Institute, and The Citadel. Each VWIL cadet was designated to escort a distinguished visitor to the symposium and had the opportunity to talk with flag officers (generals and admirals) as well as senior non-commissioned officers and junior officers, Patrick said.
Jade Baker ’15 called the experience “motivating and energizing,” noting that she spoke with several Air Force officers as well as Vice Admiral Michelle J. Howard, the U.S. Navy’s highest-ranking African-American woman.
“Meeting and talking with professional women leaders helped me see all the possibilities for my future,” Baker said. “I was encouraged that they took the time to share with me their experiences and thoughts.”
The breadth of topics impressed Ericka Johnson ’15, who was interested in sessions geared toward women building successful careers in the military as well as those that explored more sensitive issues such as sexual assault and tactics on establishing successful relationships with male counterparts.
Lunch was an ideal opportunity for VWIL students to mingle with other cadets and to engage in meaningful exchanges with some of the top-ranking women in the U.S. Armed Forces. Along with cadets from The Citadel, Johnson and Tye Fulton ’15 talked with Marine Corps Captain Mabel Annunziata about Officer Candidate School and the steps to becoming Judge Advocate General officers in the Navy.
Kishina Beckett ’15 enjoyed an “incredible conversation” with Major General Marcia Anderson — the highest ranking African-American woman in the Army — and several other officers. “General Anderson talked extensively about her efforts to make the transition between active duty and reserve duty smoother for soldiers. I was greatly inspired by all of the women that I spoke with, and I definitely want to attend again next year,” Beckett said.
Lieutenant General Mary A. Legere, Army deputy chief of staff for intelligence, inspired junior Jasnique Rolle during their lunch discussion.
“She talked about how important it is to be confident with anything and everything you’re doing and not to be afraid of doing it right,” Rolle said.
OWLS was held at the Women in Military Service for America memorial and was hosted by AcademyWomen, a nonprofit founded in 2003 as a leadership and professional development organization that supports former, current, and future women military officers.
Nearly 20 years after he began his association with the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL), Brig. Gen. N. Michael Bissell passed on leadership of the nation’s only all-women Corps of Cadets to new commandant Brig. Gen. Teresa Djuric during his final Change of Command ceremony October 17.
“I have had many assignments in my career, but this has been my favorite and most rewarding, ” said Bissell, who served two combat tours in Vietnam before serving as program manager for Boeing and Sikorsky aircraft team and, later, commandant of cadets at the Virginia Military Institute. He became VWIL’s founding commandant in 1999.
Images by Woods Pierce.