News and Events for VCUCHS Faculty and Staff
VCU College of Humanities and Sciences
October 28, 2014

Online Guide for Assisting Distressed Students

A Faculty and Staff Guide for Distressed Students is now online at with vital information on how to recognize and respond to student situations. The site allows faculty, staff or students to submit an online incident report anonymously. The guide will also be accessed through a "lifesaver" icon that will soon be installed on all VCU computer desktops. For more information, contact Kendall Plageman, VCU's safety case manager, at or (804) 837-8753.

Wellgonomics: How You Move Matters

A WellGonomics Workshop is scheduled to take place on Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 10:00 am in the University Student Commons, Virginia Rooms, with speaker Rose O'Toole, Regional CommonHealth Coordinator. WellGOnomics: How You Move Matters, will help you to evaluate your activities, as well as offer simple and inexpensive solutions you can implement immediately to avoid injury. For more information contact Marquita Aguilar at

Jeffress Trust Call for Proposals

The Jeffress Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research for the 2014 award cycle has issued a call for proposals. Applicants must be full-time faculty within 7 years of their FIRST faculty appointment. Eligible research areas include astronomy, biosciences, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, environmental sciences, material science, mathematics and physics. The award amount is $100,000 for one year. Only 4 nominations can be made from any university, so this will fall under VCU's limited submission policy. Emails of interest are due no later than 5:00 on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 to with the subject line: Limited Submission Announcement: Jeffress.

Black & Gay in the South: Two Events

The Humanities Research Center and Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies present E. Patrick Johnson, Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University, in Sweet Tea, a one-man play based on his acclaimed book, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South (University of North Carolina Press, 2008) on October 29, 8 pm at the Grace Street Theater. The following day he will give a lecture titled The Oral Histories of Black Southern Women Who Love Women,  October 30, 3.30 pm in Richmond Salons I-II, Student Commons. For more information click here.

The Gentrification of Damascus

Faedah Totah, associate professor in the political science program, recently published a new book titled Preserving the Old City of Damascus. The book examines the gentrification of Damascus, and provides a glimpse of life in the city before the outbreak of Syria's ongoing civil war. Faedah recently sat down with VCU News to discuss her book, her time spent in Syria, and how the gentrification of Damascus has parallels to urban transformations in cities around the world, including Richmond. Read the interview here.

African Americans and World War I

The Alexandrian Society presents its 2014 Fall Lecture with Adriane Lentz-Smith, PhD, of Duke University on Wednesday, November 5 , at 4:00 pm in the Commons Theater. Dr. Lentz-Smith will give a talk based on her 2011 book, Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I. View the flyer here.

Burnside Watstein Award Winners

Congrats to the winners of this year's LGBT Burnside Watstein Award including Lettie Flores, former Director of the Center for Psychological Services and Development and Kyle Nicholas Daileda, an undergraduate student in the Robertson School. The award recipients were honored in a ceremony on Monday night, October 27. The LGBT Burnside Watstein Award is given annually to recognize individuals who enrich the sense of community at VCU and make a significant difference in the lives of LGBTQ faculty, staff and students.

CVC Campaign is Now Underway

The Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign is in full swing! This is the perfect way to give back to your community. It is simple to do and 100% of your contribution goes to the charity or charities of your choice. There are several ways to donate - payroll deduction, credit card payment, cash or check. View the Pledge Form here. The online Pledge System is available here. EmployeeDirect is available here.

First Novelist Award and Reading

Helene Wecker, winner of the 2014 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award for her novel The Golem and the Jinni, will give a reading and participate in a roundtable discussion with VCU students and the public on Tuesday, November 4, at the Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, 7 pm. The event will be followed by a public reception and book sale and signing. This is free and open to the public but registration is requested. For more information visit

Media+Health Call for Abstracts

The Center for Media + Health invites faculty health communication researchers to submit quantitative and qualitative research for presentations at the 2nd Media + Health Symposium on February 13, 2015. Abstract submissions are due by November 21, 2014. The theme of the symposium is Mobile and Social Media in Health Communication. View the call for abstracts flyer here.

Feminist Narrative Ethics: Kate Nash

The Humanities Research Center presents an evening with Kate Nash, associate professor in the Department of English and author of Feminist Narrative Ethics: Tacit Persuasion in Modernist Form (Ohio State University Press, 2014). Wednesday, November 5 at 7:30 pm in Seminar Room 201 of the Valentine House.

Arts & Religion Abstract Submission

The School of World Studies will host a conference entitled Spirituality and the Arts: A Global Dialogue April 9- 12, 2015. They invite scholars and artists to submit proposals (150 – 200 words) for papers, artwork, performances and workshops that address themes at the nexus of spirituality and the arts. Submissions are due online, on or before midnight of November 30. Learn more here.

More news . . .

History: Black & Gold Loyalty Society rewards most steadfast alumni donors

Psychology: VCU professor receives $2.66 million grant to study anti-bullying programs in Richmond middle schools

Physics: Li-ion batteries contain toxic halogens, but environmentally friendly alternatives exist, VCU physicists discover

World Studies: Celebrating LIfe While There's Still Time: Halloween Meets Mexico's Days of Death

View photos from the Robertson School's Name-Change Celebration!

Forensic Science: What do ‘CSI’ and zombie movies have in common? Not much, unless you work at VCU

Biology: Roads negatively affect frogs and toads, study finds

The Robertson School: VCU’s 20th annual International Business Forum will address corporate social responsibility

Mathematical Sciences: When Teachers Need Help in Math

Political Science: New book reveals excessive government secrecy in the 'sunshine era'

David Wojahn, professor in the Department of English, recites poem in celebration of American Archives Month. [VIDEO]

History: Robert Morris’s Folly

World Studies: Digging Through the World’s Oldest Graveyard

Psychology: ZEITGEIST: Fall 2014 Issue

Robertson School: iPadJournos Students Interview Republican Senatorial Candidate Ed Gillespie

Making the Case For A Pragmatic Liberal Arts College Education

HIGHER Ground Applications

The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute is accepting applications for its HIGHER Ground Women’s Leadership Development Program. This program is a five-month leadership development experience for current and emerging women leaders who who are committed to investing in themselves and their organizations. The application deadline is Saturday, Nov. 1. For more information, contact The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute at or (804) 827-1169.

Foreign Language Conference Recap

Kathryn Murphy-Judy, associate professor in the School of World Studies, recently shared some news with us from a conference hosted by the Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA) in September. Several faculty members from the School of World Studies participated. Read about their involvement and the conference on our blog. Other VCU colleagues were also present gaining professional development in the Commonwealth's number one venue for world language faculty.

Textbook Deadline Extended

The deadline to order Spring textbooks from Barnes & Noble @ VCU has been extended to November 5. The bookstores has a new online adoption platform called Faculty Enlight. If you register, you’ll also be able to review your textbook adoption history for the past three years. Register online at Monroe Park Faculty Enlight or e-mail

Society of Cincinnati Lecture

The Department of History presents its annual Society of Cincinnati Lecture on Thursday, November 13 at 5:30 pm. Dr. Maya Jasanoff of Harvard University will present a talk titled, On the Wrong Side of the Revolution: American Loyalists in the British Empire. This lecture looks at the American Revolution from the perspective of the loyalists. View the flyer here.

Presidential Award Nominations

Dr. Rao has issued a call for nominations on behalf of the Board of Visitors for proposed recipients for Honorary Degrees, the Edward A. Wayne Medal, and the Presidential Medallion, to be awarded at future Commencement ceremonies. The deadline for nominations is December 1. In addition, they would like to receive nominations for future Commencement speakers. The procedures and guidelines for these awards are available here. For questions, contact Laurie Carter, board liaison, at

Share Your News With The College

If you have news to share this is a great place to do it! Our news and event forms automatically forward to Gregg Johnson, Shirley McDaniel and to VCU News. We will submit your news and events to the VCU Calendar, Telegram, this newsletter and our social media outlets. Keep your colleagues informed by keeping us informed!

Faculty Spotlight:

Mignonne Guy, assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies, has been awarded an $80,000 grant from the American Legacy Foundation, the largest nonprofit public health organization in the nation devoted specifically to tobacco control. Guy says that her study, Storytelling for the Prevention of Little Cigar and Cigarillo Use in African American and Latino Youth, will examine the perceptions of these youth about the risks related to using little cigars and cigarillos. Read more about her grant and Mignonne in VCU News October faculty and staff features 2014.

Alumni Spotlight:

Todd Emerson, BA English ’93, enjoys a successful career in technology but it wasn’t an education in computer science that led him down his path. His fascinating start actually began in the Department of English with a challenge that helped him realize the creative potential at the intersection of technology and the humanities. Todd was tasked with creating a method for students to submit writing assignments, exchange papers for review and critique, and resubmit revisions without printing documents and sharing a classroom. His creative solution would later grow into a successful career and prompt him to establish the Keller-Emerson Research Grant fund. Read more here.

Student Spotlight:

Ali Skooti, a senior pre-dental biology major and business minor, studied abroad at the University of South Pacific in Fiji. While there, she had the chance to meet with great minds that specialize in the field of marine biology while working with coral reefs. One of her favorite parts of the experience was waking up to fresh bananas, coconuts, and a quick morning jog to the Pacific Ocean. "Getting the opportunity to live my dream while going to school has been the best thing to ever happen in my life." Read all about her amazing five month adventure at the Department of Biology's new Bioadvising "virtual hub."

Upcoming CHS Events

• Oct 28 Chemistry Graduate Student Literature Seminar: Vitaly Kisurin
• Oct 29: Forensic Science Seminar features Joan Bienvenue
• Oct 29: Humanities Research Center Speaker Series: "Sweet Tea" Play
• Oct 30: Humanities Research Center Speaker Series: Patrick Johnson Lecture
• Oct 30: Chemistry Graduate Student Seminar: Brent Williams
• Oct 31: History Department's Chew & View: Frankenstein
• Nov 03: Biology Seminar Series - Dr. Jill Wegrzyn
• Nov 04: Chemistry ALTRIA Seminar: Dr. MaryAnne Drake
• Nov 04: CHS Annual Faculty Lecture: Zewe Serpell
• Nov 05: Alexandrian Society Lecture:
• Nov 06: Chemistry Graduate Student Seminar: Dr. Scott E. Lewis
• Nov 06: Political Science Talk: Native America and the Question of Genocide
• Nov 07: History Department's Chew & View: Inside the Body of Henry VIII
• Nov 10: Biology Seminar Series - Dr. Kevin Smith
• Nov 11: Chemistry Graduate Student Seminar: Deboleena Mitra

Selected VCU Events

• Oct 28: VCUarts Cinematheque: A Prophet
• Oct 28: Department of Art History Faculty Lecture Series: ´Flattened: The Expressive Surface in Poster Design and German Expressionism´
• Oct 30:  The Scott Clark4tet Concert
• Nov 06: Jazz Orchestra I concert with Allen Farnham
• Nov 07: Man of La Mancha

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The next newsletter is scheduled for Nov. 11, 2014. Please submit content as soon as details are finalized.

If you have questions please contact Gregg Johnson at Thank you!

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