News and Events for VCUCHS Faculty and Staff
VCU College of Humanities & Sciences
February 21, 2017

CHS Faculty Council Takes A Stand

The College's Faculty Council recently wrote a statement supporting VCU's commitment to diversity and voicing several concerns around related issues. With the support of the Dean's Office, they addressed their concerns to VCU President, Dr. Michael Rao. The statement advocates making VCU a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, ensuring financial aid will not be taken away, confidential counseling services, and prohibiting housing discrimination on campus, among other issues. Read the full statement.

Meet VCU's Authors: Tressie Cottom

The Humanities Research Center and VCU Libraries presents Tressie Cottom (Sociology) as part of their Meet VCU's Authors Series on Wednesday, February 22nd. Tressie will talk about her new book, Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy. The event begins at 7:00pm in the Multipurpose Room (#250) of the Cabell Library. Admission is free and all are welcome. Read more.

Advancing Research Through Community Engagement

The Division of Community Engagement is holding a panel discussion with six community-engaged scholars that have successfully advanced their teaching and learning at VCU through community engagement on March 1st. Faculty Remixed v2.0: Engagement Excellence in Teaching and Learning will feature David Coogan (English) and Rosalie Corona (Psychology) from the college as well as other from VCU and VCU Health. The event will be from 9:00am - 11:00am in room 4100 of the Academic Learning Commons. Learn more and register.

VCU's Visiting Writers Series Continues

The English MFA Program presents Sonja Livingston and Scott Russell Sanders as their next Visiting Writers Lecture on Thursday, February 23rd. Sonja Livingston‘s latest book, Ladies Night at the Dreamland, has been called “a literary search and rescue” that combines imagination and research to conjure the lives of extraordinary and often overlooked historical women. Scott Russell Sanders is the 2016/17 VCU Distinguished Writer in Residence and a collection of his eco-science fiction stories entitled Dancing in Dreamtime will be published this fall. Their talks will begin at 7:00pm in the Cabell Library. Admission is free and all are welcome. Learn more.

Discussion on Muslims & Jews in America

Religious Studies in the School of World Studies presents, Under the Hijab and the Kippah: Muslims and Jews in a Divided America, on February 24th. Join the Religious Studies Faculty for a panel discussion. The event starts at 3:00pm in room 2201 in the Academic Learning Commons. View the flyer.

Staff Professional Development Conference

The VCU Staff Senate is pleased to announce the fourth annual Staff Professional Development Conference, Discover the Greatness in You, March 8 - 9, 2017. This year's conference includes two renowned keynote speakers who will lead discussions on important workplace issues such as productivity, motivation, and the importance of diversity and civility. This professional development opportunity is provided to VCU staff at no cost and does not require employees to use their leave. Managers, please encourage staff to register and attend. Learn more and register.

A Discussion on "Queer Brown Voices"

Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies along with the Humanities Research Center and Dance and Choreography present Queer Brown Voices on Tuesday, February 28th. Dr. Salvador Vidal-Ortiz, Associate Professor of the Sociology and faculty in the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at American University will be speaking about the feminist racial justice project of a book he co-edited, Queer Brown Voices. The event starts at 4:00pm at the VCUarts Depot on Broad Street. Admission is free and all are welcome. For more information contact

Syrian Refugee Camp Teach-In

International Studies is hosting a Teach-In on Syrian Camp #019 Bekaa Valley Lebanon on Tuesday, February 28th. The purpose of this discussion is to serve as a launch pad for dealing with injustice, oppression, discrimination and exclusion. The teach-in examines the plight of Syrian Refugees from two philosophical paradigms; one of Immanuel Kant’s Perpetual Peace and the concept of Hospitality; and second through the intersectionality of Michel Foucault’s biopolitics of “Live and Let Die.” The event starts at 6:00pm in room 2201 of the Academic Learning Commons. Admission is free and all are welcome. View the flyer.

Review & Help Great Place Redesign

The Great Place: HR Redesign committee, members of which are a diverse representation from across all levels of the university, have been hard at work drafting a policy for VCU’s redesigned HR plan. To ensure that all voices are heard in this process, the policy is available for your review, comments and questions through March 17, 2017. You can view the introductory video from President Rao, read the policy draft and submit your comments here.

Uncovering the Science of E-Cigarettes

Join COBE on Tuesday, February 28th to as they welcome Tory Spindle as part of their COBE Connect Lunch series. Tory's talk on Uncovering the Science Behind E-Cigarettes: What Do They Do and Who Is Using Them at VCU? will be held at 12:00pm (noon) in the Forum Room of the Student Commons. Tory Spindle is a doctoral candidate in the Health Psychology doctoral program and a member of VCU’s Center for the Study of Tobacco Products (CSTP). Admission is free and all are welcome. Learn more.

More News . . .

Big Ideas: VCU College of Humanities and Sciences to expand faculty with focus on migration, big data, LGBTQ studies

Robertson School: Professor weighs in on 'What does free speech on campus mean?'

‘The Last Refugees of Bhutan,’ a series of photos by VCU’s Julia Rendleman, now featured in Chicago exhibit

Author tells the story behind his award-winning 'Underground Railroad' novel

New Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU will open in October

Rams in Recovery serve up hot coffee with Dr. Rao and Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Inspired works lead to VMFA Fellowships for VCU students and faculty

SWS: Virtual Curation Lab makes it into the Encyclopedia Virginia's  'Big News'

Brandcenter alumni shine on massive Super Bowl stage


Save the Date: Elske v.P. Smith Lecture

The College will welcome Dr. John Kneebone (History) as this year's Elske Smith award winner and speaker on March 22nd. His talk, America’s First Catholic President: The Presidential Election of 1908 and the Backlash That Followed, will focus on politics, bigotry and pluralism. Dr. Kneebone will begin his talk at 1:30pm in the Richmond Salons III-IV of the Student Commons. Admission is free and all are welcome!

PACME Request for Nominations

The Office of the President is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Community Multicultural Enrichment, which will be presented on Thursday, April 20, 2017, at 3:00pm, in the University Student Commons, Commonwealth Ballrooms. Four separate awards are given to recognize a student or student organization, a faculty member, a classified or hourly staff member, as well as an administrator, for their outstanding service. Nominations are due by February 28th. Learn more.

CHS 2017 Staff Awards Nominations

The CHS Staff Council and Dean's Office are very excited to announce that nomination's are now being accepted for the CHS 2017 Staff Awards. Please join us in recognizing our Staff members for all the hard work they do. The Faculty and Staff Awards Breakfast will be held on Thursday, April 27th at 8:30 AM. Please review the award criteria and submit your nominations no later than Friday, March 31st by 5:00pm, to Dr. Donald Young. Learn more.

2017 CHS Distinguished Faculty Awards

The College is now accepting nominations for our Distinguished Faculty Awards. A new award has been added this year: the Humanities and Sciences Distinguished Mentoring Award. The award is for mentoring activity by an individual faculty member who has helped to build a supportive academic environment through faculty-to-student mentoring and/or faculty-to-faculty mentoring. Nominations should be emailed to by March 13, 2017. View the procedure to nominate.

Distinguished Faculty Nominations Due

Dr. Michael Rao has issued the annual call for nominations for the Distinguished Faculty Awards Program. These awards are to recognize and honor faculty who have distinguished themselves in teaching, scholarship, service and overall excellence. Nominations are due to chairs no later than March 17th. Learn more.

Society of the Cincinnati Lecture Set

History will be holding their annual Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia Lecture on Thursday, March 16th featuring Dr. Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy, the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. His lecture, The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire, will begin at 5:00pm in the Richmond Salons I & II of the Student Commons. View the flyer or learn more here.

Presidential Research Quest Fund Open

The 2017 VCU Presidential Research Quest Fund (also known as PeRQ) is now open for applications. The Presidential Research Quest Fund's goal is to afford all faculty an internal funding opportunity to support new, emerging, or continuing research. Proposals to the Research Fund are encouraged from all faculty regardless of current research support. Applications are due no later than 5:00pm on April 10th. Learn more.

Dr. McCullough's Last Lecture Announced

Psychology invites you to enjoy a final lecture by Dr. James McCullough on Monday, April 17th ahead of his upcoming retirement. The title of the lecture is Swimming Upstream, which will include a brief overview of his memoir-in-progress illustrating how his Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy for chronic depression evolved over time. The event will be from 4:00pm - 6:00pm in the Cabell Library Lecture Hall (303). If you cannot attend the event, but would like to submit a written tribute or sentiment to Dr. McCullough, complete this form.

Join the NCFDD

The Office of the Provost is continuing their partnership with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) which means faculty, postdocs and graduate students can enroll in a free sub-account membership. The NCFDD is a nationally recognized organization that provides online career development and mentoring resources for faculty, post docs and graduate students. View the flyer for more information.

Migration Studies Awards

In conjunction with the Big Ideas strategic initiative in the College, the Global Education Office is offering the Migration Studies Awards to fund proposals from VCU academic units to develop new and innovative programming in support of VCU’s three global priorities. Applications are due by March 1, 2017 at 5 p.m. and award selections will be announced no later than March 15, 2017. Learn more.

'Write on Site' Expands Spring Schedule

After a successful inaugural semester, Write on Site will host more sessions this semester to increase accessibility to all interested faculty members. Stop by at any time during the session to enjoy a quiet, comfortable atmosphere for writing and research. Write on Site, a new initiative from the Office of Faculty Affairs and developed by Dr. Cristina Stanciu (English), provides a designated space and time for faculty members to research and write in a supportive, distraction-free environment. View the schedule.

2017 Marquita Aguilar Walkathon

The VCU Staff Senate presents the annual Marquita Aguilar Walkathon on Wednesday, April 5th starting at 11:30am at the University Student Commons Plaza. This walkathon helps create scholarships for undergraduate students in need of financial assistance and promotes a healthy lifestyle while doing it. Learn more, register or donate.

Help Us Publicize Your News and Events

If you have news to share this is a great place to do it! Please submit news and events to Janelle Moretti at 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:

Dr. David Chester (Psychology) has spoken to several news agencies recently regarding his research on revenge. In December he was interviewed by the BBC, which led to features in the British Psychological Society Research Digest, the New York Magazine and in Vice's online publication Broadly. "The desire for vengeance – to harm those who’ve harmed you - is part of human nature. Whether it’s getting your own back on a cheating partner or settling a score with a childhood bully, many of us have considered retribution against the person who’s done us wrong. Yet often we decide not to act on that instinct." Read more.
Congratulations David!

Student Spotlight:

For Chelsea Ortiz, a junior majoring in chemistry with a minor in psychology, her ultimate goal has always been medical school. After taking an unexpected service-learning course her first year at VCU she furthered her skills as an eventual doctor. Chelsea has now served four semesters as a Service-Learning Teaching Assistant in Carver Elementary School with the Carver Promise Program. They provide one-on-one mentoring for each student. “When I hear a student ask me if I can come extra days, I can’t help but smile, because I know that I am making a difference in the children’s lives and that they look forward to our time together.” View the video about Carver's Promise.  Read more.
Way to go Chelsea, we are Ram Proud!

In Memorian:

Dr. Lidia Marisa Vallarino who retired as a professor from the Department of Chemistry, died January 22, 2017. Affectionately known in the department “Dr. V,” she was a prolific scholar, authored over 80 publications in international journals, held six patents, co-authored four chemistry textbooks and served the VCU Department of Chemistry for nearly three decades. Her energy and passion for chemistry were tireless, and it shows in the rich legacy she leaves at VCU. Read more.

Upcoming H&S Events

• Feb 22: Meet VCU's Authors: Tressie Cottom
• Feb 23: VCU Visiting Writers Series: Sonja Livingston and Scott Russell Sanders
• Feb 24: BioMath Seminar: Scott Hottovy, USNA
• Feb 24: Under the Hijab and the Kippah: Muslims and Jews in A Divided America
• Feb 24: Moveable Feast!
• Feb 28: Queer Brown Voices
• Feb 28: Syrian Refugee Camp Teach-In
• Mar 03: Analysis, Logic and Physics Seminar: Keaton Hamm

*Add our calendar to stay up to date on events in the College!

Selected VCU Events

• Feb 25: TEDxVCU
• Feb 26: What's Next? The Trump Effect
• Feb 27: Open Online Workshop: RefWorks
• Feb 28: Putting Corruption Out of Business: An Insider's View of OPeration Greylord
• Mar 01: Faculty Remixed v2.0: Engagement Excellence in Teaching and Learning
• Mar 01: Global Cafe
• Mar 01: Passport to Asia
• Mar 04: 10th Annual Equity and Social Justice Conference
• Mar 05-12: VCU Spring Break

Submit Newsletter Content

The next newsletter is scheduled for March 7th, 2017. Please submit content to Janelle Moretti at as soon as details are finalized.

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