The UMW Experience

UMW randomThis is the time of the year that both new students and new faculty start prepping for their lives at UMW.  I just completed my first year and I wanted to share some of my recent experiences which are purely UMW.  Firstly, we’re a relatively small school.  Before UMW the smallest school I attended had approximately 25,000 students.  Some people may be put off by the fact that we’re comparatively small but it’s been a huge positive for myself and my students because we’re all connected.  We have small classes sizes which is great, I get to work directly with students one on one and I can give them individual attention.  This allows them to apply what they learn more easily, for example, students in my marketing class created and marketed their own webpages (click here).  Students in my statistics class produced their own independent research, three of the students are presenting their work at international conferences as a result of the work they did.  There’s no way that I can give students this level of involvement in a class of 200, it’s simply too difficult to manage.  I know this because I spent years in classes of 200 or more.  Secondly, we’re all connected and this is incredibly beneficial.  Here’s my example.  I’m developing an app to use in my marketing class which will help us learn about marketing using social media (again made possible due to small classes).  Now I know very little about developing apps or hiring someone to do it or even how they operate.  I only joined Twitter a few months ago and that was mostly to follow Aziz Ansari and his little cousin Harris.  Here’s how we’re all connected at UMW and why that’s important.  First, I met the awesome Dave Toth, Professor of Computer Science through the Domain of One’s Own initiative sponsored by the DTLT (Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies).  I told Dave what I wanted to do and he sent out a notice to all the computer science students, through that I found a student to help me design the app.  O.k so now I have to hire someone as an employee, what do I do?  Well I walk down the hall from my office and I talk to Professor Kim Kinsley who teaches contract law, she gives me a work for hire contract that I can use, perfect.  Keep walking down the hall and I talk to the jolly Associate Dean Machande who teaches accounting and tells me how to prepare the tax forms for hiring someone, super!  Still not done yet though, I keep walking and get some candy at the book store.  I’m tired of walking so I send an email to Martha Burtis and Jim Groom at the DTLT who tell me about hosting an app and the world of domain space.  In a matter of a few days I was able to connect with experts in computer science, technology, law, and accounting to do hopefully do something that will really help the students we have at UMW.  I can’t help but think that it’s the benefit of a place such as UMW where so many people are connected and people help one another, that’s my experience.

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