Mar 012011

I’m very excited to share the work I’ve been doing with several colleagues using underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) as a tool to enhance outdoor education. The Increasing challenges of getting youth to care about the outdoors are associated with the challenge of getting them outdoors. Competing for their attention is the interest young people have in technology-related activities, such as gaming and television (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010). My colleagues and I have conducted multiple programs in the past several years using ROVs to educate youth and adults on the importance of protecting underwater natural resources, as well as enhance their connection with their outdoor environment. Since 2004, we have implemented and systematically assessed more than 30 ROV public education programs from the Great Lakes to the Chesapeake Bay. Participants operated ROVs in underwater parks and such protected areas as Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Chesapeake Bay, or observed underwater exploration via national broadcasts from dive sites. As a result of participation, individuals became connected to, expressed pro-environmental attitudes toward, and indicated a propensity to engage in protective behaviors toward those places on completion of the program. We are most recently using the ROV to enhance a three-year Chesapeake Bay Watershed education program with Fairfax County Public Schools and look forward to future applications of this exciting technology.

Submitted by Laurie Harmon, assistant professor and program coordinator for Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies in the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism

Feb 242011

In fall 2010, I added Digital Store Front (DSF), a new tool for submitting print jobs to the Johnson Center Copy Center. You can use any Mason computer to login, register, attach your print job, and send. In the past, customers sent jobs via e-mail or walked to the Johnson Center Copy Center. When customers open the DSF by going to, they will see detailed listings of the services we provide, the paper types and color, and finishing that the copy center provides. Once DSF is opened it is similar to the customer being at the center with a customer service representative. When the job is received at the copy center, an electronic reply is sent to the customer. We feel that the customer and Print Services save time and money. Since we introduced DSF, we’ve received approximately 1,200 jobs. We are still marketing DSF to the Mason Nation. Melvin Parada, Mike Richardson, and Marisol Rivera also helped set up the DSF.

Submitted by Hamid (Sam) Kasmai, technical manager, Print Services

 Posted by at 8:26 pm
Feb 242011

Through collaboration with senior industry leaders who comprise the New Century College (NCC) External Advisory Board and Mason leadership scholars, a new leadership institute was created. Called the Mason Institute for Leadership Excellence (MILE), this NCC program emphasizes that leadership development is a lifelong pursuit, building on personal experiences, the experiences of others, and regular self-examination.

The curriculum was designed collaboratively by industry leadership and Mason leadership scholars, giving it a strong theory-to-practice approach. Drawing from the philosophy of talent, MILE accentuates the importance of leading with your strengths, identifying the diverse talents and strengths of others, and making your weaknesses irrelevant. As one participant commented, “The notion of strengths-based leadership shifts the entire mindset.”

The themes of this four-day leadership institute are leading with your strengths, leading with influence, leading with integrity, and leading change. Participants also receive postinstitute leadership coaching from certified professionals. Targeted for high-potential leaders, MILE has attracted participants from federal agencies, small businesses, county governments, and nonprofit organizations.

MILE collaborators include
Nance Lucas, Mason Leadership Scholar
Michelle Marks, Mason Leadership Scholar
Steve Zacarro, Mason Leadership Scholar
Julie Owen, Mason Leadership Scholar
Diane Schulte, Industry Leader and NCC External Board
Rob Holder, Industry Leader and NCC External Board
Randy Freeman, Industry Leader and NCC External Board
Molly Pfeffer, Industry Leader and NCC External Board
Fran Nurthen, Industry Leader and MILE Director

Submitted by Nance Lucas, associate dean, New Century College and College of Humanities and Social Sciences

 Posted by at 8:20 pm
Feb 242011

On October 23, 2010, the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) launched its new website, a knowledge management system (KMS) that showcases the activities of ICAR and highlights the contributions to the field made by our expanding community of scholars and practitioners. On the new site, visitors can quickly catch up on ICAR’s latest publications, media appearances, and upcoming events.

Each member of our community will be invited to participate in this new online home for ICAR by creating a profile and sharing information about their background, professional careers, and accomplishments. An important strength of the KMS is in our profile pages that highlight publications, projects, media appearances, courses taught, and presentations given. Profiles also feature blog entries and highlight participation in social media and networks.

The ICAR KMS is the result of a yearlong collaboration between ICAR’s Knowledge Management Team and Xululabs, a Drupal development firm based in Fairfax, Virginia. The ICAR staff has stepped up to provide the content of the new website, from information on admissions to events, and faculty members have been working to find a home on the site for their projects.

Partnering with faculty, alumni, and students, the staff of ICAR’s John Burton Library has used the KMS to organize and showcase an extremely large and robust collection of conflict resolution resources generated by ICAR’s community of scholars and practitioners. This process will be ongoing to keep us up to date and aware of the activities at ICAR. The concept of linked data is the foundation of the KMS. All of the content stored on ICAR’s website stands in relationship with other content, creating a web of information that highlights the connections among people, organizations, academic publications, media appearances, courses, events, topics, and geographical regions.

The goal of the ICAR KMS is to reach and communicate with ICAR’s core audiences: students, alumni, prospective students, practitioners in the field of conflict analysis and resolution, policymakers, the media, and the public. The site aims to inform visitors about conflict analysis and resolution and what it is that ICAR does to lead and contribute to this field. For the first time, ICAR has a repository that can store and share the accomplishments of our very active community members.

In addition, the site serves as a launch pad for students to publish articles, present at conferences, find jobs and internships, and develop their understanding of conflict analysis and resolution. The accomplishments of others at ICAR serve as a pathway, illuminating the journals that publish our work, the conferences that feature our papers, and the organizations that hire our people.

The ICAR KMS is a living virtual representation of ICAR’s activity that communicates what is already there: a vibrant community of scholars and practitioners who are building the field every day. We hope that you will find it professionally and academically useful, and that you share with us your ideas and hopes for what you would like to see it become. You are invited to visit the site at

Submitted by Paul Snodgrass, technology and knowledge management director, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

 Posted by at 4:26 pm
Feb 242011

As a geography instructor, I have in the recent past witnessed a great deal of change in the increased use of technology, which affects students’ learning and building their spatial thinking. I strongly believe that exposing students to contemporary geographical tools is a must. I feel that it is my responsibility and duty to better prepare them to enter the professional world where, sooner than later, they will encounter a need for geographic information systems (GIS). During the fall 2010 semester, I tried my best to bring an awareness of GIS to the nongeographers enrolled in my 300-level regional study course of the United States. This course is open to students coming from different backgrounds, such as history, finance, and global affairs. Although these students expected a classical style lecture, mandatory GIS lab sessions were included in the syllabus. Through supervised and accessible exercises the nongeographers have been exposed to a deeper and more contemporary learning tool, and more important, I got their full participation and generated a genuine interest.

Submitted by Patricia Boudinot, instructor, Geography and Geoinformation Science

 Posted by at 4:17 pm
Feb 242011

Mason’s School of Nursing is partnering with the Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic in Fairfax County to improve access to health care for uninsured people with chronic diseases The $1.6 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant supports Mason’s Partners for Access to Healthcare (PATH), a new faculty practice plan that includes nurse practitioners providing primary and mental health care, nurse educators providing patient education, and nurse researchers evaluating clinical and behavioral outcomes. In addition, the five-year grant offers graduate and undergraduate nursing students opportunities for service-learning experiences.

In fall 2010, Mason nursing faculty members launched a practice one day a week at the nurse-led Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic, developing a Mason clinic within the community clinic. This initiative leverages the community resources already in place by maximizing the use of the clinic’s space, infrastructure, and community partners. A unique aspect of the expanded primary care services is the addition of behavioral health services. Many low-income uninsured patients suffer from mental illness, including depression and anxiety. Mason School of Nursing faculty members created an integrated model to deliver both primary care and behavioral health care in one place and at one time. Addressing mental health needs may improve other health outcomes, including adherence to medications and various self-management practices that are critical to achieving better outcomes. Not only do clinic patients receive high-quality, evidence-based care, but Mason nursing students work side by side with faculty to deliver this care. What better way to educate the next generation of health care professionals?

The nation is facing a shortage of primary care physicians and a rise in uninsured individuals. To provide care for this population, the federal government is looking to nursing schools to educate nurse practitioners to meet the future demands of primary care and implement new models of care, specifically, nurse-led clinics, which can provide high-quality integrated care while containing costs. The nursing faculty practice at Mason provides a model for university partnerships with community services to address the rising needs of the uninsured or underinsured and the shortage of primary care providers. Mason’s PATH is on the frontlines, working with the community to improve access to health care for the uninsured in Fairfax County.

Faculty members participating in PATH are Kathleen Dickman, FNP-BC and principal investigator of the grant; Robin Remsburg, associate dean and director of nursing; Christina Kalisz, FNP-BC; Penny Cameron, FNP-BC; Marie Kodadek, coordinator of the Nurse Educator Program; Renee Milligan, coordinator of the DNP Program; Lora Peppard, ANP-BC and supervisor of behavioral health activities; Ana Stoehr, MSN, PhD candidate, coordinator of the Nursing Administration Program; and Charlene Douglas, coordinator of community health services.

For additional stories, read

Submitted by Kathleen Dickman, assistant professor/Nurse Practitioner Program coordinator, College of Health and Human Services

 Posted by at 4:15 pm
Feb 242011

Leslie Morton has been teaching the art of civility for nearly 30 years and had a vision for it to be included in a collegiate curriculum. While serving as an internship supervisor in the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism, Morton developed a civility curriculum and now teaches a new and innovative course known as Professionalism and Civility. It is the first of its kind to be offered in any American accredited university or college in the country. TOUR 110 is a one-hour elective available to all Mason students. The class made its debut in fall 2010, only weeks after the curriculum was accepted, with 17 Mason students in attendance. Because of its popularity, the course has now doubled in size and availability for spring 2011, and Morton has become a highly sought-after speaker in the public and private sectors. The course focuses on areas of personal civility in a variety of settings. Areas of study include peacekeeping skills, tolerance, proper protocol, bullying issues, inclusion, productive communication, personal manners, and business etiquette. Morton also reinforces positive life skills that promote good working relationships, as well as respectful and sincere behaviors that encourage acceptance and serve to enhance productive and distinctive living.

Submitted by Leslie Morton, adjunct instructor, School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism, College of Education and Human Development

 Posted by at 4:07 pm
Feb 242011

The College of Health and Human Services founded the first and only academic program in the nation dedicated to the rapidly growing assisted living and senior housing industry and the housing and care needs of a worldwide aging population. The program has been nationally and internationally recognized for its innovations and has involved more than 300 students in graduate and undergraduate course work since its inception in 2002.

Its first-in-kind innovations include the following:
• First national and international internships in assisted living and senior housing, with more than 70 students completing internships in industry-leading assisted living, Alzheimer’s care, and continuing care retirement communities in the United States and the United Kingdom.
• Unique nationally recognized hospitality services internships in partnership with Walt Disney World Resorts.
• Established first-in-nation master’s degree in senior housing administration in 2009.
• Created and defined terminology for a new category of senior housing—“university-based retirement communities”—and technology for seniors—“Nana technology”—both of which have received national and international recognition.

Program-related work has been featured in national and industry media, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, U.S.News & World Report, USA Today, and affiliates of Fox News, CBS Radio, and NPR, among others. The program has been featured internationally by Agence France-Presse, Kyodo News International, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, among others.

Submitted by Andrew Carle, assistant professor, College of Health and Human Services

 Posted by at 3:40 pm
Feb 112011

As an adjunct faculty member, teaching in the College of Education and Human Development, it is important for me to know the names of my students and how to pronounce them. I also want my students to quickly learn each other’s names. To support this effort, on the first night of class, I have students come into my “recording studio” (the hallway), and I record a short movie where the student does a self-introduction.

Before the next class meeting, I use my rudimentary skills in Windows Movie-Maker and build a short video that consists of each student stating his or her name, along with a visual of the name for reinforcement. We watch this during the second class meeting as a way to help us learn names.

I also frame this as an instructional activity that my students (current and future teachers) may use with their own K–12 students. We brainstorm different ways to use this with learners and talk about the pros and cons of this idea.

Overall, I’ve found it to be very positive and useful in my courses—and I learn everyone’s name really quickly! I encourage you to take a look at this semester’s class—they’re wonderful!

Submitted by Anita Bright, adjunct faculty member, College of Education and Human Development