New Equity Center Aims to Create Thriving University-Community Partnerships

Posted: October 14, 2019, 10:04am


Community leaders and University of Virginia faculty and administrators have teamed to launch a groundbreaking initiative that seeks to build better relationships between UVA and the Charlottesville community and tangibly redress racial and socioeconomic inequality.

Organizers say the new Equity Center aims to transform UVA’s presence in local classrooms and community centers where young people gather; in public housing, where some residents make their homes; and in all of the environments where its neighbors live, work and play. They also hope the center’s work will become known nationally as a new and effective way of approaching town-gown partnerships. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Caroline Newman)

Q&A: Breaking Down the Disabled Underrepresentation in Mainstream Media

Posted: October 10, 2019, 11:27am


In the “Disability and Media” course that she teaches, University of Virginia media studies assistant professor Elizabeth Ellcessor has been pleased to see her students gaining a vocabulary for talking about disability with respect, and becoming aware of lingering stereotypes in the mainstream media.

“While disability remains underrepresented, it is actually a very important theme for understanding a wide range of media content,” Ellcessor said. “Superhero films, popular documentaries, Oscar winners, teen dramas and reality TV all routinely deal with themes such as mental illness, acquired disability, bodily difference and the pursuit of (able-bodied) health.”

Students in Ellcessor’s course consider a range of issues, from disability onscreen to amateur creators, the history of closed captioning and changes in streaming media access.

“Disability in media is a growing area of research,” Ellcessor said, “and we’re lucky that UVA is one of a handful of universities where courses on this topic are available for undergraduates.” (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Whitelaw Reid)

The Power of Place: Future Social Studies Teachers Learn from Montpelier

Posted: October 3, 2019, 12:13pm


On Saturday morning, 22 University of Virginia students boarded a bus outside the Curry School of Education and Human Development and made the winding, 45-minute drive to Montpelier, home of Founding Father James Madison, America’s fourth president.

They stood in the small room where, bedridden in his final years but sharp as ever, Madison would insist on opening the doors to the dining room so he could join in conversation with visitors. Then, standing in the same room, they learned about the life of Paul Jennings – a man born into slavery at Montpelier who would eventually publish his own memoir. They listened to the voice of Rebecca Gilmore-Coleman, a descendant of the enslaved community at Montpelier, discuss the legacies of slavery in contemporary society. They discussed how James Madison, who helped enshrine freedom in the American constitution, never freed a slave.

Through real, human stories, past and present, they learned about the history that is recorded and the history that is lost – and, perhaps most important, the history that is still being uncovered. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Laura Hoxworth)

Film Professor Recognized as ‘One of the Most Respected Artists’ in Film Today

Posted: September 12, 2019, 9:46am


University of Virginia art professor Kevin Everson has made more than 170 films and shown them at many of the world’s most famous museums and film festivals.

Today, he has one more accolade to show for that prolific body of work.

The Heinz Foundation named Everson as the recipient of the 2019 Heinz Award in the Arts & Humanities, a prestigious honor that comes with a $250,000 cash prize. The foundation cited Everson's 170-plus films and powerful portrayals of working-class African Americans. The Heinz Awards, now in their 24th year, honor individuals who have made extraordinary contributions in five categories: arts and humanities; environment; human condition; public policy; and technology, the economy and employment. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Caroline Newman)

UVA-Led Program Seeks to Broaden the Pool of STEM Researchers

Posted: August 15, 2019, 12:00am


For students in the VA-NC Alliance for Minority Participation, a summer research program at the University of Virginia showed them career paths in STEM fields they hadn’t considered before and gave them potentially life-changing experiences. “This program has opened my eyes to the environmental side of engineering,” said Sophia Keniston, a second-year student at Piedmont Virginia Community College, who said she might transfer to UVA. Her first research experience “rearranged my entire perspective of research,” said Princess Bush, a rising third-year student at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Anne E. Bromley)