Accolades: Lauding the Architecture School, Health System and Three Professors

August 27, 2015

The University of Virginia’s School of Architecture recently received some very good news: its professional Master of Architecture program is one of the first in the nation to receive an eight-year accreditation from the National Architecture Accrediting Board.

The school received “a very, very positive report,” said Iñaki Alday, Quesada Professor and chair of the Department of Architecture, one of the school’s leaders in the accrediting effort.

The board granted U.Va. an eight-year term, which it recently adopted as the longest available to schools, Alday said. It identified no areas of concern for follow-up, which is unusual, Alday said.

The school has 65 to 70 students in the program, and graduating from an accredited program is one of the required steps needed to become a licensed architect, Alday said.

Schools seeking accreditation must prepare a major self-study report, then host a five-day visit from a panel that includes working architects, representatives from other schools and students. The master’s program offers three tracks: a three-year track for students who did not study architecture as undergraduates, a two-year track for undergraduate architecture majors, and a 2.5-year intermediate track, Alday said.

Children’s Hospital, Women’s Services Honored for Supporting New Mothers

The University of Virginia Children’s Hospital and U.Va. Women’s Services have earned a prestigious designation for providing the highest level of care for new mothers and their babies.

U.Va. is one of fewer than 300 U.S. hospitals to be recognized as a “Baby-Friendly” designated birth facility” by Baby-Friendly USA, part of an international initiative led by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.  

The award was earned after an in-person survey by a Baby-Friendly USA team found U.Va. meets all of the conditions for designation, including: regularly training and communicating a written breastfeeding policy to all health care staff; educating pregnant women about the benefits of breastfeeding and helping them to manage breastfeeding; and referring mothers to breastfeeding support groups after they go home.

During pregnancy, U.Va. obstetricians and nurses work to educate expectant mothers and support their plans to breastfeed their babies. Following delivery, U.Va. Children’s Hospital’s Breastfeeding Medicine program provides both inpatient and outpatient services for new mothers, including a breastfeeding medicine outpatient clinic at the Battle Building to assist new mothers and babies with breastfeeding questions or issues. Lactation consultants are available to visit new mothers after delivery and provide ongoing support for mothers with breastfeeding challenges.

Curry School Foundation Celebrates Top Faculty, Staff and Alumni

The Curry School of Education Foundation recently announced its annual award winners, including Stanley Trent as Outstanding Curry Professor and Leslie Booren as the Outstanding Curry Staff Member.

Trent is associate professor of education in the school’s teacher preparation program, where he teaches undergraduate courses in foundations of teaching and graduate courses in diversity and equity in education. He has also taught courses in the special education program. He joined the faculty in 1997.

Early in his career, Trent challenged the traditional view of special education, which viewed culturally and linguistically diverse students through a deficit lens that defines educational difficulties solely within children and ignores contextual factors influencing their achievement. His 1994 paper on the over-representation of minority students in special education, written with Curry School alumnus Alfredo Artiles, is the most-cited article in the history of The Journal of Special Education. It is now required reading in many special education courses across the country.

“Stan remains strongly committed to correcting what many of us view as a major injustice in American schools: the disproportionate assignment of minority students – especially African-American males – to special education and their exclusion from regular classrooms,” said Bill McDiarmid, dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Education. “As much as any scholar over the past two decades, he has raised the awareness of educators and policymakers about this issue.”

Booren is the managing director of EdPolicyWorks, a research center specializing in education policy and its implications for the workforce. She is responsible for the center’s administrative operations, including events and marketing, academic operations and related fiscal, budget and human resources processes.

Booren also manages the Virginia Educational Sciences Training program, a pre-doctoral fellowship program with more than 25 fellows from education, economics, sociology and psychology departments at U.Va. As part of the VEST program, she organizes the Summer Undergraduate Research Program, an eight-week program for underrepresented populations to gain valuable research and professional development experiences.

“She goes well beyond the day-to-day requirements of the job description, anticipating emerging issues and developing solutions before they become problems,” said Curry Professor James Wyckoff, director of EdPolicy Works and co-director of VEST. “She has developed a great rapport with the VEST students, several of whom seek her out for support. The VEST program and the Curry School are meaningfully better as a result of Leslie’s dedication and skill.”

The Curry Foundation also announced several alumni awards. Jonathan A Plucker, the Raymond Neag Endowed Professor of Education and professor of educational psychology at the University of Connecticut, who received an Ed.D. in educational psychology in 1995, was named the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus; Matthew Eberhardt of the Madison County Public Schools, who received a master’s in education in 1992 and a doctorate in 1996, was named Outstanding Alumni Superintendent; and Richard T. Strauss, a middle school science teacher at Saint Patrick Catholic School in Norfolk, who received his Ed.D. in science education in 1993, was named the Outstanding Alumni Middle School Teacher.

The awardees will be honored out at a Sept. 10 dinner in Charlottesville.

Hispanic Honor Society Elects David T. Gies As Honorary President

David T. Gies, Commonwealth Professor of Spanish and president of the International Association of Hispanists, has been elected honorary president of Sigma Delta Pi, the national collegiate Hispanic honor society.

His advocacy of Sigma Delta Pi and his ongoing accomplishments in academic leadership and scholarship earned him this exclusive recognition that, prior to 2015, had only been granted to 15 other Hispanists during the society’s 95-year history.

Gies and Emily Spinelli, executive director of the American Association of Spanish and Portuguese, will be formally appointed in July 2016 during the Sigma Delta Pi’s triennial convention in Miami, which runs concurrently with the annual conference of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. 

U.Va. Earns National Award for High-Quality Heart Attack Care

The U.Va. Health System is one of just 78 U.S. hospitals to receive an American College of Cardiology award for consistently meeting performance standards in treating heart attack patients.

This is the second consecutive year U.Va. has earned the National Cardiovascular Data Registry ACTION Registry – GWTG Gold Performance Achievement Award for its care of patients suffering a severe heart attack called an ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction, or STEMI.

Over two consecutive years, U.Va. consistently met evidence-based performance measures developed by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association to improve outcomes for heart attack patients. The measures include a specific set of steps from opening the blocked coronary artery in STEMI patients within 90 minutes of initial contact with emergency medical responders to providing STEMI patients who smoke with counseling on how to quit smoking before they are released from the hospital.

The key to providing the best care for heart attack patients, according to heart specialists at U.Va., is a coordinated effort among several groups: Central Virginia rescue squads, U.Va.’s Emergency Department, U.Va.’s Cardiology team and the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at U.Va. Heart & Vascular Center. To optimize care, U.Va. has developed a STEMI alert process that brings together an on-call STEMI team from across the Health System within 30 minutes to care for patients. Patients can also play an important role by calling 911.

“If we hear from a local rescue squad that they are transporting a possible STEMI patient, we can activate the system even before they hit the door and assemble our team before the patient arrives,” said Dr. David R. Burt, director of U.Va.’s Chest Pain Center. “That’s why it is so important to call 911 if you believe you’re having a heart attack. Time is truly muscle.”

Anna Brickhouse wins Early American Literature book prize

Anna Brickhouse, associate professor of English, received one of two inaugural book prizes from the journal Early American Literature for her recent monograph, “The Unsettlement of America: Translation, Interpretation, and the Story of Don Luis de Velasco, 1560-1945,” published by Oxford University Press.

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the journal, published by the University of North Carolina Press, launched an annual book prize to call attention to inventive and substantial scholarship about American literature in the period spanning the Colonial Era through the Early Republic. A $2,000 cash award accompanies the prize.

“‘The Unsettlement of America’ explores the phenomenon of motivated mistranslation to construct a speculative history of indigenous resistance to European colonization,” according to the announcement. “Brickhouse argues that an Algonquian Indian captured by the Spanish in 1561 and christened ‘Don Luis de Velasco’ deliberately unsettled the attempted Spanish colonization of his native Ajacán (now known as the Chesapeake Bay region) through his role as a translator.”

In announcing the joint award, journal editor Sandra M. Gustafson said the winning books “demonstrate stunning research, creative methods, and compelling narrative arcs.”

Stem Cell Transplant Program Earns International Accreditation

The Stem Cell Transplant Program at the U.Va. Cancer Center has received international accreditation for its use of stem cells and bone marrow to treat patients with blood cancers.

Bone marrow and stem cell transplants – whether a patient’s own cells or cells from a donor – are used to care for patients with immune disorders, along with blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Programs earn this award from the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy by meeting detailed standards in the collection, processing and use of stem cells and bone marrow in treating patients. Accreditation follows both a written application and an on-site inspection by a survey team.

U.Va. earned accreditation for both autologous transplants (performed with cells from a patient’s own body) and allogeneic transplants (performed with cells from a donor).

“Throughout U.Va. Cancer Center, we seek to provide the highest-quality care to all of our patients,” said Dr. Thomas P. Loughran Jr., U.Va. Cancer Center’s director. “Earning FACT accreditation demonstrates our commitment to caring for patients with blood cancers and shows the dedication of our multidisciplinary clinical and laboratory teams.”

U.Va.’s Stem Cell Transplant Program includes more than 20 doctors, nurses and technical staff who evaluate and monitor patients in an outpatient clinic and perform stem cell and bone marrow transplants in a dedicated inpatient unit.

Curry Associate Dean Invited to Present at Chinese Higher Ed Conference

Justin Thompson, associate dean for management and planning at U.Va.’s Curry School of Education, presented at a conference of Chinese higher education officials at the invitation of that country’s Ministry of Education.

A year earlier, Thompson was one of the presenters when Chinese educators visited Charlottesville for a weeklong program on U.S. public higher education, sponsored by U.Va.’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

“Based on that meeting, they invited me to travel as a guest of the [Ministry of Education] to Beijing for a conference with approximately 400 Chinese higher education leaders and half a dozen academic administrators from European and American universities,” Thompson said.

The International Symposium on Human Resources and Remuneration Management of Higher Education Institutions was held July 10-12 at Beijing Foreign Studies University. Thompson addressed the symposium on “A Systems Approach to Annual Faculty Performance Appraisals and Salary Incentives.”

Media Contact

Dan Heuchert

Assistant Director of University News and Chief Copy Editor, UVA Today Office of University Communications