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PHOTOS: University of Richmond opens new integrated “Well-Being Center” on campus

This month, UR opened its Well-Being Center, which is designed to be a collaborative, high-impact environment to support student learning and well-being. It houses the Student Health Center and Counseling and Psychological Services, as well as health promotion and nutrition services.

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Providing college students with the skills and experiences they need to succeed is only one part of an education. The University of Richmond also is committed to enabling students to develop a holistic approach to well-being that will not only serve them while they are on campus, but throughout life.

This month, UR opened its Well-Being Center, which is designed to be a collaborative, high-impact environment to support student learning and well-being. It houses the Student Health Center and Counseling and Psychological Services, as well as health promotion and nutrition services. Locating these critical student services in a single location enhances the university’s ability to provide integrated care and support for students.

“We’ve eliminated the barriers for students seeking help,” said Tom Roberts, associate vice president of health and well-being.

Research shows that students often neglect three areas: nutrition, mindfulness, and sleep. The Well-Being Center offers solutions to all three.

The new building includes features to encourage students to visit the facility not only when they need care, but also when they want to be proactive about their health. The Center offers a meditation garden, labyrinth, salt spa, and rest stop with massage chairs and sleep pods. The Organic Krush Café offers health food options and a demonstration kitchen will help students understand how to prepare nutritious dishes. Well-being classes also will be offered.

“Some of these things sound like such luxuries, but they are really necessities,” said Roberts. “I hope students come in here and find something they need and that can help them.”

The Center will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Plans for the $20 million building kicked off in April 2018 with the announcement of a lead gift from the Walrath Family Foundation, a philanthropic foundation established by alumni Michael and Michelle Walrath.

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

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Survey: Workforce training graduates report higher wages, better work-life balance

Since launching FastForward in 2016, Virginia’s Community Colleges’ grant-funded career training program has prepared more than 24,500 Virginians to earn industry-recognized workforce credentials in a wide range of high-demand fields, including healthcare, information technology, logistics and transportation, education and skilled trades.

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Graduates of FastForward workforce training programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges see an average of $8,000 in wage increases, plus more satisfaction with work schedules and employer benefits, according to an annual survey of students who completed FastForward training and attained industry-recognized workforce credentials.

Since launching FastForward in 2016, Virginia’s Community Colleges’ grant-funded career training program has prepared more than 24,500 Virginians to earn industry-recognized workforce credentials in a wide range of high-demand fields, including healthcare, information technology, logistics and transportation, education, and skilled trades.

“FastForward has been serving Virginia’s workforce and employers for almost five years now,” said Dr. Corey McCray, associate vice chancellor for programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges. “With the pandemic driving the need for a skilled workforce, now more than ever, short-term, affordable training is critically important, and we’re thankful that FastForward can be that resource for Virginians in need of a leg up.”

The survey reports experiences from 289 respondents who earned workforce credentials between July 2019 and March 2020, and found that, in addition to wage increases, students reported quality-of-life enhancements:

  • 83% of graduates have work that offers paid-vacation time
  • 81% reported employer-paid medical insurance
  • 87% reported satisfaction with their work schedule

On average, FastForward students are older than a traditional college student, averaging 35 years old, and three out of four are new to community college. Additionally, more than 40% of FastForward students are minorities. The survey also found that more than 60% have dependents.

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Great Depression brought to life through interactive photo collection now available through UR’s Digital Scholarship Lab

Photogrammar is an open-access, web-based tool that allows users to easily navigate and engage with 170,000 photographs taken between 1935-1943.

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The University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab and Distant Viewing Lab has released a new project that gives its users the ability to explore what life was like in America during the Great Depression and World War II.

Photogrammar is an open-access, web-based tool that allows users to easily navigate and engage with 170,000 photographs taken between 1935-1943.

Photos can be browsed by categories that were assigned in the 1940s, from expansive themes like “Work” to far more targeted slices of life, society, and the economy during the Depression era like “Dancing,” “Strikes,” and “Abandoned Mines.” Users can also zero in on photos of their own communities from 80 years ago through an interactive map.

“This project allows anyone to experience some of the most iconic images of the era by photographers like Dorothea Langea and Walker Evans as well as others rarely seen before,” said Lauren Tilton, assistant professor of digital humanities and project director.

“What began as an initiative to support and justify government programs put into place to foster the country’s recovery from the Great Depression, these photographers quickly expanded their vision and set out to document America,” she added.

The image collection was originally digitized in the 1990s by the Library of Congress, and in 2010, Tilton and University of Richmond statistics professor Taylor Arnold began the Photogrammar project with a team at Yale University. Tilton and Arnold joined UR in 2016, and the project has continued to evolve with their guidance, being supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and American Council for Learned Societies.

Photogrammar is the latest installation in UR’s Digital Scholarship Lab’s award-winning American Panaroma: An Atlas of United States History. From immigration and federal urban policy to slavery and electoral politics, American Panorama features data-rich, interactive mapping projects that are a go-to resource for journalists, policymakers, educators, and citizens alike.

“From the moment it launched a decade ago, Photogrammar has been a groundbreaking project,” said Rob Nelson, director of UR’s Digital Scholarship Lab. “The photographic archive behind it offers an incredible window into all aspects of life in Depression-era America. We are very excited to have this new version as part of American Panorama. ”

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Henrico Schools asks community for feedback as division examines relationship between police, schools

Henrico County Public Schools is announcing an update to the school division’s memorandum of understanding with the Henrico County Police Division. In doing so, HCPS invites the community to review the updated MOU document and make comments via an online form.

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Henrico County Public Schools is announcing an update to the school division’s memorandum of understanding with the Henrico County Police Division. In doing so, HCPS invites the community to review the updated MOU document and make comments via an online form.

The 11-page document is designed to coordinate efforts, facilitate communication and establish a mutually beneficial framework for HCPS and the police division. It covers the roles and responsibilities of both organizations; procedures for various situations; legal and financial responsibilities; and evaluation of the agreement in the future. Virginia school divisions that employ school resource officers are required by law to create a similar agreement with their city or county law enforcement agency.

The public is invited to review the revised memorandum and offer written feedback by going to the school division’s website athttps://henricoschools.us and looking under “Hot Topics.” Feedback must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on March 7.

HCPS Superintendent Amy Cashwell and Henrico Police Chief Eric English will review and consider written feedback on the revised agreement before formalizing the MOU agreement in March.

In an earlier part of this review process, the HCPS Office of Equity, Diversity and Opportunity also organized 12 input meetings in September, October and December of 2020 including HCPS leaders, teachers, students, parents and guardians, school-based mental health staff, behavioral support staff, school resource officers and school security officers.

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