Month: September 2015

Dr. Jaime Lester to Address “Civility in Higher Education” at VFF Event

Virginia International University’s School of Education welcomes all to attend the October session of the Fall 2015 Voices from the Field (VFF) speaker series. This month’s guest speaker, Dr. Jaime Lester, an associate professor at George Mason University, will deliver a presentation titled “Fostering Civility in Higher Education.”

Thursday, October 1, 2015
3:30-4:30 PM
Village Drive Conference Room

4401 Village Drive
Fairfax, VA  22030

Jaime LesterDr. Lester maintains an active research agenda that examines: gender equity in higher education; retention and transfer of community college students; non-positional leadership; and organizational change. She has published articles in the Community College Journal of Research and PracticeCommunity College ReviewJournal of Higher EducationLiberal EducationNational Women’s Studies Association JournalReview of Higher Education, and NEA: Thought & Action. She serves on the editorial board of Community College Review. Dr. Lester has four books on gendered perspectives in community colleges, family-friendly policies in higher education, ways to restructure higher education to promote collaboration, and grassroots leadership and change in higher education. She is currently completing a book on workplace bullying in higher education.

This event is free and open to all VIU students, staff, and faculty, as well as members of the surrounding community.

To learn more about participating in VFF, please contact Mr. Kevin Martin at Follow us on social media @SEDatVIU and @TESOLVIU and visit the School of Education’s website at

Previous VFF event recordings can be found here.


The Value of Professional Organizations

by Kevin Martin

One question that students often ask is whether or not it is useful to join professional organizations. Without hesitation, the answer is always a resounding YES! As a program administrator and student advisor, I often wonder why students might not see the value in joining professional organizations. To help in understanding the value of such a membership, some key benefits are described below:

  • Professional Networking
    Professional organizations are great for meeting new people and expanding personal and professional boundaries.
  • Access to Conferences and Workshops
    Many professional organizations offer chances for members to participate in local, national, or international conferences and workshops that give opportunities to interact with researchers, field-leaders, and colleagues from other institutions.
  • Learning Beyond the Classroom
    Many professional organizations offer workshops and presentations at no additional cost beyond the membership fee. On-going professional development is included in the cost of membership.
  • Discounts
    Many professional organizations offer discounts on their resources to members, including lower registration fees to attend conferences and discounted texts or journals. In addition, many organizations partner with other entities to offer resources including discounts and even things like insurance. Many organizations also offer discounts for students or professionals who are just starting out, so be sure to ask about student memberships.
  • Opportunities for Leadership
    Many professional organizations are actually organized and led by their members, and leadership positions are often available to members at any stage in their careers. This is a great opportunity to learn about the internal functions of a professional organization and to help make an imprint on the organization.
  • Career Enhancement
    Many professional organizations offer connections to available jobs through a career portal or listservs. This is a great way to find a new job or to find new candidates for available positions.

Considering all of the value-building resources available through professional organizations, the cost of membership is well worth it! As an avid promoter and member of several professional organizations, I strongly encourage students (and non-students) to consider joining a professional organization related to their field.

Kevin Martin is the Associate Dean of the School of Education at Virginia International University. Mr. Martin also organizes the annual Conference on Language, Learning, & Culture. 

Dr. Anne Horak to discuss “Jerry Maguire Effect” at VFF’s 2015 Launch

The School of Education welcomes all to join the first session of the Fall 2015 Voices from the Field (VFF) speaker series. Our guest speaker, Dr. Anne Horak, an assistant professor at George Mason University in Fairfax County, Virginia, will deliver a talk titled “You had me at PBL: The Jerry Maguire Effect on Student Achievement.”

Thursday, September 17, 2015
3:30 – 4:30 PM
Village Drive, Room 101

4401 Village Drive
Fairfax, VA  22030

Anne-HorakThe phenomenon called the “Jerry Maguire effect” is based on a study that found that we really do begin to form an impression of a person’s personality from the first word we hear them utter. What are the first impressions about instruction students are getting? What implications does this have for student achievement? What if the first words a teacher uttered about content were, “What’s going on here?” Would students be engaged? Would they achieve? Problem-based learning (PBL) begins with an ill-structured problem to capitalize on students’ curiosity from the very first moments of instruction to maximize their content acquisition and engagement. Hear how PBL can be used to produce increased achievement and satisfaction with the learning environment.

This is an excellent professional development opportunity for faculty and will touch upon topics and practices that are applicable to all educators. Please feel free to pass this opportunity along to others who may be interested!

To learn more about participating in Voices from the Field, please contact Kevin Martin, Associate Dean of the School of Education, at You may also follow us on social media @SEDatVIU and @TESOLVIU or visit the School of Education’s website at Many of our previous sessions are recorded and made available through our website here.

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