Last week, a colleague, mentor, and friend Professor John O. Browder lost his battle against cancer. John has left behind a significant legacy at Virginia Tech and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on his enduring impact.
During the eight years I worked with John, I was able to witness his dedication to student learning and leadership in advancing the international aspects of our academic programs. As a mentor, John was always willing to provide honest and constructive feedback that helped many faculty at Virginia Tech navigate the tenure and promotion process. I now find myself repeating the advice I received from John to others, advice that came from his decades of experience serving on promotion and tenure committees at the school, college, and university level.
In the classroom setting, John created a relaxed and open environment, but always challenged students to continually advance their knowledge. He created a learning partnership model with our doctoral students as they co-explored theories of pedagogy and learning. With our masters students, John anchored our international development offerings. At the undergraduate level, John taught environmental ethics and addressed real problems with clients in the environmental problem solving studio.
When I arrived at Virginia Tech in 2009, John asked me to take over the international development planning studio that he created and had taught for over a decade. We later made this studio one of the two core classes that support the graduate certificate in Global Planning and International Development Studies. This certificate was created under John’s leadership in collaboration with other programs at Virginia Tech. John never went far from the studio, leading discussions on the lessons he learned from his research in the Amazon or serving on the studio’s proposal review panel. I have included a few pictures below of John in action.
John will be dearly missed by everyone he touched. He still had much to give, especially related to helping Virginia Tech become a global land grant institution.
Thank you John for everything you gave us.
Over the past several days, Virginia Tech as come alive with returning and new students. In the slideshow below, I capture a few images from the SPIA and UAP orientation and the New Cadets Parade that was held this morning.
UAP graduate Erin Puckett recently received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Transportation Research Board (TRB) for her analysis of the TRB Research Needs Statements (RNS) database. Erin’s analysis focused on determining the extent to which the topic of sustainable transportation was addressed in the proposed research projects listed in the RNS database. Her analysis identified the type and scope of projects being proposed and which TRB committees are supporting sustainability-related research proposals in one or more areas. The results from this analysis were used by the Committee on Transportation and Sustainability (ADD40) to determine which proposed research needs to support, which committees to initially engage with within TRB, and where opportunities exist to propose new research projects. The TRB Certificate of Appreciation highlights the practical significance of Erin’s work. Erin is now working as a County Planner in the Henrico County Planning Department.
This evening, the Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP) program received Virginia Tech’s Exemplary Program Award. The three other award recipients were the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science, the Department of Psychology also in the College of Science, and VT Engage in the Division of Student Affairs.
The 2014 award focused on recognizing groups that are developing and sustaining innovative and effective departmental approaches to fostering Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) at the undergraduate or graduate level.
I have posted a few pictures from the event below, along with a video I took through Glass of Diane Zahm receiving the award on behalf of UAP.
The Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP) program is looking to fill two doctoral level research assistantships in the Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) Ph.D. program and one master’s level graduate research assistantship in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program beginning Fall 2015. We are especially interested in receiving applications from minority and first generation college students.
If you would like to apply for either of these opportunities, I encourage you to carefully review the UAP Research Needs Statement to identify the subject area and faculty with whom you would like to work. Please include this information in the personal statement submitted with your application.
This afternoon UAP held its inaugural “Get To Know U Event.” The purpose of the event was to enable students in EPP, PUA, MURP, and PGG to get to know one another and to interact with UAP faculty in a fun environment. The images below capture several moments from this afternoon’s activities.
On Monday, December 1 from 2-4pm, UAP will be holding its inaugural “Get To Know U Event” – meeting outside War Memorial Chapel. The purpose of this event is to enable students in EPP, PUA, MURP, and PGG to get to know one another and to interact with UAP faculty in a fun environment. I look forward to having all of our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students together in one place – it should be quite the event!
I enjoyed meeting the new graduates in the Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) doctoral program and the Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP) program this afternoon. We have a diverse group of students this year who come to Virginia Tech from various U.S. states and countries such as China, India, Russia, and Colombia. I look forward to getting to know them this coming semester. The images below were taken #throughglass.