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NOVA Faculty weigh in on the VCCS/Smithsonian Professional Development Opportunity

National Museum of African American History and Culture - image by Beth Syverson via Unsplash

Earlier this month, through an opportunity with the VCCS and funding from the NOVA Foundation, several NOVA faculty members had the opportunity to take an overnight trip to visit and learn about prominent D.C. landmarks.

The first day of the trip included a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (pictured right), followed by a chat with Professor Jasmine L. Tyler, Associate Professor of the Practice of Racial and Social Justice in the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, and Executive Director of the Policy Innovation Lab.

The second day started off with a trip to the National Museum of the American Indian, and then a trip to Howard University which included an abbreviated campus tour and a meeting with that university’s faculty. “That was so beneficial,” said Professor Sarah A. Liberatore (Art History, Alexandria Campus). “It was wonderful to hear from the faculty at Howard University, particularly about everything their university has to offer. And they had such enthusiasm for NOVA students to learn more about Howard.”

Associate Dean Camisha Parker (Mathematics, Science, Technologies, and Business, Woodbridge Campus) agreed. “It’s so important for the VCCS schools to create relationships with the HBCUs. And NOVA is in such close proximity to Howard. I hope we can explore the potential of transfers for students as we forge a stronger partnership.”

Dean Parker also found the trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture particularly illuminating. “I’d been there before,” she said, “but I saw it in a new light given the events of the last two years. It was a different experience, more heightened given the dual pandemics we’ve gone through – COVID-19 and racial reckoning.”

The chat with Professor Jasmine L. Tyler also brought those tensions to light, particularly since not everyone in attendance shared the same viewpoint. “Professor Tyler was amazing,” remarked Professor Judi Green (Allied Health, MEC). “The discussion was so well organized and she handled everything so smoothly, including any tensions during the talk. It was a reminder that, even as events occur, everyone will have a different perspective, and view those events based on their own personal history or truth.”

“As we look forward to meeting our commitment to Inclusive Excellence,” said Dr. Nathan Carter, Chief Officer of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, “I want to thank the VCCS for giving some of our NOVA faculty and staff an opportunity to share best practices about culturally responsive pedagogy and to connect with others. In the coming weeks via NOVA’s Powerup Your Pedagogy (PUP) conference and other activities planned by the Office of DEI, we look forward to providing and supporting more opportunities for NOVA faculty and staff to share and further develop equity minded practices with colleagues.”

And for more information about development opportunities offered by the VCCS, visit the VCCS Office of Professional Development.