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The Newsletter of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies
February 2012

Dear Graduate College Friends and Colleagues,

One of the deep commitments we make to our graduate students is that we will mentor and support them when it comes to their scholarship of discovery—that is, research. To that end, we provide travel assistance to graduate students to deliver papers and posters at professional conferences, we select and recognize outstanding graduate student work at each Spring Commencement and Hooding Ceremony, and we work with our sister institutions in supporting the Commonwealth of Virginia Graduate Student Research Forum, which this year was at the University of Virginia on Feb. 16.

The Graduate Student Research Forum is a truly exciting event. The 16 public universities in Virginia that offer graduate degrees each select for the forum a handful of really outstanding graduate students doing cutting-edge research. The students then present their work at a poster session attended by the leadership of the higher education system in the commonwealth. The students get an opportunity not only to display their own work but also to chat with the best and brightest of their peers and see the kind of work being pursued at other universities.

From the Experimental Psychology program, Amy Furrow presented a poster titled "Chronic Cannabinoid Exposure during Adolescence in Female Rats: Persistent Emotional Effects in Adulthood?" This work looks at the potential lingering effect of marijuana use on later emotional stability and was conducted in the RU Department of Psychology. Clearly this is a timely topic given the pervasiveness of the drug culture across the nation.

Marjorie Higgins Young from the Doctor of Nursing Practice program presented a poster titled "Changing Knowledge and Attitude toward Maternity Care Practices with the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative." This work looks at the impact of providing targeted information to health care workers in maternity situations regarding the Baby Friendly Initiative, a project of the World Health Organization, and assessing its efficacy. Young's work is feeding directly into policies being considered by a large hospital corporation.

Sharon Russell along with her mentor, Associate Professor Elizabeth Lanter of the Communication Sciences and Disorders program, presented "Effects of Picture Exchange on Increasing Spoken Requests in a Child with Developmental Delay." This work focuses on pedagogical techniques for professionals treating speech disorders to assess the impact of one specific technique in a systematic fashion.

Finally, Sarah Heidel along with her mentor, Assistant Professor Jennifer Mabry of the Clinical Counseling Psychology program, presented the poster "Convergent Validity of Executive Function Measures in a College Population." This work looks at two different instruments' estimates of "executive function" and assesses if there is overlap between the different tests. This is a unique assessment because the question has not been posed using a population of college students.

So, as you can see, our students are doing some really path-breaking and exciting work. These researchers are blazing a trail of new knowledge, and our commitment to their education is part of our culture. Their contribution to the future of society is enduring.

Yours for a bright tomorrow,

Dennis Grady, Ph.D., Dean

online nursing program recognized by u.s. news & world report
Radford University's online Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) program has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report in its inaugural Top Online Education Program Rankings, 2012 Edition. Read more.

graduate college awards degrees, celebrates new programs
The College of Graduate and Professional Studies awarded degrees in December to 108 students, including the first class of graduates from the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) program. Also among the 55 graduates who participated in the Winter Commencement and Hooding Ceremony were the university's first Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.) recipients. Read more, and visit the Facebook gallery for more photos.

new doctoral recipient looks beyond her degree
When Kimberly D. Hall of Christiansburg received her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at Radford University's Winter Commencement, she saw the event as a milestone not only for herself but also for the nursing vocation. Read more about Hall in this pre-commencement story.

radford graduates its first master of occupational therapy class
The first 10 graduates of Radford University's Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.) program received their degrees at December's Winter Commencement. Read more from the pre-event coverage of the ceremony and about Waldron College of Health and Human Services' milestone year.

master's program in design thinking begins this fall
Radford University's Department of Interior Design & Fashion is set to roll out its first graduate program, a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree in design thinking. Beginning in fall 2012, the M.F.A. in design thinking will be offered completely online, with students having the option to complete the program part time in four years or full time in two years. "We're so excited," said Holly Cline, interim chair of the department. "This is great, great news. The online component will allow anyone in the country or the world to complete this degree." Teaching many of the online courses from five time zones away in Hawaii is DAK Kopec, who holds a doctorate in environmental psychology with a concentration in perception and design. Kopec also has earned two master's degrees, one in architecture and another in community psychology.

doctoral student presents research at international conference
A student in Radford University's Doctor of Nursing Practice program presented her research for 2,000 medical professionals in November at the biennial Sigma Theta Tau International Conference in Grapevine, Texas. Read more.

serving the bereaved at healing workshop
Student volunteers are giving people permission to smile again. Twice a year, graduate students in the RU School of Social Work act as counselors for people, many of them children, who have recently lost loved ones. Read more.

education programs win approval
A team of reviewers from national and state agencies has granted "approved" status for all education programs at Radford University. Programs must be approved for the university to recommend their graduates for licensure. Read more.

alumnus returns to radford as executive director of advancement for cobe
Justin Mosby, who earned a master's degree in counselor education from RU in 2003, has been named executive director of advancement for the College of Business and Economics (COBE) at Radford University. Read more.

survey says…

Just how satisfied with their jobs are doctorally prepared nurse practitioners? Graduate nursing student Joni Goldwasser is seeking the answer to that question through a survey she posted on the Sigma Theta Tau International website and the Doctors of Nursing Practice LLC site. "Since the D.N.P. is rather new (2007) and doctoral degrees are required for advanced practice nurses by 2015, I wanted to see where we are currently within the profession for job satisfaction," Goldwasser said. "Studies so far have shown minimal satisfaction for currently working nurse practitioners, with limited time available for research, committee work and advancement programs." Goldwasser is scheduled to present the results from her survey at the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners meeting in March.

fulfilling a need
A group of faculty members from RU's Doctor of Physical Therapy program presented in early February "An Integrated Doctor of Physical Therapy Curriculum: Fulfilling a Growing Community Need." Faculty members Renee Huth, Alex Siyufy and department Chair Ed Swanson delivered the presentation at the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research on the Virginia Tech campus.

sharing skills
Radford University Autism Center Director Diane Millar and student Emily Goria recently shared at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's December convention the core conversational and social skills they teach to high-functioning children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders. An article describing the duo's work can be found on the ASHA website.

communicating research
Randy Taylor, a December graduate of the School of Communication, is joining Professors Lynn Zoch and John Brummette in Coral Gables, Fla., in March to present Taylor's research, "Nonprofit Organizations, Values and the Crisis of Legitimacy." The group is presenting the research at the 15th Annual International Public Relations Research Conference. Brummette is presenting a second paper at the conference, "Using Theory for Strategic Social Media Practices via Conflict Research: Risk, Hazard and Outrage in University Crisis Communication." Joining Brummette for the presentation will be RU graduate student Terrence Strickland and University of Miami doctorial student Melissa Dodd.

graduate students of the month
Each month, the College of Graduate and Professional Studies features on its website a graduate student of the month. Click the links below to read Q&A interviews with students of the month from October to February.

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