President Hemphill hosts new faculty at the Tyler House
The newest members of the Radford University family were invited to the Tyler House on Sept. 12 for an evening with President Brian O. Hemphill, First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill and their family.
After President Hemphill greeted the new faculty members, twin 4-year-olds Catalina and Cruz Hemphill played host by providing a coat check service for the more than two dozen faculty members that attended.
Attendees heard remarks from President Hemphill, Provost Graham Glynn and Faculty Senate President Jason Fox.
“We’re excited to have you here in our home tonight,” President Hemphill said. “We’re looking forward to a great year. Thank you so much for all that you do and all that you will do this year.”
In addition to welcoming the faculty to the university and for choosing Radford, President Hemphill stressed the importance of student retention and involvement, as well as faculty involvement in the community.
“As you are coming into this family, you are now in the classroom, teaching and meeting our bright students,” President Hemphill said. “Our students come from a range of different places. I encourage you to think about how you connect and engage with them to bring them new experiences and prepare them for the world beyond this university. You know in your profession all of the opportunities and all of the challenges that are there. Positioning them is so important to their careers.”
David Anderson, an instructor of Anthropological Sciences in the Artis College of Science and Technology, uses his backpacking adventures on the Appalachian Trail to connect his profession to students.
Anderson, whose research specialty is archaeology, said that his profession allows him to connect the outdoors to the textbook.
“I do a lot of pseudo-science research and incorporate that into the classroom so I can challenge students on what their beliefs or preconceived notions are and the justifications for those beliefs,” Anderson said.
After seeing the contributions of Radford University art education student teachers first-hand, LouAnn Thompson, now an instructor of art education in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, is able to help mold future art teachers.
“The art student teachers were very well prepared,” Thompson said. “I was really pleased with the program when I was an elementary school art teacher. I always heard the teachers compliment all Radford student teachers.”
Although new to the Radford family, Thompson said that everywhere she’s been, she’s felt like family.
“From the Art Department to Human Resources, everybody has been so friendly and welcoming,” Thompson said. “It’s unbelievable. It made me feel like I went to school here and I knew everybody.”
Among the new faculty is Assistant Professor of Sociology Aysha Bodenhamer ’10, a first-generation college student who continued her education and received a Ph.D. from N.C. State University. Bodenhamer said she first visited Radford at the recommendation from a high school mentor.
“I toured the campus and I fell in love with it,” Bodenhamer said. “My parents didn’t understand it. I had a great education and I always had a desire to come back and pay it forward. I don’t think I would’ve thrived anywhere else like I did at Radford.”
Bodenhamer uses her story to help students in the classroom and to connect with them.
“I was in their shoes,” she said. “I want my students to feel really comfortable. I know how scary it can be to sit in a classroom and not have heard of the discipline before because that was me.”
“There’s a buzz on campus,” Bodenhamer continued. “There’s something different going on here – things are changing. Great things are coming to Radford.”
Assistant Professor of Math Education Ryan Smith came to Radford University because the focus is on the students.
“At my prior institution, that wasn’t the case,” Smith said. “Other places say that, but it is true here. Here, we’re asked to teach and we’re asked to do it really well and do what we can to help our students succeed.”
The Waldron College of Health and Human Services welcomed Diane Shepard M.S. ‘10, a clinical supervisor and instructor in Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Shepard uses her experience and knowledge as a speech language pathologist to help guide her students into a successful career.
President Hemphill told the new faculty members about the opportunities that lie ahead.
“We are positioning the university to respond to the needs arising across the Commonwealth,” President Hemphill said. “We are being intentional and we are being responsive in thinking about how we are engaging with business and industry. We’re thinking about how we can do great things at home, while thinking about how we can serve the surrounding community and engage with business and industry, while participating in economic development.
“It’s very important for us long-term,” President Hemphill continued. “All of these combined factors provide us with the opportunities to make investments in the institution, in the classroom and in you.”