Summer Sizzles for Scholars, Athletes, and Others

June 10, 2008

It’s true that most students vacated campus after Commence-ment in mid-May, but Mary Baldwin University is not taking a summer siesta. Shakespeare scholars, young athletes, academically-oriented adult learners, and gardeners enliven the college in its “off season” this year, highlighting unique opportunities for the community and campus to converge.

ASPIRING ATHLETES ARRIVE:Possible squirrels-in-training have a chance to learn more about volleyball and Mary Baldwin athletics during a summer camp this year.Volleyball campbegins June 23-25 with sessions for high school teams and a camp for individuals in grades 8-10 follows June 26-28. Team campers have the option to stay overnight at Mary Baldwin, and fees will be used to benefit the teams and the community, said Head Volleyball Coach Paul Yee. Find more information and download registration forms at .

A performance at the Blackfriars Playhouse in StauntonOH, THE HUMANITY!Mary Baldwin’s partnership with American Shakespeare Center (ASC) nearby in downtown Staunton is featured when the Center hosts an intensive workshop for college educators June 29–August 2. Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the session, “Shakespeare’s Blackfriars: The Study, The Stage, and The Classroom,” will explore how understanding Shakespeare’s stages and practices illuminate his works. Participants will hear from visiting scholars, work on scenes with ASC actors, visit the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, see ASC productions, and produce a full-length performance of Antony and Cleopatra.

Sound like a busy month? Raven Claflin and Eliza Hofman are among nearly a dozen students in Mary Baldwin’s Master of Letters/Master of Fine Arts in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance (MLitt/MFA) program who will have front row seats on the action as volunteers and participants in the NEH summer institute. “It’s an unparalleled chance to learn from some of the finest living authorities on Shakespeare and performance,” said Paul Menzer, MLItt/MFA director.

ADULT STUDENTS TAKE ON STAUNTON:The latest trend in vacationing is “learning vacations,” and Summer Week offers an opportunity for adult students from around the state to get together to start special summer courses. Students from Mary Baldwin’s six regional centers that offer the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs chose from 14 classes, including Field Ornithology, Jefferson and His World, and Women and Religion, which start June 22-27 in sessions in Staunton. Students have until August 8 to complete coursework back at home. In addition, participants can get moving and earn half of a credit hour by taking Folk Dance during the week, and they can explore Staunton with a guided historical tour of the city, a Blackfriars Playhouse visit, and a look at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. Visit for more information.

Teachers learn how to use the natural environment in lessons in Environment Based Learning coursesBACK TO ENVIRONMENTAL BASICS:Mary Baldwin is piloting a full-scale non-licensure education program in environment Based Learning (EBL) this summer, beginning with five courses that allow students to earn three credit hours each. From Math in the Garden to Writing as a Second Language: From Natural Experience to Story to Prose, courses encourage teachers to get outside to explore how their surroundings can help them develop lesson plans. EBL has been a passion of Tamra Willis, Mary Baldwin assistant professor of education, since she introduced Mary Baldwin teachers-in-training to the concept in 2002. Since that time, she has helped the college secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to support workshops — primarily in the summer — for Mary Baldwin master’s degree students and area teachers. Read more about the program, which starts the same week as Summer Week and continues through August 8, at .

GARDEN OF EATIN’:A few months ago, it was just part of the lawn adjacent to the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs House on Prospect Street. Now the plot of approximately 20×30 feet is covered in new green sprouts — the first signs of the flowers, herbs, and vegetables that Mary Baldwin University’s community garden will bear this summer. A schedule has not yet been set, but volunteers will be needed for weeding, watering, plant care, and even harvesting throughout the summer, said Julie Shepherd, Mary Baldwin director of civic engagement and co-organizer of the garden. Carey Usher, assistant professor of sociology and master gardener, envisions the garden as a community project in a true sense of the phrase. “Campus and community members who plan, plant, or maintain the garden are welcome to reap its fruits,” she said. If someone donates tomato plants or stops to pull weeds,The Mary Baldwin community garden on campus begins to bloom“they will be able to harvest vegetables and herbs.” You can help by checking the garden regularly for moisture and by contacting Usher at to help with other garden maintenance. Faculty and staff who work in the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs House have also offered to be the garden’s stewards, Usher said. Read more about the project and see pictures at Mary Baldwin News .