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Chancellor's Commonwealth Professors
2009-2010 Project Abstracts

The Office of Professional Development congratulates the following 2009-2010 recipients of this prestigious award.  Their abstracts are below:

Creating Alliances to Support Global Instruction in the VCCS
Sharon Burnham, Instructor of History, John Tyler Community College

This proposal builds on three VCCS global studies grants. The project calls for examination and report on current and best practices in post secondary global education worldwide, nationally, within the VCCS, and at my college. In addition, the project provides funding and release time for graduate study in world history. This course work will add depth and a global perspective to my courses and provide material for use in developing a new global VCCS Master List course. Further, the project calls for my taking a leadership role in the system to garner critical energy that continues to move the VCCS in a global direction as it evolves into a “world-class” system. The proposal included opportunities for collaboration among faculty across disciplines through the creation of a Global Studies Peer Group dedicated to promoting and fostering excellence in teaching the world. 

Development of a Program to Assist Students with Test Anxiety
Kevin Handley, Professor of Psychology, Germanna Community College

Test anxiety if the presence of abnormally high anxiety in test-taking and other evaluative situations that is severe enough to impair performance, even among students who possess the intellectual abilities and academic skills required for college success. The negative effects of test anxiety on test performance are well-documented. Test anxiety is also related to lower GPAs and greater likelihood of dropout. It has been estimated that test anxiety affects 15 to 20 percent of college students.

Despite the debilitating consequences, there are few treatment resources provided by colleges for students with test anxiety. This is partially due to the limited financial resources of most colleges. While most colleges have resources to assist students in developing effective academic skills, few colleges have personnel with the training to deliver treatment for debilitating test anxiety. This is true among VCCS colleges.

The focus of this project is the development of a flexible and effective psychoeducational intervention that college personnel can use to assist students with test anxiety in a cost-efficient manner. The goals of this proposal are: 1) continue to expand basic and applied research in the area of test anxiety, 2) develop expertise in cognitive therapy in order to treat test anxiety effectively and train others to do the same, 3) develop a cost-effective intervention for community college students affected by test anxiety, and 4) begin dissemination of effective intervention strategies to VCCS college personnel who can deliver the intervention developed in this process. In addition to being professionally rewarding and renewing for the professor, the results of this work ought to benefit our students and the communities serviced by VCCS colleges.

American Diplomacy, the Bolshevik Revolution and De Witt Clinton Poole, 1918-1920
William S. Rodner, Professor of History, Tidewater Community College

Co-edit the unpublished “Reminiscences” of De Witt Clinton Poole detailing this American diplomat’s activities in Bolshevik Russia between 1928 and 1919; prepare an annotated version for publication; publish several articles and/or a book-length study dealing with Poole’s Russian experiences; apply the results to my World History 2 class and to a new course to be developed on Europe and World in the Twentieth Century.

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