Free Speech and the Geography of the Occupy Movement

UMW Geography professor Donald Rallis has an amazing two-part blog post about the relationship of the protest movements in Manama, Bahrain and Richmond, Virginia (part 1, part 2). Having been in both places recently, professor Rallis starts to triangulate the relationship amongst geography, protest movements, and the struggle for Free Speech in public spaces. Professor Rallis not only shares an amazing reading of the role of geography in these movements but shares images and video he took of the movements.

Art goes digital at UMW

Jesionowski’s class ART104 – Digital Approaches to Fine Art is doing really neat things over on their umwblogs site.  From animated gifs to infographics, Jesionowski’s students are given assignments that pertain to the new ways that we view art today.  The student’s blogs are where the magic is really happening though.  Check out great examples of their work, such as Sydney‘s infographic and Callie‘s animated gif.  Definitely something to explore!

UMW Blogs Trusts and Loves You!

Sarah Cunnane, writer for the Times Higher Education blog, recently featured UMW Blogs as one of the rare scholarly publishing platforms for a university community that actually cultivates, encourages, and allows for open publishing by anyone in the UMW community. We are proud of this public display of trust, and rather than resulting in a black eye for the institution it has become a mechanism for highlighting the amazing work of faculty and students alike, as well as bringing attention to the great work we do at UMW on a regular basis.

The discussion around trust and academic blogging platforms was ignited by a post by Mark Smithers on “Blogging and tust in Universities”. He highlighted UMW as a rare example of trust in Higher Education:

Now the question is why aren’t universities doing the same thing? To be fair, there are some very good examples of university blogging environments where numerous members of the university run a blog. One of the best known is the University of Mary Washington blogs site but even this runs from its own domain and not from the UMW main site. These sites, though, are the exception rather than the rule.

Fact is, this is just the beginning of UMW’s experiment with openly sharing the work we do with the world. over the coming academic year our main website,, which is now running on WordPress will feature more department bogs/sites (see here, here, and here for examples), individual sites/blogs, and cross-fertilize content from specific departments and class sites into the space. This open, fishbowl approach to teaching and learning on a university’s website brings a new idea of open engagement to a university’s web presence. UMW’s website is not just a brochure anymore—it is an open educational experience and a resource all at once!