July 2007

Volume 1, Issue 3

Revamped Student Orientation a Home Run for New Students

Virginia International University unveiled a new and extremely successful student orientation program in June 2007. According to International Student Advisor Robin Leon, who helped organize, prepare for, and run the event for 25 new VIU students, “Our new orientation program enabled our new students to meet and get to know one another very quickly. Everyone loved it and learned a tremendous amount, so I'm declaring this our best orientation ever!”

What set VIU's June 2007 student orientation apart from previous orientations? For one thing, it included games for the first time. Students participated in a water balloon toss game, an egg relay, and sack races as a means to breaking the ice and making new friends. Simple party games such as these enable new students to become less inhibited and make friends quickly, Leon explains, adding, “Everything worked like a charm and we had loads of fun. I don't know who laughed harder as we played the games -- the students or the admission team.”

New students took part in the Virginia International University June 2007 orientation. The program featured games and skits for the first time.

Another innovation that set the new orientation apart is role plays. Admissions counselor Amy Jordan performed a memorable role play with the new students to help them learn to call 911 in an emergency. Leon and ESL Acting Director Karin Sandler then took center stage by role playing the parts of teacher and student respectively, with Sandler demonstrating in exaggerated fashion all of the wrong things to do if one wants to be successful in a VIU classroom. Says Leon , “We believe that role plays will be very effective in helping students remember what they learned – more effective than, say, a lecture or a PowerPoint presentation.”

New students also enjoyed receiving lots of free goodies with the orientation program, including pizza and soda, VIU t-shirts, squirt guns, and gift bags with toiletries. Three VIU Ambassadors (student mentors) were also on hand to help the new students participate in the program and to talk about their own experiences as students at VIU.

Director of International Student Affairs Alexa Tsui is especially proud of the admission team and of the VIU Ambassadors, who did a tremendous amount of work to prepare for the innovative new orientation program. She stresses that all of the effort was well worth it because orientation is crucial to the success of students who are new to VIU and to the United States. Says Tsui, “As students enter into a new country, they're faced with a dizzying number of new experiences and choices. Orientation is a great way to help them sort all of that out. Orientation is also the time for new students to make those all-important first friends and to learn how to succeed as students in the United States .”

From left to right: VIU students Nassrul Nordin (Malaysia), Roshni Rai (Nepal), and Bayarjargal Battalga (Mongolia) performed an amusing skit at VIU's new student orientation program in June.

The new orientation program also taught VIU's newest students how to maintain their F-1 visa status. Tsui adds that this is “vital to their survival as foreign students studying here.”

VIU Opens Center for Teaching Excellence, July ‘07

Virginia International University is pleased to announce the opening of a Center for Teaching Excellence in July 2007. The new center will serve as a professional development resource for VIU's faculty and is comprised of three components:

  • A resource and conference room for faculty meetings and study that houses the library's texts on pedagogical theory and practice. Faculty may visit the resource room and check out materials from the Center for Teaching Excellence through VIU's library system.
Laura Hills , Executive Director of University Advancement and Professor of English, places new faculty development materials in VIU's Center for Teaching Excellence. The new center is located in the Pender Drive campus building and provides texts, online resources, and educational programs for VIU faculty.
  • An online resource linked to the VIU website for VIU faculty to assist them in their professional development as educators.
  • Educational and enrichment activities planned throughout the academic year to foster and support faculty learning, based upon a formal assessment of VIU faculty needs, wishes, and professional development goals.

VIU's Center for Teaching Excellence is the project of Laura Hills , Executive Director of University Advancement, under the direction of Dr. Habib Khan, VIU's provost. Ms. Hills designed the new center as part of her doctoral work at George Mason University . According to Hills, “The Center for Teaching Excellence demonstrates VIU's commitment to teaching excellence and its support of faculty development. I'm sure our faculty will make use of the many wonderful resources we've acquired for their use. They'll also enjoy using the beautiful new space.”

The Center for Teaching Excellence is located in the Pender Drive campus building and is open during regular Pender Drive campus hours.

VIU Speaker's Bureau Serves the Greater Washington, D.C. Community

Virginia International University has made it easier than ever for community groups in the greater Washington, D.C. area to make use of VIU's collective expertise with the launching the VIU Speakers' Bureau in July 2007.

Dr. Necmi Mutlu, Chair of VIU's Computer Programs Department, is one of the speakers available through VIU's new Speakers' Bureau.

VIU created the VIU Speakers' Bureau this month to provide as speakers members of its faculty and administrative team. Each speaker has a high level of expertise both in the classroom and in the business world. Best of all, the VIU Speakers' Bureau provides its programs without charge to organizations in the VIU community, strictly as a form of community service. According to Dr. Habib Khan, VIU's Provost, “It is our goal to help others through the VIU Speakers' Bureau and to foster new relationships with individuals and organizations in the greater Washington , D.C. metropolitan area.”

VIU has created and made available a free Speakers' Bureau information package that includes:

  • Course offerings of 20 different programs of one hour or less
  • Speaker biographies
  • General information about Virginia International University

Topics for customizable programs include interesting and varied subjects such as:

  • Communicating with a Diverse Client Base
  • Using Public Speaking to Grow Your Business
  • Business Writing Boot Camp
  • Pitfalls of U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Information Technology
  • The Top Ten Human Resource Dilemmas
  • Upcoming Market Needs: Management and Information Systems
  • Security, Privacy, and the Internet
  • Practical Strategies for Women in the Workforce

Organizations in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area that are interested in receiving VIU's free Speakers' Bureau information package are invited to contact Laura Hills, Executive Director of University Advancement at 703-591-7042, ext. 319 or to email Professor Hills at lhills@viu.edu .

11200 Waples Mill Road, #360 , Fairfax , VA 22030; 703-591-7042/703-591-2760
Academics: 3957 Pender Drive , Fairfax , VA 22030; 703-591-1844