AU CoffeeBreak 4-26-17

Posted on April 26th, 2017 by Danielle Staub

CoffeeBreak is an e-newsletter distributed to Averett faculty and staff to keep them up-to-date on campus activities and information. Please send information you would like included in CoffeeBreak via this form by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Apr. 28, for a Wednesday, May 3, publication.


Equestrian Team Places Third at ANRC Nationals

The American National Riding Commission (ANRC) held the 40th National Intercollegiate Equitation Championships at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) equestrian center April 19 – 23. Seniors Amanda Arnold, Hannah Walters and Amanda Schoenfeld were joined by Junior Kristen Kelley for the competition. Arnold, Walters and Kelley competed as Averett’s team, while Schoenfeld rode as an individual.

The Averett Team placed 4th in the written phase, with Walters finishing in 8th individually. A strong 3rd place finish in the Program Ride was led by Arnold finishing 5th and Walters finishing 7th individually. Kelley contributed a strong ride in the Derby Phase, placing 4th out of the 28 riders to lead the Averett riders to a 4th place finish in the phase. The final phase, the Medal round, was held on Sunday morning and Arnold again turned in a top performance, placing 8th individually, and leading Averett to sixth place as a team.

When all the scores were totaled at the end of the four phases, SCAD was named the champion team with Goucher College in reserve, followed closely by Averett. Lynchburg College finished in 4th ahead of Emory & Henry College and St. Andrews University. Arnold completed the competition in 7th place in the individual standings, while Kelley finished in 9th.

“I am so proud of this team. The riders faced tough competition and more than held their own against the best horses and riders in intercollegiate competition. Their team placing is a testament to the strength of our equestrian program,” said Cricket Morris, coach.

Love Danville Week

The Love Danville Higher Education Council hosted “Love Danville Week” last week to show the Averett campus who they are and to show everyone why they #lovedanvilleva. Hopefully you saw the sidewalk chalk, window paint, post-it notes, love notes and stickers AND were inspired to think about why you #lovedanvilleva! Check out this video produced by the Love Danville Council.

Do you want a Love Danville T-shirt? Just stop by the CCECC and purchase one for only $10. It’s a DAN good time!


Athletics 2016-17 Awards Ceremony

Congratulations to all our student-athletes! The annual thletics awards ceremony was held Sunday, Apr. 23, in Pritchett Auditorium. The Athletics Department handed out its service awards and recognized the top grade point averages, the athletes of the year by class and inducted members into the Chi Alpha Sigma student-athlete honor society. The night ended with the announcing of the three major awards recipients.

The Dr. Frank Campbell Award recipient was sophomore Taylor Hodges, a USA South East Division Second Team outfielder on the softball team. The Dr. Tommy Foster Male Student-Athlete of the Year was awarded to men’s basketball senior Charles Bryant. The Barbara Kushubar Female Student-Athlete of the Year was shared by — junior volleyball standout Hannah Shields and senior softball standout Jessica Long.

Click here to see the surprise video the students made to thank their faculty advisors and the Athletics staff.

GPS Student Spotlight

Throughout the month, the Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) admissions team interviews and highlights our GPS students. We hope you will enjoy learning more about these amazing members of our Averett family!

Today, meet Nello Williams, who is pursuing his bachelor of business administration. He is expected to graduate in 2019.

What is your motivation for obtaining your degree? “The first is to finish what I started so many years ago. In short, I failed the first time around. I ended up in a career path that I found success in, but I found myself wanting more…to choose my path and take myself where I want to be. Secondly, I want to provide better for my family. My wife has an advanced degree and earns far more than I ever have. With that comes the stress of being the main provider and I am determined to change that and ease her burden. Lastly, I want to be an example to my children, that while mistakes are made, they can be overcome…even 25 years later. Every day, I open my laptop and look at a picture of them, reminding me of why I’m working so hard to be the best I can be.”

Why did you choose Averett’s Graduate & Professional Studies Program? “I really like that there is an actual brick and mortar school to be part of. The GPS program is perfect for me because it fits into my lifestyle. When comparing to actually going to a campus daily versus GPS, I saw that working remotely would allow me to continue working and maintain my family life with far less disruption. I especially liked the aspect of taking only one class at a time, allowing complete focus on the one subject. It’s been an excellent experience and one that I highly recommend for those in similar situations.”

Please share one tip for your fellow classmates and future AU students. “If I had to share one tip, it is to organize, organize, organize! Set a space dedicated to school, away from as many distractions as possible. Schedule your school time and don’t deviate…treat it just like going to class. Dress as if you are going to class. It is so important to organize your life and make school a priority to you and your family.”

What helps to keep you motivated while you are in the program? “There are days when I just don’t want to read, write or watch anything having to do with school. On those days, all it usually takes is a look at my family or in a mirror to remind me of why I’m working so hard in the program. The joy I have when someone asks me what I do and I reply “I’m back in school full-time” or the pride I feel when I tell my wife my grades, gets me fired up to keep moving one step closer to my goals.”

Mindset Minute: Averett’s QEP

Ever wonder from what research our QEP was founded? Want ideas on how to develop a growth mindset in your students? Each week we will provide a snapshot into the world of growth mindset research and practice through “Mindset Minute,” where you can check back for more tips and links to key related research and application.

Here’s a snippet pulled directly from the QEP report about growth mindset intervention our QEP outlines for our building resiliancy:

“Academic progress and success require resiliency and resiliency requires continued effort even in the face of failure. Davis and Paster (2000) describe resilience as “a general lifestyle of overcoming disappointing, frustrating and discouraging events, embracing formidable challenges with a positive outlook” (p. 18). In an academic setting, resiliency is demonstrated when students respond to challenges by increasing their effort and seeking new strategies for success (Yeager & Dweck, 2012). As Yeager and Dweck (2012) note, students who lack resiliency are more likely to voice feelings of helplessness, give up in the face of challenges or even resort to cheating. What leads some students to give up when faced with difficulties while others embrace challenges and work through them? Research suggests students’ implicit theories, more specifically the assumptions they make about the malleability of their own intelligence, impact their resilience and thus their academic achievement.”

Great Colleges – Zoom Technology

Marietta Sanford, academic scheduling and faculty operations manager, and an adjunct faculty member for GPS, explains how Zoom Technology came to be.

“Our GPS students said they wanted face-to-face instruction to continue as we were not ready to move to the online venue just yet. They loved the idea of a faculty member in front of them teaching and interacting in a brick and mortar classroom. They asked us what we could do and that they were willing to wait. We saw an opportunity to build a good cohort if we could put the Danville and Richmond students together so that is where we started. While three or four students in one location is in no way a cohort, connecting the small groups into one larger cohort works well. Students are able to get the structure of a ground course and we are able to maximize enrollment, rather than lose those students to another institution or worse, push them into online only to see them lose interest and withdraw from the University.”

The GPS program has been using Zoom technology to connect student classrooms in Richmond and Danville, as well as holding tutoring sessions and student one-on-one sessions. Marietta said that they “have received feedback from each instructor who has taught so far. Drs. Guarino, Woo and Sturm have all said it was easy and it went great. I have taught one BBA course and loved it, compared to the old Poly-com set up we used the past.”

The Engaged Teaching and Learning Committee, a sub-team of the Academic Innovation Team of the Strategic Plan, invited faculty who teach in the traditional programs to come learn about Zoom. The workshop took place in spring 2017 semester and led by Sanford, who presented ideas on using Zoom cloud-based software.

The students asked and we answered in a number of comments from the Great Colleges Survey. Better technology, resources and more professional development were listed in the “what would make Averett University a better college to work for” question. We know Zoom Technology is a step in the right direction.

Staff Meeting

There is a staff meeting tomorrow, Apr. 27, at 11:15 a.m. in the multipurpose room. Come hear a presentation from LiveSafe, our new two-way communication application between users and University safety officials. It consists of a mobile app for users on their cell phone and a web-based dashboard for officials, and ties right into our existing “See it, say it!” campaign. It will enable us to interact directly with anyone reporting a tip, and push out emergency notifications. *Please note the change of location. This meeting was moved back into the MPR.

Kitchen Quartet Debut

The Kitchen Quartet Debut will perform at the Grousbeck Music Building tomorrow, Apr. 27, at 7 p.m. The group has many Averett connections! Sophia Saiger, the cellist, is Alexis Ehrhardt’s cousin from Germany. David Jones, one of the violinists, is a Danville native and Rachel Covington’s cousin. The other two are young professionals at Infinity Global. They created this informal group and wanted to perform before Sophia goes home in May. Come check them out, admission is free!

Spring Commencement

Adjunct faculty and staff members are invited to participate in the Spring 2017 Commencement exercises on Saturday, May, 6. In order to participate in the exercises, you must have received at least a graduate degree and have the proper regalia. If you would like to participate, please email Mary Sullivan at by tomorrow, April 27.

Donation Drive

It is the last week to drop off donations at the CCECC for Danville-Pittsylvania County Community Services. Want an easy way to donate? While out at the grocery store this week, grab one of the following items: diapers, baby wipes, baby lotion, baby shampoo or baby body wash. Every donation counts. Thanks in advance for helping your neighbors!

Grad Hall Director Candidates on Campus

Candidates for open graduate hall director positions will be on campus this week. Faculty and staff are invited to meet with the candidates from 2:45–3:30 p.m, today, Apr. 26, and Thursday, May 4. The candidates’ interviews will be in the Carrington Conference Room.

Reading Day and Late Night Breakfast

Late Night Breakfast is tomorrow, Apr. 27, at 10 p.m. Faculty and staff volunteers are still needed! If you are still interested in helping to serve breakfast to the students, please email Taylor Mahaffey at or Sierra Braxton-Sears at

2017 Cougar Golf Classic

Cougars Golf TourCome join in on the fun and get a four-person team together for this year’s Cougar Golf Classic on Friday, June 9. There is a minimum handicap of 30 required for each team. Prizes are given for 1st and 2nd place and then a random draw for 3rd place so everyone has a chance to win. Every participant receives a gift and has a chance to bid at the silent auction. (Rumor is there are items autographed by Steph Curry along with other valuable choices.) Please contact Barb Kushubar for more information at or at (434) 791-5687. To register click here.



The school year is coming to an end, and that means it’s almost time for orientation! The dates for summer orientation are as follows: transfer orientation- June 23 and July 14; new student orientation- June 24-25 and July 15-16. Please click here for further information in regards to orientation. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please email Sierra Braxton-Sears at or Taylor Mahaffey at