Interim Dean, University College and Director of the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies
Dr. Fowler joined VCU in September 2015 as associate dean for University College and as associate professor in the Department of English. Prior to VCU she served as senior director of networked pedagogies and professional development in the Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS) program at Virginia Tech (VT). She joined VT in 2003 and served on the faculty of the Departments of English and Women’s and Gender Studies, and as interim director of Composition (English) and as a senior faculty fellow in the Honors Residential College. She served on the faculty and in academic leadership positions at Washington State University from 1992-2003. Dr. Fowler holds a BA in English from San Jose State University, an MA and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas at Austin and an MSW from Radford University.
Mary Lamb Shelden
Associate Professor and Interim Assistant Director for the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies
Mary Shelden joined Focused Inquiry in 2007, helping to establish the program as a department. She teaches the first-year seminar sequence (UNIV 111 & 112); second-year research writing and argument (UNIV 200); inter-disciplinary gen eds such as Food for Thought (UNIV 211) and Finding Your Voice (UNIV 217); American Romanticism (ENGL 372); and cross-listed courses in English, Women’s Studies, and History (ENGL/GSWS 353: Women Writers; ENGL/HIST 392: Emancipation, Reconstruction, Integration). She has worked with student learning communities with majors in Art, Business, and Social Work, as well as in the Discovery program for undeclared students. Shelden and her service-learning students have partnered with such local and national organizations as Art 180, Boaz & Ruth, Evergreen and East End Cemeteries, Feedmore, Friends Association for Children, Holley Graded School Historic Site, Playing for Change, Reid Elementary School, Relay for Life, Tricycle Gardens, and William Byrd Community House. Shelden often works with undergraduate teaching assistants through the Focused Inquiry and Service Learning UTA programs, and has mentored Graduate Teaching Assistants, doctoral candidates, and new faculty. Shelden is founding Secretary and Past President for the Louisa May Alcott Society. Scholarly projects include “‘Such a Great Light’: Letters to Louisa and Abba Alcott from the Holley School for Freed People and the Story of Winnie Beale’s Emancipation” for Resources for American Literary Study (2014); “‘A Broad, Generous Stream of Love and Bounty’: The Concord Sewing Circle and the Holley School for Freedmen” for Documentary Editing (2011); and “Health and the Body,” in The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism (2010). Her dissertation, Novel Habits for a New World (2003), is a survey of cross-dressing nineteenth-century American novels.
Director of Student Success
Micol Hutchison has been a faculty member in the Department of Focused Inquiry since 2007 and now serves as Director of Student Success in University College. As an undergraduate and Master’s student, she had diverse academic interests, and wished she could figure out a way to connect them; it wasn’t until she was in a doctoral program that she discovered the beauty and utility of interdisciplinarity. Working with VCU’s Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program, she hopes to help students find beauty and utility in their own multifaceted interests earlier than she did. Dr. Hutchison received her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Oregon, and her Master’s in Slavic Languages and Literatures from UNC-Chapel Hill. She completed her PhD in Education, with a focus on higher education, in 2015. Her professional interests include first-generation college students, student engagement, student retention, and learner-centered teaching. She is passionate about education, teaching, and learning, and is proud to be part of the department and university.
Harris Hall, 5116