Skip to Main Content

State of the University 2016

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III
President, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Fall Opening Meeting
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Campus Community

We are here, as the fall semester approaches, to renew our commitment to our guiding principles – supporting people, shared governance, and excellence in education, research, and service. These principles guide us as we continue our development as one of the nation’s premier public research universities.

The university was founded at a critical point in our nation’s history. Between 1963, when the Maryland General Assembly approved legislation for the creation of UMBC, and 1966, when we admitted our first students, the nation saw passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Higher Education Act of 1965, both of which promised greater educational access. Over the years, the achievements of our graduates have represented the success our nation envisioned. Today, UMBC serves 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students who come from throughout the United States and more than 100 countries.

As we approach our 50th anniversary this month, we are celebrating our success while planning for the future. The Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) has delivered a strong plan for addressing the student experience; innovation in curriculum and pedagogy; research, scholarship, and creative achievement; and community and extended connections. We are now implementing priorities identified through strategic planning through the 2016-17 budget. The campus has also been engaged in a self-study process for Middle States accreditation led by Provost Philip Rous and Professor Bob Carpenter. Both the accreditation and strategic planning processes have provided an opportunity for us to reflect on our accomplishments, take an honest look at ways we can improve, and develop plans for moving the campus forward.

I would like to note appointments to important positions on our campus. Chris Steele has been appointed vice provost for the Division of Professional Studies and executive director of the Shriver Center; on the retirement of Dean Diane Lee, Simon Stacey is now serving as interim Dean of Undergraduate academic affairs; Patrick Jose Dawson has joined our campus as director of the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery; Tyson King-Meadows has been appointed associate dean, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Bruce Walz, who recently stepped down as chair of the Department of Emergency Health Services and co-chaired the Strategic Planning Committee, has been appointed special assistant to the provost for strategic initiatives; Sarah Shin, immediate past president of the Faculty Senate, has been appointed as special assistant to the provost for academic initiatives; Robert Carpenter is now associate provost for analytics and institutional assessment; and Connie Pierson was promoted to associate vice provost of Institutional Research, Analysis, and Decision Support (IRADS). Renetta Tull has been appointed as Special Assistant to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the University System of Maryland. Pamela Hawley has been named university registrar and Lenn Caron is or new assistant vice president for facilities management. In athletics, Ryan Moran is the new head coach for men’s lacrosse, Ryan Odom is the new head coach for men’s basketball, and Heather Gelbard is the new head coach for women’s softball.

Congratulations to the campus on our recognition by the Chronicle of Higher Education—for the seventh year in a row—as one of America’s Great Colleges to Work For. This is a wonderful reflection on the special place that UMBC is—a special place because of all of you and the work you do, day in and day out for the campus community and our students.

Indeed, our sense of community is a reflection of our deep commitment to a strong system of shared governance. I want to thank those who serve in our senates: Sarah Shin, who has been president of the Faculty Senate this past year, and Kimberly Moffitt, who will serve in that position for the coming year; Sue Plitt, who served as president of the Professional Staff Senate this past year, and Damian Doyle, who will serve in that capacity for the coming year; and Dottie Caplan, who was president of the Non-Exempt Staff Senate this past year, and will continue to serve as president of that senate for the coming year. I would also like to thank Bentley Corbett-Wilson and Deanna Cerquetti who will serve as SGA and GSA presidents, respectively, for the coming year, and Margie Burns, who serves as chair of the Adjunct Faculty Advisory Committee. Finally, let’s thanks the members of the President’s Council, department chairs, program directors, and the entire UMBC community for being full partners in the work that we do.

 

Budget and Accountability

Our FY 2017 budget, which draws on funding from tuition, state, federal, and other sources, will be $436 million. Our State operating budget—funded primarily by State appropriations and tuition and fees—comprises $247 million, a net increase of approximately $9.6 million more than the FY 2016 budget. That revenue increase in our State operating budget is made up of about $8.5 million in additional State funding and $1.9 million from tuition revenue due to tuition rate increases of 2% for in-state undergraduates and 3% for all other students.

Our FY 2017 State operating budget includes the following new allocations:

  • Over $8.4 million in mandatory costs include: a merit pool of 2.5%, totaling $3.2 million; phase-in of the minimum wage increase; increasing benefits for faculty and staff, primarily for health insurance and retirement; increasing costs for contractual services such as housekeeping and software licenses; and added facilities renewal funding for much-needed building systems repair and replacement. The latter includes replacement of the elevators in the Administration Building and the heat exchange system in the Engineering Building.
  • Almost $900,000 for academic program enhancements, including new faculty positions to address recent enrollment growth and research, lecturers and adjunct faculty to support enrollment, academic program support and new academic support staff, and additional funding for the Library.
  • Approximately $700,000 in additional financial aid funding to support student success;
  • $350,000 to continue the T-STEM project that serves our STEM transfer majors with pre-transfer advising, peer mentoring, curricular alignment that assures transfer of courses, and other tools and resources that contribute to their success at UMBC.
  • Almost $100,000 for campus-wide efforts, including health and wellness initiatives for faculty and staff and capital campaign staffing.

We remain focused on upholding high standards of accountability and compliance as we carry out our operations. This past year, we saw positive results on our Legislative Audit, achieving no repeat findings and no evidence of fraudulent Purchasing Card transactions. We also achieved positive results from USM audits for fiscal compliance including our Retriever Athletic Center Operations and multiple follow-up reviews in areas such as Intercollegiate Athletics and University Health Services.

Our Shared Services Centers (SSC) initiative has concluded its first successful year of implementation. The two current SSCs have provided a strong record of service to the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences and Academic Affairs-Other Units according to end-user surveys. Additional business process improvements, including Request Tracker (RT) task tracking for the Help Desk and paperless payroll workflow, are complete and more are on the way. New initiatives will include expanded paperless workflows and implementation of PageUp, a new electronic recruitment system. Two additional Shared Services Centers in the College of Engineering and Information Technology and Student Affairs will be established in FY 2017.

Fundraising and Alumni Engagement

The UMBC endowment reached more than $77.3 million at the close of the fiscal year, our highest level to-date. We raised more than $13.8 million in gifts and pledges in FY 2016, with fundraising efforts directed toward institutional priorities, including student scholarships, fellowships, and internships; faculty development and research; and K-12 initiatives.

Highlights in FY 2016 included $1.6 million from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, launching a partnership with UMBC and Baltimore City Public Schools to boost science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education. This new partnership builds on UMBC’s ongoing work with Lakeland Elementary/Middle School in Southwest Baltimore and will bring resources to serve students at additional city schools. The Northrop Grumman Foundation also made an additional $1.5 commitment to the UMBC Cyber Scholars program, which was created with their funding support in 2012.

Another example of philanthropy helping the campus achieve its goals can be seen in the generosity of our alumni and friends. The sons of mathematics professor Bimal Sinha made a $500,000 commitment to establish an endowed professorship in statistics in their father’s name in honor of his 70th birthday. Sinha founded the graduate program in applied statistics at UMBC and the family’s gift is an extremely meaningful way to commemorate Sinha’s many years of service to UMBC and his contributions to his field.

Last year, members of our faculty and staff contributed over $170,000 back to the university. They not only contributed to UMBC with their time and talent through their work, they also financially supported academic programs and departments, athletic teams, student organizations, scholarships, and a host of other university initiatives that help to make this place great. To our faculty and staff donors—thank you. Your charitable contributions are an important vote of confidence in our campus community.

These and other gifts will count toward the fundraising goal of our next comprehensive campaign, which we anticipate launching publicly in spring 2017. We have been working with our deans, vice presidents, and campus leaders to develop campaign priorities derived from the university’s new strategic plan. We seek to build a foundation for advancing excellence in preparing our students for success, in supporting research and creative achievement, in continuing to be an innovator in teaching and learning, and in building community within our campus and deepening our connections to the communities that surround us. It is an energizing, ambitious agenda and will call on all of us to be fundraising partners working in support of our UMBC.

This campaign will also look to raise alumni participation to new levels, building on the energy, excitement, and engagement of the 50th anniversary, which we will celebrate as a community over the course of the academic year. The events and activities of September 16-19 will be the largest and perhaps most visible of our celebration. But we will also use other campus traditions and annual events that have taken root among our faculty, students, and alumni to reflect on how far we have come as a community, and to consider the important role that alumni can play in helping us achieve our highest aspirations in the future.

We will hold Homecoming activities October 5–8, and UMBC’s Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards will be presented during Homecoming on October 6. This year, the honorees are:

  • Engineering and Information Technology: Vince Calhoun, ’02 Ph.D., electrical engineering, executive science officer, The Mind Research Network, and Distinguished Professor, University of New Mexico
  • Natural and Mathematical Sciences: Henry Baker ’78 B.A., ’84 Ph.D., biological sciences, Hazel Kitzman Professor and chair, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Florida College of Medicine
  • Humanities: Ian Ralby ’02 modern languages and linguistics, ’02 M.A., intercultural communication, founder and CEO, I.R. Consilium, a private international security firm
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences: Ruby Lu ’94, economics, formerly co-founder and general partner, DCM Ventures China
  • Social Work: Joseph Jones, Jr. ’06, social work, founder and CEO, Center for Urban Families
  • Visual and Performing Arts: Tiffany Holmes, ’99 M.F.A., imaging and digital arts, dean of undergraduate studies and professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Distinguished Service: J. Thomas Sadowski ’89, political science, vice chancellor, economic development, University System of Maryland
  • Young Alumni Rising Star: Galina Madjaroff ’08, psychology, ’11 M.A., aging studies, undergraduate program director and clinical assistant professor, the Erickson School at UMBC (Galina is also a Ph.D. candidate in human-centered computing, COEIT)
  • The Alumni Association’s Outstanding Faculty Award will be presented to Kimberly Moffit, associate professor, American studies, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Enrollment and Completion

This year, fall enrollments remain strong. With an increase of 24 percent in applications over the past five years, we will be welcoming about 2,800 new students this fall, including about 1,550 new freshmen. Overall, our fall enrollments for the coming year remain solid, again approaching 14,000, including 11,000 undergraduates and nearing 3,000 graduate students from 48 states and more than 100 countries. We project that we will again serve a total of more than 20,000 students during the coming academic year, including those who will enroll in winter, spring, or summer, as well as more than 4,100 students in the UMBC Training Centers and campus-based non-credit enrollments.

Our incoming freshmen are a remarkable group of students. Overall, they have mean SAT scores in the early 1200s for math and verbal, and slightly above 1800 when writing is included. The incoming freshmen in the Honors College have a mean three-part SAT score above 2100. The new class includes National Merit and National Achievement Scholars, Regents and Maryland Distinguished Scholars, many valedictorians, and new Sondheim, Humanities, Linehan, CWIT, Sherman, Meyerhoff, Cybersecurity and other special scholars.

Student success remains at the core of our mission and we are working to increase our retention and completion rates. The latest one-year retention rate for full-time, first-time freshmen is 86.3 percent from the first to the second year. The six-year graduation rate exceeded 60 percent for the third year in a row; the rate for the 2009 cohort of full-time, first-time freshmen was 62.3 percent. We can also report that 66.7 percent of the 2009 cohort graduated from UMBC or another four-year institution in Maryland within six years, up from about 65 percent for the fall 2005 cohort. About 76 percent of our full-time freshmen earn a postsecondary degree (associates or bachelor’s) from any institution nationally within six years. At that point another 15 percent are still enrolled in postsecondary education – 6 percent at UMBC and 9 percent elsewhere – so at six years, 91 percent of UMBC students have earned a postsecondary degree or are still enrolled.

We are making steady progress in ensuring student success, as we innovate in the classroom and on campus generally. We are providing academic initiatives, student affiliation opportunities, transfer student support, assistance for near-completers, and opportunities for the kind of real-world connections afforded through the Shriver Center, BreakingGround, and the Alex Brown Center for Entrepreneurship. BreakingGround achieved the following milestones in its fourth year: 34 courses to-date created or redesigned to foster civic agency; 24 projects producing social contributions beyond episodic service; 270+ stories and reflections shared on the BreakingGround blog, attracting more than 110,000 views. Meanwhile, over 70 courses across all our colleges have been infused with an entrepreneurial emphasis, and the minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation currently has 120 students enrolled. These initiatives and programs are designed to ensure that students learn and make significant progress toward completion, and they are working.

Academic Programs

UMBC faculty and staff work to continually improve our academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels to provide students with quality education and training. Notable developments this past year included:

University-Wide

  • Students, faculty, and staff were involved in the New Student Book Experience selection Not in my Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City. Students arriving on campus this month will find this examination of the urban history of Baltimore to be relevant to the news of the day. The author, journalist Antero Pietila, will speak about his book on campus later in the fall.
  • The Women’s Center provided programming and services to 22 returning women students who received 2015-16 scholarships totaling $56,000 through the Newcombe, Bryson-Neville, AEGON, and AAUW Baltimore scholarship programs.
  • We celebrated 20 years of campus-wide undergraduate research programming with our largest ever Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD). More than 300 students from 28 departments and majors participated in 250 presentations. In addition, the GSA held its 38th Annual Graduate Research Conference.
  • In early June, eight undergraduates arrived at UMBC for the inaugural SCIART program. The unique summer fellowship program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, seeks to continue to develop the students’ science expertise while also developing their appreciation for the arts and humanities. Interdisciplinary programs like SCIART prepare students for a widening range of possible career paths, helping to address the challenges and opportunities presented by an evolving career landscape that emphasizes teamwork and creative problem-solving. SCIART students work on scientific research projects under the guidance of faculty from UMBC and Johns Hopkins University. Each project has a specific art conservation application at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.
  • UMBC is one of 25 new members of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL), a network of U.S. and Canadian universities with STEM graduate programs that are committed to improving the teaching skills and increasing the diversity of future STEM faculty members. As a member of CIRTL, UMBC will develop and promote learning communities for STEM graduate students. CIRTL now has 46 members, which together produce one-third of U.S. doctoral degrees in STEM fields.
  • The Hrabowski Fund for Innovation funded six new teams during the 2015-16 academic year who are working to develop new approaches to teaching and learning. These grants supported, for example, “Virtual Reality Design for Science: Integrating Research. Communication, and Learning for Interdisciplinary Training,” led by Jian Chen, assistant professor, CSEE; “Designing and Developing Effective Mobile Applications,” led by Viviana Cordova, assistant professor of visual arts, and Nilanjan Banerjee, assistant professor, CSEE; and “The Baltimore Metropolitan Area Study on Race, Inequality and the City: A Graduate Student Survey Research and Training Program,” led by Cedric Herring, director of the language, literacy, and culture doctoral program.
  • UMBC research has shown that students not affiliated with a scholars program, athletics, or living-learning community have a lower one-year retention rate than students affiliated with those types of programs. However, we have found that there is a significant retention boost for unaffiliated students who enroll in a first-year experience or introduction to an honors university course.

CAHSS

  • Our department of sociology and anthropology has been renamed the department of sociology, anthropology, and health administration and policy, reflecting its multi-disciplinary curriculum and interdisciplinary approach to research in public health and the social dimensions of health.
  • The theatre department premiered the play Voracious, a new comedy written by Susan McCully, directed by Nyalls Hartman, and designed by Nate Sinnott, all theatre faculty.
  • The Asian studies program, in conjunction with Maryland’s Asian Sister State Committee, hosted a reception for First Lady Yumi Hogan with representation from the embassies of China, South Korea, and Japan.
  • The Africana studies department, in partnership with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture, will host a post-doctoral fellow in 2016-17, funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
  • The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is committed to addressing challenging issues involving social justice, equality, and race through a diverse range of courses, as well other research, community engagement, and learning opportunities. For a listing of fall 2016 CAHSS courses that address these issues, see cahss.umbc.edu/race-equity-inclusion-and-justice.
  • Thanks to significant renovation of portions of the Fine Arts Building, twelve CAHSS departments, programs, and centers (plus the dean’s office) are now located much closer to each another, and also to the Performing Arts and Humanities Building. The Fine Arts Building now houses Africana studies; American studies; Asian studies; gender and women’s studies; global studies; history; Judaic studies; media and communication studies; modern languages, linguistics and intercultural communication; religious studies; visual arts; and the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture.

Erickson School

  • The Erickson School hosted “I’ll Be Me,” a screening and performance of an Academy Award-winning film about Glen Campbell’s family’s journey following his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease. More than 250 leaders from the community and the field of aging services joined Kim and Ashley Campbell for the event.
  • The Erickson School hosted “Dementia, Head Injuries and Headlines: Perspectives and Research,” a panel discussion on cognitive decline in older adults, last month. More than 125 leaders attended the discussion, moderated by sports radio host Scott Garceau.

CNMS

  • NIH has granted UMBC over $18 million for STEM BUILD@UMBC, a holistic student support initiative in STEM led by Dean Bill LaCourse, of the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, and Provost Philip Rous. The program continues to leverage effective components of existing UMBC programs to provide multifaceted student support in STEM through experiential learning and undergraduate research, group work and supportive peer networks, living-learning communities, and internships. It includes collaborations with five community colleges, Gallaudet University, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. This funding is part of a five-year NIH Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) program designed to enhance diversity in biomedical research fields.
  • UMBC continues to host two Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) programs: one in high-performance computing, led by P.I. Matthias Gobbert, professor mathematics and statistics, and another in advanced chemical sensing and imaging, led by P.I. Zeev Rosenzweig, chair of chemistry and biochemistry.
  • We will welcome to the campus this fall UMBC’s inaugural Navy ROTC class of around 40 midshipmen. The program will be housed in the newly created department of naval science within CNMS. As Maryland’s first approved host unit, we have prepared the Naval ROTC Building for the faculty and staff offering the first naval sciences classes this fall. Also, the Navy is equipping two new electronic navigation computer labs in Sherman Hall to provide students with the opportunity to learn in a virtual environment.
  • The 18th Annual Summer Undergraduate Research Fest (SURF), held earlier this month, featured 83 posters from promising undergraduate and high school student researchers in 11 summer research programs. More than 250 people gathered for their final presentations.
  • The 18th Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences (October 2015) featured 270 posters and 326 presenters representing 55 colleges and universities across the nation. Forty-three faculty mentors from UMBC and neighboring institutions supported the student investigations.

COEIT

  • COEIT is launching a National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges Scholars Program this fall. This program prepares students to tackle 14 major challenges faced by populations around the globe, in areas from clean water access to cybersecurity. Our first cohort includes 17 students from nine majors across COEIT, CNMS, and CAHSS.
  • With funding from IBM, COEIT is launching the Accelerated Cognitive Cybersecurity Laboratory this fall, to advance scientific frontiers in cybersecurity and machine learning.
  • COEIT is rolling out several new undergraduate tracks, including cybersecurity tracks in CSEE and IS and data science in CSEE.

Student Services

Student Affairs (DoSA)

  • After receiving full accreditation from the International Association of Counseling Services and APA accreditation of their doctoral psychology internship program last year, the UMBC Counseling Center built on their success by expanding services and outreach. They extended group hours later in the day, developed online referral resources to connect students with community services, and made online training tools for interventions with students available to faculty, staff, and students. Increased use of holistic public health models across the campus facilitated partnerships between the center and University Health Services. The center also received grants from the Maryland Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Network.
  • Building on programs initiated under Gates Foundation grant funding, Off-Campus Student Services (OCSS) expanded Transfer Student Network, First-Year Commuter Retreat and Transfer Retreat initiatives in support of campus-wide retention efforts. Around 160 students participated in the Transfer Student Retreat initiative, up from inaugural participation rates of 100. Over 90% of the participants reported they were more prepared to begin their UMBC experience, more likely to attend extracurricular events, and more likely to utilize OCSS as a resource due to their participation in the retreats.
  • A new carpool parking lot and new carpooling software, Zimride, allowed OCSS to support sustainability priorities by increasing carpooling for commuter students. In FY16, 850 users signed up for the carpooling service, and 560 of these were undergraduate students.
  • Meredith Oyen, an associate professor of history who focuses on U.S. foreign policy, was chosen as the first OCSS veterans faculty fellow. The fellow program was created to increase awareness among faculty about veterans issues and increase veterans’ access to faculty.
  • Student Judicial Programs partnered with Residential Life to implement Restorative Practices, a program to help rebuild community, educate, and set things right when the integrity of the community is challenged by harmful behaviors. Every new resident student was introduced to restorative practice circles during orientation, and restorative practices were later used to respond to incidents of vandalism, bias, and trauma. The introduction of this practice accompanied a significant decline in judicial cases.
  • Residential Life worked with Facilities Management to complete the renovation of West Hill and surrounding grounds, bringing our residential capacity to nearly 4,000 students for the fall.
  • Transit purchased vehicles and expanded services on our Arbutus and Baltimore routes as we seek to provide greater connections to our neighbors. Ridership has doubled on some routes. Staff resources were reallocated to provide a full-time director who could oversee expansion of programs.
  • SGA developed two crucial reforms that will be enacted starting in 2016-17: a shift from plurality voting to an instant runoff system (which encourages respectful interaction and fair play among candidates) to determine the winners of SGA’s elected executive positions; and the creation of a Stipend Review Committee, to provide accountability for positions receiving stipends.
  • The Mosaic Center and Student Life staff worked in formal and informal settings with students inspired to social justice activism by recent events involving Baltimore and the nation. They helped students to channel feelings of frustration and loss into constructive work for justice and inclusion at UMBC (through efforts such as the Race, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice initiative), and in Baltimore and beyond. They collaborated and consulted on programming, support groups, and initiatives with students in QUMBC, the Freedom Alliance, Black Student Union, African Student Association, Veiled Voices, Catholic Retrievers, UMBC Hillel Student Group, Muslim Student Association, Women of Color Coalition, Bhagavad Gita, Sri Lankan Student Association, Chinmaya Yuva Kendra, Persian Student Association, Nepali Student Association, Bengali Student Association and EKTA.
  • The Student Events Board hosted 392 events this year, with overall attendance of about 60,000. The Student Events Board achieved record attendance at all three of the major Quadmania events: the concert, the festival, and the Quadmania Kickoff/Hype Event. Quadmania performer Fetty Wap played to a sold-out audience of UMBC students and guests in the RAC.

Career Center (DoSA)

  • The UMBC Career Center empowers students to actively explore, experience, and succeed in their future careers. Over the past academic year, the Career Center posted nearly 9,000 opportunities on its online job board, UMBCworks, and arranged 637 employer visits (334 unique employers) to connect students with organizations such as NSA, Lockheed Martin, Exelon, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, GE, Hershey, Northrop Grumman, T. Rowe Price, and Google. In total, nearly 6,500 individual students and alumni engaged with the center through career counseling, workshops, on-campus interviews, internship placements, and career fair attendance. These totals represent significant increases. Employer visits were up by 11% and student engagement increased by 3%.
  • Top employers of UMBC graduates include such firms as Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cisco Systems, Lockheed Martin, Morgan Stanley, Northrop Grumman, PayPal, T. Rowe Price, and Textron Systems; Top federal employers of our graduates include the Army Research Lab, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the FBI, NASA, NIH, NSA, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Our graduates also work at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Maryland Public Schools, and here at UMBC.
  • The Career Center also surveys the UMBC graduating class (undergraduate and graduate) each year to assess their post-graduation employment status and continuing education goals. Graduates are surveyed just before graduation. Employment data is also gathered from graduates’ LinkedIn profiles. For the Class of 2015: 83% of graduating students reported being employed and/or pursuing graduate school. Of those employed, 77% were in positions directly related to their career goals and 62% previously interned or worked for that organization while at UMBC. Preliminary results for the Class of 2016 also look very promising and will be available in early October.
  • The Princeton Review named UMBC a “Best Value” university, writing, “Thanks to UMBC’s amazing Career Center, undergrads here are able to enter the job market with confidence.”
  • The Maryland Career Development Association honored the Career Center with the 2016 MCDA Organizational Career Planning Award for the university’s Career Month programming titled Career Crush. This annual award recognizes an institution that has developed an exceptional program for career development.

Athletics (DoSA)

  • In the fall, Hassan Omar became the first Retriever to earn medalist honors at the America East cross country championships and earned All-America honors with a 27th place finish at the NCAA Championships.
  • The UMBC men’s soccer program finished a school-record 13th-best in the nation in home attendance during the 2015 season. This was the fourth consecutive year that UMBC finished in the top 25 in attendance. The Retrievers drew 1,543 fans per game, filling 77.7 percent capacity of Retriever Soccer Park. The capacity ratio is the sixth-best figure of the top 50 schools in the nation.
  • For the first time in program history, Retriever women’s basketball hosted post-season competition. Phil Stern’s squad defeated Fairfield in the opening round of the WBI Tournament.
  • All-American lacrosse attackman Nate Lewnes became the first Retriever to lead in the nation in a men’s lacrosse statistical category since Steve Marohl set the NCAA single-season assist record with 77 helpers in 1992. Lewnes led the nation in goals per game, tallying 3.91 per outing in his final campaign.
  • In February, the men’s and women’s swimming teams won their respective league championships. The following month, junior All-American Emily Escobedo ’17, psychology, advanced to the NCAA’s for the third straight year and became the first UMBC/America East competitor to score at the national meet, placing third in the 200 yard breaststroke. Escobedo also finished in the top 10 at the U.S. Swimming Olympic Trials in the 200m breaststroke.
  • UMBC Swimming and Diving standout and current graduate student Mohamed Hussein ’14, mechanical engineering, just competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. His earlier time of 2:00.22 in the 200m individual medley semifinals at the 16th FINA World Championships set a new Egyptian National Record.
  • Cleopatra Borel ’02, interdisciplinary studies, competed in her fourth Olympic games and placed a career-best seventh in the shot put finals. The native of Trinidad & Tobago won the 2002 NCAA indoor shot put title in the black and gold.
  • After 23 seasons at UMBC and 30 seasons of coaching NCAA Division I lacrosse, Don Zimmerman retired from coaching, but will remain an integral part of the UMBC community.
  • Significant attention has been paid to improving our fan experience both by augmenting the game day experience and by working as part of the AEC to elevate our media presence through online streaming and network presence.
  • In order to keep student-athlete support and competitiveness at the forefront, UMBC Athletics took the difficult step of eliminating two teams this year, men’s and women’s tennis. This enabled Athletics to have the resources to move forward in best practices in student-athlete welfare by adding a trainer and a second strength and conditioning coach to staff, and sports psychologist support for specific team needs.
  • In February, the university broke ground on a $90 million events center, which will significantly change the face of the campus and the athletic program. November 2017 is the projected completion of the facility.

The Shriver Center

  • In FY 2016, the Shriver Center placed 1,100 undergraduate and graduate students with nonprofit, community-based organizations and schools through its community engagement initiatives.
  • In FY 2016, the Shriver Center and Shriver Peaceworker Program expanded their relationship with U.S. Peace Corps to include programming for undergraduate students, graduate students, and career placement for post-grads. UMBC’s Peace Corps Prep program graduated its first cohort of four students and enrolled an additional 28 students to prepare for future international public service careers. In addition to the Peace Corps Prep program, the Shriver Center was awarded a $120,000 contract from Peace Corps to support a strategic Peace Corps Recruiter on campus, helping to expand access to Peace Corps positions to traditionally underrepresented groups.
  • The Shriver Center launched the pilot semester of the Baltimore RISE (Regional Impact through Sector Engagement) Fellows program in spring 2016. This Public Service Scholars program placed eight UMBC students from a variety of majors (e.g., financial economics, global studies, environmental studies, political science, health administration and public policy, and modern languages, linguistics and intercultural communication) in government and nonprofit internships. In addition to the internships, students attended seminars exploring the nonprofit and government sectors and engaging both in cross-sector work. Students also worked in pairs to research an issue related to their internships that is impacting the Baltimore region and proposed a cross-sector solution to address the issue, culminating in a paper and presentation to stakeholders.

Student Achievements

Undergraduate Achievements

  • Across the disciplines and interdisciplines, a record number of our graduates entered graduate and professional schools this fall, ranging from Stanford and UC Berkeley to Harvard and Princeton.
  • In our best showing to-date, three UMBC students (Naomi Mburu, Daniel Ocasio, and Andreas Seas) won Goldwater scholarships in 2016. Seven UMBC students were recipients of Fulbright awards for 2016: Ayushi Aggarwal, biochemistry; Emily Bernstein, psychology and political science; Alexandria Clay ’16, M.A., intercultural communication; Matthew Kelly, MLLI and education; Matthew Poissant, American studies and political science; Shruti Gujaran, biochemistry; and Rachel Rettaliata, history.
  • With a grant from the Hrabowski Innovation Fund, Nicole King’s American studies students produced a week-long radio series, “Baltimore Traces,” that aired on WEAA’s Marc Steiner Show.
  • Brandon Enriquez ‘17, economics and mathematics, has been named student regent for the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, effective July 1, 2016. As student regent, Enriquez represents more than 168,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 12 institutions across the state, including UMBC.

Graduate Achievements

  • After receiving their doctoral degrees in 2015, many our graduates have moved on to tenure-track faculty positions at U.S. and international universities, such as the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; North Carolina State; the Catholic University of Taiwan; and the University of South Carolina.
  • Our 2015 doctoral graduates have also accepted postdoctoral fellowships at universities and national laboratories including Stanford University; the University of Michigan; University of Washington; University of South Carolina; University of California, San Diego; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Army Research Laboratory; the Baltimore and Boston VA Medical Centers; Sheppard Pratt; the Carnegie Institution for Science; and the NASA Space Flight Center. Others are now holding positions at companies and research centers such as the Department of Defense, the Naval Research Laboratory, the FDA, Amazon, Cisco Systems and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
  • Our current graduate students continue to receive prestigious fellowships. This year these included several NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, NSF AGEP Fellowships, and fellowships from the Ford Foundation. This is also the second year in which UMBC doctoral students have won Fulbright awards to conduct research abroad.
  • The high number of UMBC students and alumni who receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship awards demonstrates national recognition of the quality of a UMBC education, which is particularly well regarded for providing robust research experiences for undergraduate and graduate students alike. Gaurav Luthria ‘16, bioinformatics; Nicholas Rogers ‘15, chemical engineering; Akua Nimarko ‘15, biological sciences and psychology; Abraham Beyene ‘08, chemical engineering; Abigail Jackson ‘15, biochemistry and molecular biology; and Hythem Sidky ‘11, chemical engineering, all received fellowships for 2016. The three-year awards support students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Extracurricular Achievements

  • Hollie Adejumo, a fourth year chemical engineering student, received the 2016 Undergraduate Award from the American Chemical Society’s Division of Environmental Chemistry. Adejumo works in Lee Blaney’s laboratory and recently presented her research at the spring 2016 ACS meeting in San Diego, CA.
  • Mechanical engineering majors Andrew Wallace ‘16, Michael Torres ‘16, Stefan Wroblewski‘16, Jezron Basbas ‘16, and Baruch Weiner ’16 won top prize in the 2016 Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition for Preventing Injuries, Trauma and Cracks to the Head (PITCH), a lightweight protective device designed to reduce head trauma and skull fractures in baseball players.
  • The UMBC’s Cyberdawgs won the 2015 Maryland Cyber Challenge. UMBC’s winning Cyberdawgs 1 team included Tyler Campbell ‘16, computer science; Josh Domangue ‘16, computer science; Chris Gardner‘18, computer science and mathematics; Anh Ho ‘17, computer science; Jacob Rust ‘16, computer science; and Julio Valcarcel ‘16, information systems, all members of the UMBC Cyber Defense Team.
  • A team of students in chemical, biochemical, and environmental engineering won the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors national student video competition with the entry “What Do Environmental Engineers Do?”
  • UMBC’s Mock Trial team was invited to participate in the Market Street Invitational (at Drexel) and the Quaker Classic (at the University of Pennsylvania); co-hosted (with Stevenson) the Charm City Classic, which they won; and came in second at the American Mock Trial Association Regional Tournament (with a 7-1 record), advancing to the Opening Round Championship Series.
  • Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, information systems, an alumna of the UMBC Chess Team, won the 2016 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, and is now qualified for the Women’s World Championship.

Faculty and Staff Achievements

Michael Summers, Robert E. Meyerhoff Chair for Excellence in Research and Mentoring and University Distinguished Professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been elected to membership in the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. Summers’ election is a major milestone for UMBC as the university approaches its 50th anniversary, one that acknowledges Summers’s exceptional contributions to the scientific community and UMBC’s stature as a nationally and internationally recognized research university. This honor also recognizes Summers’s leadership in demonstrating what an inclusive university community committed to both teaching and research can achieve.

Many of our faculty and staff were honored by USM Regents, Presidential, or Special awards. Anne Spence, professor of the practice, mechanical engineering, received the University System of Maryland Board of Regents faculty award for public service. Rebecca Adelman, associate professor, media and communication studies, and Upal Ghosh, professor, chemical, biochemical, and environmental engineering, each received the University System of Maryland Board of Regents faculty award for research, scholarship and creative activity. Marsha Velli, accounting associate, Imaging Research Center, received the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Staff Award for Effectiveness and Efficiency, and Michele Kimery, executive administrative assistant, Human Resources, received the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Staff Award for Exceptional Contributions to the Mission of UMBC. Calla Thompson, associate professor, visual arts, was awarded the 2016–19 Presidential Teaching Professorship, and Kevin Omland, professor, biological sciences, the 2016–19 Presidential Research Professorship. The 2016–17 Presidential Distinguished Staff Award was awarded to Beth Wells, assistant vice provost for academic affairs, Office of the Provost, and Stephen Slowe, electronic locksmith, Residential Life, received the 2016–17 Presidential Distinguished Staff Award for Non-Exempt Staff.

Several UMBC faculty have been awarded prestigious fellowships and have been appointed to national leadership roles in their fields.

  • The American Council on Education has announced that Anne Brodsky, an associate dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and professor of psychology, has been named an ACE Fellow for the coming academic year.
  • The American Association of State Colleges and Universities has announced the inaugural class of its emerging leaders program, and Sarah Shin, professor of education and immediate past president of UMBC’s Faculty Senate, is one of just 25 candidates nationwide selected for the program.
  • Anthony Johnson, professor of physics and computer science and electrical engineering, has been named chair of the American Physical Society Bridge Program’s National Advisory Board.
  • Lynne Schaefer, vice president for administration and finance, has been named chair of the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers.
  • Antonio Moreira, vice provost for academic affairs, was elected to the International Board of Directors of the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering and was also appointed by the president of Portugal as an “advisor of Portugal in the world.”

UMBC faculty continued to receive honors and awards recognizing excellence in scholarship and service to the profession and the public.

  • In the College of Engineering and Information Technology, Amy Hurst, associate professor of information systems, received the National Center for Women and Information Technology’s Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award. Marie desJardins, professor of computer science and electrical engineering and associate dean of COEIT, received the Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award from the Computing Research Association-Education. Anne Spence, professor of the practice, mechanical engineering, received the Engineering and Technology Education Advocacy Award from the Technology and Engineering Educators Association of Maryland. Penny Rheingans, professor of computer science and electrical engineering and director of UMBC’s Center for Women in Technology, was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Computing Research Association. COEIT Dean Julie Ross, was recognized by the Maryland Department of Commerce as one of twenty leading women who are driving Maryland’s leadership in technology.
  • In the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Chuck Bieberich, professor, biological sciences, was appointed to the Herbert Bearman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship. Thomas Cronin, professor, biological sciences, was awarded the 2015 American Academic Publishers’ Award for his textbook Visual Ecology, published by Princeton University Press. He also received the 2016 Donald J. Fink award from the IEEE for the best review paper. Ivan Erill associate professor, biological sciences, became a visiting scientist at the EMBL European Bioinformatics Institute (UK), Institute for Research in Biomedicine (Spain), and Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (Spain). Philip Farabaugh, professor and chair of biological sciences, served as a visiting researcher at NRS (France) and at the University of Uppsala (Sweden). Stephen Freeland, director of interdisciplinary studies and associate professor, biological sciences, chaired the 2016 Gordon Research Conference, “Origins of Life: Bridging Disciplinary Perspectives to See Further Into Life’s Origins.” Sarah Leupen, senior lecturer in biology, received a Fulbright scholarship to Charles University Medical School in the Czech Republic, and Tamra Mendelson, associate professor, biological sciences, was elected to the Executive Committee of the Animal Behavior Society. Michael Summers was named a Chinese Academy of Sciences International Distinguished Scientist. Kathy Seley-Radtke, professor, chemistry and biochemistry, was elected president of the International Society on Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids, and joined the Executive Board of Directors for the International Society for Antiviral Research. Ryan White, associate professor, chemistry and biochemistry, received the Royce W. Murray Young Investigator Award from the Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry. Brian Cullum, associate professor, chemistry and biochemistry, was elected as a Named Fellow of SPIE. Christopher Geddes, professor, chemistry and biochemistry, was named a Maryland Innovator of the Year in The Daily Record for the second year. Michael Hayden, professor and chair, physics, was elected Fellow of the Optical Society. Zhibo Zhang, associate professor, physics, was awarded the Young Scientist Medal by the International Radiation Commission. Manil Suri, professor of mathematics, is one of just 15 leading experts worldwide awarded a prestigious academic residency for September 2016 at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy. During the upcoming residency, Suri will work on his current book project, The Godfather of Numbers.
  • In the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, faculty received several honors, awards and prizes for their work. Lynn Cazabon, associate professor of visual arts, received the Maryland State Arts Council Award in Digital Arts. Christy Chapin, assistant professor of history, received the Ralph Gomery Prize from the Business History Conference. Doug Lamdin, professor and associate chair, economics, received the Abramson Award from National Association for Business Economics. Leslie Morgan, professor of sociology, received the Mildred M. Seltzer Distinguished Service Recognition from Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. F. Chris Curran, assistant professor in UMBC’s School of Public Policy, has been named an Emerging Education Policy Scholar for 2015-16 by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Jodi Crandall, founding director of language, literacy, and culture, and professor emerita of education, was selected for the TESOL International Association “50 at 50” list.
  • Faculty in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences received several prestigious fellowships: Kate Brown, professor of history, became an Andrew Carnegie Fellow, and both Kate Brown and Marjoleine Kars, associate professor and chair of history, became Fernand Braudel Fellows at the European University Institute. Brown and Rebecca Boehling, professor of history, won a coveted semester-long fellowship from The American Academy in Berlin. Christy Chapin, assistant professor, history, was awarded the Kluge Fellowship from the Library of Congress. Viviana MacManus, assistant professor of gender and women’s studies, was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship. Meredith Oyen, associate professor of history, was awarded a research fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Eugene Schaffer, professor of education, received a Fulbright Award to perform research in Kosovo. Susan McCully, assistant professor, theatre, had her play, “Kerrmoor,” selected for the FringeNYC Festival. Michael Nance, assistant professor of philosophy, has won the prestigious 2016 Humboldt Research Award that will enable him to serve as a visiting scholar in the philosophy department at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. Michelle Stefano, visiting assistant professor of American studies, and Bill Shewbridge, professor of practice in media and communication studies, both received a Telly Award for their film “Mill Stories.”

UMBC staff members also received honors as follows:

  • Women’s Center professional staff members, Jess Myers and Megan Tagle Adams, received national awards at the pre-conference of the National Women’s Studies Association conference. Jess Myers, Director of the Women’s Center, was awarded the outstanding Achievement Award and Adams was awarded the Emerging Leader Award. Myers will also be the chair of the steering committee for the 2016-17 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders.
  • LaMar Davis, director of The Choice Program at UMBC, was one of just eight people honored by CLIA during this year’s “Inspiring Voices” award ceremony, held May 10 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Lisa Beall, Office of Undergraduate Education, developed a case study for the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience.
  • Laila Shishineh, Assistant Director, Office of Undergraduate Education, received the USM Women’s Forum Professional Staff Development Award.
  • Ramon Goings, Program Coordinator, Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars Program, published an edited book on Graduate Education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Stephen Freeland, Director of Interdisciplinary Studies, presided over the Gordon Research Conference in Life’s Origins in January.
  • Renetta Tull, associate vice provost, graduate school, was one of 3 finalists (the only finalist from the USA) for the 2015 Global Engineering Deans Council Airbus Diversity Award.

Research, Scholarship, and Creative Achievement

As we celebrate UMBC’s 50th Anniversary in 2016, we can look back at significant achievements and tremendous growth in our capacity to conduct meaningful research across our entire campus community. From modest beginnings, with some of our initial external research awards secured in the mid-1990s, we have grown into a Doctoral University with Higher Research Activity, as designated by the current Carnegie Classification. This places us among the top 220 research universities in the nation. In FY 2016, UMBC secured $82.3 million in extramural awards, an increase of 12% above the prior year. Overall extramural research expenditures during FY 2016 totaled $77.6 million, an increase of 3.2% over FY 2015.
According to the current NSF’s Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey, UMBC is ranked #151 in federal research and development expenditures.

We build on the inherent strengths in our vibrant, interdisciplinary and collaborative research culture, with a strong national reputation for integrating undergraduates in mentored research. Our key research priorities are well aligned with regional and national priorities—environment, health, national security, and education. Our research motto “Innovation That Matters” highlights that our faculty and students are particularly strong in translational and applied research areas. We want to assure that our work has direct impact—on the scientific and engineering fields, on our students, and on the many communities that we touch. Our most successful and impactful research efforts are frequently based on successful collaborations across the campus, with other academic institutions, and with external partners.

UMBC has been actively working on a new Research Positioning Initiative by developing a series of stories and materials that highlight collaborative projects to raise UMBC’s research profile both internally, to help nurture a culture at UMBC that consistently supports and recognizes research, and externally, to increase national and international visibility and recognition among peers, partners, the public, and prospective graduate students and faculty.

We continued our series of semi-annual UMBC Research Forums that bring together researchers and scientists from across UMBC and partner institutions to establish collaborations around common research themes. Research Forums in FY 2016 included the October 2015 forum “Climate Change and the Environment” and April 2016 forum “Seeing Science – Photography, Science, and Visual Culture.”

Key Developments
Some highlights in FY 216 include:

  • Renewal of two major Centers with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET) led by Belay Demoz was awarded $46 million over five years and the Goddard Planetary Heliophysics Institute (GPHI) led by Jan Merka was awarded $20 million over five years
  • The EPIC instrument onboard the DSCOVR satellite, launched in early 2015, is taking stunning high-resolution images of the earth and moon from its position in space, about one million miles away from earth. UMBC’s Jay Herman, at JCET, serves as the EPIC instrument scientist.

UMBC faculty received major national and international recognition in the past year:

  • The Center for Advanced Sensor Technology (CAST) received a $2 Million PRISM award from DHHS for a “Wearable Asthma Trigger Monitoring System with Integrated Physiological Monitor” to develop a comprehensive monitoring system that will allow monitoring of critical environmental triggers of asthma symptoms and physiological status of pediatric asthma patients. UMBC PIs Yordan Kostov and Govind Rao, assistant director and director of CAST, respectively, teamed up with Southern Methodist University psychology professors and asthma experts Thomas Ritz and Alicia Meuret, as well as UMBC computer science and electrical engineering (CSEE) faculty Ryan Robucci and Nilanjan Banerjee, and chemical, biochemical, and environmental engineering (CBEE) faculty Xudong Ge and Chris Hennigan.
  • UMBC faculty in CSEE recently won two of the eighteen NSF awards to multidisciplinary teams to conduct frontier research focused on neural and cognitive systems. Each award provides a research team with up to $1 million over 2-4 years. UMBC’s Fow-Sen Choa, professor, CSEE, in partnership with Mary Kay Lobo of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, won an award for work focused on electrical stimulator for targeted neuromodulation. UMBC’s Seung-Jun Kim, assistant professor, CSEE, in partnership with Vince Calhoun of The Mind Research Network, won an award for flexible large-scale brain imaging analysis: diversity, individuality and scalability.
  • Lasse Lindahl, professor of biology, was awarded a renewal of the MARC Undergraduate Training in Academic Research grant from NIH-NIGMS for $6.8 million over five years. This program has had significant impact since its original establishment in 1997, with over 300 undergraduates completing their bachelor’s degrees, and over 100 students successfully completing their PhDs or MD/PhDs.
  • For the past five years, “For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights,” an exhibition organized by Maurice Berger, research professor and chief curator at UMBC’s Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC), in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, has traveled the nation through the National Endowment for the Humanities’ NEH on the Road program. Now, the NEH has extended the exhibition’s tour for an addition five years, marking the first time that the NEH on the Road program has doubled to ten years a tour period for an exhibition.
  • Two UMBC faculty were awarded prestigious NSF CAREER awards: Helena Mentis, assistant professor of information systems, received an award for “Collaborative Image Manipulation and Annotation in Surgical Telemedicine,” to investigate the benefit of collaborative image interaction in conveying expert knowledge through surgical telementoring and teleconsulting. Matthew Pelton, assistant professor of physics, an award for “Revealing the Complex Fluid Dynamics of Conventional Liquids Using Vibrating Nanoparticles,” to provide a quantitative understanding of the non-Newtonian effects that arise in conventional liquids, such as water, when they interact with a rapidly moving solid nanostructure.

UMBC-UMB Partnership Seed Grants program

The UMBC-UMB Research and Innovation Partnership Seed Grant program, designed to promote and enhance inter-institutional research collaborations and stimulate joint grant proposals to federal agencies and foundations, just completed its third year.

  • A total of 14 Partnership Seed Grants has been awarded since 2013 that support 32 faculty at both institutions. More than $1 million in internal funds have been provided by UMBC and UMB to support these initiatives.
  • The second UMBC-UMB Partnership Symposium was held in June 2016, with presentations by the second cohort of Partnership Seed Grant recipients.
  • Five new research teams were selected in 2016 for support in research on a biocompatible dental energy harvester, the influence of neighborhoods on cardiovascular disease risk, a non-invasive respiratory monitor, therapeutic intervention for TNF-α-associated diseases, including Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, and rapid cholera detection.

UMBC-USNA Partnership

UMBC and U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) faculty researchers presented updates on five collaborative cybersecurity projects funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) during the inaugural USNA-UMBC Partnership Symposium in March 2016. The symposium was the first formal opportunity for the research teams to formally present their progress on tackling major cybersecurity challenges outlined when the partnership began. Eleven UMBC faculty members participated.

Maryland Innovation Initiative

UMBC faculty continue to contribute significantly to TEDCO’s Maryland Innovation Initiative, with a 49% application success rate over the past three years since its inception. A total of 21 MII awards have been secured by UMBC faculty, totaling almost $1.85 million.

  • Recent MII awardees include Susan Ostrand Rosenberg, professor of biology, who received a TEDCO award of $100,000 for an immunotherapy drug for cancer treatment. She benefitted from a UMBC Technology Catalyst Fund to prepare for a successful MII application. Other MMI recipients include Linda Dusman, professor of music, and Eric Smallwood, assistant professor of visual arts, in partnership with UMCP’s School of Music, who received two MII grants totaling $165,000 for their work on the tablet app Octava, which provides interactive information during live concert performances.

Engagement

As a research university, we are publicly engaged at the national, regional, state and local levels to provide insights to partners, increase our knowledge, and enhance teaching and learning.

  • UMBC hosted the 2015 National Conference for Imagining America, a prominent consortium of universities and organizations dedicated to advancing the public and civic purposes of the humanities, arts and design. More than 400 leaders from across the U.S. convened in October in Baltimore and at UMBC to build relationships and explore initiatives (including many already underway in Baltimore) that can help enact the ideals of a democratic society.
  • We continued to deepen our influence and connections within the civic engagement movement in higher education, showcasing UMBC’s work and civic culture for national audiences. Craig Berger became chair of the American Democracy Project Steering Committee for 2016-17. David Hoffman was elected to Imagining America’s National Action Board and served as a keynote speaker at the 2016 ADP/TDC/NASPA Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting.
  • We supported students in playing significant roles in national civic engagement movement in higher education, including as session leaders at the 2016 ADP/TDC/NASPA Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting. Undergraduates Josh Massey and Manisha Vepa served as keynote speakers at six well-attended public forums on campuses of the Lone Star Community College system in Houston, Texas, after having impressed the director of Lone Star’s Center for Civic Engagement with the quality of their participation in national conferences and their stories of UMBC’s strong civic culture.
  • A $225,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities is funding a series of public programs designed to explore the way citizens of Baltimore are thinking about the narratives that influence the life and identity of the city. “Baltimore Stories: Narratives and the Life of an American Citym,” seeks to establish a model that utilizes humanities scholarship—literature, history, philosophy, communication, art and cultural studies—to produce print and digital materials that help frame and contextualize narratives of race in American cities. The project will also shine a spotlight on university and non-profit collaborations ongoing with and within Baltimore neighborhoods. Major partners include the College of Arts and Humanities at University of Maryland College Park, the Maryland Humanities Council, UMBC’s Dresher Center for the Humanities, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.
  • The third annual Critical Social Justice initiative spearheaded by the Women’s Center and Mosaic Center took place during the semester following the Baltimore uprising. “CSJ: Baltimore 365” hosted nine events centered on Baltimore and the social issues impacting the city. These events were attended by more than 375 people in our UMBC community. Participants in the events increased their awareness and understanding of social justice.
  • Working with UMB, Board of Visitors member William Struever, and the developer Cross Street partners, the College and UMBC will begin a long-term lease in the historic Lion Brothers Building in West Baltimore, which will house studio space for our Intermedia and Digital Arts MFA students and a classroom for community-engaged teaching and learning.
  • With generous funding from the Northrop Grumman Foundation to expand our work with Lakeland Elementary/Middle School and a new partner, Baltimore City Recreation and Parks, we are transforming the Lakeland Rec Center into a STEAM Center to offer programming for all youth and adults in the community.
  • In FY 2016, The Choice Program served 798 youth and families across its Intensive Advocacy, Jobs, and Education programs and across several jurisdictions in Maryland.
  • Choice launched its third social enterprise, the Flying Fruit Café at the University of Baltimore (UB) School of Law. The café ribbon cutting ceremony featured more than 100 guests (including UB President Kurt Schmoke and UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski) and inspirational remarks provided by two youth whose lives have been transformed by their engagement in Choice. At this site, Baltimore City youth receive job training while generating revenue that supports and offsets costs related to running the program.
  • The Shriver Peaceworker Program co-led the efforts of a Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site at UMBC for the first time. At the site, 16 UMBC students and four staff served 106 low-income tax filers from the UMBC and Baltimore communities, returning over $125,000 in tax refunds and saving untold thousands of dollars in tax preparation fees and protection from predatory financial products.
  • Through CS Matters, UMBC, in collaboration with the University of Maryland College Park, is developing and evaluating professional development activities focused on increasing the expertise of Maryland high school teachers for teaching computer science, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of rigorous computer science classes offered across the state and the number and diversity of students taking these classes. Experienced higher education faculty and highly effective high school teachers are collaborating to train other high school teachers to develop and offer a college preparatory CS curriculum. The project is developing course materials, creating training materials, and increasing the expertise of high school computer science teachers in Maryland. Master teachers and apprentice teachers will be trained in the new curriculum, increasing the readiness and ability of schools and teachers to adopt and offer the CS Principles curriculum and increasing the availability of academically rigorous CS courses in high schools across the state. This effort will ultimately lead to increased interest of Maryland students in studying and pursuing careers in computer science.
  • UMBC’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) hosted “Fight the Stereotype,” an event focused on challenging gender and racial stereotypes related to STEM education and careers. Nina Davuluri, a STEM graduate from the University of Michigan, advocate for STEM education for girls and women, and Miss America 2014 was the keynote speaker.
  • UMBC engineering also continues to engage locally through Project Lead the Way and internationally through Engineers without Borders.

Sustainability and the Environment

From innovative student ideas, to new courses and programs, to campus-wide initiatives, UMBC is growing greener with a deepening commitment to sustainability through our research, courses, service, policies, and operations.

Since signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, UMBC has reduced net carbon emissions by 15.5%. This was accomplished even with a nearly 20% increase in enrollment and a 6% increase in building square footage. We continue to take steps to eliminate campus carbon emissions by conserving energy, purchasing renewable energy, and implementing innovative solutions. Recent energy efficiency upgrades are expected to reduce our carbon emissions by an additional 12%. Construction of new green buildings included the Patapsco Hall Addition (LEED Gold Certified), the Apartment Community Center (LEED Silver Certified) and the new Performing Arts and Humanities Building (LEED Silver Certified).

Progress, barriers and recommendations to UMBC’s Climate Action Plan were explored over the past year by an ad-hoc task force under the leadership of Roy Meyers, professor of political science, and Larry Hennessy, associate director for quality management in facilities management. This task force will give us guidance and direction as we consider how we will modify our Climate Action Plan to make greater progress toward our carbon emission reduction goals.

Transportation-related emissions are being addressed by optimizing UMBC Transit, and preferred parking and ZimRide matching services for carpoolers. The SGA, Athletics, and a local business partnered to establish a free bike share program at the RAC and new bike repair stations have been installed. Zip cars, electric vehicle charging stations, and MTA also help keep UMBC low-carbon and accessible.

In June, a fourth workshop to Incorporate Sustainability across Disciplines was held, with faculty exploring opportunities to teach students skills and concepts to shape a sustainable future. A recently installed student-led community garden and permaculture food forest serves as a research platform, with students studying the impact of civic engagement, awareness, and interconnection that The Garden seeks to cultivate.

UMBC’s Green Office Program promotes sustainable practices in campus offices and buildings by providing resources, checklists, and training in energy conservation, waste minimization, and sustainable transportation. A team of student eco-ambassadors leads and promotes a culture of environmental stewardship within the student body and across campus. The SGA provided grant funding to two student sustainability projects in 2015-16. One brought solar-powered charging stations to picnic tables. The other supports the collection and resale of useful items that would otherwise be discarded during move-out.

Capital Projects

The State of Maryland has been very supportive of the university and our capital projects. At the same time, our healthy enrollments have given us the capacity to further support facilities projects. Together, these sources will have provided nearly $700 million dollars in developing and building state-of-the-art facilities for instruction, research, and student life for the 20-year period from 2000 to 2020. Indeed, since the year 2000, over $553 million has been invested in capital projects, of which $315 million was used to build or renovate academic buildings. The remainder provided student facilities, including the Commons, residences, recreation and athletics, dining, and parking, as well as the new campus entrance. We plan to spend another $144 million on facilities over the next four years. We also have spent over $110 million on the development of the bwtech@UMBC research park.

One of the most visible signs of our progress—and state support—is the completion of the $13-million Campus Gateway. The transformation of the campus entrance along UMBC Boulevard has improved safety, reduced traffic backups, simplified visitor access to the Administration Drive Garage, and created a sense of arrival onto our campus.

The Library Pond that stores and treats rain water from all uphill areas of the west side of campus has been restored as a storm water management component of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building project. The water storage and treatment capacity of the pond has been improved to protect the watershed flowing into Chesapeake Bay. An accessible path now connects the Walker Avenue Garage to the academic core. Perimeter planting and seating have created a more natural and inviting setting. The Library Pond has become an iconic campus green space and destination for students and faculty to gather and enjoy.

We invested $16 million in the renovation of the Fine Arts Building to create “like-new” offices, classrooms, and teaching studios. Critical infrastructure—electric, heating and cooling systems—have been renewed to ensure that the building serves the twelve departments, programs, and centers of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, as well as the dean’s office and the interdisciplinary studies program. The building has been fully occupied since March 2016.

In time for full occupation this fall, the transformation of our residential communities has concluded with the $19.3-million three-phase renovation of the West Hill Apartments. The interior and exterior upgrades to this popular student housing have enhanced the overall living environment for our residential community and addresses the need for beds to respond to enrollment growth.

We are very excited that construction has begun on a new events center and arena. This facility will serve as a large community gathering place—unlike anything currently available on campus—to host activities that will enrich the UMBC experience for all students. With over 4,700 fixed seats and a total capacity of about 6,000 seats, the center will be an exciting venue for athletic events, concerts, performances, and major student life events. The new facility is scheduled to be completed in time to host conference basketball games during the 2017-18 season.

We are grateful to the state for providing design funding for a new, $126 million Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building. This building will embody the core elements of our mission—integrating research, teaching, and learning—including research and teaching labs, active learning spaces, and core research facilities. It is also an essential element of our plan to advance the state’s biotechnology industry and Maryland’s competitiveness in the innovation economy. The ongoing design process is engaging numerous faculty and staff. We will start construction in the spring of 2017 and move into the building over the summer 2019.

To make way for this premier new building, the Academic Services Building will be demolished in spring 2017. This year, we are renovating the second floor of Sherman Hall to provide a new home for Academic and Pre-Professional Advising, the Registrar’s Office, and the Meyerhoff Scholars Program.

As we reach our 50th year, we are focusing considerable resources on renewal of our facilities. We have replaced The Commons roof, renovated restrooms to become accessible to members of our community with mobility disabilities, and upgraded building mechanical systems. Over the next year, we will modernize the more than 20-year old elevators in the Administration Building and replace the Warehouse roof.

As we look to the next 50 years, we are launching this fall the update of our Facilities Master Plan to align the physical development of the campus with strategies that emerged from the Strategic Plan and the Middle State 10-Year Review.

Information Technology

As I travel the country and interact with leaders in higher education, I hear from them how they look to UMBC for leadership in IT, whether it is being among the first 75 institutions to connect to the Internet at 100 Gigabits/second, our leadership in the use of student analytics, or our use of technology in teaching and learning, institutions are looking at what UMBC does as best practice.

As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, it is important to recognize how far we have come in the last 25 years with regard to information technology on campus. In 1991, we had four separate offices that reported to three different leaders providing support for technology. We had two incompatible networks and two email systems that made it difficult to communicate between academic and administrative staff. All our administrative work was done via paper and even the most basic level of data analysis was difficult and time consuming. Over the last 25 years, we have integrated those four offices into the Division of Information Technology and through our innovation, UMBC’s IT operations are now regarded as a leader in higher education. UMBC finds itself among the best in the nation in analytics, security, and research computing in EDUCAUSE’s benchmarking service.

An indication of how far we have come is our exposure. Jack Suess has spoken to a number of national technology organizations in the last few years. DoIT staff have presented at several international conferences, written or were featured in five national articles, and hosted five campus visits from higher education IT colleagues. DoIT staff serve on boards or advisory groups for all the major higher education IT organizations—EDUCAUSE, Internet2, IMSglobal, New Media Centers—and many vendor advisory boards. As we look towards the next 25 years, UMBC is well positioned with the very best public universities to take advantage of the opportunities that technology can provide.

While developing the campus strategic plan, many technology upgrades were identified to support implementation of the plan’s recommendations. For DoIT, FY16 has been a year focused on working with campus leaders to clarify needs and align existing efforts underway with those recommendations. Whether it is advancing our analytics efforts, improving our advising systems, embracing cloud technology solutions, or advancing our research infrastructure, we know technology will play an important role. Below are highlights of efforts completed in FY16 and currently underway for FY17.

Advancing pedagogy was a major theme of the strategic plan. DoIT worked with the Faculty Development Center (FDC) and provost’s office to upgrade over 35 teaching and academic spaces throughout the campus, including many of the rooms in Fine Arts, ITE, and Math/Psychology. As we speak, through a collaboration between DoIT and the FDC, we will be offering a new space for innovative teaching in Engineering 102. We also advanced accessibility and improved the use of learning analytics on campus by helping faculty discover how they could use the Report Exchange (REX) data warehouse.

Providing data analytics to support student success was also a major theme in the strategic plan. Last year we added two new predictive analytics products to support our efforts. The product from the Executive Advisory Board (EAB) is designed to support analysis of course demand and scheduling. The second, which we just purchased this summer, is from Civitas Learning, and will not just give us a variety of predictive analytics on students and courses, but also allow us to better measure the impact of interventions already implemented. Collaborating with the Provost’s Office of Assessment and Analytics, DoIT is now working closely with Civitas to provide the data necessary for this to be a success. Another effort led by DoIT, in coordination with the USM, is implementation of the Student Success Matrix (SSMx). The SSMx provides a framework for understanding and assessing our student success interventions and efforts. Combining these three efforts will give us the ability to assess and evaluate our interventions.

In FY 2016, we formed a cross-campus committee to review our administrative computing initiatives. This committee, with representatives from all colleges and divisions, released its recommendations in the spring and presented them to VPs and deans in the summer. The committee recommended four major activities for the campus to improve administrative efforts: (1) continue to implement the business process improvements recommended to support shared service centers; (2) improve access to data by bringing all our financial and HR information into REX; (3) implement new administrative systems to improve the hiring process and pre-award grants; and (4) upgrade our PeopleSoft financial system to better support workflow and post-award grants.

To-date, DoIT has worked with HR to implement an online contract renewal for graduate students and contractual employees, which should make it much easier to renew contracts. Work on extending REX to all finance data has begun and will be completed in FY 2017.

Through collaboration between DoIT, Procurement, and legal services we have supported UMBC embracing the cloud by leveraging nearly 80 solutions to-date including email, calendar, file storage, parking, residential life management, and many others. In FY 2016 seven new cloud services went live, with double that number in the pipeline for future consideration.

Finally, DoIT is working with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) on the implementation of a new pre-award system named Kuali Research. This system will align UMBC’s pre-award with the systems in place at UMCP and UMB.

One of the more exciting projects started last year is the new student-centered advising system, Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (IPASS). This system will be phased in over the next year to provide students with easy-to-use visual tools to track their academic progress. As part of this effort, DoIT is working closely with Enrollment Management to give students a system to develop a personalized, multi-semester degree planner. This system will be extended to faculty to give them better information to improve advising to students and forecasting demand for classes.

In support of research, DoIT worked closely with science faculty to address performance problems in the high performance computing (HPC) facility and to expand disk space for researchers needing large amounts of storage. This summer DoIT worked to upgrade the network in several buildings including Chemistry, Physics, and ITE, providing high-speed network capabilities for researchers and staff. As part of these efforts, DoIT completed their NSF grant to upgrade our Internet connection from 10Gb to 100Gb. DoIT also advanced campus efforts in data science, an area identified in the strategic plan.

Beyond UMBC, DoIT staff have led efforts nationally to understand the cybersecurity and privacy implications for universities in the emerging field of the Internet of Things and continue to work closely with our USM colleagues on efforts to protect sensitive data on campus. DoIT is partnering with the cybersecurity scholars program and is utilizing some of our best undergraduate and graduate students to work with staff to use best practices that provide the best cybersecurity defenses possible. As proof we are on the right path, during the past year, DoIT received an excellent legislative audit, with just one, quickly addressed, finding.

Concluding Thoughts

Despite the many pressures higher education is facing today, we have many reasons to be optimistic about our future as a university. We are increasingly known as a national model of inclusive excellence and innovation in American higher education. We have built strength in research across the disciplines. We can take great pride in knowing that the rest of the nation is beginning to understand what we already know: that we are a very special place. The recognitions we receive—Great College to Work For, Best Buy, Leading Institution in Academic Innovation—are not just nice accolades, but reflect a strong underlying reality about our work and our community that we know to be true and that we can use as a foundation to become an even stronger university.

Over the years, putting people first has been at the heart of our success: supporting and guiding students as they learn and grow, supporting faculty in their research and teaching, supporting staff in their work with students and colleagues, and responding to the needs of a growing range of external constituents.

Whether you’ve been here for decades or recently arrived, you make a difference through your contributions. As I say every year at this time, it is an honor each day to serve as president of UMBC. Thank you.

University of Maryland Baltimore County
New Faculty
2016-2017

Biological Sciences
Rivera-Guzman, Javier, Lecturer
M.S., Inter American University of Puerto Rico, PR 2002; Ph.D., Indiana University School of Medicine, 2009
Assistant Professor/Visiting Assistant Professor at Wagner College since August 2014

Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering
Das, Gautom, Lecturer
B.S., Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh 2004; Ph.D., Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 2010
Post-doctoral Researcher at University of California Davis since June 2015

Raikar, Neha, Lecturer
Bachelor of Chemical Engineering, University Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai 2004; Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst 2010
Lecturer P/T at University of Maryland Baltimore County since 2014

Xu, Peng, Assistant Professor
B.S., Jiangnan University, China 2003; M.S., Jiangnan University, China 2006; Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy 2013
Post-doctoral Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2013

Chemistry and Biochemistry
Smith, Aaron, Assistant Professor
B.A., Boston University, Massachusetts 2007; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin 2012
Post-doctoral Fellow at Northwestern University since 2013

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
Karimi, Naghmeh, Assistant Professor
B.Sc., University of Tehran, Tehran 1997; M.Sc., University of Tehran, Tehran 2002; Ph.D., University of Tehran, Tehran 2010
Assistant Teaching Professor at Rutgers University since 2015

Wilson, Krystle, Lecturer
B.S., Tougaloo College, Mississippi 2003; M.S. Mississippi State University, Mississippi 2005; Ph.D., Mississippi State University, Mississippi 2012
Visiting Assistant Professor at Jackson State University since 2013

Economics
Bernedo, Maria, Assistant Professor
B.S., Universidad Del Pacifico, Peru 2003; M.S., Toulouse School of Economics, France 2008; Ph.D., Georgia State University, Georgia (expected 2016)
Graduate Research Assistant at Georgia State University since 2010

Gender and Women’s Studies
Shomali, Mejdulene, Assistant Professor
B.A., University of Michigan, Michigan 2005; M.A., Ohio State University, Ohio 2007; Ph.D. University of Michigan, Michigan 2015
Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Maryland Baltimore County since 2015

Geography and Environmental Systems
Yeakley, Jon, Professor and Chair
B.S., Texas A&M at Commerce, Texas 1986; M.S., University of Texas at Dallas, Texas 1988; Ph.D., University of Virginia, Virginia 1993
Professor and Director at Portland State University since 2009 (Director since 2012)

History
Song, Nianshen, Assistant Professor
B.A., University of International Relations, China 1996; M.Sc., London School of Economics and Political Science, England 2006; Ph.D., University of Chicago, Chicago 2013
Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow at Vassar College since 2013

Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication
Tong, Christopher, Assistant Professor
B.S., Stanford University, California 2001; MFA, San Francisco State University 2006; Ph.D., University of California at Davis, California 2014
Post-doctoral Fellow at Washington University since 2014

Philosophy
Ealick, Gregory, Lecturer
B.A., University of Maryland Baltimore County, Maryland 1989; M.A., Rice University, Texas 2000
Adjunct II Faculty at the University of Maryland Baltimore County since 2012

Physics
Deffner, Sebastian, Assistant Professor
M.S., University of Augsburg, Germany 2008; Ph.D., University of Augsburg, Germany 2011
Post-doctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory since 2014

Psychology
Lasson, Eliot, Professor of the Practice and Director of the Master of Professional Studies Program
B.A., University of Maryland Baltimore County, Maryland 1987; M.A., Wayne State University, Michigan 1990; Ph.D., Wayne State University, Michigan 1992
Adjunct II Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County since 2008

Nnawulezi, Nkiru, Assistant Professor
B.A., American University, Washington DC 2008; M.A., Michigan State University, Michigan 2011; Ph.D., Michigan State University, Michigan 2015
Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Maryland Baltimore County since 2015

Public Policy
Arnold Lincove, Jane, Associate Professor without Tenure
B.S., Northwestern University, Illinois; M.A., University of California Los Angeles, California; Ph.D., University of Southern California, California
Research Assistant Professor at Tulane University since and Associate Director of Education Research Alliance for New Orleans since 2014

Bennett, Pamela, Associate Professor with Tenure
B.A., Louisiana State University, Louisiana 1992; M.A., Louisiana State University, Louisiana 1996; Ph.D., University of Michigan, Michigan 2002
Doctoral Fellow at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York since 2014

Sociology and Anthropology
Callaghan-Koru, Jennifer, Assistant Professor
B.A., University of Virginia, Virginia 2002; M.H.S., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Maryland 2008; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Maryland 2011
Assistant Scientist at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health since 2011

Theatre
Abele, Eric, Lecturer (Costume Design)
B.A., Centre College, Kentucky 2003; M.F.A., University of Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee 2009
Visiting Lecturer in Costume Design at the University of Maryland Baltimore County since 2014

Larkins Mather, Joan, Lecturer and Costume Shop Supervisor
B.A., University of California at Santa Barbara, California; M.F.A., California State University Fullerton, California
Assistant Professor of Theatre and Chair at University of Southern Maine since 2012 (Chair 2014-2015)

Visual Arts
Rosskam, Julien, Assistant Professor
B.A., Bennington College, Vermont 2001; M.F.A., The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago 2008
Visiting Assistant Professor at Hampshire College 2011 to 2014