State of the University 2018

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

Fall Opening Meeting
Thursday, August 23, 2018


Each year, as the fall semester approaches, we gather to reflect on the current state of the university and to renew our commitment to our guiding principles: supporting people, shared governance, and excellence in education, research, and service. These themes have guided us in our development into a premier public research university.

Yesterday, about 250 of our campus leaders came together for our annual retreat to talk about our progress in implementing Our UMBC: A Strategic Plan for Advancing Excellence and discuss our priorities moving forward. We are now entering the third year of the plan, and we are making great progress. I’ll be talking more about that in a moment.

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. Today, our 14,000 students come from throughout the United States and more than 100 countries, and we serve another 4,000 students through UMBC Training Centers. The achievements of our nearly 80,000 graduates represent the success our nation envisioned.

We have so much to be proud of at UMBC. I’ll be sharing a few highlights in my remarks today. Many more details are included in my formal speech, which will be posted online in the coming days.

To begin with I’ll mention two items.

    • In March, the UMBC men’s basketball team defeated the University of Virginia 74-54 in the NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament, becoming the first No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1 team in the tournament’s history. More than 4,000 articles appearing in publications around the world told the story of the team’s victory and of the reputation we’ve developed for innovation and academic excellence. The headline from a New York Times story on the victory speaks volumes about what we’ve accomplished as a community: “Cinderella Story? It’s True for U.M.B.C. in Academics, Too.”
    • Also this past year, Naomi Mburu ’18, chemical engineering, was one of 32 students from across the country to have been selected to receive the Rhodes Scholarship, the first time one of our students had been selected for this prestigious honor.

Enrollment, Completion, and Programs

As our academic year begins, our largest-ever class of entering undergraduates will join the UMBC community as both freshmen and transfer students from 2- and 4-year institutions. This builds on strong freshman enrollment from fall 2017, when we welcomed what was at the time our largest class ever. While highly prepared students from Maryland continue to make up a majority of our freshman class, we are seeing significant increases in applications from out-of-state students. More than 70% of the freshman class will be living on campus this year.

Our new students — including 1,800 freshmen and 1,200 transfer students — have an average GPA above 3.8 and increasingly competitive test scores; they represent the best of Maryland and beyond. This year’s freshman class includes increased representation of students from across the nation, with students coming from states ranging from California to Florida, and from Michigan to Idaho and Alabama, and from such countries as Bangladesh, Guyana, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Our most recent graduating class was also one of the largest ever, with more than 3,000 students receiving degrees: 2,575 bachelor’s degrees, 665 master’s degrees, and 94 doctorates. We also recognized 121 students who completed post-baccalaureate certificates.

We are finding more ways of supporting students through graduation. This past spring, for instance, we launched our “Finish 15” campaign to highlight the importance of completing at least 15 credits a semester (or, on average, 30 credits per year) for students hoping to graduate in four years. We are already seeing evidence that it is having a positive impact as more incoming freshmen are following this advice.

At our Shady Grove campus in Montgomery County we will welcome 400 new undergraduate and graduates students this fall. Building on two decades of success at Shady Grove, we are adding innovative new programs in the life sciences, engineering, and computing over the next five years. Our goal is to build total undergraduate and graduate enrollment from 700 to 2,000.

The growth of UMBC’s graduate student population is an institutional priority. Over the past two fall semesters we have seen an increase in the number of new students entering Ph.D., master’s, and certificate programs. This fall we will welcome more than 800 new students, bringing our total graduate enrollment to about 2,500 students. Our goal is to reach 3,000 shortly.

We are working to increase Ph.D. enrollment by giving higher visibility to our research activities, working with departments to increase the yield on their admitted students and the competitiveness of our graduate assistantships, and a range of other measures, including partnerships with such employers as Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab and other universities to create pipelines to our programs. We also are using outcomes of the Ph.D. Career Pathways Project to improve career outcomes for our current students and alumni.

New master’s of professional studies programs in Data Science, Technical Management, and Integrated Product Development & Manufacturing are now enrolling students here and on our USG campus. We have established a UMBC alumni scholarship for new students entering in the Fall of 2018, and 152 alumni have been recipients of this scholarship. We have extended the Maryland residential tuition rate to DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware residents in select graduate programs.

As we implement our strategic plan we are focusing on four specific areas: (1) the student experience, (2) research, scholarship, and creative achievement, (3) innovative curriculum and pedagogy, and (4) community and extended connections. During the past two years we have worked collectively to advance a set of first focus priorities. These objectives will advance critical elements of the strategic plan in the next three to five years.

For example, a primary objective of the strategic plan is to support and encourage interdisciplinarity. To this end, the Faculty Senate has approved the changes to our faculty promotion and tenure procedures to more appropriately recognize interdisciplinary teaching, research and scholarship. We also piloted a new interdisciplinary summer internship program called CoLab that brings together students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to work together on interdisciplinary projects.

We have completed the implementation of our new advanced data analytics infrastructure and have begun to use these tools across campus and in support of our Undergraduate Student Success Committee and Persistence Committee. This work builds upon existing data warehousing capabilities of IRADS (Institutional Research, Analysis, and Decision Support) and DoIT (Department of Information Technology) have developed over the past few years.Working with our faculty and Deans, we have implemented several pilot projects intended to increase the success of our students using evidence-based approaches. These developments are consistent with our strategic plan and recommendations from the Middle States Self-Study. We also are piloting business and financial analytics to support decision making and to assess the impact of our planning decisions.

We are committed to ensuring our students are successful in all of their pursuits, including the critical skill of managing money. This summer all 3,000 of our new undergraduate students participated in a financial literacy introductory session as part of our mandatory new student orientation program, and hundreds of them are enrolling in and completing our online FinancialSmarts CashCourse before or during their first year of study at UMBC. Graduate students also receive financial literacy training twice per year as part of the professional development series offered by The Graduate School and the PROMISE program.

The Hrabowski Fund for Innovation continues to do well supporting innovations in teaching and learning proposed and developed by our faculty and staff. The fund has now supported almost 30 projects involving course redesign and novel approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment. This work is supported by the Faculty Development Center which is under the direction of Linda Hodges and has grown to include three permanent staff with expertise in innovative learning methodologies and assessment.

Under the Leadership of Dean Scott Casper we have begun the process of developing our self study for the Carnegie 2020 Community Engaged Campus designation. This reflects our commitment to community service and our intent to build on our existing strengths in engaged scholarship and learning, as reflected in our strategic plan.

UMBC Accolades and Recent Achievements

The University continues to receive national recognition for our culture of embracing inclusive excellence, academic innovation, and support for students and colleagues.

  • U.S. News & World Report has now recognized UMBC as a higher ed trailblazer for a decade, first on its Up-and-Coming list and now on its newer Most Innovative list. In the most recent issue, UMBC ranks 7th on the list of Most Innovative universities and 13th among national universities with a “Strong Commitment to Undergraduate Teaching.”
  • U.S. News also featured UMBC as one of its “Top Universities for International Students,” a new list of U.S. universities that have a particularly strong commitment to supporting international students.
  • The 2019 U.S. News Best Graduate Schools rankings recognized a dozen UMBC graduate programs including nine top-100 programs in range of fields representing UMBC’s three colleges.
  • UMBC also received recognition from such publications and organizations as Times Higher Education, Forbes, Business First, Kiplinger, The Princeton Review, and the Center for World University Rankings.
  • For the ninth year in a row, UMBC was recognized as a “Great Colleges to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

This fall we welcome a number of new campus leaders, including Dana Bradley, dean of the Erickson School. We are grateful for the exceptional service and leadership of former Erickson School dean, Judah Ronch.

Sarah Shin, having completed a prestigious American Council on Education’s (ACE) Fellowship this past year at UMB, has started a new position as associate provost for academic affairs. She’ll also keep an office at UMB as she works to build deeper connections between our two campuses. The Provost’s office also welcomed Martina Buckley as Associate Provost for Financial Management.

Christine Mallinson, Professor in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Doctoral Program, is the inaugural Director of the new Center for Social Science Scholarship.

We welcome Kristy Michel, our new Director of Budget and Resource Analysis, and congratulate Paul Dillon on his appointment as Chief of Police. We are grateful for the service of former Chief of Police Mark Sparks, who retired June 30.

We welcome M. Antonio Silas to the division of Student Affairs as the Director of Off-Campus Student Services. Antonio comes to UMBC from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture where he administered a grant program to facilitate improvements at land grant institutions.

The College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences welcomes UMBC alumna Annica Wayman ’99 as the Associate Dean for Shady Grove Affairs. She will be responsible for launching our new Translational Life Science Technology (TLST) program and also the administration of all CNMS programs at USG. The four-year TLST program, which leads to a bachelor of science degree, will train students in the fundamentals of biochemistry, cell biology, epidemiology, statistics, lab instrumentation, and biochemical engineering, as well as give students opportunities to develop such skills as analytical thinking, teamwork, and data evaluation.

Collaboration involving the deans, academic affairs, and other divisions and offices over the past several years has led to the development of a new year-long development program for department chairs that will be offered for the first time this fall.

Research, Scholarship, and Creative Achievement

UMBC secured $85.5 million in extramural awards in FY 2018, with research expenditures of $76 million.

According to NSF’s current Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey, UMBC currently ranks in the country’s top 150 universities in federal research and development expenditures.

Our research activities remain well aligned with regional and national priorities, with strengths in health equity, policy studies, public humanities, and intercultural communications; environmental sciences and engineering (especially atmospheric physics, remote sensing, and contaminant remediation); life sciences and biotechnology (including marine biotechnology and health sciences); and computer information systems and engineering (with special emphasis on cybersecurity and cognitive analytics).

Our research motto — “Innovation That Matters” — reflects our strengths in translational and applied research areas, and our commitment to work that improves lives and solves real-world problems. Our most impactful research efforts are frequently based on successful collaborations across the campus, with other academic institutions, or with external partners across Maryland, the Nation, and the World.

We continued our series of events dedicated to bringing together researchers and scientists from across UMBC with external partners to promote campus-wide dialogue and establish collaborations around common research themes. In May 2018, we hosted our sixth multidisciplinary UMBC Research Forum on campus, this one in partnership with the Dresher Center and focused on “Public Humanities and Health Justice,” bringing together colleagues from such diverse areas of expertise as Psychology, Geography & Environmental Systems, English, Information Systems, and History.

In connection with the UMBC50 Anniversary Celebration, we launched a new annual event called “GRIT-X – Global. Research. Innovation. Trends. Excellence.” to highlight the impact of research, scholarship, and creative achievement on our campus and in our communities. GRIT-X brings together alumni and current faculty for short talks highlighting recent and exciting progress in these areas. The second GRIT-X event in October 2017 featured three UMBC alumni and six current faculty members who shared their stories and passion with the annual homecoming audience in the Black Box Theatre.

Other highlights include the following.

  • UMBC launched two new centers: the Center of Accelerated Real Time Analytics (CARTA), led by Yelena Yesha, will use next-generation computing hardware to solve major infrastructure challenges, and the Earth and Space Institute, under the leadership of Vanderlei Martins, will further increase our visibility and impact in earth and space sciences research.
  • In January, Time Magazine published an eight-page story on the impacts of climate change, quoting only two scientists: Christopher Shuman of UMBC’s Joint Center for Earth Science & Technology (JCET) and Nathan Kurtz, a physical scientist at NASA Goddard who received his Ph.D. in atmospheric physics at UMBC in 2009.
  • A TIME special issue on the science of laughter highlighted the work of Bob Provine, professor of psychology emeritus, and undergraduate researchers at UMBC.
  • In September 2017, UMBC launched the new Earth and Space Institute to further increase our visibility and impact in earth and space sciences. Vanderlei Martins, professor of physics, serves as the director of the new Institute and is currently working on HARP, a CubeSat mission intended to launch within the next couple of years. The ESI provides a physical home for the interdisciplinary earth and space science of UMBC researchers with support from NASA, NOAA, and other federal agencies as well as collaborators around the world. It’s a hub where scientists, engineers, and students will take UMBC’s earth and space research to the next level.
  • In January 2018, Time Magazine featured an eight-page story entitled “The Great Crack-up” that focused on the impact of climate change and NASA’s Ice Bridge mission to survey Antarctica. The only two scientists quoted for this story, which was on the cover of the European edition of Time, were Christopher Shuman of UMBC’s Joint Center for Earth Science & Technology (JCET), and Nathan Kurtz, a physical scientist at NASA Goddard who received his Ph.D. in atmospheric physics at UMBC in 2009.
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) selected UMBC to lead a new $3 million research partnership that will use next-generation computing hardware to solve major infrastructure challenges. UMBC has launched the Center of Accelerated Real Time Analytics (CARTA) under the leadership of Yelena Yesha, distinguished university professor in CSEE, through a five-year grant from the NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) program. The center will receive $150,000 in support for each of the next five years, and the remaining funds will support collaborative research with partner institutions North Carolina State University; Rutgers University, Newark; Rutgers University, New Brunswick; and Tel Aviv University. Two affiliated sites at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Utah will also participate in the collaboration.
  • In Fall 2017, UMBC secured a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award from the NSF totaling more than $553,000, with an additional $236,000 in institutional support to expand the university’s High-Performance Computing Facility (HPCF), which is led by Matthias Gobbert in mathematics & statistics and Meilin Yu in mechanical engineering. The funding will go toward upgraded hardware and increased computing speeds for the interdisciplinary core facility, which supports scientific computing and other complex, data-intensive research across disciplines, university-wide. This is UMBC’s third NSF MRI award since 2014.
  • UMBC proudly continues its strong partnership with NASA Goddard. With more than $100 million in active multi-year research programs with NASA, UMBC is among the space agency’s top 20 academic institutions receiving research funding.
  • Alan Sherman, professor in CSEE, secured a second CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) grant with Richard Forno as CoPI. This $5 million award will fund 34 cybersecurity scholars over five years and support research to study cybersecurity through UMBC degree programs in computer science, computer engineering, cyber, or information systems. Sherman also secured a $310,000 award from NSF to develop educational Cybersecurity Assessment Tools to measure student understanding of cybersecurity concepts, as well as a $100,000 award from the NSA to develop a virtual Protocol Analysis Lab (PAL) that uses state-of-the-art tools to analyze cryptographic protocols for structural weaknesses.
  • The Office of Naval Research (ONR) provided $1.1 million in support for several collaborative faculty projects with the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) focused on cybersecurity. UMBC faculty include Karuna Joshi and Sreedevi Sampath in information systems, Ryan Robucci, Chintan Patel, and Anupam Joshi in CSEE, and Todd Pittman and Jim Franson in physics. This award continues a multi-year research partnership between UMBC and USNA.
  • Songon An, assistant professor in chemistry and biochemistry, received a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to understand the molecular-level mechanism of metabolic flux regulation in human cells. The project will investigate the subcellular localization-function relationship of human multi-enzyme metabolic complex that regulate glucose metabolism in human cells.
  • Nirmalya Roy, assistant professor of information systems, received an NSF CAREER Award in 2018, bringing to 35 the number of UMBC junior faculty members who have received these prestigious awards since the program was launched in 1995. Roy’s $550,000 award for “Scalable and Adaptable Cross-Domain Autonomous Health Assessment (CATS)” will support his work to designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating in-home technologies related to healthcare and smart computing.
  • In April, UMBC welcomed 50 IBM executives and research leaders to campus for a day-long event designed to broaden the robust research relationship between the two organizations and introduce students to emerging career opportunities at IBM. Nearly 250 faculty, staff, students, and partners participated in IBM-UMBC Day. UMBC’s work with IBM began nearly 25 years ago and has branched across a wide range of topics.
  • UMBC’s Hilltop Institute, with more than 50 statisticians, economists, attorneys, clinicians, and social scientists, continues to provide a remarkable service to the State of Maryland, providing expertise regarding Medicaid and strategies for improving publicly financed health care systems. More than $9 million in support, provided primarily by the Maryland Department of Health, sponsor Hilltop’s work.
  • Our colleagues and students are working to address the challenges facing Baltimore and other cities through such efforts as the Imaging Research Center’s Art of Transformation project, a multimedia “ecosystem” designed with the goal of building community and facilitating change.
  • For the third time, UMBC was a major contributor to the annual Light City Baltimore festival held in the city’s Inner Harbor region.
    • Particularly visible was work by Kelley Bell, MFA ’06, associate professor and associate chair of visual arts, who presented her installation “The Herd” on the BGE Light Art Walk.
    • Christine Mallinson, professor of language, literacy, and culture, and affiliate professor of gender and women studies, discussed code-switching in her talk, “Baltimore: An Incubator of Language Diversity.”
    • President Freeman Hrabowski joined Kathy O’Dell, associate professor of visual arts, special assistant to the dean for education and arts partnerships, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Richard Chisolm ’82, interdisciplinary studies; and artist David Hess in the discussion “The Making of Gun Show” at MakerLab.
    • The SPARK II gallery featured work by several UMBC faculty, including Stephen Bradley, associate professor of visual arts, and Tagide deCarvalho, research assistant professor of biological sciences; Lynn Cazabon, associate professor of visual arts; Cathy C. Cook, associate professor of visual arts; Eric Dyer ’95, associate professor of visual arts, and Lisa Moren, professor of visual arts; and Timothy Nohe, professor of visual arts and director of the Center for Innovation, Research and Creativity in the Arts.
  • Marjoleine Kars, history, won a research fellowship at the Huntington Library for academic year 2018-19.
  • Maleda Belilgne, Africana studies and English, received a Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
  • Tyson King Meadows, associate professor of political science and associate dean of CAHSS, received a grant from the American Political Science Association to organize a two-day collaborative writing and publishing workshop for inter-generational teams of political scientists who will publish manuscripts from a large multi-racial, multi-lingual, post-election survey conducted in 2016.
  • Denise Meringolo, history, won a Whiting Public Engagement fellowship from Yale University, to pursue her project Preserving the Baltimore Uprising in collaboration with the Maryland Historical Society.
  • Lisa Moren, visual arts, won a “Best of Baltimore” Award for Best Public Art (from the editors of Baltimore Magazine), for her project NONUMENT 01.
  • Eric Dyer ’95, visual arts, was named an inaugural Howard Hughes Corporation – Merriweather District Artist-in-Residence for Downtown Columbia, MD.
  • UMBC’s research office has awarded $280,000 for 11 Strategic Awards for Research Transitions (START) and 14 Summer Research Faculty Fellowship (SURFF) awards to support faculty representing a broad range of departments across all UMBC colleges. The START awards offer up to $25,000 each to faculty who plan on pursuing new areas of research and compete more effectively for external funding and support. SURFF awards offer up to $6,000 to non-tenured, tenure-track faculty pursuing research and other summer projects.
  • Through the new UMBC Interdisciplinary CoLab, a summer internship in interdisciplinary narrative-based research, undergraduates worked in teams with faculty and staff members to develop web-based projects and digital stories for the general public.


Under the leadership of David Di Maria, associate vice provost for international education, we have seen an increase in international activities, including this past year a 43% increase in study abroad participation over the previous year. This reflects the largest number of students studying abroad in UMBC’s history. Additionally, the number of UMBC faculty teaching courses abroad more than doubled from last year, and we are on track to double international course offerings yet again in 2019.

UMBC was selected by the American Council on Education to participate in the 2018-2020 Internationalization Laboratory, a cohort-based program that will enable UMBC to further develop the international dimensions of our strategic plan.

Several faculty members were awarded Fulbright awards for research in such countries as Italy, Ethiopia, and China. (Charissa Cheah, psychology, for research in Italy; Guenet Abraham, visual arts, for research in Ethiopia; Christopher Tong, modern languages, linguistics, and intercultural communication, for research in China; and Chuck Eggleton, mechanical engineering, to teach two engineering courses and conduct research in Columbia.)

In addition to faculty recipients, eight UMBC students and recent alumni received Fulbright fellowships to teach, conduct research, and study in Bulgaria, Colombia, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway and Ukraine. This past year, UMBC’s Fulbright application success rate was higher than half of Ivy league institutions.

Other international education awards received by UMBC students include a Boren scholarship awarded under the National Security Education program, a Critical Language scholarship and six Gilman scholarships funded by the U.S. Department of State, and a Huayu Enrichment Scholarship funded by the Taiwanese Ministry of Education.

UMBC joined the International Student Exchange Program, a study abroad consortia, which allows UMBC students to study abroad in more than 50 countries for about the same cost as studying at UMBC. In addition, UMBC signed new exchange agreements with several foreign institutions, including Seoul National University in South Korea, the University of Limpopo in South Africa, the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, Latfar in Peru and the University of Algarve in Portugal.

UMBC was one of only 11 U.S. institutions selected to serve as a host for the Long-term Education Administration Program, an international training program funded by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.

UMBC is a finalist for the 2018 PIEoneer Award (a global award recognizing innovation and achievement in international education) in the category of international student support. UMBC’s application describes collaborative endeavors undertaken by International Education Services, the Career Center, the English Language Institute, the Graduate School, and local employers to support career success of UMBC’s international students. UMBC is the only U.S. institution to make it to the next round in this category.

UMBC also administered a short-term exchange for Children’s Librarians from Russia via the Open World program, the largest international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Congress.

UMBC joined the Maryland International Education Consortium, a new initiative designed to advance international education in the state of Maryland. The consortium is supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce and fits within a national effort to attract global talent to the United States.

UMBC continues to expand its international research partnerships by developing meaningful collaboration with academic institutions around the globe.

  • UMBC hosted 49 visiting international scholars and researchers through the U.S. Department of State designated Exchange Visitor Program.
  • Karl Steiner, vice president for research, represented UMBC as academic leaders signed a three-nation agreement during a ceremony at the sixth International Cybersecurity Symposium in Japan. UMBC, Keio Research Institute (KRIS) in Tokyo, Japan, and Royal Holloway University of London (RHUL) in the UK will partner to investigate the use of common system simulation tools for modeling critical national infrastructure.
  • Arno Wacker from the University of Kassel in Germany, was a visiting professor in CSEE in Spring 2017, building on a long-standing student and faculty exchange program with UMBC.
  • UMBC was a key contributor to the “Innovation meets Cybersecurity Conference” in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2017, building on a strong, long-standing partnership with the University of Porto.
  • Anupam Joshi, chair of CSEE and director of the Center for Cybersecurity, is leading an international, multi-university partnership on cybersecurity, including India Institute of Technology in Delhi, India; Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan; and Imperial College of London in the UK. In June, UMBC hosted some 30 scientists from around the world for an international cyber summit on campus.
  • Janet Rutledge, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, participated this past June in the Germany Today Informational Tour: Getting to Know Germany’s Universities of Applied Sciences, sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service, and we are now exploring joint Ph.D. programs with participating German institutions.

UMBC’s Community of Innovators provide Key to Entrepreneurship

UMBC faculty continue to contribute significantly to TEDCO’s Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII), with a 46% application success rate over the past four years resulting in 31 awards for a total of more than $3.2 million to support work to commercialize research in biofuels, genetic analysis, cybersecurity, and other areas. Karl V. Steiner, vice president for research at UMBC, serves as vice chair of the MII program.

UMBC faculty continue to shine in this statewide program to grow entrepreneurship. Since July 2017, UMBC faculty have been awarded five awards worth $660,000 under the MII program. Examples include the following.

    • Soobum Lee, assistant professor in mechanical engineering, received a $115,000 MII grant to develop “ActiveCharge” – an impact-driven piezoelectric energy harvester.
    • Tony Farquhar, mechanical engineering, received $115,000 to develop TrimJET –  a novel drag reduction approach for box trailers.
    • Yordan Kostov, assistant director, Center for Advanced Sensor Technology (CAST), received an MII grant for $150,000 to detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria in blood.
    • Bradley Arnold, chemistry, received $115,000 to develop NuMoon Spectroscopy, a laser-based system to detect chemical trace materials, with applications in the homeland security realm.

UMBC’s Technology Catalyst Fund, established in 2014, provides an early-stage, ideal support mechanism to help faculty prepare for the MII and other funding opportunities. Thirty UMBC faculty have received awards up to $25,000 to advance innovative research and develop commercially viable technologies. A total of $513,000 have been invested in early-stage catalytic investment to date, and more than $3.2 million in external funds have since been secured by the awardees.

Linda Dusman, music, was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year at the bi-annual Inventor’s Luncheon in December for her company “Octava, LLC,” which is focused on providing tools that allow concert goers to more deeply appreciate the music by accessing information on their smartphones.

In January, CNMS, in collaboration with UMBC Training Centers, initiated a week-long Entrepreneurial Skillset Training course for 16 of its assistant and associate professors. The program is designed to increase the productivity and success of incoming faculty as they set up their research enterprise.

Faculty and Staff Achievements

We are delighted to have colleagues serving on and leading a range of national organizations. Examples include the following.

  • Lynne Schaefer, vice president for administration, is chair of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) board, and is also past chair of the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers (EACUBO) board.
  • Jack Suess ’80, M.S. ’95, vice president of IT, is chair of the EDUCAUSE board and is also serving as chair of IMSglobal, the organization responsible for educational technology standards.
  • Four members of UMBC’s leadership team serve as executive committee members for their respective councils or commissions in the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).
    • Nancy Young, vice president for student affairs, serves on the Council on Student Affairs (CSA)
    • Bob Carpenter, special assistant to the provost for institutional effectiveness is on the Commission on Information, Measurement, and Analysis (CIMA).
    • Karl Steiner, vice president for research, is a member of the Council on Research (CoR).
    • David DiMaria, associate vice provost for international education, serves on the Commission on International Initiatives. (He is also serving on the board of the American International Recruitment Council, a membership association recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as a standards development organization for the field of international student recruitment.)
  • Christine Routzahn of the Career Center served as President of the Maryland Career Consortium (MCC), which consists of career center directors and staff of thirteen colleges and universities in the greater Baltimore region.
  • Janet Rutledge, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, served as Chair of the GRE Board of the Educational Testing Service, and also on the Council of Graduate Schools Board of Directors.
  • Tawny McManus, assistant vice provost for accessibility and disability services, was appointed to the executive board of the Maryland Association on Higher Education and Disability (MD-AHEAD).
  • Antonio Moreira, vice provost for academic affairs, was appointed to the Board of Directors of the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering Foundation.
  • Anne Brodsky, previously an associate dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and professor of psychology, completed a ACE fellowship at Swarthmore College last year and returned to campus to take up an appointment as the interim director of MIPAR.
  • In athletics, Kala Andrews, associate athletic director, serves on NCAA Initial Eligibility Waiver Committee.
  • Ryan Odom, UMBC head men’s basketball coach, was named the 2018 Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year by

Congratulations, again, to colleagues we recognized this past spring as recipients of UMBC awards and honors from the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.

  • Our 2018–2021 Presidential Teaching Professor is Nicole King, American studies, and James Franson, physics, was named 2018–2021 Presidential Research Professor.
  • Joe Kirby, assistant vice president in the Division of Information Technology, received the 2018–2019 Presidential Distinguished Staff Award for Professional Staff. Tamara Brown, Executive Administrative Assistant II, Office of the Dean, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, received the 2018–2019 Presidential Distinguished Staff Award for Non-Exempt Staff.
  • Amy Froide, history, was awarded 2018 University System of Maryland Board of Regents’ Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.
  • Jess Myers, director of UMBC’s Women’s Center, received the 2018 Jakubik Family Endowment Staff Award.
  • Phyllis Robinson, biological sciences, received the 2017-2018 Marilyn E. Demorest Award for Faculty Advancement.
  • Victor Fulda, chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering, was awarded the Karen L. Wensch Endowment Award for Outstanding Non-Exempt Staff.
  • Ivan Erill, biological sciences, founded a faculty-led study abroad program at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain. This is a program targeted primarily to biology/biochemistry majors, in which students take a biology laboratory course and a Spanish course over a 6-week stay.
  • Maurice Berger, research professor and chief curator in the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC), has received the International Center of Photography (ICP) Infinity Award, honoring excellence in the field of photography and visual culture for his acclaimed “Race Stories” column in the New York Times.
  • Antonio Moreira, vice provost for academic affairs, is leading a task force of the Global Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Leadership Forum on the future needs of the biopharmaceutical industry workforce.
  • Don Engel, assistant vice president for research, was selected as one of the inaugural research leader fellows sponsored by the Council on Research within the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).
  • The Women’s Center celebrated its 25th anniversary through special engagement events all year long. This year the center will continue its Critical Social Justice initiative and host a week of events under the banner of “Critical Social Justice: Ignite” during the upcoming fall semester.
  • Lee Blaney, associate professor of chemical, biochemical, and environmental engineering, received a 2017 Outstanding Young Engineer Award, and Phillip Graff ’08, physics, received a 2017 Outstanding Young Scientist Award at a ceremony hosted by the Maryland Science Center and the Maryland Academy of Sciences.
  • COEIT Dean Keith J. Bowman gave the 3rd Materials Science & Engineering Distinguished Alumni Lecture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
  • Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Antonio Moreira gave the keynote lecture at the first Peruvian International Symposium for the Pharmaceutical Industry. He was also appointed chair of the Scientific Review Board for the Laboratory for Process Engineering, Environment, Biotechnology, and Energy of the department of chemical engineering in the college of engineering of the University of Porto.
  • Renetta Tull, who serves as UMBC’s associate vice provost for strategic initiatives, was also appointed as special assistant to the senior vice chancellor & director of graduate and professional pipeline development in the office of academic affairs at the University System of Maryland. She also serves on the National Academies Committee on Effective Mentoring Programs and Practices in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as on the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Engineering Report II Team.
  • Doaa Rashed, education, received the Achilles-Harper-Swanson Emerging Researcher Award from the Consortium for Research on Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness.
  • Derek Musgrove’s (history) book, Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital, was named one of the Best American History Books for 2017 from Kirkus Reviews. He launched the book at a special event held at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. He received his degree in history from UMBC in 1997.

Again, these are just a few of our recent accomplishments. Thank you all for the important work that you do.

Student Achievements

Before I talk about student achievements, let me emphasize the importance of several activities we are undertaking to ensure the safety and well-being of our community.

  • As mandated by state legislation, our Human Relations Office in cooperation with Student Affairs implemented a successful procurement and launch of new educational software for students on sexual misconduct, alcohol, and other drugs, including opioid education. Staff training will be launched as a collaboration between Title IX and Human Resources.
  • Responding to the increasingly urgent call to addressing opioid and other addictions, Student Affairs is partnering with a national recovery organization to conduct community mapping and needs assessment to provide inclusive and accessible recovery programming for students, including a residential component.
  • University Health Services (UHS) is building on its successful three-year accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health. UHS and University Counseling continue their efforts to seamlessly promote health and well-being as they begin planning for new co-located space as part of the RAC renovations.
  • Funded by a Hrabowski Innovation Fund Seed Grant, Off-Campus Student Services, in conjunction with Veteran Faculty Fellows Meredith Oyen and Rick Forno, hosted the first-ever Green Zone Training. Green Zone connects UMBC faculty and staff with information and resources related to issues faced by student veterans, service members, and their families. Green Zone serves not only as a professional development opportunity, but a way to help create designated safe places for veterans on campus.
  • Please consider supporting Retriever Essentials, our on-campus food pantry for students in need. There are fliers with information about this program on your tables.

In order to better support strategic initiatives related to student life, our Student Life and Commons staff have now reorganized under one department – Campus Life. The Center for Democracy and Civic Life will also become an independent unit this fall. This restructuring has already resulted in new initiatives such as the new Events Hub on myUMBC. We’ve experienced a 23% increase in access to myUMBC and a 270% increase in Weekend Event views. Additions to Mosaic Center staffing allowed us to nearly double the number of inclusive events sponsored by the center. The number of student organization events promoted by digital signage also doubled.

Our students are accomplishing amazing things in a range of settings.

  • UMBC Baja Racing had their best overall season since 2012, placing 7th overall after three national competitions. The Baja team also hosted the Maryland Baja competition with teams from as far away as India and Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • The Cleftomaniacs, UMBC’s co-ed a cappella group, made history as UMBC’s first a cappella group to win first place in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal competition, where they also won an award for Outstanding Choreography.
  • In the 2017-18 season, UMBC Mock Trial reached new heights, as the team took fourth place in the Yale Invitational – a division consisting of 24 of the highest ranking teams in the country. UMBC advanced to the Opening Round Championship Series for the fourth straight year. The team will begin the 2018-19 season as the 83rd-ranked team in the country, ahead of College Park, Hopkins, North Carolina, University of Texas, Seton Hall, Vanderbilt, and hundreds of other colleges and universities.
  • The Retriever Robotics Club finished in fifth place at the 2018 Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. The team qualified for the competition as the No. 2 team in the world in skills points, and it competed with its Battle Robot named Lil Shaq.
  • Evan Avila ’20, economics and political science, won first place in the national 2018 iOme Challenge (“I Owe Me”) for his paper Rethinking Millennial Retirement: Policy Recommendations for a Gig Economy. The competition, sponsored by the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER), asked students from across the country to propose policies to help millennials save for retirement.
  • “Now Elsewhere,” a dance choreographed by recent alumna and Linehan Artist Scholar Maia Schechter ’18, dance, was performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
  • Two UMBC students – one graduate, one undergraduate – were selected to participate in this year’s international Nobel Laureate Forums. Kavita Krishnaswamy ’07, computer science and mathematics, and Ph.D. ’18, computer science, will attend the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in September, and Naomi Mburu ’18, chemical engineering, attended the Lindau Nobel Laureate Forum in June.
  • Linda Wiratan ’19, biochemistry and molecular biology, has been named a 2018-2019 Goldwater Scholar, and Yasmin Graham ’19, mechanical engineering, received an honorable mention. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program seeks to identify and support undergraduates in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics “who show exceptional promise of becoming this nation’s next generation of research leaders.”

Stephanie Milani ’19, computer science and psychology, was named a 2018-19 Newman Civic Fellow in recognition of her work to increase underrepresented students’ access to opportunities in computer science.

Perhaps most important, our students are getting jobs.

  • The Career Center surveys the UMBC graduating class at both the undergraduate and graduate levels each year to assess their post-graduation employment status and continuing education plans within six months of graduating. Our students continue to surpass national averages. Below are some highlights from the class of 2017.
    • 90% of degree recipients reported firm plans of being employed and/or heading to graduate school.
    • 83% of employed undergraduate degree recipients are in positions directly related to their career goals.
    • 86% of undergraduates had engaged in applied learning, such as internships, research, service-learning, study abroad, student teaching and leadership positions while at UMBC.
    • Additional information on top employers and sample graduate and professional schools, can be viewed on our Class of 2017 Career Outcomes Handout.
  • Thanks to strong support from State Delegate Sandy Rosenberg and and our alumna House Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones ’76, $340,000 was included in Governor Hogan’s FY19 budget to launch the updated Maryland Technology Internship Program. The UMBC Career Center was selected to administer this new statewide program. The program will help Maryland retain top talent by increasing the number of paid internships at technology-based businesses, as well as state and local agencies.
  • UMBC hosted the MCC Career Fair this past June, providing a venue for over 1,200 students and alumni across the region to connect with 140 local, regional, and national industries including the government, private, and non-profit sectors.
  • The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) recognized Northrop Grumman as a Finalist for the Recruiting Excellence Award specifically citing the company’s recruiting partnership with UMBC as a model for excellence.

Athletics Highlights

  • Two attendance records were set on campus last year – at the men’s soccer match vs. Maryland (over 3,700) and at the opening of the Event Center, where over 4,700 fans were in attendance.
  • Within the span of three weeks, two athletic teams defeated the No. 1-ranked schools in the nation. The men’s basketball team defeated No. 1 Virginia in the First Round of the NCAA Championships, and the men’s lacrosse team defeated No. 1 Albany, handing the eventual national semifinalists their first loss of the season.
  • The men’s swimming and diving squads marked their return to the America East Conference by winning another conference championship.
    • Five members of the UMBC Swimming and Diving Team – Philip Adejumo, Ilia Rattsev, Kai Wisner, Alexander Gliese, and Emily Vance – were named to the Scholar All-America team by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America.
  • Joe Sherburne ’18, financial economics, became the first America East and UMBC men’s basketball student-athlete to earn First Team Academic All America honors. He earned his degree in three years and is now enrolled in UMBC’s graduate program in data science.
  • Kristin Watson ’19, mathematics, represented UMBC at the 2018 United States National Volleyball team tryouts in Colorado Springs. She is also a talented television director and works on UMBC’s WatchESPN broadcasts.
  • Nick Griffin ’20, chemical engineering, was named to the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America Division I Men’s and At-Large Third Team. Griffin becomes the first-ever UMBC men’s lacrosse student-athlete to earn the nation’s most-recognized academic honor.
  • Tony White ’18, and Kelechi Nwanaga ’21, earned Second Team and First Team All-American honors by United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association. Both advanced to the NCAA Championships in the javelin in May, with White placing 16th and Nwanaga finishing fourth in Eugene, Oregon. Over the summer, Nwanaga won the African Championships in the javelin and qualified to represent Africa on the African Continental team at the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup next month.
  • Senior Alexander Gliese’19 (swimming and diving), broke the Danish national record in the 200 backstroke in August at the Swim England Summer National Meet in Sheffield, England.
  • A record five student athletes presented their research and creative work at Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD): Courtney Mattson ’18, biological sciences (cross country/track and field), Jethro Ssengonzi ’20, mechanical engineering (swimming & diving), Matthew Kane ’19, biological sciences (cross country/track and field), Courtney Culp ’20, visual arts (women’s soccer), and Hannah Aris ’18, biochemical engineering (cross country).

Fundraising and Alumni Engagement

The UMBC endowment reached $96 million at the close of the fiscal year, with existing pledges from several of our largest donors that will take us over $105 million. We raised more than $14 million in gifts and pledges in FY 2018, bringing our campaign grand total to more than $107 million. We are more than 70% of the way toward meeting our $150 million campaign goal. Our fundraising efforts have been directed toward institutional priorities, including student scholarships, fellowships, and internships; faculty development and research; and K-12 initiatives. Congratulations to Greg Simmons, MPP ’04, and all of our colleagues who have been involved in this effort.

There are several significant gift commitments I would like to highlight:

  • Commitments totaling $1.25 million from the Bunting Family Foundation and Mary Catherine Bunting will establish the Bunting Family Community Engagement and Experience Endowment, supporting students in the humanities at UMBC.
  • The new Lakeland Community and STEAM Center opened on June 1, after a two-year, $1.6 million renovation supported by the Northrop Grumman Foundation and Northrop Grumman Mission Systems in partnership with UMBC.
  • UMBC received $1.3 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to increase the number of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups who complete highly competitive doctoral programs in economics. Kudos to David Mitch and colleagues in economics as well as mathematics and statistics who are developing this program.
  • We also received a $1 million dollar commitment from an alumni couple. We thank Scott Rifkin ’81 and his wife Fran ’79 for their campaign pledge, which will support initiatives in the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences. Collectively, alumni have already given or pledged more than $6 million to the Grit & Greatness Campaign, already surpassing the $3.3 million total from alumni in our previous campaign.

We continue to build awareness and excitement about Grit & Greatness: The Campaign for UMBC. At an event this past fall for the campus community, hundreds of students, faculty, and staff converged on Erickson Field for a celebration that introduced the themes of the campaign –  Make Big Breakthroughs, Forge True Partnerships, and Transform Lives – and invited everyone to reflect on how these themes resonate in the work they do and their experiences at UMBC.

We also held UMBC’s first Giving Day (“Black & Gold Rush”) on February 28. This 24-hour online fundraiser resulted in gifts from more than 1,000 donors totalling almost $100,000. Gifts came from 30 states and the District of Columbia and 9 countries. The top 5 donor designations were: Athletics; the Fund for UMBC; the Stay Black and Gold Emergency Fund; the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; and the Alumni Endowed Scholarship. Our next Giving Day will take place on February 28, 2019.

Last year we saw significant increases in giving from alumni, faculty and staff, and parents. Overall, giving was up by 41% in revenue and donors were up by 13%. While we have made great strides in alumni participation – this past year it reached nearly 4% – we continue to strive to do better. To achieve a 5% participation goal in this fiscal year, we will need to add 1,000 additional alumni donors, and it will take the work of the entire campus to help us reach that goal.

I also wanted to share with the campus the results of our support for the 2017 Maryland Charity Campaign. With your help, we were able to raise more than $237,000 toward the campaign, with over 50 percent of community members contributing to our goal a remarkable demonstration of caring and commitment by the UMBC community.

Our campus is one of the most generous in the state, and our generosity speaks volumes about who we are and our values. Despite our size relative to many of the larger departments across the state, the funds raised by our mid-sized institution accounted for nearly 8% of the total amount of the nearly $3 million raised across the entire campaign. Our campus received both the Schaefer Cares Award for Large Departments and the Highest Participation Award for Large Departments. This truly is an incredible achievement and serves as a testament to our culture of caring for others less fortunate than ourselves.

I would like to thank Karl Steiner for his efforts in supporting last year’s campaign, as well as the tireless support of our lead coordinators Mary Lilly and Cathy Allison. This year, I am pleased to announce Nancy Young and co-chair Jack Suess ’80, MS ’96, will be leading the 2018 campaign. Thank you both for stepping up to take on this important initiative.

We continue to take great pride in the achievements of our alumni. This fall at Homecoming we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Alumni Awards given by the Alumni Association. I am pleased to report that at this year’s ceremony, on October 4, the Alumni Association will honor these individuals:

  • Engineering & Information Technology: Kimberly Ellison Taylor ’93, Information Systems Management, Global Accounting Strategy Director, Oracle
  • Humanities: Saira Khan ’09, English, Director of Social Media, The New Yorker
  • Natural and Mathematical Sciences: Mark Doms ’86, Mathematics and Economics, Managing Director and Senior Economist, Nomura
  • Social Sciences: The Honorable Wanda Keyes Heard ’79, Political Science, Chief Judge, 8th Circuit Court of Maryland (Baltimore City)
  • Visual and Performing Arts: Mina Cheon M.F.A ’02, Imaging & Digital Arts, Professor, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
  • Distinguished Service: Mimi Dietrich ’70, American Studies, Writer/Quilter, That Patchwork Place
  • Young Alumni Rising Star: Zainab Alkebsi ’09, Political Science, Policy Counsel, National Association of the Deaf
  • The Alumni Association’s Outstanding Faculty Award will be presented to Mariajosé Castellanos, Senior Lecturer and Undergraduate Program Director, Department of Chemical, Biochemical & Environmental Engineering

UMBC’s growing network of alumni with State public service careers gathered for the third annual Annapolis Alumni Reception on January 25th at the House Office Building. The event was co-hosted by: Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones ’76, psychology; Senator James Mathias ’73, political science; Delegate Haven Shoemaker ’87, political science; Delegate Mark Chang ’99, psychology; Delegate Charles Sydnor III, ’00, policy sciences; Matthew Clark ’00, history, Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor; and Tiffany Robinson ’97, political science, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor.

This is an especially powerful event as we come together to celebrate the impact of UMBC in the State of Maryland and alumni in the Senate, House of Delegates, the Governor’s office, state agencies, advocacy groups, and nonprofits.

UMBC now has nearly 80,000 alumni, and we continue to build connections with our alumni through the publication of UMBC Magazine as well as through social media and events. In FY18, we engaged approximately 7,000 or 9.5% of our alumni in 265 alumni, athletic and campus events; alumni initiatives and programs; and in giving. This represents a 22% increase over FY17.

Economic Development

bwtech@UMBC continues to be the leader in incubation of cybersecurity companies. bwtech supports 45 early stage cybersecurity companies and houses another dozen emerging cybersecurity companies.

bwtech@UMBC (in partnership with Maryland Commerce) launched an international cybersecurity incubator in FY 18 (iCyberCenter@bwtech) which hosted an executive workshop attended by eight international cybersecurity companies. bwtech also hosted a pitch competition for international cybersecurity companies during the RSA Conference in San Francisco.

The Northrop Grumman Cync program welcomed three new companies – Syncopated, On Systems Logic, and Run Safe.

U.S. Geological Survey(USGS) announced its intention to renew its lease at bwtech for another five years.

An increasing number of UMBC students and alumni work at bwtech@UMBC. In the first six months of FY ’18, 164 UMBC students and 146 UMBC alumni worked at bwtech companies.

Budget Update

The fiscal year 2019 budget totals $451 million, a 1.8% increase over the fiscal year 2018 working budget. The budget includes an additional $7.6 million in State funding, a 6.2% increase.

The additional State funding includes $3 million to support the cost of opening the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building. This new building will address a shortage of teaching space and provide interdisciplinary research space supporting life sciences and graduate education.

An additional $4 million in state funding is provided to increase UMBC’s per student funding toward the State’s funding guideline goal. Another $340,000 is included for the Maryland Technology Internship program designed to connect college and university students, recent graduates, and veterans with small innovative businesses in the high-growth technology sector.

The budget includes a 2% cost of living adjustment for all employees, effective January 1, 2019. State funding is increased $1.4 million for this expense. Lastly, a State funding decrease of $1.2 million reflects lower expected fringe benefit costs. The decrease in revenue will be offset by lower expenditures.

Revenue from tuition and fees is expected to increase by $3.4 million over the prior fiscal year. The growth is primarily driven by a tuition rate increase of 2% for in-state undergraduate students, 3% for in-state graduate students, and 5% for out-of-state students. Tuition revenue is also adjusted down to reflect a shortfall in fiscal year 2018 resulting from lower than anticipated continuing student enrollment and new graduate and transfer students, as well as increasing financial aid to successfully recruit new students.

Campus Construction

This is an exciting time for new construction on our campus. We enjoyed the amazing opening of the 5,000-seat UMBC Event Center as the men’s basketball team started its unbelievable season. The new building also allowed us to hold our spring Commencement ceremonies on campus for the first time in decades.

Work continues in the heart of campus on the 130,000 square-foot Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building. Scheduled for completion in summer 2019, the new building will provide dynamic classroom spaces and a range of laboratories and other spaces designed to support interdisciplinary research and teaching.

This summer, the campus continues its investment in classroom upgrades with renovation of two classrooms in Sherman Hall, SHER 007 and 108, and two classrooms in Sondheim Hall, SOND 103 and 105. Two of these classrooms will become active learning classrooms this fall semester, benefiting from the advice of many faculty members via the Classroom Committee led by Vice Provost Moreira. This project involves a partnership with Facilities Management, DoIT, and the Provost’s office.

Finally, we continue a phased renewal of residential facilities with upgrades to 208 residential units in Harbor Hall and Erickson Hall. Many rooms received finish upgrades, firestopping, and bathroom improvements. Twelve residential units were renovated to be fully accessible. Kitchens in common rooms were upgraded and building exteriors were waterproofed.

As we look to the future, our 2018 Facilities Master Plan that was approved by the Board of Regents in June will guide campus development to support our strategic vision and proactively respond to current and future needs.

Sustainability and Climate Action

UMBC’s carbon emissions have decreased 19% since joining the Presidents Climate Leadership Commitment in 2007. During the same period, our built space has increased by 14% and student enrollment has increased by 18%, making the overall decrease in carbon emissions even more significant.

Our Climate Action Steering Committee (CASC), chaired by Lynne Schaefer, vice president for administration, and Matt Baker, geography and environmental systems, is a broadly representative student, staff, and faculty advisory group that oversees efforts to reduce UMBC’s carbon emissions.

  • In 2018 UMBC continued an inclusive process to develop a new Climate Action Plan, with broader and more aggressive strategies and goals to reduce emissions. This included contracting with the Environmental Finance Center to assist the Climate Action Steering Committee, workgroups, and stakeholders in identifying, analyzing and prioritizing strategies for consideration in the long range plan.
  • Widespread outreach and engagement to encourage the campus community to make sustainable choices have become a regular part of UMBC life, including the Green Office training and certificate program with staff (with over 40 certified offices), the Eco Ambassadors education program and sustainability leadership programs for students. Community events such as HarvestFest, Recyclemania, and Eco-Fest strengthen our awareness and resolve to address climate and environmental issues.
  • A new Faculty Learning Community focused on Teaching Sustainability and Climate Change was formed for the 2017-2018 academic year, facilitated by professors Roy Meyers and Matt Baker, with 12 faculty members participating.

Diversity and Inclusion

We continue working to attract and retain diverse faculty, and also to prepare graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for the professoriate. Last fall we welcomed a cohort of seven new postdoctoral fellows for faculty diversity and we are recruiting for the next cohort of fellows who will join us in the fall of 2019. We also welcomed our first CNMS Pre-professoriate Fellow and will search this coming year for two new pre-doctoral fellows to focus on advancing inclusive excellence within the natural sciences.

UMBC has received a $6 million gift from the George and Betsy Sherman Family Foundation to establish a new Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities and expand the work of the Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars Program. Mavis Sanders, professor of education and affiliate professor for the language, literacy, and culture doctoral program, has been appointed the inaugural director for the new center. Its goal is to improve STEM, literacy, and mathematics practices and outcomes in early childhood education, with an initial focus in the South Baltimore/Greater Baybrook Alliance area.

The University’s partnership with Lakeland Elementary and Middle School in Baltimore has grown steadily over the past five years, and Lakeland students are demonstrating increased proficiency in math, performing much above the Baltimore City average and slightly better than the state average on the math portion of the PARCC assessment, Maryland’s state test. The Baltimore Sun reported on the successful partnership and the work of UMBC students who serve as math coaches at the school.

Enhancing the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty continues to be an ongoing challenge and while we have made significant progress, much work remains to be done. We are appreciative of the tireless work of the Executive Committee for the Recruitment and Retention of Under-Represented Faculty and for the ongoing commitment of our STRIDE fellows who support UMBC’s STRIDE program. UMBC’s STRIDE program was featured in a University System of Maryland Symposium on faculty diversity that also included a presentation by Renetta Tull.

Information Technology

Earlier this month, the DoIT Request Tracker, known as RT, had its 1 millionth ticket. In nine years, this system has greatly improved service delivery across campus. Led by Joe Kirby and John Fritz, this effort has set a standard for collaboration and sharing of best practice across units and has been highlighted as a model for higher education by EDUCAUSE.

DoIT in collaboration with our research computing faculty, led by Mathias Gobbert, mathematics, launched Taki, the new high-performance computer, recently purchased as part of a $800,000 NSF grant. This is the result of a collaboration between researchers, the Provost, VPR, and DoIT to continue to ensure our faculty have access to advanced computational resources to support their research. This new system positions UMBC researchers to use state-of-the-art GPUs for their computational research.

DoIT, in collaboration with Financial Services, upgraded PeopleSoft to the latest version, 9.2, in March. This upgrade has brought with it increased use of electronic workflow and much better reporting tools, through the deployment of new reporting tools in REX to support all funds. UMBC has been one of the first campuses in to move their production PeopleSoft environment to Amazon Web Services (AWS). In moving to Amazon, UMBC is able to quickly address performance issues and provide additional resilience to our business continuity efforts.

MyUMBC version 4, released this summer following a collaborative effort involving DoIT, Student Affairs, and Enrollment Management, focuses on promoting events and community, and provides new tools for departments to streamline and improve communication to students. For students, a new personalized and interactive advising guide is being deployed to improve advising. Working with the advising task force and college advisors, this new system is designed to keep students informed of things they need to do to have a productive advising session.

Under the leadership of John Fritz and Bob Carpenter, DoIT continued to focus analytics on student success. Last fall we piloted Blackboard Predict, to support identifying at-risk students in courses using Blackboard. This pilot demonstrated that Blackboard Predict could identify at-risk students earlier than the First Year Intervention (FYI) program. Through personalized email to students, we were able to get students to seeki help from their instructors earlier in the semester. In another study led by John Fritz, UMBC was the first to integrate data from Blackboard with data from electronic textbooks to look at student success. Finally, led by Bob Carpenter, DoIT developed a variety of new visualization tools for modeling student performance.

A number of DoIT staff have been noted for their work nationally. Sherri Braxton-Leiber has been named by EDUCAUSE a faculty fellow in the leadership of teaching and learning program. Bob Carpenter is co-chairing the APLU commission on Student Analytics. Damian Doyle ’99, M.S. ’16, has been named to participate in the EDUCAUSE Cloud Service Group, and Mark Cather ’97, our Chief Security Officer, is working with the UMB Center for Health and Homeland Security.

Last but not least, John Fritz and Dustin Roddy ’14 had the forethought to push to upgrade the UMBC TV studio to HD in the summer of 2017. This prepared our students and staff to be ready when the NCAA basketball opportunity came forward. Through the work of Dustin, we were able to provide many of the networks high definition footage of UMBC necessary to show on TV.


We are focusing on creating a climate that encourages people to say what they really think so we can all evaluate our beliefs and assumptions.

We are a community that believes in the importance of having respect for each other and seeking the truth.

Nothing we do at UMBC is more important than this search for the truth and our role teaching students how to think critically as they are bombarded with so many pieces of information.

I often close with words attributed to Aristotle: “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort and intelligent execution. It represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” And then he said, “Choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”

I shared those words this past year at our University Retreat, and afterward a colleague observed that some people don’t have the chance to make this choice. The nobility of what we do is that we are creating opportunities for so many people, allowing them to have the chance to make that choice.

It is an honor each day to serve as president of UMBC. Thank you.



University of Maryland Baltimore County

New Faculty


American Studies

Fouts, Sarah, Visiting Lecturer
Ph.D., Tulane University, LA, 2017; M.S., University of New Orleans, LA, 2012; B.A., Centre College, KY, 2003

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chen, Chengpeng, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Michigan State University, MI, 2015; B.S., Ocean University of China, China, 2011

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Chapman, David, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Maryland Baltimore County, MD, 2012; M.S., University of Maryland Baltimore County, MD 2008; B.S., University of Maryland Baltimore County, MD, 2006

Donyaee, Mohammad, Lecturer
Ph.D., Concordia University, Canada, 2008

Johnson, Benjamin, Lecturer
Ph.D., University of Maryland Baltimore County, MD, 2013; M.S., University of Maryland Baltimore County, MD 2010; B.S., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, MD, 2006

Krishnankutty, Deepak, Visiting Lecturer
M.Tech., National Institute of Technology, India, 2009; B. Tech., University of Calicut, India, 2006

Mitchell, Susan, Lecturer
Ph.D., University of Maryland Baltimore County, MD, 2012; M.S., University of Maryland Baltimore County, MD 2009; M.S., The Johns Hopkins University, MD, 1983; B.A., University of Maryland Baltimore County, MD, 1979

Mittal, Sudip, Visiting Lecturer
M. Tech., IIIT Delhi, India, 2014; B. Tech., IIIT Delhi, India, 2013


Clemmensen, Ann Sofie, Assistant Professor
M.F.A., The Ohio State University, OH, 2013; M.A., Northern School of Contemporary Dance, UK, 2008; B.A., Norwegian College of Dance, Norway, 2006

Kemp, Shaness, Artist-in-Residence
M.F.A., Temple University, PA, 2012; B.F.A., Temple University, PA, 2008


Firsin, Oleg, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Cornell University, NY, *2018; M.P.P., College of William and Mary, VA, 2011; B.A., Saint Anselm College, NH, 2009

Hennigan, Audra, Visiting Lecturer
B.S., University of Florida, FL, 2002

Park, Se Mi, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder, CO, 2017; M.A., University of Colorado Boulder, CO, 2013; M.A., Sogang University, S. Korea, 2011; B.S., Ewha Womans University, S. Korea, 2007


Mata-McMahon, Jennifer, Associate Professor
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, NY, 2010; Ed.M., Teachers College, Columbia University, NY, 1999; M.A., Teachers College, Columbia University, NY, 1998; B.A., Universidad Metropolitana, Venezuela, 1996

Emergency Health Services

Flint, Diane, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Baltimore, MD *2018; M.S. University of MD Balto. County, MD 2008; B.A. University of Baltimore, MD 2002

Wilson, Lucy, Professor
M.D., University of MD School of Medicine, MD 1996; Sc.M., Harvard University School of Public Health, 1993; B.A., Northeastern University, East Africa, 1988; B.A., The Johns Hopkins University, MD 1989

Yang, Jaeyoung, Visiting Lecturer
B.S., University of Maryland Baltimore County, MD, 2016


Finberg, Keegan, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of California-Santa Cruz, CA, 2015; M.A., University of California-Santa Cruz, CA, 2012; B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, NY, 2006

Lashley, Katherine, Lecturer
Ph.D., Morgan State University, MD, 2016; M.S., Drexel University, PA, 2010; M.A., Notre Dame of Maryland University, MD, 2008; B.A., Notre Dame of Maryland University, 2007

Tran, Sharon, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of California-Los Angeles, CA, 2017; M.A., University of California-Los Angeles, CA, 2013; B.A., William E. Macaulay Honors College at Queens College, NY, 2010

Gender and Women’s Studies

Barr, Elizabeth, Visiting Lecturer
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI, 2017; M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI, 2014; M.S., Towson University, MD, 2011; B.A., University of Maryland Baltimore County, MD, 2009

Information Systems

Purushotham, Sanjay, Assistant Professor

Mathematics and Statistics

Baek, Seungchul, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of South Carolina, SC, *2018; M.A. Yonsei University, Korea, 2005; B.A., Yonsei University, Korea, 2001

Mechanical Engineering

Chen, Ruey-Hung, Professor & Chair
Ph.D., The University of Michigan, MI, 1988; M.S., The University of Michigan, MI, 1984; B.S., National Cheng-Kung University, Taiwan, 1981

Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication

Daniel, Maren, Visiting Lecturer
Ph.D., Rutgers University, NJ, 2018; M.A., Rutgers University, NJ, 2011; B.A., St. Olaf College, MN, 2007

Golubeva, Irena, Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of PECS, Hungary, 2009; M.A./B.A. Herzen State Pedagogical University of St. Petersburg, Russia, 1992

Perez, Marcos, Visiting Lecturer
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, MD, 2017; B.A., Johns Hopkins University, MD, 2007

Sutton, Brett, Visiting Lecturer
Ph.D., Georgetown University, DC, 2017; M.S., Georgetown University, DC, 2015; B.S., Boston University, MA, 2005

Zhdanovych, Vira, Lecturer
M.A., Kiev Higher Banking School, Ukraine, 1997; M.A. Kiev University of Dramatic Art, Ukraine, 1988; Kiev-West Liberal Arts School, Ukraine, 1984


Campbell, Todd, Lecturer
Ph.D., Indiana University of Pennsylvania, PA, 2015; M.M., West Virginia University, WV, 1997; B.A., West Virginia University, WV, 1993

Naval Science

Feinstein, Barry, Clinical Assistant Professor
B.S., Georgia Institute of Technology, GA, 2013

Grenier, Meghan, Clinical Assistant Professor
B.A., Norwich University, VT, 2014

Political Science

Stokan, Eric, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., George Washington University, DC, 2016; M.A., Wayne State University, MI, 2007; B.A., Wayne State University, MI, 2005


Schacht, Rebecca, Assistant Professor and Clinic Director
Ph.D., University of Washington, WA, 2011; M.S., University of Washington, WA, 2006; B.A., University of Washington, WA, 2001

School of Public Policy

McLaren, Zoe, Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Michigan, MI, 2010; B.A., Dartmouth College, NH, 2000

Social Work

Belfiore, M. Nicole, Clinical Instructor
Ph.D., The Catholic University of America, DC; MSW, University of Maryland at Baltimore, MD; B.A., Oberlin College, OH


Pace, Chelsea, Assistant Professor
M.F.A., Arizona State University, AZ; B.A., Binghamton University, NY

Visual Arts

Holeman, Erica, Visiting Lecturer
M.F.A., Maryland Institute College of Art, MD, 2017; Oklahoma State University, OK, 2008

Tedlock, Evan, Assistant Professor
M.F.A., University of Southern California, CA, 2018; B.F.A., Kansas City Art Institute, MO, 2010