Announcing our spring 2014 grants from the Hrabowski Fund for Innovation


Re-playing the Past: Building a Digital Game for the History Classroom – A team led by Anne Sarah Rubin, Associate Professor of History, brings together history and game development to immerse students in Civil War Baltimore. Linking history and computer science/visual arts courses through gamification, graduate historians and undergraduate game developers will collaborate to create a game prototype that both engages and educates students in the “world” of the past. By playing the game, students will better understand the limits of knowledge, resources, and abilities that confronted and confounded people who participated in historic events.


The Future of Feedback: An Audio-Only Response to Writing – A team led by Sally Shivnan, Senior Lecturer in English and Director of the Writing and Rhetoric Division, will address the challenges of providing quality feedback on students’ writing by exploring audio comments as a way to produce effective, timely comments on student drafts. Using iAnnotate, a popular Apple mobile and tablet application, the team of faculty investigators will measure the effectiveness of audio-only commenting on student drafts to determine its impact on student learning and retention, as well as the faculty experience.

Proposals for the next round of Innovation Fund grants are due by Friday, October 10. Please consider submitting an application. For more information about the fund, visit

The Hrabowski Fund for Innovation, developed with support of major grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Heinz Awards, is a testament to UMBC’s strong track record of finding novel approaches to teaching and scholarship. The Fund exemplifies the university’s commitment to being a leading public university through investment in faculty initiatives that fuel creativity and enterprise and challenge students to take an active role in their education.

Asian Studies Food Pantry Program

With assistance from a Breaking Ground grant from UMBC, The Asian Studies Program has started a food pantry for low-income Asian senior citizens at Longwood Apartments in Columbia, Md. Asian Studies student interns enrolled in ASIA 399 are working on the food pantry and are translating for the Chinese and Korean residents in the apartment complex. The Asian Studies Council of Majors (ASCOM) is also assisting.

This is a wonderful learning experience for students, but we need your help! Last semester we had 20 residents requesting food. This semester it has jumped to 90 residents — over a 400 percent increase.

We are collecting non-perishable Asian and non-Asian food donations year round from our campus. Look for the red collection boxes on the first floor of the Administration Building, Commons by the reception desk, the RAC, The Shriver Center in Public Policy and the first floor of the University Center.

Suggested items are:

  • Asian noodles (ramen, potato, cellophane, rice noodles, etc.)
  • Seaweed
  • Canned tuna
  • Spam
  • Canned mackerel
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Canned fruit packed in its own juice
  • Canned vegetables (water chestnuts, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots especially appreciated)

Again, we accept any type of non-perishable food donations. The food collection is ongoing as we are trying to deliver food on a monthly basis, if we can collect enough food. We will also pick up large non-perishable food donations from your office.

If you would like to request a collection box for your building, please contact Julie Rosenthal, 410-455-2094 or

UMBC Hosts College Affordability Roundtable with Senators Cardin and Mikulski

College_Affordability-0302President Freeman Hrabowski, UMBC experts, and several current undergraduate students met with Maryland’s U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski on Thursday, Sept. 4 to discuss the ways loan debt impacts students’ college experiences, future plans, and careers.

The College Affordability Roundtable, hosted by UMBC, gave the Senators an opportunity to hear directly from students about how they are financing their education, their experiences with financial aid programs and services, and the challenges of course and graduate completion related to accumulated debt.

College_Affordability-0306Throughout the event’s open—and often candid—dialogue, UMBC students shared their stories about financing their higher education and explained its impact on their lives and aspirations. Many of the students echoed concerns when dealing with college affordability, such as understanding and navigating complex state, federal, and private financial aid programs.

UMBC experts in financial assistance, advising and counseling offered their perspectives to the group and emphasized the importance of submitting financial aid applications sooner and establishing a plan to ensure students are successful in their degree path.

Interviews from two UMBC students, Chris Harried and Lisa Dang, can be heard in a recent WBAL Radio story covering the event.

Call for Proposals: Hrabowski Innovation Fund 2014-15

Please consider submitting an application for the 2014-15 application process for the Hrabowski Innovation Fund.

The deadlines for submission are October 10, 2014 for fall submissions and February 13, 2015 for spring submissions. Check out the submission application for proposal guidelines and other information.

Linda Hodges and the Faculty Development Center are happy to work with you as you develop your ideas and the proposal itself. Please note, they will be offering offering a workshop on Writing a Compelling Hrabowski Innovation Fund grant on Thursday, September 18 from 2:30-4 p.m. in Commons 329Register Today.

We are very pleased to announce two key changes to the program this fall:

  1. The addition of a third category of grants, Adaptation Awards, designed for projects that build on previous successful innovative approaches to pedagogy or programs. The maximum amount for this award is $10,000.
  2. Award periods now extend to 24 months, allowing for applicants to propose more complex or time-intensive projects. The same maximum amount of money applies as in the past, but the grant period is extended.

Please note also that for those projects that will require ongoing funding after the grant period, a plan for providing this support must be included from your Dean or other unit officer with primary budget responsibility.

Fall Opening Meeting 2014 (8/21)

Each year, at the start of the fall semester, the UMBC community comes together to welcome colleagues and students back to campus, celebrate our achievements and launch the beginning of a new academic year. Please join President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous at the Fall Opening Meeting on Thursday, August 21, in the University Center Ballroom. A light lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the program begins promptly at noon.

It will include the President’s annual State of the University Address and welcoming remarks by Provost Rous. Incoming freshman, transfer, and graduate students also will talk about why they chose to join the UMBC community.

Convocation – Fall 2014 (8/26)

The Convocation ceremony will take place on Tuesday, August 26 at 3:30 p.m. We encourage you to participate in the academic procession that symbolizes for our talented and enthusiastic new students the community of scholars they have joined. President Hrabowski will address the gathering and Dr. Marie desJardins, Presidential Teaching Professor for 2014-17, will make brief remarks.

If you plan on participating, please fill out the online registration form as soon as possible so we can ensure you have a reserved seat at the event and place at the picnic.


Regalia pick-up will take place at the Bookstore beginning August 18. Faculty and staff must pick up their regalia at the Bookstore by August 22. Faculty and staff are asked to return their regalia to the Bookstore after the ceremony.


Faculty and staff are asked to arrive for procession line-up no later than 3 p.m. The line-up location is the first floor lobby of the University Center (UC), located between Sherman Hall (formerly Academic IV) and the Meyerhoff Chemistry Building. There will be a table where you can leave personal items under the attendance of a student marshal; however, this will not be in a locked room, so we encourage participants to leave any valuables in their offices.

After lining up, faculty and staff will lead the procession of new students through campus to the RAC and will welcome them at the doors to Convocation. In order to ensure the ceremony starts on time and to keep the procession moving, we ask all faculty and staff to refrain from shaking hands with students and, instead, clap to welcome them as they pass by.

In case of inclement weather, or if completion of the new construction of the walkway to the RAC is delayed beyond the currently anticipated schedule, an announcement of an alternative line-up location will be made the morning of Convocation.


After Convocation, all faculty and staff are invited to join new and returning students for a free community picnic from 4:30-7 p.m., on the Quad. In the event of inclement weather, the community picnic will be moved to the Residence Life Dining Hall. If you plan to attend the community picnic, please be sure to fill out the Convocation online registration form by August 15.

UMBC Again Named a “Great College to Work For”

To: The UMBC Community
From: President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous

For the fifth consecutive year, The Chronicle of Higher Education has named UMBC one of the best academic workplaces in the nation. UMBC is among just 92 colleges included in the Chronicle’s full list of “Great Colleges to Work For” and is the only four-year public university on the “honor roll” recognized as exceptional in almost every category.

Each year, the Chronicle asks faculty and staff across the country to rate their workplaces on a host of factors. The assessment also includes an analysis of demographic data, benefits, and workplace policies at each participating college. The Chronicle’s 2014 results are based on responses from over 43,500 people at nearly 300 public and private institutions nationwide, including UMBC.

This year, UMBC received high ratings in 11 recognition categories:

  • Collaborative Governance
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Confidence in Senior Leadership
  • Diversity
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Professional/ Career-Development Programs
  • Respect and Appreciation
  • Supervisor or Department-Chair Relationship
  • Teaching Environment
  • Tenure Clarity and Process
  • Work/Life Balance

This recognition affirms what we all know: UMBC is a community that truly cares about people. Each day, our faculty, staff, and students demonstrate that excellence and inclusiveness go hand in hand.

Thank you for all you do for the UMBC community.