Professional Staff Senate (PSS) 2014 Elections – Now Live

Professional staff members on campus are encourage to vote in the Professional Staff Senate (PSS) 2014 elections process which will run from Monday, April 21st to Friday, May 2nd.

This year, the PSS will be filling five open senate seats through the elections process. Every vote counts! New this year, voting will be facilitated through the PSS myUMBC page. All professional staff members on campus are automatically enrolled in the PSS myUMBC page and should have access to vote in the elections by clicking on the “Discussions” tab during the elections time frame (Monday, April 21 to Friday, May 2). Don’t forget to review the ballot and then cast your vote!

Questions or concerns about the PSS 2014 elections process? Contact PSS Vice President, Joshua Lubben at

Volunteers Needed for Spring Commencement Ceremonies (5/21 & 5/22)

It’s the time of the year when we ask for your help with May Commencements!  This year, the Undergraduate ceremony at the Baltimore Arena will be held on Thursday, May 22.

To volunteer, click here, select “Undergraduate Ceremony” and register.  You will see a brief description of the jobs available and the number of staff needed. If you prefer a particular job, sign up now before they are filled. You will receive a confirmation e-mail after you submit your selection.

Volunteer training will take place on Tuesday, May 20 at 2 pm in the Commons 331. Transportation will be provided to the Arena on the day of commencement with the bus leaving Administration Drive at 9:30 a.m. and returning 30 minutes after the ceremony.

Volunteers are also needed to help with the Graduate School Ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, May 21 at 10:00 am in the RAC.  You may use the same link as above and just select “Graduate Ceremony”.

If you have questions regarding the Undergraduate ceremony, contact Erin Johnson at or ext. 5-5897.  For questions regarding the Graduate School ceremony, contact Lisa Portis Morgan at or ext. 5-8142.

To celebrate your efforts, we will once again host a Commencement Volunteer Thank You in January for those of you who assist with the May and/or December ceremony.  Look for further information in the late Fall.

Advancing Excellence: The Student Experience

Our UMBC: A Strategic Plan for Advancing Excellence is founded on a broadly inclusive process. With campus input, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee identified four areas widely viewed as drivers of future success for UMBC: The Student Experience, Innovative Curriculum and Pedagogy, Collective Impact in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Achievement, and Community and Extended Connection. A strategy group will explore and recommend goals for each area, and will recommend metrics to assess how well we are addressing our objectives.

This is the first in a series of interviews with the co-chairs of each focus area.

StrategicWebSeries01-9431The primary goal of The Student Experience Strategy Group is examining ways to create vibrant, exceptional and comprehensive undergraduate and graduate student experiences that integrate in- and out-of-classroom learning to prepare graduates for meaningful careers and civic and personal lives. Student Experience Strategy Group Co-Chairs Devin Hagerty, professor of political science and program director of global studies, and Kim Leisey, associate vice president of student affairs, believe that students continue to prioritize a strong sense of community and belonging, a theme that will help inform their work as co-chairs.

Both Hagerty and Leisey bring important perspectives to the Strategy Group research, which will examine the roles of safety, community and belonging; preparation in and out of the classroom; the impact of diversity; participation in global citizenship; delivery of services; and faculty and staff infrastructure.

While Hagerty’s focus is academics and Leisey’s is student affairs, the collaborative nature of the campus helps them to see the big picture and hear from all members of the community. As former chair and now program director, Hagerty’s work centers on the classroom experience, but he also has worked with students in a variety of settings, including bringing workshops into residence halls. “I’ve seen all of the student issues, both academic and personal, and the relationships I have across campus have been helpful to that experience,” he explains. On the other hand, although Leisey’s work focuses on both undergraduate and graduate students, she also works closely with faculty and staff across the campus.

As they begin their work as co-chairs, Hagerty and Leisey say they are reflecting on how the campus and the student experience have changed since they first came to UMBC 13 and 23 years ago, respectively. UMBC has grown into a nationally and internationally recognized institution, and an inclusive strategic planning process is critical to understanding the needs of its students and the role the university plays in a rapidly changing world. Both feel it is important to make sure students feel they are a part of a community, and are connected with and supported by the institution.

“I’ve worked with both undergraduate and graduate students and I get a lot of input from them,” says Leisey. “For me, co-chairing this group is an opportunity to share that input and focus on what we want UMBC to look like in the next few decades – what exists now and what’s missing. In doing that, we also have to project what’s ahead in the world and the impact that will have both in and out of the classroom.”

Hagerty agrees, sharing, “This also is a good opportunity to audit ourselves as we are proactive, creative and innovative in keeping up with the student body. There’s a lot we do well, and it’s good to take a fresh look to make sure we’re doing as well as we think. We try to excel at everything, and we want to stay on the map without losing the liberal arts teaching. We want to know how that feels for students: How do they interact with all of the different parts of the campus and what kind of experience do they have?”

UMBC is well known for its diversity. Leisey explains that one challenge is taking advantage of that diversity in helping people connect and provide experiences that help students learn about one another – and find commonalities among the differences. Hagerty adds that it is important to understand the student experience as a whole, and how it transforms and prepares students for the future. “The challenges students have now are preparing them to be global citizens and professionals.”

While the role of technology has grown exponentially, both feel that students may be missing more face-to-face connections. “I’d like to better understand the role of technology [in the student experience], but I have a hunch that, although this generation is connected technologically, they miss just being with people,” says Leisey.

Hagerty and Leisey would like to receive input on the student experience from students and colleagues across the campus, and look forward to meeting with focus groups during the strategic planning process. They also welcome questions and comments from the campus. You can contact them at and

Choice Jobs Flying Fruit Fantasy Fruitshakes – OPEN FOR THE SEASON

FFF IS OPEN FOR THE SEASON – Choice Program’s Flying Fruit Fantasy Fruitshakes opened for the 2014 season on April 1st!

Springtime brings forth a time of growth, awakening, and for UMBC’s Choice Program, springtime also brings FRUITSHAKES! For over 20 years, UMBC’s Choice Program has been serving up Fruitshakes at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. In 2011, the social enterprise expanded to the Inner Harbor and has seen substantial growth in community impact! Each year, 50 young people from Baltimore City and County receive on-the-job-training while developing the skills needed to blossom into wonderful employees.

Following a Supported Employment Model, AmeriCorps Community Service Learning Fellows cultivate a space for the young people to learn about teamwork, customer service, communications and dependability!

Visit Flying Fruit Fantasy Fruitshakes today for a Fruitshake, Smoothie, or Frozen Yogurt and receive a dollar off any FFF item by mentioning this Insights Weekly Post! We are located on the main concourse at Oriole Park, section 28, and in front of the Science Center in the Harbor.

Sherri Braxton-Lieber Named Director of Instructional Technology

Dr. Sherri Braxton-Lieber, Special Assistant to the Provost and Director of Course Redesign at Bowie State University (BSU), has accepted UMBC’s Director of Instructional Technology position in the Division of Information Technology. She will start full-time on Tuesday, May 27, and serve as the primary point of contact for DoIT’s instructional technology support efforts.

Everyone Must Reset Password and Create Security Questions

In an effort to improve campus security and better protect user information, DoIT is requiring that everyone with a UMBC account must change his or her password by May 23, 2014, unless this has already been done this calendar year. This will apply to all myUMBC account holders — students, faculty, staff and alumni. With the rise of phishing emails and events such as the recent Heartbleed compromise above, we feel it is necessary for security. As part of this effort, everyone will also be required to provide an alternate email address and create account security questions. Once in place, all users will then be able to reset their password through a self-service page.

Visit the DoIT website for more information.

Performance Management Process (PMP)

March 31st marks the end of the PMP rating period (April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014). UMBC requires supervisors to evaluate the performance of all regular/grant-funded exempt and non-exempt employees. The deadline for submission of the PMP forms to the Department of Human Resources is Friday, May 2nd.

For additional information, click here. If you have any questions, please contact Elmer Falconer at ext. 5-3645 or Shobhna Arora at ext. 5-1638.

2014-15 Faculty Mentor Positions Available

2014-2015 faculty mentor positions in the UMBC residential community are available. These positions are open to full-time UMBC faculty who are interested in interacting with students in the residential community. These are paid positions and provide an excellent opportunity to get to know and interact with students outside of the classroom.

Contact David Clurman at if you are interested in learning more about this opportunity.

IRB Committee Members

The Institutional Review Board (IRB), the formally designated UMBC committee to approve, monitor, and review research involving humans, is actively seeking faculty to serve on the IRB as members. Members serve on the IRB for a three (3) year renewable appointment where they review research protocols, attend meetings, and discuss issues with the aim to protect the rights and welfare of the research subjects. Members have expertise in different areas to ensure that research protocols are evaluated fairly by knowledgeable individuals.

IRB member responsibilities
• Reviewing research study proposals and consent documents and evaluating them from the perspective of the federal human research regulatory criteria as well as other relevant ethical, scientific or compliance considerations.
• Evaluating the risk level (i.e., minimal or greater than minimal) of proposed research.
• Determining a protocol’s full approval, approval subject to modification(s), reconsideration, or disapproval of the human subject research.
• Reviewing and evaluating research studies subject to IRB continuation approval
• Participating in IRB deliberations concerning issues inherent to human research studies and recommending improvements to IRB procedures to enhance UMBC’s IRB review process and/or human subject protections.
• Attending IRB meetings

Time requirement
The board typically meets five (5) times during the academic year: October, December, February, April and June. Meetings are on Mondays from 10 am-12 pm.

Most of the protocols we receive are eligible for expedited review; members review on the average 15-20 new and/or continuing protocols each academic year. Occasionally the IRB reviews a protocol in need of a full review.

Please contact Tim Sparklin, Office for Research Protections and Compliance (ORPC) or Susan Sonnenschein (IRB Chair) if you are interested in becoming a member by May 31, 2014. We are anticipating the member appointment beginning in July 2014. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to the OPRC at