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.

Visual Arts Welcomes First Long-Term, Artist-in-Residence, Neja Tomšič

imageThe first long-term, artist-in-residence for UMBC’s Department of Visual Arts, hosted by IMDA and the Visiting Artists Lecture Series, is Slovenian artist Neja Tomšič. Tomšič will be in residence for five weeks this fall, from October 9 until November 12. There will be several public events and many opportunities to interact with Neja Tomšič.

Neja Tomšič co-founded the Museum of Transitory Art (MoTA) in 2008 and has been involved in strategic planning, international collaborations and development of an artist residency program. MoTA is a multidisciplinary platform dedicated to the research, production and presentation of transitory, experimental and live art forms. For the past two years Tomšič has also been in charge of MoTA’s educational programming and has developed an online platform, together with various Polish organizations, to archive and share public programs such as artists talks, workshops, discussions and symposia. She hopes to research practices of archiving transitory works and strategies for audience development and engagement.

This residency was made possible by CEC ArtsLink. ArtsLink Residencies offer artists and arts managers from 37 overseas countries five-week residencies at non-profit arts organizations throughout the US. The program enables artists and communities across the US to share artistic practices with artists and arts managers from abroad and engage in dialogue that advances understanding across cultures.

Please contact Lisa Moren, Visual Arts, for more information on exchanges with her this fall.

Luke Ford Named Director of Men’s Basketball Operations

Luke Ford has been named Director of Basketball Operations for the UMBC men’s basketball program, head coach Aki Thomas announced in July, 2014.

The Charlottesville, Va. native graduated from the University of Virginia in May of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree of Arts in foreign affairs along with coursework related to basketball analytics, statistical analysis, psychology in sports and exercise, and management accounting.

During his four years at Virginia, Ford was the head manager for the men’s basketball team, which was named as a number one seed in the most recent NCAA Championships.

The newest member of the Retriever staff has also developed advanced metrics designed to improve player chemistry, shooting mechanics, and defensive strategy.

Ford also played four seasons of basketball at Albemarle (Va.) High School and served as co-captain during his senior season. He received the Patriot Award for his exemplary team leadership.

UMBC Technology Catalyst Fund Request For Proposals

Need support to advance an idea?

The UMBC Office of Technology Development (OTD), under the Office of the Vice President for Research, is happy to announce a new initiative, the UMBC Technology Catalyst Fund, which is designed to advance innovations originating from UMBC research to more commercially viable technologies.

UMBC plans to make several awards up to $25,000. Awards will be for a six- to twelve- month period. No overhead will apply.

All UMBC members with Principal Investigator status are eligible to apply as long as the technology to be developed has been previously disclosed to OTD.

The final deadline for proposal submissions is Tuesday, September 30, 2014. Please be advised that several preliminary steps must be completed prior to final submission and applicants are advised to contact OTD at least 3 weeks in advance of the deadline.

Interested applicants should contact Wendy Martin, Director, OTD at

Director of Office of Sponsored Programs

To: The UMBC Campus Community
From: Karl V. Steiner, Vice President for Research

It is my duty to inform you that Tina Stanger, the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), has submitted her resignation effective July 30, 2014. She has accepted
a new position as Director of Contracts and Grants Management at MedStar Health
Research Institute starting August 1.

Tina has over 20 years of experience in research administration and started her tenure at
UMBC in the Office of Sponsored Programs as a Grants and Contracts Manager in 2007.
She became the Assistant Director in 2009 and hired as the Director in 2012.

During her time at UMBC, Tina earned her Master of Arts degree from UMBC, a Master’s certificate in Government Contracting from George Washington University, and became a Certified Research Administrator. Besides her own personal training,Tina supported OSP staff training as well as campus wide training programs. She drafted several policies, procedures, and implemented several key committees to assist UMBC in managing its extramural awards.

Through her expertise, skill and collegial open personality Tina has made significant
contributions in so many ways. We will miss her professionalism, energy and most of
all her laugh. Please join me in wishing her the best in her future endeavors.

We have launched a national search and the position has been posted online for a new
Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs. Please continue to communicate with your OSP representatives for any issues that arise. Dean Drake, the Assistant VP for Research will assist OSP with Director level support
until a new Director is hired.

Hindi 101 Offered in Fall 2014

Working together with MLLI, Asian Studies will be offering Hindi this fall. The course is now available for enrollment. Seating is limited to 25, so please register as soon as possible if you are serious about learning Hindi.

The instructor, Uma Saini, built the Hindi program at Johns Hopkins and will help launch the program at UMBC. She also authored the textbook which the class will be using.

Update on the Campus Entrance Project

Nearly a month into the New Campus Entrance project, an important construction project to upgrade the roadways, pedestrian pathways and parking surrounding the main campus entrance, construction is well under way in several locations across campus, including the Plaza and Administration Garage.

Campus Plaza

The main entrance to campus officially closed late last week and temporary signage has been posted to direct people to alternate routes to access the Retriever Activities Center (RAC), Admin Building and other parts of campus. We are in the process of installing permanent pedestrian detour signs to clearly mark access routes.

In an effort to increase accessibility to campus during construction, we will be making several alterations around the entrances between Administration Garage and the campus detours, including renovations to the walkways surrounding the upper level of the garage and upgrading the detour path between Sherman Hall and the Admin Building.

Campus Entry Road

The work area of the campus entry road, the location on the east side of the Administration Garage (the corner of Hilltop Circle and Admin Dr.), will be expanded starting the week of July 7. Crews will begin preparing the site for the construction of a new parking area that will include access to the Administration Garage, scheduled for completion later this year. This work will consist of standard site clearing, vegetation removal and re-grading.

In keeping with our tree and vegetation conservation efforts, all trees, shrubs and plantings that could be successfully transplanted, have been, and more trees will be added. Any trees and plantings that are removed during this project will be recycled as mulch to be used on campus.

Please visit the Campus Entrance website and join our myUMBC group to receive news and updates and stay apprised of how construction on this project may impact you.

Retriever Exchange myUMBC Group

Do you have supplies, equipment or materials that your department no longer needs? Join the “Retriever Exchange” and give these items to another department on campus. Click here to join.

This group is similar to “Freecycle” in that a UMBC department can advertise that they have office supplies or items that are no longer of use to them. The items will only be offered to another UMBC department, and will be available free of charge.

The idea is to use UMBC’s supplies and resources to the maximum extent possible. This is an easy way for UMBC departments to save money because departments will be able to keep their budget costs down by not having to purchase something that is sitting useless in someone elses office. It also promotes a “green” environment for our campus, and prevents perfectly good items from going to a landfill.

Advancing Excellence: The Foundations Work Group

While UMBC’s strategic planning will chart the future, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee is beginning its process with a realistic look at the foundations needed to support campus development.
StrategicPlanning-4949The Foundations Work Group is led by Lynne Schaefer, vice president of administration and finance. “As we were developing the four strategic focus areas, ideas about infrastructure and the current state of the university came up,” Schaefer explains. “We realized that, in order to talk about how we need to grow, we have to make sure that we understand where we are now. That discussion evolved into a plan to review five key foundational areas in order to determine how we continue to build a successful future for UMBC.”

The Foundations Work Group’s key areas include people, resources, facilities, technology/business practices and environmental sustainability. A review of the current status of each area will help assess history, strengths, “pain points” and opportunities. For example, the group will look at how the University invests in people by examining the current state of professional development and training, wellness, faculty and staffing ratio comparisons, and faculty mix, as well as qualities that make UMBC a great place to work, and future trends. Additional information about the data being assembled in the five key areas is available here.

“Providing a broad view of where we are now will allow us to look at ourselves realistically and build from where we are,” says Schaefer.

The group will create a data gallery that will be on view at the University Retreat in August, and the gallery will be accessible online for the entire campus by the start of the fall 2014 semester.

Bruce Walz, Strategic Planning Steering Committee co-chair and Foundations Work Group member, describes, “Rather than have each of the strategy groups attempt to find out such information relative to their area on their own, we decided to make this information available in a central data gallery that each group could access and interact with.”

“This approach ensures that all groups will be accessing the same data set, and reduces the potential for overlapping and multiple requests to various campus constituencies,” Walz explains. “Because the Foundations Working Group will continue to be a functioning group during the planning process, the available data will be dynamic and we will be able to effectively address specific requests from the strategy groups.”

The Foundations Work Group members are subject matter experts, as well as other campus leaders who can provide context and input into the five key foundational areas. They include Dorothy Caplan, president, Non-Exempt Staff Senate, and executive administrative assistant, College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences; Philip Farabaugh, professor of biological sciences; Tanvi Gadhia, environmental sustainability coordinator; Julianne Simpson, assistant director, facilities planning; Jack Suess, vice president, information technology; Valerie Thomas, associate vice president, human resources; Charlene Uhl, director of budget/resource analysis; and Bruce Walz, chair, Academic Planning Committee, and professor and chair, emergency health services.

Members also will serve as consultants to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and four strategic planning strategy groups as questions or needs for analysis arise, and will contribute to the overall strategic planning process. The group plans to meet periodically with UMBC’s faculty and staff senates, as well as the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Association.

Schaefer says that the inclusiveness of the strategic planning process, as well as the thoughtful planning that has gone into it, have helped to establish an important road map for the future.

“The UMBC community has many shared values and aspirations, and it’s great to see us all coalesce around what I think are really significant aspirational focus areas, while at the same time looking at the status of our foundational areas so that we can move forward from strength,” says Schaefer.