Ellen Handler Spitz, Honors College, Writes Essay in City Paper for National Library Week

For National Library Week, Honors College Professor Ellen Handler Spitz wrote an essay in City Paper that examines the value of borrowing books, especially children’s books, from the library.

"Inside Picture Books" by Ellen Handler Spitz

“Feeling rebellious over our dizzying speed-mad era of e-books, e-readers, digital and virtual realities, I want to advocate for the practice of borrowing a good old-fashioned book from the library—especially now, during National Library Week. I want to remind everyone of the simple joy of settling down in a cozy nook, turning well-worn pages, and reading aloud to a child,” Spitz writes.

She discusses the value of reading children’s books of the past and maintaining links among generations, while also focusing on the importance of fostering imagination and creativity in young readers.

“With no slight intended but rather my sincere appreciation to the wonderful children’s book authors of today, I urge you to check out the classics of the past. Borrow them from your library. Share them with the children in your life.  Their quality rewards sustained attention—hushed, absorbed hours. Read alone or with an adult, they allow today’s children to slow down, to turn away from trivial distractions, and to expand inwardly in historic time, from generation to generation…”

To read the complete essay titled “Remembering Children’s Books of Yesteryear During National Library Week,” click here.

Laura Hussey, Political Science, on MarylandReporter.com

A Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate forum held at Towson University April 17 drew attention to college student participation in the upcoming election.

Laura Hussey

Laura Hussey, an assistant professor of political science, was interviewed for an article posted on MarylandReporter.com, and she noted interest groups and political parties tend to notice when candidates devote their time to appealing to younger voters – the generation that will serve as the future workforce behind their causes.

“The Obama campaign benefited from appealing to college students greatly,” Hussey said. “There are benefits beyond the actual votes.”

To read the full article  on MarylandReporter.com, click here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun

In an op-ed published in The Baltimore Sun on April 15, Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller writes about how the increased use of credit cards will likely lead to more consequences than fraud. In addition to loss of consumer privacy, Schaller writes relying exclusively on credit cards leads to another big cost: the burden of servicing credit debt.

Tom Schaller

“When big banks get over-leveraged, they turn to the government for bailouts. And guess what? So do individuals: Americans’ average credit card balance dropped after the financial crisis — which sounds like good news until you learn that the decrease resulted from millions of people simply defaulting on their debts,” Schaller wrote.

He added the banks holding debts have to make up for their losses, so “even if you diligently pay the full monthly balance on all your credit cards, indirectly you’re subsidizing not only Visa and MasterCard, but the banks covering their losses from credit card defaulters.”

To read the full column titled “Paper or plastic?” in The Baltimore Sun, click here.

Visual Arts Faculty and IMDA Candidate in Socially Engaged Art Journal

Visual arts faculty Tom Beck, Tim Nohe and Steve Silberg, and IMDA candidate, Charlotte Keniston were featured in the first edition of Socially Engaged Art Journal (SEAJ).

“Engaging Community: Art and Food In Baltimore City” written by Charlotte Keniston discusses the artists’ work and UMBC thesis project centered upon food deserts in Baltimore; “My Station North” focuses on a collaborative exhibition by Keniston and Nohe, in which they work with children at Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School to document the Station North neighborhood of Baltimore through sound and photography; and “The Hughes Remix Project” written by Beck and Silberg details the development of the new Project archive containing “175 remixed, reinvented, reinterpreted, and reimagined images of Baltimore street scenes, promotional and advertising work, businesses, churches, schools, monuments, factories, machinery, and portraits.”

SEAJ is an online publication that showcases the work of artists whose practice, community art or social design is socially engaged. The first issue is titled “Baltimore.”

Piotr Gwiazda, English, Publishes a Review in The Times Literary Supplement

Piotr Gwiazda, Associate Professor of English, has published a review of Beautiful Twentysomethings by Polish writer Marek Hłasko (1934-1969) in the April 4, 2014 issue of The Times Literary Supplement.

Professor Gwiazda describes Beautiful Twentysomethings as “primarily a literary memoir. Hłasko adeptly recreates the world of his fellow writers, poets, critics, actors, film directors — the ‘beautiful twentysomethings’ of his title who, despite the repressive political climate of the 1950s, ‘kept faith that the moment would come when it would be possible to say: ‘No.’” He also notes that the book “shines a spotlight on emigration as a major theme in Polish literature.”

MFA Thesis Exhibition in City Paper

imageThe MFA Thesis Exhibition, now on display in the CADVC, was mentioned in an article by City Paper‘s Baynard Woods last week. The article highlighted UMBC’s well connected Visual Arts faculty, staff and MFA candidates in relation to the Baltimore arts community. Woods also mentions IMDA candidate Lexie Mountain’s performance piece exhibited at the opening, Fred Worden Cuts A Couch In Half With A Chainsaw.

Read “Art Seen” at City Paper‘s website.

George Derek Musgrove, History, Op-Ed in The Washington Post

Washington, D.C. hasn’t directly funded its shadow delegation to Congress, the city’s official statehood lobby, since the first elections for the positions were held in 1990. However, just last week, Mayor Vincent Gray released a budget for fiscal 2015 that includes $100,000 for the delegation.

Derek Musgrove

George Derek Musgrove ’97, history, assistant professor of history, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post titled, “D.C.’s shadow delegation: It’s not the money, it’s the strategy,” in which he argued the money could help the delegation, but only if it changes its approach.

“Since its creation, the shadow delegation has focused its energy on lobbying members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Though its efforts get support from the small number of members who already favor statehood, the delegation has never been able to persuade those on the fence, let alone outright opponents, to support their cause,” Musgrove wrote.

Musgrove wrote in order to attain its goals, the delegation must learn from lessons in D.C.’s history, such as the campaign for the D.C. Voting Rights Amendment.

“The 2015 budget could give the shadow delegation funding it needs to expand its lobbying operation. But the history of the struggle for D.C. self-determination teaches that, to have any success, it needs to adopt a strategy that can reach the folks back home,” he adds.

To read the full op-ed in The Washington Post, click here.

Robert Provine, Psychology, in The New Yorker

An article published April 15 in The New Yorker explores the surprising science behind yawning and what makes it so unique. Psychology Professor Robert Provine, author of Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond, was interviewed for the article and commented on his research studying the concept.

Robert Provine

“Yawning may have the dubious distinction of being the least understood, common human behavior,” Provine observed. The article discusses Provine’s studies that explored contagious yawning, one of which found eighty-eight per cent of people who were instructed to think of yawns yawned themselves within thirty minutes. It also examines how the contagious nature of yawning may be highlighted by something very different than empathy, but rather as a form of communication.

“We’re getting insight into the human herd: yawning as a primal form of sociality,” Provine said. “It’s often said that behavior doesn’t leave fossils,” he added. “But, with yawning, you are looking at a behavioral fossil. You’re getting an insight into how all of behavior once was.”

To read the full article in The New Yorker, click here.

Donald Norris, Public Policy, in The Washington Post, The Diamondback, and Baltimore Jewish Times

An article published in The Washington Post April 15 examines the steps Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has taken during the last year in preparation for a potential White House bid in 2016. The article states O’Malley has been pivoting toward the left and has energized the Democratic base on issues such as gun control, same-sex marriage and raising the minimum wage.

Donald Norris UMBC

Public Policy Professor and Chair Donald Norris was interviewed for the article and said it is clear to many that O’Malley is attempting to appeal to the left ahead of the 2016 election.

“I think everybody in Maryland who pays any attention to politics has come to that conclusion,” Norris said.

Norris was also interviewed for an article in The Diamondback on the state legislature taking a very different look next year after Gov. O’Malley’s term comes to an end and with 25 percent of the legislature changing. Norris said the state leadership system will be an important factor next year.

“As long as that structure remains in place, losing or changing 20, 30, even 40 delegates and senators doesn’t actually change the operation of those houses,” Norris said.

Norris was also interviewed for an article in the Baltimore Jewish Times about a Maryland legislative session recap. The complete article can be found here.

To read the full article in The Washington Post, click here. For the complete article in The Diamondback, click here.

Judah Ronch, Erickson School, in The Baltimore Sun

Judah RonchAn article published April 9 in The Baltimore Sun explores how Columbia resident Shirley Johannesen Levine has entertained audiences around the country with her puppetry skills and her company Puppet Dance Productions, with a focus on her recent trip to the Ellicott City Senior Center.

Erickson School Dean Judah Ronch was interviewed for the article and said productions such as Johannesen’s not only provide entertainment for elders, but they can support wellness.

“At any age, interaction is key to a sense of engagement and meaning of life,” Ronch said. He added interactive activities such as puppet shows can promote autonomy and self-esteem. They can also help elders with dementia positively respond to an environment that isn’t overwhelming. “The more you can do for engagement, the better,” he added.

To read the full article in The Baltimore Sun, click here.