Dennis Coates, Economics, in City Paper

Baltimore’s City Paper published an article on November 25 that examined the city’s current public construction boom, which by some estimates may exceed $10 billion, comparable to what was spent nationally by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

Dennis Coates

Economics Professor Dennis Coates was interviewed for the article and explained that the public projects would likely increase the local economic growth rate by close to 15 percent.

“It is certainly a construction jobs program, and I would contend it will affect growth positively, though precisely how much, especially in the short term, is questionable,” he said. “Avoiding broken water mains and the problems those cause is enormously beneficial, even if there is negligible impact on growth. The mayor’s office is not publicizing this, so in that sense it is invisible, but when water-main work is under way, that will be very visible.”

To read the full article titled “Baltimore’s New Deal: WPA-level spending has the power to remake the city, but much of it might be going away,” click here.

Sunil Dasgupta, Political Science, in International Relations and Security Network News

Sunil DasguptaSunil Dasgupta, director of UMBC’s political science program at the Universities of Shady Grove, recently published an article in the International Relations and Security Network (ISN) digital library. In his article titled “What is Asia? A Security Debate between Alfred Mahan and Barry Buzan,” Dasgupta argued that Chinese and American security policies are making “one Asia” a more distinct reality. He compares the viewpoints of naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan, who was a defender of national power, and Barry Buzan, the influential Canadian and British scholar of international relations, who was an advocate for the regional security complex.

“Those who, like Mahan, believe in the immutability of geography see the rise of China—the only power that physically connects four of Asia’s five regions—as leading to the rebirth of Asia as a singular strategic entity, returning the continent to the days before the Vasco da Gama epoch,” Dasgupta wrote.

“But Buzan’s construct of many Asias remains resilient. From a theoretical point of view, the concept of balance of power requires a defined set of balancers, or a security complex. Without clear referents and limitations on who should be counted as part of the balance, there can be no game,” he added.

To read the full article published November 21 in the ISN digital library, click here.

Donald Norris, Public Policy, Writes Baltimore Sun Op-Ed

In advance of the UMBC public policy program 40th anniversary celebration, Donald Norris, professor and chair of the department, wrote an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun in which he defended the value of studying public policy to meet the growing demand for public servants who can improve government at all levels.

Donald Norris UMBC

In the column, Norris discussed the strength of the UMBC public policy program in educating students to make a strong, local impact after graduation: “Over the past 40 years, the public policy graduate program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) has grown from 12 master’s students to 135 doctoral and master’s students. One key to our success is the program’s focus on issues impacting the state,” Norris wrote.

“The UMBC public policy program welcomes students from many nations and many states, but the majority of our students are from Maryland, and the majority of our graduates remain in Maryland. Moreover, at a time when fewer and fewer college students say that they want to work in the public sector, more than half of UMBC’s public policy students who graduated in the last 10 years are employed by Maryland state and local government, federal agencies and nonprofits,” he added.

Norris was also quoted in two recent Baltimore Sun articles analyzing the clout of Maryland’s congressional delegation after the election and a failed loan repayment from Anthony Brown’s campaign. To read the column and articles, click below.

Public policy schools more relevant than ever (Column)
Clout for Maryland lawmakers in Congress slips after midterm elections
Brown failed to repay $500,000 on time 

Tim Gindling, Economics, Interviewed in World Bank Jobs and Development Blog

Tim Gindling, economics, was interviewed for the World Bank Development and Employment blog about his work on self-employment in the developing world.

Gindling joined Gary Fields from Cornell University and David Margolis from the University of Paris in an interview focused on why self-employment is so prevalent in developing economies, and what governments could do to improve the standard of living of self-employed workers in those economies.

Click here to read “A Better Life for the Developing World’s Self-Employed.”

Robert Provine, Psychology, in Time

On November 19, an article published in Time examined laughter and if it really has any health benefits. Psychology Research Professor/Professor Emeritus Robert Provine was interviewed for the article and commented on the complexity of laughter’s health benefits. Below is an excerpt from the article:

Robert Provine

Provine calls himself a “reserved optimist” when it comes to laughter’s health-bolstering properties. “One of the challenges of studying laughter is that there are so many things that trigger it,” Provine explains. For example, you’re 30 times more likely to laugh around other people than when you are by yourself, he says. Social relationships and companionship have been tied to numerous health benefits. And so the social component of laughter may play a big part in its healthful attributes, Provine adds.

Here’s why that matters: If you’re going to tell people they should laugh to improve their health, there may be a big difference between guffawing on your own without provocation, watching a funny YouTube clip or meeting up with friends who make you laugh, Provine says.

“That doesn’t mean the benefits aren’t real,” he adds. “But it may not be accurate to credit laughter alone with all these superpowers.”

To read the complete article, click here.

Anne Rubin, History, on WYPR’s Humanities Connection, Receives Wall Street Journal Book Review

On Thursday, November 20, History Associate Professor Anne Rubin appeared on WYPR’s Humanities Connection to discuss her research and digital humanities project, “Mapping Memory: Digitizing Sherman’s March to the Sea.” The project uses digital storytelling to explore Sherman’s historic 1864 March to the Sea during the Civil War. On December 2, Rubin will further discuss her research with Visual Arts Associate Professor Kelley Bell at the Humanities Forum at UMBC.

Through the Heart of Dixie

Earlier this year, Rubin published, Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and American Memory (UNC Press 2014). In the book, Rubin analyzes stories and myths about Sherman’s March, one of the most symbolically potent events of the Civil War, as a lens for examining how Americans’ ways of thinking about the Civil War have changed over time.

On November 14, the Wall Street Journal published a review of Rubin’s book. Written by author Fergus M. Bordewich, he states: “Anne Sarah Rubin…offers an engrossing exploration of the ways in which the march has been recounted and understood over the years. She notes that it ‘has come to stand for devastation and destruction, fire and brimstone, war against civilians, and for the Civil War in microcosm.'”

He later adds: “Ms. Rubin is more interested in the often contradictory ways in which white and black Southerners, and Union veterans, remembered the march…In essence, there is no single story of Sherman’s March but thousands, and though the Union forces wreaked havoc on the towns in Sherman’s path, their actions do not add up to the apocalyptic barbarism that plays such a role in Lost Cause mythology. That mythology, Ms. Rubin makes clear, was crafted by the Jim Crow politics and resurgent Southern chauvinism of the post-Reconstruction period.”

To read the complete review titled, “The Path to Power,” click here (subscription required).

Performing Arts and Humanities Building Reviewed in Baltimore Business Journal

UMBC’s Performing Arts and Humanities Building received a positive review in the Baltimore Business Journal in an article published November 18. Written by Klaus Philipsen, president of ArchPlan Inc., an architectural firm in downtown Baltimore, the review describes how the building is poised to make a lasting impact: “…this state-of-the art performance venue, designed by top-level experts, will indeed let students create community. It gives UMBC — and Baltimore County — a cutting edge in the region.”

Photo by Marlayna Demond

Photo by Marlayna Demond

The author comments on specific features of the building and highlights the PAHB’s ability to house several different academic programs while providing modern facilities and spaces for performances, teaching, and research.

“The 176,000-square-foot center accommodates a diverse program ranging from classrooms for philosophers and English majors to dance and music studios, a concert hall, black box and proscenium theaters and a high-tech recording studio.” He later adds, “each theater, music room, practice studio and classroom represents perfection of its own, visually, functionally and acoustically.”

To read the complete review titled, “UMBC’s new arts building creates community,” click here.