Vice Provost Patrice McDermott Calls for Gender Equity in Peer Review

As guest editor of the spring 2014 issue of Peer Review, Patrice McDermott, vice provost for faculty affairs, coauthored an introductory essay that calls for greater inclusivity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

While the United States seeks to increase the number of STEM workers, the number of women STEM graduates decreased by 39% from 2001 to 2010. In order to reverse this trend, McDermott and co-author Kelly Mack advocate for growing the number of female faculty members, which has been shown to have positive effects on retaining female students. The article states, “We need a fundamental reconsideration of women faculty as a powerful and untapped resource for meeting our goal of achieving a well-prepared and highly diversified STEM workforce, now and in the future.”

Click here to read “The Twenty-First-Century Case for Inclusive Excellence in STEM.” Renetta Tull, associate vice provost for graduate student development and postdoctoral affairs, also contributed to this issue of Peer Review. Click here to learn more.

Renetta Tull: Equity in STEM

Renetta Tull, Associate Vice Provost of Graduate Student Development and Postdoctoral Affairs, is seeking equity in STEM for all.

RenettaTull was recently the lead author on an article for peerReview titled, “The Jessica Effect: Valuing Cultural and Familial Connections to Broaden Success in Academe.” The article begins:

Jessica Soto-Pérez, daughter of Antonio Israel Soto and Luz N. Pérez, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez. She was a promising chemical engineering graduate student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and peer mentor for its National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program—PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP.

Jessica’s future plans included returning to her native Puerto Rico to pursue a career as an engineering professor. Unfortunately, she didn’t reach that goal because in 2004, she was tragically killed by her husband.

Tull makes the argument that institutions need to “definitively invite and actively include the family members and friends of graduate students in informative and celebratory events and programs.” She writes:

This practice of “family and friend” inclusion is the legacy of Jessica. It ultimately achieves several purposes including, but not limited to (1) serving as an advising model that faculty and administrators can utilize to both recognize and value the cultural and familial connections of their graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and colleagues in the STEM disciplines, (2) promoting an understanding of the university experience among those who may not be familiar with academic processes and timelines, (3) reducing feelings of isolation on the part of students and family members, and (4) expanding the opportunities for family members to offer their students the support necessary for degree completion.

Tull is now heading to the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, D.C. to participate in “A New America: Empowering Hispanic Millennials for Tech Leadership,” organized by the National Journal and The Atlantic.

Tull will discuss how we can reverse the trend of Hispanic underrepresentation in STEM professions and better prepare Hispanic students for high tech careers. Other event participants include U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas; Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council for the White House; Rafael Bras, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology; Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics; and Deborah Santiago, Co-Founder, COO and Vice President for Policy of Excelencia in Education.

UMBC Upward Bound Reflects on Peer Leadership in Capital News Service

Corris Davis, director of UMBC Upward Bound, and academic counselor Brittany Walker ’12, sociology, spoke to Capital News Service about how Upward Bound is changing to better serve low-income students. Upward Bound, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, teaches low-income high school students skills in leadership, communication and academics.

UMBC Upward Bound supports 140 students from east Baltimore and Baltimore County. Since 2007, the program has trained graduating students to mentor high school students. As a senior in high school, Walker became a peer leader for underclassmen and said the program “[brought] everyone together as one.”

Now, peer leadershp has become a mainstay of the Upward Bound program and Davis presented on UMBC’s experience with it at the Council for Oppotunity in Education’s national conference this week.

Click here to read “As Upward Bound Turns 50, Program at UMBC Evolves to Serve Students.”

Jim Bailey ’03 and ’08 M.A., History, Speaks at 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony

On Thursday, September 11, Jim Bailey ’03 and ’08 M.A., history, spoke at the 9/11 Commemoration and Flag ceremony at Fort McHenry.

Bailey, a park ranger at the fort, spoke about the moment that changed the country, as well as the community spirit that arose out of tragedy. The national 9/11 flag, which was created out of historic pieces from all 50 states, is on display at Fort McHenry.

This weekend also marks the 200th anniversary of the “Star Spangled Banner” and Bailey will portray Major George Armistead, the commanding officer at Fort McHenry in 1814.

Click here to read about the 9/11 commemoration ceremony and here to read about the national anthem celebrations.

Choice Program Director LaMar Davis Speaks Out on Youth Violence through WYPR, Baltimore Sun

LaMar Davis, director of The Choice Program at UMBC, visited Midday with Dan Rodricks on September 11 to remember four Choice Program participants who were killed in Baltimore this year and discuss youth violence. The Choice Program works with youth who have been in contact with the juvenile justice system, providing intensive mentorship and teaching job skills.

In the interview, Davis reflected on the tragic deaths of Najee Thomas, 14, Keith Powell, 17, Timothy Hall, 15, and Adrian Gilliard, 17, remembering their lives and dreams, and describing their involvement with The Choice Program. He also discussed the systematic social and economic inequalities that lead to violence and how communities need to work together to solve these complex issues.

Davis also wrote an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun about the tragic deaths and called for holistic interventions to combat youth violence.

Click here to listen to the interview and here to read the op-ed.

Diane Lee, Dean of Undergraduate Education, Discusses How UMBC Supports Transfer Students in The Baltimore Sun

A recent article in The Baltimore Sun examines the increased number of students transferring into Maryland colleges and universities.

Diane Lee, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, spoke to the Sun about how UMBC supports transfer students, including new efforts enabled by a major grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to eliminate some of the major challenges these students face, such as with transferring credits necessary to fulfill degree requirements.

Lee explained how UMBC’s close partnership with community colleges plays a major role in this work. For example, UMBC officials have interviewed local community college faculty to learn what types of support to offer transfer students, including an early warning system for struggling students to quickly connect them with support.

“When we talk about the importance of welcoming transfer students, it’s real on this campus,” said Lee.

Click here to read “More students transferring in to Maryland universities.”

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, on MSNBC

Tom SchallerOn Sunday, September 7, Political Science Professor and Chair Thomas Schaller appeared on MSNBC’s “Up with Steve Kornacki,” to analyze the future of the Democratic party in the South. Schaller is author of Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South (Simon and Schuster 2006).

Schaller participated in an engaging panel discussion with political consultant Steve Jarding, NBC News Senior Political Reporter Perry Bacon Jr., and MSNBC Political Analyst Joan Walsh. The group discussed what the 2016 presidential election could look like in the South for Hillary Clinton and how it may be different from the 2008 and 2012 elections.

“Clinton’s states are Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee…Kentucky. Obama’s states are new South states, the states with the most non-native Southerners: Florida, Virginia, North Carolina,” Schaller said. “So Democrats are going to win in the South, but they aren’t going to win in the ‘bubba’ states.” He added, “the notion that Democrats are going to win with economic populism…if they can’t win on economic populism after the greatest financial crisis in 60 years, then when are they going to win? When are white, working class Southerners going to move Democratic if not in 2007, 2008, 2009?”

To view Schaller’s main segment on the program, click here. Links to other parts of the segment can be found in the “more clips like this” section.