Eric Ford, Shriver Center, Advises Prospective College Students on Paths to Success in College Express

First-generation and underrepresented minority students can face unique challenges in applying to college and completing their degrees. In an article in College Express, Eric Ford, director of operations for the Shriver Center’s Choice Program, writes about his conversations with four college graduates about the support systems that helped them succeed.

Ford identifies several common factors that helped the students graduate, including high parental expectations, dedicated guidance counselors, and supportive university programs. Ford also discussed UMBC’s Choice Program as providing new opportunities for students who might not otherwise see college as a realistic possibility. He shared, “The Choice Program is just one component of a multifaceted partnership seeking to remove some of the many barriers faced by first-generation college students, and it has shown positive outcomes…exemplifying the shared responsibility between universities, public [K-12] schools, and individuals in breaking down barriers to higher education.”

Click here to read “Common Denominators: College Success Factors Among Minority and First-Generation Students” in College Express.

Preminda Jacob, Visual Arts, Examines Visual Culture and Indian Politics in Scroll

When J Jayalalithaa, a film star turned prominent politician, was convicted of charges involving financial assets, her supporters in the state of Tamil Nadu responded to the verdict by creating billboards and posters representing their feelings of anger and loss. Preminda Jacob, visual arts, spoke to Scroll about the historic connections between cinema and state politics in Tamil Nadu. 

Jacob focused on how Jayalalithaa used images to promote her political career and connect with supporters. “Over the space of half century the population has been very adept on how to read these images,” she said.

Jacob is the author of Celluloid Deities: The Visual Culture of Cinema and Politics in South India.

Click here to read “How Jayalalithaa used posters to transform herself from a film star into the Amma of Tamil Nadu” in Scroll.

Scott Casper, CAHSS Dean, in Talking Points Memo

On October 9, Talking Points Memo (TPM) published a story analyzing the recent controversial College Board decision to release a revised framework on the way AP U.S. history is taught. Since the decision was released two years ago, it has drawn backlash from many who call the new framework unpatriotic and revisionist.

Scott Casper

Scott Casper, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of History, was quoted extensively in the story and commented on recent shifts in American history education. Casper, who edits the “Textbooks and Teaching” section of the Journal of American History, said the debate isn’t exactly new. He said the new framework reflects a shift in teaching history in that more colleges and high schools are emphasizing “historical thinking skills.” He also noted there’s been a shift in topics covered, including incorporating the stories of women, African-Americans and immigrants to a greater extent.

Commenting on the concept of revisionist history, Casper said: “Those who criticize the teaching of what they call revisionist history are certainly part of a long tradition because every time we learn more about the past, we are revising our understanding of the past,” he said. “So in a sense, history is always revisionist.”

To read the full article, click here.

George Derek Musgrove, History, on WAMU’s Metro Connection

On Friday, September 26, WAMU, the NPR affiliate in Washington, D.C., aired a discussion on the history of gentrification and political representation in the nation’s capital. The segment ran on Metro Connection, a weekly news magazine program.

Derek Musgrove

George Derek Musgrove ’97, history, associate professor of history, was interviewed for the story and provided historical context and analysis of gentrification in Washington. Musgrove discussed “The Plan,” a concept that newspaper columnist Lillian Wiggins wrote about in the 1970s and believed would transform the city.

“She believed that whites in D.C. had a plan to come back and take over the city — both its real estate, its physical space, and its politics,” Musgrove said during the segment. He added that it’s important to look more deeply at what Wiggins was describing given the demographics of the city at the time: “I think there were a number of things that caused people to look at The Plan as a viable explanation for what was happening around them,” he said. A major factor, he explained, was “our lack of statehood, and Congress’s ability to meddle in the city’s affairs.”

In a separate segment, Musgrove noted that, “D.C. has had a post-industrial economy for its entire history.” He identified four waves of gentrification in D.C., each lining up with expansion of the federal government. In the 1970s and 80s, there was a burst of development in what had become very poor inner city neighborhoods.

“The rate of displacement in places like Adams Morgan, Logan Circle, Columbia Heights, was astonishing. I mean absolutely astonishing. Developers would buy up in certain cases whole streets, and send out notices: ‘Please get out in the next month, we’re going to be fixing these places up.’ And renters, by the year 1978 just revolted.”

To listen to the full segments, click below:
Is Gentrification in D.C. Going According to “The Plan?”
Why Did African Americans Leave Georgetown?

Donald Norris, Public Policy, on WJZ and WYPR, in the Washington Post

Ahead of Tuesday’s Maryland gubernatorial debate, Public Policy Professor and Chair Donald Norris analyzed what was at stake in the debate and what each candidate needed to accomplish.

Donald Norris UMBC

In an interview on WJZ Channel 13, Norris said, “what each candidate needs to accomplish at the debates is first to look personable so that they don’t turn people off with their demeanor. And secondly, they have to not make any mistakes.” He added, “different people are going to have different perspectives on who wins or who loses — again — unless somebody makes a really big mistake,” Norris added.

On WYPR, Norris commented on the potential impact of the debates. “Debates don’t matter much, especially gubernatorial debates, because nobody watches them,” Norris said. He noted that because debates don’t generally draw a large audience, it would take a major mistake by one of the candidates for voters to notice.

“If somebody makes a big blunder it’ll be all over the television, all over the radio, in the newspaper —  you know: ‘Brown stumbles badly, Hogan doesn’t remember where Annapolis is’ whatever it may be,” Norris said.

Norris was also quoted in a Washington Post article published on October 11 about Gov. Martin O’Malley’s approval ratings.

To read, watch and listen to the full stories, click below:
The Stage is Set for the First Gubernatorial Debate on Oct. 7 (WJZ)
What’s at Stake at First Governor’s Race Debate? (WYPR)
As O’Malley’s approval rating falls, Md. voters not confident in his presidential bid (Washington Post)

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, in the Washington Post

Tom SchallerAn article published October 9 in the Washington Post examined several gubernatorial races in the Northeast where voter unrest has put a number of contests in play in states where Democrats ordinarily win. The article focused on Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maryland as states where this phenomenon is taking place. A recent Washington Post poll showed Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown leading opponent Larry Hogan by a 47 percent to 38 percent margin among likely voters in Maryland.

Political Science Professor and Chair Thomas Schaller was interviewed for the article and said, “people in Maryland, including some Democrats, are bemoaning an uninspired, run-the-clock-out campaign by Brown, who has every structural advantage and needs only to not make any mistakes to win.” He added, “I think voters want to hear more from him than ‘third O’Malley term.’”

To read the full article titled, “Amid voter anger, Democrats struggle to lock down Northeast governorships,” click here.

Schaller was also quoted in an October 11 Washington Post article about Gov. Martin O’Malley’s approval ratings. To read the full article, click here.

Sunil Dasgupta, Political Science, Discusses Asian Military Modernization in Security Watch

Sunil Dasgupta, director of UMBC’s political science program at the Universities of Shady Grove, writes about Asian military modernization programs in the International Relations and Security Network’s Security Watch.

In the article, Dasgupta explains what military programs in Asia indicate about the future of warfare in the region. He writes that Asian nations expect that conflicts will stay regional, but will occur at sea or in unpopulated areas to lessen the human cost of war. Dasgupta’s analysis also shows confidence in nuclear deterrence as well as an expansion into cyberspace and outer space. 

Click here to read “Military Modernization and the Future of Warfare in Asia” in Security Watch.