September-October 2014 SkillSoft Resource Highlight: Certification Exam Preparation

Did you know that our SkillSoft program at UMBC supports your coursework preparation for many IT, Desktop, and Business Certifications?  Update and expand your skill set with certification coursework for more than 100 industry certifications, including those offered by:  Project Management Institute, Oracle, Microsoft, Human Resource Certification Institute, International Institute of Business Analysis, and many more.  As a UMBC employee, your access is free for all SkillSoft certification prep courses and materials, including live mentors, study mode prep, and testprep exams.  (Skillsoft may not cover all exams required for any given certification.  Check on specific certification requirements from the certifying organization.)  After you have completed all required coursework, you can pay and sit for the exam at a certified testing center in your area.

Visit the SkillSoft website for more information about certification coursework that SkillSoft provides.  Click on the ‘Certification Matrix’ link at the bottom of the homepage for a full list of certification preparation courses offered.

To schedule a customized department presentation about using SkillSoft for professional development, contact Jill Weinknecht Wardell at ext. 5-1442 or

Eric Dyer, Visual Arts, Exhibits “Copenhagen Cycles” in New York

CphCycles_Polser-zoeEric Dyer, Visual Arts, will be featured in a solo exhibition at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York. His work Copenhagen Cycles: 2006 – 2014 will be on display from September 6 through October 11, with an opening reception on September 6 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Information is available at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts. The exhibition received a preview article on August 15 in Wall Street International.

Thomas Sayre’s “Forum” in the News

Forum by Thomas Sayre, under construction. (Photo: Timothy Nohe)

Forum by Thomas Sayre, under construction. (Photo: Timothy Nohe)

Forum, the public artwork by Thomas Sayre being constructed in front of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building, has been covered by local papers in North Carolina, where the “earth cast” columns were fabricated:

August 12, – First Look: Raleigh sculptor Thomas Sayre – with video here.

August 13, North Raleigh New – North Raleigh seniors dig unearthed art.


Tanya Olson, English, Wins 2014 American Book Award

The Before Columbus Foundation has announced the winners of its 35th Annual American Book Awards. The prestigious American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions.

Boyishly Tanya OlsonTanya Olson, a lecturer in UMBC’s English department, received a 2014 American Book Award for her book Boyishly, published by YesYes Books in May 2013. The book is a collection of poems which explores personal and public constructions of gender, violence, and America and it received the following review from “Good Reads”:

“Tanya Olson’s BOYISHLY is a magic book. It casts a spell upon you. Olson uses language like Gertrude Stein does, building large monuments of sound into humming lattices, where a ‘whale will do as a whale will do, ‘ or where ‘tree forms shapes for tiger’ and ‘tiger takes shape / under tree.’ In this book, Olson writes poems to a future America from beyond the planetary gravestone, where there is only a ‘boyish summer’ and the ‘boyish waters.’ The voice says come back to me. I am not done with you. I was waiting for you all along.”–Dorothea Lasky

Olson will be formally recognized for her award on Sunday, October 26 at the SF Jazz Center, Joe Henderson Lab in San Francisco, California. For more information on the 2014 American Book Awards and to see the complete list of recipients, click here. You can read more about the Before Columbus Foundation here.

Doctoral Program in Gerontology Lecture Series Announces Fall Speaker (10/10)

Debra StreetThe University of Maryland Baltimore and University of Maryland Baltimore County Doctoral Program in Gerontology Lecture Series has announced its fall speaker. Debra Street, Ph.D. will present, “Faces and Places: How Social Relationships and Residential Context Influence Health and Wellbeing in Assisted Living.”

Street, a professor of sociology, chairs the University of Buffalo Department of Sociology. She is the recipient of the 2011 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2013-14 UB Gender Institute Janice L. Moritz Distinguished Lecture Award. She conducts research on issues associated with health and income security over the life course.

The lecture is scheduled for Friday, October 10 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. in the UMBC Commons room 331.

Truman Scholarship Information Session (9/24)

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships ($30,000) for graduate study to persons who demonstrate outstanding potential for and who plan to pursue a career in public service. Approximately 55 awards are made nationally each year, with one award given per state and certain territories. In 2014, 24 awardees were students at public universities.

The Truman Scholarship is a prestigious award for which juniors with a record of public service and demonstrated interest in government and politics compete. The Foundation defines public service as employment in government at any level, uniformed services, public interest organizations, nongovernmental research and/or education organizations, public and private schools, and public-service orientated nonprofit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment. Most Truman Scholars seek law degrees or master’s and doctoral degrees in public administration, public policy, public health, international relations, government, economics, social services, education, urban planning, conservation and environmental protection.  However, all majors are eligible. For example, some Scholars have pursued medical, physical science or even business degrees – but these Scholars were able to clearly demonstrate how these degrees would further their careers in public service.

In an effort to increase UMBC’s applicant pool, Tara Yglesias, Deputy Executive Director of the Foundation, will speak with students and faculty on Wednesday, September 24, at 12 noon in room 107 of the Physics Building. 

Please bring this opportunity to the attention of those students who might be eligible to compete this year and of those who might be interested in the future.  If they cannot make the presentation on September 24, they should contact UMBC’s faculty representative, Art Johnson, at or 5-2195. Students should have a strong GPA of at least 3.7.  To apply, students must be nominated by their institution and complete an application, including a policy brief. Dr. Johnson and others will work with each nominee throughout the application process.

The UMBC deadline for expressing interest in applying is October 20 but students are encouraged to speak with Dr. Johnson before then. UMBC applicants must complete their applications no later than January 28, 2015.

Those faculty who are interested in learning more about this competition and UMBC’s application process are encouraged to contact Dr. Johnson and/or attend the presentation on September 24.

John Rennie Short, Public Policy, to Present Lecture at National Heritage Museum

The National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts contains exhibitions, collections and programs based on American history, traditions and culture. It contains the Van Gorden-Williams Library, a research library specializing in American Freemasonry.

John Rennie ShortAs part of the museum’s series on its collection of historic maps, Public Policy Professor John Rennie Short will present an upcoming lecture entitled, “Cartographic Encounters: Native Americans in the Exploration and Mapping of North America.” Short, an expert on the history of cartography, will discuss how Native Americans were an essential element in the European and American exploration and mapping of North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He will use diaries and official reports in describing the role of indigenous people in mapping and exploration. Specifically, Short will focus on Native Americans’ roles as guides, informants and mapmakers.

The lecture is scheduled for Saturday, October 4 at 2:00 p.m. at the National Heritage Museum. For more information, click here.