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.

Zane Berge, Education, Wins Prestigious Association for Educational Communications and Technology Awards

Zane BergeZane Berge, professor of education, has won two prestigious Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) awards. Berge was named the winner of the Distance Education Book Award, which is given for the outstanding book published within the last three years that describes important aspects of distance education, theory, or examples that can help others involved in distance education or research on an important aspect of distance education. The award-winning book Handbook of Mobile Learning (Routledge 2013) was co-edited by Berge and his colleague at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Lin Muilenburg. For more information, click here.

Berge also received the Distance Learning Division Journal Article Award for his publication “Barriers to Communication in Distance Education,” published in the Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education (January 2013). The article describes how improvements in distance education technology have lead to opportunities to overcome barriers to ineffective communication and the complexity of those barriers faced by participants.

The awards were announced earlier this month during the Distance Learning Division luncheon at the AECT annual conference.

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 

Roy Meyers, Political Science, Inducted into National Academy of Public Administration Fellowship Program

Photo Courtesy National Academy of Public Administration

Photo Courtesy National Academy of Public Administration

Earlier this month at the National Academy of Public Administration annual meeting, Political Science Professor Roy Meyers was inducted as a new fellow for the organization. The Academy is an independent, non-profit organization that assists government leaders to build more transparent, efficient, and effective organizations.

The fellowship program includes prominent scholars, former members of Congress, cabinet officers, governors, business executives, and public administrators who provide valuable insight and support, guidance to the organization, and address emerging policy issues while contributing to intellectual and popular discourse on government.

Meyers was formerly a principal analyst with the Budget Analysis Division in the U.S. Congressional Budget Office. For Meyers’ biography page on the Academy website, click here. To read more about the National Academy of Public Administration fellowship program, click here.

Lia Purpura, English, in The New Yorker, Orion Magazine

English Writer in Residence Lia Purpura is featured in the November 24 edition of The New Yorker. The magazine published her poem “Study with Melon.” You can read the poem in The New Yorker by clicking here. The full text of the poem is below:

Lia Purpura

Study with Melon

The stem end of a melon
is weblike, form
finding a pattern
that’s thinking itself
a density
a concentration
beginning a line
then casting it out
and moving on from,
an order established,
a gesture complete.
Completion: how
someone at a distance
might see it.

In addition, Purpura’s essay “In The Despoiled and Radiant Now” appears in the November/December issue of Orion Magazine.

Bill Shewbridge, Media and Communication Studies, and Michelle Stefano, American Studies, to Present “Mill Stories” at SVA Film Festival

UMBC professors Bill Shewbridge (Media and Communication Studies) and Michelle Stefano (American Studies) are screening their film Mill Stories at the Society for Visual Anthropology (SVA) film festival. The screening will take place at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, December 6 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. Below is a description of the film from the SVA Film Festival website:


Recently closed, the Sparrows Point Steel Mill in Baltimore, Maryland helped to shape the lives of hundreds of thousands of steelworkers and associated personnel for over 125 years. Mill Stories: Remembering Sparrows Point presents a collection of personal stories based on ethnographic interviews collected at the time on the mill’s final closing. The film seeks to amplify the voices of former workers as a means of helping to safeguard and promote the living heritage of the recently closed mill and its surrounding areas.

To read more about the Mill Stories project, click here. For more information on the SVA film festival, click here.