Brian Grodsky, Political Science, Op-Ed in Al Jazeera America

As Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a bill that completes Russia’s annexation of Crimea, nearby Poland is keeping a watchful eye on the developing situation.

Brian Grodsky

Brian Grodsky, an associate professor of political science, wrote an op-ed for Al Jazeera America that explores Polish perspective on the most recent developments. Grodsky is currently a visiting professor at the University of Warsaw, where he teaches classes on democratization and comparative politics. 

“Poles are watching the latest developments in their next-door neighbor with a mix of quiet anxiety and resignation,” Grodsky writes in his column titled, “Poles jittery over Russia’s expansion.” In the article, Grodsky argues Poland has cause for concern.

“For starters, Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to protect ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. Securing Kiev, the source of the problems in Ukraine, would be a logical and easy next step for him. Putin has also warned “meddlers” farther west, including Poland and Lithuania, that they are under watch,” he writes.

Grodsky adds, “the West’s halfhearted reaction to Russia’s takeover of Crimea has made it clear to a growing number of Poles that they will be, at the end of the day, largely on their own in the face of a Russian threat.”

To read the full column in Al Jazeera Americaclick here.

Justin Vélez-Hagan, Public Policy, Op-Ed in Fox News Latino

In an op-ed on the Puerto Rican debt crisis published March 20 in Fox News LatinoPublic Policy Ph.D. student Justin Vélez-Hagan argues default will be inevitable as a more than $1 billion deficit is expected to round out the current fiscal year. Vélez-Hagan is also executive director of the National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce.

“Puerto Rico’s well-known dependency on credit first made public waves when every credit-rating agency gave Puerto Rico a vote of no confidence last month, citing major liquidity concerns as the biggest culprit for the downgrades,” Vélez-Hagan writes.

To dig itself out of the debt crisis, Vélez-Hagan adds: “[Puerto Rico] has to shed its fat by yanking off the fiscal Band-Aid and restructuring its debt. Speculators will suffer the most, and may have the loudest complaints, but after the initial shock Puerto Rico will finally have the chance to break its cycle of deficit-spending and will only then have another opportunity to make the right decisions that ensure long-term economic prosperity.”

You can read the full column in Fox News Latino here.

Kate Brown, History, Wins Environmental History Book Prize

plutopiaHistory Associate Professor Kate Brown has won the 2014 George Perkins Marsh Prize for her book, Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2013).

The award is given by the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) for the best book in environmental history. Brown received her prize March 15 in San Francisco at the annual ASEH conference.

Last fall, Brown presented a Social Sciences Forum on Plutopia which explored the work and research behind her book. More information can be found here.

Meredith Oyen, History, on CNBC News Website

Meredith OyenMeredith Oyen, an assistant professor of history, is quoted in a CNBC News article about the five-man alternative rock band from Taiwan known as Mayday that is set to kick off a tour in the United States this month.

In the article, Oyen says music groups like Mayday are beginning to become more popular in countries around the world: “Mayday is starting to challenge the assumption that English-speaking pop stars are global stars, and Chinese-speaking acts are only regional ones,” she said.

Oyen is currently in China serving on a Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (Beijing) external evaluation panel to evaluate U.S. history courses taught at several Chinese universities. As part of the trip, she gave a lecture at Minjiang University called “The Meeting of Minds: Academic Exchanges in US-Chinese Relations.”

To read the full CNBC article that Oyen is quoted in, click here.

Robert Provine, Psychology, on BBC News Website

A new Duke University study finds that contagious yawning is linked more closely to a person’s age than their ability to empathize, and it shows a stronger link to age than tiredness or energy levels.

Robert Provine

Psychology Professor Robert Provine was interviewed for a BBC News article about the study and said it was “unique” because it marked the first time a link between ageing and contagious yawning had been demonstrated.

The scientific study of contagious behavior, including yawning and laughing, was conducted in Provine’s lab at UMBC and the new Duke study involved application of his previous methods for examining contagious yawning.

Provine said the findings would “help to get down to the neurological nitty-gritty of contagious behaviors” and mental health disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, adding, “contagious acts such as yawning and laughing remind us that we are often mindless beasts of the herd, not rational beings in full conscious control of our behavior.”

To read the full article on the BBC News website, click here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun

In his latest column published in The Baltimore Sun, Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller writes about growing political polarization at the national level at the same time forces are eliminating divided government on the state level.

Tom Schaller

“The American states have cleaved into red and blue subsets. In all but three — yes, three — of the 49 states with bicameral, partisan state legislatures (Nebraska is unicameral and non-partisan), one party controls both chambers,” Schaller writes.

As the balance of power between parties is becoming more even at the state level, Schaller writes divided government continues to prevail on the national stage.

“The first two years of Mr. Obama’s presidency saw unified Democratic control, but the next four have been divided and the last two almost certainly will be — the same pattern during his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton’s term.”

To read the full op-ed titled, “Adapting to a politically divided nation,” click here.

Donald Norris, Public Policy, in The Baltimore Sun

The 2014 campaign for Maryland governor is intensifying, and candidates in both parties are moving forward with proposals on taxes and spending as Election Day nears in November.

Donald Norris UMBC

Public Policy Professor and Chair Donald Norris was interviewed for an article published March 14 in The Baltimore Sun about the race for governor and the various education expansion and tax cut proposals from candidates on both sides.

“This is campaigning as usual,” Norris said. “Promise, promise, promise in order to win as many votes as you can on these promises — and then worry about it when you get in office.”

To read the full article titled “Candidates make many promises — but how to pay for them?” in The Baltimore Sunclick here.

UMBC Jazz Festival (3/28, 3/29, 4/4)

The UMBC Jazz Festival, with performances by the Faculty Jazz Ensemble, the Maryland All-State Band, the UMBC Jazz Ensemble and the Larry Willis Trio, begins this Friday, March 28. All performances will take place in the Fine Arts Recital Hall.

Faculty Jazz Ensemble, March 28, 7:30 p.m.
Maryland All-State Jazz Band, March 29, 7:30 p.m.
UMBC Jazz Ensemble in concert with the Larry Willis Trio, April 4, ?? p.m.

Learn more at our Arts and Culture Calendar

Gum by Karen Hartman (3/27-30)

t7lTWblMGdpsKoNOB-Nv0UF6j17K2IErzh9OL8kZLz8Gum, a production written by Karen Hartman, opens this Thursday, March 27 under the direction of Eve Muson, theatre, and will continue on through Sunday, March 30. Performances will take place in the Black Box Theatre.

In a futuristic dystopia where girls may not venture outside their garden walls, two sisters seek escape in music and poetry–and in black-market chewing gum, which is believed to undermine the virtue of traditional girls.  When the older sister rebels against an arranged marriage, her family takes steps to curtail her freedom forever.  With mounting terror, Gum depicts the consequences of sexual awakening in a fiercely repressive culture where Juicy Fruit is contraband and every desire has its price. This production is for mature audiences.

Thursday, March 27 | 8:00 p.m.
Friday, March 28 | 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 29 | 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 29 | 8:00 p.m. (Followed by a discussion with playwright, Karen Hartman)
Sunday, March 30 | 2:00 p.m. (Followed by a panel discussion)

The Sunday, March 30 panel following this performance, will focus on modesty, and the social and religious practices of veiling the body. Speakers include Anne Brodsky, Associate Dean in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Kate Drabinski, Gender and Women Studies; Vicki Goutzoulis ’15; Deanna Zare ’14; Benjamin Nabinger ’16; and Amalia Marks ’13. Moderated by Sameera Mukhtar ’15.

Purchase tickets at, or learn more at our Arts and Culture Calendar.

Frank Wiens, Piano (3/27)

frank-wiens-5-3-091-360x450Join us Thursday, March 27 at 8:00 p.m. in the FIne Arts Recital Hall, for a concert featuring pianist Franks Wiens.

Frank Wiens has concertized extensively throughout the United States and abroad, including highly praised recitals in New York and London. He has twice toured South Korea, and gave his recital debut on the European continent in Vienna in 1987. In 2006 Frank Wiens appeared as soloist with the “Orchestra Dinu Lipatti” in Romania, and gave recitals devoted to the music of Chopin at the Chopin Academy and at the Lazienki Palace on Water in Warsaw, Poland. Learn more at our Arts and Culture Calendar.