Craig Saper, LLC, Named Bearman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship

SaperCraig Saper, professor and chair of Language, Literacy, and Culture (LLC), has been named the Bearman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship.

“Dr. Saper is a scholar of large achievement and great energy, whose talents and interests make him a superb choice for the Bearman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship,” said John Jeffries, dean of the college of arts, humanities, and social sciences (CAHSS).

The Bearman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship was established by The Herbert Bearman Foundation to acknowledge and honor the contributions of Dr. Arlene Bearman to the UMBC community. This chair recognizes and supports outstanding teaching skills, an interest in entrepreneurship, and a strong record of scholarship in entrepreneurial studies or a field related to entrepreneurship.

“Since arriving on campus, Dr. Saper has been a whirlwind of research and teaching activity deeply anchored in commitments to social entrepreneurship,” said Bev Bickel, associate professor and former chair of LLC.

This three-year endowed position will provide Saper with funding to integrate entrepreneurship concepts into classroom instruction, advising, and scholarship. Saper will also work with the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship and Kauffman grant activities, and with the Administrative and Managerial Sciences program.

“My research is deeply anchored in commitments to social entrepreneurship that I have been studying throughout my career,” said Saper.  His recently-released book, Intimate Bureaucracies, examines social entrepreneurship during the creation of the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan in the 1960s-1980s.

Saper is planning two projects during the course of his Bearman chairmanship.  The first will examine the social entrepreneurship involved in the building of shared memorials and monuments. His research will focus on the entrepreneurs who organized and made the memorials possible.

Saper’s second project will explore the possibility of establishing a digital e-press at UMBC, which is he doing in collaboration with colleagues in the Library, the English department, the media and communication studies program and LLC as part of the campus’s larger Digital Humanities efforts.

“I’m interested in being a participant-observer of this group-entrepreneurial effort that works within, and for, UMBC’s institutional structure and the larger demands of academia and legitimate scholarship,” he said.

But Saper’s objective as the Bearman Foundation Chair isn’t just to achieve his research goals – it’s to offer a new vision of what entrepreneurship can mean.

“Hopefully, at the end of my term I will have promoted a progressive model of entrepreneurship that offers an alternative to Ayn Rand’s outlaw heroes. In the new model, entrepreneurs are part of communities working cooperatively for public space, public schools and the public good not renegades and raiders,” he said.

Center for History Education Introduces “Children’s Lives at Colonial London Town”

UMBC’s Center for History Education (CHE) has recently unveiled the Children’s Lives at Colonial London Town: The Stories of Three Families project, a digital storybook about real people who resided in London Town, a colonial-era trading port near Annapolis, Maryland. The project is the result of a collaboration between the CHE, elementary school teachers from Anne Arundel County Public Schools, and Historic London Town and Gardens. The U.S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History Grant Program provided funding.

The stories were developed through graduate coursework under the direction of Dr. Marjoleine Kars, chair and associate professor of history at UMBC, and Mary Davis, Anne Arundel County Public Schools resource teacher. The teachers working with Kars realized that focusing on children would generate interest among their 4th and 5th grade students studying the colonial period. The resulting narratives provide insight into the daily lives of three different families.

The teachers worked at London Town with Lisa Robbins, director of education, to research the children’s lives, making use of available primary sources like documents and artifacts, as well as secondary sources on the history of childhood. The resulting narratives span the early 1700s to the American Revolution. Read together, the stories are an inclusive portrait of life in London Town in the eighteenth-century colonial south. As a teaching resource, the book can be used across the disciplines and in a variety of subject areas.

The Children’s Lives at Colonial London Town website, which was developed by UMBC’s New Media Studio in conjunction with the CHE, has a number of interactive features, including maps, a timeline, and glossary.  Site visitors will also find additional background information on the people and places in the stories and learn more about present-day London Town. The website is an example of the digital humanities work taking place within UMBC’s Department of History.

The Center for History education seeks to strengthen and invigorate the teaching of history in Maryland schools through innovative professional development programs and resources for elementary, middle and high school educators. Graduate courses and summer institutes assist K–12 educators in enriching their history curriculum.

The project was the recipient of the 2012 Social Studies Program of Excellence Award from the Middle States Regional Council for the Social Studies, an affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies.

For more information, contact che@umbc.edu