Catonsville Arts & Crafts Festival (9/13)

Catonsville is gearing up for the 42nd Annual Arts & Crafts Festival on Sunday, September 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 250 vendor spaces will be filled by unique craft artisans offering handmade, one-of-a-kind creations along with local businesses and civic groups showcasing their best. In addition to a fabulous shopping opportunity, the festival features a full array of food, live entertainment and children’s activities, making it one of the highlights of the year with something for everyone. And admission is free.

Typically drawing between 20-25,000 visitors each year, the Catonsville Arts & Crafts Festival emphasizes unique talent. Craft vendors must make their own merchandise, musicians are drawn from the mid-Atlantic region to perform on two stages all throughout the day, specialty vendors and local restaurants will offer everything from crab cakes to gourmet caramel corn and ice cream, and children’s activities and support services are provided by local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops and churches.

The Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be able to host this landmark event in its 42nd year thanks to the generous sponsorship of Brightview Rolling Hills & Brightview Assisted Living of Catonsville, Charlestown Retirement Community, Coldwell Banker, Dole Pineapple Dippers, Kumon North America, M&T Bank, Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland, Russel Toyota, Today’s 101.9 FM and We Love Catonsville.

New crafters this year include those creating fused glass artwork, baby gifts, olive oil infusions, metal garden art, woodcarving, papercraft, custom jewelry, and even crafts made from unique materials such as Lego® bricks and crab shells. Returning vendors will offer a wide array as well with glass etched, stained or painted, Ravens and Orioles themed household items, photography and fine art, woodcrafts, children’s gifts, and a tremendous variety of fine and costume jewelry.

The sounds of live music will fill street from one end to the other, with everything from classic rock, blues, country and R&B to reggae, jazz and even barbershop harmony. Performers include Automatic Slim and Jim Harrell, Bodkin Creek, Sundown, Blues State, the Bob Margolis Band and many more.

Variety is also the theme for food choices with Italian specialties from Franco’s Italian Bistro, crab cakes by Catonsville Gourmet, hotdogs and hamburgers by Taneytown Deli, and gourmet pizza from Peace A Pizza, plus BBQ, creole specialties, gyros, and crab pretzels. When it’s time for dessert, options include fresh baked goods from Baba’s and the Village Junction Bakery as well as frozen treats from You Scream Ice Cream and Picnic Pops and funnel cakes from Ships Café. In addition, the Catonsville Farmers Market will be open directly adjacent to the Arts & Crafts Festival, offering an assortment of fresh produce, gourmet food and other specialty products.

All children are invited to the KidZone for a swashbuckling good time with pirate themed crafts, games and other activities.

It’s a day of crafts, food, music and fun for all!

F. Chris Curran, School of Public Policy, Writes About Teacher Overtime Policy in Education Week

F. Chris Curran, a new assistant professor in the School of Public Policy, recently wrote a letter to the editor about including teachers in overtime pay discussions that was published in Education Week. In the letter, Curran referenced President Obama’s announcement of plans for changes in overtime-pay regulations, noting that provisions of the proposal would prevent teachers from seeing benefits from the policy.

Chris Curran“While teachers hoping for an extra paycheck may be disappointed, the national conversation on what President Obama calls a ‘fair day’s pay’ should not be allowed to pass the schoolhouse by. It is an opportunity to recognize, and remediate, the fact that teachers in this country are underpaid relative to the requirements and importance of their jobs,” Curran wrote.

He added: “The call for increasing teacher pay is not new, but if policymakers are ready to acknowledge that a salary below $50,000 necessitates compensation for overtime hours, then we should also recognize that teachers are no exception. We know that who is in front of the class has important implications for student outcomes.”

Curran joined the School of Public Policy faculty this month, and he conducts research on education policy with an emphasis on improving educational outcomes for underserved and disadvantaged youth. His research interests include early childhood education, school discipline and safety, teacher labor markets, and politics of education. Read more on the School of Public Policy website. Curran also published an op-ed earlier this month in The Tennessean in which he outlined future opportunities for NashvilleNext, a strategic plan for Nashville’s growth that was recently adopted by the Metropolitan Planning Commission.

Christelle Viauroux, Economics, Finds that Mandatory Life Jacket Use Could Reduce Recreational Boating Deaths by 80 Percent

Christelle ViaurouxA new study by Christelle Viauroux, an associate professor of economics, found that requiring recreational boat operators to wear life jackets would increase the odds of surviving a boating accident by 80 percent. Viauroux conducted the study with Ali Gungor of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Standards Evaluation and Analysis Division and the findings were published in Risk Analysis.

The researchers used data from 2008 to 2011 from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) and compared life jacket use to other factors affecting fatalities in recreational boating.

A major goal of the research was to assess the impact of a mandatory life jacket policy on the recreational boating fatality rate. “However, such a major and controversial policy cannot be implemented without a thorough investigation of life jacket effectiveness. A lot of the work focusing on reducing recreational boating fatalities lacked the availability of life jacket use data,” the authors wrote in their published findings.

The research recently received news coverage in U.S. News Health. The story noted that from 2008 to 2011, making life jacket use mandatory would have likely led to a 20 percent increase in life jacket use by recreational boaters and “the researchers estimated the increased life jacket use would have saved more than 1,700 boaters and more than 1,200 drowning victims.” Read “Mandatory life jacket laws could reduce boating deaths” in U.S. News.

Read more about Christelle Viauroux’s research and a press release announcing the findings of the study.

Master’s in Public Policy Info Session (9/28)

Thinking about getting a graduate degree at UMBC? Learn about the UMBC Master’s Degree in Public Policy (MPP) at an information session on Monday, September 28 at 5:00 pm in Public Policy Room 438 on the UMBC campus. Enjoy a light dinner and talk with faculty and current students about the field of public policy, career opportunities, and how to apply to our MPP program. Those interested in the PhD are also invited to the session.

This event is open to prospective students on and off campus. To register, e-mail your name, year, and major to Sally Helms (

Provost’s Teaching & Learning Symposium (9/25)

The second annual Provost’s Teaching and Learning Symposium will be held on Friday, September 25, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the University Center. This symposium, part of the Hrabowski Innovation Fund initiative, will bring together UMBC faculty and staff to discuss ways to promote and explore student learning through pedagogical innovation and assessment.

There will be poster presentations, a SpeedGeeking session (if you haven’t experienced this fast-paced way to share a useful or innovative idea, you’re in for a treat!), and a workshop on developing and using rubrics for grading and assessment. The day will be full of exciting ideas, chances to brainstorm with colleagues about teaching, and good food to fuel our efforts.


Wellness Wednesdays: Know Your Numbers for Optimum Health and Cardio Fitness Condition (10/7)

Interested in finding simple yet impactful ways to weave wellness into your professional and personal life?  If so, please join faculty and staff colleagues for Wellness Wednesdays the first Wednesday of each month (September to June) from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the RAC Lobby.  Each session offers information, resources, and/or immersion into different wellness modalities that are supported at UMBC.

Facilitated by John Jancuska, Head Baseball Coach, Physical Education and Recreation Supervisor at the RAC and other fitness staff members along with Mickey Irizarry, Health Education Coordinator with University Health Services, this session will assess the state of your “Cardiorespiratory Fitness,” heart health, and body composition.  You will have your cardio respiratory (CR) fitness assessed by utilizing the YMCA 3 Minute Step test.  This is a simple test that persons at all levels of CR fitness should be able to perform.  Blood pressure, body composition, and Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings will also be offered by University Health Services.  If you’d like to participate in the UHS screenings, please refrain from eating or drinking 3-4 hours beforehand.  In addition, this session will include demonstrations of different Cardio activities in the RAC that can be used to achieve and maintain healthy CR conditioning.

The workshop will be Wednesday, October 7, 2015 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. Meet in RAC Lobby. Space is limited and registration is required. Register by Friday, October 2, 2015.