Dr. Shawn Bediako Receives Inaugural Marilyn E. Demorest Award for Faculty Advancement

TO: The Campus Community

FROM: Provost Philip Rous

I am pleased to announce that Shawn Bediako, Associate Professor of Psychology, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Marilyn E. Demorest Award for Faculty Advancement. This annual award is provided through an endowment established by Marilyn E. Demorest, Professor Emerita of Psychology and former Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, to support the advancement of all UMBC faculty members in their academic careers; to facilitate their professional development; and to recognize their contributions to faculty advancement and success at UMBC.


Dr. Bediako is recognized for his deep commitment to fostering the professional excellence and career advancement of a wide range of faculty and postdoctoral scholars at UMBC and beyond. His mentoring activities emphasize methods that enhance scholarly productivity and support a meaningful work/life balance. Most recently, in collaboration with Claudia Galindo (LLC), Brandy Wallace Harris (SOCY/ANTH), and Angelica Herrera (formerly of SOCY/ANTH), Dr. Bediako created the UMBC Summer Writing Accountability Group (S.W.A.G.) to help participants maintain their work/life balance and increase their research and writing productivity within a supportive community environment. Over the course of 19 weeks, a total of 60 faculty, administrators, and instructional staff collectively logged more than 1,800 hours of writing time toward advancing their manuscripts, book chapters, and monographs.

During his tenure as the Demorest awardee, Dr. Bediako will work closely with the Faculty Development Center (FDC) to offer a series of faculty development workshops during the Spring 2016 semester that will help faculty and instructional staff members:

  • Learn why and how to align institutional priorities, personal values, and long-term goals
  • Avoid the time management mistakes that many faculty and instructional staff make
  • Develop a consistent daily writing routine to increase research and scholarly productivity
  • Develop a network of support and accountability for academic writing.

Also, Dr. Bediako will consult with Dr. Linda Hodges, Director of the FDC, and other experts on campus to identify the best methods for assessing the effectiveness of the workshops. The evaluation results will be used to determine if this form of professional development should be institutionalized to further promote an intellectual sense of community at UMBC.

Dr. Bediako is a leader in the field of community health psychology and is internationally known for his research on the clinical implications of sickle cell disease stigma and its impact on health-related outcomes. His honors include, among others, the Innovator in Academic Hemoglobinopathies Research Career Development Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and the Champion Award from the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. He also is a member of the UMBC Executive Committee on the Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement of Underrepresented Minority Faculty and one of the founders of the UMBC Postdoctoral Fellowship for Faculty Diversity.

“I am deeply honored to be the first recipient of this award. Dr. Demorest’s generous gift will provide an opportunity for me to collaborate with faculty colleagues across campus and find innovative ways to align our personal and professional goals with the institution’s vision” says Dr. Bediako. “I’m particularly excited about the possibility of partnering with our Faculty Development Center to complement their program and services.”

Dr. Demorest admires UMBC for its commitment to academic integrity, to diversity and the overall success of all of its students. “I am very proud of UMBC and what it has accomplished in the last 50 years,” says Dr. Demorest. “[There are] good reasons why we’ve been the number one up-and-coming national university in the country.” With her gift to UMBC, she hopes that this legacy can continue through the next 50 years.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Bediako on this recognition and supporting his work with the Faculty Development Center.

Important Information About Open Enrollment

The annual Open Enrollment Period runs from Thursday, October 15 and closes Monday, November 16. During this time, employees can make changes to their health benefits.

The following are several reminders regarding this year’s Open Enrollment:

Who needs to take Action: Employees who wish to enroll in or keep their Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for 2016 must take action. Those who are satisfied with their current plans do not need to take action. All benefits, except for the FSA plans, will roll-over to the 2016 plan year.

How to Make Changes: Employees currently enrolled in benefit plans who wish to make changes must call the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to make changes in plan coverage, or enroll in an FSA for 2016. Employees who are not currently enrolled, but wish to enroll, contractual employees and retirees must complete an open enrollment form. The phone number to the IVR is 410-669-3893, please review phone instructions before calling. Open Enrollment Forms for regular employees, contractual employees and retirees can be found on the HR Website.

To learn more about 2016 plan enhancements, rate changes, and new wellness program activities for 2016, please visit the HR Website. Please contact Human Resources with questions at 410-455-2337 or by email to: hrbenefits@umbc.edu.

Announcing the Appointment of Patrick Jose Dawson as Director of the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery

TO: UMBC Campus Community

FROM: Philip Rous, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Antonio Moreira, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

pdawsonWe are delighted to announce the appointment of Patrick Jose Dawson as director of the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery, effective February 1, 2016.

Mr. Dawson joins UMBC from Northern Illinois University (NIU), where for the past seven years he has served as dean of libraries. Prior to his appointment at NIU, he served as associate university librarian for information and research services at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

Mr. Dawson’s appointment brings to a conclusion a successful national search that began this past spring. On behalf of the entire campus community we would like to express our gratitude and thanks to all members of the search committee. Their commitment and hard work constitutes an outstanding contribution to the future of the library and UMBC. We also wish to acknowledge the advice and counsel provided by various members of the campus community to the search committee.

Throughout his career, Mr. Dawson has been actively involved in the promotion of innovative and emerging trends and technologies for the improvement of information retrieval and delivery. He has extensive experience working in research university libraries and brings strong skills in strategic planning and budgeting. Mr. Dawson also has a focused area of expertise in Chicano studies. While at UCSB, he served as head of the Colección Tloque Nahuaque, a nationally-recognized resource for comprehensive Chicana/o and Latina/o information and specialized reference services. He has also been active on issues related to library services for Latinos and collection development of Hispanic American materials.

In addition to a master of library science from the University of Arizona, Mr. Dawson has a master of arts in history/Latin American studies and a bachelor of arts in history from the University of New Mexico. He was a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Leadership and Career Development Program in 1998 and is a fellow in the ARL Research Library Leadership Fellows Program.

Mr. Dawson says he is impressed and inspired by the success of UMBC students in completing degrees and by the percentage of students that go on to graduate education. He also expressed much appreciation for the rich diversity reflected in our student population.

Mr. Dawson will build on the strong legacy of Dr. Larry Wilt, who retired as director on July 1, 2015.

The library is central to teaching and research and an integral part of the UMBC community. We are very fortunate to have someone of Mr. Dawson’s experience and ability to serve as director of our Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery. We know he will be a valuable addition to our campus community.

Please join us in welcoming and supporting him.

Jessica Berman presents research at prominent international symposium in Sweden

Jessica BermanAt a recent symposium held at Uppsala University, Sweden featuring prominent international modernist research, Jessica Berman, director of the Dresher Center for the Humanities and professor of English, presented an invited lecture about her research on transnational movements of people in the development of twentieth century media, with a focus on global radio.

Berman’s talk “Radio Relations and Transnational Listening” examined listening in the early days of radio in India. She argued that the diverse nature of the radio environment that used several languages, particularly in programs sent out over the All India Radio airwaves, helped to create a community among the listeners that resisted the directed messages coming to them from the center of the British Empire.

The talk was part of a symposium with the theme “Intimate Modernism.” The event forms part of a collaboration between the Department of English, Uppsala University, and the School of Critical Studies at the University of Glasgow. For more information about the symposium and other scholars who presented, visit Uppsala University’s English department website. Read more about Jessica Berman’s research.

George Derek Musgrove’s research on gentrification in the nation’s capital featured in the Washington Post

musgroveIn advance of the annual Conference on D.C. Historical Studies, the Washington Post highlighted research by George Derek Musgrove ’97, history, associate professor of history, that identifies four distinct waves of gentrification in Washington, D.C. and reflects residents’ viewpoints of how it has impacted the city.

At the D.C. historical studies conference, Musgrove presented a talk with his colleague Chris Myers Asch at the University of the District of Columbia titled “We Are Headed for Some Bad Trouble: Gentrification and Displacement in Washington, D.C., 1920-2014.” Musgrove and Asch were part of a panel discussion to assess how historical patterns of race- and class-based inequality shape today’s urban landscape in Washington.

The talk was previewed in the Washington Post by columnist John Kelly. In his research, Musgrove identified the first wave of gentrification in 1920s Georgetown: “[Musgrove] said that when gentrification later moved across other neighborhoods, people would say they didn’t want them to end up ‘like Georgetown,’ which was seen as exclusive — and nearly exclusively white.

Poorer white residents moving out of neighborhoods such as Anacostia had ample housing options. But blacks were constrained by segregation and restrictive covenants. Policies such as rent control have allowed some neighborhoods, such as Adams Morgan, to remain diverse,” Musgrove said in the article.

“Our purpose in writing this was to give people an idea of how old gentrification is in the city and, in the process, to give people an idea of why older residents in particular react to it in the way that they do,” he added.

Last year, Musgrove was interviewed by WAMU’s Metro Connection program about his gentrification research.

Marie desJardins argues that ultra competitive hackathon culture may discourage women from pursuing careers in cybersecurity

desJardins, Marie (CSEE)There is a high demand for fresh talent in information security, but the industry has struggled to hire and retain professionals from an essential portion of their potential talent pool: women. Just 10 percent of people working in information security are women, and in a new Slate article UMBC’s Marie desJardins suggests the emphasis that recruiters and people in the industry place on competitive extracurricular activities, such as hackathons, may be dampening women’s interest in the field.

Activities such as hackathons—events where coders compete to build a new product or service, working continuously over a set period of hours or days—offer participants the chance to network with corporate recruiters, present their creations to industry experts, and even land internship offers. However, desJardins points out, “The way we train our girls, we don’t necessarily raise them to be competitive against other people.” This can leave girls at a disadvantage when recruiters expect them to have experience in highly competitive extracurricular activities, even more than demonstrating strong grades in challenging coursework.

To increase the number of women who choose careers in information security and cybersecurity, desJardins suggests emphasizing how the creations developed at events like hackathons can impact society, and creating more opportunities for students in these fields to demonstrate their skills and talent in ways that recruiters value.

“It’s not that girls don’t like these things, but it’s one kind of thing. It’s one way of testing out scientific ideas and comparing them against other people,” desJardins notes.

Read the full article, “Hackathons Have a Gender Problem,” on Slate.

UMBC education department, CADVC partner with Arbutus Middle School for environmental art outreach project

CADVC-ED event1

Photo courtesy Parastoo Aslanbeik, IMDA graduate student

As part of an ongoing partnership with professional development schools, UMBC’s education department and Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC) hosted Arbutus Middle School students and teachers on campus October 26 and Nov 2 to learn about environmental art and artists.

During the program, students participated in an instructional session about artists Andy Goldsworthy and Scott Wade, learned about the elements of art, and defined terms such as ephemeral art and reverse graffiti, among other topic areas in environmental art.

Students then learned about the process of creating nature journals, walked over to the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park, and after completing outdoor observation work, they worked on sketching and journaling activities. The students’ completed art projects will be featured in an exhibition on campus.

“This experience is about more than art,” explains Barbara Bourne, clinical instructor and director of elementary education and arts coordinator in the education department. “In addition to the hands-on activities and the follow-up gallery show, students take their first steps onto a college campus. It’s especially rewarding to watch as they proudly share this campus experience with their parents and siblings, many of whom are visiting a university for the first time themselves.”

“It is important for CADVC’s Educational Outreach Program to partner with professional development schools such as AMS because it allows us to make our gallery exhibitions accessible to K-12 groups and the families of those students. This is our mandate as we are a community art institution as well a gallery for the campus, and we receive Maryland State Arts Council grant funding for this purpose,” shares Sandra Abbott, curator of collections and outreach for the CADVC.

Beginning November 12, the student artwork will be displayed as part of an exhibit titled “Natural Connections: Linking Art and Nature,” UMBC’s K-12 Educational Outreach Exhibition, Fall 2015. The exhibit runs until December 17 and is open to the public in the hall gallery on the first floor of the Fine Arts Building.