James Smalls, Visual Arts, Writes on Race, Gender, and Sexuality in The Conversation

On July 23, James Smalls, professor of Visual Arts and affiliate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, published an article in The Conversation that discussed the rationale behind his upcoming course, Roaming the Star Trek Universe: Race, Gender, and Alien Sexualities. Sensing that students often seem very “connected” but are simultaneously distanced from the overwhelming complexities of the world around them, Smalls set out to find ways in which to explore the difficult topics of race, gender and sexuality. “I found part of the answer,” he said, “by traveling back to the 1960s, when difficult social change movements around race (civil rights, black power), gender (the women’s movement) and sexuality (the gay and lesbian movement) were in full swing and paralleled the national obsession with technology, the space race and indulgence in popular culture as a way to both escape and liberate ourselves.”

“One way to do this,” he added, “is to ask probing questions so to get students thinking about ways in which interspecies conflicts among humans, Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons, Andorians, Betazoids, Cardassians and Bajorans, to name a few, are portrayed and how they mirror or parallel disagreements between today’s nations, races, genders, religions and classes.”

Read “A teacher uses Star Trek for difficult conversations on race and gender” in The Conversation.

Sunil Dasgupta, Political Science, Writes ISN Article on What Makes a Modern World Power

Sunil Dasgupta, director of UMBC’s political science program at the Universities of Shady Grove, recently published an article in International Relations and Security Network (ISN) News on the establishment of world powers through norms and institutions instead of superior capabilities over others.

Sunil DasguptaUsing the example of Britain, Dasgupta noted that despite its decline, its membership in international institutions ensures the country staying power on the world stage: “Britain remains a veto-carrying, permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, one of a handful of nuclear weapons states, a rich country, and one of the closest allies of the United States. Despite Prime Minister Cameron’s focus on domestic politics, there is no expectation that the British government will concede any of these positions in the future. To the contrary, Security Council membership can be seen as ensuring that Britain remains a ‘world power’ no matter what other circumstances change. Indeed, has Britain really resigned as a world power?”

Dasgupta wrote that in modern times there is more than one way to become a world power than merely having advanced economies and militaries: “Since the end of World War II, however, international norms have reduced the importance of both 1) conventional economic and military capabilities and 2) a country’s position relative to others in this regard. While the intense rivalry between the United States and the former Soviet Union overshadowed serious discussion of norms and beliefs during the Cold War, it became clear thereafter, with the rise of Japan and Germany as economic heavyweights with limited military capacity, that there were other pathways to great power status.”

Read “What Makes a Great Power?” in ISN.

John Rennie Short, School of Public Policy, Discusses Cities’ Impact on Climate Change in The Conversation

In the wake of the visit of 65 mayors to the Vatican to discuss climate change, School of Public Policy Professor John Rennie Short wrote an article for The Conversation reflecting on the central role of cities in climate change discussions.

John Rennie Short“Cities house more than half the world’s population, consume 75% of its energy and emit 80% of all greenhouse gasses. But cities are not just sources of problems; they are innovative sites for policy solutions,” wrote Short, who is an expert on urban issues and environmental concerns.

In his article, he wrote that many cities are on the front lines of climate change impacts, which has spurred action to address environmental concerns and form urban networks to learn which policies are working.

“The brute facts of climate change vulnerability in cities are prompting a new and more pronounced urban environmental sensitivity. Cities are responding with both climate change mitigation and adaption. Mitigation focuses on reducing the concentrations of greenhouse gases by using alternative energy sources, encouraging greater energy efficiency and conservation, and through the promotion of carbon sinks by planting trees.

Separately, cities are adapting to the effects of climate change. Chicago has developed policies anticipating a hotter and wetter climate by repaving its roads with permeable materials, planting more trees and offering tax incentive to encourage green office roofs,” Short wrote.

Read “Why cities are a rare good news story in climate change” in The Conversation.

Six years in a row, UMBC named “Great College to Work For”

To: The UMBC Community
From: President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous

The Chronicle of Higher Education has named UMBC an outstanding academic workplace for the sixth consecutive year. UMBC is one of only 86 universities to receive the “Great Colleges to Work For” distinction and the only Maryland four-year institution to be recognized.

Each year, the Chronicle surveys faculty, staff, and administrators and asks them to rate their workplaces on a variety of factors. The assessment also includes analysis of demographic data and workplace policies. The Chronicle’s 2015 results are based on responses from more than 40,000 people at nearly 300 public and private institutions nationwide.

For the fourth consecutive year, UMBC was featured on the Chronicle’shonor roll,” which recognizes universities that excel in almost every recognition category. This year, UMBC was highly rated in:

  • Collaborative Governance
  • Confidence in Senior Leadership
  • Respect and Appreciation
  • Supervisor/Department Chair Relationship
  • Tenure Clarity & Process

This award recognizes what we all know: Excellence thrives in an environment of inclusiveness and respect. These campus values and our commitment to robust shared governance make UMBC an exceptional campus community. We thank each of you for all that you do to make UMBC a great place to work and learn.

Understanding Performance Management: A Guide for Non-supervisory Staff (10/29)

In this overview of the Performance Management Process (PMP) with Labor Relations Specialist Shobhna Arora, you will have an opportunity to learn about performance management and its components, the importance of setting goals and on-going communication, how to solicit and receive feedback, the benefits of completing a self-assessment, and strategies for enhancing professional development.  This session also covers tips and assistance in preparing for performance review meetings.

The workshop will be Thursday,  October 29, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., at The Commons Room 331.

Register by October 23, 2015  on myUMBC.

Planning for Performance Management Success: A Guide for Supervisors (10/1)

This workshop is required training for all supervisors of Regular and Contingent II Staff.   In this overview of the Performance Management Process (PMP) you will learn about the benefits of performance management, the importance of ongoing communication, the PMP cycle, how to use the PMP form and strategies for professional development. Elmer Falconer, Director of Employment/Labor Relations, is the instructor for this workshop.

The workshop will be Thursday, October 1,  9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., in The Commons, Room 331.

Register by September 25, 2015 on myUMBC.

UMBC Among World’s Top 500 Universities

The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) released their 2015 global rankings this week- placing UMBC among the top 500 universities worldwide.

UMBCCWUR takes eight indicators into account when compiling their rankings, including quality of education (alumni who have won major international awards); alumni employment (as CEOs in companies worldwide); quality of faculty (faculty who have won major international awards); research publications, influence and citations; broad impact; and international patent filings.

UMBC is one of only three University System of Maryland institutions featured in the rankings, along with the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore. American universities with CWUR rankings similar to UMBC include Clemson University and Syracuse University.

Explore the full CWUR rankings here.