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.

John Fritz, Instructional Technology, Discusses Course Feedback Study in PBS Newshour

A recent PBS Newshour report explored how universities are using big data to help students succeed. John Fritz, assistant vice-president for instructional technology, was interviewed about his study, which uses course feedback to improve student performance.

Fritz examines how performance changes when students are told how their grades and time spent on class materials compare to their classmates. “Students who access those comparisons can be “nudged” to put in more effort, according to Fritz,” the article reported. “His early results show a 4 percent bump in those students’ final grades.”

Read “Can just-in-time advice keep more college students on track?” in PBS Newshour.

Pres. Hrabowski Shares How UMBC Prepares Students for the Workforce in Pacific Standard

Pacific Standard, in collaboration with The Rockefeller Foundation and Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, began “The Future of Work and Workers” project in August. The project asks social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and other industry leaders to write about how the working world will change in the future. President Hrabowski contributed to the project with an article that shares how UMBC’s innovations are preparing students for the workforce.

hrabowskiDr. Hrabowski began by outlining areas of expertise that will be required in the changing workplace, including people skills, technological skills, the ability to work interdisciplinarily and think critically, and a deep knowledge of the industry. He then shared how UMBC is teaching these skills through innovations such as course redesigns and scholars programs. “Advances in our understanding of how people learn, along with new technologies, have led us to re-design how we teach a variety of courses…not only to improve course delivery but also to develop workforce skills,” he wrote.

In the article, Dr. Hrabowski also touched on the impact of partnerships between academic programs, employers, and alumni, as well as the importance for career-life balance for faculty and staff.

“Students need a broad education because we do not know how different the world will be and what specific skills students will need in the decades to come,” Dr. Hrabowski concluded. “People must be prepared to adapt and to work in a world of unknowns with the confidence that, by asking good questions, thinking critically, collaborating with others, and persisting, they can learn whatever is necessary.”

Read “The Future of Work: Preparing Students for a Changing World of Work” in Pacific Standard.

Anupam Joshi and Rick Forno, Cybersecurity, Comment on Ashley Madison Data Leak

As Ashley Madison experienced a widespread data breach this week, Anupam Joshi and Richard Forno, cybersecurity, spoke to the media about Internet security and how the leak will affect high profile users in Washington, D.C.

joshiIn an interview with ABC2, Joshi cautioned that data breaches are increasingly becoming part of daily life. “Information is valuable,” he said. “People are after information. No security is perfect and once you marry these things, there is an incentive for someone to spend the right time and effort to steal some information.” He also spoke about users falling into a false sense of security. “Nothing is really secure on the Internet,” he warned. “If you don’t want the thing you’re doing to show up on ABC2 at some point then don’t do it.”

umbc-faculty-Rick-FornoForno spoke to Beta Boston and TV Newsroom about public reactions as the data breach revealed several government officials as users of the website. “Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get two wildly different opinions on the issue,” he said. “Some people will say, `Well, they broke the law, they hacked into this private company’s computers and stole data.’ Yeah, that’s true. But from the other side, you have to say, were they doing this for a public service?”