Online Comment Period for Mid-Year Interim Reports Ends Feb. 28

TO: UMBC Campus Community

FROM: Provost Philip Rous, Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Steering Committee
Bruce Walz, Chair, Academic Planning and Budget Committee, Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Steering Committee

RE: Online Comment Period for Mid-Year Interim Reports Ends Feb. 28

The strategy groups and Foundations Work Group mid-year interim reports describing work to date, key findings, and emerging themes are now available online to the campus community. We encourage you to take a moment to review them and share your thoughts and comments. The reports will be available for comment through Saturday, February 28, 2015.

This is an important opportunity for campus engagement with the strategy and foundations groups as each continues to work on analysis of the collected data and begins to develop recommendations that will include goals, objectives and measures of success. Feedback collected through your comments online and from the fall campus survey will inform development of final recommendations due to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee in mid-April.

We would also like to thank all those who participated in the strategic planning interactive gallery last week. Your experiences and perspective shared throughout the afternoon sparked insightful and informative discussions with the strategy and foundations group members.

Deadline Extended for the Campus Strategic Planning Survey

FROM:   Provost Philip Rous, Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Steering Committee

Bruce Walz, Chair, Academic Planning and Budget Committee, Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Steering Committee

We understand how busy this time of year can be, so we have extended the deadline for the campus strategic planning survey through Thursday, December 18.

If you have not yet had a chance to do so, we encourage you to take this opportunity to contribute to the strategic planning process by sharing your experiences and perspective with the strategy groups.

Please participate in our faculty and staff strategic planning survey »

Thank you.

Invitation for Additional Faculty and Staff to Join UMBC Shared Services Centers Work Groups

UMBC Shared Services Centers (SSC) invites additional faculty and staff to join SSC Work Groups. This is an excellent opportunity for faculty and staff to work together as we continue to shape the vision and direction of Shared Services Centers at UMBC. Members have an opportunity to infuse new ideas and influence business process redesign across the institution.

As a member of the SSC Work Groups you will have the opportunity to:

  • Gain a better understanding business processes;
  • Develop contacts between departments;
  • Be involved in SSC decision making;
  • Increase faculty and staff satisfaction.


The goal of UMBC Shared Services Centers (SSC) Work Groups is to empower faculty and staff to have an active role in the creation of Shared Services Centers and related business process improvements (BPI). The SSC Work Groups are being established to ensure that we have full campus participation throughout the process. All UMBC faculty and staff are encouraged to participate.

Role of the SSC Work Groups

  • Advocate for business process improvements;
  • Collaborate and recommend solutions;
  • Engage in discussions to help identify and resolve issues;
  • Review business processes, practices, guidelines, procedures and assist with the streamlining of processes for Shared Services Centers;
  • Bring department and/or unit knowledge and perspective;
  • Provide recommendations related to all SSC Work Group focus areas.

SSC Work Groups

There are four SSC Work Groups for which you may serve. Each SSC Work Group will have a Group Lead to assist with planning and/or coordinating.

  • Current SSC Work Groups: Accounts Payable/Procurement Work Group; Communication Work Group; Hiring/Payroll Work Group, and Training/Documentation Work Group.
  • Future SSC Work Group: Research Administration Work Group.

SSC Work Group Meetings

Work Group Meetings are held monthly, and the time commitment will be 1-3 meetings per month. Group members are expected to have working knowledge of the SSC focus area. Work activity should be approved by your immediate supervisor prior to participation.

If you have additional questions on SSC Work Group Volunteer Opportunities, please feel free to email us at The deadline to volunteer for a work group is Friday, October 31.

We appreciate and value your input and look forward to your participation.

Important Information About 2015 Benefit Plans

There will be several changes in the benefit plans offered by the State for 2015. Please take a moment to review the USM Benefit Fact Sheet, which outlines all of the changes in greater detail.

If you have any questions about the plan options, you can attend the upcoming Health Benefits Fair on Thursday, Sept. 25 or one of the special Information Sessions scheduled for later in the open enrollment period.

Note: The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system will not be available this year. All changes must be made on the appropriate open enrollment forms distributed by the State.

Contact Zahira Meyers or Rochelle Sanders if you have any questions about the process for making changes during open enrollment or if you have general benefit inquiries.

Announcing our spring 2014 grants from the Hrabowski Fund for Innovation


Re-playing the Past: Building a Digital Game for the History Classroom – A team led by Anne Sarah Rubin, Associate Professor of History, brings together history and game development to immerse students in Civil War Baltimore. Linking history and computer science/visual arts courses through gamification, graduate historians and undergraduate game developers will collaborate to create a game prototype that both engages and educates students in the “world” of the past. By playing the game, students will better understand the limits of knowledge, resources, and abilities that confronted and confounded people who participated in historic events.


The Future of Feedback: An Audio-Only Response to Writing – A team led by Sally Shivnan, Senior Lecturer in English and Director of the Writing and Rhetoric Division, will address the challenges of providing quality feedback on students’ writing by exploring audio comments as a way to produce effective, timely comments on student drafts. Using iAnnotate, a popular Apple mobile and tablet application, the team of faculty investigators will measure the effectiveness of audio-only commenting on student drafts to determine its impact on student learning and retention, as well as the faculty experience.

Proposals for the next round of Innovation Fund grants are due by Friday, October 10. Please consider submitting an application. For more information about the fund, visit

The Hrabowski Fund for Innovation, developed with support of major grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Heinz Awards, is a testament to UMBC’s strong track record of finding novel approaches to teaching and scholarship. The Fund exemplifies the university’s commitment to being a leading public university through investment in faculty initiatives that fuel creativity and enterprise and challenge students to take an active role in their education.

Asian Studies Food Pantry Program

With assistance from a Breaking Ground grant from UMBC, The Asian Studies Program has started a food pantry for low-income Asian senior citizens at Longwood Apartments in Columbia, Md. Asian Studies student interns enrolled in ASIA 399 are working on the food pantry and are translating for the Chinese and Korean residents in the apartment complex. The Asian Studies Council of Majors (ASCOM) is also assisting.

This is a wonderful learning experience for students, but we need your help! Last semester we had 20 residents requesting food. This semester it has jumped to 90 residents — over a 400 percent increase.

We are collecting non-perishable Asian and non-Asian food donations year round from our campus. Look for the red collection boxes on the first floor of the Administration Building, Commons by the reception desk, the RAC, The Shriver Center in Public Policy and the first floor of the University Center.

Suggested items are:

  • Asian noodles (ramen, potato, cellophane, rice noodles, etc.)
  • Seaweed
  • Canned tuna
  • Spam
  • Canned mackerel
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Canned fruit packed in its own juice
  • Canned vegetables (water chestnuts, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots especially appreciated)

Again, we accept any type of non-perishable food donations. The food collection is ongoing as we are trying to deliver food on a monthly basis, if we can collect enough food. We will also pick up large non-perishable food donations from your office.

If you would like to request a collection box for your building, please contact Julie Rosenthal, 410-455-2094 or

UMBC Hosts College Affordability Roundtable with Senators Cardin and Mikulski

College_Affordability-0302President Freeman Hrabowski, UMBC experts, and several current undergraduate students met with Maryland’s U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski on Thursday, Sept. 4 to discuss the ways loan debt impacts students’ college experiences, future plans, and careers.

The College Affordability Roundtable, hosted by UMBC, gave the Senators an opportunity to hear directly from students about how they are financing their education, their experiences with financial aid programs and services, and the challenges of course and graduate completion related to accumulated debt.

College_Affordability-0306Throughout the event’s open—and often candid—dialogue, UMBC students shared their stories about financing their higher education and explained its impact on their lives and aspirations. Many of the students echoed concerns when dealing with college affordability, such as understanding and navigating complex state, federal, and private financial aid programs.

UMBC experts in financial assistance, advising and counseling offered their perspectives to the group and emphasized the importance of submitting financial aid applications sooner and establishing a plan to ensure students are successful in their degree path.

Interviews from two UMBC students, Chris Harried and Lisa Dang, can be heard in a recent WBAL Radio story covering the event.