Sarah Jewett, STEM Transfer Student Success Initiative, and Susan Martin, CWIT, Write Series of Op-eds for Evolllution

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Susan Martin

Sarah Jewett, executive director of the STEM Transfer Student Success Initiative, and Susan Martin, associate director of the Center for Women in Technology, recently co-wrote a two-part series op-ed for Evolllution about their work developing programs to bridge access to STEM fields, focusing on underserved transfer students.

The first part of the series discussed the STEM Transfer Success Initiative, which creates local institutional partnerships to support the success of students in transition, and the T-SITE Scholars program, which targets talented engineering and computing transfer students who demonstrate financial need.

Sarah Jewett headshot

Sarah Jewett

“These projects illustrate the potential of collaborative relationships to improve academic success, increase retention in STEM majors and decrease time to graduation,” Jewett and Martin wrote.

The second part of the series focused on reflecting on the lessons that were learned during the launch process of the STEM Transfer Student Success Initiative and T-SITE Scholars program.

“Improving the success, retention and graduation rates of transfer students requires institutions to engage in critical self-reflection. Given that transfer students comprise almost half of the student population at UMBC, it was imperative for us to think seriously about how students experienced the transition between institutions, and to adopt new approaches to improve the process,” the authors wrote.

The complete two-part series can be accessed below:

STEM Transfer Success: The Value of Critical Reflection and Shared Responsibility
STEM Transfer Success: Reflecting on Lessons Learned

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.

Danielle L. Beatty Moody, Psychology, Receives NIH Career Development Award

Danielle BeattyDanielle L. Beatty Moody, an assistant professor of psychology, has received a Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The five-year, $600,000 project will investigate the ways in which racial disparities in exposure to early life social disadvantage promote accelerated diseases and disorders related to the brain including stroke, dementia, and cognitive decline in African Americans across the span of the lifetime.

“Pronounced racial disparities are observed across multiple clinical and subclinical brain health endpoints in African Americans compared to Whites and may be attributable, in part, to accelerated age-related disease processes,” NIH stated in a public health relevance statement announcing the award.

“The interrelations among life course social disadvantage, accelerated aging, and brain health endpoints have been grossly understudied and are crucial to developing appropriate prevention and intervention strategies geared toward reducing and ultimately eliminating race-related health disparities in brain aging,” Dr. Beatty Moody explained in the award announcement.

Beatty Moody, as the primary investigator of the project, will work with 300 participants in the study to determine whether early life social disadvantage is related to MRI-indicators of brain pathology predictive of future stroke and cognitive decline and if they are more pronounced in African American than White adults. She will also research potential psychosocial, behavioral, and biomedical mediators of those associations.

Professor Beatty Moody’s research interests focus on cardiovascular disease, health and racial/ethnic disparities, psychosocial stressors, socioeconomic status, and discrimination. Read more about her research on the psychology department website. Read the Career Development Award announcement on the NIH website.

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.

Steph Ceraso, English, Receives the 2015 Richard Ohmann Outstanding Article in College English Award

stephceraso_webSteph Ceraso, an assistant professor of English, has been selected for the 2015 Richard Ohmann Outstanding Article in College English Award. The annual award is presented by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Ceraso received the recognition for her article “(Re)Educating the Senses: Multimodal Listening, Bodily Learning, and the Composition of Sonic Experiences.”

The award is recognition of an outstanding refereed article in the past volume year of the journal College English that makes a significant contribution to the field of English studies. It is given in the name of Richard Ohmann, landmark editor of College English from 1966 to 1978.

Ceraso’s essay aims to reimagine how listening is taught by accounting for the different sensory modes in which sound is experienced: “In response to widespread ‘plug in and tune out’ listening habits, and to the need for a more substantial listening education—particularly in relation to digital engagement and production—my article offers an expansive, explicitly embodied approach to the teaching of listening. My aim in writing this piece was to create a sonic pedagogy that allows students to capitalize on the compositional affordances of sound in digital contexts and retrains them to become more thoughtful, sensitive listener-composers of sound in any setting,” Ceraso shared.

Ceraso’s article received significant praise from the NCTE selection committee in a press release announcing the award: “The judges found Professor Ceraso’s essay fresh, timely, and engaging—a piece that will have an impact on the field for its vision and accessibility. Her essay, woven throughout with connections to pedagogy and composition, pushes the boundaries of multimodal composition as Professor Ceraso challenges us to reimagine how soundscapes can change the writing classroom—that is how we can incorporate ‘productive, quality sonic experiences’ that build on students’ past experiences.”

The award will be presented in November at the NCTE Annual Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ceraso’s teaching and research interests include rhetoric and composition, sound studies, digital media production, and pedagogy. Read more about her work on the English department website.

New Campus Entrance: Updated Traffic and Pedestrian Patterns

After more than a year of planning and construction, we are pleased to announce the Campus Entrance project is nearly complete. The pick-up and drop-off circle with access to Administration Garage is now open, and the new UMBC Blvd. entrance and exit traffic circles and pathways are fully operational. We encourage the campus community to begin using these new spaces and routes.

As you return to campus from your summer break, please be aware of significant changes in traffic and pedestrian patterns. In the interest of safety, we ask that you pay particular attention to signage and right-of-way when entering and leaving campus.

Additional work on the campus entrance will take place through September and early October, where crews will finish the remainder of walkways, plantings, and fixtures and permanent signage.

This project has had a substantial impact on our campus community throughout its construction, and we thank all of you for your patience and flexibility during the development of a new Campus Entrance that reflects the growth, innovation, and creativity of our university.

As always, we encourage you to follow our myUMBC group to receive news and updates and stay apprised of how construction projects across campus may impact you.

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?”