Mourning the Loss of Community Members

A message from President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous:

We are writing to express the profound sense of loss our community feels over the recent deaths of a number of our students and colleagues. We mourn the loss of these individuals, and we are holding their families and friends in our thoughts and prayers.

These recent losses have been felt particularly acutely by some departments and campus communities, and we offer our most sincere condolences to those most deeply affected. Now, more than ever, is a time for us all to come together and support one another. UMBC is a special community that places a high value on creating and sustaining a caring environment. If you need additional support, there are a number of university resources available to you (see below).

In addition to requests for support, we have been hearing questions about the university’s response to the passing of our community members. We understand that these questions are coming from a place of concern for the individuals involved and for our broader community. Our number one priority in addressing the death of a member of the university is to honor the wishes of the person’s family. We must respect individuals’ and families’ privacy and are bound by legal and ethical constraints regarding the information we can share.

The university has a standard approach to responding to the loss of a community member. However, given that families’ wishes vary, the university’s apparent response may vary. For example, we generally announce the death of a member of our community, but, in some cases, the family does not wish for the university to do so. We honor those requests. This, understandably, can lead to the perception that we are treating some individuals differently than others — though we actually follow the same guidelines for all. (Further explanation of the university’s approach and answers to frequently asked questions can be found here.)

We also had a recent health emergency in a public space involving one of our faculty members, and many of you have expressed your concern and well wishes. An instructor and a number of our students, many from the Department of Emergency Health Services, were critical in providing life-saving response. We want to thank those students for all that they did.

Every member of our community is of inestimable value, and we are committed to treating each one with the utmost respect. We know you all share that value and will care for one another.

Students who need additional support at this time are encouraged to contact the UMBC Counseling Center at 410-455-2472.

Faculty and staff can request counseling through the Inova Employee Assistance Program by calling 1-800-346-0110.

Additional resources and places for support include:

Sad News for the Campus Community

A message from David Mitch, Chair, Department of Economics:

Professor William Lord, a faculty member in the Department of Economics at UMBC for 30 years, passed away on Thursday, October 27.

Many in the campus community know that Bill suffered a heart attack on the Academic Row on October 11. Thanks to prompt and effective efforts by UMBC emergency health students, he survived this initial attack and had been making excellent progress in recovery. I spoke with Bill by phone this past Saturday; his voice was very strong and his spirits were good. Thus, it was quite a shock to learn that he had another heart attack early Thursday morning and could not be revived.

Bill made many contributions to the campus through teaching, research, and service in the department of economics and beyond. He was an active member of the UMBC community, including service on the UMBC Faculty Senate, University Academic Planning and Budget Committee, and as a faculty mentor to the Chesapeake Residence Hall community.

Bill joined UMBC’s economics department in 1986. Soon after his arrival, Bill became known for his contagious enthusiasm, wry sense of humor, and the intensity with which he approached his work in economics. Bill’s initial work was in the field of public finance in which he employed sophisticated simulation techniques to model complex economic interactions. He published articles in leading economics journals including the American Economic Review and the Journal of Public Economics.

One of Bill’s intellectual heroes was the Nobel Laureate economist Gary Becker, and as his research developed, Bill sought to incorporate Becker’s models of the economics of family life into his research. A trademark of Bill’s teaching was his ability to incorporate his own research interests into the content of his courses. An important example was the unique course he developed, titled “Household Economics,” which has now been offered for many years as Economics 453. Due to the way in which the course utilized life cycle models of family financial decisions, the department readily agreed to approve the course as satisfying a core requirement for its financial economics major.

Bill’s teaching in this course provided the foundation for his book, Household Dynamics: Economic Growth and Policy published by Oxford University Press in 2002. This book is unique for integrating dynamic decision making by households into the study of economic growth and for considering the collective implications of decision making by households on economic inequality and consequences for policy-making. The book is also salient for its emphasis on recent research, the rigor of its analysis, and the range of issues it considers. After completing this book, Bill became increasingly interested in American economic history. He sought to incorporate his previous interest in the economics of the household with long-run historical trends by mapping out a field he termed, “the macroeconomic history of the family” and in his teaching of a course on American Economic History. He had been nearing completion of a book manuscript with the working title, An Economic History of the American Family, with Social Implications.

Prior to his arrival at UMBC, Bill taught at St. Olaf College from 1983 to 1986. He received his B.A. in 1976, his M.A. in 1980, and his Ph.D in 1984–all in economics from Indiana University. Bill was a stalwart Hoosiers basketball fan.

Viewing services will take place Sunday, October 30, 2-4 p.m., at Candle Light Funeral Home, 1835 Frederick Rd., Catonsville, MD 21228. A memorial service will immediately follow at 4 p.m.

Open Forum on Upcoming Construction Projects

Facilities Management will host an open forum to provide details about ongoing and upcoming campus construction projects. The open forum will be in ITE Room 102 (Lecture Hall 8) from 12-12:50 p.m., Wednesday, November 2.

The variety and nature of the projects to be discussed will be of interest to the majority of staff, faculty, and students on campus. These projects include:

The Event Center and Arena

The Event Center and Arena is a 170,000 square foot, multipurpose event facility designed to host a variety of activities that serve both the University and local community needs. The facility will also serve as the home for the Athletic Department and the varsity basketball and volleyball programs. Currently under construction, the Event Center is located along the east side of Hilltop Circle, across from Commons Drive. Service access will be from the east at Shelbourne Road near the existing soccer complex. The facility is scheduled to open in early 2018.

Sherman Hall second floor renovations

To make way for the upcoming construction of the Interdisciplinary Life Science Building, the existing Academic Services Building will be demolished. Academic Advising, the Registrar, the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, and the Sherman Teacher Scholars Program will relocate to renovated space in Sherman Hall in spring 2017.

Interdisciplinary Life Science Building (ILSB)

This project, located on the site of the Academic Services Building, will feature 131,000 square feet of flexible and adaptable research and education spaces to support ongoing and future interdisciplinary life science programs. The ILSB is designed to seamlessly connect teaching and research activities, enhancing and further stimulating collaborative approaches to advance the state’s biotechnology industry and increase the number of STEM graduates. Construction will begin in spring 2017.


Inaugural Interdisciplinary Activities Faculty Social Hour

A message from Provost Philip Rous:

Please join us for the Inaugural Interdisciplinary Activities Faculty Social Hour on Wednesday, November 2, 3-5 p.m., in the Performing Arts & Humanities Building Theatre Rehearsal Studio (room 102).

The faculty social hour, hosted by the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Activities Advisory Committee, provides an opportunity for faculty to learn about interdisciplinary initiatives on campus and features conversations facilitated by Tulay Adali, computer science and electrical engineering, Amy Hurst, information systems, Nicole King, American studies, and Timothy Nohe, visual arts.

Light refreshments will be provided, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. We encourage you to join us anytime from 3-5 p.m. and stay as long as you are able.

To receive more updates on interdisciplinary activities and events across campus, please join our Interdisciplinary Activities Advisory Committee myUMBC group.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you at the faculty social hour next week.

Middle States Update – Join us for a Brown Bag Lunch Discussion

A message from Philip Rous and Bob Carpenter, Middle States Self-Study Co-Chairs:

UMBC will be hosting a team of external evaluators to conduct a “peer review” from November 15-18, 2016, as the next stage of the Middle States accreditation process. The team was selected from the academic community by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education based on their qualifications. The chair and team members are expected to contribute to a thoughtful assessment of UMBC within the framework of accreditation standards, as well as the mission and goals of the institution. The team will evaluate the Self-Study document and will draw upon the insights gained as they meet with the campus community during their upcoming visit.

Team Roster:

  • Dr. Mary Ann Swain (Chair), Professor, SUNY at Binghamton
  • Dr. Victor Borden, Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Senior Advisor to the Executive Vice President for University Regional Affairs, Planning and Policy, Indiana University
  • Ms. Bobbi Owen, Michael R. McVaugh Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Ms. Janice Strickland, Rutgers, Coordinator for Student Conduct, The State University of New Jersey
  • Dr. Bruce Szelest, Vice Provost for Administration, SUNY at Albany

As we prepare for the team visit, we again invite you to review the Executive Summary and the Self-Study Report to continue to build familiarity with the content.

We will also be hosting Brown Bag Lunch discussions on Nov. 2 and 3, from noon-1 p.m. in Commons 331, to provide the opportunity for the UMBC community to learn more about the Self-Study process and to answer any questions related to the report or upcoming visit. If you are interested in attending one of the sessions, please register now.

Thank you for your continued contributions to this important process.

Office of Academic Opportunity Programs kicks off new initiative to support first generation college students

The UMBC Office of Academic Opportunity Programs is engaging in a new project to support students at UMBC who will be the first in their family to complete a college degree, and we need your help!

If you were/are a first generation college student, we’d like to hear from you. Please take a few moment to complete a short survey:

2016-2017 Marilyn E. Demorest Faculty Advancement Award

We are pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2016-2017 Marilyn E. Demorest Faculty Advancement Award. This award is supported by an endowment created by Dr. Marilyn Demorest, Professor Emerita of Psychology and former Vice Provost of 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.” This fund will be awarded annually to faculty who mentor and/or advise faculty and colleagues in their field.

  • The Marilyn E. Demorest Faculty Advancement Award is conferred annually for a term of one year upon a UMBC faculty member.
  • Nominations (including self-nominations) for the 2016-2017 Marilyn E. Demorest Faculty Advancement are due to the Provost Office no later than November 4.
  • The nomination should include a letter of recommendation (or self-nomination), a current curriculum vitae of the nominee, and an indication of how the nominee would spend the year as the Marilyn E. Demorest Faculty Advancement Awardee. The letter should make clear the faculty member’s contribution to mentoring and advising faculty.
  • The Marilyn E. Demorest Faculty Advancement Award will be appointed by the Provost, based upon the recommendations of the Honors and Awards Committee of the Faculty Senate.
  • The award will allocate $1,500 to stipend and $500 to a discretionary expense account to draw upon for a variety of purposes (sponsoring workshops, conferences, travel, mentoring activity).