Laura Hussey, Political Science, on

A Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate forum held at Towson University April 17 drew attention to college student participation in the upcoming election.

Laura Hussey

Laura Hussey, an assistant professor of political science, was interviewed for an article posted on, and she noted interest groups and political parties tend to notice when candidates devote their time to appealing to younger voters – the generation that will serve as the future workforce behind their causes.

“The Obama campaign benefited from appealing to college students greatly,” Hussey said. “There are benefits beyond the actual votes.”

To read the full article  on, click here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun

In an op-ed published in The Baltimore Sun on April 15, Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller writes about how the increased use of credit cards will likely lead to more consequences than fraud. In addition to loss of consumer privacy, Schaller writes relying exclusively on credit cards leads to another big cost: the burden of servicing credit debt.

Tom Schaller

“When big banks get over-leveraged, they turn to the government for bailouts. And guess what? So do individuals: Americans’ average credit card balance dropped after the financial crisis — which sounds like good news until you learn that the decrease resulted from millions of people simply defaulting on their debts,” Schaller wrote.

He added the banks holding debts have to make up for their losses, so “even if you diligently pay the full monthly balance on all your credit cards, indirectly you’re subsidizing not only Visa and MasterCard, but the banks covering their losses from credit card defaulters.”

To read the full column titled “Paper or plastic?” in The Baltimore Sun, click here.

Advancing Excellence: The Student Experience

Our UMBC: A Strategic Plan for Advancing Excellence is founded on a broadly inclusive process. With campus input, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee identified four areas widely viewed as drivers of future success for UMBC: The Student Experience, Innovative Curriculum and Pedagogy, Collective Impact in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Achievement, and Community and Extended Connection. A strategy group will explore and recommend goals for each area, and will recommend metrics to assess how well we are addressing our objectives.

This is the first in a series of interviews with the co-chairs of each focus area.

StrategicWebSeries01-9431The primary goal of The Student Experience Strategy Group is examining ways to create vibrant, exceptional and comprehensive undergraduate and graduate student experiences that integrate in- and out-of-classroom learning to prepare graduates for meaningful careers and civic and personal lives. Student Experience Strategy Group Co-Chairs Devin Hagerty, professor of political science and program director of global studies, and Kim Leisey, associate vice president of student affairs, believe that students continue to prioritize a strong sense of community and belonging, a theme that will help inform their work as co-chairs.

Both Hagerty and Leisey bring important perspectives to the Strategy Group research, which will examine the roles of safety, community and belonging; preparation in and out of the classroom; the impact of diversity; participation in global citizenship; delivery of services; and faculty and staff infrastructure.

While Hagerty’s focus is academics and Leisey’s is student affairs, the collaborative nature of the campus helps them to see the big picture and hear from all members of the community. As former chair and now program director, Hagerty’s work centers on the classroom experience, but he also has worked with students in a variety of settings, including bringing workshops into residence halls. “I’ve seen all of the student issues, both academic and personal, and the relationships I have across campus have been helpful to that experience,” he explains. On the other hand, although Leisey’s work focuses on both undergraduate and graduate students, she also works closely with faculty and staff across the campus.

As they begin their work as co-chairs, Hagerty and Leisey say they are reflecting on how the campus and the student experience have changed since they first came to UMBC 13 and 23 years ago, respectively. UMBC has grown into a nationally and internationally recognized institution, and an inclusive strategic planning process is critical to understanding the needs of its students and the role the university plays in a rapidly changing world. Both feel it is important to make sure students feel they are a part of a community, and are connected with and supported by the institution.

“I’ve worked with both undergraduate and graduate students and I get a lot of input from them,” says Leisey. “For me, co-chairing this group is an opportunity to share that input and focus on what we want UMBC to look like in the next few decades – what exists now and what’s missing. In doing that, we also have to project what’s ahead in the world and the impact that will have both in and out of the classroom.”

Hagerty agrees, sharing, “This also is a good opportunity to audit ourselves as we are proactive, creative and innovative in keeping up with the student body. There’s a lot we do well, and it’s good to take a fresh look to make sure we’re doing as well as we think. We try to excel at everything, and we want to stay on the map without losing the liberal arts teaching. We want to know how that feels for students: How do they interact with all of the different parts of the campus and what kind of experience do they have?”

UMBC is well known for its diversity. Leisey explains that one challenge is taking advantage of that diversity in helping people connect and provide experiences that help students learn about one another – and find commonalities among the differences. Hagerty adds that it is important to understand the student experience as a whole, and how it transforms and prepares students for the future. “The challenges students have now are preparing them to be global citizens and professionals.”

While the role of technology has grown exponentially, both feel that students may be missing more face-to-face connections. “I’d like to better understand the role of technology [in the student experience], but I have a hunch that, although this generation is connected technologically, they miss just being with people,” says Leisey.

Hagerty and Leisey would like to receive input on the student experience from students and colleagues across the campus, and look forward to meeting with focus groups during the strategic planning process. They also welcome questions and comments from the campus. You can contact them at and

Visual Arts Faculty and IMDA Candidate in Socially Engaged Art Journal

Visual arts faculty Tom Beck, Tim Nohe and Steve Silberg, and IMDA candidate, Charlotte Keniston were featured in the first edition of Socially Engaged Art Journal (SEAJ).

“Engaging Community: Art and Food In Baltimore City” written by Charlotte Keniston discusses the artists’ work and UMBC thesis project centered upon food deserts in Baltimore; “My Station North” focuses on a collaborative exhibition by Keniston and Nohe, in which they work with children at Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School to document the Station North neighborhood of Baltimore through sound and photography; and “The Hughes Remix Project” written by Beck and Silberg details the development of the new Project archive containing “175 remixed, reinvented, reinterpreted, and reimagined images of Baltimore street scenes, promotional and advertising work, businesses, churches, schools, monuments, factories, machinery, and portraits.”

SEAJ is an online publication that showcases the work of artists whose practice, community art or social design is socially engaged. The first issue is titled “Baltimore.”

Choice Jobs Flying Fruit Fantasy Fruitshakes – OPEN FOR THE SEASON

FFF IS OPEN FOR THE SEASON – Choice Program’s Flying Fruit Fantasy Fruitshakes opened for the 2014 season on April 1st!

Springtime brings forth a time of growth, awakening, and for UMBC’s Choice Program, springtime also brings FRUITSHAKES! For over 20 years, UMBC’s Choice Program has been serving up Fruitshakes at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. In 2011, the social enterprise expanded to the Inner Harbor and has seen substantial growth in community impact! Each year, 50 young people from Baltimore City and County receive on-the-job-training while developing the skills needed to blossom into wonderful employees.

Following a Supported Employment Model, AmeriCorps Community Service Learning Fellows cultivate a space for the young people to learn about teamwork, customer service, communications and dependability!

Visit Flying Fruit Fantasy Fruitshakes today for a Fruitshake, Smoothie, or Frozen Yogurt and receive a dollar off any FFF item by mentioning this Insights Weekly Post! We are located on the main concourse at Oriole Park, section 28, and in front of the Science Center in the Harbor.