Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, on Midday with Dan Rodricks and WBAL-TV

Following the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina last week, Kimberly Moffitt, an associate professor of American studies, was a guest on WYPR’s Midday with Dan Rodricks to share her thoughts and perspective.

Kimberly MoffittMoffitt said that she is largely focusing her energy on what she is teaching in her classes: “I try to talk to my students and educate them on what the power structures are that exist in American society that are implicitly embedded in ways where we carry out certain actions in life that impact other groups of people in very negative ways,” she said.

“We can talk about housing policies, public education, a wide range of issues…the legal and judicial system and how that inadvertently or negatively affects people of color in this country. Those are the issues that I think students in particular who are young need to have access to and to see in order to understand how problematic the actual structure is.”

The following day on WYPR, Moffitt covered Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement that he has advanced non-Hodgkins lymphoma and other local and national news topics. Earlier in the week, Moffitt appeared on WBAL-TV to discuss Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys, a charter school opening in the fall in which she is a co-founder. To listen to and watch all of the segments, click below:

Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys (WBAL-TV)
Talking about Charleston (Midday with Dan Rodricks)
Midday Politics (Midday with Dan Rodricks)

Manil Suri, Mathematics, Writes New York Times Op-ed on The Politics of Yoga in India

In light of the International Day of Yoga, Mathematics Professor and New York Times Contributing Opinion Writer Manil Suri wrote about the viewpoints surrounding Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to promote it within the country: “Some Muslim preachers and opposition politicians have accused Mr. Modi of using the day to foist Hinduism on religious minorities under the guise of yoga.”

manil suriHowever, Suri explains in his column that, “Yoga is big business, estimated at $10 billion a year in the United States alone, and India needs to be associated with it — not just to attract tourists to yoga retreats, but also to assert its intellectual rights. The country has been fighting attempts by Western gurus to patent yoga poses, assembling a repository of over 1,500 asanas to keep them free.”

He added: “Within India, the goal is different. Those on the Hindu right have always harbored the vision of returning to India’s greatness as an ancient civilization. A practice with Vedic origins that has nevertheless attained such secular popularity is the perfect vehicle to create a shared national consciousness. The physical engagement, mental discipline and sublimation of desire enshrined in yoga meld seamlessly, yet discreetly, with the more militaristic tenets of organizations like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.”

To read the full column titled “India and the Politics of Yoga,” click here. Suri also appeared live on CNN International on Sunday, June 21 to discuss his column.

Joan Shin, Education, Writes about the International Children’s Song Approach in The Conversation

Joan ShinJoan Shin, education professor of practice, recently published an article in The Conversation that examined the power of using children’s songs to introduce children to different cultures and the world around them. “Without realizing it, children learn language and content simultaneously. Songs build skills that help children distinguish the sounds of a language, and connect sound to script and assist with vocabulary building,” Shin wrote.

Shin discussed the teaching approach she developed that combines her song research and search for cultural materials to teach English as a global language. Shin’s “international children’s song approach” uses songs from around the world as a method of teaching English to young children.

“Whether children are learning English as a second language, or even a third or fourth language, they are being exposed to it at earlier and earlier ages worldwide. Using international children’s songs from around the world is an effective approach for teaching English as a global language to kids. Language is a carrier of culture, and English is uniquely positioned to communicate across cultures around the world. Materials to teach it should embrace all cultures,” Shin described.

To read the full article “How should kids learn English: through Old MacDonald’s farm or Ali Baba’s farm?” click here.

Save the Date: Welcome to UMBC (9/17)

true_grit_homecomingWe have scheduled our annual ‘Welcome to UMBC!’ event to welcome our new colleagues to the UMBC community. The event is scheduled for Thursday, September 17th from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom.

This interactive event is a great opportunity to connect and get to know some of the remarkable people here at UMBC.  Attendees will have a chance to talk with our President and Provost, hear from staff and faculty groups, and learn about opportunities to make a difference in our community.  Please consider joining us for this annual UMBC tradition!

Save the Date: UMBC Preschool Center Grand Re-Opening (8/25)

true_grit_homecomingPlease save the date to join the UMBC and Y of Central Maryland communities for the grand re-opening of the UMBC Preschool Center.  The event will be held on Tuesday, August 25, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

The program includes a ribbon cutting and remarks from UMBC President, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski and Y of Central Maryland CEO and President, John Hoey.  Learn about the history and vision for the center, receive preschool program highlights, and hear student and family testimonials.  There will also be an opportunity to meet the center director and staff and view incoming student art, as well as take a center tour.  Light refreshments will be served.

Please consider attending the re-opening of this important UMBC and community resource!

Meyerhoff Scholars Program Featured in NSTA Reports

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) recently released its Summer 2015 edition of NSTA Reports, which included a feature on UMBC’s Meyerhoff Scholars Program (MSP). NSTA Reports is an organizational newspaper which covers national science education news.

Meyerhoff labThe article, titled “Creating Communities of STEM Scholars,” describes the different components of the Meyerhoff program and how it has inspired similar programs around the country. “The Meyerhoff program is a community of scholars, and students are working to support one another,” MSP director Keith Harmon told NSTA Reports. “What we try to convey is the idea that working together, you can do much more than you could working alone…science and engineering have become so collaborative and interdisciplinary that you have to learn how to work and communicate well with other people.”

14183752111_9164e1423f_zHarmon also spoke about how the program encourages and supports student participation in research, conferences, and internships. “After two to three years of working in a research group on campus, several summers away for internships, the majority of scholars leave UMBC with solid research training and a strong scientific identity and commitment to a STEM career,” he said.

The article also explored other initiatives inspired by the Meyerhoff model. “The University of Michigan is among several schools around the country that have adapted elements of the MSP. Its M-STEM Academies aim to increase, strengthen, and diversity the number of undergraduates pursuing bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields,” it stated. The M-STEM Academies offer students a supportive community, academic coaching, and summer programs. However, unlike the Meyerhoff model, M-STEM Academies are two-year programs without full financial benefits. Still, the initiative is seeing progress. “In the very first year, the M-STEM student does have a higher GPA compared to the student that didn’t [participate],” an academic director of the University of Michigan reported. She continued, “We give them a sense of community that gives them the confidence to go forth and really become leaders in whatever they really feel passionate about. I really think that’s the ‘secret sauce.'”

Stanley Jackson Named Assistant Director of Office of Sponsored Programs

From: Karl V. Steiner, Vice President for Research

I am pleased to announce that Stanley Jackson, Grants & Contracts Manager in UMBC’s Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) has been promoted to Assistant Director of OSP, effective May 17, 2015.

Stan brings a considerable amount of experience to this new position. He is a Certified Research Administrator (CRA) with a Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology and a Master’s Certificate in Government Contracting. Stan has over 20 years of experience across three University System of Maryland institutions, including almost six years with UMBC. His experience includes contract and grant accounting, departmental administration and central management in sponsored programs.

With Stan assuming this important position, we are confident to assure continuity of the high level of service and expertise provided by OSP. As part of a broader re-organization of the office, we have also started the process of looking to fill two additional positions, a Grants & Contracts Specialist and a Data Analyst, to support the current and future needs of the UMBC community.

Dean Drake, Associate Vice President for Research, will assume some of the former OSP Director responsibilities.

Please join me in congratulating Stan on his new position as Assistant Director.