Renetta Tull: Equity in STEM

Renetta Tull, Associate Vice Provost of Graduate Student Development and Postdoctoral Affairs, is seeking equity in STEM for all.

RenettaTull was recently the lead author on an article for peerReview titled, “The Jessica Effect: Valuing Cultural and Familial Connections to Broaden Success in Academe.” The article begins:

Jessica Soto-Pérez, daughter of Antonio Israel Soto and Luz N. Pérez, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez. She was a promising chemical engineering graduate student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and peer mentor for its National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program—PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP.

Jessica’s future plans included returning to her native Puerto Rico to pursue a career as an engineering professor. Unfortunately, she didn’t reach that goal because in 2004, she was tragically killed by her husband.

Tull makes the argument that institutions need to “definitively invite and actively include the family members and friends of graduate students in informative and celebratory events and programs.” She writes:

This practice of “family and friend” inclusion is the legacy of Jessica. It ultimately achieves several purposes including, but not limited to (1) serving as an advising model that faculty and administrators can utilize to both recognize and value the cultural and familial connections of their graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and colleagues in the STEM disciplines, (2) promoting an understanding of the university experience among those who may not be familiar with academic processes and timelines, (3) reducing feelings of isolation on the part of students and family members, and (4) expanding the opportunities for family members to offer their students the support necessary for degree completion.

Tull is now heading to the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, D.C. to participate in “A New America: Empowering Hispanic Millennials for Tech Leadership,” organized by the National Journal and The Atlantic.

Tull will discuss how we can reverse the trend of Hispanic underrepresentation in STEM professions and better prepare Hispanic students for high tech careers. Other event participants include U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas; Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council for the White House; Rafael Bras, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology; Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics; and Deborah Santiago, Co-Founder, COO and Vice President for Policy of Excelencia in Education.

Presidential Teaching and Research Professor Nominations (Due 12/1)

The 2014-15 Presidential Teaching and Research Professor nominations materials were recently distributed across campus. Nominations should be forward to the Office of the Provost no later than December 1, 2014.

Click here for a copy of Dr. Hrabowski’s letter and nomination guidelines. If you have any questions concerning these awards, please contact Jerilyn Johnson in the Provost’s Office at 410-455-2333.

Diane Lee, Dean of Undergraduate Education, Discusses How UMBC Supports Transfer Students in The Baltimore Sun

A recent article in The Baltimore Sun examines the increased number of students transferring into Maryland colleges and universities.

Diane Lee, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, spoke to the Sun about how UMBC supports transfer students, including new efforts enabled by a major grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to eliminate some of the major challenges these students face, such as with transferring credits necessary to fulfill degree requirements.

Lee explained how UMBC’s close partnership with community colleges plays a major role in this work. For example, UMBC officials have interviewed local community college faculty to learn what types of support to offer transfer students, including an early warning system for struggling students to quickly connect them with support.

“When we talk about the importance of welcoming transfer students, it’s real on this campus,” said Lee.

Click here to read “More students transferring in to Maryland universities.”

Annual Open Enrollment

Benefits Open Enrollment Period – October, 2014

The benefits open enrollment period will be from October 15 through November 14, 2014. Any updates made during the open enrollment period will be effective January 1, 2015. During the open enrollment period eligible faculty and staff can change existing benefit coverage, enroll for benefit coverage, or cancel current coverage. The Human Resources (HR) Department will send campus-wide announcements as we receive further information from the State of Maryland about open enrollment. Please review the announcements carefully since there will be changes related to:

• Paper enrollment process
• Affordable Care Act Employer Mandate
• New Wellness requirements for medical plans
• New Dental HMO provider
• Return of Kaiser Permanente
• Aetna EPO no longer offered;
• Point-of-Service plans eliminated;
• End of coverage for domestic partners; and
• Other related changes

Rates for the new plan year have not been finalized. Open enrollment packets will be delivered to the HR Department. We will notify departmental payroll representatives when open enrollment materials are available for pick up. In the meantime, the HR Department will be sending out notices regarding open enrollment changes and planned events.

Lynne Schaefer, VP for Finance and Administration, in College Planning and Management

Lynne Schaefer, vice president for finance and administration, spoke to College Planning and Management about best practices for contracting housekeeping, dining, grounds maintenance and other services in higher education. College Planning and Management is a monthly journal focusing on campus safety, facilities, technology and more.

Schaefer discussed the lessons she has learned from her time at UMBC working with campus vendors and ensuring student satisfaction. She recommended establishing contracts that are descriptive and performance-based rather than prescriptive, saying, “If you are going to use outside experts then rely on their expertise.”

Click here to read the article titled “Let It Go.”

Director of Office of Sponsored Programs

To: The UMBC Campus Community
From: Karl V. Steiner, Vice President for Research

It is my duty to inform you that Tina Stanger, the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), has submitted her resignation effective July 30, 2014. She has accepted
a new position as Director of Contracts and Grants Management at MedStar Health
Research Institute starting August 1.

Tina has over 20 years of experience in research administration and started her tenure at
UMBC in the Office of Sponsored Programs as a Grants and Contracts Manager in 2007.
She became the Assistant Director in 2009 and hired as the Director in 2012.

During her time at UMBC, Tina earned her Master of Arts degree from UMBC, a Master’s certificate in Government Contracting from George Washington University, and became a Certified Research Administrator. Besides her own personal training,Tina supported OSP staff training as well as campus wide training programs. She drafted several policies, procedures, and implemented several key committees to assist UMBC in managing its extramural awards.

Through her expertise, skill and collegial open personality Tina has made significant
contributions in so many ways. We will miss her professionalism, energy and most of
all her laugh. Please join me in wishing her the best in her future endeavors.

We have launched a national search and the position has been posted online for a new
Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs. Please continue to communicate with your OSP representatives for any issues that arise. Dean Drake, the Assistant VP for Research will assist OSP with Director level support
until a new Director is hired.