Six years in a row, UMBC named “Great College to Work For”

To: The UMBC Community
From: President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous

The Chronicle of Higher Education has named UMBC an outstanding academic workplace for the sixth consecutive year. UMBC is one of only 86 universities to receive the “Great Colleges to Work For” distinction and the only Maryland four-year institution to be recognized.

Each year, the Chronicle surveys faculty, staff, and administrators and asks them to rate their workplaces on a variety of factors. The assessment also includes analysis of demographic data and workplace policies. The Chronicle’s 2015 results are based on responses from more than 40,000 people at nearly 300 public and private institutions nationwide.

For the fourth consecutive year, UMBC was featured on the Chronicle’shonor roll,” which recognizes universities that excel in almost every recognition category. This year, UMBC was highly rated in:

  • Collaborative Governance
  • Confidence in Senior Leadership
  • Respect and Appreciation
  • Supervisor/Department Chair Relationship
  • Tenure Clarity & Process

This award recognizes what we all know: Excellence thrives in an environment of inclusiveness and respect. These campus values and our commitment to robust shared governance make UMBC an exceptional campus community. We thank each of you for all that you do to make UMBC a great place to work and learn.

Join the Retriever Exchange

Join the Retriever Exchange myUMBC group. This group will be similar to “Freecycle” in that a UMBC department can advertise office supplies or items that are no longer of use to them. The items will only be offered to another department and will be available free of charge.

The idea is to use UMBC’s supplies and resources to the maximum extent possible. This is an easy way for departments to keep their costs down and promotes a “green” environment for our campus.

Leadership Transition in Student Support Services

TO: The Campus Community

FROM: Provost Philip Rous

I am pleased to announce our new leadership team in UMBC’s Student Support Services, following the retirement of Associate Provost and Director Cynthia Hill.

Effective immediately, Tawny McManus will serve as interim director of Student Disability Services and will lead all programs and activities that support our students with disabilities. Additionally, Corris Davis will serve as interim director of TRIO programs and will lead all activities in Student Support Services associated with our grant-supported programs, including McNair Scholars and Upward Bound. Both Ms. McManus and Ms. Davis have extensive experience, previously serving as associate director of Student Disability Services and director of Upward Bound, respectively.

I would like to express my gratitude to Ms. Davis and Ms. McManus for agreeing to take on these important leadership roles. I know that the Student Support Services staff, and our campus community, will support them during this important transitional period.

Chris Steele Appointed Interim Vice Provost for Division of Professional Studies

TO: The Campus Community

FROM: Provost Philip Rous

Following the retirement of John Martello, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Steele as interim vice provost for the Division of Professional Studies and interim executive director of The Shriver Center, effective Sept. 1, 2015.

Dr. Steele has been a member of the UMBC community for nearly 20 years, most recently serving as senior associate vice provost for the Division of Professional Studies. A senior member of the division’s leadership team since 2000, Dr. Steele has played a key role in the development of important institutional programs and partnerships, including UMBC’s professional graduate programs, UMBC at The Universities at Shady Grove, K-12 teacher education professional development, and the English Language Institute.

Dr. Steele began his career at UMBC as a research associate in the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems, where he worked on NASA- and NSF-funded initiatives, including the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES). A member of BES, Dr. Steele spent several years in the role of urban resources initiative coordinator for the Parks & People Foundation, where he coordinated a graduate student summer research internship program and served as a community organizer on issues related to the urban environment.

Dr. Steele earned a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Maryland, College Park and received his Masters and Bachelors degrees in Geography from Binghamton University and The University of Pittsburgh, respectively. He is an affiliate associate professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems and a veteran of the Maryland Army National Guard.

We anticipate conducting a search for Dr. Martello’s replacement during the coming year.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Steele on his new appointment and supporting him during this important transitional period.

2015 Health Benefits Open Enrollment Update

TO: The Campus Community

FROM: Rochelle Sanders, Director, HR Benefits and Compensation

We are pleased to announce that this year’s Open Enrollment (October 15-November 16, 2015) will be paperless.

UMBC has been working closely with the State of Maryland and University System of Maryland (USM) to provide the necessary data to support the State’s implementation of the Benefits module of Workday, the new secure Web-based State Personnel System (SPS). The online SPS will allow UMBC and state employees to:

  • View benefit coverage information
  • Enroll for and/or make changes to benefits coverage
  • Upload supporting documentation, such as birth certificates and marriage certificates
  • View dependent coverage information
  • Print benefit confirmation statements

As the new system is implemented, two important process changes will go into effect on August 1, 2015.

  1. Effective Date of Coverage: Coverage will now begin on the first of the month following the start date of a new hire or a “qualifying event” date (marriage, loss of coverage, divorce, etc.). Effective dates for newborns will be adjusted to the actual date of birth.
  2. Terminations: Coverage will end at the end of the month in which an employee separates from employment.

We will be sending an important email notification regarding employee demographic information required for the SPS implementation, in preparation for this system change. Please be sure to review the notification carefully and take the appropriate action outlined in the communications. Human Resources will be providing training and guidance throughout this implementation period.

Please contact Zahira Meyers,, if you have additional questions or concerns.

2016 UMBC Technology Catalyst Fund – Request for Proposals

The UMBC Office of Technology Development (OTD), under the Office of the Vice President for Research, is continually seeking ways to help bridge the funding gap – support that can be difficult to obtain from traditional funding sources. With support provided by the State of Maryland, we are happy to announce a new initiative, the UMBC Technology Catalyst Fund, which is designed to advance innovations originating from UMBC research to more commercially viable technologies. Additional proof-of-concept studies, extending data collection and prototype development are examples of the essential steps needed to demonstrate commercial potential.

A total of $100,000 is available annually for this initiative. UMBC plans to make several awards up to $25,000. Projects will be funded at the level deemed necessary to achieve the goals outlined in the proposal. Awards will be for a six- to twelve- month period and only proposals that can demonstrate achievable milestones within that time period will be selected for funding. One-time, no-cost extensions may be granted, subject to approval by the review committee. No overhead will apply.

Requirements: All UMBC members with Principal Investigator status are eligible to apply as long as the technology to be developed has been previously disclosed to OTD. We welcome projects from all disciplines and encourage interdisciplinary collaborations.

Criteria: Proposals will be reviewed by a committee comprised of faculty, administrative research personnel and outside reviewers from the business community, and will be held confidential. Finalists will be invited to give a presentation to the Review Committee. The evaluation criteria will include factors such as:

  • Significance of the market need and opportunity to impact the public.
  • Competitive advantage the technology presents over current solutions.
  • Probability that the project will result in additional funding or licensing.
  • Probability that the research results will strengthen the patent position.
  • Probability of reaching milestones within the time frame and budget.

Deadlines: An initial draft proposal must be submitted by Wednesday, September 30, 2015. The final deadline for proposal submissions is Wednesday, October 21, 2015. Please be advised that several preliminary steps must be completed prior to final submission and applicants are advised to contact OTD at least 3 weeks in advance of the deadline. Awards will be announced in the fall with an anticipated starting date of January 1, 2016.

Contact: Interested applicants should contact Paola Buitron, Technology Manager, OTD at or call 443.543.5598 to request the Proposal Process and Executive Summary Checklist and the Cover Form.

Parking Restrictions for Resident Move-in Day (8/24)

Residential Life will be welcoming new residents to campus on Saturday, August 22nd and returning residents on Monday, August 24th. Faculty and staff are restricted from parking along Center Road and Poplar Avenue. In addition, there will be no access to Center or Back Roads from the outer loop. Faculty and staff should also prepare for additional traffic on campus and plan accordingly.

Thank you for your cooperation as we welcome this year’s students to campus.