Danielle L. Beatty Moody, Psychology, Receives NIH Career Development Award

Danielle BeattyDanielle L. Beatty Moody, an assistant professor of psychology, has received a Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The five-year, $600,000 project will investigate the ways in which racial disparities in exposure to early life social disadvantage promote accelerated diseases and disorders related to the brain including stroke, dementia, and cognitive decline in African Americans across the span of the lifetime.

“Pronounced racial disparities are observed across multiple clinical and subclinical brain health endpoints in African Americans compared to Whites and may be attributable, in part, to accelerated age-related disease processes,” NIH stated in a public health relevance statement announcing the award.

“The interrelations among life course social disadvantage, accelerated aging, and brain health endpoints have been grossly understudied and are crucial to developing appropriate prevention and intervention strategies geared toward reducing and ultimately eliminating race-related health disparities in brain aging,” Dr. Beatty Moody explained in the award announcement.

Beatty Moody, as the primary investigator of the project, will work with 300 participants in the study to determine whether early life social disadvantage is related to MRI-indicators of brain pathology predictive of future stroke and cognitive decline and if they are more pronounced in African American than White adults. She will also research potential psychosocial, behavioral, and biomedical mediators of those associations.

Professor Beatty Moody’s research interests focus on cardiovascular disease, health and racial/ethnic disparities, psychosocial stressors, socioeconomic status, and discrimination. Read more about her research on the psychology department website. Read the Career Development Award announcement on the NIH website.

Steph Ceraso, English, Receives the 2015 Richard Ohmann Outstanding Article in College English Award

stephceraso_webSteph Ceraso, an assistant professor of English, has been selected for the 2015 Richard Ohmann Outstanding Article in College English Award. The annual award is presented by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Ceraso received the recognition for her article “(Re)Educating the Senses: Multimodal Listening, Bodily Learning, and the Composition of Sonic Experiences.”

The award is recognition of an outstanding refereed article in the past volume year of the journal College English that makes a significant contribution to the field of English studies. It is given in the name of Richard Ohmann, landmark editor of College English from 1966 to 1978.

Ceraso’s essay aims to reimagine how listening is taught by accounting for the different sensory modes in which sound is experienced: “In response to widespread ‘plug in and tune out’ listening habits, and to the need for a more substantial listening education—particularly in relation to digital engagement and production—my article offers an expansive, explicitly embodied approach to the teaching of listening. My aim in writing this piece was to create a sonic pedagogy that allows students to capitalize on the compositional affordances of sound in digital contexts and retrains them to become more thoughtful, sensitive listener-composers of sound in any setting,” Ceraso shared.

Ceraso’s article received significant praise from the NCTE selection committee in a press release announcing the award: “The judges found Professor Ceraso’s essay fresh, timely, and engaging—a piece that will have an impact on the field for its vision and accessibility. Her essay, woven throughout with connections to pedagogy and composition, pushes the boundaries of multimodal composition as Professor Ceraso challenges us to reimagine how soundscapes can change the writing classroom—that is how we can incorporate ‘productive, quality sonic experiences’ that build on students’ past experiences.”

The award will be presented in November at the NCTE Annual Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ceraso’s teaching and research interests include rhetoric and composition, sound studies, digital media production, and pedagogy. Read more about her work on the English department website.

Diverse Names UMBC’s Student Affairs A “Most Promising Place to Work”

14930051824_16e91d55c2_zDiverse: Issues in Higher Education has named UMBC one of this year’s “Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs” among the nation’s research universities. UMBC was one of only 31 universities featured on the national list and one of just 14 research institutions included.

“Student affairs at UMBC is guided by the mission of facilitating learning and preparing students for success in a multicultural and increasingly global society and workforce,” Diverse reported. “The Division of Student Affairs embodies a true commitment to teamwork and community, while cultivating student development and growth.”

“At UMBC we believe that each person has a unique story that drives her passion or allows him to contribute new perspectives to our shared community,” Nancy Young, vice-president for student affairs, said. “We are pleased to be included in this impressive list and, equally important, we appreciate the opportunity to stop and reflect on why we love it here!”

This list was created using a national survey administered by the Center for Higher Education Enterprise at The Ohio State University and commissioned by the American College Personnel Association and Diverse. Read UMBC’s profile in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

Orianne Smith, English, Wins Inaugural British Association of Romantic Studies First Book Prize

Orianne Smith bookOrianne Smith, associate professor and chair of English, has won the prestigious biennial First Book Prize from the British Association of Romantic Studies (BARS). Smith’s book Romantic Women Writers, Revolution, and Prophecy: Rebellious Daughters, 1786–1826 (Cambridge University Press, 2013) was selected from a strong shortlist of finalists for the inaugural prize.

Professor Smith traveled to Cardiff, Wales to accept the award. In an announcement posted on the BARS blog, the judges stated during the award ceremony that her book “corrects the gender imbalance of previous work on literary enthusiasm by shedding light on the previously obscured role of women writers in apocalyptic discourse…a tremendously fluent and incisive study, making surprising and productive use of speech-act theory to bring out the performative dimension of prophetic writing.”

Dr. Smith participated in a detailed and wide-ranging Q&A posted on the BARS blog about her research process in writing her award-winning book. She said the idea for the project first came to her when writing the conclusion for her final paper on the “wild, wacky and truly wonderful Civil War prophetesses” in her seventeenth-century sectarian writers class during her second year of graduate school.

Orianne Smith with Professor Emma Clery, the Chair of the First Book Prize Committee, giving her acceptance speech.

Orianne Smith with Professor Emma Clery, the Chair of the First Book Prize Committee, giving her acceptance speech.

“It occurred to me that there could be an interesting connection between these seventeenth-century women who claimed the authority of God during a period of revolution and Romantic women writers who also assumed the mantle of the female prophet in the wake of the French Revolution,” she said. “I wrapped up the paper with this thought, but the idea of a British tradition of female prophecy stuck with me.”

Also in the Q&A, Smith discussed how the project evolved, the benefit of placing religious discourses at center of cultural debates and literary studies, and her future research, among other topics.

Dr. Smith’s teaching and research interests include gender and Romanticism, the Gothic, and the connections between religion, superstition, and magic in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and she has published widely in these fields. Read more about her work on the English department website.

UMBC Honored as 2015-2016 College of Distinction

14930051824_16e91d55c2_zUMBC was named a 2015-2016 College of Distinction this month, one of only four Maryland universities to receive the honor. Colleges of Distinction is a college guide for guidance counselors, parents, and students focusing on graduate success, teaching quality, campus atmosphere, innovate learning, and engaged students.

Colleges of Distinction describes UMBC as a “dynamic public university integrating teaching, research and service,” and notes that the university is “consistently cited as one of the best universities for undergraduate teaching and a leading innovator in higher education.” UMBC is also a member of the 2015-2016 Public Colleges of Distinction cohort, joining universities such as the College of William and Mary, University of North Carolina- Wilmington, and University of Texas- Dallas.

Universities are nominated for the distinction by high school counselors, college administrative members, and the Colleges of Distinction selection team. Once nominated, colleges are chosen through a mix of qualitative and quantitative information, including interviews with administration, faculty, alumni, and current students, as well as a college visit by the selection team.

Learn more about Colleges of Distinction.

Ramon Goings, Sherman Scholars, Calls for Increased Representation of African-American Male Doctors

A recent report from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) found that African-American males had the lowest application rate for medical school. Ramon Goings, program coordinator for the Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars Program, responded to this report by issuing a call to action to increase the representation of African-American males in the medical profession.

ramongoingsIn a column for The Edvocate, Goings points to barriers in the education pipeline and advocates for improving STEM education and supporting historically Black colleges and universities as they train African-American doctors. “We must work collaboratively to increase the amount of African American males not only attending medical school, but graduating from these institutions,” he wrote. “Solving this issue will require educational institutions (K-12 and higher education) generally, and medical schools specifically to examine how the school climate and culture negatively impact the socialization of African American males.”

Read “Increasing the representation of African American male medical doctors: A call to action” on The Edvocate.

Kristin Waters, Operations, Explores Teleworking in C&U

Kristin Waters, associate director of operators for Admissions and Orientation, published an article about teleworking in higher education in the College and University Journal (C&U), a publication of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). C&U is an educational policy and research journal specializing in emerging concerns, new techniques, and technology in higher education.

In the article, Waters recounts the history of teleworking, the role of modern technology in making remote work possible, and how changing social structures has increased the need for teleworking. She also outlines challenges with teleworking, including inconsistent policies, and makes recommendations for managers, saying, “Communication, management, and trust are impacted by teleworking. Managers should be aware of these impacts in order to implement a successful teleworking policy.” She concludes, “Institutions of higher education have evolved, or shifted, as a result of societal influences…as a result, employees are now able to telework, providing benefits to both the employee and employer.”

Read “Teleworking in Higher Education” in C&U, beginning on page 28.