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Student Experience and Success

1/26/17

By Christine Condon and Danielle Ohl | The Diamondback

"President Trump plans to defund the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, a move that could jeopardize funding for the arts and humanities at the University of Maryland and in this state.

"A Jan. 19 report in The Hill detailed a meeting between White House staff and Trump's transition team, who fleshed out a plan to cut back on bureaucracy and government spending. The plan included eliminating the two endowments, which have granted this university about $2.5 million for research, performances and projects since 2010.

" '[The NEH and NEA] have been important in a lot of ways,' said arts and humanities college Dean Bonnie Dill. 'They are a very important part of the work that we do.' "

Read the complete story online at The Diamondback.

Image: The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. (File photo/The Diamondback).

9/13/16

The Baltimore City Paper named "BMORE Than the Story "Best Community Curation" in its 2016 "Best of Baltimore" issue. Curated by students from associate Professor of design Audra Buck-Coleman’s course on design in society and students from the Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts, the “BMORE Than The Story” exhibition at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum addressed the one-sided media portrayal and the realities of the west Baltimore students’ lives. 

The Baltimore City Paper writes:

"Baltimore’s museums generally feature exhibitions organized by professional curators, but in the aftermath of the uprising following the murder of Freddie Gray, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum opened up its exhibit space to students from Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts. The students curated a response to the ugly media narrative about their lives that the press put out in April 2015. Working with UMD students, the result was “BMORE Than the Story,” which highlighted stories from students about their experiences with surveillance, police brutality, and civic deprivation. The show was a powerful challenge to the carceral logics of their schools and neighborhoods that resonated far beyond the museum walls."

Read the complete article at the Baltimore City Paper website.

Image via the Baltimore City Paper

4/14/16

By , WBALTV

BALTIMORE —A new exhibit at a museum downtown is giving students from a school in west Baltimore a chance to voice their feelings and opinions about last April's unrest.

Quotes from city officials taken from media outlets during last April's unrest are part of a new interactive exhibit opening at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Using a black light, visitors can see word substitutions that reflect the perspective of the young artists, like Lonnie Royster, who will be part of a live performance.

"What happened last April was about economic disenfranchisement and neglect and yes, a black, African-American boy child used the phrase economic disenfranchisement and neglect," Royster said.

"These are students who have never really had an opportunity to have a voice, and they've come together and, like, created this huge thing, and it's really powerful, and I want people to see it," graphic design student Ashley Brannock said.

In Bmore Than The Story students from Augusta Fells Savage High School in west Baltimore worked with graphic design students from the University of the Maryland College Park to express their feelings about the death of Freddie Gray and the riots.

Read more and watch video here

5/12/15

BY LAUREN BROWN
PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI

This week only, the landscape of downtown College Park is a little more whimsical. And thoughtful. And connected.

Students in a new public art and design course have installed five temporary artworks on streets, in open spaces and in other nooks of the city for view May 11–16, in hopes of sparking conversations about the relationship between the university and College Park.

On Monday, passersby paused and drivers turned their heads to stare at the works, such as reflector-covered poles lining a sidewalk, a blown-up globe between a pair of park benches, and three platforms bearing chairs and tables and festooned with a canopy of colored ribbons, on a grassy area just outside City Hall.

Architecture Associate Professor Ronit Eisenbach, with sculptor and art Professor John Ruppert and urban planning Professor Gerrit Knapp, director of the National Center for Smart Growth, taught the “Making Place Work” class to a mix of art, architecture and landscape architecture students.

“We wanted them to think about spicing up College Park a bit, and raise possibilities about what could happen here,” she says.

The course is supported by UMD’s Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship andPartnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) program, in which students and faculty work with local governments in Maryland to solve real community problems.

The students first explored the challenges the city and university are now confronting to make College Park’s downtown more vibrant, diverse and attractive. Then, split into teams, they explored different concepts in the city-campus relationship, such as blurring the boundaries between them or emphasizing the quiet areas or creating a place to mingle. They worked with the property owners—the university, its foundation and the city—to secure short-term use of the spaces, and raced to design and build their visions.

Architecture graduate student Prakruti Hoskere was glad to get experience in collaborating and constructing a design on a budget, and has enjoyed watching people interact with her team’s piece, “Room Garden.”

“I really feel that these projects can help make College Park a better place,” she says.

For more information, visit makingplaceumd.wordpress.com. Passersby can connect via Twitter #CPMakePlace.

 

A total $34,000 awarded by the university to Jorge Bravo, assistant professor of classics in the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU), will help fund efforts to continue archeological exploration of the ancient Greek port of Kenchreai.

Bravo will travel to Greece in the summer to conduct preliminary investigations in new areas of Kenchreai, the eastern port of ancient Corinth. The work is the first part of Bravo’s larger plan to seek permits from the Greek government for further excavation and to secure future grants.

Funding, which is being provided by the Division of Research, ARHU and the Department of Classics, will help to pay for soil coring and GIS modeling of the harbor. The university’s support will also help sustain a field school for undergraduate and graduate students to continue to explore ancient Greek culture, a program he helped develop with an earlier $5,000 seed grant from ARHU.

Bravo said that the coring work will help researchers define what the environment was like for the area’s settlers and how they interacted with it as it changed over time. A geophysical survey using ground-penetrating radar and other methods will also help give researchers an idea of what lies beneath the earth’s surface. Corinth was a thriving commercial area from as early as about 700 B.C. through the Roman Empire to around 500 A.D., but as Bravo explained, the port was forced to move during that time as the environment changed.

“The general suspicion is that it was a process of silting up of the harbor over time,” Bravo said.

Bravo co-directs the Kenchreai Excavations along with Joseph L. Rife, associate professor of classics and anthropology at Vanderbilt University.  The Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. also supports the project.

Kenchreai was first explored by American archeologists in the 1960s.  Bravo said that he became interested in the site after collaborating with others who had also worked in the area. Funding will help build collaborations between the university’s departments of geography, anthropology, history, classics and others.

“It’s really building collaborations between the humanities and the other schools,” Bravo said.

In addition to the new seaside excavation work, he said, students attending the four-week field school will also have the opportunity to explore remains believed to have served as an ancient residence and warehouse, nearby Roman tombs and other sites and museums in the region.

For more information about the field school in Greece and how to apply, visit:  http://globalmaryland.umd.edu/offices/education-abroad/program/11005. 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A $137,500 grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to the University of Maryland’s Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity (CRGE) seeks to identify innovative practices to encourage academic environments to be more supportive and inclusive of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty. CRGE Director Ruth Enid Zambrana will draw on data from her prior study supported in part by the University of Maryland to help develop higher education policies to encourage the retention and promotion of URM faculty.

 “My work aims to capture a segment of the U.S. diversity work force that is vital to strengthening higher education’s role in addressing social and economic inequality and educating future cohorts of diverse students as citizens of the world,” Zambrana said.

African American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and Native American full-time professors together represented less than eight percent of tenured university faculty in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Such low numbers fail to provide an inclusive and diverse educational environment for students and can magnify feelings of stress, isolation and perceptions of prejudice and discrimination among faculty. Those feelings can lead to lower retention and promotion rates among URM faculty, whose absence in higher education institutions can dispossess students of innovative and diverse thinking and role models. 

CRGE will seek collaboration with national higher education organizations and the UMD Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), ADVANCE and Office of Faculty Affairs to translate research into action. Three activities are envisioned under the grant including a retreat for early-career URM faculty led by senior scholars to help them navigate the academic terrain for successful careers; three national sessions with key higher education administrators and stakeholders to disseminate and encourage use of and investment in inclusive practices and policies and the production of scholarship  to disseminate the findings and the policies to a broader audience.

"This work has great potential to change the national climate of diversity and inclusion in higher education as well as the creation of a better learning environment for all students, who will take lessons and diverse perspectives learned from URM faculty into their future lives," Zambrana said.

CRGE is an interdisciplinary research center in the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland. It promotes scholarship at the intersection of multiple fields through research, mentoring and collaboration. For more information about CRGE, see www.crge.umd.edu.

The grant was awarded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which aims to support initiatives that create innovative solutions to issues facing disadvantaged communities. For more information about the Annie E. Casey Foundation, see www.aecf.org.

10/14/14

College Park residents and students at the city’s University of Maryland gathered Saturday to brainstorm a more pedestrian-friendly U.S. Route 1 – with music-filled gazebos, tree lined-sidewalks and a grocery store.

The Think-A-Thon meeting at the College Park Community Center yielded outlines, sketches, lists and a lot of notes as about 60 people — among them university staff and elected officials — sat down to find creative solutions to the challenges of Route 1.

In their discussions, attendees tried to address challenges such as too much traffic and a lack of independently-owned businesses, and tried to reimagine Route 1 as a space with more aesthetically-pleasing architecture, spaces for people to linger, art and music.

The event, organized by the Center for Synergy at the university’s college of Arts & Humanities, is modeled on previous Think-A-Thons held in Baltimore.

Read more here.

10/13/14

Members of this university and city community came together Saturday to offer ideas for the cultural and artistic redesign of Route 1 as part of a collaborative effort that aims to turn the city into a top-20 college town by 2020.

A group of about 40 people, consisting of university administrators, city officials, local artists, residents and students, gathered at the College Park Community Center for the afternoon to brainstorm ways the arts can be used to improve the city’s aesthetic appeal.

Popular ideas included open galleries and spaces for artists to display visual and verbal art, performance spaces and theaters, more parks and greenery and designated paths for bikers and pedestrians.

“We want to make life better for people who live here and work here and play here,” Mayor Andy Fellows said. ”In doing that, we’ll end up attracting people from different places, because with any cool community that has things to do, people from outside are going to want to come.”

To read more, please click here.

9/15/14

Students and staff members discussed improving Route 1 at the arts and humanities college’s Center for Synergy Thinkathon on Friday afternoon. 

Organizers hosted the Thinkathon at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center as part of the 2014 NextNOW Fest in hopes of learning what students want to experience while attending this university.

“We’ve invited them to come and weigh in on arts and culture and how they feel arts and culture could transform Route 1,” said Monique Everette, director of marketing and communications at the arts and humanities college.

About 20 students, in majors from music and studio art to computer science and engineering, attended the Thinkathon to voice their opinions, recommending an enhanced downtown area and increased green space in the city.

“They didn’t say, ‘We want a traditional college town,’ but that’s what they described,” said Sheri Parks, associate dean for research, interdisciplinary scholarship and programming at the college’s Center for Synergy. “They want to be able to do things on Route 1 besides drink and eat pizza.”

To read more, click here.

On April 29th, the second place of the Do Good Challenge’s Venture Track category was awarded to Community Pipeline, a new initiative from the College of Arts & Humanities’ Center for Synergy and the ARHU Social Innovation Scholars. Guided by mentors and faculty members, University of Maryland students designed and implemented their own after-school programs in local elementary and middle schools. This organization was the brainchild of a few young, dedicated students, among them Nick Henninger ’15: history & economics major, Social Innovation Scholar and project mentor for the organization’s 2014 cohort.

Nick remembers sitting in a club meeting for AshokaU Terp Changemakers in April 2013 and listening to members express an earnest but unsubstantiated desire to teach entrepreneurship to a local school. What they needed, Nick thought, was a pipeline from the university to local schools such as Paint Branch Elementary and College Park Academy.

At the time, Nick was part of the 2013 cohort of the Social Innovation Scholars. Over the course of a year, the fourteen undergraduate scholars participated in classes, internships, fundraisers and meetings to nurture ideas and develop entrepreneurial projects. With support from ARHU Assistant Dean Sheri Parks and mentors from local schools, Nick and another scholar, Chinese and international business major Clara Huang ’14, came up with a plan to help interested college students turn their enthusiasm into action.

Community Pipeline launched on March 31st of this year. Students ran four different after-school programs three days a week. 98 volunteers hosted a “diverse array” of activities, including singing, engineering, geography and more. Community Pipeline provided Maryland students with the logistical services they need, such as free door-to-door transportation, an on-campus background check, lesson plan assistance, communication with school officials and any miscellaneous costs. In the near future, Community Pipeline may create its own website, and perhaps even spread its ideas to other universities. These are big tasks, but the students aren’t backing down.

“It’s meant to be enormous,” Nick says. “It’s meant to change the way this university looks and feels to the local community.”

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