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Weighing In

3/6/15

College Park was officially chartered along Route 1 70 years ago. And as University of Maryland president Wallace Loh says, “When the city prospers, the university prospers, too.”

But Loh says the city hasn’t exactly been prospering of late. And much of that has to do with the development — or lack thereof — on Route 1.

“This university has grown dramatically over the past 25 years to become a Top 20 public research university,” he explains. “Its future growth, to the extent that it’s constrained, is not by internal factors but by the surrounding community.”

Whereas a generation ago, 30-35 percent of faculty, staff and students live in College Park, Loh points out that now it’s down to three percent. “Most commute to Montgomery County, Howard County, and D.C.,” he says.

He adds that “if you look at all the top ranked public research universities, they’re also in top ranked university towns. There is a synergy between the two. Therefore we can no longer think of the continuing rise of the University of Maryland independently of the community of which it is a part.”

To read more, click here.

10/9/14

by Jordan Branch, The Writer's Bloc

University and College Park community members will participate in an open discussion this Saturday titled Think-A-Thon, an event to promote infusion of the arts and culture into the planning process for revitalizing Baltimore Avenue.

The venue is a “think and do type of event,” using the arts and culture to look for solutions to Route 1 obstacles, said Nicky Everette, the marketing and communications director for the College of Arts and Humanities.

The discussion is hosted by the College of Arts and Humanities’ Center for Synergy at this university and will be held from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the College Park Community Center and Youth Soccer Complex.

For the past two years Think-A-Thons have occurred in Baltimore City to discuss the city’s challenges.

However, this year Sheri Parks, research, interdisciplinary, scholarship and programming associate dean for the College of Arts and Humanities, said it was time to start a discussion in College Park about the future of Baltimore Avenue’s development.

To read more, please click here.

12/1/13

by James Chute, The San Diego Union-Tribune

We’re always moving. But most of the time, we’re not even aware of it.

On a recent Saturday in the Old Globe Theatre’s rehearsal hall in Balboa Park, dancer Karen Bradley asked a group of innovators to pay special attention.

She took them through a series of exercises, from being still and feeling the subtle movement in their bodies, to using overt movements to express an idea.

“The point I was trying to make is that movement — when we behave — it’s actually data; it’s information for us,” said Bradley, director of graduate studies at the University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies and one of the faculty members for Balboa Park’s Art of Science Learning project.

“When we move creatively, we generate choices, which perhaps we wouldn’t think of in our (brain’s) frontal lobe right away, but stuff bubbles up from the back as we notice what we’re doing.”

So what does this have to do with addressing a significant, real-life challenge, which is the goal of this group created by the Art of Science Learning?

“If you are trying to solve a problem, and you want to see many different possible outcomes, sometimes moving it offers you an array of possibilities,” Bradley said. “Some of them are silly, and goofy, and you go, ‘OK, that’s not working.’ And some of them are like, ‘Wow, I wouldn’t have thought of that otherwise.’ ”

The San Diego Incubator for Innovation — where the arts are integrated with science, technology, engineering and math (also known as STEM) — is now in session.

To read more, please click here.

10/16/13

by Nick DiMarco, abc2news

Location, location, location.

Once the maxim of picking prime real estate, location is becoming recognized as the most important feature shaping the future of social and mobile media.

Emerging social media applications focused on location recognition are trying to change the way we see the world. These tools are being used increasingly to mine data from consumers, provide real-time updates of important happenings, take us to events we want to see and in some cases to keep us safe.

Apple iPhone users, for example, may have noticed the emphasis on location technology during the upgrade to iOS7. Thousands of App Store applications were required to request permission of the user’s location before publicly publishing posts. 

It's most prevalent in navigation apps, however social media giants like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram rely on location tagging to connect users to each other and to nearby places. 

“The most pervasive digital technology on the planet is a mobile device,” said Jason Farman, a University of Maryland professor and social/mobile media researcher.

To read more, please click here.

by Jason Farman, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Since I’ve been teaching in higher education, I have always been very confident of my teaching abilities. I knew I was a good teacher; that is, until fall semester of 2012.

I had just been awarded a fellowship with the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Maryland, given to 10 faculty members each year from disciplines all across the campus. I then met with my fellow faculty members every Friday morning for an hour to discuss teaching methods, pedagogical theories, and the role of face-to-face learning in the digital age.

Working alongside these seasoned scholar-teachers, I realized that everything I had taken for granted about my own teaching wasn’t always the best approach. I very quickly realized that each one of my assumptions had to be reevaluated, beginning with the idea that I was a good teacher.

Throughout the academic year working with the Center for Teaching Excellence, I built my teaching philosophy from the ground up, holding each of my assumptions under close examination. In the end, I crafted the following Manifesto for Active Learning.

To read more, please click here.

4/22/13

By Paul Voosen, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Sean Pue had an Urdu problem. An assistant professor of South Asian literature at Michigan State University, Mr. Pue was searching for a way to automate his analysis of classical Urdu's internal meter. As an adherent of the small but growing digital humanities movement, he had some coding proficiency, but not enough: Urdu poetry is not based on stress, but on contextual patterns of syllables. His program ran slow, and the problem proved to be, in computational argot, "combinatorially explosive"—the variables piled up, bogging it down.

While at his daughter's ballet class, Mr. Pue mentioned his difficulties to Tracy K. Teal, a microbial ecologist and postdoc at the university. The two had never seen each other on campus, but their girls, best friends, brought the families together. Ms. Teal began to see analogies between how the information in DNA causes proteins to form and the chain of transformations Mr. Pue used to extract Urdu's scansion. Perhaps, she offered, she could help?

The duo were soon in for a surprise, though. The central dogma of biology—that DNA makes RNA makes protein—had nothing on the ballads of Mirza Asadullah Khan. "As we discussed it further," Ms. Teal said, "we actually realized that Urdu poetry is a lot more complicated."

That revelation was one of many packed into a small, two-day meeting at the University of Maryland at College Park that brought together, for the first time, scholars engaged in the digital humanities with scientists from the data-heavy trenches of computational biology.

Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Institutes of Health, among others, and held by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, the symposium, titled "Shared Horizons," sought to present the fields together as equals. In application, though, it offered lessons to digital humanists from biology, a field that has already gone through its own, sometimes painful, computational revolution.

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2/20/13

Department of English 

Our own Kari Kraus was one of the featured participants on The Kojo Nnamdi Show as Kojo moderated a terrific conversation about the digital humanities on "Tech Tuesday."  The discussion also included Brett Bobley, director of the Office of Digital Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities and Benjamin Schmidt, a visiting graduate fellow at the Cultural Observatory at Harvard and a graduate student at Princeton.

To listen to the conversation, please click here. A transcript of the show is also available here.

 

1/28/13

By Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard

Back in the 1990s, advocates for arts education were thrilled by the final wording of the “Goals 2000: Educate America Act.” According to those federal education guidelines, which were signed into law in 1994, fourth, eighth and 12th-graders were expected to demonstrate “competency over challenging subject matter” in a variety of fields, including—for the first time—the arts.

Newly published research reveals that their inclusion had more than just symbolic value. In many schools, elevating the arts to core-subject status made a real difference.

Kenneth Elpus of the University of Maryland reports that Goals 2000 did not significantly increase the number of unique music courses offered in American high schools. However, he writes in the Arts Education Policy Review, “high schools were more likely in the post-Goals 2000 era to require arts course for graduation, and to increase the number of courses needed to satisfy these requirements.”

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11/29/12

By Alex Kirshner, The Diamondback

Eric Schlosser’s investigative journalism on the fast food industry has won him critical acclaim — but as students found out last night, there’s a lot more to his story.

His reporting has taken him to meatpacking plants, nuclear bunkers and the ranks of The New York Times best-sellers list. And last night, it took him to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, where he spoke before a sold-out crowd of 300.

During an interactive talk moderated by Sheri Parks, arts and humanities associate dean, Schlosser discussed America’s political and economic climates, the state of the food industry and his journalistic work.

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