Home >> News View >> Features

Features

By Gabriela Martínez

Angélique Kidjo, Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and activist from Benin, visited the University of Maryland for the WORLDWISE: Arts and Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series to talk about her life story and the role of music in activism. 

As soon as she walked onstage and sat down for her live discussion with Sheri Parks, associate dean of University of Maryland’s College of Arts and Humanities, Angélique Kidjo looked at the audience and said “You are all so quiet. We’re talking about art, man.”

Using her own lively stories about her childhood in a village in Benin, Kidjo captured the audience and lightened the mood.  An inquisitive child—known affectionately in her village as “Where, what and how?”—Kidjo was privileged for having parents who greatly valued her intellectual development.

Kidjo’s mother, a skilled costume designer, created a theater in her community.  As a child, Kidjo would spend time climbing in and out of the animal costumes her mother made. One night, when her mother did not have enough actors between scenes, she made Kidjo go onstage.  Not knowing what to do, Kidjo decided to belt out a song.

It was after that moment that Kidjo decided that she wanted to spend her life onstage.

When asked what it feels like to be the queen of African music, Kidjo responded  “I don’t believe in kings or queens.”

She said her nature is to defy structures of power, which she did after deciding to leave Benin, having realized that the country’s communist regime was not going to foster her creativity and desire to grow intellectually. 

Escaping Benin was not easy, she said. At the time, citizens who wanted to leave the country needed to get authorization from the government. Kidjo, however, was lucky. Her brother’s friend, who was working as airport security at the time, let her board the plane while his supervisor was in the bathroom.

“I’ve never ran so fast in my life,” Kidjo said.

When Kidjo arrived in France, she experienced racism and cultural estrangement in French society, and at the educational institution she graduated from—the CIM Jazz School of Paris.

On her way to register at the school, Kidjo asked for directions from two students.

“Jazz is not for African people,” one of the students told her.

The head of the school, having overheard what the girls had said to Kidjo, told Kidjo that she could prove those students wrong. At the end of the school year, he introduced her to the person who produced her debut album “Parakou.”

Since then, Kidjo’s fame has skyrocketed. She won her first Grammy in 2008 for her album “Djin Djin” and was named one of the 40 most powerful celebrities in Africa by Forbes.

Kidjo also discussed her work with the Batonga Foundation for Girls in Africa, which aims to empower girls and young women in Africa through educational opportunities. Kidjo is currently working on a cellphone-based program that collects information about girls in different African villages and maps it out according to different locations.

The purpose of the program is to find out how girls are living, if they are in school, forcefully married, or going through other types of difficult living situations. Kidjo’s foundation will develop an educational approach for girls based on the needs of the community reflected through the data.

For Kidjo, the first step in creating humanitarian programs for Africa, is giving voices to people and finding out what are their genuine needs.

“I don’t believe anyone can make any change in Africa if the African people are not in the center of the change,” Kidjo said.  “If you don’t ask them what they need, how can you bring a program that makes any sense to people?”

After the discussion, Moses Namara ‘16, a computer science major originally from Uganda, asked Kidjo for advice on how to improve the education system in different African countries.

In response to Namara’s question, Kidjo advocated for the role of youth in a country’s social and educational development, at the same time warning against starting revolutions and “breaking a system” without a plan.

“The platform is there—use it wisely,” said Kidjo, who is optimistic about the power of the Internet, but also wary about its potential to isolate people.

 After graduating from the University of Maryland, Namara will return to Uganda to teach basic programming classes at different local universities, including the Kampala International University.

Toward the end of the program, students gathered around Kidjo to discuss issues of colonialism and social injustice in Africa.

“She is very engaging,” said Peace Gwam ‘17, an economics and history major. “I like that she really called us to action as young students.”

Soulyana Lakew ’17, an economics major originally from Ethiopia, is interested in the role of the western world in the development of Africa.

“It is so refreshing to meet people with integrity,” Lakew said. “A lot of the role models we are given in society are so corrupt. To find someone who is able to use their voice for good and who is true to their word is so inspiring.”

 

Synergies among Digital Humanities and African American History and Culture(Synergies), co-directed by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) and the Arts and Humanities Center for Synergy (Center for Synergy), will cultivate disciplinary transformation by bringing African Americanists together to develop the tools, methods, and archives needed to address their research questions in a digital humanities (DH) framework. The proposed training model and associated programming will grow and diversify the community of scholars pursuing DH; increase the DH field’s capacity to address questions within African American studies; strengthen the capacity of African Americanist scholars to create and work with digital and archival repositories of primary source materials that privilege understanding of African American experiences; and disseminate knowledge gained at the intersections of DH and African American labor, migration, and artistic expression.

Thematic Focus: Labor, Migration and Artistic Expression

The essential tensions between labor, migration, and artistic expression in the development of African American diasporic cultures in the United States form the rich core of the Synergies project. These themes represent some of the College of Arts and Humanities’ (the College) greatest strengths[1] and will bring together prominent and nationally-recognized faculty in African American history and cultural studies from departments throughout the University of Maryland. The work of Synergies will be undertaken in collaboration with The Center for the History of the New America (CHNA), housed in the History Department and supported by two colleges, which brings together scholars of the long immigration history of the United States; The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Art and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora (The Driskell Center), which provides a locus for some of the leading artists and art historians of African American art and is the largest academic center of African American art and archive collections in the country; and the George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archives, housed within University Libraries, which consist of approximately 40 million documents that serve as a primary repository of the history of American labor. The research of these two centers and the AFL-CIO Archives will serve as testbeds for Synergies projects.

Project Description

Synergies builds upon existing research and training mechanisms within the College and will develop new curricular initiatives and programming. Throughout the project we will disseminate information about the process, tools, methods, and collections developed, culminating in a national symposium to initiate a research network of African American scholars with digital interests and skills.

The Digital Humanities Incubator is a series of workshops and project consultations that organize the high-level training intended to acculturate scholars, students, and librarians to the use of DH tools and methods. For Synergies, we will develop DH Incubators that respond to the project themes and will bring together scholars from a diverse array of disciplines across UMD and from neighboring campuses. The first Synergies DH Incubator will involve 8 intensive workshop sessions over two semesters (Spring - Fall 2017), led by DH specialists and archivists from MITH and University Libraries. The sessions will provide a progressive arc of skill development relevant to digital work with our testbed collections, and will be interspersed with targeted readings on methodologies, “homework” assignments, and one-on-one meetings and coaching. The first year of the DH Incubator will culminate in a “pitch and proposal” process, and selected proposals will receive more extensive and focused project-specific technical support, advice for developing the project, seed grants to cover other research costs, and support for seeking further grant funding. In the second year of the DH Incubator (Spring - Fall 2018), a 5-session workshop series will use the selected seed projects as testbeds to provide further training, teaching participants about project design and management, and introducing information architecture, usability, and technology design. By the end of this two-year period, we expect the DH Incubator process to have engaged a large cross-section of African Americanists, both on campus and beyond, in the thoughtful production of new resources, new digital research methods, and new knowledge for the field.

To support Curricular Development, Synergies Postdoctoral Fellows will each design a two-semester First-Year Innovation Research Experience (FIRE) stream sequence, a course structure that provides inquiry-based experiences and mentorship for first-year students. Synergies FIRE sequences will engage students with research questions involving African American labor, migration, and artistic expression that are tractable to digital tools and methods. Students will pursue these questions through use of project testbed collections, including hands-on work at CHNA, the Driskell Center, and the Meany Archive. Synergies FIRE students may elect further study through either the Arts and Humanities Social Innovation Scholars (SIS) program - a College supported 3-semester curricular initiative that trains promising undergraduate scholars in the use of humanities-based strategies for activism - or the Foxworth Creative Enterprise Initiative, which provides support for faculty to design and teach a course that engages students in addressing an issue encountered by underserved, at risk, and/or historically underrepresented populations. The Synergies SIS course series will allow students to learn and apply DH skills in work with non-profit organizations to answer organizational questions informed by the broad themes of this proposal. The Foxworth course will give students a learning experience that combines DH methods with the study of African American history and culture. The Project Director will work with UMD faculty in African American history and cultural studies to develop new interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate courses designed to include a DH component and hands-on practice. S/he will also establish and lead a summer curriculum transformation project to help faculty teaching African American studies classes build DH methods and tools into their courses.

The Center for Synergy will design and implement complementary Programming that will bring together research and technical experts with a broader public and will increase the accessibility and impact of both the project themes and methods of analysis. We will also design and stage the Synergies Research Seminar, an interdisciplinary reading group open to faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students focused on specialized topics that relate to the broader themes (2017) and nascent projects (2018) of the Synergies project. The Center for Synergy will also dedicate two of its WORLDWISE Dean’s Lecture Series, one each in 2017 and 2018, to probe the theoretical and pragmatic contexts of our work through presenting major speakers and related programming events for faculty and students. Finally, the Project Director will lead the planning of a 2-day national symposium at the project’s conclusion.

Conclusion

Synergies will bring together African Americanist scholars from across the College, campus, and region to re-imagine their research and scholarship through the tools, methods, and techniques of the digital humanities. The project will produce a new model for training scholars, as well as more diverse practitioners and content in the field of digital humanities. Through concerted dissemination efforts, Synergies successes and lessons learned will offer a model for replication and promise widespread benefits to the academy, to cultural heritage institutions, and to the public.

---------------------------------------------------------
[1] The graduate program in African American History is ranked 2nd nationally, and the African American Literary Studies graduate program of the English department is ranked 8th nationally (U.S. News and World Report, 2013), with particular strengths and renowned faculty in both African American and African Diaspora studies. The American Studies Department is ranked 3rd nationally (American Studies Association). 

 

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.

The College of Arts and Humanities
Office of Marketing and Communications
September 23, 2014

REMARKS BY DEAN THORNTON DILL TO ARHU FACULTY, STAFF AND STUDENTS
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Center

 

State of the College Address

Introduction| Advancing our Common Purpose| Building Community| Finances | Diversity & Inclusion| Conclusion

3:40 p.m.

Introduction

THE DEAN: Each fall, it is my privilege to provide an update on our accomplishments, announce new initiatives and share my perspective on the overall well-being of the college. Let me begin by saying, the state of the college is strong. Your vitality, creativity and sheer brilliance continue to chart new paths and gain national and international recognition. Your resourcefulness helps us find innovative ways to address our challenges. The college is strong because of you.

Today, I assess our progress in relationship to the goals I outlined when I took this position three years ago. They are: advancing our common purpose, building community and promoting diversity and inclusion. I will also highlight a few of the many accomplishments featured in the forthcoming 2013-14 Year in Review.

Advancing our Common Purpose

In some ways, advancing our common purpose is a grand challenge for the arts and humanities in a period when society conceptualizes grand challenges as broad issues in search of scientific and technological solutions. We know that scientific discoveries and technologies that change the world are ones that capture the imagination and interests of human cultures and societies. We also know that knowledge from the arts and humanities is key to understanding the meaning, implementation, utilization, and consequences of those scientific and technological discoveries. Our responsibility is to demonstrate that knowledge to others.

I thought about this when I saw a recent television commercial for a national for-profit university. A man in a business suit walks out of the rain and enters an office building through a set of large, double doors. A second man rushes up behind him and tries to open the door, but it’s locked. The eyes and nose of a head appear through a narrow rectangular viewer near the top of the door. The man who is trying to get in says, “Hi, I came to drop off my resume.”  “PASSWORD,” replies the voice of the eyes and nose. “WHAT’S THE PASSWORD?” The man shouts, “Synergy?”

In our college, “synergy” is the password. It’s the word that we use to symbolize the unique ability of the arts and humanities at Maryland to link humanistic ideas and creative traditions to modern innovation. In doing so, we provide an example for the campus and the community about the importance of the arts and humanities in addressing vexing problems confronting society and the world today. 

Arts & Humanities Center for Synergy

In January 2014, we launched the website for the Arts and Humanities Center for Synergy, the physical and virtual manifestation of a long desired and much discussed Humanities Center. The purpose of ARHU Synergy is to provide a location for scholars, students, and the public to participate in multidisciplinary investigation and expression of the human condition. We do this by infusing the research and practice of the arts and humanities into new locations and areas of endeavor both inside and outside of the academy. The term “synergy” was chosen because it already resonates in disciplines across the university, referring to an interaction between two or more forces in which their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

Under the leadership of Associate Dean Sheri Parks, ARHU Synergy has introduced programs that promote and support the collaborative and interdisciplinary initiatives within the college, across the university, and with external professional and community partners; and research and scholarship in the arts and humanities. 

Collaborative initiatives of ARHU Synergy include:

  • WORLDWISE: Arts and Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series, which this year features speakers on the environment, trauma and healing and innovation. Walter Isaacson, biographer of Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein, and President and CEO of the Aspen Institute will launch the series in November.
  • On October 11, ARHU Synergy will lead a Think-A-Thon in College Park that will bring university administrators, city officials and residents together to envision the impact arts and culture can have on plans to reinvigorate Baltimore Avenue and revitalize the City of College Park.
  • Last year we began a partnership with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to promote a dialogue on the importance of the humanities to the future of our nation as discussed in their report and video “The Heart of the Matter.” We brought to campus commission members John Lithgow, Annette Gordon-Reed and later Stephen Kidd, director of the National Humanities Alliance. ARHU has been credited by the Academy as being one of three national leaders in advancing the conversation about this important report.
  • Community engagement in scholarship and teaching has been a key mechanism for linking humanities and arts to social issues and underserved populations. Last year we launched the first year of a three-year pilot program called the Foxworth Creative Enterprise Initiative. Today, I share a short clip of the Foxworth promotional video highlighting Professor Leigh Wilson Smiley's students’ work with the Latin American Youth Center in Hyattsville. Later this week I will release the full video and you will receive an announcement for the next round of faculty applications to teach Foxworth courses.

The other major focus of ARHU Synergy—facilitating research in the college—is already having an impact. ARHU Synergy has provided workshops and training for 110 faculty on the fundamentals of grant writing, budgeting and fellowships. In fiscal year ‘14, our faculty submitted 30% more research proposals than in the previous year and more than doubled the amount of money requested. It’s too early yet to know the results of these requests, but we’re optimistic that this increased activity will yield greater reward.  

One of our most celebrated accomplishments with research support was with the Department of Classics, which successfully competed to become the sole recipient of a half-million dollar grant from the National Italian American Foundation. That grant is for new research on the legacy of ancient Rome as reflected in the architecture and art of the United States’ capital and in the nation’s system of governance. 

Please visit the website  www.arhusynergy.umd.edu to get informed and involved. Also, be on the lookout for a forthcoming collaborative virtual workspace that will facilitate the formation of research groups around multidisciplinary topics of interest. 

Arts at Maryland

Advocacy for the arts and humanities takes many forms. In late summer, the possibility of a campus partnership with the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design was laid to rest. I am convinced that the discussions generated on campus and in the local art community have been beneficial. First, they led to new ideas and conversations about academic programs and artistic engagements that could benefit the entire campus. Second, they have enhanced campus commitment to foundational principles about the role of the arts in our university. Among these principles are that the arts and humanities are a core component of a quality education, a gateway to cultural understanding and conflict resolution, and can enhance and refine the entrepreneurial abilities and creative talents that today’s students bring to college. In an effort to capitalize on the energy and insights generated through this process, I have been working with others to propose and develop ideas that will help President Loh achieve his vision for the arts at Maryland. Our ideas include a campus based institute for art and design innovation; a program in digital media studies; and the integration of arts and culture into the revitalization of College Park. 

Undergraduate Education

We are launching two new undergraduate initiatives this year:

  • First, we are collaborating with the University Career Center to house Kate Juhl, Program Director, in the college’s Office of Student Affairs four days a week. This will help us bring career advising and engagement to our students in a much more direct manner.
  • Second, we are launching a first-year seminar for ARHU majors designed to empower and acclimate them as they transition into the university. It introduces them to different methods of humanistic study and explores how multiple disciplinary perspectives can be used richly and critically to understand human beings, cultures and societies. The call for proposals went out this week.

Faculty and Staff Accomplishments

Whether working in interdisciplinary partnerships, as independent scholars or supporting the work of the campus in other ways, our faculty and staff continue to garner prestigious national awards as well as important campus recognitions. While you can learn about these in greater detail on the ARHU website or in the forthcoming Year in Review, I would like to acknowledge a few of them today. National awards announced in the past year include a Guggenheim to Holly Brewer, Harvard University’s W.E.B. Dubois Medal to Ira Berlin and a Korean Government Precious Crown Medal of the Order of Cultural Merit to Robert Ramsey. Faculty members have received numerous book awards and students in or affiliated with ARHU have won a Fulbright, 12 Borens and nine Critical Language Scholarships for the current academic year.

Campus level awards that deserve special recognition are: Jeffrey Herf, Distinguished University Professor, Jonathan Auerbach Distinguished Scholar-Teacher and Linda Mabbs, the Kirwan Faculty Research and Scholarship Prize. These three colleagues will be honored at the university convocation on October 7th.

Marilee Lindemann, recently appointed executive director of College Park Scholars, received the Freedom and Liberation Medal from the President’s Commission on LGBT Issues; and Jessica Enoch, Jason Rudy and Lynn Bolles received Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year Awards. Jessica White in the college’s Office of Student Affairs won the 2013-14 Provost Professional Academic Advisor of the Year Award, and Philosophy advisor Christopher Vogel won the 2013-14 Provost Graduate Advisor of the Year award. There are numerous other outstanding accomplishments and I invite you to join me in celebrating all of our colleagues and students who have earned special recognition. 

Building Community

Faculty

Our faculty are pivotal in our efforts to advance our common purpose and you have just been introduced to our 15 newest faculty members. As you can see from their bios in the program, we continue to attract to our campus people with stellar accomplishments and exceptional promise. So, I will repeat what I said last year: “The responsibility of those of us who are seasoned members of this community is to provide the resources, intellectual climate and mentoring that will permit the talents of our new faculty to bloom and encourage them to remain rooted in University of Maryland soil.” This is one of the most important aspects in the second goal of building community.

Staff

We also seek to build community by supporting staff through the formation of a staff council. That council is now in its second year of operation and it has been officially incorporated into the College Plan of Organization. Its chair, Claire Goebler from SLLC, sits on the Collegiate Council. This year the staff council is planning a variety of events including helping staff with the annual review (PRD) process, professional development, healthy workplace activities and community service.

Finances

Community and shared governance are particularly important in times of fiscal volatility and it is perhaps stating the obvious to say that public colleges and universities today are operating in a fiscally challenging environment. “At the campus level,” to quote from an American Association of State Colleges and Universities Policy Brief, “tough decisions involving institutional spending, resource reallocation and mission-sustaining investments are the new norm.”

Salary compression has been an important concern that has had a corrosive effect on faculty and staff morale. Over the last two years, we have found ways to begin to address this issue through strategic use of the merit pool. This has been a collaboration between individual units and the Office of the Dean and it is one that we will strive to continue.

Nevertheless, resource issues deriving from a structural deficit at the campus level continue to result in budget cuts. It is also now clear that some proposed faculty and staff hires must be reconsidered. The move to the Big 10 heightens awareness of our funding limitations as compared with our peers, yet it also provides a springboard for rethinking resource allocation to promote strategic growth in the future. Both President Loh and Provost Rankin have expressed their full commitment to this rethinking as a means to support excellence at College Park.

Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity Plan

College priorities and actions for diversity and inclusion are described in the Diversity Task Force Report and College Implementation Plan, distributed in fall 2013. When you review it—which I hope you will do regularly—please note that we affirm that work on diversity and inclusion takes place in our classrooms, hiring and promotions, scholarship, and community engagement. As we commit ourselves to fairness and equity, we embrace the unique position of arts and humanities disciplines in advancing scholarship, creativity, and teaching about identity and difference. 

New Faculty Hires

This fall, I take special note of seven hires across the fields of LGBT, African American, and US Latino/a studies. These hires diversify the faculty and bring diversity and inclusive scholarship to the core curriculum across the college, with notable gains in American Studies, English, History, the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, and Women’s Studies. Moreover, our 100% success in promotion and tenure cases this past year moves the college faculty closer to gender parity in the tenured ranks, simultaneously advancing expertise in fields led by women scholars.

Advance

Finally, the participation of ARHU faculty in the National Science Foundation (NSF)—funded ADVANCE program has helped women and faculty of color build support networks among peers and mentors, receive seed grants for collaborative research, and has extended the sensibilities of work-life balance and the rights of family and medical leave to all faculty, including those in the professional tracks. I commend Laura Rosenthal, who will serve as ADVANCE professor for a second year. She will continue the important work she has begun in engaging full professors as mentors for associate and assistant professors. 

Conclusion

This afternoon I’ve presented only a snippet of the dynamic activities of the college. I hope it helps you understand why I conclude that the state of the college is strong, even in the face of societal and financial challenges; why I am optimistic about our future; and why I consider it a privilege, honor, and a joy to serve as chief advocate and executive officer for University of Maryland’s College of Arts and Humanities.

Thank you for your attention. 

Thanks to the staff who have worked so hard to plan this event and insure that it runs smoothly—the entire staff of the dean’s office makes everything I discuss possible every day. I particularly want to acknowledge Brian for the video, Nicky for all of her work in telling our story, Chanel for being a rock even when it gets crazy and Veronica for being a Rockette.

Now I have one final slide and remark.

Let’s party! (Lionel Richie “All Night Long” plays in background. Applause.)

END

5:35 p.m.

The University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities is pleased to announce the appointment of Faedra Chatard Carpenter as faculty administrator for the Foxworth Creative Enterprise Initiative.

Announced in 2013, the three-year initiative is a pilot program of the College of Arts and Humanities. The initiative is intended to enrich arts and humanities scholarship and encourage their inclusion in spurring ideas and solutions to society’s most pressing issues.

Carpenter, associate professor in the School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies, is a theater scholar, professional dramaturg and cultural critic whose research and creative interests are centered on the study of race, gender, class and sexuality on the stage and in everyday life. She has done dramaturgy for more than 35 productions, including works performed at the Kennedy Center, Center Stage and Arena Stage. Carpenter’s forthcoming manuscript, “Coloring Whiteness: Acts of Critique in Black Performance” examines presentations and perceptions of whiteness in culture and media to explore how artists challenge commonly held notions of racial identity. 

 “As a teacher and scholar, the Foxworth Initiative speaks to the way I like to work—collaboratively—while addressing the type of endeavors I am invested in intellectually and artistically,” Carpenter said. “There is such inspiration and purpose in work that serves to strengthen and empower communities and this is the type of work that the initiative champions.”

Last year’s courses “attest to the fact that classrooms need not have borders,” Carpenter added.

“They illustrated that the exchange of ideas is always best; that teaching and learning are often one and the same,” Carpenter said. “The Initiative shows that public scholarship matters and can make a tangible difference in people’s lives.”

Carpenter earned a Ph.D. in drama with an emphasis in directing from Stanford University, an M.A. in drama from Washington University, and a B.A. in English from Spelman College.

The Foxworth Creative Enterprise Initiative is made possible by the generosity of two college alumni, Domonique ’04 and Ashley ’06 Foxworth.

Last year’s inaugural Foxworth Initiative funded courses including Food, Trauma, and Sustainability; Latina/o Transmigration and Transnationalism and Community Partnership for the Performing Arts. The initiative also partners each course or “Creative Enterprise Team” with community partners such as Prince George’s County Food Equity Council and Casa De Maryland to encourage the inclusion of the arts and humanities disciplines in the application of solutions to pressing issues including food insecurity, climate change, immigration, poverty and racism.

A call for faculty proposals to submit to the Foxworth Initiative will be made later this fall.

The college would like to thank Michelle Rowley, associate professor in the Department of Women’s Studies, for her leadership during the initiative’s inaugural year.

For more information, visit www.arhu.umd.edu/foxworth.

3/17/14

By John Kelly, The Washington Post.

About 30 years ago, an Italian friend of ours visited. After a few days doing the tourist thing, he exclaimed: “I love Washington! It’s like a Rome where everything works.”

I don’t know what Adriano would think of D.C. today, when Metro breaks down routinely and Congress seems proud of its dysfunction. But I understood his point: With its classically inspired public architecture, Washington is reminiscent of the Eternal City.

Many Americans might not make the connection. The classics department at the University of Maryland hopes to rectify that. Last month, it beat out two dozen U.S. and Italian universities and landed a $500,000 grant from the National Italian American Foundation to study the Roman influence on American identity.

“If we can call people’s attention to the way in which, particularly during the founding era, the nation, particularly Washington, looked to Rome as a model, I think that would be valuable,” said Greg Staley, professor of classics and director of honors humanities at Maryland.

To read more, click here.

3/5/14

By Umberto Mucci, We the Italians.

This week our interview tells a story of beauty. Four different beautiful things, actually. The first beauty is the donation of 500,000 $ by the late Italian American Ernest L. Pellegri, one of NIAF's donors. Mr. Pellegri passed away in April 2012 at age 83. He wanted to give back, and – as many other Italian Americans did and do – chose NIAF to be the channel of his generosity. The second beauty is NIAF: which since day one has been effective and proficient in delivering programs, scholarships, grants to help and promote in several different ways Italy and the Italians in the US. The third beauty is made by the numerous programs organized by many American Universities (represented this time by the University of Maryland), that have been describing and teaching for a long time to thousands of American students the magnificent heritage of Italian art, culture, studies. The fourth beauty, these days more than ever we can call it The Great Beauty, is Italian patrimony of splendor: a pride for every Italian, all over the world.

We asked Mrs. Anita Bevacqua McBride, NIAF Chair of the Education and Scholarship Committee, to talk with us about these beauties. It is also, for those here in Italy who will want to learn from it, an extraordinary description of how wonderfully works in America the model of private involvement in the education system. As lovers of Italy, the United States and their special relationship, we are grateful to each of the subjects involved in this fantastic project.

Read the full interview in English or Italian.


"Arial","sans-serif"">For Immediate Release, November 19, 2013

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A crowd of over 600 people filled the Dekelboum Concert Hall last night to hear actor and children’s author John Lithgow, who appeared as part of the University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities Worldwise Arts & Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series.

Known to millions as everything from a “Dirty Rotten Scoundrel” to a visiting alien, Lithgow charmed the audience with his erudite humor and his wisdom, drawing on his distinguished stage and screen career as well as his longtime commitment to American education.

In a conversation with Sheri Parks, UMD associate professor of American studies and former NPR host, Lithgow entertained the audience with a lighthearted and spirited defense of the arts and humanities.

“The humanities and arts are an indispensable part of a child’s education and development,” said Lithgow. “In an era where STEM subjects and test prep dominate the educational diet, it is essential students be provided their minimum daily allowance of this key source of nourishment and enrichment.”

Lithgow, the author of numerous children’s books, is also a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences. As such, he encouraged the audience to join him in “seconding the motion” whenever the value of the arts and humanities is discussed.

The reason he said is “simple and inarguable: a society, or a nation, or a world that embraces the arts and humanities is a much better one.”

The commission’s report, “The Heart of the Matter,” released in June, has since sparked conversations across the country about the myriad reasons the humanities are vital to the future of our nation. Lithgow’s appearance at UMD added even more voices to the discussion.

Another component of the Dean's Lecture Series involves speakers interacting with students and faculty in smaller settings. Earlier in the day, Lithgow conducted a master class with UMD theatre students—a unique opportunity for them to learn from an Emmy and Tony Award winner.

“It was huge to have a seasoned professional come in and say they are doing the same work as you,” said Shane O’Loughlin, senior theatre major in the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. “As artists we’re always creating, questioning and doubting if our work is right or good enough.”

Photos courtesy of John Consoli.
Class is in session with John Lithgow and students from UMD’s Theatre 425: The Actor’s Process II.

 About the University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities

The College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland is home to over 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students, 14 academic departments, five independent research centers, and over 322 tenured and tenure-track faculty. The arts and humanities at the university cover the cultures of the world, past and present, in all their rich variety. Through teaching and research that investigates human experience, thought, expression and creativity, the college aims to educate global citizens who assess received opinion, make independent judgments, and value the transforming power of the imagination. The college is leading the way in interdisciplinary approaches to the arts and humanities by developing emerging fields like digital humanities, and offering area study programs that draw on multiple fields to open exciting, multifaceted views of such regions of the world as Latin America, the Middle East and East Asia. 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Features