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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A $1.25 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will fund research, education and training at the intersections of digital humanities and African American studies at the University of Maryland in an effort to prepare a diverse community of scholars and students whose work will both broaden the reach of the digital humanities in African American history and cultural studies and enrich humanities research with new methods, archives and tools.

The grant, Synergies among Digital Humanities and African American History and Culture: An integrated research and training model, awarded to the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) and co-directed by the Arts and Humanities Center for Synergy (Center for Synergy) and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), will support a faculty project director, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and staff in ARHU and the University Libraries. It also includes money to run workshops, to deliver public programming, to digitize materials from significant archival collections, to support faculty research and to integrate digital work into a number of innovative undergraduate curricular initiatives including UMD’s First-Year Innovation & Research Experience (FIRE) program, a new initiative to expose first-year undergraduates to rich research experiences, mentorship and social activities that are known to impact academic success.  

“Maryland’s project enhances the role of digital tools in African American studies as well as the contributions of the field to digital discourse while also making a commitment to widening the reach of the digital humanities both within academic communities and outside the walls of the university,” said Mariët Westermann, vice president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The College of Arts and Humanities has made serious investments in digital humanities and African American culture and history, hiring faculty clusters in both digital humanities and African American literature and history, adding to the strong community of digital humanist and African Americanist scholars already spread across the campus’s many colleges.

“This venture could not be more timely or important,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “It builds on our vital strengths in the humanities, increasing access to important source material on race and culture in America, while creating a new generation of technology-savvy researchers.” 

The thematic focus of the project, African American labor, migration and artistic expression, incorporates the broad intellectual interests shared by a large group of prominent scholars, students and staff on campus, and represents some of the campus’s greatest strengths. Specific research projects will be undertaken in collaboration with The Center for the History of the New America, which houses the Archive of Immigrant Voices; The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Art and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora with its collection of over 50,000 objects that chronicle the development and understanding of the study of African American visual culture; and the UMD libraries’ recently acquired George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive, a preeminent research collection for the study of American labor history.

At Maryland, digital humanities as a recognized field can be traced back to the founding of MITH in 1999, which has grown to international acclaim due to its transformational research at the intersection of technology and humanistic inquiry. The project will apply MITH’s innovative digital humanities incubator model to introduce scholars, students and cultural heritage professionals to new modes of research through a series of workshops, tutorials and detailed consultations. Strong in traditional arts and humanities fields as well, the university is also home to the Center for Synergy, the new humanities center at Maryland, which will provide an interdisciplinary bridge between departments and centers and facilitate the public facing events, curricular initiatives and websites connected with the project.

“This ambitious project enables scholars in the region to leverage the remarkable resources we have on campus,” said Bonnie Thornton Dill, professor of Women’s Studies, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, and principal investigator of the Mellon grant. “To explore the histories of the African American population in the U.S., scholars will work with the rich and diverse data sets and archives found in these interdisciplinary centers.”

These resources together offer a new lens and framework for thinking and teaching about Black life in America, specifically investigating the way in which migration has shaped the history of Black people, as both forced and free laborers, and linking those experiences to visual and material culture.  

“Students and faculty researchers might investigate questions about labor activism among Caribbean Americans or explore visual representations of work as they examine the relationship of Black artists and the labor movement,” Ms. Thornton Dill said.

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ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
The University of Maryland is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 37,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, two Pulitzer Prize winners, 49 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.8 billion operating budget, secures $500 million annually in external research funding and recently completed a $1 billion fundraising campaign.

ABOUT ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION
Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. 

PHOTO CREDITS

Spotlight Image:

"Five generations on Smith's plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina"
Timothy O’Sullivan, 1862—Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Preston Sampson
Power and Purpose, 2008
Paper pulp painting
49.5 “ x 97
© 2013 Preston Sampson
 
500 Laborers from Barbados/Deck Scene, September 2, 1909,
Panama; NARA identification number 185-G-1128
 
Inset 1:

500 Laborers from Barbados/Deck Scene, September 2, 1909,
Panama; NARA identification number 185-G-1128
 
Inset 2:

Hunter, Clementine (1886-1988)
Wash Day, n.d.
Oil on canvas
15.375” x 19.5”
© 2013 Cane River Art Corporation
 
Inset 3:

Local 900 President Ed Gaskin speaking at big Balboa union meeting, May, 1952.
© University of Maryland, University Libraries
http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/32406

 

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. 

 

The University of Maryland’s College of Arts and Humanities is pleased to announce the second round of Foxworth Creative Enterprise Initiative recipients. This latest round includes Leslie Felbain, associate professor in the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies; Merle Collins professor in the Department of English and Scott Wible, associate professor in the Department of English along with Ph.D. candidates Heather Lindenman and Justin Lohr.

The 2015 recipients will lead several arts and humanities courses in the spring semester whose themes support community needs and whose products enhance student learning and engagement. The development of those courses is sponsored by the Foxworth Initiative.

One course will use interactive theater to explore self-esteem and personal boundaries with at-risk high school students. Another course will work with a local non-profit to introduce Caribbean literature and culture to traditionally underrepresented youth. A final course teams ninth graders at a local high school with “college buddies” to encourage social activism and effective change by exploring a social issue through use of rhetoric, theatre, dance or poetry.

“Funding from the Foxworths provides students an opportunity to become deeply engaged in the experiences of people of diverse heritages and economic backgrounds,” Bonnie Thornton Dill, dean for the College of Arts and Humanities, said. “They participate in meaningful cultural and civic exchanges that promote greater awareness of the value and importance of the arts and humanities.”

This initiative is made possible by the generosity of two college alumni, Domonique and Ashley Foxworth. Domonique, Class of 2004, is a graduate of American Studies and Ashley, ’06, is an English alumna. The Foxworth Initiative is intended to support learning that brings students in contact with their surrounding communities as partners and allies in practices that help transform and bring about social justice. Courses supported by the initiative provide students with skills and critical thinking that support continued community engagement beyond their college career. For more information, visit www.arhu.umd.edu/foxworth.

2015 FACULTY COHORT

Faculty Lead: Leslie Felbain, associate professor, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Course: Theatre of the Oppressed, TDPS458T

Social Issues: Violence, abuse, addiction, crime, bullying and inequity.

Approach: Students will learn about “Theatre of the Oppressed,” a form of community-based education that uses theater as a tool for social and political activism and transformation. In this case, the course will address self-esteem and boundaries as they relate to a wide range of violations that result in trauma and violence and how those experiences become normalized because of social and institutional values.

Weekly to bi-weekly workshops will be scheduled and personal exchanges between the student groups will help build trust as well as inform the scenarios and situations to be explored by both groups of students.  The course will be documented through journaling, visual arts, video and audio recordings.  UMD students will also be required to write a paper documenting their research in applied theatre.

This course will address at-risk high school students. Among the specific communities is the Maya Angelou Academy, an in-house school for incarcerated juveniles in Laurel, Md.

Community benefit:  By interacting in a safe environment a new, expanded community will develop, one in which all participants will be valued equally and learn from each other. The participants will brainstorm working solutions and strategies for topics explored. An important goal of the project is to inspire all of the participating students to expand their horizons, learn the techniques presented and share these techniques with other communities. Students will be encouraged to continue their education and become spokespeople for causes that are important to them and impact their communities.

 

Faculty Lead:  Merle Collins, professor of comparative literature and English

Course: “Caribbean Stop:  Poetry and Short Stories from the Region," ENGL368C

Social Issue:  Access to education

Approach:  This project-based course is designed to provide UMD students the chance to work with the non-profit Cultural Academy for Excellence (CAFÉ), which serves elementary school children in Prince George’s County, Md. The course will introduce UMD students to selected works of Caribbean literature. Subsequently, the students will introduce these works to students at CAFÉ. UMD students will work with young people, helping with basic homework and contributing to the development of the confidence needed to accomplish academic goals. They will also be required to submit weekly reports and keep a journal throughout the semester that outlines their activities and methodologies.

The course will also produce a musical production on the steelpan of a short story entitled “Pan,” written by a celebrated Caribbean writer.  The steelpan production will be directed by a musician who works with CAFE students.  It will give UMD students a deeper understanding of oral traditions in Caribbean literature and will benefit the CAFÉ children, who will experience working collectively on a cultural and literary production with university students.

Community benefit:  In additional to improving academic performance, UMD students will help expand CAFÉ participants’ cultural and literary abilities by teaching them about Caribbean literature. By acting as teachers and role models, UMD students—already an example of success among young adults—will show elementary students that university education is an attainable goal.

 

Faculty Lead: Scott Wible, associate professor, Department of English.

Student Lead: Heather Lindenman, Ph.D. candidate and Justin Lohr, professional track faculty member, Department of English

Course Title: Writing for Change ENGL292 and ENGL388C

Social Issues: Educational inequity, literacy, civic education, intercultural communication

Approach: “Writing for Change” connects ninth grade students from Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Md. with UMD “college buddies.” Over the course of the semester, the students and their college buddies will be co-tasked with improving their community by raising awareness of and proposing solutions to a pressing issue. Students might choose to tackle their issue through any number of genres including dance, dramatic monologues or spoken word poems. The college students will teach their buddies about writing concepts, such as audience awareness and literary strategies, while also mentoring them on time management and empathetic reasoning.  The course will be documented through letters between the high schoolers and their buddies, essays and websites created and curated by both parties but maintained by the college students.

Community benefit: In the process of composing, revising and performing their projects, the teams of students learn how to exercise their rhetorical savvy to affect their communities. For example, the issue students and their buddies choose might relate to intercultural conflicts, drug use in their community or discrimination by the police—anything that the high school students collectively decide needs to be addressed.  At the heart of the course is the notion that the arts and writing can be used to bring about demonstrable change in two ways:  by bringing together community members in a performance event and public forum and by compelling each individual composer to reconsider his or her subject position, creative capacity and civic responsibility. The high school students will not only give the UMD students an opportunity to transform words into action, but they will introduce the college students to their local communities.

The College of Arts and Humanities is accepting applications for the third cohort in its Social Innovation Scholars Program starting in spring 2015.  Offered through its ARHU Center for Synergy, the program is an opportunity for students, regardless of major, to work closely with a faculty mentor and a non-profit organization to learn how to develop and implement a strategy for social innovation in a cause they care about.   We are looking for students who are passionate, creative and talented enough to research and develop useful strategies.  Each student works with a different organization in a customized program.  Over the course of a calendar year, scholars research, design and implement their own innovative solution to the organization’s challenges. We will begin accepting and considering applications November 20 until December 8 or until filled. This program is open to all UM students, regardless of major.  

If interested, please email arichers@umd.edu by December 8 with your application form, essay, resume and nomination letter. Finalists will be interviewed. Space is limited so act fast!  This is a great opportunity to work with a faculty member and build your resume!

Please click here for the Call for Applications and for more information regarding the program.  

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.

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.”

In the Social Innovation Scholars Program, undergraduate scholars partner with a faculty mentor and a non-profit organization to develop strategies to achieve organizational goals. Starting in the spring semester scholars work with a faculty mentor, a representative from their partner organization and with each other to identfy a concern and explore the cultural discourse surrounding that specific concern. Together they devise “chess moves” to address their defined challenge. Over the summer scholars intern with their non-profit organization, learning more about the organization and its challenges and opportunities. Scholars spend their final semester in the fall applying their learnings to specific action items—fundraising, planning and  implementing their ideas. Learn more about this year's scholars.  

The 2014 Social Innovation Scholars 

Marissa Brown
Major: Environmental Science & Policy, English
Graduation Year: 2015
Partner Organization: City Year

Pegah Maleki
Major: English, Creative Writing minor
Graduation Year: 2016
Partner Organization: D.C. Coalition against Domestic Violence

Kaitlyn Stalnaker
Major: Business
Graduation Year: 2017
Partner Organization: Hydrocephalus Foundation of the Philippines

Jordan Stachura
Major: Studio Art
Graduation Year: 2015
Partner Organization: Keep America Beautiful

Nicholas Henninger
Major: Economics
Graduation Year: 2015
Partner Organization: Community Pipeline

Joseph Doyle
Major: History
Graduation Year: 2016
Partner Organization: Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency

Jacob Pargament
Major: Journalism (anticipated)
Graduation Year: 2016
Partner Organization: National Geographic

Ghonva Khalid Ghauri
Major: Pre-med, Studio Art
Graduation Year: 2015
Partner Organization: CHAI - Counselors Helping (South) Asians, Inc.
 

 

 

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