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COLLEGE PARK, MD -- A two-year, $517,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will fund a project called “Documenting the Now: Supporting Scholarly Use and Preservation of Social Media Content.” Washington University in St. Louis, the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland and the University of California, Riverside, are collaborators on the project.

The project responds to the public’s use of social media for chronicling historically significant events as well as demand from scholars and archivists seeking a user-friendly means of collecting and preserving digital content.

As part of the project, the three institutions are developing DocNow, a cloud-ready, open-source application that will be used for collecting tweets and their associated metadata and Web content.

Twitter emerged as one of the most important channels of communication during the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Mo., when it served as a primary conduit for disseminating information. DocNow will be developed using tweets and Web content related to the events in Ferguson, resulting in a data set that can be used in research.

“The DocNow application will provide scholars with new ways of gathering and analyzing data from Twitter, which is a tremendous source of documentation on contemporary events,” said Chris Freeland, project co-principal investigator and associate university librarian at Washington University in St. Louis.

DocNow is among a growing number of applications that make social media datasets available for noncommercial, scholarly research. The app will be specifically designed to help authenticated users tap into Twitter streams to identify Web content that is of value for current and future research.

“We at MITH are honored to be partnering with Mellon, Washington University and the University of California to ensure that the documentary record around events such as the protests in Ferguson can be studied in an ethical, timely and cost-effective manner,” said Ed Summers co-principal investigator and technical lead on the project “I am specifically interested in the challenges of not only collecting and analyzing the data, but also packaging and archiving it for future use.”

Scholars on the project also seek to produce a white paper on ethical, copyright and access issues related to the collection of social media content.

Bergis Jules, co-principal investigator and community lead at the University of California, Riverside, hopes the DocNow project will be a catalyst for community building around the scholarly use and preservation of social media archives.

“Community building will be vitally important as we continue to develop standards and effective practices around the collection and access to this rich content, said Jules. “I’m excited The Mellon Foundation is supporting this project as it will be an important contribution to scholarship on social media archiving.”

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About the University of Maryland College Park

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. For more information, visit www.umd.edu

About Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis was founded in 1853 as a non-denominational community of scholars and now ranks among the nation’s leaders in higher education. The university’s undergraduate, graduate and professional programs are highly regarded. Its libraries’ hold distinguished collections of rare books, manuscripts and that draw scholars from around the world. For more information about the university and its libraries, visit wustl.edu and libraries.wustl.edu.

About the University of California, Riverside

The University of California, Riverside is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion. A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

Photos by Jamelle Bouie

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.

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—Imagine a street with a world-class art gallery and movie theater, where visitors and local residents stroll, shop and dine at sidewalk cafes alongside students and artists.

Now, imagine that street is Baltimore Avenue—also known as Route 1—College Park’s major artery connecting residents, business owners, workers and the students, faculty and staff at the University of Maryland. As the university and city consider plans to reinvigorate Baltimore Avenue, the College of Arts and Humanities’ Center for Synergy is asking the community to rethink the area and to imagine the impact arts and culture can play on its revitalization.  

The center plans to convene the greater College Park community for a Think-A-Thon planned for October 11. It recognizes that the university is a major anchor institution in College Park and Prince George’s County. This supports the vision of turning College Park into a top 20 college town by 2020.

The event is intended to help university administrators, College Park officials and other city stakeholders, including residents, artists and students, gather information for a future redesign during an afternoon brainstorming session. All are invited to share ideas about how art and culture can address community challenges and help turn College Park into a national destination for living, learning and arts.  

"The Think-A-Thon is another reason that College Park is a smart place to live," said City of College Park Mayor Andrew Fellows. "We've always been thoughtful—now we've begun to do so collectively, by creative and collaborative design."

Actively engaging the community as a stakeholder gives the regional redesign a holistic approach, said Center for Synergy Director Sheri Parks.

“We’re working very synergistically with the City of College Park,” said Parks. “Arts and culture are central catalysts in the transformation of communities into highly livable environments that benefit everyone.”

The center is leading the university’s conversation as it relates to the infusion of arts and culture in a redesign, and seeks to engage community input in a series of pre-Think-A-Thon events leading up to the larger event.

Omar Blaik, CEO and founder of Philadelphia-based U3 Ventures, plans to attend the session to listen and learn what community members want. Blaik is an experienced consultant who helped transform swaths of Philadelphia around the University of Pennsylvania. He is now working with the University of Maryland in the larger East Campus redesign project with the goal of turning College Park into a vibrant campus that is integrated with its community through retail, dining, business, arts and culture.

The College Park Think-A-Thon is scheduled Oct. 11 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at the College Park Community Center, 5051 Pierce Avenue, College Park, MD 20740.

For more information or to register, visit www.arhu.umd.edu/thinkathon.

Media interested in attending the event are asked to contact Nicky Everette at 301.405.6714 or meve@umd.edu.

 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A $500,000 grant from the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) will fund new research at the University of Maryland on the legacy of ancient Rome as reflected in the architecture and art in the United States’ capital and in the nation’s system of governance.

The foundation awarded the $500,000 NIAF Ernest L. Pellegri Grant, named in honor of a foundation donor, to the university’s Department of Classics in the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) to expand the study of Latin language and ancient Roman culture, as well as the opportunities for students to study abroad and conduct research in the United States and Italy.

This is the largest single grant awarded to an educational institution in the foundation’s history, said Anita Bevacqua McBride, chair of NIAF’s Education and Scholarship Committee. “Through this partnership we will help connect the ancient remains of the Roman past found in Italy to the formation of our American identity,” she said.  

Maryland was selected from a pool of 25 American and Italian universities because of the project’s compatibility with NIAF’s mission, the expertise of the faculty and the impact on students and the larger university community. The principal investigators for the grant are Jorge Bravo, Lillian Doherty and Judith P. Hallett from the Department of Classics.

“This generous grant exemplifies the expertise of classics faculty and allows us to capitalize on our proximity to Washington, D.C.,” said ARHU Dean Bonnie Thornton Dill. “This partnership is a logical extension and complement to the ways the faculty blend scholarship, teaching and community engagement to strengthen the study of Latin and promote its relevance to our modern lives.”

Examples of this influence include the classical design of the Capitol building, the mural in its dome painted by Constantino Brumidi showing classical gods surrounding George Washington as he helped create America, and a semi-nude sculpture of Washington that was created for—but not installed in—the Rotunda.

Most of the five-year grant will fund scholarships for undergraduate student education abroad, alternate spring breaks and summer research, and provide graduate student fellowships to support research by master’s-level candidates in classics and related fields of study. 

“Many of our alumni are highly regarded teachers of Latin and classical culture,” said Lillian Doherty, chair of the Department of Classics. “Through our students the legacy of Roman culture will be passed on to future generations.”

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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 THE NATIONAL ITALIAN AMERICAN FOUNDATION

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, nonpartisan educational foundation that promotes Italian American culture and heritage. NIAF serves as a resource on the Italian American community and has educational and youth programs including scholarships, grants, heritage travel, and mentoring.  NIAF is also the voice for Italian Americans in Washington, DC and works closely with the Italian American Congressional Delegation and the White House. NIAF’s mission includes advancing US – Italy business, political, and cultural relations and has a business council that promotes networking with corporate leaders. The NIAF was founded in 1975 as a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. It is entirely non-partisan. Visit www.niaf.org.

 


"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. 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland is launching a campus-wide, interdisciplinary research center designed to advance a deep understanding of language to promote human and technological solutions to real world problems.

The Maryland Language Science Center will combine the brain trust of the world's broadest and most integrated community of language scientists to connect answers to deep scientific problems—such as understanding how our brains make the richness of human language(s) possible—with solutions to real-world problems involving language in education, technology, health and security.

The center is a collaborative effort involving more than 200 language scientists, drawn from 16 departments and centers in six colleges across the university.

"Language is the foundation of what makes humans distinctive as a species. Without it, society, culture, and technology would simply not be possible," says Colin Phillips, a UMD professor of linguistics and director of the Maryland Language Science Center. "The formation of this new center will help us solve a variety of complex research problems that require the diverse expertise of faculty and students across the entire university."

Building on the established work of language scientists at the university, the new center will solve a variety of pressing global problems.  Some of this work includes early identification of language disorders in infants; narrowing education achievement gaps caused by ‘language poverty’; and building technology for information extraction and for real-time translation systems that emulate the feats of simultaneous interpreters.

"With the creation of the new Maryland Language Science Center, we are focusing on an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to language science and making it one of the university's strategic priorities," says Mary Ann Rankin, UMD's senior vice president and provost. "Through this unique collaborative model between the humanities and sciences, we will be able to create connections across campus between traditionally disparate areas and secure our spot at a global leader in language science research."

The Language Science Center will also serve as an incubator for development of new research areas that intersect with language, such as culture, genetics, automatic speech recognition, and K-12 language education.

To learn more about the Maryland Language Science Center, visit www.languagescience.umd.edu/launch.

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, Maryland is ranked No. 21 among public universities by U.S. News & World Report and No. 14 among public universities by Forbes. The Institute of Higher Education, which ranks the world’s top universities based on research, puts Maryland at No. 38 in the world, No. 29 nationally and No. 13 among U.S. public research institutions. The university is also one of the top 10 highest-rated D.C.-area employers, according to Glassdoor.com. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, two Pulitzer Prize winners, 49 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The university is recognized for its diversity, with underrepresented students comprising one-third of the student population.

Theatre Collaboration Combines Two Cultures, Two Languages in One Powerful Performance.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 24, 2012 – College Park, Md. -- The University of Maryland’s (UMD) School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) crosses continents, oceans and 12 time zones with a groundbreaking bi-lingual co-production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Created in collaboration with the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts (NACTA), the production will be presented at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center September 27 through September 30, 2012, under the direction of TDPS professor Mitchell Hébert and Yu Fanlin, Professor of Directing at NACTA. After its premiere run at the Center, it will travel to Beijing for a series of performances.

Two Worlds, One Vision
Two years in the making, the production features lush, brilliant costumes and dazzling sets that create a fantasy world where elements of Chinese and American performance styles, music and language come together. Each of the Chinese and American actors – Shakespeare’s lovers, fairies and trickster Puck – will speak in their own native language but will perform as if in the same tongue. Audiences will follow the dialogue through supertitles displayed on large plasma screen TVs at either side of the stage.

The Collaboration
Sets, costume designs, lighting and sound were created in partnership between the two schools. Using Skype, video drop boxes, emails and phone calls, the TDPS creative team shared their ideas, creative concepts and experiences with their distant partners. Cast members also held joint rehearsals using a new Cisco Telepresence system recently acquired by TDPS as part of a multi-year grant from the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.

Origin of A Unique Idea
This never-before-done production was initiated by noted costume designer and UMD Professor Helen Huang, who first shared the idea for a co-production while teaching a master class at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts in Beijing.

Huang served as cultural ambassador between the two schools as the work unfolded, enabling all aspects to come together – from delicate creative interpretation in two languages to making actors comfortable with unknown foods. “We had to find our way in uncharted territory every day,” said Huang. “Each step required thoughtful consideration.”

Two Cultures, One Extraordinary Production
Cultural interchange infuses every element of the production. TDPS students helped prepare for their Midsummer experience by taking a semester-long class on Chinese culture taught by doctoral student Robert Thompson, who is also assistant director of the play. The class delved into Chinese history, social norms, politics, gender roles and money, among other topics, to prepare for culturally appropriate interaction with their Chinese counterparts.

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