Maryland Moments, January 2006
(New Programs, Awards, Rankings)
President C.D. Mote plays a role in spreading the word that America is in danger of losing its technical edge. According to the Maryland Daily Record, Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski and New Mexico's Pete Domenici join to co-sponsor The Protecting America's Competitive Edge Act in reaction to our technical crisis. Preceding PACE was a request last May by New Mexico's Jeff Bingaman and Tennesee's Lamar Alexander to the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine to provide ways the U.S. could improve and solidify its global industries of science and technology. "The answer came in the form of 20 recommendations in 'Rising Above the Gathering Storm,' a National Academy report. The PACE Act is essentially the recommendations in legislative form. C. Daniel Mote Jr., president of the University of Maryland, College Park and a professor of engineering, was one of the authors of the study. Rae Grad, assistant to Mote and his director of federal relations, said the university was 'thrilled' with the legislation, and that it couldn't have come at a better time. 'We feel with the country losing its competitiveness, somebody has to step forward and begin turning that trend around,' Grad said."
C.D. Mote Jr., "University of Maryland president and educator," is one of 14 Washingtonians of the Year, as awarded by Washingtonian magazine.
M Square, UM's research park, has signed the first tenant in its Technology Ventures Building, a facility designed for emerging technology-based companies that need specialized research areas. MXF Technologies, Inc., developers of multi-energy X-ray technologies that could revolutionize medical diagnostic procedures, from mammography to CAT scans, has moved into the College Park location, which includes two clean rooms for ultra high tech manufacturing of their products. "We are delighted that MXF Technologies has located in M Square, near the resources of the university and our federal agency partners," says President C.D. Mote, Jr. "Their presence in the Technology Ventures Building is further evidence of our region's importance to the biomedical research industry."
History professor Barbara Weinstein becomes president of the American Historical Association in 2007, only the second UM faculty member to receive the honor. History department chair Gary Gerstle calls her selection "One of the greatest honors that can be conferred on a historian working in the United States." Prof. Weinstein, the seventh woman to become president of AHA in its 120-years, is president-elect this year and assumes the presidency next January.
The University System of Maryland receives a recommendation from a Board of Regents panel to improve energy efficiency. The Baltimore Sun: The committee will recommend that the full board allow the largest institution in the system, the University of Maryland, College Park, to seek out natural gas contracts that could affect all university system institutions. The system is expected to spend at least $25 million next fiscal year on natural gas and about $20 million on electricity.... One method of curbing volatile natural gas costs that the University of Maryland, College Park included in its proposal involved buying 25 percent of all estimated gas needs in advance, through a long-term and fixed-price contract. The contract could be binding for as long as seven years. By locking down prices, the university hopes to avoid spikes in natural gas market prices."
Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. proposes to nearly double the budget of the A. James Clark School of Engineering's Maryland Industrial Partnerships program, to spur the creation of more innovative companies. MIPS' budget would rise from $1.35 million to $2.35 million, allowing for a marked increase in research partnerships between private sector companies and researchers from UM and other schools in the University System of Maryland. MIPS provides one-year grants of $70,000 to $100,000 to university researchers.
Millree Williams, whose career in public relations spans more than 30 years in the Baltimore-Washington area, including 10 years managing public relations operations at two Maryland public colleges, joins the University of Maryland as director of university communications. He will serve as university spokesperson.
The 20th anniversary of the death of alumna Judith Resnick, who was aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger when it crashed on January 28, 1986, is marked in the media. Resnick earned her doctorate from the A. James Clark School of Engineering. The Judith Resnick Memorial Scholarship is given to an outstanding graduate student based on academic merit and promise.
American Farmer: "The Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology, Inc. and the University of Maryland�s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources have signed the first five-year Memorandum of Understanding between the two groups.... Dr. Cheng-i Wei, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, spoke about encouraging and maintaining partnerships with university organizations across the state. 'I'm very interested in the work the center is doing and hope that we can continue to build our relationship to the benefit of Maryland�s farmers and foresters,' Wei said." The center is a coalition of agricultural, environmental, forestry, business, educational, government and other leaders dedicated to enhancing Maryland's farms, forests and other "working lands" through research, education and policy programs.
Signs of the Times: New Academic Majors
According to the Dow Jones Wire Service, in a story headlined 'Demand for Compliance Pros Soars,' several business schools, including the Robert H. Smith School of Buiness, are creating programs to meet corporate demand. Smith will offer an internal auditing master's program beginning in August. And in another academic area, new and timely accredidation comes. The Project Management Institute global accreditation center reports it voted to award full accreditation to graduate level project management degree programs being offered by the A. James Clark School of Engineering. The degree programs are the master of sciences in civil engineering with a project management major; master of engineering in project management; and doctor of philosophy in civil engineering with a project management major." The Clark School is the first non-business/management program to win accreditation from PMI.
Maryland's entrant in the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon on the National Mall rises again. Selected winner of the People's Choice Award among the solar homes entered last October in the national competition, UM donated the spiffy peek at tomorrow to Montgomery County's Red Wiggler Farm, a 10 year-old nonprofit that provides vocational agricultural training to adults with developmental skills and young adults in the Civilian Conservation Corps. UM students built the house and offered it to the group.
Maryland is ranked No. 18 among U.S. public colleges in value. (In the last Kiplinger ranking in late 2003, the university was No. 36.) In best value, when rated on out-of-state tuition, UM is No. 20. "With tuition skyrocketing and financial aid dwindling, Kiplinger's Personal Finance has once again identified the top 100 values in public colleges. Using a rigorous quantitative ranking system, the Kiplinger 100 finds schools where students can receive a stellar education without graduating with a mountain of debt. In our exclusive survey, we identified the 100 schools that offer the best combination of high-quality academics and affordable costs." The other Maryland schools in the Top 100 rankings are St. Mary's College, No. 37, and Salisbury University, No. 62.
Society & Culture
UM Poll Takes Pulse of Iraqi Voters
New Study Reveals That Ads Comparing Two Brands Are Frequently Ineffective
Marketing's Debora Viana Thompson and Rebecca Hamilton report on the effectiveness of comparison advertising in the Journal of Consumer Research. "When interpreting the information in an advertisement, consumers may use either imagery processing or analytical processing," explain Debora Viana Thompson and Rebecca Hamilton. Imagery processing occurs when "a consumer is imagining herself using the advertised product," as opposed to analytical processing, or "weighing [of] the positive and negative characteristics of the product." The authors find that ads comparing two brands are effective when people use analytical processing, but not as effective when people use imagery processing. The opposite was true for non-comparative ads.
The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center hosts the L.A. Theatre Company's The Great Tennesse Monkey Trial, a touring play that marks the 80th anniversary of the Scopes Monkey Trial. On each of the three nights the play was performed here, panels open to the public were held to disccuss the issues created by the debate between evolution and intelligent design. The Washington Post: "The battle involving intelligent design has been getting some star power the past few months -- at least theatrically. The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial, starring Ed Asner, James Cromwell and Sharon Gless, played Tuesday and Wednesday at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. And although the work might wait until its final words to draw the direct connection between the current church-state debate and its subject, the 1925 Scopes trial, the message behind the production is never in doubt."
Chronicle of Higher Education: "The history of successful airline hijackings and responses to them permits scholars to draw conclusions about how best to deter them, say three researchers: Laura Dugan, an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice, and Gary LaFree, director of the National Center for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism , both at the University of Maryland, College Park; and Alex Piquero, a professor of criminology, law, and society at the University of Florida. They examined 1,101 attempted hijackings worldwide from 1931 to 2003 and determined which counterhijacking techniques work and what predicts whether a hijacking will succeed." The Department of Homeland Security created National Center last January.
Companies pay higher salaries to graduates of the most prominent business schools, even when they believe that lesser-known schools offer better educations, according to a study in the Academy of Management Journal. Conducted by researchers at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, the report says these two variables do not always go hand in hand. In the analysis of data from a poll of 1,600 professional recruiters, the researchers found that the business schools considered to be the most prominent didn't always get top marks for quality. The biggest bucks went to graduates of high-profile schools -- the kind that top the charts in national magazine ratings or have faculty members with lofty pedigrees.
Agence France-Presse: "A new survey in Afghanistan shows overwhelming popular support for U.S. and international troops in the country and huge opposition to Islamic militants linked to the former Taliban regime.... Results of the poll were released ...by the private and nonpartisan Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland."
Science & Technology
Engineers race to complete levee repairs from Hurrican Katrina damage under an extremely tight deadline. One expert describes the rebuilding of New Orleans's levees to pre-Katrina strength as "a few Band-Aids" in the face of the next hurricane season, which arrives June 1. An extensive Associated Press look at the rebuilding and evaluating being done noted: "The Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force, one of several teams of engineers reviewing the performance of the flood control system during Hurricane Katrina, intends to determine just how much protection New Orleans will have once its levees are repaired. The question is a difficult one, said Ed Link, the University of Maryland professor (Clark School) who heads the team, and it won't be answered until June."
UM's Maryland Industrial Partnerships program, based at the A. James Clark School of Engineering, funds 14 projects in tandem with local companies. Included are firms developing a new test for oral cancer, a treatment for esophageal cancer, a drug to stop rheumatoid arthritis and law enforcement software are among the projects getting funding. UM researchers team with companies in hopes of finding commercial applications for their research. The companies are putting up $1.5 million for this round of work, while MIPS is contributing $900,000.
"Older adults who regularly eat whole grains like high-fiber cereals and cooked oatmeal may be less likely to develop a cluster of conditions that raise the risk of heart attack and stroke, a new study suggests.... Some research has suggested that middle-age adults can lower their risk of metabolic syndrome by favoring whole grains such as bran, oats and brown rice... But until now, no studies had looked specifically at an elderly population. Dr. Nadine R. Sahyoun, the lead author of the new study, told Reuters Health. Yet, any effects of diet on metabolic risk factors may be even more evident in older adults, because with aging comes a greater susceptibility to abnormal blood sugar control, according to Sahyoun, an assistant professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Maryland, College Park."
New software developed at the Clark School of Engineering, with support from industry sponsors, could provide help for consumers worried about escalating energy costs. The "CoilDesigner" helps manufacturers design customized heating and cooling systems that cost less to build and use less energy. The result could be dramatic savings for consumers as early as 12 months from now. According to Reinhard Radermacher, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Center for Environmental Energy Engineering, CoilDesigner can help reduce heating system equipment costs by more than 10 percent.
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