Maryland Moments, July, 2006
(New Programs, Rankings, Research Discoveries)
President C.D. Mote Jr. journeys to Microsoft's annual faculty summit in Redmond to spread the message about U.S. competitiveness in the international marketplace. Microsoft convened a panel of tech leaders and educators to discuss hot IT topics of the day: declining federal research spending, job competition from India and China, why the U.S. can't attract kids to math and science. Information Week "There's been a lot of ink spilled about those shortcomings of American competitiveness lately. But this confab had an ace in the hole. Sitting on a stage between Microsoft exec Craig Mundie, the White Houses's Science and Technology Policy Office's associate director, the CEO of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, and the dean of UCal Berkeley's engineering college was Dan Mote, the president of the University of Maryland and a co-author of a federal report released last fall that's got the attention of everyone from the president to Congress. 'Students do not see opportunity in our field,' said Mote, referring to IT and computer science. And it's not just kids in poor districts—even the rich kids don't get jazzed about tech."
UM is again one of the strongest producers of minority degrees among all colleges and universities, especially on the list of Traditionally White Universities, according to Diverse Issues magazine. UM increased its minority undergraduate degrees, from 1820 to 1871. African American undergraduate degrees dipped slightly, 674 to 669, but UM is No. 7 among all U.S. TWI institutions African American degrees and No. 1 among UM's peers in the Top 25 in U.S. News & World Reports' Top Public Universities. Asian American degrees rose from 836 to 877; Hispanic degrees rose from 295 to 310. Agriculture, biological and biomedical sciences, engineering, and social sciences and history displayed great overall strength, producing high rankings for African American, Asian American and Hispanic categories. UM had 22 Top 25 placements in the rankings.
UM students will keep in touch with professors and classmates as the university installs a Blackboard Inc. campus-wide academic management system meant to increase student participation in classes and improve communication between students and faculty. Besides giving students easy access to syllabi and assignments, the Blackboard system will also open the possibility of online discussion groups, online test-taking and running portfolios where professors can track individual students' progress.
Entrepreneur magazine highlights SecureGo, a technology developed by a team of UM students and faculty in the Clark School of Engineering. "Some new online payment technologies are focusing on security issues.... a team of students and faculty from the University of Maryland are developing a SecureGo USB device that employs hardware-implemented encryption technology for secure online transactions."
Society & Culture
The story of Israeli Edy Kaufman and Palestinian Manuel Hassassian teaching a summer course together at UM under the auspices of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management reaches media around the world. The conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, entrenched in Lebanon, makes the relationship all the more poignant. The Washington Post: "Every detail had to be negotiated when an Israeli and a Palestinian started team-teaching a class on the Middle East. They haggled over the syllabus, the readings, the maps, even the words used: Was 1948, when Israel was formed, the War of Liberation -- or the Catastrophe? Now, 12 summers and many debates later, professors Edy Kaufman and Manuel Hassassian have learned to share not only the lectern in their six-week University of Maryland course but also an office, a house near campus and an unexpected friendship."
Washington Post: "Working out of a human rights office in a former mansion in this Balkan capital, a University of Maryland professor is leading an official inquiry into Romania's ugly communist past. His work has stirred a vicious backlash from people who want that past left alone. Vladimir Tismaneanu, born in Romania and now a U.S. citizen, heads a national commission appointed by President Traian Basescu earlier this year. 'A democratic political community cannot be built on amnesia,' said Tismaneanu, 55, an energetic man who favors jeans and casual shirts."
Anthropology's Mark Leone and his students explore a private estate near Easton, Maryland — once the slave home of Frederick Douglass. The media takes note, in a big way. The Baltimore Sun: "The imposing estate still stands and is still home to the family who owned it when a young Douglass kept fireplaces stocked with wood. The Wye House, built in the late 1700s, has been studied for its clues to 18th- and 19th-century America. Less well-known are the lives of the thousands of slaves who lived here, raising wheat, cotton and other crops in the nation's antebellum years. A team of aspiring archeologists is now at work, using family documents and descriptions from Douglass' The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass as a guide, uncovering remnants of their lives brick by brick� 'It's an entire landscape and village where Douglass lived,' said Mark Leone.... 'And this is an enormous, intact plantation in the hands of the family that built it. ' "
Editor & Publisher: "Some 16 years after signing a book contract to write about press coverage of the civil rights era, legendary journalist Eugene Roberts has finished the project, to be published by Alfred A. Knopf in November. Titled The Race Beat: The Press, The Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation, the book touches on several areas not previously investigated at length, such as the role of the black press in early coverage of the story and insight into what drove segregationist editors of the time. The tome is co- authored by veteran scribe Hank Klibanoff, a former Philadelphia Inquirer staffer and currently managing editor for news at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 'I figured it for a long-term project, but not this long,' jokes Roberts, who made the book deal upon leaving the Inquirer in 1990 after 18 years as editor.... Roberts says he initially worked on the book while teaching at the University of Maryland from 1990 to 1994, but set it aside when he became managing editor of The New York Times in 1994, a post he held for three years." Eugene Roberts is professor of journalism at the Philip Merrillo Colloege of Journalism.
Science & Technology
UM researchers receive a $4.1 million National Institutes of Health contract to continue research on a vaccine that, in early NIH trials, successfully immunized monkeys against SARS and human parainfluenza viruses. Their future research will include a vaccine for the avian influenza H5N1 and other human viruses for which vaccines are currently not available. Principal investigator is Siba Samal, associate dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine(AGNR).
A substance found in crab shells is the key component in a nanoscale sensor system developed by researchers at the Clark School of Engineering. The sensor can detect minute quantities of explosives, bioagents, chemicals, and other dangerous materials in air and water, potentially leading to security and safety innovations for airports, hospitals, and other public locations. Researchers use a substance called chitosan, found in the shells of the Chesapeake Bay's famous blue crab, to coat components of the microscopic sensor system. The material is extracted from the crab shell waste. The researchers are: Reza Ghodssi, associate professor in computer engineering affilated with the Maryland NanoCenter; Gary Rubloff of the Institue for Systems Research and the NanoCenter, Bill Bentley, from the Fischell Department of Bioengineering in the Clark School; and Greg Payne, from the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute.
Maryland Daily Record: "A new partnership between UM and the National Institute of Standards and Technology is a big step in a small industry, officals said. It is so small, in fact, that the nanometer — one-millionth of a millimeter and the basis for the hot field of nanotechnology — is invisible not only to the human eye but also to the most high-tech of optical microscopes. That smallness is the focus of the new collaborative effort announced between the university�s esteemed nanotech researchers and the Gaithersburg-based federal institute, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce." The cooperative program will develop measurement technologies and other new tools supporitng the creation of new nanotechnologies.
The Baltimore Sun: "Ken Staver stepped into his stand of switchgrass beside the Wye River and quickly vanished. The green blades and tassels bobbed 6 or 7 feet high in the 4-acre plot at the University of Maryland's Wye Research and Education Center. The grass stood thick enough to hide him from a visitor just a few feet away and enveloped him in a stifling, humid embrace. 'You walk into it and you disappear,' Staver said, a biosystems engineer at the Wye center.... Staver wants to turn switchgrass into a cheap, supplemental heating fuel for farmers. The British-made, straw-burning boiler he installed to help heat the agricultural station's buildings is saving the university 700 to 800 gallons of fuel oil each winter - worth $1,700 to $2,000.... If the idea catches on, Staver argued, farmers could reap a valuable energy crop from marginal acreage - land planted with switchgrass to prevent erosion and soak up excess farm nutrients before they wash into the bay."
Fall '05 :
|| Winter & Spring