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Between the Columns a newsletter for faculty & staff of the University of Maryland March 2013

A Classroom and Home Students live, learn in historic Bladensburg house | pg. 4


HERE MARYLAND’S FULL OF IDEAS THAT CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. It turns out we also have plenty on how to make this campus better. The new Fearless Ideas Challenge asked for your suggestions to improve the university, and more than 100 faculty, staff and students responded. Proposals hit on everything from academics and apps to sustainability and technology. The winners in each of the four categories were honored during halftime at the Jan. 22 men’s basketball game vs. Boston College. University administrators are considering the feasibility of implementing their ideas:

STAFF WINNER: Sue Warren, senior associate director of Conferences & Visitor Services IDEA: Numbered street names and buildings so the university can take advantage of advanced emergency response systems and improved location technology. Warren can tell you how to get to any university building from on or off campus. Trouble is, she says, the university uses only the building names as addresses, making it tricky for visitors and first responders to figure out where they’re going.

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STUDENT WINNER: Kevin Rudd, a freshman finance major IDEA: Motion-sensing lights in dormitories, such as there are in many academic buildings. “I love it here,” he says. “However, I feel as a student body we could do better at being more environmentally conscious. I would like to see us … consuming less energy.”

Illustrations by Brian Payne

Mailroom Employee Epitomizes Longevity

FACULTY WINNERS: Hal Daume III and Jon Froelich, assistant professors in computer science IDEA: Incentives such as showers in new campus buildings and food coupons for people who don’t use cars to get to work. Daume and Froelich appreciate Maryland’s encouragement of commuting by bicycle or foot, but there’s little relief from a sweaty arrival.

GRADUATE ASSISTANT WINNER: David Eubanks master’s candidate, public policy IDEA:Terp Traction, a mobile app that will provide a forum for the university community to pitch business ideas and gather feedback. It could also connect complimentary ideas so they gain “traction” and link entrepreneurs with university resources. As an undergraduate, Eubanks ran business ideas by friends and family. He thinks it would be more valuable to tap a larger pool of opinions.

Abel “Abe” Gomez begins every day at the College of Education whistling or humming a tune. It’s a cheerful approach for someone who’s been in the workforce for 75 years. At 93, Gomez is the oldest employee at the university, where he’s run the college mailroom for the last 14 years. “He makes you want to come to work,” says his supervisor, Maria Concepcion Sian Izursa. “He takes note of everything, and loves that students stop by and ask directions.” Gomez is a World War II and Korean War veteran and retired from a career in electronics before coming to Maryland, first as a member of the Senior Volunteer Service Corps. “It’s been very, very nice,” to be on campus, he says. The keys to long life, says Gomez, include eating fruits and vegetables and keeping active. He has no plans to retire soon. “Maybe when I get to 125,” he jokes.

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FOR MASTER’S STUDENTS in the Historic Preservation Program, the Bostwick House in Bladensburg, Md., is a classroom, a project, and even a home. Since 2006, students and faculty have been living and learning under the gaze of mounted elk heads and stuffed wildlife, assessing cracked walls and ceilings, damaged windows and a shifting foundation to repair and improve the centuries-old property. “It’s a great learning laboratory,” says program Director and Associate Professor Donald Linebaugh. “We’re looking at a whole host of issues that go along with this type of property: How do you keep it from deteriorating? How can you afford to maintain it? What are realistic uses for it in the future?” Built in 1746, Bostwick House has witnessed Bladensburg’s transformation from bustling port town to railroad stop to diverse Washington, D.C., suburb. The two-and-a-half story brick house was once owned by the first secretary of the Navy. “It’s a symbol of our history,” says Patricia McAuley, town clerk. “It’s also an opportunity to bring us into the future, because it could be a real economic and educational asset.” Students in the Fall 2011 studio course assessed the property, which includes about seven acres of land and several smaller buildings. They proposed creating an urban community garden, as well as a building trades school to teach skills like masonry, woodworking and project management.

”We wanted solutions that really connected the property, which was isolated, back to the community and brought it back to life,” says Kristin Britanik M.H.P. ’12. City officials and community members have been enthusiastic, but a lack of funding is a major obstacle. The requirement that both the Maryland Historic Trust and the Prince George’s County Planning Department approve any improvements also adds to the challenges of implementing a major reuse of the property. While the city applies for grants and seeks potential financial partners, the university is helping to maintain it and use it as a teaching tool as part of a 2008 agreement. The historic preservation program offers several classes at Bostwick, including Linebaugh’s vernacular architecture course. “If I’m teaching a class about a particular type of brickwork or plaster, we can just walk into the next room and see it,” he says. For a select few, Bostwick isn’t just their classroom. Graduate students have served as live-in curators since 2006, and though the 2011 earthquake collapsed a chimney, temporarily stopping that practice, a new student should be able to move in this fall. Linebaugh lives in an adjacent outbuilding part-time to help maintain it. “This relationship has brought us so much,” McAuley says. “It’s going to be a challenge, but I see Bostwick becoming a living classroom for all ages.”

• SEE FOR YOURSELF Attend the Bostwick House and Garden Festivals, held the first Sundays in May and October. The city offers activities and UMD graduate students offer tours to give a taste of what life at Bostwick was like during the War of 1812, when the Battle of Bladensburg was fought. For more information, visit or call 301.887.0777.

It has a shabby elegance. You have a sense of the grandeur of the place, at the same time that pieces of paint are floating down from the ceiling. — DONALD LINEBAUGH, DIRECTOR, GRADUATE PROGRAM IN HISTORIC PRESERVATION Photos by John T. Consoli

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Membership Has Its (Library) Privileges University Libraries will be among the first clear beneficiaries when the university is welcomed to the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) on July 1. The committee is an academic consortium of institutions in the Big Ten Conference, which the university will join in the 2014–15 school year, plus the University of Chicago. They collaborate on education, research and innovation. For the Libraries, this will mean easy access to a collection of more than 80 million books and combined buying power, saving millions of dollars on databases and other subscriptions. “Membership in the CIC benefits everyone who uses and values libraries,” says Patricia

Steele, dean of University Libraries. “We’ll leverage Maryland’s strengths by tapping into the expertise and resources of an incredibly engaged community of peers.” Peer libraries within the CIC also collaborate on problem-solving and projects, such as the 475-terabyte (and counting) HathiTrust digital library ( with collections on everything from 18th century cookbooks to works on taxidermy. Also, plans are under way to digitize and provide access to the more than 1 million volumes distributed to CIC libraries through the Federal Depository Library program.

The university celebrated reaching its $1 billion goal for Great Expectations, the Campaign for Maryland. University System of Maryland Chancellor William "Brit" Kirwan (inset left) and President Wallace Loh were among those who thanked donors and other friends for their support.

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Gala photos by Mike Morgan Photography / Accolades, McKeldin, and Chang photos by John T. Consoli

accolades School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies master’s candidate Drew Barker received first place from the National Endowment for the Humanities for his one-act play, “Freedom’s Fortress.” Hundred-year-old records archived at the Department of History’s Freedmen and Southern Society Project inspired the work

“You learn that failing often helps you succeed more quickly. That’s where your best and most refined ideas can come from.” — DEAN CHANG

Chang Brings Experience, Vision to New I&E Academy BY TOM VENTSIAS

Brian MacDevitt, professor of lighting design, won the American Theatre Wing‘s Henry Hewes Design Award for his work on the Broadway production of “Death of a Salesman.” MacDevitt has won the Hewes twice before. The recent renovation of Chincoteague Hall earned gold certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. It’s the first gold for a renovation on campus. Tripti Sinha, deputy chief information officer for networks and communication technologies with the Division of Information Technology, has been appointed executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX) project. MAX is an advanced networks and information services consortium founded by Georgetown University, George Washington University and Maryland. Mark Brimhall-Vargas Ph.D. ’12 has been appointed deputy chief diversity officer. He served for 15 years as associate director in the Office of Diversity Education and Compliance. Mariam Jean Dreher, teaching and learning, policy and leadership professor in the College of Education, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Oulu in Finland. Amy Weinberg, former deputy executive director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Language, has been named its executive director.

AS A GRADUATE STUDENT at Stanford University, Dean Chang experienced firsthand the ebbs and flows of entrepreneurship. He roomed with Yahoo creator Jerry Yang and later made and overcame early business missteps as a founding employee of Immersion, a now-successful company that makes products for gaming, medical simulation and cell phones. “You learn that failing often helps you succeed more quickly. That’s where your best and most refined ideas can come from,” says Chang, who for the past five years directed incubator and venture accelerator programs in the A. James Clark School of Engineering. The former Silicon Valley capitalist now has a new role: coalescing and expanding entrepreneurial activities on campus, leading the university’s new Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Chang was named associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship in January, reporting to Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin and President Wallace Loh. The academy, which launches this fall, will incorporate classes, workshops and outside-the-classroom experiences to infuse a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity across campus. Chang, who has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from MIT, master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering from Stanford and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, sees himself as a facilitator, connecting students to programs, resources, mentors and even investors. Most of all, Chang says, he wants to ignite a passion for bold ideas, where creativity is not tempered and students are able to learn from their mistakes, just as he did. “I am open to all kinds of ideas. I invite—and require— shared participation, shared accountability and shared success,” he says. “Together, we’re going to come up with some amazing things.”

Between the Columns is published twice per semester by University Marketing and Communications. Story ideas are welcome and should be sent to Monette Bailey, managing editor, at or by calling 301.405.4629.  ¶  The mailing list is generated through University Human Resources. Any changes to names and addresses should be made through

Officers, Teens Connect on Basketball Court BY MONETTE AUSTIN BAILEY


parking lot on select Friday nights for a different kind of official business. Officers are there to defend their record—and make some friends University of Maryland Department of Public Safety and Prince George’s County police meet local teens on the basketball court every other month for some goodnatured trash talking and competition. Members of the College Park Dream Team hope the effort will create stronger ties between community youth and the university. “We hope that they can see a positive side to law enforcement,” says Sgt. August Kenner, a member of the university’s team. The brainchild of University Police Chief David Mitchell, the games are organized by Emily Adams ’06, M.P.P. ‘12, community partner project coordinator

with the university’s new Office of Community Engagement. She was an intern at the nearby Embry Center for Family Life, an offshoot of Embry AME Church, as part of her graduate program. She heard about the chief’s idea and worked with staff from the center to create something that involved kids from an existing kids-only summer basketball program. Lakeland, the area where the centers are located, is a historically black community a few minutes’ walk from the university, just behind the firehouse on Route 1. Police cars aren’t usually around for good reasons, say community members. High school graduation rates are low and crime rates high. After only three games, though, community members are seeing something positive. “To see the police and the boys playing together, recognizing each other [outside of the center], has been beautiful,” says the

Rev. Edna Jenkins, the church’s pastor. Cpl. Jaron Black, the county’s Lakeland area community officer, brings his three boys to the games. It’s clear that the adults are being challenged. “We barely won the second game,” he says. Kenner, who attended Coppin State University on a full basketball scholarship, says this brings out her competitive streak. “I tell them, ‘You all need to step it up.’” No matter who wins or loses, Jenkins says, the message is the same: “They’re not just trying to lock you up. You’ve got a friend.” The next game will be 7:30 p.m. April 5 at the College Park Community Center and Youth Soccer Complex, 5051 Pierce Ave. For more information, contact Emily Adams at or 301.405.1941.

Members of the Police Allstars and the College Park Community Center teams gather after a game. UMD Sgt. August Kenner, standing sixth from left, and the county Cpl. Jaron Black, kneeling on the right, serve as the community point persons from each unit.

Between the Columns University Marketing and Communications 2101 Turner Hall, College Park, MD 20742 P 301.405.4615 

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Between the Columns: March 2013  

A Newsletter for Faculty & Staff of the University of Maryland

Between the Columns: March 2013  

A Newsletter for Faculty & Staff of the University of Maryland