Page 1

in this issue 



Between the Columns a newsletter for faculty & staff of the University of Maryland December 2012


Loh’s State of the Campus Address Outlines Strengths, Challenges | PG. 4

Anatomy of a Testudo CAN TOLERATE 100-DEGREE TEMPERATURES inside costume

LIFE AS A GIANT TURTLE MASCOT ISN’T FOR THE SOFT-SHELLED . Testudo is the walking—but not talking—embodiment of Terp spirit, cheering on our sports teams, clowning around at campus events and doling out hugs and handshakes. It’s a lot of responsibility for the three to six students who don the costume each year. Cheerleading coach Jamie Little ‘01, Testudo’s supervisor of sorts, shared a few of the unique skills that a Terp mascot-in-waiting must have:

HAS AN OPEN SOCIAL SCHEDULE Testudo appears at every football and basketball game and at many other athletic events. He sometimes gets hired for parties, bar mitvahs and weddings, too.

BARRELS FOR THE BAY Students Help County Alleviate Stormwater Runoff Problems BY KAREN SHIH

Prince George’s County Councilman Eric Olson M.A. ’95 knew rain barrels were a good idea for watering lawns and gardens, saving homes from flood damage and keeping the Chesapeake Bay clean. But he wasn’t sure how to set up a local rain barrel program. He turned to the University of Maryland Extension, where two students conducted a semester-long study that prompted the county to allocate $30,000 for rain barrel rebates this year. “It’s an easy way for residents to help with stormwater runoff issues, and a good intern project for students to contribute to the community,” Olson says.

Gabrielle Rovegno, a junior environmental science and technology major, and graduate student Mallori McDowell, with the marine and estuarine environmental science program, studied programs throughout the state and the country. They also met with community leaders and residents to gauge interest in rain barrels. Since presenting their results, they’ve started conducting workshops to teach county residents how to install and use them. “I’m really invested now,” Rovegno says. “I want to spread the word and get students to use them too.”


ENJOYS THE ADULATION OF THOUSANDS IS SUPER PHYSICALLY FIT Testudo constantly climbs up and down stairs at Byrd and Comcast.

HAS FABULOUS DANCE MOVES and acting chops BRAVES THE PAPARAZZI and is patient with people struggling with cameras

CAN SOOTHE THE OCCASIONAL TODDLER frightened of costume (à la Santa or the Easter Bunny)


MASCOTS WANTED Coach Little is still recruiting Testudos. Do you know any students who might be up to the job? Visit www. testudo.aspx for details.

Looking to stay up to date on the latest Terp news? We have the solution: UMDRightNow., the university’s just-launched news site. It features a video gallery and resources for members of the media, as well as the latest athletics news. Visit often to find out what’s happening Right Now. 2  btc  DECEMBER 2012

IS CAPABLE OF STEALTH IDENTITY CHANGES A student wearing Testudo’s costume remains anonymous.

Testudo photo by John T. Consoli /rain barrel illustration by Kelsey Marotta

Faculty/Staff Appreciation Game: $10 8 p.m. Dec. 12 v. Monmouth Winter Break Faculty/Staff Special Offers: $15 8 p.m. Dec. 21 v. Stony Brook Women’s basketball: Faculty/staff receive free admission to all women's basketball games, with ID *Learn more about staff and faculty ticket pricing by calling the Terrapin Ticket Office at 301.314.7070. Also look for info in campus mail.

OCTOBER 2012  btc  3

State of the Campus: “STRONG” UMD brought in


in external research funding in fy12.



RE-ENVISION EDUCATION in a residential, public research university through online technology and blended learning. Joined Coursera to introduce five massive, open online courses (MOOCs) in January, providing free classes to anyone around the world. Formed the Provost’s Commission on Blended Learning and Online Education to explore and expand opportunities for technologyenabled education.


DRIVE REVITALIZATION of the College Park community. �

Open a charter school to enhance educational opportunities. Provide incentives for faculty and staff to live in College Park.

cost-of-living pay increase in for all faculty and staff in 2013.



INCREASE INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Raise $20M to make this the signature feature of the university.

Launch the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, led by a new assistant vice president, to oversee and expand programming.



high-tech startups launched by faculty researchers since July 1.

Maryland, Baltimore.

The entering freshman class is the strongest ever, with an average combined sat score of and gpa of

“The public research university of the future has to provide greater access, more students of greater quality in terms of educational outcomes, and greater affordability.”

EXPAND TIES with the University of �

was raised by the university toward the $1b goal of the Great Expectations campaign ending 12/12/12.


Expose 50% of all students to “I&E” education within five years.

Drive redevelopment of Route 1 in partnerships with private developers.

4  btc btc   DECEMBER DECEMBER 2012 2012 4 



President Wallace Loh delivered his third annual State of the Campus address on Nov. 1, describing the university as “ascendant.” He summarized recent accomplishments in academics and research, and identified ambitious goals. Missed his speech? HERE ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS:

Combine technology commercialization efforts through the new University of Maryland Ventures. Create the Collaborative School for Public Health to expand educational opportunities for graduate students at both locations. Establish the Center for Health-related Informatics and Bioimaging to speed solutions for chronic medical and public health problems. Campus photo by John T. Consoli / Loh photo by Lisa Helfert


accolades Mastering English, Improving Her Life

I.M. “Mac” Destler, Saul I. Stern Professor of Civic Engagement at the School of Public Policy, received the 2012 Walter E. Beach Award for contributions to strengthening the relationship between political science and public service. The award is given annually by the National Capital Political Science Association.

University Employee Learns New Language BY MONETTE AUSTIN BAILEY

Sitting in a conference room she had cleaned earlier, Alejandra Aviles shows off a few worksheets from her English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class, the letters in each word carefully written. The 59-year-old Facilities Management housekeeper spends three hours a week in a University Human Resources (UHR) class learning to read and write in her second language. A native of Mexico, Aviles has been in the country for nearly 30 years and earned her U.S. citizenship this summer. Mastering English was the next step. Of her late start at becoming a full citizen, she simply says, “It was time.” Between her halting English and rapid-fire Spanish, she says she appreciates being able to communicate better with co-workers, doctors and “everybody.” “I like the instructor,” she says of Martha Pien, lecturer with the university’s Maryland English Institute, whose instructors teach the courses. Like many of her fellow students, Aviles begins work at 4 a.m. and attends class twice a week during her shift, juggling her studies and her job. “It really takes dedication,” says Pien. “Alejandra definitely shows that. She was suffering with allergies, pretty bad ones, and she just kept showing up. She didn’t miss work and she didn’t miss class.” The campus has offered free ESOL courses on and off since 1998. Since 2011, UHR has paired with the institute to offer the free 14-week courses at two proficiency levels on Monday and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in morning and afternoon slots to accommodate varying schedules. The classes are open to approximately 40 regular exempt and nonexempt employees each session. Spanish-speaking individuals aren’t the only pupils, either; employees from Cameroon and Southeast Asian countries, for example, have been enrolled. Supervisors nominate employees or they can recommend themselves for the classes. Aviles, who has been with the university for 12 years, hopes to take computer classes next. “I want to learn as much as I can.” For more information on the courses, visit esol-basic-computer-skills/.

6  btc  OCTOBER 2012

Alejandra photo by John T. Consoli Aviles photoAviles by John T. Consoli

School of Public Policy Professor Philip Joyce was awarded the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management’s Aaron Wildavsky Lifetime Achievement Award. He is editor of Public Budgeting and Finance. Lemma Senbet, William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance, was appointed executive director of the African Economic Research Consortium. Senbet led the Robert H. Smith School of Business finance department for eight years. He will be on leave beginning next August and will relocate to Nairobi. Adrian Raul Cornelius, university registrar, received the 2012 Distinguished Dissertation Award from the International Society for Education Planning for his paper, “The Intentional Internationalization of Higher Education: A Strategic Institutional Response to Globalization.” Mina Choi ‘10, M.S. ‘11 is the recipient of the 2012 Fischell Fellowship in Biomedical Engineering. The annual award supports talented and innovative graduate students interested in applied research and product design in the biomedical industry. The UMD-Northwestern High School Partnership was awarded the 2012 Campus-Community Partnership of the Year Award from the Maryland–D.C. Campus Compact. The honor recognizes a partnership that produces measurable improvements in people's lives while enhancing higher education. Photography by John T. Consoli


Road Warrior




Civil engineering Professor Lei Zhang (below, right) is working on ways to get you out of that jam. “People waste time and fuel and pollute the air as they sit in traffic,” he says. “I want to mitigate congestion and improve travel reliability.” He’s studying the Interstate 270 and Route 355 corridor in Montgomery County, one of the most congested in the area, to identify small behavioral changes people can make to improve traffic conditions. He’s funded by $400,000 from the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Award. Using a smartphone application, he’ll track 200 participants continuously for two years to discover how they behave during normal traffic conditions and unexpected delays, such as those caused

by accidents, bad weather, Metro problems and roadwork. “We assume people are supermen” and are making the best decisions about their commutes, Zhang says. “But in reality, we have very limited knowledge.” His goal is to pinpoint easy modifications that drivers will actually make. These could include adjusting the time of day they travel and taking alternative routes. Working with the federal and Maryland highway administrations, Montgomery County and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration, he’ll push for public campaigns, policy incentives and traveler information systems to implement these recommendations.

Vladimir Tismaneanu, professor of government and politics, has written The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century, a provocative analysis of the relationship between communism and fascism. The book also focuses on political passions, radicalism, utopian ideals and their catastrophic consequences in the 20th century’s experiments in social engineering. Paul Herrnson, director of the Center for American Politics and Censorship, released the sixth edition of Congressional Elections: Campaigning at Home and in Washington. Using data from recent campaigns, interviews, news coverage and original research, Herrnson demonstrates that successful candidates run two campaigns, one for votes and the other for resources.

Public Safety By the Numbers CRIME IN AND AROUND THE UNIVERSITY DROPPED FROM 2010 TO 2011, following an increased emphasis

on reporting, technological advances, educational efforts and the addition of officers. Today, the university police force has 55 patrol officers who, with the Prince George's County Police Department, monitor 2.5 square miles that include parts of College Park, Hyattsville and Riverdale Park. These efforts were recognized with a 2012 Governor’s Law Enforcement Agency Crime Prevention Award for a comprehensive crime prevention program. For a full report, visit








Clarice Smith Center Unwraps “Christmas Gift” BY GAYLE STAMLER

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center will introduce audiences to a lesser-known African-American holiday tradition with a December show featuring gospel and R&B singer-songwriter Shirley Murdock. “Christmas Gift!” was created for the center by local musician and composer Nolan Williams Jr. (below) He was inspired by a 1963 book, “Christmas Gif ’, an Anthology of Christmas Poems, Songs and Stories Written by and about Negroes” by Charlemae Rollins. The “gif ” was a greeting game played by enslaved Africans. When two people encountered each other on Christmas, the person who could shout the greeting first received a gift—usually a handmade or home-baked treat—from the other person. “What we are aiming to do is not to recreate a tradition that is lost,” he says, “but to reclaim some of the lessons from that tradition. You had people taking the time to create gifts when they really had nothing to give, a tremendous display of love and the selfless gift of self.” The Dec. 14 and 15 shows will be a mix of songs—from African-American spirituals to jazz and R&B—performed by Williams and his 33-member Voices of Inspiration, interwoven with holiday-themed readings of works by Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and other leading African-American poets and writers. “We hope it will establish a holiday tradition,” Williams says. For more information, visit

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

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

·  F 301.314.9344

In the center spread of the October 2012 issue, we incorrectly spelled illustrator Sabrena Sesay's last name. Also, in the caption for President Loh's photo, John Zacker's title should've read assistant vice president for student affairs.

Between the Columns (December 2012)  

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of the University of Maryland

Between the Columns (December 2012)  

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of the University of Maryland