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Monday, December 22, 2014

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University Launches Dynamic, Interactive Information Website UMD Right Now

December 4, 2012

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618

College Park, Md. – Today, the University of Maryland launched a brand-new multimedia news and information portal, UMD Right Now, which provides members of the media and the public with real-time information on the university and its extended community.

UMD Right Now replaces Newsdesk, which previously served as the university’s news hub and central resource for members of the media. The new site is aimed at reaching broader audiences and allows visitors to keep up with the latest Maryland news and events, view photos and videos and connect with the university across all of its social media platforms.

“We designed UMD Right Now to be a comprehensive, vibrant site where visitors can find new and exciting things happening at Maryland,” said Linda Martin, executive director, Web and New Media Strategies. “Through social media, video, photos and news information, we hope to engage visitors and compel the community to explore all that Maryland has to offer.”

The new website,, contains up-to-date news releases and announcements, facts and figures about the university, a searchable database of faculty and staff experts, information highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship at UMD, additional resources for news media and other campus and athletics news.

“UMD RightNow is the place to go to find out all the things happening on and around campus on any given day,” said Crystal Brown, chief communications officer. “This website brings real-time news, events and information right to your fingertips.”

For more information and contact information for the Office of University Communications, please visit

UMD Reveals New Predictors for Teen Anxiety

December 18, 2014

Graham Binder 301-405-4076

Combined quality of parent-infant relationships and early childhood shyness are key factors

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Researchers at the University of Maryland’s Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology (HDQM) in the College of Education have produced a new longitudinal study demonstrating that behavioral inhibition persistent across early childhood is associated with social anxiety in adolescence, but only among youth who were insecurely attached to their parents as infants. Previous studies have examined either infant attachment or behavioral inhibition as risk factors for anxiety separately, but not both risk factors together. The study was done in collaboration with researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and the University of Waterloo. It appears in Child Development, the journal of the Society for Research in Child Development.   

Researchers studied 165 European-American, middle- to upper-middle-class adolescents (ages 14-17 years) who were recruited as infants (at 4 months). At 14 months, infants and their parents were observed in the lab to see how the babies responded to brief separations from their parents. Infants were classified as having a secure or insecure attachment to their parent based on this in-depth observation.

To test the second risk factor, children’s behavioral inhibition and social reticence was observed in the lab as they encountered new situations and new peers several times across early childhood (at 14, 24, 48, and 84 months). Parents also completed questionnaires about their children’s behavior in new situations and with unfamiliar peers. Based on the lab observations and results from parents’ questionnaires, the researchers classified children according to how inhibited or shy they were over time. 

Years later (when the children were 14 to 17 years old), participants and their parents completed questionnaires about the adolescents’ anxiety. Youths who said that they often felt nervous going to parties, dances, or other places where there would be people they didn’t know well, and often felt nervous when they had to do something in front of an audience like read, speak, or play a game or sport, scored higher on social anxiety than youth who said they had such feelings less frequently.

The study concluded that children who were both insecurely attached to their parents as infants and who were inhibited throughout their childhoods went on to have higher levels of anxiety as adolescents, specifically social anxiety. Teen males who were insecurely attached to their parents as infants and who were inhibited across early childhood were at the most risk for social anxiety. In addition, the association between childhood inhibition and adolescent social anxiety was strongest for children who reacted angrily and weren’t able to calm down when reunited with their parents (during the lab task at 14 months), compared to children who showed other types of attachment patterns as infants.

"Our study suggests that it is the combination of both early risk factors that predicts anxiety in adolescence, particularly social anxiety," said Erin Lewis-Morrartypostdoctoral research fellow at HDQM's Child Development Lab, who was involved with the study. "The findings can inform the prevention and treatment of adolescent social anxiety by identifying specific factors that increase risk for this outcome among children who are persistently shy." 


Caret to Return to Maryland as USM Chancellor

December 17, 2014

Anne Moultrie 301-445-2722

Mike Lurie 301-445-2719

Caret to bring 20 years of successful higher education leadership

ADELPHI, Md. - After a successful tenure as president of the five-campus University of Massachusetts system, Robert L. Caret will return to Maryland as chancellor of the University System of Maryland. James L. Shea, chairman of the USM Board of Regents, today announced the board's appointment of Caret, effective July 1, 2015. Caret served as president of Towson University, one of USM's 12 institutions, from 2003 to 2011.

"The Board of Regents is very pleased that Bob Caret will take the helm as USM's fourth chancellor," said Shea. "He brings years of experience as the outstanding leader of two public universities and a public system of higher education. He is adept at building partnerships that benefit institutions and the surrounding communities. And he is very familiar with USM and the state of Maryland. We are confident that he will provide the visionary and innovative leadership the University System of Maryland needs to continue to enhance opportunities for our students and our state."

Details follow at the end of this news release regarding an introductory news conference in Baltimore at 2:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 19.

"I am extending my heartiest congratulations to Robert Caret as the next Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, and I ask the entire campus community to join me in welcoming him back home to Maryland," said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh.

As president of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) since July 2011, Caret has become a major spokesperson on the pressing issues of college affordability and student debt. Throughout his UMass tenure, he has emphasized efficiency, rolling out several cost-saving initiatives, and established productive working relationships with Massachusetts government and business leaders. His successful pursuit of a 50-50 funding formula for UMass resulted in the state and students contributing equally to the university's general education program and a 22 percent increase in the base budget for two years. He also secured additional state funding, allowing UMass to freeze tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduate students for two consecutive years.

Before joining UMass, Caret was president of Towson University (TU) for eight years, where he also served as a faculty member, dean, executive vice president and provost during his more than 25-year tenure there. At Towson, he created partnerships with regional business, non-profit and civic organizations; raised student graduation rates; and undertook a capital fundraising and building campaign to support campus infrastructure improvements. He oversaw an increase in the university's online courses and expanded the availability of TU courses at regional higher education centers. He was instrumental in establishing Towson University in Northeaster Maryland, which offers transfer students the flexibility to pursue a four-year degree after completing an associate's degree at a community college. The facility is located on the grounds of Harford Community College. 

From 1995 to 2003, Caret served as president of San Jose State University (SJSU), part of the California State University System. He is credited with bringing a vision for SJSU as the metropolitan university of Silicon Valley.

"I am excited and energized to return to Maryland and the University System of Maryland," said Caret. "I have dedicated 29 years of my professional career to the system and the state and to two primary goals: to ensure we provide high-quality, affordable education and that we continue to build a research-based economic engine.  I look forward to working to ensure those two goals remain central to all that we do."

Active in the national higher education community, Caret serves on the National Association of System Heads and American Council on Education boards. He also is a member of the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board and the Government University Industry Research Roundtable.

In Massachusetts, Caret has served on the boards of several organizations, including the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and Edward M. Kennedy Institute.

Caret holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of New Hampshire and a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Suffolk University in Boston.

When Caret joins the USM next year, he will succeed William E. Kirwan, who in May announced his plans to step down from the chancellor's position after a career of more than 50 years in public higher education. Kirwan will remain in the position until Caret is on board.

"I've known Bob Caret for several years," said Kirwan. "He has had significant positive impact on each institution he has led. The University System of Maryland and the state will benefit greatly from his leadership in the years ahead."

Caret's appointment follows a six-month, extensive national search led by Rick Berndt, chair of the search-and-screening committee; managing partner of Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP, a Baltimore law firm; and a former USM regent.

"We deeply appreciate the diligent work of the search committee," said Chairman Shea on behalf of the USM Board of Regents. "Under Rick Berndt's excellent leadership, the committee carefully reviewed the applicants and nominees, and forwarded highly qualified finalists to the board for consideration."

The University System of Maryland comprises 12 institutions:  Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; University of Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of Maryland, College Park; University of Maryland Eastern Shore; University of Maryland University College; and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies. USM also includes two regional centers:  Universities at Shady Grove and University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, at which USM universities offer upper-division (undergraduate junior- and senior-levels) and graduate courses.

Systemwide, student enrollment exceeds 162,000. USM and its institutions compete successfully for more than $1 billion in external grants and contracts annually. USM institutions and programs are among the nation's best in quality and value according to several national rankings. To learn more about the University System of Maryland, visit 


WHAT: James L. Shea, chair of the USM Board of Regents, will introduce Robert L. Caret 

WHEN: 2:30 p.m., Friday, December 19, 2014

WHERE: Christopher Columbus Center, 701 E. Pratt St., Baltimore, MD, in the Multi-Purpose Room. (Members of the Columbus Center building staff are available to indicate location.)

WHO: Chairman Shea; Chancellor Kirwan; and other distinguished leaders of the University System of Maryland. Parking is available in a number of public garages near the Center, all visible from Pratt Street.


UMD Maintains Spot on Kiplinger's Top 10 Best Values in Public Colleges

December 17, 2014

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - For the seventh consecutive year, the University of Maryland has ranked in the top 10 in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s annual ranking of the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges. UMD took the 9th spot on the list for in-state tuition and 14th for out-of-state.

"The University of Maryland is honored for the recognition it has received from Kiplinger in this year’s list," said Shannon Gundy, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment at the University of Maryland. "Our inclusion in the top 10 for the seventh consecutive year is a true testament to the consistent academic excellence and outstanding value we provide students and their families."

Each year, Kiplinger’s collects data from hundreds of public four-year institutions and determines the top 100 by analyzing several measurable standards, such as academic quality – including SAT or ACT scores, admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios, and four- year graduation rates – financial aid, cost, and average student debt at graduation.

"We salute this year’s top schools," says Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. "Balancing top-quality education with affordable cost is a challenge for families in today’s economy, which is why Kiplinger’s rankings are such a valuable resource. The schools on the 2015 list offer students the best of both worlds."

Full rankings can be found at The rankings will also appear in the February 2015 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands January 6, 2015. 

UMD Studies: To Boost Maryland Jobs, Target Job Hubs

December 10, 2014

Maggie Haslam 202-258-8946 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - To stimulate economic development and job creation, state and local governments should target incentives to specific "employment centers" that have the greatest growth potential and regional accessibility, recommends a pair of studies by the University of Maryland National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG). 

NCSGOne of the studies, "Employment Centers and Agglomeration Economies: Foundations of a Spatial Economic Development Strategy," has been published online by Economic Development Quarterly. The other, "Polycentrism as a Sustainable Development Strategy: An Empirical Analysis from the State of Maryland," will appear next month in the Journal of Urbanism (it is currently available at  Both recommend a stronger focus on "concentrated employment hubs," in future state decisions on smart growth, land use and transportation policy.

Whereas most Maryland economic development policies focus on specific industries - such as motion pictures - or target populations- such as the chronically unemployed - the reports suggest that the state also needs to consider the locations where new firms are most likely to thrive.

"Creating jobs statewide is a vital necessity, but the natural magnets for new firms are the areas where the transportation infrastructure, skilled workforce, and complementary businesses are already in place," says Gerrit Knaap, director of the university’s NCSG.  "This is what is needed for new businesses to survive and what leads to higher transit ridership.  Most state smart growth policies fail to take this into consideration."

For example, many state economic development programs - such as the job creation tax credit program - provide incentives for firms to locate in Priority Funding Areas, Knaap says. But Priority Funding Areas were drawn based on residential densities and primarily designed to contain residential growth. To promote smart economic development, incentives should be directed to areas where firms have the greatest chance of survival, he recommends. Job hubs offer firms the benefit of proximity to existing firms, while the state gets the greatest return on its investment in transportation infrastructure.

These "employment centers" represent the largest concentration of jobs per square mile within a region. Downtown Baltimore, the 270 corridor, Hunt Valley and Greenbelt-College Park all represent areas of concentrated employment within the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, each boasting between 10,000 and 360,000 jobs. 

While the footprint of these employment centers is small - about one percent of the state’s land area, the studies report - they offer the highest concentration of high-paying jobs. According to the NCSG, these employment hubs host 40 percent of the state’s jobs and 46 percent of the total wages paid. Compared with employers not located in these centers, NCSG researchers found firms located in the top 23 hubs employ nearly twice as many workers per firm and pay nearly 30 percent higher wages. 

Not only do these hubs attract businesses, the studies found them critical engines for innovation, new business and economic growth. Business "births" are higher in employment centers than in any other area of the state, reports "Employment Centers and Agglomeration Economies."

"These economic centers act like natural business incubators," says Professor Chengri Ding, the study’s lead author. "We found that in the period just before the great recession in 2008, a significantly larger proportion of firms in the Construction; Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (FIRE); Professional Services; and Administrative Services were born inside economic centers rather than outside them."

Paying more attention to these hubs of employment could also influence future transportation planning and policy, particularly when weighing new public transit projects. Using the Maryland State Transportation Model, the NCSG researchers estimate that the 23 centers attract 21 percent of all automobile trips and 39 percent of all transit trips.  Research also found that private sector creation and growth was strongly affected by the availability—and location—of transportation infrastructure. 

According to Eli Knaap, lead author of "Polycentrism as a Sustainable Development Strategy: An Empirical Analysis from the State of Maryland," "these results suggest that locating jobs near transit stations might be the most effective means of increasing transit ridership in the state."

The report findings have strong implications on future housing development as well, particularly when considering the influx of millennials and immigrants into the workforce. The researchers conclude that encouraging housing development within transit commute sheds of these employment hubs—particularly those with strong transit accessibility—can best accommodate both the desires of a changing, more urban-focused workforce and long-term sustainability.

"By making Maryland job-ready in the centers most desirable to future employers, the state can light up an 'open for business' sign," concludes NCSG director Gerrit Knaap.  

UMD Physics Professor Confirmed as Head of ARPA-E

December 10, 2014

Abby Robinson 301-405-5845

After more than a year, Williams voted in as director of advanced energy projects         

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Distinguished University Professor Ellen Williams was confirmed by the U.S. Senate yesterday as the new Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). President Obama nominated Williams in November 2013 to direct the agency, which was launched with bipartisan support in 2009 to advance high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early in development for private-sector investment.

University Professor Ellen Williams. Copyright Mike Morgan"ARPA-E is central to the Department's advancement of energy technology innovation, and Ellen Williams will provide outstanding leadership based upon her combination of world class research in condensed matter physics and insight into how technology impacts the energy marketplace," said U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz in a release. "I'm excited to work with Ellen on expanding the scope and impact of ARPA-E."

According to the DOE press release, Williams, as Director of ARPA-E, will ensure that the technologies assisted through ARPA-E will help change the energy landscape and better meet the nations changing energy needs.

"We are delighted at the news of Prof. Williams’ confirmation," said Patrick O’Shea, Vice President and Chief Research Officer of the University of Maryland.  "Ellen has had an extraordinarily accomplished career as an educator and researcher in surface science and nanotechnology, which has prepared her well for her new position."

Prior to her new DOE appointment, Williams was Chief Scientist for BP, a position she had held since 2010. She is currently on a leave of absence from the University of Maryland where she is a Distinguished University Professor in the department of physics and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology

Williams came to UMD in 1981 for a post-doctoral fellowship and became a full professor in 1991. At Maryland, she pioneered the use of very powerful electron scanning, tunneling microscopes to study the surface of materials like silicon at the atomic level. In 1996 Williams founded the University of Maryland Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, serving as its director until 2009. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2005. 

Williams has served on the board of reviewing editors of Science Magazine since 2003. She also has participated in technical assessments for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Department of Defense, National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department of Energy. 

Read a profile of Professor Williams in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or listen to her talk about what inspired her to go into science in an NAS podcast.



December 22
Through an agreement with the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman... Read
December 18
Researchers at the University of Maryland’s Department of Human Development in the College of Education have produced a... Read
December 17
After a successful tenure as president of the five-campus University of Massachusetts system, Robert L. Caret will... Read
December 17
For the seventh consecutive year, the University of Maryland has ranked in the top 10 in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s... Read