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Partnership Between University of Maryland and U.S. Army Research Laboratory Harnesses the Power of Defense Supercomputing to Create Opportunities for Scientific Discovery

July 29, 2016

Katie Lawson, University of Maryland, 301-405-4622
Joyce Martin, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, 301-394-1178

Strategic Alliance Offers Accessible, Enhanced HPC Resources Benefiting Researchers,
Higher Education and National Security 

COLLEGE PARK, MD – The University of Maryland (UMD) and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), the central laboratory that provides world-class research for the Army, today announced a strategic partnership to provide high-performance computing (HPC) resources for use in higher education and research communities. 

As a result of this synergistic partnership, students, professors, engineers and researchers will have unprecedented access to technologies that enable scientific discovery and innovation.

The partnership was formed under ARL’s “Open Campus” initiative, which aims to build a science and technology ecosystem. Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX), a University of Maryland center that operates a multi-state advanced cyberinfrastructure platform, will connect ARL’s high-performance computer “Harold” to this ecosystem on its 100-Gbps optical network. Collaborators from the UMD, MAX and ARL communities will be able to build research networks, explore complex problems, engage in competitive research opportunities and encounter realistic research applications.

“The UMD/MAX-ARL partnership provides a unique opportunity for both organizations to create a national model of collaboration in the HPC field,” said Tripti Sinha, MAX Executive Director and UMD Assistant Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “Collaborative partnerships are key to maximizing our technological potential and ensuring our nation’s strength and competitiveness in the critical fields of science and research. UMD and MAX are very excited to work with ARL on this endeavor.” 

In addition to increasing accessibility and enhancing HPC resources for researchers, the collaboration between UMD/MAX and ARL will also support innovation activities conducted by private and startup companies that connect through MAX’s infrastructure.  

“Our goal is to take the cutting-edge computational power that we use for defense research, development, test, and evaluation and put that in a place that will benefit the wider scientific community,” said Dr. Raju Namburu, Chief, Computational Sciences Division, Computational and Information Sciences Directorate, U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

UMD, MAX, and ARL’s combined effort not only benefits the mid-Atlantic region, but also aligns with the federal government’s strategic initiative to maximize the benefits of supercomputing for economic competitiveness, scientific discovery and national security. An executive order announced in July 2015 established the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) to support the United States in its efforts to remain a leader in the development and deployment of HPC systems.

“The university is in full support of the federal government’s leadership on this critical HPC initiative,” said Eric Denna, UMD Vice President and Chief Information Officer. “The creation of the UMD/MAX-ARL partnership is just one step in the promotion of HPC innovation, and UMD will continue to actively participate by contributing technical expertise and sharing knowledge with our key collaborators.”

The UMD/MAX-ARL partnership also lays the foundation for the organizations to expand their reach and make additional HPC resources accessible to the communities they serve.

Harold will become available once the machine is scrubbed, declassified and brought into ARL’s demilitarized zone, or perimeter network. Under ARL and UMD’s collaborative research development agreement (CRADA), the HPC resource will be allocated to MAX’s Internet Protocol (IP) address space and will be accessible to the collective communities of UMD, MAX and ARL’s Open Campus. As a result, researchers will have supercomputing-caliber computational capability and leading-edge advanced networking research at their fingertips that is designed for application development and networking experiments. 

“This joint research venture with UMD/MAX will leverage ARL’s high-performance resources and the Army's groundbreaking research programs in emerging scientific computing architectures, such as non Von Neumann computing architectures, distributed ad-hoc computing and programmable networks,” Namburu said. “The result is a unique opportunity for synergistic collaboration between two prominent organizations on the forefront of research and innovation.” 

The ultimate goal is to share HPC resources for the good of the community and ensure that groundbreaking collaborative projects have the necessary tools.

“An HPC resource like Harold will significantly enhance the capabilities of the University of Maryland’s faculty and student researchers,” said Patrick O’Shea, UMD Vice President and Chief Research Officer. “The partnership between UMD/MAX and ARL opens up connections for our community and enables research opportunities. We are eager to see the expansion of our creative ecosystem.”

About University of Maryland (UMD)

The University of Maryland is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 37,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 56 members of the national academies, and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.8 billion operating budget and secures $550 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, visit www.umd.edu.   

About Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX)

Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX) is a center at the University of Maryland that operates a multi-state advanced cyberinfrastructure platform. MAX’s all-optical, Layer 1 core network is the foundation for a high-performance infrastructure providing state-of-the-art 100-Gbps network technology and services. MAX participants include universities, federal research labs, and other research-focused organizations 

in the Washington and Baltimore metropolitan areas. MAX serves as a connector and traffic aggregator to the Internet2 national backbone and peers with other major networks. Its mission is to provide cutting-edge network connectivity for its participants, tailored and generic data-transport solutions, and advanced services to accommodate and optimize large data flows and to facilitate network and application research. For more information about MAX and MAX services, please visit www.maxgigapop.net.

About U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL)

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

UMD Team Discovers Insight into the 'Language' Animals Use to Keep Cells Identical

July 26, 2016

Matthew Wright 301-405-9267
Lee Tune 201-405-4679

Biologists and computer scientists used machine translation software to yield new understanding with potential insights into some cancers and age-related diseases 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – All animals begin life as a single cell from which arise the many different cell types, such as heart, lung, blood, etc., that are specific to that type of animal. However, once the process of cell differentiation has led to many different tissues, each organism has a new, opposite imperative – keeping new cells in each type of tissue the same as their brethren. Cancers arise in a tissue when a cell becomes different from its neighbors and thus represent a failure to maintain this critical uniformity.

Biologists have long known a great deal about how cells differentiate into various tissues during development. However, little has been known about how organisms continually maintain a population of identical cells in each tissue over an animal’s entire lifetime. Now, a University of Maryland research team has discovered that a regulatory protein named ERI-1 helps ensure that all cells in a tissue remain identical to one another. 

The work involved collaboration between developmental biologists and computer scientists, with the latter contributing their expertise with machine learning analysis that they typically use for computer language translation. The finding could bring biologists one step closer to understanding some cancers and other age-related diseases.

Roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans) with a disabled eri-1 gene can lose their ability to control repetitive DNA. In the absence of eri-1, even two age-matched siblings can look dramatically different. These differences are because of variable expression from high-copy DNA (green) but not from low-copy DNA (magenta) in the worms’ intestinal cells. In worms with a functional eri-1 gene, even high-copy DNA is expressed uniformly in all animals. Image credit: Antony Jose The study, which is the first of its kind conducted in a whole animal (the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans) instead of cultured cells, appears in the August 1, 2016 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology. The researchers’ approach reveals one important mechanism that animals use to maintain uniform patterns of gene expression. The team’s use of machine learning software proved essential for quickly and clearly identifying complex patterns in the data.

“Cells can look the same and behave the same, but how? The liver is full of liver cells and doesn’t have any heart cells, for example. There’s so much that needs to happen to maintain a tissue,” said Antony Jose, an assistant professor in the UMD Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics and senior author on the study. “It’s a fundamental question that’s been hiding in plain sight. We’ve now proposed an answer that could help advance our understanding of age-related diseases.”

The results suggest that long sections of repetitive DNA can be read differently from cell to cell. The researchers found that, in healthy tissues, ERI-1 normalizes these differences by ensuring that each cell expresses their genes at the same levels. When the researchers turned off the gene that produces ERI-1 in C. elegans, an abnormal patchwork of gene expression appeared in the worms’ intestines.

“To understand these processes, we needed to measure single-cell differences in a whole animal,” Jose said. “We had to know which cell was related to which others and simultaneously measure various properties in all cells within a tissue. Technically, achieving this is very difficult. But you can’t adequately answer these questions outside the context of the whole animal.”

To achieve this complex analysis, Jose and his colleagues formed an unexpected collaboration. Lead author Hai Le (B.S. ’13, biological science), an undergraduate researcher in Jose’s lab who is now a student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, presented a poster at UMD’s Bioscience Day conference in 2012. Future collaborator Michael Bloodgood, an associate research scientist at UMD’s Center for Advanced Study of Language, stopped by to discuss Le’s work. The two researchers quickly recognized the potential for machine learning to help facilitate Le and Jose’s analysis. 

“Linguists use machine learning to compare blocks of text to identify nouns and verbs, analyze sentence structures and determine average word length, for example,” Jose said. “Hai and Michael recognized that we could use the same technique to analyze gene expression in intestinal cells.”

Machine learning software can reveal complex patterns that the human eye cannot see. As the name implies, the software can be taught to look for specific patterns and can also “learn” from experience, becoming more efficient with each subsequent analysis. Using this approach enabled the researchers to quickly make objective comparisons that would have been all but impossible using other methods.

The researchers chose C. elegans because it is a simple organism that can easily be studied at the level of a single cell while it is still alive. Jose notes that their technique is broadly applicable, and could be modified to work with other genes and different tissues as well. If others adopt the team’s whole-animal methodology, Jose believes it could signal a shift in the way cell biologists approach their experimental design.

“The effect of cancer drugs is often examined in cultured cells. Our work suggests that studies on cells outside an animal could miss many things. For example, cultured cells can show differences in gene expression that are eliminated in a whole animal,” Jose said. “I believe our results could lead to some shifts in thinking about how to imitate a whole animal in cell culture conditions.”

In addition to Jose, Le and Bloodgood, authors on the study include Monika Looney (B.S. ’16, biological science, psychology) and Benjamin Strauss (B.S. ’12, computer engineering) who were undergraduate researchers when the study was conducted. 

The research paper, “Tissue homogeneity requires inhibition of unequal gene silencing during development,” Hai Le, Monika Looney, Benjamin Strauss, Michael Bloodgood and Antony Jose, appears in the August 1, 2016 print edition of the Journal of Cell Biology.

This work was supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health (Award Nos. R00GM085200 and R01GM111457). The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of these organizations.

A Revolving Door: Researching Recurring Violent Injuries among Urban Black Men

July 25, 2016

Sara Gavin 301-405-1733

UMD-led research team identifies risk factors for repeat traumatic injuries in black men

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—Research from the Department of African American Studies (AASD) at the University of Maryland sheds light on the reasons black men treated for violent injuries—gunshot wounds, stabbings and beatings—are likely to make return visits to the hospital for similar traumatic injuries. The research team also emphasizes the importance of hospital-based violence intervention programs (HVIPs) in addressing this growing public health issue.

AASD Associate Professor Dr. Joseph RichardsonLed by AASD Associate Professor Dr. Joseph Richardson and Dr. Carnell Cooper, Professor of Surgery at the UMD School of Medicine and Director of the Violence Intervention Program at the University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, findings from the research study were published in the Journal of Surgical Research

Researchers studied nearly 200 patients – black males 18 years of age or older—treated at the University of Maryland Medical System Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore between 1998 and 2011 and identified several risk factors contributing to the repeat injuries, known as trauma recidivism. 

“Trauma recidivism is a growing public health problem in the United States, particularly among low-income black men,” Dr. Richardson said. “In an effort to break this cycle of violence, we wanted to identify risk factors that make these men vulnerable to being violently wounded multiple times.”

Well over half (58 percent) of the participants in this study reported two or more hospitalizations for violent injury. Of that population, nearly all (97 percent) reported being previously incarcerated.

“Our study reinforces previous research that shows a disproportionate number of black men have experienced criminal justice involvement,” Dr. Richardson said. “Specifically, however, it highlights the collateral consequences associated with a history of incarceration and its impact on the likelihood of repeat violent injury.”

Another main factor victims cited for trauma recidivism was a perceived lack of disrespect and a “code of the street,” which dictates that disrespect must be responded to violently.

“Among many young, low-income, marginalized black men, respect and status is a valued commodity on the street,” the study authors note. “Protecting this commodity at any cost may increase the likelihood of carrying a weapon and getting into fights and altercations, which in turn, may increase the likelihood of hospitalization for violent injuries.” 

Substance abuse, housing instability and a previous altercation involving a weapon were also identified as prevalent risk factors for recurrent violent injuries in the study. The key to addressing these risks and reducing trauma recidivism, researchers say, lies in HVIPs, which provide victims with assessment, counseling and social support from multi-disciplinary teams to help make critical changes in their lives.

Dr. Cooper initiated an HVIP at Maryland Shock Trauma in 1998. Building on that model, Dr. Richardson launched the Capital Regional Violence Intervention Program at Prince George’s Hospital Trauma Center in the fall of 2015. 

The research team plans to use the risk factors they’ve identified to create a violent injury scale, which would help ensure victims who are the most vulnerable to recidivism receive top priority for resources provided through intervention programs. 

“Effective violence interventions can save lives and reduce the enormous health care costs associated with violent injury,” researchers note. “The revolving door of black male victims of violent injury poses tremendous social and economic costs on society and the health care system. We believe that the structural and direct violence that disproportionately impacts low-income young black men is preventable.” 

Other authors of the study include: Dr. Tanya Sharpe, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work; Dr. Christopher St. Vil, Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the State University of New York at Buffalo; and Dr. Mike Wagner, Data Analyst at the UMD Center for Substance Abuse Research. 

UMD Journalism Students Cover Republican and Democratic National Conventions

July 19, 2016

Dave Ottalini 301-405-1321
Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

International team of Capital News Service reporters from three leading journalism schools showcase fearless journalism in Cleveland and Philadelphia

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – For the fifth consecutive presidential election, the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service is reporting from the national political conventions. This time, the CNS convention crew includes journalists from the University of Maryland, as well as Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom and Penn State University.

“Since its first convention in 2000, CNS’ reputation and reach have steadily grown, making the news organization indispensable to audiences across the region,” said Lucy Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at UMD. “The addition of student reporters from the United Kingdom and Pennsylvania will broaden the coverage and provide a unique educational experience to students from both countries.”

CNS also has its College Park, Md., digital bureau staffed by graphics and social media journalists in support of the on-the-ground coverage in Cleveland and Philadelphia. In total, CNS will have more than 30 digital and visual journalists devoted to coverage of each convention.

Clients in Maryland, Washington, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom will receive text, video and graphics from the combined news operations at the Republican and Democratic national conventions. In addition, CNS will be operating on a number of social channels, including Facebook and Twitter, and updating its website, CNSMaryland.org.

Leading the teams in Cleveland and Philadelphia is CNS Washington Bureau Director Jim Carroll.

“CNS is providing a spectacular opportunity for our students to experience the national political conventions, a chance many veteran reporters would envy,” said Carroll, who has covered every political convention since 1984. “There is no substitute for being there and feeling the excitement, tensions, drama – and the sights, tastes and sounds – of the party gatherings.”

Karen Fowler-Watt, head of the School of Journalism, English and Communication at Bournemouth University described it as a “unique experience for our students.”

“There were always going to be fascinating cross-cultural reference points for the students to draw from working with their American counterparts, but in the light of Brexit in the UK, those comparisons will be even more vivid and resonant,” she said.

Russell Eshleman, head of the Department of Journalism at Penn State, and a 15-year veteran of The Philadelphia Inquirer, will lead the Pennsylvania contingent at both conventions.

“I anticipated that the conventions would be like the last ones … PR shows,” said Eshleman. “As it moved along, it became a better story journalistically. For a reporter, it doesn’t get much better than seeing real emotion and conflict.”

Joining Carroll at the Republican National Convention for CNS is Josh Davidsburg, a broadcast lecturer at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at Maryland.

At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Carroll will be joined by CNS Broadcast Bureau Director Sue Kopen Katcef.

The partnership among the three schools will provide students with a unique reporting and learning experience not available anywhere else.

UMD Poll Reveals That As Benefits From Nuclear Deal Fall Short of Iranian Public's Expectations, Ahmadinejad Closes In On Rouhani

July 15, 2016

Jonas Siegel 301-405-4020

Overwhelming Majorities See U.S. as Obstructing Sanctions Relief

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A year ago, when the nuclear deal was signed, 63 percent of Iranians said they expected tangible improvements in people’s living conditions within a year, according to a poll led by the Program for Public Consultation and the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (a center within the University of Maryland School of Public Policy). However a new University of Maryland poll finds that now, a year later, three quarters (74%) of Iranians say there has been no improvement at all.

Such perceptions appear to be hurting President Hassan Rouhani’s prospects for reelection a year from now. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has closed the gap with Rouhani to just 8 points among likely voters in the next election, from a 27-point gap in May 2015.

A widely held perception is that the United States is obstructing sanctions relief. Three in four Iranians think that the United States is actively preventing other countries from normalizing their trade and economic relations with Iran, contrary to its obligation in the nuclear agreement. Two in three Iranians believe that while the United States has lifted the sanctions it agreed to lift in the nuclear agreement, it is finding other ways to keep the negative effects of those sanctions. This may be contributing to the lack of improvement in views of the United States despite the nuclear deal: very large majorities—currently 73 percent —continue to have a negative view of the United States.

Eroding confidence in the benefits of the deal may be reducing popular support for it. A year ago and right after the nuclear agreement was signed, 76 percent of Iranians approved of the deal (43% strongly). Today, however, 63 percent approve of the deal (22% strongly).

Besides not yet receiving the anticipated benefits from the nuclear agreement, some of this decline in support for the deal may also be related to the Iranian public gaining a somewhat more accurate understanding of its less popular aspects. A majority (60%, up from 33% last year) now realizes that Iran has accepted limits on its nuclear research. A majority (61%, up from 30% last year) also knows that many U.S. sanctions are not covered by the agreement and will continue. Yet, a growing majority continues to believe, inaccurately, that under the deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency is not permitted to inspect Iranian military sites under any conditions (64%, up from 61% last year).

A large majority (72%) of Iranians say they have little or no confidence that the United States will meet its obligations under the deal. In contrast, 61 percent say they are confident that other P5+1 countries will fulfill their obligations under the nuclear agreement.


“Iranians appear to have underestimated how much the remaining U.S. sanctions coupled with uncertainty about future U.S. policies would affect their ability to access frozen funds and engage eco

nomically with countries besides the United States,” says Nancy Gallagher, interim Director of the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM). “If the Iranian public fails to see reductions in unemployment and other tangible benefits from the nuclear concessions Iran made, Rouhani’s re-election may be at risk.”

Despite disappointments with the slow pace of economic improvements from the nuclear deal a large majority—62 percent —think Iran should increase its economic engagement with Western countries, while only 9 percent think Iran should decrease it.

However, support for various forms of bilateral cooperation with the United States is now lower than it was before the deal was signed. For the first time since the summer of 2014, a majority (54%) of Iranians now oppose cooperation with the United States against ISIS in Iraq, compared with a majority (59%) of Iranians who approved of such collaborations shortly after the nuclear deal was reached.

Iranians, however, continue to strongly support Iran working with others to counter ISIS in various ways.  Four in five (81%) approve of Iran participating in international negotiations over the future of Syria, and six in ten (63%) support Iran using its influence over key players in Syria to help secure a lasting ceasefire between various players not affiliated with terrorist organizations. An overwhelming majority (84%) approve of collaborating with Russia to help the government of Bashar Assad counter ISIS. Also, 6 in 10 say that Iran should increase its support of groups fighting ISIS.

Furthermore, 64 percent think that Iran should send its own military personnel to Syria, and an extraordinarily high 98 percent continue to have a very unfavorable view of ISIS.

Though approval of Rouhani is high, there are important negative trends. While immediately after the signing of the nuclear deal 61 percent of Iranians said they have a very favorable opinion of Rouhani, today only 38 percent express such feelings, and another 44% say they have a somewhat favorable opinion of him. An increasing majority also thinks that Rouhani has not been successful in reducing unemployment (73%, up from 53% last year).

Iranians have also become substantially less optimistic about Iran’s economy, with only 42 percent now thinking that the economy is getting better down from 57 percent last year.

The telephone poll of 1,007 Iranians was conducted June 17–27, 2016, for the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland by IranPoll.com, an independent, Toronto-based polling organization. The margin of error was +/- 3.2%.

Read the full report: http://www.cissm.umd.edu/publications/iranian-public-opinion-one-year-af...

View the full survey questionnaires:  http://www.cissm.umd.edu/publications/iranian-public-opinion-one-year-af...

View all CISSM Iranian Public Opinion studies: http://www.cissm.umd.edu/projects/security-cooperation-iran-challenges-a...


Letter in Response to Administrative Review of May 21 Courtyards Incident

July 14, 2016

Dear University of Maryland community,
I am writing to inform you of the results of the University of Maryland Police Department's (UMPD) investigation of its response to a 911 call about an on-campus party at The Courtyards on May 21, 2016.
At 1:46 AM, two officers arrived at an apartment where a graduation party was underway with about 60 people present, mostly African Americans. The callers had reported a potential fight, someone with a bat, and underage drinking. When the police arrived, they were again told by persons at the parking lot that there could be fighting in the apartment.
Subsequently, to control and disperse the party crowd, UMPD officers deployed pepper spray twice, first in a breezeway outside the apartment, later in the parking lot. Two individuals (one a UMD student) were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and failing to obey lawful orders. In response to calls for back-up support, eventually some 15 officers plus Fire Department medics were at the scene.
UMPD policy requires an administrative review after any use of force. Therefore, UMPD conducted a comprehensive, five-week investigation with due diligence and due process. Investigators interviewed witnesses and studied video recordings from officers' body cameras. Chief David Mitchell's summary report of the findings, conclusions, and actions are at http://umpdnews.umd.edu/node/646. Chief Mitchell met with some of the affected individuals today. At their request, the video footage will be released to the media on Monday, to give the students time to discuss with friends and family.
The main finding is that deployment of pepper spray, while justified under the circumstances, could have been avoided if the police, upon arrival at the apartment, had been more tactful and professional, as prescribed by UMPD policy.
When the police knocked on the door, those who opened it appeared surprised by the claim of a possible fight inside. They denied there was any fight. The antagonistic approach of the police in this initial encounter, and the demand for a break-up of the party, led to an escalation of tensions. The ensuing resistance and non-compliant conduct by some party attendees resulted eventually in the deployment of pepper spray.
The investigation found that the first use of pepper spray in the breezeway was justified because an officer was surrounded by some 10 agitated party attendees, one of whom was being restrained by others from lunging at the officer.
The second use of pepper spray at the parking lot was also deemed justified. It was an uncontrolled scene, with some people screaming at the police, others assisting the police to maintain calm, and a medic calling for help to clear the crowd.  However, the manner of deployment violated UMPD policy.
Further, the investigation found that the 911 call was a false report. Individuals (not UMD students) who were denied entry to the party retaliated by calling the police with a fabricated story of a possible fight.
As a result of these findings, Chief Mitchell (1) obtained criminal charge summons against those who made the false report of a fight; (2) suspended an officer without pay for two weeks for violating UMPD policies; (3) announced training in cultural diversity and implicit bias for all UMPD personnel, conducted by outside experts; and (4) ordered a review of UMPD's policies and protocols on the use of force, with input from members of the UMD community (including student leaders) and criminal justice professionals. In addition, the charges against the two persons arrested in the incident were dropped.
I applaud Chief Mitchell for his transparency, accountability, and decisiveness. The men and women of UMPD are an integral and valued part of our campus community. They are dedicated guardians, sworn to serve and protect. All of us respect and appreciate the difficult work they do, the sacrifices they make in the line of duty. We owe them our support.  In turn, they recognize that "community policing," not "confrontational policing," is essential to building trust between the police and the policed.
I thank the students involved in this incident who cooperated with the investigation. The staffs of the Nyumburu Cultural Center, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Division of Student Affairs have been invaluable resources for all involved.
This is a charged time in our nation.  As a society, we must find a path forward to come together. I deeply regret the incident at The Courtyards, but I believe that the actions by Chief Mitchell and UMPD are important steps on our campus to bridge chasms, salve anguish and anger, and promote justice.
Wallace D. Loh

MEDIA: For access to materials regarding this incident, email mediainfo@umd.edu.

UMD Named a Top 10 Best Value Public College by MONEY Magazine

July 12, 2016

Kristen Seabolt 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland ranked No. 10 among public universities according to MONEY Magazine’s inaugural list of Best Value Colleges.  UMD ranked No. 19 overall among U.S. institutions. 

To calculate rankings, MONEY assessed more than 700 colleges in the U.S. based on 24 factors in 3 categories, including educational quality, affordability and alumni success. In addition, MONEY measured comparative value by assessing how well students at each school did vs. what is expected for students with similar economic and academic background, as well as the college’s mix of majors. 

Earlier this year, UMD was also ranked a Best Value College by Forbes, Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

The full list of MONEY’s Best Value Colleges is available here.

University of Maryland's Center for Educational Partnership Celebrates 10th Anniversary

July 12, 2016

Riverdale community enriched through array of educational programs and initiatives

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland’s Center for Educational Partnership will celebrate its 10th anniversary on July 14. Ten years ago, the CEP space was a former university owned warehouse, but due to a vibrant partnership between the University of Maryland and the Maryland Multicultural Youth Center, Riverdale residents now enjoy a multi-faceted community center with a mission to support individual and group learning, growth and advancement. CEP programs include extended-day instruction, adult and teen education, on-site counseling, homework assistance, and various recreational events. 

In order to foster and enrich key programming initiatives, the center has brokered important partnerships with GapBuster Center, Inc., the University of Maryland Extension, the University of Maryland School of Public Health-Center on Aging and Prince George’s Health Department - Youth & Community Service Program. As a result, expanded opportunities have become available to visitors of the center, including a bike maintenance program, two community gardens, free food distribution and many other programs that support the diverse community base in Riverdale.  

“We are thrilled that the Center has provided opportunities for the University of Maryland community, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni to serve and face real social issues in Prince George’s county,” said Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, Director, Office of Community Engagement. “Over the last 10 years, the Center for Educational Partnership has become a place that embraces diversity to create new opportunities for growth. This is a tradition we are looking forward to seeing continue in the future of the Center.”

Several founders, university officials and members of the community will attend the anniversary celebration on July 14 at the CEP, including Maryland State Senator Pinsky, Latin American Youth Center President Lori Kaplan and Prince Georges County Councilwoman Dannielle Glaros. For more information on the event, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/center-for-educational-partnership-10-year-...

Moving forward, the University of Maryland will transfer its leadership to Prince George’s County to continue the partnership with the Maryland Multicultural Youth Center. 

UMD Poll Sheds Light on American Attitudes Surrounding Orlando, the Middle East & U.S. Election

July 11, 2016

Sara Gavin 301-405-1733

Dr. Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland.COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Americans hold a more favorable view of Muslims and Islam today than they did eight months ago, despite a presidential campaign focused on Muslim immigrants and the threat of terrorism, as well as the mass shooter in Orlando who claimed to be acting on behalf of ISIS and in the name of Islam. These are among the striking findings of two new polls released July 11 by Dr. Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. 

One poll was taken two weeks before the Orlando shooting, the other two weeks after and the results were compared with those from a Sadat poll conducted in November of 2015. Asked about their views of the Muslim people overall, respondents who expressed favorable views went from 53 percent in November 2015 to 58 percent in May 2016 (two weeks before the Orlando shooting) to 62 percent in June 2016 (two weeks after the Orlando shooting).

“The Orlando shootings didn’t have the kind of impact that people might have expected in terms of people souring on Islam and Muslims,” Dr. Telhami noted. “One reason is they actually don’t interpret the Orlando shooting to be principally motived by Islamic ideology. The public has a far more nuanced view of the shooting.”

At the same time, the Sadat polls found that Americans’ favorable views of Islam as a religion went from 37 percent in November 2015 to 44 percent in June. Similar trends emerged when poll participants were asked whether they felt Islamic and Western ideals were compatible. The percentage of those who said the two were compatible went up from 57 percent, to 61 percent, to 64 percent over the three polls.

On all issues measured, Republican views remained relatively fixed throughout the three polls. The noticeable change occurred among Democrats and Independents.

“It still holds that slightly more Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam as a religion than favorable one. That suggests to me that some candidates will try to exploit that space but if there is any indication from the poll results that we now have, that may not work,” Dr. Telhami said.

Dr. Telhami has been polling American attitudes toward Muslims since the September 11th terrorist attacks and says in the last several years, Americans’ views toward Muslims and Islam have settled and now, for the first time, are showing improvement. Included in the poll are questions about Americans’ experience with Muslims, asking: “In your life, how familiar are you with people who are Muslim?” The choices are: “I don’t know any,” “I know some but not very well,” and “I know some very well.” 

“Those people who don’t know any Muslims have a far more negative view of both the Muslim people and the Muslim religion and those people who know some Muslims well have a much better view, so that’s part of the issue—not the only issue, there are a lot of other factors—but it certainly is interesting to see there is that direct correlation between just interacting with people versus dealing with something abstract,” Dr. Telhami said. 

The polls were fielded by Nielson Scarborough and the results were released July 11 at The Brookings Institution, where Dr. Telhami is a Nonresident Senior Fellow. Dr. Telhami discusses the results and their significance in more detail in an article appearing in Politico. To view more poll data, click here.

UMD Ranked Among Top 15 Public Colleges by Forbes

July 7, 2016

Kristen Seabolt 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland ranked No. 14 among public colleges, according to Forbes’ 2016 list of America’s Top Colleges. In the 9th annual rankings, the university also ranked in the Top 100 among all U.S. colleges, at No. 82. 

To calculate rankings, Forbes partnered with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) to determine students’ return on investment (ROI) at more than 600 U.S. colleges. CCAP used 12 factors to calculate the rankings, each of which fell into one of five general categories, including student satisfaction, post-graduate success, student debt, graduation rate and academic success. In addition, Forbes utilized data from the National Center for Education and PayScale. 

Earlier this year, UMD was also named a Best Value College by Forbes, ranked at No. 24. The best value rankings were based on tuition costs, school quality, graduation success rates and post-grad earnings.

The full list of America's Top Colleges is available here.


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