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UMD Named a 2017 Best College by MONEY Magazine

July 12, 2017
Contacts: 

Jennifer Burroughs, 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md.  The University of Maryland ranked No. 11 among public universities according to MONEY Magazine’s 2017 list of Best Colleges. UMD ranked No. 20 overall among U.S. institutions. 

To calculate rankings, MONEY assessed more than 700 colleges in the U.S. based on three equally-weighted categories, including educational quality, affordability and alumni success. MONEY measured 27 factors within these categories covering areas such as instructor quality, measuring the study-to-faculty ratio, affordability for low-income students and value-added earnings, which measures if the school is launching students to better paying jobs. 

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

UMD Capitol Hill Forum Addresses Health Disparities Research & Action for Equity

September 23, 2016
Contacts: 

Contacts: Elise Carbonaro, 301-405-6501

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland, in collaboration with Rep. John P. Sarbanes and the Big Ten Academic Alliance, recently convened more than 100 people for a Research on the Hill forum focused on strategies to achieve health equity at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Moderated by Stephen B. Thomas, Ph.D., professor and director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity in the UMD School of Public Health, the panel discussion engaged experts from academia, federal health agencies and the private business sector in a candid conversation about how to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities among vulnerable populations.

“Our exploratory research holds the solutions to many of the most challenging problems of our day,” said UMD Vice President and Chief Research Officer Patrick G. O’Shea, Ph.D. “As a university, it is our mission to create and understand knowledge to develop better ways to house and heal and fuel and feed our people in advanced societies that are just, secure, and free. Achieving health equity touches on the ‘heal’ aspect of that mission.”

The topics ranged from the progress that has been made in access to medical care as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to challenges that still remain in improving quality of care and in making the medical care system incorporate public health and address the social determinants of health that prevent people from acting health promotion and disease prevention recommendations. 

“The state of Maryland has embraced the ACA and there is clear evidence that the new incentives are indeed moving hospital systems away from a fee-for-service business model to one that rewards quality care and positive health outcomes over the volume of procedures,” said Thomas. “While the transition is not perfect, our state is a national leader for what the future of health care will look like.”

Panel members shared examples of effective and innovative community-based health interventions and public-private partnerships that are making a difference through culturally-tailored health promotion and disease prevention services, and highlighted the emergence of social determinants of health such as poverty, discrimination and residential segregation as factors that must be overcome.

 “I’m convinced that if you address racial and ethnic disparities with respect to the delivery of health care and health care coverage in this country, you will build the best health care system we can possibly have because diversity is our country’s hallmark,” said Congressman Sarbanes, who, as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been a tireless advocate for improving healthcare quality and addressing health disparities.
 
To achieve health equity, researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders must address broader issues beyond the traditional biomedical model and build trust between those who control health care delivery system and those who have lost hope in the system, said members of the panel. 

The panelists recommended that health equity be incorporated into all public policies, not just those related to health care, to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. 

Panel members included:

  • Margo Edmunds, Ph.D., Vice President, Evidence Generation and Translation at Academy Health;
  • J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., M.S.C.E., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Julia Huggins, President of Cigna Mid-Atlantic;
  • Kolawole Okuyemi, M.D., MPH, Professor of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Director of the Program in Health Disparities Research and Inaugural Endowed Chair for Health Equity at the University of Minnesota; and
  • Eliseo Pérez-Stable, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health.

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, who represents Maryland’s 5th Congressional District and is a distinguished UMD alumnus, also joined the event and emphasized that as an interconnected community, we should all care about health disparities.
 
“It is unacceptable that in the United States, where all are created equal in the words of our Declaration of Independence, that one’s access to healthcare may be higher or lower as a result of race, gender, or income,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Everybody being healthy is of concern to each and every one of us.”
 
He discussed how we must continue to defend the patient protections that Americans are benefiting from thanks to the ACA, such as the no-cost access to preventive services like mammograms and immunizations, as well as remind people of the dramatic increase in the number of people, particularly people of color, who now have health coverage as a result.

The event was held as part of the University of Maryland’s Research on the Hill series, which is aimed at raising awareness of research with great societal significance.

View the conversation at: https://youtu.be/HPedKr0jZLQ

UMD Study Finds Connecting Uninsured Patients to Primary Care Could Reduce ER Use

May 6, 2015
Contacts: 

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418
Hillery Tsumba 301-628-3425

Montgomery County, Md. Initiative Could Improve Health, Reduce Costs

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – An intervention to connect low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to a reliable source of primary health care shows promise for reducing avoidable use of hospital emergency departments in Maryland. A University of Maryland School of Public Health study evaluating the results of the intervention was published this week in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs

For twenty years, use of hospital emergency departments has been on the rise in the United States, particularly among low-income patients who face barriers to accessing health care outside of hospitals, including not having an identifiable primary health care provider. Almost half of emergency room visits are considered “avoidable.” The Emergency Department-Primary Care Connect Initiative of the Primary Care Coalition, which ran from 2009 through 2011, linked low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to safety-net health clinics. 

“Our study found that uninsured patients with chronic health issues – such as those suffering from hypertension, diabetes, asthma, COPD, congestive heart failure, depression or anxiety – relied less on the emergency department after they were linked to a local health clinic for ongoing care,” says Dr. Karoline Mortensen, assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and senior researcher. “Connecting patients to primary care and expanding the availability of these safety-net clinics could reduce emergency department visits and provide better continuity of care for vulnerable populations.”  

Funded by a grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the initiative engaged all five of the hospitals operating in Montgomery County, Maryland at the time, and four safety-net clinics serving low-income patients. Using “patient navigators,” individuals trained to help patients find the care they need and can afford, these hospitals referred more than 10,000 low-income, uninsured and Medicaid patients who visited emergency departments to four local primary care clinics, with the goal of encouraging them to establish an ongoing relationship with the clinic and reduce their reliance on costly emergency department care. 

Two hospitals in Montgomery County who participated in the intervention continued the program after the initial grant period concluded because of the benefits they saw for patients and for reducing emergency department visits and associated costs. These hospitals are currently testing a new version of the intervention specifically deigned to link emergency department patients with behavioral health conditions to appropriate community-based services. 

While hospital administrators and health policy experts throughout the country are recognizing that access to primary care improves continuity of care for patients and reduces avoidable use of emergency departments, the implications of this project are particularly important for hospitals in Maryland, which are now operating under a unique all-payer model for hospital payments. Within this new payment structure, Maryland hospitals will have to meet ambitious spending, quality of care, and population health goals. Reducing avoidable use of emergency departments can help in reaching these goals.

The project provides promise not only for hospitals in Maryland but throughout the nation to improve health care experiences and outcomes for their patients. Shared learning systems were an integral component of the project so participants were learning from each other and sharing best practices throughout the project and that learning has now been documented and can be replicated in other communities.

“This was an incredibly rewarding project to work on,” says Barbara H. Eldridge, Manager of Quality Improvement at the Primary Care Coalition. “We created a learning system that permits us to sustain improved communication between patients and their providers, between hospital discharge planners and community based clinics, and across five hospitals operating in Montgomery County.” The initiative has proven successful in Montgomery County, Maryland and is being replicated in communities in other parts of the country. 

“Linking Uninsured Patients Treated In The Emergency Department To Primary Care Shows Some Promise In Maryland” was written by Theresa Y. Kim, Karoline Mortensen, and Barbara Eldridge and published in the journal Health Affairs

University Launches Dynamic, Interactive Information Website UMD Right Now

December 4, 2012
Contacts: 

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618 crystalb@umd.edu

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, umdrightnow.umd.edu, 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 umdrightnow.umd.edu.

UMD Recognized Nationally in Sierra Club Sustainability Rankings

August 22, 2017
Contacts: 

Andrew Muir, 301-405-7068

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland improved its overall nationwide sustainability ranking in the recently released Sierra Magazine Cool Schools listing. The university finished No. 33 overall on the list, up from No. 44 in last year’s rankings, and No. 2 out of the Big Ten Conference.

“We are once again honored to be recognized by such an outstanding organization like the Sierra Club for our ongoing campus wide sustainability efforts,” said Scott Lupin, director, Office of Sustainability. “All Terps should be proud of this achievement as we continue to make progress in our Climate Action Plan goals.” 

The Sierra rankings included more than 200 colleges and universities who supplied sustainability data and metrics for reporting. Areas of high performance for UMD included the categories of waste reduction, food, transportation, innovation, and academics. The university also improved in the energy category thanks to ongoing efforts implemented through the President’s Energy Initiatives

The University of Maryland continues to take pride in the campus-wide engagement of staff, students and faculty in developing a culture of sustainability.  The upcoming Sustainability Progress Report set for release this October, will highlight an array of achievements made towards achieving the campus Climate Action Plan goal of carbon neutrality in 2050. 

 

UMD and Bowie State Univ. Launch Training Program to Increase Diversity in Education Research

August 22, 2017
Contacts: 

Audrey Hill, 301-405-3468

College Park, MD--The University of Maryland College of Education and Bowie State University received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to train undergraduate students from underrepresented populations for doctoral study. Designed to increase diversity in education research, students in the Research Institute for Scholars in Education (RISE) training program will receive research mentoring on language and literacy topics from UMD faculty, while receiving academic mentoring from BSU faculty.

The RISE program, led by UMD College of Education Professor Susan De La Paz and BSU College of Education Professor William Drakeford, will include students and faculty from both universities. The undergraduate juniors selected for the program will be from traditionally underrepresented groups, including students who belong to an ethnic or racial minority and/or are low-income, first generation college students, veterans, or students with disabilities. 

“A diverse group of education researchers is important because addressing cultural and linguistic diversity remains a significant challenge for literacy and language scholars,” Dr. De La Paz said. “The goal of this grant is to enhance the pipeline of education scientists by developing the capacity of underrepresented undergraduates to contribute to rigorous scientific research in the field.”

The five-year grant will fund fellowships for up to 48 pre-doctoral fellows. Through the RISE program, the students will work with researchers from four departments within UMD’s College of Education and College of Behavioral & Social Sciences-- Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (CHSE), Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership (TLPL), Human Development and Quantitative Methodology (HDQM) and Hearing and Speech Sciences (HESP). Fellows will be paired with researchers who study language and literacy issues for a wide range of student groups, including those who are culturally or linguistically diverse, students who have learning disabilities, are English learners, or have speech, language, or hearing impairments. The research will focus on the needs of students who range from preschool to high school age or who are adults.

Fellows will attend an eight-week summer and two-week winter research seminar, participate in two semester-long research opportunities and receive academic mentorship from BSU faculty and peer mentorship from graduate students on either campus. 

Susan De La Paz is a faculty member in the UMD College of Education’s Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education. William Drakeford, RISE project lead at BSU, is a faculty member in the College of Education’s Department of Teaching, Learning and Professional Development. 

The grant award is funded through the Institute of Education’s Pathways to the Education Sciences Research Training Program.

 

UMD Announces Updates to Fan Code of Conduct and Prohibited Items & Behavior Policies to Enhance Fan Safety

August 18, 2017
Contacts: 

Zack Bolno, 301-314-1482

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has adopted a series of changes to the university’s “Fan Code of Conduct” and “Prohibited Items & Behavior” policies to enhance fan safety during sporting events. Following a recommendation from the university's Athletic Council, the changes strengthen and clarify the existing policies, and affirm the university’s core values of diversity, inclusion and respect.

"We engaged in a comprehensive review of our policies as a reflection of our campus’ ongoing work to combat hate and create a safer campus,” said Kevin Anderson, Director of Athletics. “We are incredibly proud of the positive and supportive behavior that fans of the Maryland Terrapins exhibit, and believe these proactive changes to our policy will ultimately benefit the fan experience for all.”

“The Athletic Council felt strongly that our policies against items and behavior designed to intimidate our fans should be as clear and specific as possible to allow our fans to feel both physically and emotionally safe at our events. We are pleased that our recommendations have been accepted and put into effect,” according to a joint statement from the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Athletic Council.

Changes to the “Fan Code of Conduct” emphasize the university's commitment to creating a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience not only for fans of all ages, but for student-athletes, coaches and officials; and the importance of that experience both in the athletic venue and across the entire campus. The changes also clarify that fighting, as well as obscene, profane or abusive language or behavior can result in ejection from games.

While intimidating items and actions have already been banned from athletic events, the revised “Prohibited Items & Behavior” language is intended to strengthen the policy. Several items were added to the policy’s prohibited list, including facsimile weapons and flammables of any kind. The changes also reflect clarity in prohibited signage, apparel or other items that display, depict or represent recognizable symbols and/or words that incite, intimidate, or threaten members of the UMD community, specifying both nooses and swastikas in the new policy.

The new policies can be found here: http://www.umterps.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=29700&ATCLID=211662019

 

UMD's Colwell Awarded 2017 International Prize for Biology

August 18, 2017
Contacts: 

Lee Tune, 301-405-4679
Tom Ventsias, 301-405-5933

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Rita Colwell, a Distinguished University Professor in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), has been named the 2017 laureate of the International Prize for Biology for her outstanding contributions to marine microbiology, bioinformatics and the understanding and prevention of cholera.

Photo of UMD Professor Rita ColwellColwell is the 33rd recipient of the International Prize for Biology, generally recognized as one of the most prestigious honors a natural scientist can receive. Past laureates include other renowned biologists, such as John B. Gurdon, Motoo Kimura, Edward O. Wilson, Ernst Mayr and Thomas Cavalier-Smith.

In awarding the prize, Japan’s Society for the Promotion of Science honored Colwell as a pioneer in the use of computational tools and DNA sequencing to identify and classify marine bacteria and other microorganisms, work that helped lay the foundation for the bioinformatics revolution.

The prize also recognizes Colwell’s life-saving contributions to the understanding and prevention of cholera, an acute diarrheal disease, caused by ingestion of water or food contaminated with Vibrio cholera, which according to the World Health Organization is responsible for approximately 1 to 4 million illnesses and 20,000 to 140,000 deaths each year.

Colwell, whose career bridges the disciplines of microbiology, ecology, infectious disease, public health and computer and satellite technology, continues to be a leader in bioinformatics, notably in understanding microbiomes and the application of this knowledge to human health and the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This includes her current work as founder and chairman of CosmosID, Inc., a microbial genomics company focused on molecular diagnostics of human pathogens and antimicrobial resistance.

“It is an extraordinary honor to be named recipient of the International Prize for Biology, a very special honor for a biologist,” said Colwell. “I am deeply grateful to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for this award. I have many friends and colleagues in Japan and look forward to continuing my many collaborations with them.”

The selection committee also cited Colwell's transformational work in these areas:

  • Establishing the taxonomy of vibrio bacteria, which includes Vibrio cholerae.
  • Identifying a previously unknown survival strategy of dormant vibrio cells, which the committee said "has had a profound influence on microbiology and medicine.”
  • Showing how climate change has expanded the habitat range of vibrios, and the occurrence of cholera.
  • Helping prevent the spread of cholera in developing countries by discovering and demonstrating an effective way to use the sari, the traditional dress of women on the Indian subcontinent, as a filter to remove vibrio-carrying plankton from drinking water drawn from ponds, rivers and other surface waters.

There is no Nobel Prize for biology, but Japan’s International Prize for Biology is one of three prizes often considered to be biology’s equivalent. The other two honors often placed in this category are the Balzan Prize and Crafoord Prize.

"We are extremely proud of Dr. Colwell's indelible impact on the field of biology and, more importantly, on human lives," said UMD Interim Vice President for Research Amitabh Varshney. "We applaud her fearless pursuit of translational research and life-saving solutions to global health challenges."

The International Prize for Biology was instituted in April 1985 by the Committee on the International Prize for Biology. The prize, consisting of a certificate, a medal and an award of 10-million yen (more than $90,000) is given to the recipient, along with an imperial gift, a silver vase bearing the imperial crest. The award presentation ceremony and a subsequent reception in honor of Colwell will held in late 2017 at the Japanese Academy in Japan.

Since 2004 Colwell has been a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland and the Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is chairman emeritus at Canon US Life Sciences, Inc. She holds a dozen U.S. patents, most involving computational biology.

Colwell has received many awards and recognitions, including the 2017 Vannevar Bush Award given by the U.S. National Science Board; the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize awarded by the King of Sweden; the 2006 National Medal of Science awarded by the president of the United States; and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star bestowed by the Emperor of Japan. She is the recipient of  61 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education and has a geological site in Antarctica, Colwell Massif, named in recognition of her work in the polar regions.

Colwell was the 11th director of the National Science Foundation and the first woman to head the agency. She also co-chaired the Committee on Science, National Science and Technology Council.  She has held numerous advisory positions in the U.S. government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations and has authored or co-authored 19 books and more than 800 scientific publications.

Colwell also has served as chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington Academy of Sciences, American Society for Microbiology, Sigma Xi National Science Honorary Society, International Union of Microbiological Societies, and American Institute of Biological Sciences.  She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of Canada, Royal Irish Academy, Bangladesh Academy of Science, Indian Academy of Science, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Inventors.  

 

State and University Leaders Gather at UMD To Launch Maryland Energy Innovation Institute

August 15, 2017
Contacts: 

Melissa L. Andreychek, 301-405-0292

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- On August 14, 2017, state and university leaders gathered at the University of Maryland to officially launch the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute (MEI2), created by the state to turn research breakthroughs at UMD and other state colleges and universities into commercial, clean energy solutions that meet the needs of the state and its people.

“[The Maryland Energy Innovation Institute] of course is a great collaboration between the University of Maryland and the Maryland Clean Energy Center, which has been a really important part of the state’s strategy for consistency in our clean energy policies,” said U.S. Senator for Maryland Chris Van Hollen. “More than 100 [University of Maryland] faculty have been involved already in developing breakthrough technologies in the areas of solar, wind, energy efficiency, and battery and fuel cell technology, and [the University] will expand those efforts with the launch of this institute.”

MEI2 Photo

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan authorized $7.5 million in state funding earlier this year for the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute, an initiative designed to catalyze clean energy research programs at academic institutions in the state and attract and develop private investment in clean energy innovation and commercialization. The institute will seek to bolster economic jobs in the clean energy industry sector in Maryland, and also promote the deployment of clean energy technology throughout the state.

“Clean energy is an engineering challenge of our day and, more importantly, of the 21st century,” said Darryll Pines, Dean of UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and Nariman Farvardin Professor. “Because of the extraordinary commitment of our elected officials who are here today with us, and our partners across the campus and state, we can continue to grow investments in clean energy, innovation, and commercialization for the State of Maryland.”

The Maryland Energy Innovation Institute is a partnership between the state’s Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), directed by Katherine Magruder, and the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC), directed by Eric Wachsman and situated within UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering. Wachsman is also director of the MEI2.

MEI2 Photo

“When you look at our energy past and our energy future, the first gas lamps in North America turned on in Baltimore almost 200 years ago exactly. The pivot to fossil fuels started here in Maryland—so, isn’t it fitting that the pivot to the next generation of energy also happens in Maryland,” said Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno. “That’s why I’m soexcited, the General Assembly is so excited, to participate in [the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute] so that the clean energy revolution starts here, and we can capture in Maryland not only the environmental benefits, but the economic benefits, as well.”

Additional speakers included University of Maryland President Wallace Loh; Mary Beth Tung, director of the Maryland Energy Administration; and Joshua Greene, chairman of the board of the Maryland Clean Energy Center and vice president of government and industry affairs at A.O. Smith. Also present were Maryland State Delegate Tawanna Gaines, other government officials, and corporate partners, as well as UMD researchers affiliated with the institute who showcased examples of the kind of battery, fuel cell, solar, and energy efficiency technologies that MEI2 will work to move into commercial use.

 

 

UMD Researchers Help Children Improve Language Skills With $3.3M Department of Education Grant

August 14, 2017
Contacts: 

Sara Gavin, 301-405-1733

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Researchers at the University of Maryland were recently awarded a $3.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences to investigate the efficacy of Toggle Talk—a proprietary curriculum intended to help young children learn to shift between various American English dialects and Academic Classroom English. 

Young children often come to public schools from a diverse range of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, bringing with them a variety of American English dialects that are spoken in their homes. The subtle differences between their spoken dialect and the English taught in the classroom can significantly impact the development of students’ listening, language and foundational skills. 

Toggle Talk, which was developed by Professor Holly Craig (University of Michigan) under a previous grant funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, uses “contrastive analysis” to teach children how to make situationally-appropriate language choices—providing young children with the vocabulary and language structure awareness necessary to switch between their home language and more formal, academic language. Dr. Jan Edwards, professor in UMD's Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences and Associate Director of the Language Science Center, is planning a closely monitored local rollout of the Toggle Talk curriculum in collaboration with her co-investigators, Jeff Harring (HDQM), Rebecca Silverman (CHSE) and Ana Taboada Barber (CHSE). 

“The focus here is on spoken language,” said Dr. Edwards. “It’s a preventative program that teaches children about shifting between dialects as soon as they enter a school environment.” 

Part of the reason early exposure to this curriculum is so vital involves how children develop fundamental reading skills, Dr. Edwards said. “We often ask our students to ‘sound it out.’ When the language spoken at home is different than that spoken in the classroom–silent letters or grammatical differences–it can mean real challenges for the students. The earlier we can help students resolve these differences, the better.” 

The Toggle Talk curriculum addresses these challenges by teaching young children about language differentiation and how to flexibly shift between two dialects, without devaluing the language spoken within their homes. 

“About a third of all children cannot make this shift by the end of 2nd grade. These students are at the highest risk to fall behind in literacy acquisition,” said Dr. Edwards. The hope is that this innovative curriculum can help researchers and educators identify opportunities to close the achievement gap for children in public school systems across the nation. 

Dr. Edwards’ team is also interested in learning more about how dialect shifting impacts students’ cognitive bandwidth. This process may offer students similar cognitive benefits to shifting between languages. 

“Bilingual students have what some call the ‘metalinguistic advantage’, because of their ability to think about language and manipulate its components in ways that monolingual speakers are less free to do so,” said Dr. Taboada Barber. “I am especially interested in finding out if the impact of Toggle Talk instruction can render similar benefits for dialect shifting than those afforded to bilingual or multilingual students.”

 

Pages

Photo of Dentist with Patient at 2014 Mission of Mercy Event
August 18
Mid-Maryland Mission of Mercy and Health Equity Festival will take place Sept. 8 & 10 at the University of Maryland... Read
August 22
UMD finished No. 33 overall and No. 2 out of the Big Ten in Sierra Magazine's 2017 Cool Schools ranking. Read
August 22
Five-year grant will provide UMD and BSU students with research and academic mentoring. Read
August 18
Recommendations from Athletic Council affirm core values of diversity, inclusion and respect. Read