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UMD to Host Press Conference with President and New Athletic Director

June 25, 2018
Contacts: 

MEDIA RSVP TO: mediainfo@umd.edu 

WHAT: 

The University of Maryland will host a press conference Tuesday morning with University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh and its newly named Director of Athletics Damon Evans. 

WHO: 

  • University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh
  • University of Maryland Athletic Director Damon Evans
  • University of Maryland A. James Clark School of Engineering Dean Darryll Pines, Head of the Search Committee
  • University of Maryland Field Hockey Head Coach Missy Meharg, Search Committee Member

WHEN: 

Tuesday, June 26 at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: 

The Hotel at the University of Maryland
Terrapin Ballroom, First Floor
7777 Baltimore Ave, College Park, MD 20740

MEDIA RSVP AND LOGISTICS:

  • Media must RSVP to mediainfo@umd.edu and will be required to show credentials at check-in. 
  • Media check-in will begin at 9:00 a.m.
  • A mult box audio feed will be available. There will be a soundcheck at 9:30 a.m.
  • Validated parking will be available in the garage at The Hotel at UMD.

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About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park 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 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 57 members of the national academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu.

University of Maryland Names Damon Evans Athletic Director

June 25, 2018
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622, lawsonk@umd.edu

Evans has played a key role in operations, fundraising and Terrapin student-athlete success since 2014 

Damon EvansCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland has named Damon Evans as Athletic Director of the Maryland Terrapins. Evans, who joined the university in December 2014 and most recently served as Executive Athletic Director and Chief Financial Officer, has led the Terrapins to excel both on and off the field.

“Throughout his tenure here, Damon has demonstrated visionary, transparent, compassionate and ethical leadership,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “The candidates invited for interviews had impressive credentials and accomplishments. In the end, a senior leadership search is not only about capabilities. It is also about institutional fit and interpersonal trust and chemistry. In Damon, the University​ of Maryland​ has the right person at the right time.”

Evans, who has served as Executive Athletic Director since 2016 and Acting Athletic Director since April 2018, overseeing all day-to-day operations of the athletics department. 

“It is a great honor to be chosen to lead at the University of Maryland,” said newly appointed Director of Athletics Damon Evans. “Since the day I arrived, I have been inspired by the student-athletes, coaches and support team that strive for success in Maryland Athletics, and I look forward to many successes ahead in our Big Ten era. I’m guided by the principle that we learn from our wins and losses, and I am eager to lead an athletics department that ultimately achieves greatness together.”

Over the past four years, Damon revamped the athletics budget and financial operations, resulting in an operating surplus. Evans was appointed as the liaison to lead the new Cole Field House project, a bold facility that will unite vital programs in sports medicine, public health, athletics training and academic innovation. Additionally, he was the driving force behind the department's new multimedia rights agreement with the Washington, DC and Baltimore media markets that increased the department’s revenue by more than $30 million.

During Evans’ tenure overseeing day-to-day operations of the athletics department, the Terrapins have had three teams advance to the Final Four and have secured three Big Ten Championships. In that time, the Terrapins have also boasted 26 All-American student-athletes, eight Big Ten Players of the Year, three Big Ten Coaches of the Year and 42 All-Big Ten Honorees. 

Evans has shown his commitment to the academic success of Maryland student-athletes, strengthening the relationship between the athletics department and the academic units of the university. Evans notably oversaw a $21.25 million gift from Barry and Mary Gossett to establish an innovative, three-part support model for the academic success of student-athletes, the Barry and Mary Gossett Center for Academic and Personal Excellence. While Evans has led at Maryland, Terrapin student-athletes have had 151 All-Big Ten Academic Honorees, and nine programs earned perfect single-year Academic Progress Rates, while the football team turned in its best score (.981) since 2003.

Prior to Maryland, Evans served as the director of athletics at the University of Georgia from 2004-10, where he managed a program with 600 student-athletes, an $85 million budget and a staff of 250. The Bulldogs won 13 national championships and 19 SEC titles during Evans’ tenure. Under Evans’ guidance, Georgia annually finished in the top 10 in the Learfield Director’s Cup and also amassed $65 million for the athletic department’s reserve fund, an increase of over $56 million in just a six-year period. Student-athletes achieved the highest-ever graduation success rate at Georgia in his final year as director of athletics. 

Prior to Maryland, Evans’ roles included managing partner at Evolution Sports Partners in New Jersey, vice president of fundraising at IMG College in Winston-Salem, N.C., and vice president of business development at the Markley Group in Boston. 

He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance in 1992 and a master’s degree of education in sports management in 1994, both from the University of Georgia, where he was also a four-year starter on the football team. 

Evans takes the helm as the Maryland Terrapins continue to mourn the recent loss of a student-athlete, which has prompted a university-issued external review. The review, which will look at all policies and protocols, could take up to 90 days. 

He will assume the position of Athletic Director on July 2. A press conference will take place tomorrow, June 26. Additional details will follow. 

Read the President's letter to campus here.

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What People Are Saying About This Announcement:

Carla Williams, Director of Athletics at the University of Virginia:
"I’m really excited for Damon, his wife Kerri, and their family to have this opportunity. Damon is a gifted administrator and I’m looking forward to seeing the progress at Maryland under his leadership."

About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park 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 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 57 members of the national academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu.

UMD Joins Greater Washington Partnership’s Capital CoLAB

June 22, 2018
Contacts: 

Jessica Jennings, 301-405-4618, jjenn@umd.edu

Steven Chalapecka, 202-871-9914, skc@greaterwashingtonpartnership.org

COLLEGE PARK, Md.— The University of Maryland announced today it has joined the Capital CoLAB (Collaborative of Leaders in Academia and Business) in an effort to help drive innovation and groundbreaking digital technology education in the region. Launched by the Greater Washington Partnership, the collaboration is a first-of-its-kind alliance of university and business leaders who have come together to take action to strengthen the capital region­, spanning Baltimore to Richmond, and position the region as a leading global hub for innovation. The initiative is a milestone in the capital region coming together, across sectors and geographic boundaries, to harness the region’s unique strengths and growth potential.

Connecting the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia’s leading higher education institutions and employers through multi-university and multi-business initiatives, the CoLAB will help realize the full potential of the capital region’s assets at unmatched scale and drive future economic growth, opportunity and prosperity. The Collaborative’s overall efforts will center on three broad areas: developing the talent and workforce the region needs now and in the future; developing cutting-edge technology capabilities to position the region for global leadership; and improving awareness of the super-region as a leading innovation hub.

“Working together, we can prepare a new generation of workers and business leaders, as well as the technology that will create new industries,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “The power of this initiative can be seen in our many successful partnerships."

Capital CoLAB will initially work on two major initiatives. The first will create unique regionwide credentials to increase the quantity and quality of digital technology talent emerging from local undergraduate programs. Developed jointly by businesses and universities, the credentials will be recognized by regional businesses as differentiators in hiring and deploying talent. The Business-Higher Education Forum is partnering with the Collaborative to develop student pathways to earn the credentials. The digital technology credentials are part of the Business Roundtable’s new Workforce Partnership Initiative (WPI)to tackle current and future skills development challenges and drive economic growth in seven regions, including the capital region, around the United States.

The second will showcase the region’s leadership in important digital technology innovations. The Tech Showcase will highlight the “best of” innovative research, technology application and thought-leadership. The event will reinforce the value of strong partnerships between academic institutions, industry and government and elevate the perception of the capital region as a producer of digital technology research and top talent.

“Today’s launch of the Capital CoLAB is a landmark moment, signaling the progress our region has made in breaking down barriers and coming together. Our region has enormous potential to become a leader in the global economy for years to come, but only if we work together to leverage our strengths across sectors and disciplines. The strength of this group of leading businesses and educational institutions is profound and demonstrates the uniqueness of the capital region,” said Jason Miller, Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Washington Partnership.

In addition to UMD, the Collaborative includes American University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, Howard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, University System of Maryland and University of Richmond, as well as Capital One, Exelon, EY, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Medimmune, MedStar Health, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, McKinsey & Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation and Under Armour.

The capital region has the third largest digital technology workforce in the United States. The region’s institutions contribute to one of the most robust and interconnected environments for innovation in the world.

 

About the Greater Washington Partnership

The Greater Washington Partnership is a first-of-its-kind civic alliance of CEOs in the region, drawing from the leading employers and entrepreneurs committed to making the capital region—from Baltimore to Richmond—one of the world’s best places to work, raise a family and build a business. Working in collaboration with leaders across our communities, the Partnership connects and leverages the region’s extraordinary assets to advance inclusive, actionable solutions that strengthen Greater Washington as a leading global region and center for commerce and innovation.

 

 

 

 

University of Maryland Statement on External Review and Football Team Practices -- June 19, 2018

June 19, 2018
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

The University of Maryland released the below statement today. In response to questions from the media on the external review being conducted following the death of student-athlete Jordan McNair and on the team's practice schedule, a university spokesperson said:

The university is contracting with Walters Incorporated to conduct an external review, and the review will begin by week's end. The review will evaluate relevant policies and protocols, as the safety and well-being of our student-athletes is the highest priority.

Football players have been informed that regularly scheduled practices are voluntary until further notice. First and foremost the focus is on the well-being of our student-athletes, and this time is for them to grieve. We will continue to provide the resources our student-athletes need, which includes counseling services and access to spiritual leaders, during this difficult time.

University of Maryland-Phillips Collection Fellowship Awarded

June 15, 2018
Contacts: 

Alana Carchedi Coyle, 301-405-0235

Hayley Barton
, 202-387-2151 x235

COLLEGE PARK, MD—The University of Maryland Center for Art and Knowledge at The Phillips Collection has awarded its 2018–19 Fellowship in Modern and Contemporary Art History to Dr. Ashley Lazevnick, a 2018 graduate of Princeton University. 

Headshot of Dr. Ashley LazevnickThe Phillips Collection and the University of Maryland host one postdoctoral fellowship during the academic year. This fellowship allows recipients to work with the Phillips’s exceptional collection of modern and contemporary art and the University of Maryland’s leadership programs in art historical scholarship, interdisciplinary experimentation, and virtual technologies. During the academic year, fellows teach at least one public lecture and participate in other programs and discussions with scholars, critics, museum staff, and students at the museum and university.

“Dr. Lazevnick's rigorous and interdisciplinary approach combining archival research and close visual analysis of American Modernism parallels with the passions of the Phillips and University of Maryland partnership,” said Dr. Klaus Ottmann, Deputy Director for Curatorial and Academic Affairs at the Phillips. “We are pleased to announce Dr. Ashley Lazevnick as our 2018-19 fellow.”

“We offer our congratulations to Dr. Ashley Lazevnick and look forward to supporting the development of her survey of American Precisionist art,” said Mary Ann Rankin, Senior Vice President and Provost at the University of Maryland. “Her work will continue to advance scholarship and innovation in the arts—the cornerstone of our partnership with The Phillips Collection.”

Ashley Lazevnick completed her doctorate's in American art at Princeton University in 2018. She holds an Master of Arts in the History of Art from Williams College and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and English from Colgate University.

While at The Phillips Collection, Lazevnick will revise her dissertation into a book manuscript. Through an investigation of the term “precision” in art criticism, poetry, philosophy, and science in the early-20th century, her project reconsiders American Precisionist painting. A movement recognized today for meticulous paintings of skyscrapers and empty factories, Precisionism just as frequently included pictures of country barns, domestic interiors, and still lifes, in media as various as drawing, lithography, watercolor, pastel, and photography. 

More broadly, Lazevnick specializes in the visual and literary cultures of modernism, with particular focus on American art. Attentive to the interactions among different media, her research continually engages the nature of art writing, especially the use of non-normative genres (such as poetry) in reframing critical approaches to art. Her work has appeared in Word & Image as well as publications for the Warburg International Seminar, Florida State University, and the Ashmolean Museum. Future essays will appear in American Art and collected volumes on American Art for the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum and Merrell Publishing in London. Her research has been supported by fellowships with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Harry Ransom Center, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Terra Foundation, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

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ABOUT THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION

The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of Modern art, presents one of the world’s most distinguished Impressionist and American Modern art collections. Including paintings by Renoir and Rothko, Bonnard and O'Keeffe, van Gogh, Diebenkorn, Daumier and Lawrence, among others, the museum continues to actively collect new acquisitions, many by contemporary artists such as Wolfgang Laib, Whitfield Lovell, Zilia Sánchez, and Leo Villareal. Its distinctive building combines extensive new galleries with the former home of its founder, Duncan Phillips. The Phillips’s impact spreads nationally and internationally through its highly distinguished special exhibitions, programs, and events that catalyze dialogue surrounding the continuity between art of the past and the present. Among the Phillips’s esteemed programs are its award-winning education programs for educators, students, and adults; well-established Phillips Music series; and sell-out Phillips after 5 events. The museum contributes to the art conversation on a global scale with events like Conversations with Artists and the International Forum. The Phillips Collection values its community partnerships with the University of Maryland—the museum’s nexus for academic work, scholarly exchange, and interdisciplinary collaborations—and THEARC—the museum’s new campus serving the Southeast DC community. The Phillips Collection is a private, non-government museum, supported primarily by donations. 

 

ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

The University of Maryland, College Park 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 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 56 members of the national academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu.

Message From UMD Executive Athletic Director Damon Evans on Jordan McNair - June 13, 2018

June 13, 2018

University of Maryland Executive Athletic Director Damon Evans shared a letter today with the Maryland community regarding the passing of student-athlete Jordan McNair.

The full text of the letter can be found here.

UMD Critical Issues Poll Reveals U.S., Japanese Attitudes toward North Korea Summit

June 12, 2018
Contacts: 

Brittany Kyser, 301-405-6734

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Two new nationally representative polls—one fielded in the United States by the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll, and a second fielded by Japanese partner The Genron NPO in Japan—provided insight into what the American and Japanese publics expected from the U.S.–North Korea Summit in Singapore, as well as their opinions on broader Asian security issues. 

What do Americans and Japanese expect from the summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un? Of those polled, a small minority—22% of Americans and 6% of Japanese—expected significant progress toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; but a majority of Japanese (52%) and a plurality of Americans (36%) expected progress on some issues but not on denuclearization.

  Data Set

“While there is guarded optimism in Japan and the U.S. that some progress will be made in the summit, expectations are low, especially in regard to denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. This may give President Trump an opportunity to claim victory even with modest results,” said Professor Shibley Telhami, Director of the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll. 

Aside from their expectations about the summit, respondents in both countries were asked about what factors might be influencing North Korea’s stated willingness to negotiate denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Americans and Japanese respondents were somewhat divided across the board on this: 38% of Americans and 26% of Japanese attributed the tough line, including pressure and threats, taken by the Trump administration; 29% of Americans and 31% of Japanese think it’s because North Korea feels it has strong negotiating leverage after its success in developing and testing and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can reach American soil and directly threaten the U.S. and its allies; and 31% of Americans and 39% of Japanese say it’s the impact of UN sanctions and/or Chinese pressure. 

Data Set Bar Chart

As has been the case on many domestic and foreign policy issues, American respondents to the poll are deeply divided across party lines on this issue . While a majority of Republicans (61%) say that the tough line taken by the Trump administration is responsible for North Korea’s willingness to negotiate, only 16 percent of Democrats feel the same. And while 42% of Democrats say that North Korea’s success in developing and testing an ICBM is the most important factor, only 13% of Republicans agreed. 

  Data Set Bar Chart

American opinion on world leaders, including those they admire and dislike, was also measured in this poll. When asked to name a world leader they dislike the most in an open-ended question, Donald Trump was named more frequently by respondents than any other leader with 32%, followed by Kim Jong-un (13%), and Vladimir Putin (9%). However, when asked to name two national or world leaders they think are posing the greatest threat to world peace and security in an open-ended question, Kim Jong-un leads the responses with 43% followed by Vladimir Putin in a close second with 42%; Trump came in third place with just 26%. Breaking that question down by party, we see that views of Donald Trump are greatly varied: Democrats view Trump as the greatest threat to world peace and security with 48% whereas only 3% of Republicans say the same. 

Data Set Bar Chart

When compared with the results of a November 2017 Critical Issues Poll, some changes are visible in American views toward which countries they find the most threatening to world peace and security. While North Korea is still seen as the top global threat by respondents at 53%, this is a decline from last November where 77% of American respondents listed North Korea as one of the top two threats. However, when American respondents were asked to name two countries that they believe pose the greatest threat to their country, Russia came in first with 50% followed by North Korea with 44%. 

Looking at Japanese public opinion on this very question, there is growing public concern about the role of the United States. In the joint poll that was conducted last November, Japanese respondents identified North Korea as the greatest threat to world peace and security (55%), followed by the U.S. (43%), and China (34%). However, in the most recent poll, the U.S. is now seen by respondents as the biggest threat (52%) followed by China (34%), and North Korea (30%).

Data Set Bar Chart   Data Set Bar Chart                                               

When asked to name a national or world leader they admire most in an open-ended question, Republican respondents are most likely to say Donald Trump with 34%, followed by Benjamin Netanyahu with 8%. Democratic respondents list Barack Obama as the most admired leader with 30%, Justin Trudeau comes in second with 14%, and Angela Merkel places third with 10%. Among Independents, Queen Elizabeth II comes in first with 12% followed closely by Barack Obama with 11%; Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau tie for third place with just 6% each. 

 Data Set Bar Chart

These results are from a larger UMD Critical Issues Poll conducted by principal investigators, Professor Shibley Telhami, Director, and Professor Stella Rouse, Associate Director. The poll looked at other issues including Middle East policy and trade. Further results from this poll will be released in the coming weeks. 

The poll also included other questions on North Korea. A questionnaire with the American results can be found here and the results from the Japanese poll can be found here

Methodology (U.S.): The survey was carried out June 1-5, 2018 online from a nationally representative sample of Nielsen Scarborough’s probability-based panel, originally recruited by mail and telephone using a random sample of adults provided by Survey Sampling International. The national sample was 1,215. Overall, the sample was adjusted to reflect population estimates (Scarborough USA+/Gallup) for adults 18 years of age or older. The survey variables balanced through weighting were: age by gender, race/ethnicity, household income, level of education, census regional division, and political party affiliation. The margin of error is 2.81%.

Methodology (Japan): The survey was carried out May 18 – June 3, 2018 in Japan. The sample is 1,000 among the target population of 18 years of age or older (excluding high school students). The survey was fielded in 50 regions of Japan, with 20 samples from each region collected based on a quota sampling method, which is assigned to match the composition ratio by sex and age nationwide. Placement method was used as the fielding method. The margin of error is 3.1% at 95% confidence level.

 

 

National Academies Member Sean Carroll Joins UMD’s Department of Biology

June 6, 2018
Contacts: 

Abby Robinson, 301-405-5845

 

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- National Academy of Sciences member Sean Carroll joined the University of Maryland’s Department of Biology in June, as the inaugural Andrew and Mary Balo and Nicholas and Susan Simon Endowed Chair. He is the first Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator to take a faculty position at UMD.

Headshot of Sean Carroll“We are delighted that Professor Carroll is joining the University of Maryland,” said Amitabh Varshney, dean of the UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. “He is among that rare group of distinguished scholars who not only carry out groundbreaking research, but also share their knowledge with others in an inspiring way. His presence on campus will be instrumental in further strengthening our scientific edge in the area of evolutionary developmental biology.”

Carroll is a pioneer and international leader in the field of evolutionary developmental biology, also known as “evo-devo.” His research has shown that the diversity of animal life is largely due to the different ways the same body-building and body-patterning genes are regulated, rather than changes to the genes themselves. Carroll also is a  science educator, author, and video producer and host, who will continue to serve as vice president of HHMI’s Department of Science Education and as head of its film production unit Tangled Bank Studios.

“Maryland creates great opportunities,” said Carroll. “The people in my lab are excited for a whole new group of colleagues and a whole new set of collaborators. And I am looking forward to contributing to the mission of this great public university.” 

At Maryland, Carroll and his team will research the origin of new molecules that carry out new important functions. He will specifically explore the origin of snake venoms to better understand to what degree their toxins are new entities, versus ‘old’ proteins with a new job.

During his career, Carroll has published more than 125 peer-reviewed journal articles and mentored more than 60 undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. More than 35 of his lab alumni now lead their own academic labs.

Carroll has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an associate member of the European Molecular Biology Organization.’

Carroll also devotes considerable time to communicating and educating about science. His writing has included a multi-year stent (2009-2013) producing the column “Remarkable Creatures” for The New York Times, and authoring seven highly acclaimed books, including “Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom,” which in 2005 offered a framework of that then-emerging field. As the architect of HHMI’s science filmmaking initiative, Carroll has been the host or executive producer of more than a dozen feature or documentary films—including “The Farthest,” “Amazon Adventure,” “Spillover: Zika, Ebola & Beyond,” and “Mass Extinction: Life at the Brink,”—as well as numerous short films for the classroom.

Carroll joins UMD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he first established his lab in 1987 and was the Allan Wilson Professor of Molecular Biology, Genetics and Medical Genetics. 

UMD Study Validates Face Recognition Experts, But Shows Humans Perform Best with an AI Partner

June 5, 2018
Contacts: 

Lee Tune, 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- New research that combines computer vision research, forensic science, and psychology shows that experts in facial identification are highly accurate, but that the highest accuracy in face recognition comes through the partnering of a human expert with state-of-the-art face recognition software.

A team of scientists from the University of Maryland, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of New South Wales tested and compared the face recognition accuracy of forensic examiners, computer face recognition programs, and people with no training in face recognition. A paper based on the research was published May 29, 2018, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The study, part of efforts to strengthen forensic science in the U.S., found that the performance of professionally trained facial identification experts was much more accurate than that of people untrained in facial recognition.  And it showed this accuracy was further enhanced by combining the evaluations of multiple experts, a common forensic practice.   

However, UMD Distinguished University Professor Rama Chellappa, a study co-author and nationally recognized leader in computer face recognition, said that the other two main results were more surprising.  

 “We found that the face recognition performance of the best computer algorithms is up there with the performance of forensic examiners,” said Chellappa, who is a Minta Martin Professor of Engineering and chair of the department of electrical and computer engineering in UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and a leading computer vision researcher in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).

Study co-author and UMIACS Assistant Research Scientist Carlos Castillo said: “This finding represents a computer achievement comparable to the chess playing performance of IBM’s Deep Blue in matches [1996–1997] with then-World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov.”   

“We don’t know yet how this finding should be implemented in forensic practices, but it appears that computer face recognition is a tool that forensic science can use,” said Chellappa, whose post-doctoral associate Jun-Cheng Chen and two doctoral students Rajeev Ranjan and Swami Sankaranarayanan designed and developed the three face recognition programs used in the study. The top performing program, A2017b, whose inventors are Rajeev Ranjan, Carlos Castillo and Rama Chellappa was named a UMD Invention of the Year in April.

According to Chellappa, the broader context for the study is that it is a step in the process of learning how machine and humans can best work together. “These findings add to such knowledge and to the possibility that humans can trust machines to help them.”

The team’s effort began in response to a 2009 report by the National Research Council, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, which underscored the need to measure the accuracy of forensic examiner decisions. In their recent study published in PNAS, the researchers note that remarkably little was previously known about the accuracy of forensic facial comparisons by examiners relative to such comparisons by people without training, and nothing was known about their accuracy relative to computer-based face recognition systems.

“This is the first study to measure face identification accuracy for professional forensic facial examiners, working under circumstances that apply in real-world casework,” said NIST electronic engineer and lead author P. Jonathon Phillips. “Our deeper goal was to find better ways to increase the accuracy of forensic facial comparisons.”

The study involved a total of 184 participants. Fifty-seven were forensic facial examiners, with the highest level of professional training in the identification of faces in images and videos. Thirty were facial reviewers with a lower level of training in facial identification. Thirteen were “super recognizers,” people with exceptional natural ability to recognize faces. The remaining 84—the control groups—included 53 fingerprint examiners and 31 undergraduate students, none of whom had training in facial comparisons.

For the test, the participants received 20 pairs of face images and rated the likelihood of each pair being the same person on a seven-point scale. The research team intentionally selected extremely challenging pairs, using images taken with limited control of illumination, expression and appearance. They then tested four of the latest computerized facial recognition algorithms, all developed between 2015 and 2017, using the same image pairs.


Photo: Are these two faces the same person? Trained specialists called forensic face examiners testify about such questions in court. A new study indicates combining their expertise with state-of-the-art face recognition software gives the best accuracy.  Image Credit: J. Stoughton/NIST

 

The University of Maryland Becomes Overseas Training Base for Anhui Educators

June 5, 2018
Contacts: 

Natifia Mullings, 301-405-4076

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- The University of Maryland recently announced its designation as an overseas education training base for educators from the Anhui Province in China. The China Anhui Education Overseas Training Base base will provide robust training to K-12 educators and higher education faculty members on education topics such as innovative pedagogy, higher education administration, teacher quality, and testing. 

Deputy Director-General of Anhui Department of Education XIE Ping, Vice-Governor of Anhui ZHOU Xi'an, UMD President Wallace Loh, Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith

“The designation by Anhui Province as their overseas education training center extends the long bridge that connects our campus to China,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Both Maryland and Anhui benefit, as our exchanges continue to mature.” 

The education training base is one of many programs run by the University of Maryland's Office of China Affairs. OCA also offers training programs to Chinese leaders studying how governments, universities, corporations, educators, nonprofits, and professional associations implement  policies, conduct research, and provide information services. OCA programs are composed of lectures, case studies, discussions, and visits to national, state, and local government agencies and private organizations in the greater Washington, D.C. area. 

“Anhui Province is Maryland’s oldest sister-state relationship,” said Maryland Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith. “This type of educational exchange between Anhui Province and our State’s flagship institution, the University of Maryland, not only strengthens the bonds between Maryland and Anhui Province, but also helps to improve broader U.S-China relations. 

To celebrate the designation, Loh and Wobensmith, along with Vice-Governor of Anhui and the Deputy Director-General of Anhui’s Department of Education, held a plaque unveiling ceremony at the University of Maryland on May 31. The ceremony was the last event scheduled during Maryland-Anhui Promotion Week, a program conceived during a meeting between Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Anhui Party Secretary Li Jinbin las summer. 


Photo (from l to r): Deputy Director-General of Anhui Department of Education XIE Ping, Vice-Governor of Anhui ZHOU Xi'an, UMD President Wallace Loh, Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith.

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