UMD Right Now Twitter Facebook Youtube Instagram

Supporting a Campus Farm for the Future

June 25, 2013

Sara Gavin 301-405-9235

Charlie and Judy Iager at their dairy farm in Fulton, Md.; Image Credit: Edwin RemsbergCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – Two University of Maryland alumni, Charlie '65 and Judy '66 Iager (pictured right), spent countless hours together on the university's Campus Farm during their time as students. Now, nearly a half a century later, the Iagers are helping to ensure the farm's revitalization, making a six-figure gift to kick off a $3 million fundraising effort for its first major renovation in 50 years.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources' $6 million project calls for replacing an asphalt parking area in the center of the farm with a covered livestock pen that allows seated students and visitors to observe instructors working with animals. A new enclosed 18,000-square-foot teaching pavilion will also provide classroom and viewing areas.

Nestled among dormitories, sports arenas and classroom buildings, the property is unique among urban universities along the East Coast and serves as a nod to UMD's roots as an agricultural college.  

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources' $6 million project calls for replacing an asphalt parking area in the center of the farm with a covered livestock pen that allows seated students and visitors to observe instructors working with animals. A new enclosed 18,000-square-foot teaching pavilion will also provide classroom and viewing areas.Today, the campus farm is about 4.3 acres in size, a far cry from the 90-plus acres that included a working dairy operation when the facility was launched in 1937. But it endures as a vital, hands-on teaching lab for students in the burgeoning animal science program. Enrollment has climbed from about 180 in 2002 to 288 today, with students studying everything from applied animal physiology to equine behavior to commercial poultry management.

"(The farm) really makes a lot of students feel at home, at least the ones who love animals," says Judy. "It's important to have a nice, updated facility where they can feel comfortable and relate."

The Iagers hope that by helping the Campus Farm get a facelift, they'll be encouraging the next crop of Terps to create their own memories there.

"You go to college so you can learn for the rest of your life," says Charlie.  "The University of Maryland is where it all started for us."

To learn more about the campus farm revitalization, visit


This story originally appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Terp Magazine.

Research: Can Climate Change Heat Up Conflict?

June 21, 2013

Jonas Siegel, UMD School of Public Policy/CISSM, 301-405-4020
Neil Tickner, UMD Communications, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A University of Maryland-led team of policy experts and scientists is seeking to understand how the impacts of climate change could affect civil conflicts. The team will develop new models of the relationship between conflict, socio-economic conditions and climate. They will use these to project future conflict and develop interventions.

The U.S. Department of Defense is funding the research through a new three-year, $1.9 million grant – part of its highly selective Minerva program of social science research.

Lead researcher Elisabeth Gilmore, an assistant professor in the University of Maryland's (UMD) School of Public Policy"It's likely that physical and economic disruptions resulting from climate change could heighten tensions in sensitive areas of the world," says lead researcher Elisabeth Gilmore, an assistant professor in UMD's School of Public Policy. "We hope to develop an integrated model to help researchers and policy makers better anticipate civil conflict under a range of climate change scenarios."

For example, Gilmore says that in a region with ongoing conflicts such as sub-Saharan Africa, additional changes in food and water availability, public health crises, and disruptive migration could further destabilize civil order.

The team will use statistical models and case studies to identify the best predictors of climate-related conflict. It will then use this data and a novel simulation method to generate forecasts of conflict over a range of socio-economic and climate change scenarios. Finally, the project will identify a range of military and policy interventions that could reduce the occurrence of civil conflict under climate change.

In addition to Gilmore, the research team includes John Steinbruner, director of UMD's Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM); Halvard Buhaug, research director at the Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO); Havard Hegre, research professor at PRIO; Katherine Calvin, research scientist at the Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI), a UMD collaboration with the Department of Energy; and Stephanie Waldhoff, scientist at JGCRI.

The research grant was awarded by the Defense Department's Minerva Initiative, which aims to improve the department's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the United States. The UMD project is one of only 14 funded by Minerva from a total pool of 280.

UMD also won a Minerva grant in the previous round in 2012, supporting research into radicalization and de-radicalization.

Full Agenda for New VP of Administration & Finance

June 20, 2013

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

The University of Maryland's new vice president for administration and finance Carlo Colella is already attacking the broad responsibilities of his post. COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland's new vice president for administration and finance Carlo Colella is already attacking the broad responsibilities of his post. Colella, who has risen through the ranks of the division over nearly 25 years, comes with a thorough knowledge of one of the biggest administrative portfolios on campus.

Among his responsibilities, Colella directs campus budgeting, fiscal planning, public safety, real estate development, community engagement, human resources, facilities management and other university operations.

"I believe in the power of this university to make a difference in the community and the world. The services in our division are needed for the university to reach its goals, and the operation of the university rests on our shoulders," says Colella. "Our chief job is to move the university forward, whether it is preparing to join the Big Ten, the deliberations surrounding a potential partnership with the Corcoran or the revitalization of Route 1"

During his career at the university, Colella has established a record of accomplishment in successive positions of increasing responsibility. Previously, as the associate vice president for Facilities Management, he led 800 employees in six departments by fostering an ethos of excellence and community.

His responsibilities included delivery of a $1.5 billion capital program across seven University System of Maryland institutions. He has developed excellent working relationships with colleagues on campus and in USM as well as with state, county, and local officials.

"Carlo has a profound expertise and knowledge of all the operations that keep this campus growing and thriving," says UMD President Wallace Loh. "The trust he has earned, along with his engineering background and experience in managing our capital budget, put him in a superb position to advance our campus growth and development."

Colella, a registered professional engineer, earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from the University of Maryland and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively. He will serve as vice president for a defined term – until next year when a national search for the position will open.

A Battery Made of Wood?

June 19, 2013

Martha Heil 301-405-0876

Wood fibers help nano-scale batteries keep their structure

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A sliver of wood coated with tin could make a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly battery.

But don’t try it at home yet – the components in the battery tested by scientists at the University of Maryland are a thousand times thinner than a piece of paper. Using sodium instead of lithium, as many rechargeable batteries do, makes the battery environmentally benign. Sodium doesn’t store energy as efficiently as lithium, so you won’t see this battery in your cell phone - instead, its low cost and common materials would make it ideal to store huge amounts of energy at once, such as solar energy at a power plant.

Existing batteries are often created on stiff bases, which are too brittle to withstand the swelling and shrinking that happens as electrons are stored in and used up from the battery. Liangbing Hu, Teng Li and their team found that wood fibers are supple enough to let their sodium-ion battery last more than 400 charging cycles, which puts it among the longest lasting nanobatteries.

"The inspiration behind the idea comes from the trees," said Hu, an assistant professor of materials science. "Wood fibers that make up a tree once held mineral-rich water, and so are ideal for storing liquid electrolytes, making them not only the base but an active part of the battery."

Lead author Hongli Zhu and other team members noticed that after charging and discharging the battery hundreds of times, the wood ended up wrinkled but intact. Computer models showed that that the wrinkles effectively relax the stress in the battery during charging and recharging, so that the battery can survive many cycles.

"Pushing sodium ions through tin anodes often weaken the tin’s connection to its base material,” said Li, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. "But the wood fibers are soft enough to serve as a mechanical buffer, and thus can accommodate tin’s changes.  This is the key to our long-lasting sodium-ion batteries."

The team’s research was supported by the University of Maryland and the U.S. National Science Foundation.

The full paper is available here.

UMD Joins Leading Research University Global Network

June 19, 2013

Jennifer Precht 301-405-5747

The University of Maryland has expanded its global footprint, joining the leading international network of research universities, Universitas 21 (U21).COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has expanded its global footprint, joining the leading international network of research universities, Universitas 21 (U21). UMD is one of only four U.S. universities in the network.

With 27 institutions in 17 countries, U21 members collaborate to develop research partnerships and exchanges for students, faculty and staff.  So far, more than 20,000 students within the U21 network have taken advantage of study abroad exchanges.  The network has an annual research income in excess of $6.5 billion.

"We want to graduate global citizens – young adults with an international sensibility who can operate on the world stage – and U21 will help us realize this goal," says University of Maryland President Wallace Loh. "High-impact partnerships and networking are essential for major research institutions like ours. I am delighted to be part of this very prestigious alliance."

U21 will significantly increase Maryland students' access to study abroad exchanges, enabling them to spend a semester at some of the world's greatest universities for the price of in-state tuition.  The network's undergraduate research conferences will enable the brightest students to present their results on a global stage.  Also, students can attend summer schools built around a specific theme each year, as well as participate in study abroad programs centered on social entrepreneurship. 

Graduate students will find research opportunities, as well as a venue to present their work to international peers, making them that much more competitive in the increasingly global marketplace.  Through U21, faculty can engage in joint research and joint teaching, using online technology to bring students from around the world into virtual "global classrooms."

"International education is undergoing fundamental change, and U21 will help keep us at the forefront," says UMD's Associate Vice President for International Affairs Ross Lewin.  "In our increasingly interconnected world, bilateral relationships are no longer adequate.  Multilateral programs with institutions from many countries gives everyone in the network a much greater reach. Membership in U21 will allow UMD to connect with many of the best universities in the world at once. It will advance our mission of bringing the world to the campus and projecting the University on to the world stage."

In July, the first delegation of UMD students and faculty will participate in the U21 Undergraduate Research Conference on Urban Challenges at the University of Amsterdam.   Honors students majoring in international development, mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering will share the results of their undergraduate research projects with peers from around the world. These will include work on water management, aquaponics and the harnessing of artificial wind energy.

A second group of UMD students and a faculty member will spend two weeks with leading human rights scholars from around the world at the U21 International Summer School on Human Rights at the University of Connecticut.  Participants will get hands-on experience with local human rights agencies.

Students Foster Social Entrepreneurship in Nicaragua

June 18, 2013

Beth Cavanaugh 301-405-4625

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Eleven University of Maryland students have traveled to Nicaragua this summer as part of a new UMD study abroad program that combines entrepreneurship with service learning. The students, members of the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps, will spend eight weeks (May 19 – July 12) in rural areas, helping develop and promote small businesses that provide essential products, including eyeglasses, energy efficient stoves, and water filters, at affordable prices to local people.  

University of Maryland students have traveled to Nicaragua this summer as part of a new UMD study abroad program that combines entrepreneurship with service learning.Based in Granada, the students are traveling in small teams with local leaders and development professionals to rural worksites, where they engage in a wide range of activities designed to support economic projects serving community needs. These activities include surveying local communities about life expectancy and health concerns, creating promotional materials to draw attention to local artisans and products, designing educational campaigns to increase local awareness of the benefits of water purification and improved cook stoves, conducting promotional activities to assist women's cooperatives selling eyeglasses, tracking product sales and inventories, and field testing new products and services.

"In many ways this program embodies the concepts of entrepreneurship, innovation, and public service that are so central to the University of Maryland's mission," said Graham Hettlinger, director of education abroad. "This is an important opportunity for our students to engage in substantive, on-site development work with some of the most innovative people working in the field. Students make a meaningful contribution to the communities that are hosting them, gain experiences, and develop skills that set them apart in the competition for jobs, grants, and graduate programs."

Based in Granada, the students are traveling in small teams with local leaders and development professionals to rural worksites, where they engage in a wide range of activities designed to support economic projects serving community needs.Based on research and analysis they have conducted, each student team will award a small development grant to the local project it believes will most successfully improve community conditions.

While in Nicaragua, Robert H. Smith School of Business Professor Susan White will direct the students in preparing and conducing independent research projects. The students will present the results of their work, and describe their personal experiences on the program, during a campus-wide symposium near the start of the fall 2013 semester. 

Prior to the trip, students completed 40 hours of intensive Spanish instruction and trained with development professionals from the Social Entrepreneur Corps (SEC), an organization founded in 2005 to promote entrepreneurial solutions to economic challenges. Students also completed a two-week class led by Greg Van Kirk, SEC's co-founder and a leading expert on social entrepreneurship. 

The Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps was launched by the Office of International Affairs and Education Abroad in collaboration with the Honors College and the Smith Center for Social Value Creation. Support from the Office of International Affairs, the Cora and John H. Davis Foundation, the Honors College, and The Levy-Woolston Fund for Study Abroad also provided financial support to students on the program.

Many of the participating students also cited the opportunity to engage in substantive fieldwork as a major factor in their decisions to join the program.

"I'm excited about working with my teammates on a project that will impact our lives and the lives of others," said Breonna Norward, a junior majoring in economics. "We've learned a lot about social entrepreneurship, and I'm ready to make my personal impact."

"I wanted to participate in the Social Entrepreneur Corps for the opportunity to get fieldwork experience," said Taqwa Rushdan, a senior Arabic major. "This program (offers) hands on experience in development and a chance to learn about social impact and social enterprise."

Students Design Sustainable Solutions for Md. Town

June 17, 2013

Maggie Haslam 202-258-8946

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Like many of the small beach towns dotting the Chesapeake Bay, North Beach, Md., is engaged in a delicate balancing act: how to create vibrant economic development, attract tourism and support its diverse, tight-knit community in the face of global warming, and a potentially changing coastline. This past semester, 42 students from the University of Maryland's undergraduate architecture program collaborated with community stakeholders to tackle this challenge in a newly piloted studio design course focusing on sea level change. The students' research findings, along with a variety of sustainable design renderings, were unveiled Thursday evening at a special presentation for the North Beach community.

Uncovering North Beach's Challenges and Opportunities
Students and community members work together during a workshopThe North Beach/UMD partnership initially formed around a design project for a new performing arts center. However, by the end of the first community meeting, it was clear to students and faculty that the project scope was much bigger. Stakeholders and community members discussed frequent flooding issues in North Beach's business district, noting that the town goes underwater several times a year. Once considered the original Ocean City before the construction of the Bay Bridge, the town is also looking for ways to revitalize tourism and attract more visitors. The studio course soon morphed from designing a sustainable, bayside performing arts center to an in-depth analysis of the town's master plan and how environmental factors may impact future development of the town.

"After hearing from the community, we had a better understanding of the project's complexity," explained student Abraham Murrell. "If we just gave them the performing arts center, we wouldn't be fulfilling our duty as students and emerging architects. What we ended up preparing was a thorough investigation of the issues facing the town."

UMD students in North BeachUnder the guidance of Luis Quiros, assistant professor of architecture and lead faculty member for the design course, and professors Paul Mortensen and James Tilghman, students began researching North Beach's built environment, and economic and social environment. The students engaged in an intense and thoughtful investigation of North Beach, poring over town records, maps and data, doing site visits, attending town meetings and engaging in many conversations with the people who live in the town year-round. Blending their research with community input and professional feedback from architects Michael Hartman and Phil McCormick, the students developed six possible master plan scenarios that would build tourism and enliven the community, while protecting North Beach against rising sea levels.

"When you look at a town that is in need of change, you need to look at the bigger picture," explains Quiros. "Not only the design of a building or a master plan, but the economics, the social impact, etc. It is important to engage the community and stakeholders in the process."

A Fresh Look at North Beach
When the students presented the initial findings in the spring, which included economic analyses and environmental scenarios reaching far beyond the performing arts center, many of the North Beach representatives were surprised.

Rendering by student Daniel Fachler"This project started because we wanted some help looking at the performing arts center, but the students really took the project to a new level that we weren't expecting," said architect Michael Hartman, who is also chair of the North Beach Planning Commission and a member of the Performing Arts Center Committee. "While initially I think we were all surprised, that has only turned to appreciation. The students embraced the town, really engaged its citizens and provided us with more than just fresh ideas, but also a great amount of data that will benefit the town for years to come."

"What we are teaching our students is the importance of engaging the community in the right way so there is a two-way learning process," explains Quiros. "The way in which you react to community engagement has changed for designers. Before, you asked the community what they wanted and gave it to them. Now, it's a social responsibility to analyze what the community wants and engage with them in a problem-solving process to find the best solution."

Insung Hwang, Mayor Mark Frazer, Magays Inoa, Luke Petrusic, Taylor StoutThursday evening's meeting provided the North Beach community a first look at the studio course findings and student proposals. The presentation, developed by faculty and students and delivered by Quiros, gave the town a snapshot of their challenges and assets, offering a comprehensive look at North Beach's economic, social and environmental make up. Proposals also included ideas for green space that would actually benefit from occasional flooding, incorporating native Chesapeake plantscapes often found in marshlands. Utilizing environmentally sound energy sources, materials and construction processes, the students' designs foster community growth while preserving its assets. The community will have access to the designs and the opportunity to leave thoughts and comments as North Beach plans for its future.

"Many of the people that approached me at the end of the presentation said, 'Your work and suggestions opened our eyes'," said Quiros. "To be able to impact the future development of the town is a very rewarding end to this project for our students, and what will hopefully be a great start for North Beach."

UMD Launches Online MBA Program

June 17, 2013

Carrie Handwerker 301-405-5833

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland will offer an online MBA program beginning in January 2014. Designed to accommodate working professionals, the flexible online program allows students to earn an MBA degree largely on their own time with minimal on-campus requirements. The program courses are taught by the same top faculty and adhere to the academic rigor of the Smith School's other top MBA programs.

"This is a major step forward for the university and for business professionals who need flexible access to academic excellence," said UMD President Wallace Loh. "The Smith School is combining a state-of-the-art online platform with the academic rigor that makes it a leader. University-wide we are exploring how best to use technology-based learning, and this is an excellent model."

The Smith Online MBA is modeled after the school's top-ranked and highly successful executive MBA program, but it is delivered primarily online. Students begin and end the program with structured, in-person residencies at the University of Maryland's campus in College Park. The remainder of the program is completed online. Students can earn their MBA degree in 21 months.

The online MBA program offers a broad base of knowledge on a wide range of business concepts, such as entrepreneurship, managerial economics, information systems and global economic development to prepare students with a strong business background. Students select one of four specializations — accounting, information systems and analytics, finance or marketing – to focus on their own particular area of interest or they may choose the general track, which allows course selection in each of the areas.

Courses will include two "live," approximately hour-long sessions per week, where students will log on at a specific time to interact with faculty and fellow students. Other coursework can be completed at times that work best for each student.

The program is fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, AACSB International, the premier accrediting agency for bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in business administration and accounting. GMAT or GRE entrance exams will be required for admission.

"Different educational formats work best for different kinds of learners – this program is best for working professionals who can learn within a rigorous, structured program, but more-so on their own time," said G. "Anand" Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. "The elements that make our MBA degree programs so successful will still be in place with this program, but the key difference will be the level of flexibility."

The Smith School's MBA curriculum is focused on experiential learning opportunities for students and the online MBA program will also offer these experiences. Students will work together in groups on action learning projects, using knowledge gained in courses to tackle a real challenge or opportunity faced in a team member's organization. Students will self-select teams, conduct remote project meetings and deliver presentations virtually.

These team projects and online group discussions give students many opportunities to create relationships with business professionals in the program across the nation and the world. The two residencies also provide the chance to establish strong professional connections with peers and professors.

For more information about the curriculum or the program requirements or to apply, go to

No Good Substitute for Race in College Admissions

June 13, 2013

Halima Cherif 301-405-0476
Neil Tickner 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – As the U.S. Supreme Court decides in a case involving racial preferences in higher education admissions (Fisher v. Texas), new University of Maryland-led research finds that socioeconomic diversity is no replacement for a direct consideration of race, as some have suggested. Still the research finds that a mix of students from differing socio-economic backgrounds offers some benefits.

UMD assistant professor Julie J. ParkThe peer-reviewed study appears in the June issue of the "American Educational Research Journal." It evaluates the use of "socio-economic status" as a racially blind way to build an effective diverse atmosphere on campus. Lead author Julie J. Park, an assistant professor of education at the University of Maryland (UMD), says socio-economic status is often suggested as a back-door way to achieve diversity, but one that likely won't succeed on its own.

"You need both racial and socioeconomic diversity to achieve the rich engagement that educators are looking for," says UMD's Park. "A broader mix of students helps encourage more fluid interactions."

The research finds that socio-economic (class) diversity helps students cross racial barriers to interact and learn from each other. "In university settings, it helps put students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds on a more level playing field," Park explains. "But on its own, socioeconomic diversity does not produce a high level of interactions between students of different races; you still need racial diversity to reach a university's full potential."

The study is the latest in Park's research, which focuses on diversity in higher education. She has a new book coming out later this month, "When Diversity Drops: Race, Religion, and Affirmative Action in Higher Education." It examines the impact in California of Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action statewide.
"Social class and race not only affect who goes to college, but what actually happens to students once they begin the journey of learning together," Park says. "Class matters, not only because we need to broaden access to universities, but because of how it makes universities better equipped to support racial diversity."

The study's full text is available here.

New Alumni Director to Lead UMD into Big Ten Era

June 11, 2013

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

The University of Maryland has recruited Ralph Amos as the new executive director of its Alumni AssociationCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has recruited Ralph Amos as the new executive director of its Alumni Association – a vital position for developing engagement and connectedness among the university’s base of 300,000 Terps.

Amos, who has spent nearly a quarter century in higher education leadership, comes to Maryland from a similar post at UCLA. He will officially start at Maryland on July 22, 2013.

“This is a real coup for us,” says UMD Vice President for University Relations Peter Weiler. “Ralph is undoubtedly one of the best alumni relations professionals in this country. We are very fortunate to have someone with his experience and leadership ability joining our team.”

As Maryland prepares to join the Big Ten Conference next year, the university will have many new opportunities and challenges, Weiler adds. “This is a big moment to reconnect and engage our base.”

At UCLA, Amos served as assistant vice chancellor for alumni relations and CEO of the Alumni Association. Since 2007, he has overseen all facets of alumni relations operations, including communications, services and policy development. He managed a staff of 55 professionals, led UCLA’s 92,000 member alumni association and was an integral member of the executive leadership team for the Division of External Affairs.

“Ralph brought great energy and a strategic mindset to his work at UCLA, and he played a vital role in enhancing affinity for the university all across the country,” says UCLA Vice Chancellor for External Affairs Rhea Turteltaub.

Prior to UCLA, Amos had a long career in similar roles at Ohio University in Athens and Ohio State University in Columbus.

“We need to generate alumni enthusiasm and participation, and Ralph will bring extraordinary energy and innovation to this task,” says the President of the Maryland Alumni Association Board of Governors Timmy Ruppersberger. “He is among the best in his field, and with our talented staff will move the association and the university forward.”

Amos received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from The Ohio State University in 1986 and a Master of Public Administration from Ohio University in 2004.

Ralph served as president of the Council of Alumni Association Executives from 2011-12, and is a board trustee and commissioner on alumni relations for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, a member of the State Universities of Ohio Alumni Associations Council and lead facilitator with LeaderShape, Inc. 


March 30
University of Maryland places seven graduate programs in the top five and 25 in the top 20. Read
April 7
JPMorgan Chase funds initiative to combat the effects of commercial gentrification and COVID-19 in neighborhoods across... Read
March 30
Three latest University of Maryland Goldwater scholars make 37 such scholars from UMD in the past 10 years  Read
March 30
University of Maryland places seven graduate programs in the top five and 25 in the top 20. Read