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UMD's Future of Information Alliance Receives $1 Million

September 7, 2012

David Ottalini, 301 405 4076 or

COLLEGE PARK, Md -  The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation has awarded $1 million to the Future of Information Alliance (FIA) at the University of Maryland. Launched in 2011, the Alliance reaches across disciplines in exploring key information-related challenges and opportunities. The Deutsch Foundation funds will be used over the next three years to expand the Alliance's "Visiting Future-ist" program and to create a new seed-grant competition for students and their faculty mentors.

"This generous support will help us to bring more of the world's leading innovators and researchers into important conversations about the future of information, across campus and beyond," says University of Maryland President Wallace Loh. "It will also help our students take part in the search for creative solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time."

The seed-grant program is designed to spur innovation and research by multidisciplinary teams of students, under faculty mentorship. Each group will collaborate with one of the FIA's 10 Founding Partners, whose members include the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the National Geographic Society, the Newseum, Sesame Workshop, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. National Park Service, the Barrie School, NPR-affiliate station WAMU 88.5, and the Office of the Governor of Maryland.

Details of the seed grant program will be announced on the FIA website.  Students in each of four winning teams will be designated as Deutsch-FIA Student Fellows and will receive stipends for work on their projects. Faculty mentors will also receive stipends and will be designated Deutsch-FIA Faculty Fellows.

The FIA launched its "Visiting Future-ist" program in November 2011 with a week of programs on campus. Leading innovators from Google, Twitter and Microsoft spent the week talking about their own work and brainstorming with hundreds of students, faculty and staff.  One of last year's Visiting Future-ists, Dr. Dan Russell,  who is known as Google's Director of User Happiness, will return to campus several times this year as the FIA's first" Future-ist in Residence." Google is an FIA Corporate Affiliate.

The Deutsch funds will help expand the Visiting Future-ist program, with three events to be held each year.  The first of these, on Nov. 12, will focus on transforming education through the future of information.  This event will explore how universities are experimenting with new forms of online education that reach beyond campuses to potentially millions of participants worldwide. The second Visiting Future-ist event, on Feb. 4, 2013, will explore the uses of crowdsourcing for creativity and human potential.  The third event, on May 6 will focus on the challenges and opportunities in accessing and using big data to better support government services, improve healthcare information, and more.

"The Future of Information Alliance and its transdisciplinary focus offer students and faculty the opportunity to engage in transformative research and education," says UMD's Vice President for Research and Chief Research Officer Dr. Patrick O'Shea."Through its important and visionary contribution, the Deutsch Foundation has helped make this new initiative possible."

The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, based in Baltimore, supports innovations in science and technology, investment in education, creative placemaking and the arts community in Baltimore, and projects that enhance the well-being of others. The Deutsch Foundation is already established as an important supporter of innovation at the University of Maryland.  One current Deutsch Foundation program supports graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the Clark School of Engineering working on a multidisciplinary program in biofabrication, investigating and developing nano-scale technologies for detection and treatment of disease .

The Future of Information Alliance was created to serve as a catalyst for dialogue across disciplines and to promote research on issues related to the evolving role of information in our lives. By identifying shared challenges and encouraging innovative solutions, the Future of Information Alliance seeks to facilitate a future in which information in all its forms can be an effective resource for all. The Future of Information Alliance is co-directed by Professor Allison Druin of Maryland's iSchool and Associate Professor Ira Chinoy of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. The FIA operates under the auspices of the Office of the Vice President for Research and is supported by the deans of all colleges and schools across campus as well as a broad-based campus advisory board.


Campaign Ad Psychology and Financing 2012: UMD 'Election Dissection' Sept. 19

September 7, 2012

Laura Ours, 301-405-5722 or

Former Congressman, Faculty Experts on Campaign Financing and the Psychology Behind Election Ads


'Election Dissection' - an interactive event featuring a keynote by former Congressman Dennis Cardoza and UMD Government and Politics faculty experts - will help mark Constitution Day. The UMD event will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 19. The event is free and open to the public.

Key topics will include the psychology behind election ads and what constitutional issues surrounding campaign financing. Audience members will be invited to weigh in on the topics discussed by using their smart phones.

Format: After welcoming remarks from College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Dean John Townshend, Congressman Cardoza will speak on the history and significance of Constitution Day, and the importance of voting and civic engagement. Three faculty members will then make individual presentations, including PowerPoint and audience involvement via interactive smart phone technology. A brief Q&A session will follow the final faculty presentation.

The event is sponsored by the UMD College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Department of Government and Politics and the UMD Center for American Politics and Citizenship.


Dennis Cardoza, Former U.S. Congressman, Managing Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP (keynote speaker and emcee);
Paul S. Herrnson, director of UMD's Center for American Politics and Citizenship, professor of government and politics, and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the University of Maryland (presenter);
Stella Rouse, assistant professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland and a research fellow at UMD's Center for American Politics and Citizenship;
Antoine Banks, assistant professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland and a research fellow at UMD's Center for American Politics and Citizenship;
Philip Resnik, professor with joint appointments in linguistics and the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland, and the developer of new technology in the emerging field "computational political science," who is responsible for the technology that will allow the audience to participate with their smart phones at the event.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.


Student Union, Grand Ballroom
University of Maryland, College Park, 20742


Media are asked to RSVP and check in at the event.
Contact: Laura Ours, 301-405-5722 or


New University Agreement Offers Downloads of Popular Microsoft® Products

September 7, 2012

Phyllis Dickerson Johnson, 301-405-4491 or

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Recognizing that there are strategic advantages for a university to provide students with the latest software without them having to spend money for individual upgrades, the University of Maryland recently added new components to a university agreement that allows students to download popular Microsoft® software for educational and personal use at no additional charge.

Late this summer, the following Microsoft products became available for student download: Office 2010 Professional (for Windows), Office 2011 Standard (for Macintosh), and Windows 7 Operating System Upgrade 32bit/64bit Ultimate. Windows 8 is slated to be available for student download after its release.

The products are available through a new agreement between the university and Microsoft managed by the Division of Information Technology. The expanded agreement also makes several popular products, including Microsoft Office and Windows 7 upgrades, available to university faculty and staff for their personal computers at no cost for Work at Home use and makes available the following enterprise server products for faculty and staff: Exchange, Forefront, Lync, SharePoint, System Center, and Windows. University departments, colleges, and schools can get these products at no cost on DVD from the Division of IT's Software Licensing.

Strategically, there are many advantages to providing needed software tools in the most effective ways possible to faculty, staff, and students through licensing software broadly for the entire university, said Brian D. Voss, Maryland's Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer. Voss continued: Such licenses encourage use of legal software installations; promote the use of modernized and up-to-date tools; improve the security and integrity of the university's technical environment; save students, faculty, staff, and university groups out-of-pocket costs; and, through version standardization, lead to more efficient and effective support services.

The strategy of centrally providing modern software to the university originates from the IT strategic planning process that is underway at the University of Maryland - supporting an "IT Abundance" model that gives the university community the widest possible array of useful technology tools while doing so in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

This strategy is one broadly embraced by major universities nationally; it has proven to be successful in improving IT environments and allowing institutions to get the most value possible from their software expenditures, said Voss, who has previously deployed similar initiatives at other higher education institutions.

University of Maryland students, faculty, and staff have already downloaded several thousand Microsoft products since the launch last week, and many more can visit to get started.

About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. Ranked No. 18 among public universities by U.S. News & World Report, it has 32 academic programs in the U.S News Top 10 and 73 in the Top 25. The Institute of Higher Education (Jiao Tong University, Shanghai), which ranks the world's top universities based on research, puts Maryland at No. 38 in the world and No. 13 among U.S. public universities. The university has produced six Nobel laureates, seven Pulitzer Prize winners, more than 40 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The university is recognized for its diversity, with underrepresented students comprising one-third of the student population. For more information about the University of Maryland, visit

Phyllis Dickerson Johnson
Director of Communications and Marketing 
Division of Information Technology 
University of Maryland


UMD Ranks 4th For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

September 7, 2012

David Ottalini, 301 405 4076 or

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland ranks fourth in the nation for aspiring entrepreneurs. The new student-based ranking for 2013 comes from - an online college guide that lets college students continuously update information about their schools. The rankings were featured in the Tuesday, September 4 edition of the Huffington Post. The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazinehave also recognized the University of Maryland as a leading school for entrepreneurially-minded students.

The Unigo ranking report focuses on programs offered by the Robert H. Smith School of Business - mentioning the Dingman Center and it's "Pitch Dingman" program that lets anyone pitch business ideas every Friday to their "Entrepreneurs in Residence." Twice yearly, students have the opportunity to compete for upwards of three thousand dollars in seed money.

Dingman and other programs at the Smith School are just part of a growing focus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the College Park campus - programs that are firmly incorporated in the strategic goals of University President Wallace Loh.

  • Already, the University of Maryland's leadership has proven crucial as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce named the state#1 in the nation for entrepreneurship and innovation this past June while also ranking the state #1 in academic research and development and #3 in STEM jobs in the concentration of high-tech business locations;

UMD continues to expand its entrepreneurial competitions allowing students to test their mettle:

  • Starting March 30, 2012 and running throughout the entire month of April, 2012, the university celebrated 30 Days of EnTERPpreneurship devoted to a number of events focused on innovation, ingenuity and ideas. A highlight was the Cupid's Cup Competition where students and alumni who owned their own businesses competed for a $2500 prize as well as the Do Good Challenge with actor Kevin Bacon as host.

In addition to its growing entrepreneurship education efforts, the University is launching additional programs to cultivate more tech commercialization. Some examples include: 

  • Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTech) offers hundreds of hours of entrepreneur education - see the entire list online including the Hinman CEO program and Hillman Entrepreneur's Program. 
  • The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship (as mentioned above in relation to the Unigo rankings) connects startups from regional tech councils, incubators and state-funded institutions with a network of more than 40 active, accredited angel investors and venture capitalists for early-stage capital. The Center also provides MBA and undergraduate students at the Smith School with practical experiences and opportunities to pitch their business ideas, obtain feedback from experienced entrepreneurs-in-residence and access funding.
  • The Maryland Small Business Development Center - a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration and UMD.
  • Faculty researchers at the University of Maryland and other state universities also have new incentives to engage in innovation and entrepreneurship activities. The University System of Maryland Board of Regents recently approved a new policy to formally give credit in tenure and promotion decisions for faculty efforts and activities that result in the generation and application of intellectual property through technology transfer. 


National Deficit Outlook Unchanged Under Obama: UMD Policy Analysis

September 5, 2012

Jennifer Talhelm, 301-405-4390 or

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - From a public policy point of view, the national debt accumulation since President Obama took office is largely a result of policies put in place prior to his inauguration, says a new analysis by University of Maryland expert Philip Joyce. He adds that Obama's policies will make little impact in the debt over the next decade.

"The best that can be said about presidential fiscal policies thus far is that they would slow the bleeding, but they neither would stop it nor would they do much to heal the patient," Joyce says.

The size of the debt has been one of the biggest issues of the presidential campaign, with Republicans arguing that the President has allowed the debt to rise out of control and Obama saying that he inherited the policies that led to an increase in debt and deficits.

Joyce's analysis his the second Election Policy Fact Check, a new series by the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. The ongoing series examines the key policy issues of the presidential campaign. Joyce, a professor of management, finance and leadership, served in the Congressional Budget Office and the Illinois Bureau of the Budget and is the author of the book, The Congressional Budget Office: Honest Numbers, Power, and Policy Making

According to Joyce's analysis:

  • It's true that deficits and debt are much higher now than they were in 2009 when Obama took office. In fact, the debt accumulated far faster than the Congressional Budget Office's initial calculations. Almost $6 trillion was added to the debt in four years - something the CBO estimated would take a decade.
  • The growth of the debt is predominantly due to the continuation of many policies that predated the administration, which were, for the most part, out of Obama's control. But Obama's policies did contribute to the deficits and debt. And, while the president did appoint a deficit commission, and this commission came up with a bold reduction plan, Obama chose not to embrace its report, even though it would have given him political cover to come up with a major debt-reduction initiative.

Joyce says the main question in the context of the presidential election is whether a second Obama term would represent more of the same, or whether we could expect a bold, long-term proposal to finally put the country on a path to a more responsible fiscal policy.

"There seem to be few clues in the campaign so far that would point us to an answer to that question," Joyce says. "The public deserves to know how both candidates' plans to deal with the short-term, and also the long-term, budgetary problems faced by the country."

Ten Facts about Obama's Record on Deficits and Debt

1. Deficits and debt are much higher now than they were when President Obama took office. In 2009, when President Obama was inaugurated, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the debt held by the public in 2008 (the most recently completed fiscal year) was $5.8 trillion, or just over 40 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The deficit for that year was $455 billion. The debt at the conclusion of fiscal year 2012 (September 2012), is projected by the CBO to be $11.3 trillion, or 73 percent of GDP, with an annual deficit for that year of $1.1 trillion.

2. The increase in deficits and debt were not caused by President Obama, but his policies did contribute to it. In particular, decisions to enact the economic stimulus, however necessary, did increase deficits in the short term, to the tune of $833 billion over 10 years. Decisions to enact a payroll tax holiday, similarly, added to the debt. Most of the debt increase, however, resulted from factors outside of the president's immediate control, including the depressing of revenues and increases in spending built into the budget resulting from the stubborn recession, the continued need to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and continued revenue reductions from the Bush-era tax cuts.

3. In 2009, deficits and debt were projected to more than double over 10 years, assuming the continuation of current policies. In January 2009, CBO projected, assuming the Bush tax cuts were extended and other policies were continued, that more than $6 trillion would have been added to the debt over 10 years. While CBO did not give a precise estimate under this scenario, analysis of CBO data indicate that, by fiscal year 2019, the debt would have stood at more than $12 trillion, or about 55 percent of GDP. The deficit in that year would have approached $900 billion (about 4 percent of GDP), given continuation of these policies.

4. The debt outlook is now also now worse than in 2009, but once again much of that has nothing to do with the Obama policies. While CBO had said that it would take 10 years to add $6 trillion to the debt, in fact that happened within about 4 years. Annual deficits approached or exceeded $1.3 trillion in each of the last four fiscal years, including 2012. A recent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis, based on CBO data, estimated that the debt, which is projected to grow from the current 68 percent of GDP to almost 90 percent of GDP by 2019 under current policies, would be less than 30 percent of GDP in 2019 were it not for the effects of the economic recession, the Bush tax cuts, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words, almost none of this increase has to do with the economic stimulus or the TARP, which are sometimes held out as the main culprits.

5. Under CBO's most recent projections of the continuation of current policies, the debt continues to rise to unsustainable levels. CBO just issued a new set of projections, including what CBO calls its "alternative fiscal scenario," which assumes continuation of the Bush tax cuts, among other policies. Under this scenario, the national debt would grow to $22 trillion (90 percent of GDP) by 2022. Let's be clear what this means. Faced with a huge hole, the "current policy" approach would be to just continue digging until the hole is even deeper. Again, this increase is not mainly caused by additional fiscal actions supported by President Obama, but rather from the continuation of many policies that predated the administration.

6. This having been said, the president's policies have done little to stem the tide of red ink. Under the policies embraced by the president's fiscal year 2013 budget proposal, the debt would have increased, by fiscal year 2022, to $19 trillion, or 76 percent of GDP. As a percentage of GDP, this is slightly higher than the fiscal year 2012 level. While the debt would increase from the current level, the Obama budget would represent a reduction of $3 trillion from CBO's more realistic projection. Many of those debt reductions would come from tax increases imposed on wealthy Americans, but there are also some rather modest entitlement reforms and reductions in appropriated spending. Thus, while it is not fair to say that the president has not done anything, at the end of 10 years we would be no better off, in terms of the national debt, than we are now.

7. The president did appoint a deficit commission, and this commission came up with a bold plan to reduce the long-term debt and deficits. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform issued a report in late 2010 urging bold action. Among the proposals endorsed by the commission were tax reform that would result in a net revenue increase, reforms to Social Security that would put the program on a sound footing for 75 years, and cost containment for the medical care programs (Medicare and Medicaid). In addition, the report embraced substantial reductions in discretionary spending. In doing so the deficit commission echoed recommendations made by other bipartisan groups and urged action that would establish a path to stabilizing the debt at no more than 60 percent of GDP within 10 years, and 40 percent of GDP by 2035. This report was approved by a majority of commission members (it passed 11-7) including six sitting members of Congress (three Democrats and three Republicans).

8. The president chose not to embrace the deficit commission report, even though it would have given him political cover to come up with a major debt reduction initiative. President Obama had an opportunity to go further in pursuit of deficit reduction, especially in his fiscal year 2012 budget (issued two months after the report of the deficit commission), but chose not to. The commission report would presumably have given the president an opportunity to embrace some of their proposals, especially given the bipartisan support that the report received. Instead, however, the president was relatively timid in his subsequent budget proposals, coming nowhere near the commission target of 60 percent of GDP. He did not, for example, embrace any broad-based tax reforms or major entitlement reforms, even though both of those will almost certainly have to be part of an eventual solution.

9. The failure by the president to take bolder action represents a significant missed opportunity. Deficit reduction is not easy. It ultimately will involve taking things away from people (benefits that they have become accustomed to, or taxes that they do not want to pay) in the short run in pursuit of benefits that are longer-term in nature. For this reason, history suggests that major deficit reduction actions are most likely to occur when presidents exercise leadership. This is what happened both in 1990, when President George H.W. Bush negotiated a deficit reduction agreement with Congress, and again with the Clinton deficit reduction package of 1993. Those two efforts made a significant contribution to the budget surpluses that resulted by fiscal year 1998. To date, President Obama has chosen the more politically expedient route, which may have been better for his immediate reelection but does not serve the longer-term interests of the country.

10. Thus a clear case can be made that the president's policies have thus far not made the deficit outlook either much worse or much better, but we do not know what a second Obama term would bring. Any charge that the explosion of the deficit can be laid at the feet of the president and his policies is clearly wrong, or at least incomplete. On the other hand, the president's policies, as reflected in his budget proposals, would have done little to put the country on a path to a more sustainable level of debt. The best that can be said about presidential fiscal policies thus far is that they would slow the bleeding, but they neither would stop it nor would they do much to heal the patient.

The main question, in the context of the presidential election, is whether a second Obama term would represent more of the same, or whether we could expect a bold, long-term proposal to finally put the country on a path to a more responsible fiscal policy. There seem to be few clues in the campaign so far that would point us to an answer to that question. This is in spite of the fact that the next president will face, almost immediately, substantial fiscal policy challenges. Collectively dubbed the "fiscal cliff," these changes in policies (the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, and automatic spending reductions resulting from the Budget Control Act) would take effect in the new calendar year, with immense fiscal and economic ramifications. The public deserves to know how both candidates plan to deal with both the short-term, and also the long-term, budgetary problems faced by the country.



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