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Heaviest Black Hole Merger Is Among Three Recent Gravitational Wave Discoveries

September 3, 2020

Kimbra Cutlip 301-405-9463

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Scientists observed what appears to be a bulked-up black hole tangling with a more ordinary one. The research team, which includes physicists from the University of Maryland, detected two black holes merging, but one of the black holes was 1 1/2 times more massive than any ever observed in a black hole collision. The researchers believe the heavier black hole in the pair may be the result of a previous merger between two black holes.

This type of hierarchical combining of black holes has been hypothesized in the past but the observed event, labeled GW190521, would be the first evidence for such activity. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and Virgo Collaboration announced the discovery in two papers published September 2, 2020, in the journals Physical Review Letters and Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The scientists identified the merging black holes by detecting the gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of space-time—produced in the final moments of the merger. The gravitational waves from GW190521 were detected on May 21, 2019, by the twin LIGO detectors located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, and the Virgo detector located near Pisa, Italy.

“The mass of the larger black hole in the pair puts it into the range where it’s unexpected from regular astrophysics processes,” said Peter Shawhan, a professor of physics at UMD, an LSC principal investigator and the LSC observational science coordinator. “It seems too massive to have been formed from a collapsed star, which is where black holes generally come from.”

 See above Youtube video here showing a simulation of two black holes merging and emitting gravitational waves. Copyright © N. Fischer, H. Pfeiffer, A. Buonanno (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics), Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) Collaboration.


The larger black hole in the merging pair has a mass 85 times greater than the sun. One possible scenario suggested by the new papers is that the larger object may have been the result of a previous black hole merger rather than a single collapsing star. According to current understanding, stars that could give birth to black holes with masses between 65 and 135 times greater than the sun don’t collapse when they die. Therefore, we don’t expect them to form black holes.

“Right from the beginning, this signal, which is only a tenth of a second long, challenged us in identifying its origin,” said Alessandra Buonanno, a College Park professor at UMD and an LSC principal investigator who also has an appointment as Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany. “But, despite its short duration, we were able to match the signal to one expected of black-hole mergers, as predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity, and we realized we had witnessed, for the first time, the birth of an intermediate-mass black hole from a black-hole parent that most probably was born from an earlier binary merger.”

GW190521 is one of three recent gravitational wave discoveries that challenge current understanding of black holes and allow scientists to test Einstein’s theory of general relativity in new ways. The other two events included the first observed merger of two black holes with distinctly unequal masses and a merger between a black hole and a mystery object, which may be the smallest black hole or the largest neutron star ever observed. A research paper describing the latter was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters on June 23, 2020, while a paper about the former event will be published soon in Physical Review D.

“All three events are novel with masses or mass ratios that we’ve never seen before,” said Shawhan, who is also a fellow of the Joint Space-Science Institute, a partnership between UMD and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “So not only are we learning more about black holes in general, but because of these new properties, we are able to see effects of gravity around these compact bodies that we haven't seen before. It gives us an opportunity to test the theory of general relativity in new ways.”

For example, the theory of general relativity predicts that binary systems with distinctly unequal masses will produce gravitational waves with higher harmonics, and that is exactly what the scientists were able to observe for the first time.

“What we mean when we say higher harmonics is like the difference in sound between a musical duet with musicians playing the same instrument versus different instruments,” said Buonanno, who developed the waveform models to observe the harmonics with her LSC group. “The more substructure and complexity the binary has — for example the masses or spins of the black holes are different—the richer is the spectrum of the radiation emitted”

In addition to these three black hole mergers and a previously reported binary neutron star merger, the observational run from April 2019 through March 2020 identified 52 other potential gravitational wave events. The events were posted to a public alert system developed by LIGO and Virgo collaboration members in a program originally spearheaded by Shawhan so that other scientists and interested members of the public can evaluate the gravity wave signals.

“Gravitational wave events are being detected regularly,” Shawhan said, “and some of them are turning out to have remarkable properties which are extending what we can learn about astrophysics.”

The video above shows a numerical simulation of two black holes that spiral inwards and merge, emitting gravitational waves. The simulated gravitational wave signal is consistent with the observation made by the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave detectors on May 21st, 2019 (GW190521). Copyright © N. Fischer, H. Pfeiffer, A. Buonanno (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics), Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) Collaboration.

The research paper, “GW190521: A Binary Black Hole Coalescence with a Total Mass of 150 Solar Masses,” was published in Physical Review Letters on September 2, 2020.

The research paper, ”Properties and Astrophysical Implications of the 150 Solar Mass Binary Black Hole Merger GW190521,” was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters on September 2, 2020.

The research paper, “GW190814: Gravitational Waves from the Coalescence of a 23 Solar Mass Black Hole with a 2.6 Solar Mass Compact Object,” was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters on June 23, 2020.

The research paper, “GW190412: Observation of a Binary-Black-Hole Coalescence with Asymmetric Masses,” has been accepted for publication in Physical Review D, and was published on Arxiv on April 17, 2020.

About LIGO and Virgo

LIGO is funded by the NSF and operated by Caltech and MIT, which conceived of LIGO and lead the project. Financial support for the Advanced LIGO project was led by the NSF with Germany (Max Planck Society), the U.K. (Science and Technology Facilities Council) and Australia (Australian Research Council-OzGrav) making significant commitments and contributions to the project. Approximately 1,300 scientists from around the world participate in the effort through the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which includes the GEO Collaboration. A list of additional partners is available at

The Virgo Collaboration is currently composed of approximately 550 members from 106 institutes in 12 different countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. The European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) hosts the Virgo detector near Pisa in Italy, and is funded by Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France, the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) in Italy, and Nikhef in the Netherlands. A list of the Virgo Collaboration groups can be found at More information is available on the Virgo website at


University of Maryland Announces Launch of the University of Maryland Research Leaders Fellows Program

September 1, 2020

COLLEGE PARK, Md - The University of Maryland has announced the launch of a new University of Maryland Research Leaders Fellows Program for faculty this fall, October 2020. The program is designed to accelerate the growth and potential of future research leaders at the University of Maryland through an intensive 10-month, cohort-based leadership program with the goal of elevating the productivity, impact, and careers of UMD’s most promising researchers.  


The collaborative program will be led by the Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) and will feature ten interactive modules that will prepare and position faculty to advance the growth of their research program to new levels of excellence. Approximately 18 Research Leaders Fellows from across campus will be selected to participate in the initial cohort.  


“The University of Maryland Research Leaders Fellows Program will further advance our research enterprise and prepare our faculty to lead large-scale, transformative research initiatives that achieve broad, societal impact,” said Vice President for Research Laurie Locascio. 


The new program will help faculty: 


  • Develop unique leadership skills 
  • Build and manage large multidisciplinary research teams
  • Learn approaches for creative ideation to formulate and capture big ideas 
  • Connect with a peer group of similarly focused and motivated researchers 
  • Receive individual, personalized mentorship from current research leaders at UMD  
  • Learn from other faculty who have successfully pursued and led center-level awards 
  • Discover proposal support resources available to help advance large-scale proposals

This program is specifically designed for recently tenured associate professors who have the potential to lead multidisciplinary research initiatives and direct future campus-wide centers or institutes. Nominations will be solicited from the Deans, and candidates are also encouraged to self-nominate, as well. Exceptions for assistant and full professors will be considered with appropriate justification. 

“We are committed to nurturing our young, talented researchers, mentoring them so they can lead the kind of projects that address the grand challenges of our time,” said University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines. “They represent the next generation of leaders who will help take our research enterprise to new levels of excellence.”


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 297 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 58 members of the national academies. The institution has a $2.1 billion operating budget and secures more than $1 billion annually in research funding together with the University of Maryland, Baltimore. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park,



UMD Wins Five-Year Grant from the Department of Education

September 1, 2020

Larua Cech

COLLEGE PARK, MD – The University of Maryland Academic Achievement Programs has won a new five-year grant increase from the U.S. Department of Education for Student Support Services. 

The total grant, for $2,355,070 over five years, will fund counseling and academic services for low-income and first-generation participants. It represents a $15,925 per year increase over the previous grant. 

“We are thrilled--this grant boost means we’ll be able to help more students with underrepresented backgrounds but high academic potential achieve high academic performance,” said Dr. Jerry L. Lewis, executive director of Academic Achievement Programs (AAP). “This funding will make a meaningful difference at UMD.” 

There were, on average, more than 6,807 first-generation or low-come UMD students per year for the academic years 2016 to 2018. 

Studies show that academically strong students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds were less likely to graduate from college than students of similar or even lower academic ability from high-socioeconomic backgrounds. The gap is attributed, in part to: lack of confidence in seeking assistance with courses, lack of proficient computer skills (and computer access), and lack of family knowledge and experience to support the students. 

“In the current funding environment, extra resources are scarce,” noted William A. Cohen, Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies. “That’s why this increase means so much: We’re able to help more students reach their full potential and accomplish their life goals.” 

The SSS grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education will seek to address graduation and retention rates and academic disparities through: 

  • A six-week Summer Transitional Program to help bridge skill deficiencies in college study and reading skills, mathematics and English, 
  • A math “boot camp” available to each beginning SSS students with math deficiencies, 
  • Advising and counseling strategies that include frequent meetings with students, 
  • Comprehensive tutorial support, 
  • Cultural and enrichment activities to contribute to students’ self-confidence, comfort, social capital, and academic engagement, 
  • Career, mentoring, and personal development activities.

Dr. Lewis speaks proudly about AAP’s experience in providing these student services. The department maintains, coordinates, and provides leadership, development, assessment, and  supervision for seven academic programs (Summer Transitional Program, Student Support Services, Intensive Educational Development, Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, the Educational Opportunity Center, and the Educational Talent Search Programs (ETS) North and Central. These programs provide academic and counseling support to more than 2,500 low-income and first-generation participants annually who are University and Prince Georges County Public Schools` students, and adult learners throughout Prince Georges County.

For more information: 

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 41,000 students, 14,000 faculty and staff, and 388,000 alumni all dedicated to the pursuit of Fearless Ideas. Located just outside Washington, D.C., we discover and share new knowledge every day through our renowned research enterprise and programs in academics, the arts and athletics. And we are committed to social entrepreneurship as the nation’s first “Do Good” campus. For more information, visit 

Fall 2020 Changes

August 31, 2020

The Fall 2020 semester will be unlike any other in our history. At the University of Maryland, we've reinvented ourselves to allow for physical distancing, reduced occupancy, and other health and safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. This semester will look different, but we can do this together, because we are TerrapinSTRONG.

President Pines' Virtual Conversation with Students

August 26, 2020

University of Maryland students were invited to join President Darryll J. Pines to learn about and discuss plans for the fall, including health and safety measures for the upcoming school year. Co-moderated by The Diamondback, this virtual conversation offered an opportunity to ask questions, exchange ideas, and stay connected with the Terp community.

UMD’s U.S. EDA Center to assist Maryland Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19

August 19, 2020

Christine Hinojosa

College Park, Md. — A $300,000 grant has been awarded to the U.S. Economic Development Administration, University Center at the University of Maryland, College Park and Morgan State University (UMD-Morgan EDA Center) to help Maryland small businesses respond to the devastating economic impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic. Issued as part of the EDA’s CARES Act Recovery Assistance, the grant will fund critical efforts by the UMD-Morgan EDA Center and its partners to boost technical assistance, supplies, creative approaches to business and commercial operations and pathways to entrepreneurship.

“This grant will further support our charge to help small businesses weather economic challenges, and the pandemic has only made that mission more vital,” said Gerrit Knaap, principal investigator and director of the University of Maryland National Center for Smart Growth, which houses the UMD-Morgan EDA Center.

The grant will fund three interrelated activities targeting the urgent challenges currently facing small businesses. These activities, Knaap says, will bring together expertise in technology, placemaking, economic development and research, offering on-the-ground assistance to help businesses adapt to the current and post-pandemic landscape.

Purple Line Corridor Small Business, Back-to-Mortar, Toolkit (PLT): Led by the University of Maryland, the PLT will provide technical assistance, custom personal protective equipment and resources to minority-owned small retail and restaurants already made vulnerable by the construction of the Purple Line light rail corridor. Expertise from UMD faculty and community-minded organizations, including Professor of Architecture Ronit Eisenbach, Urban Planning Lecturer Bobby Boone and Manuel Ochoa of Ochoa Urban Collaborative will help businesses navigate the safety aspects of service, re-think how they utilize public space to serve their customers and capitalize on legal, marketing and operational support. These efforts further the goals outlined in the Purple Line Community Development Agreement launched in 2017 by the Purple Line Corridor Coalition, a consortium of regional stakeholders led by UMD’s National Center for Smart Growth.

Baltimore City COVID-19 Response: Moran State University (MSU) will continue its work addressing the specific challenges of small businesses in Central and West Baltimore. The grant will allow MSU to bolster an established partnership with The Robinson Group (formerly the Mount Royal Community Development Corporation) and a network of over a dozen community stakeholders, nonprofits and economic think tanks, including CityLab, Coppin State, University, Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance and The Living Well. Concentrating on small, minority-owned and minority-serving businesses, the network with identify strategies to increase success.

“I am excited to work with The Robinson Group (TRG) and its partners and alliances and the University of Maryland to develop strategies that will help Baltimore’s minority-owned or minority-serving small businesses to mitigate the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic through innovation, entrepreneurship, applications of new technologies, networking, and proper use and access to personal protective equipment (PPE),” said Siddhartha Sen, Associate Dean of the School of Architecture at Morgan State. “The project perfectly fits into Morgan State University's (MSU) mission as a Historically Black College/University (HBCU).” 

Innovation and entrepreneurship: To meet the shifting priorities and trends of a changing economic landscape, UMD, together with the University System of Maryland, will help small businesses pursue new business ideas, commercialize technology, connect to customers and discover niche markets and investors.

“Innovative thinking will be essential to Maryland’s economic recovery,” said Julie Lenzer, UMD’s Chief Innovation Officer. “This grant will help us develop programs to arm small businesses and innovators with the resources, expertise and tools to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing economic environment.”

Established in 2011, the UMD-Morgan EDA Center provides targeted assistance to Maryland communities through research, workforce development and entrepreneurship, as well as business counseling services. The Center also helps local organizations conduct preliminary feasibility studies, analyze data and convene customized seminars and workshops on topics such as regional strategic planning and capital budgeting. Under the direction of C. Scott Dempwolf and Sen, the center developed a comprehensive economic development strategy for the City of Baltimore and launched the Morgan Community Mile, an initiative that engages community stakeholders to define equitable, sustainable projects for the growing neighborhood surrounding Morgan State University.

Beyond immediate relief efforts, the work stemming from the CARES act grant will help the UMD-Morgan EDA Center build a foundation for future economic work and resiliency in Maryland.

The CARES Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27, 2020, provided the EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.


UMD Researchers Discover a New Role for a Well-Known Molecule as a Plant Hormone, with Implications for Seed Production and Crop Yield

August 19, 2020

Samantha Watters 

Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) have discovered an entirely new role for a well-known plant molecule called ACC, providing the first clear example of ACC acting on its own as a likely plant hormone. Just like in humans and animals, hormones in plants carry messages to signal and trigger essential processes for plant health and functionality, from reproduction to defense. Without these processes, crops can’t reproduce and thrive to provide the food we need to feed a growing global population. In a new publication in Nature Communications, researchers show that ACC has a critical role in pollination and seed production by activating proteins similar to those involved in nervous system responses in humans and animals. These findings could not only change textbooks that have previously attributed plant responses to the hormone ethylene instead of ACC, but could also open the door for new research to improve plant health and crop yield. 

“There are several novel things about this paper,” explains Caren Chang, UMD. “But the main impact is that it introduces a new plant growth regulator or plant hormone, alongside a small handful of other publications. It isn’t a newly identified molecule, but it has never been thought of before as a plant hormone, only as the precursor to ethylene.”

Chang, a professor in Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics and affiliate professor of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture supported by the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES), explains that ethylene is one of the five major plant hormones and has been studied for over a century. It is important for many processes that are vital to plant health and crop production, including fruit ripening, stress responses to flooding and drought, plant disease defenses, germination, and flowering. 

“In much of the research, ACC has been used in place of ethylene, knowing that it’s a precursor that plants convert into ethylene. This is because ACC is easy to work with in powder form and can even be sprayed on the plant, but working with ethylene is very difficult because it is a gas. So researchers have used ACC for decades in place of ethylene, and the literature would interpret the observed responses as ethylene responses. What our paper shows is that an ACC response is not necessarily an ethylene response. While ethylene is an important plant hormone with its own set of functions, some of these responses that have been attributed to ethylene through ACC may actually be separate ACC responses, acting as a growth regulator or hormone itself.”

This finding opens the door for many papers across decades of research, as well as textbooks and future education on plant hormone responses, to be revised in the event that ACC is actually triggering important plant processes previously attributed to ethylene. 

According to Chang, the paper also presents advances in plant reproduction. “In the plant reproduction field, there are many steps that are critical in pollination, and one of these steps requires the pollen to reach the ovules to actually produce a seed,” says Chang. “Our paper shows that ACC signaling in the ovule is involved in getting the pollen tube to turn and effectively deliver the pollen, which makes it essential for seed production. It’s probably the first example showing how the maternal ovule tissue actually helps attract the pollen tube.” And this isn’t a small effect, Chang stresses. “The seed number pretty much doubles in the presence of ACC. There is potential here to improve the seed number, which can increase food production in certain crops and have an impact on food security long-term.”

Led by José Feijó, another professor in Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics and affiliate professor of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture, another major finding of this paper shows clear connections between human, animal, and plant hormone signaling pathways by identifying a potential receptor for ACC activity. 

“The most interesting parallel is cell-cell communication,” explains Feijó. “Animal glutamate receptors are proteins which are needed for information to jump from one neuron to the next, either through an electric impulse or through calcium signaling, which is essential for things like memory. Problems in the processes mediated by glutamate receptors are known to be related to neurodegeneration and depression.”

Chang adds, “These receptors have been found in the human nervous system, and neuroscientists have been studying them for drug development to treat nervous system issues like depression. They found that ACC can actually affect the nervous system in humans. So we decided to look for the same receptors, named glutamate-like receptors (GLRs) in plants, to see if they respond to ACC in plants. We found that ACC can actually affect GLRs in plants as well.”

This finding opens an entirely new avenue of research in plant biology and points to similarities in plants and humans that are currently not well understood. “In plants, GLRs all seem to convey functions related to communication, either to bring male and female genes into an egg, or in pathogen or stress alert systems and defenses,” says Feijó. “Emerging trends suggest that GLRs underlie long distance electric signaling through the plant vascular system, where injury to tissues in one leaf inform the whole plant to create nasty substances to deter insects. All these lines seem to point into the existence of electric communication within plant tissues and organs, and that these functions involve GLRs. This is an interesting parallel evolution of a function for glutamate receptors as they evolved to be associated with the animal nervous systems to perform similar functions.”

With ACC as a new candidate activating GLRs and all the newly discovered roles it is playing as a plant hormone, Chang and the team are excited about the directions this work can go. “There is still a lot of research to be done to see how this is all happening and can be used in different crops, but all that new research can happen now.”

This paper, entitled “Ethylene-independent signaling by the ethylene precursor ACC in Arabidopsis ovular pollen tube attraction,” is published in Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17819-9

UMD Researchers Identify Structure of Blue Whirls

August 14, 2020

Robert Herschbach 410- 245-8959

COLLEGE PARK MD. – “Blue whirls”—small, spinning blue flames that produce almost no soot when they burn—have attracted great interest since their discovery in 2016, in part because they represent a potential new avenue for low-emission combustion.

Blue Whirl soot-free flameNow, a team of researchers at the University of Maryland and Texas A&M University have identified how these intriguing whirls are structured. Published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances on August 12, 2020,  their findings serve as a fundamental base for further investigations into how to create the blue whirl in a more controlled way.

The team includes now-graduated UMD aerospace engineering PhD students Joseph D. Chung and Xiao Zhang, working with Professor Elaine S. Oran, who is TEES Eminent Research Professor at Texas A&M University and previously Glenn L. Martin Professor at UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, and Dr. Carolyn R. Kaplan of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at UMD.

Using high-performance computing methods at the University of Maryland’s Deepthought2 cluster and other computer systems, the researchers showed that a blue whirl is composed of three different flames—a diffusion flame and a premixed rich and lean flame—all of which meet in a fourth structure, a triple flame that appears as a whirling blue ring. The researchers also found that vortex breakdown—a fluid instability that occurs in swirling flows--enables the blue-whirl structure to emerge. 

“The flame and flow structure revealed by the simulations serves as a fundamental base to further investigate how to create the blue whirl in a more controlled way,” said Zhang. “It leads pathways to answering more complex questions.”

“Examples of such questions are: How to create blue whirls in different scales? Can we bypass the transitional, sooty, dangerous fire whirl stage and create the stable and clean blue whirl directly? The newly developed algorithms and models also provide great exploring tools to find these answers,” Chung said.

Blue whirls were initially discovered in 2016 by Oran, working with Professor Michael Gollner, previously of the Fire Protection Engineering Department and now at University of California, Berkeley, and Professor Huahua Xiao, previously in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at UMD and now at the University of Science and Technology in Hefei, China. At the time, they were investigating the behavior of a known phenomenon—the fire whirl, also known as fire tornado—when it occurs on a water base. 

“Blue whirls evolve from traditional yellow fire whirls,” Oran said. “The yellow color is due to radiating soot particles, which form when there is not enough oxygen to burn the fuel completely.”

“Blue in the whirl indicates there is enough oxygen for complete combustion, which means less or no soot, and is therefore a cleaner burn. We now know that blue whirl will burn all of the fuel available as it exits a burner or from a surface.”

Support for the new study was provided by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office, the Army Research Laboratory, and the Minta Martin Endowment Funds in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland, and the TEES Eminent Professorship at TAMU. Computations used in the new study were performed on the University of Maryland, Deepthought2 cluster, Thunder from the Air Force Research Laboratory, and Stampede2 from the Texas Advanced Computing Center.


University of Maryland Partners with Big Ten Academic Alliance in Online Course Sharing Program

August 12, 2020

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland will participate in the Big Ten Academic Alliance Course Sharing Program, a new collaborative initiative offering undergraduate students of participating Big Ten Institutions the opportunity to diversify their learning experience during the COVID-19 pandemic and take online courses from other Big Ten universities.

Maryland is one of seven Big Ten institutions that make up the inaugural course-sharing cohort for the 2020-2021 academic year. Other participating universities include: Indiana University, Michigan State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University and Rutgers University-New Brunswick. 

“We recognize the need to think of new and innovative ways to approach teaching and learning this semester and beyond,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin. “As members of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, we are happy to find yet another collaborative opportunity with our fellow Big Ten institutions to support our students through this pandemic.”

Beginning immediately, undergraduate students may begin to register for one shared course per semester with no additional charges for tuition or fees from the partner institution. Completed courses will be treated as transfer credits on official transcripts. The current course options cover a variety of topics and disciplines. 

Some of Maryland’s course offerings include:

• Causes and Implications of Global Change
• Why Good Managers Make Bad Decisions
• Black Diaspora Literature and Culture 

Examples of courses offered at other institutions include: 

• Music of War and Peace
• Anthropology of the Great Plains
• Personal Finance
• Dracula: Facts and Fictions
• Critical Issues in Sports Media. 

More information about Maryland’s shared course offerings is available here: 

For more information on the Big Ten Academic Alliance Course Sharing Program, please visit:


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 59 members of the national academies. The institution has a $2.1 billion operating budget and secures more than $1 billion annually in research funding together with the University of Maryland, Baltimore. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit


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January 11
President Pines applauds Rankin for exemplary accomplishments as the university’s chief academic officer  Read
December 21
Part of its larger diversity and inclusion efforts, UMD marks first time in a century that residence halls will be... Read
December 21
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