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UMD Researchers to Investigate Effects of Fetal Exposure to Opioids

September 27, 2019
Contacts: 

 Audrey Hill 301-405-3468

College Park, MD—University of Maryland researchers will conduct an unprecedented investigation into how fetal exposure to opioids affects children’s brain development and health outcomes as part of a sweeping National Institutes of Health initiative to apply scientific solutions to help reverse the nation’s opioid crisis.

Researchers led by Distinguished University Professor Nathan A. Fox, of the College of Education, will examine how brain growth is affected by pre- and postnatal opioid exposure and how that causes cognitive and behavioral changes in childhood.

The University of Maryland’s award is one of 375 grant awards across 41 states made by the National Institutes of Health in fiscal year 2019 to apply scientific solutions to reverse the national opioid crisis through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term, or the NIH HEAL Initiative. The National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded study addresses an urgent public health need: the use of opioids by pregnant women and mothers has increased by 300% since the early 2000s, with the number of newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome, caused by withdrawal from drugs they were exposed to in the womb, increasing by approximately 400%. In 2016, more than 31,000 babies were born with the  syndrome, causing symptoms including tremors and sleep problems.

“We know very little about the effects of early exposure to opioids on brain development,” said Fox, of the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology and a renowned expert in child development. “There has never been a national study of even normative brain development during the early years of life. Our research will help fill a gap in understanding of the basic science of early brain development, as well as identify the effects of early drug exposure on the brain, along with prevention strategies.”

The University of Maryland is part of a five-institution consortium that is laying the groundwork through this initial study for a large-scale national, 10-year longitudinal study that examines the effects of in utero exposure to opioids on children through the age of 8.

The 18-month study will begin in October, with a research team that includes Professor Brenda Jones-Harden of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and psychology Associate Professors Tracy Riggins and Elizabeth Redcay, and Luiz Pessoa, professor of psychology and director of the Maryland Neuroimaging Center. 

Unlike many previous studies, the project will not only examine fetal exposure to opioids like fentanyl and prescription painkillers, but also include pregnant women who are poly-drug users. Following babies as they develop will allow researchers to better understand how opioid and other drug use, in combination with family, environmental and socioeconomic factors, influences babies’ development through childhood.

“For many of these children, this initial exposure to opioids is only the first in a series of challenges they experience that may affect their health and development, and could lead to ‘a crisis cascade’ as they age and interact with school systems and social services,” Fox said. “Our research aims to take a holistic approach to early childhood exposures in order to pinpoint critical areas and timelines for intervention, which will help guide the response to this major public health concern.”

In the initial phase, the University of Maryland researchers will recruit 20 pregnant women (and their infants  at age 3 months), including those who use opioids, and 20 12-month olds and 20 2.5 year-old children from diverse populations at Howard University Hospital and George Washington University Hospital. The study will carefully address ethical concerns relating to the topic of opioid use in pregnancy, and will include an external Community Advisory Board to provide strategic guidance on legal and ethical questions.

In addition to Maryland, the consortium includes Brown University, Harvard University at Boston Children’s Hospital, Boy’s Town in Omaha, Nebraska, and Avera Health in South Dakota, allowing them to recruit from rural areas that have been hardest hit by the opioid crisis.

The NIH Heal Initiative

The National Institutes of Health launched the NIH HEAL Initiative in 2018 to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and enhance pain management. The initiative aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder and overdose, and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction.

“It’s clear that a multipronged scientific approach is needed to reduce the risks of opioids, accelerate development of effective non-opioid therapies for pain, and provide more flexible and effective options for treating addiction to opioids,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who launched the initiative in early 2018. “This unprecedented investment in the NIH HEAL Initiative demonstrates the commitment to reversing this devastating crisis.”

Coastal Birds Can Weather the Storm but Not the Sea

September 26, 2019
Contacts: 

Christopher Field, 860-798-3981 

 

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- How can birds that weigh less than a AA battery survive the immense power of Atlantic hurricanes? A new study in Ecology Letters finds that these coastal birds survive because their populations can absorb impacts and recover quickly from hurricanes—even storms many times larger than anything previously observed.

 

“Coastal birds are often held up as symbols of vulnerability to hurricanes and oil spills, but many populations can be quite resilient to big disturbances,” explains lead author Christopher Field, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland’s National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). “The impacts of hurricanes, in terms of populations rather than individual birds, tend to be surprisingly small compared to the other threats that are causing these species to decline.” 

 

Field and colleagues from five other universities studied the resilience of four species of coastal birds, including the endangered Saltmarsh Sparrow. The researchers developed simulations that allowed them to explore how disturbances like hurricanes would affect the birds’ populations over time. They started with models that project population sizes into the future based on the species’ birth and death rates. The research team then subjected these populations to simulated hurricanes that killed a certain number of birds. Because they were using computational simulations, the researchers were able to look at the full range of potential hurricane sizes—from storms that caused no bird deaths to storms that were more severe than anything ever observed. 

 

The researchers found that the four coastal species were able to absorb the impacts of storms across a wide range in severity. For example, the study found that a storm could cause mortality for a third of Saltmarsh Sparrows and Clapper Rails in one year, and it would still be unlikely that their populations would deviate significantly from their trajectories over time. 

Resilience can be defined in many ways, so Field and colleagues borrowed concepts from classical ecology and applied them to bird populations. They used these concepts to better understand the risk that these species could face from storms that are strengthening because of climate change. The research team looked not only at the ability of populations to absorb impacts, but also the birds’ ability to recover over time after large disturbances. Two of the species in the study, Saltmarsh Sparrows and Clapper Rails, are declining, largely from increased coastal flooding caused by higher sea levels. The researchers found that populations were often able to recover from large storms within 20 years, even when populations continued to decline from other threats, such as regular flooding.

 

If coastal birds are resilient to hurricanes, does that mean they will be resilient to climate change? “It’s tempting to focus on dramatic events like hurricanes, especially as they get stronger from climate change,” Field says. “But less visible threats like sea-level rise and increased coastal flooding are here to stay, and they are they are going to continue to drive coastal birds, like Saltmarsh Sparrows, toward extinction.”

 

Chris Elphick, a coauthor on the study from the University of Connecticut, suggests that there are lessons here for people too. “After a big event like a hurricane, we often rush to rebuild and improve coastal resilience without thinking as much as we perhaps should about the longer-term chronic changes in the system. Obviously, we need to respond to the damage done, but addressing the gradual, less noticeable changes, may be just as important to coastal communities in the long run.”

This research was funded by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), National Science Foundation, and Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Migratory Birds. 

Read the full article at Ecology Letters

 

About SESYNC

The University of Maryland's National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in Annapolis brings together the science of the natural world with the science of human behavior and decision making to find solutions to complex environmental problems. SESYNC is funded by an award to the University of Maryland from the National Science Foundation. For more information on SESYNC and its activities, please visit www.sesync.org.

 

 

University of Maryland Ranked Amongst the Best Public Colleges in the Nation by The Wall Street Journal and U.S. News & World Report for 2020

September 9, 2019
Contacts: 

Hafsa Siddiqi, 301-405-4671

Students walk near the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center (ESJ)

COLLEGE PARK, MD -- The University of Maryland kicks off the 2020 academic year by once more ranking among the best public colleges in the nation, according to The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education and U.S. News & World Report. The university ranked #17 on WSJ/THE and #24 on U.S. News & World Report. The newly released annual lists recognize the college’s dedication for placing student success and learning, both in the classroom and beyond, at the forefront. 

The university’s rankings highlight performance indicators designed to answer the questions that matter to both students and their families when deciding on a college. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2020 list used a methodology exploring four key areas including available teaching resources to students and faculty, effective engagement between the campus and its students, college graduation rates and degree value in the workforce, and providing a conducive learning environment for all. 

Multiple factors determined the results of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges Ranking, including “Graduation and Retention,” one of the more heavily weighted factors out of the eight variables analyzed. According to U.S. News, only thoroughly vetted academic data from their surveys and third-party experts were used to calculate each variable. The ranking additionally listed the university in the top 40 as a Best College for Veterans and was recognized for its Ethnic Diversity and its Learning Communities. 

The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranking used similar analytics along with comprehensive data analyzed via experts. These measures included: THE US Student Survey, US Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid (FSA), Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System by the National Center for Education Statistics (IPEDS), College Scoreboard, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), THE Academic Survey, and Elsevier bibliometric dataset.

More information about each ranking and the methodology used is available. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2020 list can be found here, while U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2020 ranking is available here

Lockheed Martin Awards $3M to UMD's Clark School of Engineering

September 4, 2019
Contacts: 

Melissa Andreychek, 301-405-0292

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A three-year, $3 million gift to the A. James Clark School of Engineering from Lockheed Martin will fund aerospace research while increasing opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

The gift deepens a strategic partnership established in 2010 and renewed last year between the University of Maryland and the Bethesda-based global security and aerospace firm. Lockheed Martin’s association with UMD dates back to 1944, when co-founder Glenn L. Martin funded four buildings, including the wind tunnel and classroom building that bear his name.

“Lockheed Martin has played a significant role in the storied history of the A. James Clark School of Engineering, and we are proud to continue our relationship as the recipient of Lockheed Martin’s largest gift of the year to any institution,” said Darryll J. Pines, Clark School dean and Farvardin Professor. “This generous gift will empower Clark School students and faculty to remain at the forefront of innovation in aerospace technology, and to advance our commitment to a diverse and inclusive engineering community.”

The new grant will fund vertical takeoff and landing research conducted at the university’s rotorcraft lab in the E.A. Fernandez IDEA Factory, scheduled to open in 2021, and high-speed flight experiments up to Mach 8, or 6,000 mph, at the school’s new hypersonic wind tunnel. It will also underwrite programs overseen by the Clark School’s Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering and Women in Engineering Program that aim to boost the enrollment of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM disciplines.

“Lockheed Martin has partnered with the University of Maryland for more than seven decades, and we are proud to continue that successful relationship with this grant supporting aerospace innovation,” said Keoki Jackson, chief technology officer at Lockheed Martin. “We expect to hire 50,000 STEM professionals over the next decade, and together we will inspire the next generation of engineers to join us in creating breathtaking generation-after-next technology.”

Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin also awarded scholarships to nine UMD students pursuing majors in engineering or computer science as part of its new STEM Scholarship Program. Each of the students will receive up to $40,000 in funding, or $10,000 per school year, from Lockheed Martin and are eligible for paid internships with the company.

Today, Lockheed Martin employs over 600 UMD graduates holding nearly 700 degrees, and it has a formal collaboration agreement in place with the school to research, develop and design advanced technology systems, products, and services.

UMD-Led Astronomy Team Finds Golden Glow From a Distant Stellar Collision

August 28, 2019
Contacts: 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – On August 17, 2017, scientists made history with the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars. It was the first cosmic event detected in both gravitational waves and the entire spectrum of light, from gamma rays to radio emissions.

The impact also created a kilonova—a turbocharged explosion that instantly forged several hundred planets’ worth of gold and platinum. The observations provided the first compelling evidence that kilonovae produce large quantities of heavy metals, a finding long predicted by theory. Astronomers suspect that all of the gold and platinum on Earth formed as a result of ancient kilonovae created during neutron star collisions.

Based on data from the 2017 event, first spotted by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), astronomers began to adjust their assumptions of how a kilonova should appear to Earth-bound observers. A team led by Eleonora Troja, an associate research scientist in the University of Maryland’s Department of Astronomy, re-examined data from a gamma-ray burst spotted in August 2016 and found new evidence for a kilonova that went unnoticed during the initial observations.

NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory began tracking the 2016 event, named GRB160821B, minutes after it was detected. The early catch enabled the research team to gather new insights that were missing from the kilonova observations of the LIGO event, which did not begin until nearly 12 hours after the initial collision. Troja and her colleagues reported these new findings in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on August 27, 2019. 

“The 2016 event was very exciting at first. It was nearby and visible with every major telescope, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. But it didn’t match our predictions—we expected to see the infrared emission become brighter and brighter over several weeks,” said Troja, who also has an appointment at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “Ten days after the event, barely any signal remained. We were all so disappointed. Then, a year later, the LIGO event happened. We looked at our old data with new eyes and realized we had indeed caught a kilonova in 2016. It was a nearly perfect match. The infrared data for both events have similar luminosities and exactly the same time scale.”

The similarities between the two events suggest that the 2016 kilonova also resulted from the merger of two neutron stars. Kilonovae may also result from the merger of a black hole and neutron star, but it is unknown whether such an event would yield a different signature in X-ray, infrared, radio and optical light observations.

According to Troja, the information collected from the 2016 event does not contain as much detail as the observations of the LIGO event. But the coverage of those first few hours—missing from the record of the LIGO event—revealed important new insights into the early stages of a kilonova. For example, the team got their first look at the new object that remained after the collision, which was not visible in the LIGO event data.

“The remnant could be a highly magnetized, hypermassive neutron star known as a magnetar, which survived the collision and then collapsed into a black hole,” said Geoffrey Ryan, a Joint Space-Science Institute (JSI) Prize Postdoctoral Fellow in the UMD Department of Astronomy and a co-author of the research paper. “This is interesting, because theory suggests that a magnetar should slow or even stop the production of heavy metals, which is the ultimate source of a kilonova’s infrared light signature. Our analysis suggests that heavy metals are somehow able to escape the quenching influence of the remnant object.”

Troja and her colleagues plan to apply the lessons they learned to re-evaluate past events, while also improving their approach to future observations. A number of candidate events have been identified with optical light observations, but Troja is more interested in events with a strong infrared light signature—the telltale indicator of heavy metal production.

“The very bright infrared signal from this event arguably makes it the clearest kilonova we have observed in the distant universe,” Troja said. “I’m very much interested in how kilonova properties change with different progenitors and final remnants. As we observe more of these events, we may learn that there are many different types of kilonovae all in the same family, as is the case with the many different types of supernovae. It’s so exciting to be shaping our knowledge in real time.”

In addition to Troja and Ryan, UMD-affiliated co-authors of the research paper include Astronomy Professor Sylvain Veilleux and Adjunct Associate Professor Bradley Cenko.

The research paper, “The afterglow and kilonova of the short GRB 160821B,” Eleonora Troja, Alberto Castro-Tirado, Josefa Becerra González, Youdong Hu, Geoffrey Ryan, S. Bradley Cenko, Roberto Ricci, Giovanni Novara, Ruben Sánchez-Rámirez, Jose Acosta-Pulido, Kendall Ackley, Maria Caballero García,Stephen Eikenberry, Sergiy Guziy, Seob Jeong, Amy Lien, Isabel Márquez, Sashi Pandey, Ii Park, Takanori Sakamoto, Juan Tello, Igor Sokolov, Vladimir Sokolov, Andrea Tiengo, Azamat Valeev, Bin Bin Zhang, Sylvain Veilleux, was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on August 27, 2019.

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (Award No. AST-1005313); the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities (Award No. SEV-2017-0709); the Italian Space Agency (Award Nos. 2015-046-R.0 and 2017-14-H.0); the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union (Award No. 654215); and the China Scholarships Council (Award No. 201406660015).

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University of Maryland Listed Among the Nation’s Best Colleges for Student Voting

August 27, 2019
Contacts: 

 Hafsa Siddiqi, 301-405-4671

COLLEGE PARK, MD — For a second consecutive year, the University of Maryland has been listed among 80 universities in the nation that inspire students to tap into their civic responsibility and become active citizens of their communities and country through voting. 

The University joins a slew of private and public universities in the honor of creating and maintaining life-long civic engagement, as illustrated by the findings from Washington Monthly magazine. The nonprofit publication collected exhaustive data via multiple variables including; 

  • Participation in Tufts University’s National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE), which helps colleges understand their campus’ student voting record by calculating and tracking student registration numbers and turnout rates

  • Participation in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, which helps colleges utilize NSLVE data to craft strategic plans to bolster civic engagement

  • Public release of NSLVE data as an ALL IN school

  • Public release of an ALL IN action plan 

In addition to reauthorizing its NSLVE status through 2023 and being an ALL IN school with a public action plan since 2014, UMD is a participant in the Big Ten Voting Challenge, which aims to register even more students to engage in national service. 

The full Washington Monthly list of America’s Best Colleges for Student Voting can be found here.

 

University of Maryland Launches Quantum Technology Center

August 22, 2019

College Park, Md. – The University of Maryland announced today the launch of the Quantum Technology Center (QTC), which aims to translate quantum physics research into innovative technologies. 

The center will capitalize on the university’s strong research programs and partnerships in quantum science and systems engineering, and pursue collaborations with industry and government labs to help take promising quantum advances from the lab to the marketplace. QTC will also train students in the development and application of quantum technologies to produce a workforce educated in quantum-related engineering. 

The new center is a collaboration between UMD’s Department of Physics in the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) and UMD’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the A. James Clark School of Engineering. 

"The Quantum Technology Center will add to the University of Maryland’s world-renowned leadership in the quantum fields, including physics, engineering, computer science, and materials research," said Laurie Locascio, vice president for research at UMD. "This new center will build on these strengths to develop future quantum technology and new applications, and to train students and researchers in quantum technology."

The announcement comes at a pivotal time when quantum science research is expanding beyond physics into materials science, engineering, computer science, chemistry, and biology. Scientists across these disciplines are looking for ways to exploit quantum physics to build powerful computers, develop secure communication networks, and improve sensing and imaging capabilities. In the future, quantum technology could also impact fields such as artificial intelligence, energy, and medicine. 

The director of QTC will be Ronald Walsworth, who recently joined UMD after serving on the faculty at Harvard University and as a senior physicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. 

“We are thrilled that Dr. Ronald Walsworth has chosen the University of Maryland and our commitment to accelerating quantum research and discovery,” said Darryll J. Pines, dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering and Farvardin Professor. “As a signature senior hire for Maryland and as the inaugural director of the Quantum Technology Center, Dr. Walsworth brings a critical expertise in quantum sensing, measurement, and instrumentation to College Park.”

Walsworth is an expert in utilizing quantum physics to develop advanced measurement tools for medicine, planetary science, and fundamental physics. He holds several patents on a quantum sensing technology that uses an optically active defect in diamond to probe tiny changes in electromagnetic fields and temperature. 

Walsworth’s lab spun off two startups that apply quantum sensing technology to biomedical diagnostics, and he has served as a scientific advisor for several technology companies including Quantum Diamond Technologies Inc., Butterfly Network, Quantum-Si, and Hyperfine Research.

He is also a fellow of the American Physical Society and received its 2005 Francis M. Pipkin Award for his work in developing and applying precision measurement tools. Walsworth received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Duke University in 1984 and his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University in 1991.

“I am excited to join the strong quantum community at the University of Maryland and work together to make QTC a world leader in quantum technology development, translation, and education,” said Walsworth, who joined UMD for Fall 2019 as the Minta Martin Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering with a joint appointment in the Department of Physics.

QTC will initially draw members from the Departments of Physics, Computer Science, and Electrical and Computer Engineering. New faculty members have also been hired, including Physics Assistant Professors Alicia Kollár and Norbert Linke and Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Cheng Gong.

“We are proud to work with our colleagues in engineering to jointly establish the Quantum Technology Center,” said Amitabh Varshney, dean of CMNS. “QTC will enable the rapid development of quantum technologies through high-impact research that spans sensors, secure communication, and advanced computation.”

QTC will have laboratory space in the Physical Sciences Complex, the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building, and the Clark School’s new E.A. Fernandez IDEA (Innovate, Design and Engineer for America) Factory, which is dedicated to creative innovation and entrepreneurship by students and faculty and is expected to open in 2021. The center will be administered through UMD’s Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics.

The new center will add to the university’s world-renowned leadership in the quantum fields, which includes being ranked No. 6 in quantum and atomic physics by U.S. News & World Report. UMD is also home to two quantum research partnerships with the National Institute of Standards and Technology—the Joint Quantum Institute and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science—as well as a research collaboration with the Army Research Laboratory.

In addition, UMD quantum faculty members are also entrepreneurs. The quantum computing startup IonQ, which aims to bring general-purpose quantum computers to market, was co-founded by UMD Distinguished University Professor Christopher Monroe.

UMD to Open New Space for Discovery and Collaboration in Crystal City in 2020

August 21, 2019
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4621, lawsonk@umd.edu

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland will open a new 8,000-square-foot space in Crystal City, Virginia. The “Discovery Center” will aim to foster innovation and collaboration among UMD students and faculty, Crystal City residents and employees, and alumni in the area. 

With the flagship university’s main campus only 11 miles from Amazon’s new HQ2 in Crystal City, UMD brings unique opportunities and expertise to Northern Virginia, including access to world-renowned tech faculty and the largest number of computer science students in the country, all poised to collaborate with expertise from local firms.

“Amazon HQ2 is a regional phenomenon, and we are just a metro ride away,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “This new space will help connect our flagship researchers and students with this emerging technology hub, fostering innovation in our growing Cyber Valley.”

Beginning in fall 2020, UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, A. James Clark School of Engineering, College of Information Studies, and Robert H. Smith School of Business plan to host symposia, lectures and learning events in the new center covering a wide range of topics, such as cybersecurity, machine learning, supply chain management, engineering and human-computer interaction. The programming will combine the strengths of UMD’s top nationally ranked computer science program with expertise from the Clark School, iSchool and Smith School. 

The Discovery Center will provide collaboration and dialogue spaces where academics, local businesses and community residents can interact and exchange ideas, as well as seminar rooms, a strategic planning and creative problem-solving center, spaces for students to work with industry partners, and career development interview rooms to facilitate student internships and employment opportunities. The center will also function as an event space for researchers, industry leaders and alumni to meet, network and discuss industry trends.  

The Discovery Center builds on the university’s presence across the DMV, such as the satellite campus for the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., and the presence of 16 UMD degree programs at the Universities at Shady Grove in Montgomery County, Md. 

 

UMD Partners with Three Universities, Professional Association to Combat Sexual Harassment in Political Science

August 21, 2019
Contacts: 

Sara Gavin  301-405-1733

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A new collaborative, multi-university project that aims to address sexual harassment in the field of political science has received a three-year ADVANCE Partnership Award totaling more than $1 million from the National Science Foundation. 

Associate Professor Stella Rouse from the UMD Department of Government and Politics will work with colleagues from Purdue University, University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Nevada Las Vegas on the effort entitled, “#MeTooPoliSci: Leveraging a Professional Association to Address Sexual Harassment in Political Science.”

The project will focus on developing and applying methods and interventions that academic departments of political science across the country can utilize to improve workplace climates and reduce incidents of harassment. Through department climate studies, bystander training, facilitated department dialogues and policy discussions, the research team will examine how issues of harassment affect women with intersecting identities such as sexual identity, race and ethnicity.

The researchers are partnering with the American Political Science Association (APSA) to ensure their work has the potential to impact the nation’s 125 Ph.D.-granting departments and more than 1,100 B.A./M.A.-granting departments in political science. According to APSA, women account for less than 29% of political science faculty (2010), and 70% of female graduate students in the field in 2017 reported sexual harassment on campus. 

"Sexual harassment is prevalent in academia and the field of political science is no exception," said Rouse. “The issue is an obstacle to the ability of women in the discipline to experience a productive and intellectually stimulating learning and working environment. We expect to improve the climate in institutions of higher learning and bring attention to issues of parity and inclusion.” 

One of the major goals of #MeTooPoliSci is to develop an evidence-based “Climate Toolkit” that will empower both departments and individuals to engage in best practices and to track progress over time. Rouse specifically will focus on a portion of the strategy related to upstanding bystander training, which encourages people who witness forms of bias or harassment to speak up.  

The researchers hope their approach will not only influence the field of political science, but will be shared across other disciplines and professional organizations.

University of Maryland Named a 2019 Best Value College

August 16, 2019
Contacts: 

Jennifer Burroughs, jenburr@umd.edu, 301-401-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland has been deemed a best value college in Kiplinger’s 2019 Best College Value ranking and Money’s 2019 Best College for Your Money ranking. 

Money, a leading source for personal finance news and advice, has Maryland listed as the No. 1 value for public colleges in the state of Maryland, top 30 (No. 28) for public colleges nationwide and top 50 (No. 43) overall among 744 schools in the nation. Kiplinger lists UMD as the No. 10 value for in-state students and top 20 (No. 16) value for out-of-state students seeking an education at a public university. Maryland is ranked 101 overall.

In both rankings, universities are recognized for the quality of education in relation to college affordability for the average student. Both Kiplinger and Money assess a variety of factors to determine value such as overall cost, average debt upon graduation, financial aid opportunities and early career earnings among others. 

Click to view the University of Maryland profiles by Kiplinger and Money.

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