Facebook Icon Youtube Icon Twitter Icon Flickr Icon Vimeo Icon RSS Icon Itunes Icon Pinterest Icon
Monday, February 20, 2017

Search Google Appliance

UMD Scientists Help Develop New Drought Early Warning Tool

September 28, 2016

Matthew Wright 301-405-9267

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Farmers, ranchers, and water resource managers in North America will have more time to prepare for potentially damaging drought conditions thanks to a new Corn shows the affect of drought in Texas on Aug. 20, 2013. USDAearly warning product now available online.

Developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its partners, including the University of Maryland, The Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) provides drought warnings several weeks ahead of most other currently available drought indicators. By detecting the advance signals of plant stress, including dry soils, decreased plant transpiration and warming land temperature, ESI can raise the alarm before plants visibly dry out and lose their green appearance.
This new drought index (ESI) – part of NOAA’s GOES Evapotranspiration and Drought Product System (GET-D) – integrates satellite observations of land surface temperatures from NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) with vegetation information from the NOAA/NASA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). Researchers then use these observations to estimate water loss due to evaporation from the soil surface, as well as water that evaporates, or transpires, from the leaves of plants.
 “When vegetation is already turning brown, it’s too late. ESI is able to see the onset of vegetation stress before it gets to this state,” said Christopher Hain, an assistant research scientist at UMD’s Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) who played a key role in transitioning ESI from the research phase to NOAA operations. “There are other tools that estimate the potential for drought stress by measuring rainfall, wind speed, heat or other parameters. But ESI directly measures the actual stress on plants.”

The new product represents many years of research and support by NOAA, NASA, the University of Maryland, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the University of Wisconsin, and the National Drought Mitigation Center.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began developing ESI in the late 1990s under the direction of Martha Anderson, a research scientist at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. Hain began collaborating with Anderson’s team in 2008 as part of his doctoral research at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. From the start, Hain’s main task was to help integrate ESI into NOAA’s research program, with the eventual goal of transitioning the tool from research to operations. Hain continued in this role when he joined ESSIC and the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites-Maryland (CICS-MD) in 2010, with help from ESSIC/CICS-MD postdoctoral researcher Li Fang and former faculty research assistant Zhengpeng Li.

NASA contributed funds for the research phase, and after ESI showed promise as a useful tool for decision-makers, NOAA stepped in to continue building out ESI as an operational product, with UMD/ESSIC managing the development of the system and serving as a central point of collaboration for NOAA, NASA, USDA and end user partners.
“The University of Maryland was responsible for building this system out and transitioning it to operations at NOAA,” Hain said. “When scientists develop a new tool from a research project, there is no guarantee that it will always be available unless it has operational support. And during the research phase, much effort focuses on hindcasting to determine how well the product’s predictions matched real observations. Even the best tool is not useful until it is operationally available to help make useful predictions for the end user.”

Transitioning from aGOES evapotranspiration and drought composite map research project to NOAA operations provides end users with a robust support environment so that farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders have access to timely and reliable data, Hain explained.

“As a researcher, your work is only as good as someone else’s ability to use it. So for any effort like this, operational use is the ideal end goal,” Hain added. “Getting to this point with ESI is a testimony to its need in the drought community. NOAA essentially decided ESI is a useful product that was worth making available to the community.”

The GET-D system’s early warning potential shows great promise for rapid onset droughts, also called flash droughts. Flash droughts reach their peak intensity within weeks and usually occur during the growing season, whereas typical droughts can take months or even years to develop. Their quick onset makes flash droughts particularly devastating to farmers and ranchers who have less time to respond to the damaging conditions.

During the devastating 2012 Central Great Plains flash drought, ESI developers observed, for the first time, a rapid change in the ESI in real time. Although ESI was still in the research phase at this time, the observations served as strong evidence that ESI could provide valuable early warning to farmers, ranchers and water managers. The ESI outperformed other indicators by several weeks, suggesting moderate to severe drought conditions well before the U.S. Drought Monitor, for example.

“Droughts are one of the most common and devastating natural disasters, affecting communities across our nation,” said Mark Svoboda, co-founder of the U.S. Drought Monitor. “This new product will help communities spot and prepare for flash droughts, which come on quickly and take a heavy toll on businesses and the public.”
The team of scientists involved in developing the ESI emphasizes that this new product is just a first foundational step toward a global drought monitoring product. With several large global end-users requesting information, researchers hope to eventually expand the ESI to cover the entire world.

ESI development was funded in part by the NASA Applied Sciences Program, as well as the NOAA Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections and Societal Applications Research Programs.

UMD Researchers Team Up to Study Cybercrime Victimization over Smartphone Devices

September 27, 2016

Sara Gavin  301-405-1733

COLLGE PARK, Md. – As advancing technology allows people to email, shop and even pay bills directly from their smartphones, are users setting themselves up to be easy targets for cybercrime attacks?

Researchers from the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering at the University of Maryland are teaming up to try and answer this question and determine which factors make smartphone users most vulnerable to cybercrime. The research team was recently awarded a $500,000, two-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support its scientific activity on this project. 
David Maimon, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice
“In the past, the bad guys focused on targeting computer users because desktop and laptop computers were so prevalent. Nowadays, everybody has a smartphone and so it seems the  bad guys have found a new playground for their malicious activities,” said David Maimon, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice, and one of the project’s Principal Investigators.

According to Maimon, people open themselves up to cyberattacks through their phones in four distinct ways: by visiting suspicious websites; downloading applications that contain malicious software; opening email attachments and clicking on links sent through text messages from unknown senders; and utilizing unsecure, public Wi-Fi networks to access personal information, such as a bank account.

To give the researchers better insight into common smartphone behaviors, research scientist Lucas Layman and his team from the Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering at UMD developed an application that collects data from smartphone users who volunteer to participate in a study. The application will allow researchers to tell when, where and how often these smartphone users talk, text, email, listen to music, surf the internet and more. It will also provide information on what types of wireless networks users are accessing, how secure those connections are, and where they are being made.

Lucas Layman, UMD computer scientist“This research is an exciting fusion of social science and computer science research. We are unobtrusively collecting behavioral data from a large number of participants using cutting edge smartphone technologies and data mining techniques, all while preserving the users’ privacy,” Layman said.

Researchers hope to recruit approximately 200 participants for the study. After Layman’s team collects the smartphone data, Maimon will pair the information with questionnaires completed by participants about their personal characteristics, as well as records from the U.S. Census Bureau and neighborhood maps provided by Google Street View. 

“Appending all this information together will allow us to pinpoint some of the environmental and individual factors that determine a person’s susceptibility to cybercrime over a smartphone,” Maimon said. “By doing this type of research, we hope to find ways to educate smartphone users with respect to the security-related issues that are out there as well as guide smartphone developers’ efforts to develop more secure devices in the first place.”

The NSF award number for this project is 1617301.

MD Professors & Alumnus Named 2016 Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates for Science of Chaos Work

September 26, 2016

Abby Robinson 301-405-5845, Lee Tune 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Two professors and an alumnus from the University of Maryland have been selected as 2016 Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates in physics. The Citation Laureates program, begun in 2002, uses a variety of criteria, including scientific research citations, to identify the most influential researchers who are likely to win a Nobel Prize. To date, 39 researchers named Citation Laureates later won a Nobel Prize. 

The 2016 Citation Laureates include Edward Ott, UMD Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Department of Physics, and the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics; Celso Grebogi, UMD alumnus and former UMD faculty member, now the Sixth Century Chair in Nonlinear and Complex Systems at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland; and James A. Yorke, UMD Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mathematics, Department of Physics, and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology.

The computer generated image of a pedulum's chaotic motion. Yorke, Ott and Grebogi are long-time leaders in chaos science – the study of complex (nonlinear) dynamic systems. Chaos research has led to advances in such diverse disciplines as biology, economics, meteorology, chemistry, engineering, fluid mechanics and physics, to name just a few.

Thomson Reuters says its Citation Laureates are “researchers whose advances have earned quantifiable esteem and wielded unusually strong influence in the scientific community. This impact is manifestly illustrated by the high quantity of citations to their work – with each citation representing a direct mark of influence and significance as judged by the research community.”

Ott, Grebogi and Yorke received the Thomson Reuters honor for their description of a control theory of chaotic systems that came to be known as the “OGY method,” after the order their last names appeared in their paper describing the method. That paper, which has been cited 4,087 times according to the Web of ScienceTM, was published in the journal Physical Review Letters in 1990. It is one of some 80 papers on chaos science that the three have authored together.

“Different people have different research goals, said Yorke. “One of mine is to have an impact on the way other people work by providing them with interesting new ideas. Perhaps being named being named Citation Laureate is recognition that my collaborators and I are succeeding in that goal.”

While most researchers try to avoid chaos in physical, chemical or biological systems altogether, Ott, Grebogi and Yorke developed a method to control chaos in such systems and even improve system performance. The basic idea begins with the significant observation that an infinite number of unstable periodic orbits are embedded in a chaotic attractor. To employ the OGY method, one selects an unstable orbit that yields improved performance and stabilizes it by applying small system perturbations to the attractor. However, the perturbation must be tiny compared with the overall size of the attractor to avoid significant modification of the system’s natural dynamics.

“Our method renders an otherwise chaotic motion more stable and predictable,” said Ott. “It was also the first method to take advantage of the attributes of chaotic dynamics and use them for a specific purpose.”

Researchers have used the OGY method to control chaos in a variety of systems, including turbulent fluids, oscillating chemical reactions, magneto-mechanical oscillators and cardiac tissues.

“We are excited, but certainly not surprised, that University of Maryland faculty members and alumni are considered to be in the running for the Nobel Prize in physics,” said Jayanth Banavar, dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at UMD. “Professors Ott, Grebogi and Yorke have authored classic works in the field of chaos theory, with far-reaching impact in areas including meteorology, the life sciences, computer science and economics.”

Two UMD physics faculty members previously won the Nobel Prize in physics: Distinguished University Professor William Phillips in 1997 and College Park Professor John Mather in 2006. In addition, UMD alumnus Raymond Davis Jr., B.S. ’37, M.S. ’39, chemistry, received the Nobel Prize in physics in 2002.

“To appear in the 2016 Citation Laureates is a great honor,” said Grebogi. “While we are delighted to be included, it is unlikely that we can compete this year against the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) gravity experiment, the first direct detection of gravitational waves and a result long awaited since Einstein’s prediction of gravity waves in 1916. It is, nevertheless, a privilege to have our work—which opened up a whole new area of research and changed philosophically our way of thinking about chaos—considered in the same company as such a significant breakthrough in physics.”

 “Highly-cited papers turn out to be one of the most reliable indicators of world-class research, and provides a glimpse at what research stands the best chance at being recognized with a Nobel Prize,” said Jessica Turner, global head of government and academia, Intellectual Property and Science, Thomson Reuters.

About UMD’s Citation Laureates
Edward Ott received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from The Cooper Union in 1963, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrophysics from The Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1964 and 1967, respectively. In 1968, he joined the faculty at Cornell University and came to UMD in 1979. He is a fellow of the IEEE, the American Physical Society, the World Innovation Foundation, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Celso Grebogi, M.S. ’75, Ph.D. ’78, physics, remained at UMD as a faculty member from 1981 until 2001, with appointments in the Department of Physics, Department of Mathematics, Institute for Plasma Research, and Institute for Physical Science and Technology. After serving as professor at the University of Sao Paulo’s Institute of Physics, he joined the University of Aberdeen in 2005. He is a fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, the World Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the Institute of Physics.

James A. Yorke, Ph.D. ’66, mathematics, came to UMD in 1963 as a mathematics graduate student and joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1967. In 2003, he was awarded the Japan Prize, one of the most esteemed science technology prizes. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Mathematical Society, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

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. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 37,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 56 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.8 billion operating budget and secures $550 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, visit www.umd.edu


UMD Celebrates Homecoming Week 2016

September 23, 2016

Lee Tune, 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland will host its annual Homecoming Week from Sunday, September 25 - Saturday, October 1, 2016. UMD’s campus-wide celebration will offer dozens of Fearless and family-friendly events, including alumni gatherings, artistic performances, service projects and athletic competitions.

Homecoming Week will kick off on Sunday, September 25 with a Terps Against Hunger Homecoming Service Project from 10:30 a.m. – 8:45 p.m. at the XFINITY Center. Volunteers from across campus and the local community will work together to package 400,000 meals that will be donated to local food banks and pantries to reduce food insecurity. Also on Sunday, Women’s Soccer v. Northwestern begins at 1 p.m.

UMD Homecoming graphicOn Tuesday, September 27, the Homecoming Juke Joint event – featuring music, poetry readings, movies and games – will be held in the Adele H. Stamp Student Union, Grand Ballroom, from 8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. 

On Wednesday, September 28, the Black Alumni Association and The Network Success Student Initiative will host the second annual Gift of Giving Gala, as part of the Whittle Johnson Promise to support and advance the education and professional development of African-American students at UMD. Designed to create meaningful networking opportunities among students and alumni and to promote scholarship, the gala is at the College Park Marriott Hotel from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Registration required. https://giftofgivinggala.splashthat.com/

On Thursday, September 29 Student Entertainment Events (SEE) will host the annual Homecoming Comedy Show (tickets required) featuring T.J. Miller, with very special guest Damon Wayans Jr.

On Friday, September 30, UMD will host Terp Carnival on McKeldin Mall, offering rides, games, prizes and entertainment for students and families alike from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Alumni in town will also have the opportunity to reconnect with fellow Terps and learn about upcoming Alumni Association events and volunteer opportunities.  UMD will host a fireworks and laser light display at 7:50 p.m. on McKeldin Mall. The university would like to invite the surrounding community to enjoy the fireworks and to be advised of increased noise on the evening of September 30. 

Finally, throughout the day on Saturday, October 1, dozens of alumni and student organizations will host Homecoming tailgates and gatherings, including the Alumni Zone Tailgate hosted by the UMD Alumni Association from 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center. These events will lead up to the Homecoming football game against the Purdue Boilermakers (kick-off at 3:30 p.m.) at CapitalOne Field at Maryland Stadium.

To view the full Homecoming Week schedule, visit http://homecoming.umd.edu/calendar. Follow the celebration and join in on social media with #UMDHomecoming.

Following Launch of $75 Million Initiative Making UMD the Nation's First Do Good Campus, Terps Against Hunger to Celebrate One Million Meals Packed

September 23, 2016

Katie Lawson 301-405-4622

Congressman Chris Van Hollen to assist UMD community at Homecoming service event in packing nutritious meals for local children and families in need

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Days after announcing a $75 million initiative that makes the University of Maryland the nation’s first Do Good campus, UMD will host an annual service project to kickoff Homecoming Week 2016. The event will mark one million meals packaged by Terps Against Hunger, a UMD student-led grassroots campaign to fight local hunger and a winner of the 2016 Do Good Challenge at the university.
Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen will join the university community in packaging nutritious, non-perishable meals for children and families in the region. Starting as a UMD student service project, the annual event has expanded to include faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and local community members in efforts to do good and combat local hunger.
UMD, Terps Against Hunger and the university community, joined by Maryland Congressman Van Hollen, will participate in a service project to package meals for local children and families in need.
This is the first UMD service event since the university launched the Do Good Institute to train the next generation of Do Good leaders and establish the University as the first Do Good college campus in the country. Support for Do Good programs is expected to top $75 million from individual and family philanthropy, state funding, corporate and foundation grants, and university resources.
•    Wallace D. Loh, President, University of Maryland
•    Chris Van Hollen, Congressman, Maryland’s 8th District
•    Thousands of Terps Against Hunger volunteers from the UMD and surrounding community
•    Robert C. Orr, Dean, School of Public Policy
•    Robert T. Grimm, Jr., Director of the Do Good Institute
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Congressman Van Hollen appearance and one millionth meal celebration:
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
*Note: Service event runs from 10:30 a.m. – 8:45 p.m., media avail begins at 12:30 p.m.
XFINITY Center, University of Maryland
8500 Paint Branch Drive, College Park, MD 20740
For directions, visit http://www.umterps.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=208131345
Parking will be available in Lot 9 adjacent to XFINITY Center.
Visit http://maps.umd.edu/map/ to view the campus map.
Media interested in attending should contact Katie Lawson at 301-405-4622 or lawsonk@umd.edu.

UMD-Led Team Cracks 60-Year Code Through Discovery of Enzyme that Optimizes Plant Life

September 22, 2016

Graham Binder 301-405-9235, Lee Tune 301-405-4679

College Park, MD -- A UMD-led team of researchers has answered a question that scientists have been pondering for 60 years: Exactly how do plants turn off the action of the vital plant growth hormone auxin?

It turns out the answer is an enzyme now identified and characterized for the first time by scientists from the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) and from the Agricultural Research and Development Center of The Ohio State University, The researchers published their findings this week in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Auxin is the determining factor in how a plant grows, develops and responds to the environment.  Scientists have long known the processes of synthesis and breakdown by which plants optimally regulate the amount and effects of the hormone. However, what has been unknown until now is what enzyme or enzymes catalyze the breakdown, or oxidation, of auxin. 

Led by UMD’s Jun Zhang, a recent AGNR PhD graduate from plant science and landscape architecture, and Wendy Peer, Ph.D., an assistant professor in AGNR’s department of environmental science and technology, the research team used a combination of biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, physiology and metabolomics (the study of small molecules found in plant cells and fluids) to show the primary breakdown enzyme is dioxygenase of auxin oxidation (DAO).Image Credit:  INRA and Jean Weber Under Creative Commons License - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

This is promising new knowledge for horticulturalists and farmers. Controlling when and where and how much auxin is active via DAO could lead to new ways to improve plant growth and productivity. This could have wide-ranging effects in crops from improving drought stress to increasing biomass. Benefits for the nursery industry include improved rooting of cuttings from tomatoes to trees.

Zhang and Peer and colleagues used a small flowering plant or weed called Arabidopsis as their plant model for this research. In this plant, they were able to showcase the inactivation of auxin by way of DAO, facilitating the process of that turns auxin off. Prior to these findings, the enzymes that catalyze this process and how they work to maintain hormone balance and influence plant growth only had been hinted at in studies of apple trees and rice plants.

“We are excited about solving this puzzle at last,” says Peer. “Our goal is to address the world food crisis in the face of climate change. Understanding and then controlling the activity of this essential plant hormone is one of the keys to doing just that.”

Their paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is titled “DAO1 catalyzes temporal and tissue-specific oxidative inactivation of auxin in Arabidopsis thaliana.”

This is one of three papers published together on this subject with UMD and Ohio State demonstrating the biochemistry, genetics, physiology, and metabolomics of DAO; Umeå Plant Science Centre, Sweden, showing auxin metabolomics, genetics and physiology; and the University of Nottingham, UK, modelling DAO functions in auxin homeostasis in roots.

Image is by INRA and Jean Weber Under Creative Commons License. Link (link is external) to original photo in Flickr Commons.

University of Maryland Hosts 2nd Annual Terp Farm Fall Harvest Festival

September 21, 2016

Allison Lilly Tjaden 301-314-1016

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland will host the 2nd annual Terp Farm Fall Harvest Festival on Friday, September 23, 2016 at Terp Farm, a collaborative project between UMD Dining Services, the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, and the Office of Sustainability.

Terp Farm occupies five acres at UMD’s Upper Marlboro agriculture research facility located 15 miles south of College Park, Md. Formerly the campus’ tobacco research farm, the Upper Marlboro site has transformed into a research facility for diverse crops and now hosts the production of vegetables and cut flowers for campus. Terp Farm places a particular focus on harvesting vegetables for preparation and consumption in UMD dining halls and catering functions. Produce is also donated to food-insecure members of the campus through the Campus Pantry program and nearby communities. From an educational perspective, Terp Farm embodies the University’s land-grant mission as an accessible resource for the student body, providing regular opportunities for hands-on farming, learning and training.Terp Farm_Fall Harvest Festival_2016_Flyer

“We were humbled and thrilled by the success of the inaugural festival, and knew we had to make this a yearly event to expose greater numbers of the University community to the amazing things happening at Terp Farm,” said Allison Tjaden, Assistant Director of New Initiatives for Dining Services and manager of Terp Farm. “Terps growing food for other Terps, the built-in educational opportunities for our student body, and the deep history rooted in this research facility make this such a special opportunity for all to experience. Plus, free food, free transportation, and games certainly sweeten the deal!”

This fall-themed event will feature food made with fresh ingredients grown at Terp Farm, a live performance from the Hayley Fahey Band, farm tours, pumpkin painting and information tables and activities provided by the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources.
UMD faculty, staff and students are invited to attend the Terp Farm Fall Harvest Festival on Friday, from 2 to 6 p.m. Free transportation to and from Terp Farm will be provided on the day of the festival. Shuttles provided by the Department of Transportation Services will be leaving from the side of The Stamp Student Union at Union Lane every half hour from 2:00 pm until 4:30 and returning from the farm every half hour from 3:15 until 6:15.

The address is 2005 Largo Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20744. Free parking will be available at the farm. 

Please visit the Terp Farm Fall Harvest Festival event page for additional information.


UMD Nationally Recognized for Campus Sustainability Efforts

September 15, 2016

Andrew Muir 301-405-7068

UMD ranked highly in Princeton Review and Sierra Magazine’s annual Green School lists

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has been recognized as one of the leading universities in the nation for campus sustainability initiatives and efforts. The Princeton Review and Sierra Magazine named UMD a top green school in their annual green schools lists.   

“It is very rewarding to have the university recognized by the Princeton Review and Sierra Club for its outstanding work and commitment to further sustainability in our teaching and research while reducing our environmental impacts,” said Scott Lupin, director of the Office of Sustainability at UMD.  “This is a long-standing effort that was formalized nearly 10 years ago with the signing of the President’s Climate Commitment, and will be further showcased in the October release of our SustainableUMD Magazine.”

The Princeton Review developed its guide based on "Green Rating" scores (from 60 to 99) that were tallied for 640 colleges using data from a survey of school administrators. The survey asked colleges to report on their school's sustainability-related policies, practices and programs. Their Green College Honor Roll features 21 schools that were listed based on the Green Rating, in addition to a student survey. Data from the student survey included ratings of how sustainability issues influenced their education and life on campus; administration and student support for environmental awareness and conservation efforts; and the visibility and impact of student environmental groups. UMD scored the highest rating possible at 99. 

"We strongly recommend the University of Maryland and the other fine colleges in this guide to the many environmentally-minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges," said The Princeton Review's Robert Franek, Senior VP-Publisher.

The university also performed strongly as a part of the Sierra Magazine Cool Schools ranking, finishing No. 44 overall and No. 2 in the Big Ten.  Areas of high performance included the categories of waste reduction, food, transportation and co-curricular activities. Areas for improvement included energy conservation, water reuse and conservation, and investments. The ranking included 202 colleges and universities who supplied sustainability data and metrics for reporting. This year, the scoring methodology was updated to reflect trends in campus sustainability and the broader priorities of the Sierra Club. For example, it awarded a significant percentage of points in the areas of campus energy use, transportation and fossil fuel divestment because the Sierra Club believes that progress in these sectors is essential for addressing the climate crisis.

University of Maryland continues to take pride in the campus-wide engagement of staff, students and faculty in developing a culture of sustainability.  The upcoming Sustainability Progress Report and SustainableUMD Magazine, set for release this October, will highlight an array of campus achievements. 

President Wallace Loh, President Jay Perman Announce Plans for Maryland Academy for Innovation in National Security

September 15, 2016

Crystal Brown, UMCP, 301-405-4618
Alex Likowski, UMB, 410-706-3801

Historic Strategic National Security Partnership between UMCP & UMB
Would Support the FBI in Greenbelt, Maryland 

GREENBELT, MD (September 13, 2016) – University of Maryland, College Park President Wallace Loh and University of Maryland, Baltimore President Jay Perman announced the intention to create the Maryland Academy for Innovation in National Security that would support an FBI headquarters in Greenbelt, Maryland.  

Joined by University System Chancellor Robert Caret and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, national security experts, higher education officials, and local elected leaders, Presidents Perman and Loh put forth a vision for a strategic national security partnership that will harmonize UMB and UMCP’s relevant capabilities in terrorism and counterterrorism studies, intelligence analysis, cybersecurity and high performance computing, criminology and criminal justice, homeland security law, and crisis management. The Maryland Academy would be located on the University of Maryland’s College Park campus, and build on existing programs at UMCP and UMB, such as the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), the Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2), the Center for the Advanced Study of Language (CASL), and the Schools of Law, Medicine and Business. 

“This national security partnership to establish the Maryland Academy for Innovation in National Security would provide the world’s preeminent law enforcement organization with a continuous pipeline of pioneering research and access to a world-class regional workforce,” said President Wallace Loh. “This is an exciting joint initiative that leverages our collective research and talent in an effort to help foster continuous innovation at the FBI.”

"UMB is excited to bring its assets to this Academy: our Carey School of Law, with its deep expertise and programs in crisis management, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism; the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security, a leader in all aspects of national security and emergency response; and our essential biomedical capabilities, including unrivaled experience in forensic genomic analysis and viral detection, prevention, and treatment,” stated President Jay Perman. “Partnering with our colleagues in College Park, we can establish an innovation hub that advances the FBI’s mission and protects this country’s national security interests."

“The Maryland Academy will further strengthen the strategic partnership between Maryland’s largest public research universities and offer the FBI unparalleled access to innovative research, subject matter expertise, and a pipeline of world-class talent,” stated Chancellor Robert Caret.

Greenbelt Mayor Emmett V. Jordan, who hosted the event with Prince George’s County Councilman Todd M. Turner, stated, “The City of Greenbelt is at the center of it all, and we’re ready to welcome the FBI. Our proximity to College Park, Washington, DC, the Baltimore region – and now the Maryland Academy for Innovation in National Security – makes Greenbelt an ideal choice for the FBI.” 

Prior to the press conference, university officials participated in a “Whistle Stop” tour to demonstrate the central, transit-oriented nature of the proposed Greenbelt location for the FBI, including its close proximity to Baltimore, Washington, DC, the National Security Agency and the Department of Justice via Metro, MARC train, I-495 (the Capital Beltway), I-95 and I-295.  

President Perman boarded the MARC train in Baltimore at 8:05AM and arrived at Greenbelt Metro station just before 9:00AM to highlight the short commute from Baltimore, while President Loh took Metro’s Green Line one stop from College Park to Greenbelt.  

House Speaker Michael Busch, who attended the press conference after a short commute from Anne Arundel County, stated, "The State of Maryland is ready to welcome the FBI to Prince George’s County, MD. We have one of the best trained workforces in the country and I’m confident that the Maryland Academy can help the FBI respond to the challenges presented by global terrorism. The UMCP and UMB strategic partnership will bring together the very best in terrorism and counter terrorism studies to serve our law enforcement agencies."

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman attended the event noting that, “In addition to attracting some of the nation's leading technical companies that can support the FBI, the residents of Howard County are some of the most highly skilled, tech-savvy professionals in the nation and we are looking forward to supporting the FBI’s mission right here in Maryland.”

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake released a statement saying, "A new FBI headquarters in Greenbelt will offer access to Baltimore’s talented and diverse workforce, world-class anchor institutions and expanding innovation economy.  We are looking forward to working with our regional partners to ensure the FBI benefits from the best that Baltimore has to offer including experienced minority- and women-owned contractors and a wide array of housing opportunities."  

UMD Named a Top 20 Public University by U.S. News & World Report

September 13, 2016

Kristen Seabolt 301-405-4621

University also ranked among Top 25 "Most Innovative Schools"

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has ranked No. 20 among national public universities in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings. This is the 14th year that the university has been ranked in the top 20. Additionally, UMD ranked No. 60 in the national rankings list. 

The U.S. News & World Report rankings are based on several key measures of quality, including assessment of excellence, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving. UMD excelled in several factors that led to the No. 20 ranking. UMD continues to have one of the highest 6-year graduation rates among public universities in the country, which led to high graduation and retention rankings. In addition, UMD’s rank in student selectivity rose, with 70 percent of incoming freshman graduating in the top 10 percent of their high school class. 

"The excellence and achievement of our faculty, staff, and students are unsurpassed in our history, and a source of deep pride," said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. "That is what counts the most."

UMD also ranked No. 25 overall for Most Innovative Schools, a ranking which highlights universities that are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities. The rankings were based on a survey of college presidents, admissions deans and provosts.

Furthermore, the Robert H. Smith School of Business improved to No. 19 nationally, with two programs ranked in the top 20, including management information systems at No. 10 and supply chain management at No. 11. The A. James Clark School of Engineering ranked No. 24 nationally, with aerospace engineering ranking No. 8 and mechanical engineering ranking No. 16

UMD was also named a Best Learning Community for its living-learning programs and improved to No. 36 nationally among Best Colleges for Veterans

The full U.S. News & World Report rankings are available here.


Photo of stellarator coil design
February 15
New approach could help advance progress toward distant goal of fusion energy. Read
February 13
Researchers' technique to measure oxidative stress in blood samples could help doctors more quickly diagnose... Read
February 13
Free massive open online course (MOOC) explores The Cycle, a theory of organizational activity that prioritizes... Read
February 9
A new UMD-led study on environmental modeling shows climate change is only one of many inter-related threats to Earth's... Read