University Administration posts displayed by category

Baltimore Grand Garage – Entrance Closure

The Paca Street entrance will be closed from 6 p.m. to midnight on today and tomorrow so scaffolding can be erected. The Fayette Street entrance will be open during those hours to accommodate the disruption.

Parkers also have the option of using the Pearl Street Garage (closes at 11:30 p.m.) or the Plaza Garage (open 24 hours), but vehicles must exit both before 9 a.m. the following morning.

Questions or concerns? Contact Brian Simmons.

Dana RampollaBulletin Board, On the Move, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeJuly 27, 20180 comments
Read More

UM Shuttle Discontinuing Two Stops

In the coming weeks, the 701 BioPark/Midtown Medical Center shuttle will not service Stop 6 at Washington Boulevard and Emory Street. Stop 6 is being discontinued because of safety concerns. Stop 5 (Greene and Pratt streets) and Stop 7 (Washington and Martin Luther King boulevards) will be alternative options.

Likewise, the 702 Mount Vernon shuttle will not service Stop 24 at St. Paul and Saratoga streets. Stop 24 is being discontinued because of a mandate by the city. Stop 23 (St. Paul and Mulberry streets) and Stop 25 (St. Paul and Lexington streets) will be alternative options.

We apologize for any inconvenience this causes to riders of UM shuttle.

Dana RampollaBulletin Board, On the Move, UMB News, University Administration, University Life, USGAJuly 26, 20180 comments
Read More
Live Near Your Work Community Partners

Community Partners Pitch In with UMB’s Live Near Your Work Program

The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program has produced about one new homeowner per month since it launched in January. From Hollins Market to Pigtown to Barre Circle, the doors to homeownership are swinging open for UMB employees in Southwest Baltimore.

The key to the program’s success is the upgraded $18,500 grant, which consists of $16,000 from the University and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore. And the commitment of UMB leaders such as President Jay A. Perman, MD, and chief business and finance officer and vice president Dawn Rhodes, MBA, has been instrumental.

But the program’s community partners deserve kudos, too, for their efforts to help UMB employees navigate the sometimes difficult purchasing process that moves from shopping to sale to settlement. In addition to the city of Baltimore and its Housing Authority, the partners from the nonprofit sector aiding the LNYW Program are Live Baltimore, the Southwest Partnership, and GO Northwest Housing Resource Center.

When it began considering a relaunch of the LNYW Program, which used to offer incentives totaling $5,000 and was little used, the University realized it needed stronger partners to support the homebuying process, Rhodes says. “We quickly understood that UMB didn’t have the knowledge base that a group like Live Baltimore has to assist our employees with securing other assistance that is available for buying a home,” said Rhodes, who called the nonprofit “an irreplaceable asset to our LNYW Program.”

“With this partnership, it was really important to have the ability to help people from start to finish in the process,” said Liz Koontz, program director at Live Baltimore. “And then the University was able to make a partnership with the city of Baltimore, as well, so that the city is able to cut both sides of the check at settlement. We’ve been able to make it a really smooth process for UMB employees.”

Information and Incentives

Live Baltimore has facilitated homebuying education sessions with University employees, and program manager Ross Hackett has spent about 70 hours on campus directing group and one-on-one sessions. The meetings cover other incentives that could be stacked with the UMB grant, information about the seven qualifying neighborhoods, and the properties for sale in those communities — Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square.

Live Baltimore also sponsored a neighborhood trolley tour in January soon after the LNYW relaunch, an event that was well-attended and well-received by UMB employees.

“I didn’t know any of the neighborhoods affiliated with the program,” said Tara Wells, a program administrative specialist in the Department of Organizational Systems and Adult Health at the School of Nursing who bought a home in Pigtown using the LNYW grant. “The trolley tour really helped me get a feel for the neighborhoods.”

Steven Douglas, MA, MLS, was a Hollins Market renter before becoming a Hollins Market owner, so he knew all about the neighborhood, but he said the tour had a side benefit. “It gave me an opportunity to interview real estate agents,” said Douglas, head of collection strategies and management at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library.

Added Hackett: “The January trolley tour in particular was special because we designed it to feature those seven neighborhoods. So if people were just learning about the program and considering living in one of those neighborhoods, they had the opportunity to see them all and learn about them at one time.”

Checking Out the Inventory

The Southwest Partnership’s involvement, meanwhile, included sponsoring a housing fair in March that gave prospective buyers a chance to assess the housing inventory among the seven targeted neighborhoods. Karen S. Park, MBA, MA, chief of staff to Rhodes, says the Southwest Partnership, led by Executive Director Michael Seipp, has been an invaluable contributor.

“Michael has assisted in coordinating UMB’s participation in several housing fairs within the Southwest Partnership community, two of which were specifically targeting UMB employees,” Park said. “These activities have allowed our team to connect employees with real estate agents, community association leaders, and developers to better understand each community as well as the housing availability in each neighborhood.”

Before signing a contract of sale, employees wishing to use the LNYW grant must obtain a homeownership counseling certificate in a two-step program provided by a HUD-certified agency. UMB’s partner for this parameter is GO Northwest Housing Resource Center, which has offered workshops that touch on building credit, choosing a lender, buying homeowners insurance, and other issues. Employees are free to use another agency if they wish.

“Our partnership with GO Northwest has assisted many employees in obtaining their homeownership counseling certificate,” Park said. “All employees who participated in their workshops obtained one-on-one financial counseling, which, when coupled with the programs provided by UMB Human Resource Services, has enabled many of them to stabilize their financial status to apply for credit and save for the down payment.”

‘Near’ Is the Operative Word

Live Baltimore partners with other institutions in the city to promote homeownership in Baltimore. One aspect of UMB’s program that makes it special, Hackett says, is the proximity of the University to the targeted neighborhoods.

“The seven neighborhoods are literally in walking distance of UMB,” Hackett said. “That really drives home the idea that the place where you work could also be the community in which you live. What we’ve learned is that these communities are extremely neighborly, their biggest strength is the connection among residents, and everyone’s committed to the community in which they live.”

And how do the folks at Live Baltimore feel when another home goes to closing?

“We get really excited when we hear that, especially when someone we’ve worked with closely gets the grant,” Koontz said. “It’s life-changing for them, and we’re just happy we can be a part of that. All of these incentives really help people get into the house without needing to have tens of thousands of dollars on hand, and that was UMB’s point in improving the program.”

Said Hackett: “That’s the news we like to get, and these appointments were especially fun for me because people are generally in good spirits when they know they are eligible for $18,500 in grants and possibly more on top of that. I’m thrilled to hear that people are settling and utilizing the grant.”

— Lou Cortina

Read about UMB employees who have bought houses using the LNYW grant at The Elm website.

Read more about the program at the LNYW website.


Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeJuly 23, 20180 comments
Read More
Reception area of sixth floor of Lexington Building

Design and Construction’s New Offices – A Showroom of Design Ideas

The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Office of Design and Construction (D&C) recently relocated from the Saratoga Building to the Lexington Building at 620 W. Lexington St. Although an office move is not often something one looks forward to, our group decided to make the very best of it by incorporating a variety of innovative concepts into the design so as to inspire our clients at UMB and the four other regional UM campuses (Coppin State, Towson, UB, and UMBC) that the D&C serves. Here are a few of the inventive design features displayed:

Maximizing daylight: Most buildings fill their windowed perimeter with private offices, relegating the central zone to only limited opportunities for daylight and views to the exterior. Instead, D&C’s layout pulls most private offices further in and instead places open-office workstations, conference rooms, and shared amenity spaces along the windowed perimeter.

Exterior views: Care also was taken to allow internal corridors to have views that extend to the exterior. So instead of making daylight and views only available for those privileged few who have window offices, it is instead an amenity for all in our new office space.

Living green wall: One of the most striking design elements is the new, 20-foot-long green wall composed of nine varieties of colorful interior plants. This green wall provides a number of benefits: It turbo filters the air in this part of the office (using plant root systems) with an active, integral mini-duct system; provides a view of nature within this central zone of the floor plan; and automatically irrigates the plants, reducing the need for regular watering maintenance.

Color wayfinding: Our group consists of four teams: Regional (yellow), Campus (red), In-house Design (blue), and Inspections (green). Each was given a distinctive color that is used for its carpets, accent walls, furniture, and door colors. These give each neighborhood an identity that assists in wayfinding and provides more visual interest. Color is used to strengthen team identity within our overall D&C group.

Environmental stewardship: We have chosen to use floors made of cork, bamboo, true (non-vinyl) linoleum, concrete, and recycled rubber that are much more sustainable choices than vinyl tile. Our bathroom partitions are made of plastic materials recycled from milk containers. We have repurposed former lab cabinets and counters in two rooms rather than purchasing all new casework. And our greenwall casework enclosure is made of salvaged oak.

Distinctive ceiling treatments: We purposely left many ceiling areas open so as to view the ductwork, piping, and electrical systems that our group manages, designs, and inspects. The money saved (not installing traditional dropped, acoustical ceilings) was diverted to showcase a variety of decorative ceiling types, including barrel vaults, round clouds, square clouds, and linear wave blades. All of these provide acoustical sound absorption but have very different visual impacts.

LED lighting: All of our new light fixtures use LEDs, which save energy and provide reduced maintenance costs because of the very long lives of these lamps. Related control systems were used to automatically power down lighting and secondary power outlets to achieve increased energy savings.

Innovative furniture: Most of our clients feel restricted to use our state’s MCE furniture. We instead saw this project as an opportunity to display how beautiful, well-selected MCE furniture can further enhance the appearance and functionality of campus spaces.

A project like this is inevitably a team effort that involved numerous participants and the support of enlightened leadership to achieve its realization. The major players included interim associate vice president Terry Morse, who set the original goals and vision; in-house architect Andrew Mundroff, who developed the creative floor plan design; Maria Prawirodihardjo, who managed this fast-track, design-build project; project support manager Jean Graziano, who oversaw the challenging logistics and successful furniture acquisition from MCE; and UMB campus architect Anthony Consoli who provided design and sustainable materials recommendations throughout the process. Thanks to them and many others, D&C has a new space that we enjoy working in and take great pride in showing off to visitors.

Please come and see the offices for yourself. If you let Anthony know ahead of time via email at or by calling 443-955-1953, he would be pleased to give you a personal tour, pointing out the features mentioned above and many more. Our overarching goal is to encourage others at UMB to think “outside the box” in ways that improve our campus workplace environments and the health of our global environment at large. This goal directly aligns with UMB’s mission as Maryland’s premier health sciences university.

— Anthony Consoli, AIA, LEED AP, UMB campus architect

To see more photos, go to the Design and Construction website to see more photos.


Anthony ConsoliUMB News, University Administration, University LifeJuly 17, 20180 comments
Read More
Jay Perman, Jonathan Bratt, Alice Cary and Dawn Rhodes

UMB Introduces Police Chief Cary and Emergency Management Leader Bratt

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) held a welcoming ceremony July 12 for two new employees critical to the institution’s public safety efforts, UMB Police Force Chief Alice Cary, MS, and Executive Director of Emergency Management Jonathan Bratt, MS.

About 250 UMB employees milled about the SMC Campus Center’s Elm Ballrooms to enjoy light fare and get acquainted with Cary and Bratt, who have been on their new jobs for one month and two months, respectively. UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD,  kicked off the ceremony, reminding the crowd that he considers the safety of students, faculty, and staff to be his paramount concern.

“I feel a deep responsibility to everyone who’s chosen to learn and work here. And it eats at me when we have challenges to our safety,” Perman said. “When our campus is safe, our neighborhoods are safer, and the reverse is true, too. And that’s behind so much of the community engagement we do downtown and in West Baltimore. I know that Chief Cary and Mr. Bratt are deeply committed to fortifying our partnerships and our outreach in the city.”

Perman noted that UMB achieved two firsts with the hires: Cary is the first female chief in the UMB Police Force’s 70-year history and Bratt is the University’s first executive director of emergency management. “I think both firsts speak to this University’s evolution, and it’s a proud day for us,” Perman said.

Perman ceded the floor to Dawn Rhodes, MBA, UMB’s chief business and finance officer and vice president, who led the nationwide search to fill both positions. She first detailed Bratt’s credentials, noting his wide-ranging experience as an emergency management professional, educator, and paramedic who changed his career choice from electrical engineering after working as a first responder at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“He wanted to work toward making our nation safe and better prepared,” said Rhodes, who also praised Bratt for his extracurricular activities that include being a volunteer paramedic and firefighter in Baltimore County and an instructor for the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute.

“How we prepare or respond to emergencies can be viewed as a direct measure of the health of a community,” said Bratt, who most recently served as regional administrator and division director of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems. “It is my goal to build a program that not only focuses on developing plans and procedures for emergency response that most people think of as emergency management, but also to promote the building of relationships and embed the preparedness mindset into our daily lives.

“Dr. Perman’s State of the University speech in May resonated with me when he spoke of the University as a public good,” Bratt continued. “I wholeheartedly agree and likewise believe that our responsibility to the community doesn’t end at the borders of the campus. It is my hope to build an emergency management program that embodies these values and helps strengthen an already healthy community.”

Rhodes then introduced Cary, who brings 32 years of law enforcement experience to her role, taking her from Michigan to Wyoming to Oregon, where most recently she was patrol operations captain with the University of Oregon Police Department. Rhodes pointed out that Cary is a drug recognition expert, setting records and winning awards for DUI enforcement in Wyoming. She’s also a bit of an adrenaline junkie, Rhodes joked, and enjoys riding her motorcycle — “and it’s a big motorcycle,” the VP said — scuba diving, traveling, and hiking.

Perman, who earlier thanked Capt. Martinez Davenport, MS, for his service as interim police chief since July 2017, was delighted to have the honor of swearing in Cary after the new police chief had spoken to the crowd.

“Thirty-two years of law enforcement have brought me to this threshold, and my passion speaks from within my heart to make sure that we’re all safe and secure on campus,” Cary said. “My engagement style is meeting and greeting and getting feedback from all of our campus partners, both internally and externally. And it takes a community to move forward, so it takes time and it takes effort.

“We have a wonderful police department, and every one of these people brings something to this community, and they need to be recognized as well. It’s not me as police chief, it’s us a whole to ensure our campus community remains safe.”

— Lou Cortina

Learn more about Cary and Bratt.

To see more photos from the July 12 event, go to UMB’s Facebook page.

Lou CortinaPeople, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeJuly 16, 20180 comments
Read More
Tara Wells in kitchen

Grantee Wells Sings Praises of UMB’s Live Near Your Work Program

Tara Wells has been on quite a winning streak in the last year, winning the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Employee of the Month Award, getting a job promotion, and, most recently, becoming the proud owner of a rowhouse in Pigtown.

Wells, a program administrative specialist in the Department of Organizational Systems and Adult Health at the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), is the latest UMB employee to take advantage of the improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program, using the combined grant of $18,500 — $16,000 from UMB, $2,500 from the city of Baltimore — to help purchase her home this month.

“This is surreal. It’s so overwhelming,” said Wells, who describes her LNYW experience, from start to settlement, as sort of a wonderful whirlwind after she decided to abandon a different nonprofit organization’s homebuying incentive program. “I decided in February to go forward with Live Near Your Work. I learned about the incentives, went to the Southwest Partnership’s housing fair in March, looked at homes for sale online, and found my house. I signed a contract April 1 and went to settlement June 1.

“I visited my mother last weekend, and when I was leaving her house, I said, ‘Mom, I’m going home to my house now.’ It still seems a little weird to say that, but it feels great!”

Urged by UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, to pursue the program, Wells attended the Jan. 11 internal kickoff event at the SMC Campus Center, where UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, said it was his dream to see more University employees living among the program’s seven targeted neighborhoods — Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square.

The dream came true for Wells, who also attended a trolley tour of the neighborhoods sponsored by Live Baltimore, one of UMB’s community partners in the program. Living in an apartment in Baltimore County and not being a Baltimore native, she found the trolley tour to be especially helpful as she discovered more of the charms of Charm City.

“I’m originally from Prince George’s County in the D.C. area, so I didn’t know any of the neighborhoods affiliated with the program,” said Wells, who was honored last year as UMB’s September Employee of the Month for her then-role as an administrative assistant II at UMSON. “The trolley tour I took in March really helped me get a feel for the neighborhoods. I’m visual, so I wanted to see where my future home could be.”

Meeting the ‘Mayor’

Wells says she settled on Pigtown primarily because of a chance encounter with William “Bus” Chambers, a longtime resident who is known as the “Mayor of Pigtown.” She was checking out the neighborhood one evening after work, saw Chambers outside his home, and decided to approach him.

“I introduced myself, he was friendly right off the top, and we talked for two hours,” Wells said. “He told me everything about the neighborhood. I tell him all the time now that he was pretty much my deciding factor on living in Pigtown, because he made me feel so comfortable. The neighborhood is quiet. It’s really peaceful. And the neighbors on my block have been awesome.”

Wells says she had a housewarming party recently, and she has been warming up to the neighborhood, too, checking out the dining establishments around her new digs and in other nearby neighborhoods. She offered praise for Primo Chicken and especially Zella’s Pizzeria, which she calls “amazing.” Living so close to work is great, too, Wells says.

“I get to save on gas and wear and tear on my vehicle, since it only takes me four minutes to drive here,” she said. “I also can go home for lunch if I’d like, and if I stay late for work, I still get home at a decent time. And I can walk or ride a bike to work if I feel like it. I like having the option.”

Spreading the Word

Wells, who says she stacked a Federal Home Loan Banks incentive of $5,300 on top of the UMB and city funds, is the seventh employee to buy a home with the improved LNYW grant, with seven others in the purchasing pipeline. And there’s room for plenty more, because the University has committed $1.5 million to the program, which means 90-plus employees could take advantage of the LNYW grant.

And to spread that word, the LNYW Program has perhaps its biggest cheerleader in Wells, who would use another title. “I guess you could say I’m a cheerleader, but I’d say I’m more like a public relations person,” she said. “I was just telling a security guard about the program recently, so I have to check to see where his process is. He just got married, and I was like, ‘Go for it!’ ”

Emily Kordish, Human Resource Services benefits manager and coordinator of the LNYW Program, is glad to have Wells’ promotional talents. “I appreciated her genuine sense of excitement throughout the process. She was wonderful to work with,” Kordish said.

The feeling is mutual.

“Each and every person I’ve dealt with in the program was so patient, answered all my questions, and made this process so quick and easy,” Wells said. “I would encourage anyone at UMB to take advantage of this program. I just told another co-worker to hurry up and do it. I said, ‘You’ll be a homeowner, and it’s a great investment.’ ”

— Lou Cortina

Learn more about the LNYW Program at its website, which includes application instructions, neighborhood testimonials, and more, and get a list of upcoming events here. Read about Shea Lawson, the first grantee under the improved LNYW Program, and other grantees’ stories on The Elm.

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeJune 28, 201841 comments
Read More
Save the Date: TEDx is coming to UMB on November 9

The Next Big Ideas: TEDx Is Coming to UMB

The TEDx Program, which was formed in 2009 to help communities, organizations, and individuals spark conversation and connection, is coming to the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

On Friday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the SMC Campus Center, speakers will make TEDx presentations related to the theme of “Improving the Human Condition,” a primary piece of UMB’s mission statement.

TEDx Talks should express great, well-formed ideas. These can be a new and surprising idea or a great basic idea presented with a compelling new argument behind it that challenges beliefs and perspectives. In other words, TEDx is for ideas that are more than stories or lists of facts. It’s for ideas that take evidence and observations and use them to draw larger conclusions.

TEDx rules allow only 100 attendees at the event, so a lottery system is being used to acquire tickets. Details will be available later on UMB’s Tedx website, where you also will find links to learn more about the TEDx Program.

If you’re interested in being a speaker — and you are urged to make us laugh or make us cry! — apply before July 16 at  Finalists will be contacted for an exploratory interview, and speaker selections will be made by Aug. 15. TEDx Talks are 18 minutes maximum.

UMB is proud to be joining the 15,000 TEDx events that have been held in every corner of the world and solicited 1 billion views online.

Communication and Public AffairsBulletin Board, Contests, Education, People, UMB News, University Administration, University Life, USGAJune 27, 20180 comments
Read More

UMB Commencement Moves to Thursday Morning in 2019

The 2019 Universitywide commencement of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) graduation festivities will come first, rather than last, in what UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, called “a simple reversal” aimed at attracting more graduates to the ceremony at Royal Farms Arena.

The two-day graduation celebration at UMB has begun with the individual convocations of the six professional schools and the hooding ceremony held by the interdisciplinary Graduate School. “Our students understandably have a great deal of attachment to their individual school convocations, and that needs to be left alone,” Perman said at his quarterly Q&A open to the UMB community on June 19. “I still remember my own medical school graduation.

“Having said that, and consistent with my theme of this being one University, we have to do better in terms of attendance at the Universitywide graduation. It’s a place where we come together. Since I arrived in 2010, I have been asking, ‘What can we do to attract more folks to the Universitywide ceremony?’ ”

For many years, the Universitywide commencement has been held on Friday afternoons, after all the individual convocations and a Party in the Park. “I understand people want to get out of town and they want to celebrate,” Perman said of the attendance on Friday afternoons. “But I want people at the University graduation, too.”

So on Thursday morning, May 16, 2019, the Universitywide commencement, where graduates officially receive their diplomas, will begin UMB’s two-day graduation celebration. “I just shared that with the deans before this Q&A,” Perman said, “and I’m happy to share this with you now.”

— Chris Zang

Chris ZangUMB News, University Administration, University Life, USGAJune 25, 20180 comments
Read More

Live Near Your Work Grant Hits Home as UMB Employees Buy Houses

When the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) relaunched the Live Near Your Work Program this year, President Jay A. Perman, MD, detailed the initiative’s upgrades, putting a focus on the University’s new $1.5 million commitment. Perman said he expected the revised grant from UMB – which increased from $2,500 to $16,000 — to be a “game-changer” for the program when applications opened in late January.

After 3½ months, the game indeed has changed in a big way — and UMB employees Vonetta Edwards, PhD, and C. Steven Douglas, MA, MLS, can attest to that. Both have used the money to help buy homes in Hollins Market, one of seven neighborhoods adjacent to UMB eligible for the program, joining a half-dozen other employees who’ve taken the plunge into homeownership with aid from UMB, with more prospects in the pipeline.

Edwards, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Genome Sciences at the School of Medicine (UMSOM), moved into her new home in Hollins Market this month, using the grant that includes $16,000 from UMB and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore to help with the down payment and closing costs. As intended, the funds served as a cash catalyst, pushing her to action.

“This is a great program, and it propelled me from thinking about purchasing a home to actually doing it,” said Edwards, who has worked at UMB for 5½ years and had been living in an apartment in Mount Vernon. “Especially for first-time homebuyers, the amount that covers both closing costs and the down payment is almost too good to leave on the table. Even if you do not see it as your ‘forever’ home, you are getting in as the areas develop, so you can consider it an investment.”

Douglas is head of collection strategies and management at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library and a 16-year UMB employee. He had been renting in Hollins Market, and the grant helped him buy a house in the neighborhood. “Its proximity to campus, downtown, and the harbor first attracted me,” he said.

The new homebuyers follow Shea Lawson, a research project coordinator at the Brain and Tissue Bank at UMSOM who was the first UMB employee to close on a home using the new Live Near Your Work (LNYW) grant and moved into a home in Pigtown in March. (Read Shea’s story.) Pigtown/Washington Village,  Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Poppleton, and Union Square are the program’s seven targeted neighborhoods.

‘Very Pleased With Progress’

At a news conference launching the revamped program in January, attended by Mayor Catherine Pugh, Perman referred to LNYW as Dawn Rhodes’ “baby,” and Rhodes, MBA, the University’s chief business and finance officer and vice president, is thrilled with her baby’s growth. “We are very pleased with the progress of the improved Live Near Your Work Program,” she said. “It is helping very deserving individuals become homeowners.”

Emily Kordish, UMB benefits manager and coordinator of the LNYW Program, has been helping to guide employees through the process. She’s equally thrilled with the results.

“I’m extremely excited and honored to be a part of a program that has been making such a big impact in our employees’ lives,” Kordish said. “Employees have been contacting me not only to take advantage of this benefit, but to also take the steps so they can be ready to buy. This has truly been a rewarding experience.”

Edwards and Douglas attended an LNYW Program employee kickoff session and information panel at the SMC Campus Center on Jan. 11 and took part in the homebuying counseling sessions and neighborhood tours sponsored by Live Baltimore, one of the initiative’s community partners.

“The counseling sessions provided lots of useful information that helped to demystify the homebuying process,” Douglas said. “And the trolley tour gave me an opportunity to interview real estate agents.”

Edwards said she loved the trolley tour because it gave her a good overview of neighborhoods that she wasn’t too familiar with. “I had heard the names of all of them but did not have a mental geographic map of how they were spread out,” she said. “The tour also allowed you to see which neighborhoods you would be comfortable living in.”

As for the counseling sessions, Edwards said, “They allowed me to determine what payments I felt comfortable with and thus how much house to look for. They also brought up issues and situations that I had not thought about in buying a house, like monthly security system payments, the home warranty, and such.”

Reaping the Benefits

Now that she’s in Hollins Market, Edwards says living close to her workplace is a great benefit.

“I do bench research and sometimes have to come in on the weekend,” she said. “So a 10-minute walk in, or five minutes on the orange circulator, beats a 20- or 40-minute bus ride in, plus public transportation on the weekend is not extremely reliable.”

Another perk? “I still get to avoid purchasing a car,” Edwards said.

Both UMB employees praised the program, its community partners, and its facilitators, including Kordish and Daibeth Saunders, development officer for the city of Baltimore.

“The process was amazingly easy,” Douglas said. “Emily here on campus, Daibeth with the city, my real estate agent, and my mortgage agent all worked together to get me into the house.”

“I would like to thank Emily Kordish and Daibeth Saunders for making this a seamless process,” Edwards said. “I also thank UMB leadership for facilitating this process and making my first home a reality.”

— Lou Cortina

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeMay 15, 20185 comments
Read More

The President’s Message

Check out the May issue of The President’s Message.

It includes the following:

  • Dr. Perman’s column on a new home for our Community Engagement Center
  • A recap of IPE Day
  • A look ahead to commencement
  • Dr. Robert Redfield’s appointment as CDC director
  • A Women’s History Month celebration of Dr. Angela Brodie
  • Shock Trauma’s Stop the Bleed program
  • A roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements
Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Administration, University Life, USGAMay 10, 20180 comments
Read More

Ehrlich, Glendening Discuss Federal-State Relations, Political Divisions

Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., JD, and Parris N. Glendening, PhD, MA, come from different sides of the political aisle and hold opposing views on many issues. But both share the title of former Maryland governor, and they agree on what’s causing the breakdown in cooperation between federal and state governments: hyper-partisanship and a Congress that is broken.

“There has been a dramatic change in what is permissible and encouraged with partisan bitterness,” said Glendening, who joined Ehrlich on May 1 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore in the sixth installment of the UMB President’s Panel on Politics and Policy.

Glendening added, “You combine that with no one consulting in the intergovernmental area, and I’ll sum it up with a rather dark statement, which comes from a recent book about journalism: ‘The absence of an intergovernmental system, which would facilitate consultation, coordination, and compromise, combined with the extraordinary negatives of current political debate, is bad public policy, bad for our politics, and bad for our country.’”

Ehrlich agreed that the system is dysfunctional because of all the hostility between the political parties, but he added, “This is not new. When people fight over power, this is a byproduct. It’s just the vitriol has crossed a line lately.”

The two ex-governors – Republican Ehrlich succeeded Democrat Glendening in 2003 after the latter had served two terms – also talked about marijuana legalization, gerrymandering district boundaries, and federal-state cooperation in Maryland at the panel, which was moderated by veteran broadcast journalist Bruce DePuyt, senior reporter for the Maryland Matters website. The panel series was launched by UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, in January 2017 to examine issues important to the University community that are likely to be affected by the Trump administration and Congress.

Perman introduced Ehrlich and Glendening to the crowd of nearly 200 UMB staff, faculty, and students at the SMC Campus Center, saying, “There are no two better guests to discuss the role of federal actors in state policy than the two we have with us today.” With that, the ex-governors talked about their relationship – “We can differ on policy and still be civil and still be friends,” Glendening said — before enlightening the crowd with their political and policy insights.

Glendening, who is now the president of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute and the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, opened by saying the name of the event, “The Intersection of Federal Policy and State Priorities,” should be changed to “The Decline of an Intergovernmental System and the Emergence of Extreme Personal Politics – A Bad Mix.” He traced the roots of federal and state governments working together to the 1930s, adding that by the 1970s most federal agencies and states had created offices to foster cooperation.

“Think about the last year, think about the changes in immigration laws and the new tax law, they were totally devoid of any intergovernmental discussions or any real bipartisan talks,” he said. “They’re looking at a new infrastructure program, but there is no input from state and local government. And there is chaos in the enforcement of marijuana laws” between states that allow medicinal or recreational use and federal law that forbids it.

Glendening favors allowing marijuana use for either purpose, whereas Ehrlich is in favor of medicinal use only.

“None of us takes the issue of yet another way to get high lightly. If we do that, we do it to our own detriment,” said Ehrlich, who is now senior counsel in the Government Advocacy and Public Policy practice group at King & Spalding LLP in Washington, D.C. “With regard to end-of-life situations, with regard to terminal pain situations, I’m for all of the above.”

Glendening compared the reform in marijuana laws, with 29 states having various degrees of legalization, to recent changes in gay rights, gay marriage, and immigration (states and cities creating so-called sanctuary cities), as being indicative of local governments serving as “laboratories of democracy.”

“I see it as good policy change coming from the states from the bottom up,” he said. “I’ll make this guarantee: The federal government will move to the same broad interpretations on marijuana – against illegal, organized distribution but permitting individual use under a regulatory system.”

‘Safe Seats’ Dangerous to Democracy

Switching back to politics, the practice of gerrymandering – manipulating the boundaries of voting districts to favor one party – came in for particular scrutiny, because the redrawing of congressional lines has created “safe seat” districts where incumbents face no real challenge from the opposing party.

“This is why there’s all this interest in primaries as opposed to general elections,” said Ehrlich, who served four terms in Congress before becoming Maryland’s first Republican governor in 36 years. “Because when you have a safe seat, your fight is generally going to be in a primary from further right or further left, not from the other party. And when you have lots of safe seats, which you have in the House of Representatives today, you generally have a lack of incentive to sit down and try to negotiate.”

Glendening, who served three terms as Prince George’s County executive and was a university professor at College Park for 27 years, agreed that redistricting has exacerbated partisanship, noting that Maryland’s delegation in the House has gone from a 4-4 split in the 1990s to 7-1 in favor of the Democrats.

“With computers and everything else, you are able to draw a line — literally go down the street, turn on this corner, turn here, and you look at voting patterns and you can go out in two hours and draw a district that is to your liking,” he said. “So now you are in a district that is extreme. There’s no center to that district. And you can do and say anything you want, as long as you keep that base happy. And it’s the Democrats and the Republicans doing this.”

‘Team Maryland’ Works Together

Democrat and Republican politicians in Maryland, however, have a great history of state-federal cooperation, both men said, suggesting that this should be a model for cooperation in Congress. Ehrlich pointed to two Maryland political legends – Barbara Mikulski in the Senate and Helen Delich Bentley in the House – as being particular supportive during his term.

“They both made it very clear that this is Team Maryland, and we need to work together,” Ehrlich said. “So egos, philosophical differences, and party were put aside. This is your uniform, and it’s yellow and black.”

Glendening said Maryland’s tradition of bipartisanship in this regard is because it’s a smaller state where many federal employees reside and relies on many aspects of federal expenditures.

“When I was governor, there were four Democrats and four Republicans in the House delegation, and you wouldn’t have known that if you were sitting in those meetings,” he said. “And that preceded weeks of meetings with staff to start to work out the details. It was a good system, and it still functions. The problem is, Congress is not functioning as well.”

When asked by an audience member if there was any hope that the acrimony between the major political parties would ease, Ehrlich answered succinctly: “No.”

But he expounded, saying, “In D.C. today, both parties do not respect rules. It’s dysfunctional. This is a structural problem, and it’s a serious problem.”

But Glendening, saying he was an eternal optimist, offered hope.

“Our country has faced challenges like this in the past. And just as we have prevailed and we have changed, I believe we can do so now,” he said. “I’m reminded somewhat of the biblical observation: This too shall pass. And that gives me the strength to keep going.”

— Lou Cortina

Read more about the UMB President’s Panel on Politics and Policy.

Lou CortinaResearch, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeMay 2, 20180 comments
Read More

Former Governors Ehrlich, Glendening Highlight President’s Panel on May 1

Former Maryland governors Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., JD, and Parris N. Glendening, PhD, MA, will join UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, for the next President’s Panel on Politics and Policy on May 1 at the SMC Campus Center. The event starts at 8 a.m. with breakfast, followed by the panel discussion from 8:30 to 10 a.m. (Register to attend.)

The panel, titled “The Intersection of Federal Policy and State Priorities,” will be moderated by veteran broadcast journalist Bruce DePuyt, senior reporter for the Maryland Matters website and host of The Bruce DePuyt Show podcast.

The President’s Panel on Politics and Policy was launched after the 2016 presidential election to examine issues important to the UMB community that are likely to be affected by the Trump administration and Congress.

Ehrlich, who served as Maryland governor from 2003 to 2007, is senior counsel in the Government Advocacy and Public Policy practice group at King & Spalding LLP in Washington, D.C. Having served as a governor, U.S. congressman, state legislator, and civil litigator, he counsels clients on government matters, with particular expertise in health care, finance, and economic development. Read more about Ehrlich.

Glendening, who served as Maryland governor from 1995 to 2003, is president of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute and the Governors’ Institute on Community Design. In these roles, he speaks across the country and around the world about smart growth, sustainability, global climate change, land conservation, transit-oriented development, and equity. He regularly speaks to environmental advocacy groups, business leaders, and professional organizations. Read more about Glendening.

Here are the event details:

  • When: Tuesday, May 1
  • Where: SMC Campus Center, Elm Ballrooms
  • Breakfast: 8 to 8:30 a.m.
  • Panel discussion: 8:30 to 10 a.m.
  • Registration: Visit this link.

Read more about the President’s Panel on Politics and Policy and previous panels.

Lou CortinaBulletin Board, Education, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeApril 27, 20180 comments
Read More

UMB Employee Lawson is First to Buy House in Improved Live Near Your Work Program

Living in an apartment in Charles Village, near the Johns Hopkins University campus where she went to college, Shea Lawson had to take four buses and sometimes more than an hour to get to and from her job as a research project coordinator at the Brain and Tissue Bank at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

She wasn’t crazy about the commute or, as she put it, “putting money down the rent drain.” Last fall, she was thinking about buying a house but wasn’t sure she could swing it financially, so she started thinking about shopping for a condo instead.

But when an email touting the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program landed in her inbox in early November, her outlook on buying a house brightened. She sprang into action, eager to take advantage of the grant that provides University employees up to $18,500 toward the purchase of a home in seven targeted Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods — Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square.

“I jumped on it pretty quick,” Lawson said of the program, which officially launched Jan. 9. “When I saw the advertisement [in November], I went on the Zillow real estate website, looking at houses in these neighborhoods. I was mostly looking at Pigtown, Barre Circle, and Hollins Market, because I was more familiar with those areas.”

Taking Ownership

She soon contacted a realtor and toured about 10 houses between late November and mid-January, all while working with a mortgage company to set up the financing for a potential purchase. She completed the program’s required homebuying counseling sessions with UMB’s LNYW partner, GO Northwest Housing Resource Center, attended the employee kickoff event at the SMC Campus Center on Jan. 11, and was among the first to apply when applications opened Jan. 29.

Today, Lawson is the proud owner of a rowhouse in Pigtown, the first grant recipient in the improved LNYW Program, which offers $16,000 from UMB and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore, a dramatic increase from the program’s former $5,000 incentive. The University has committed $1.5 million to the initiative, with hopes that 90-plus employees will take advantage of this financial benefit. Lawson says the program was a perfect fit, opening the door to homeownership and fulfilling her desire to stay at UMB long term.

“I really didn’t have enough for a down payment on a house. I would’ve had to canvass some relatives for a loan,” said Lawson, who has been working at UMB since May 2017. “This allows me to be financially independent. And being near my work was appealing, especially after I decided I wanted to stay at UMB for a while. If it weren’t for this program, I probably would’ve ended up in another rental situation.

“I actually had been trying to get my financials in order to possibly look at condos. I thought that might be the next step for me. A house seemed like a much bigger investment than I initially thought I was ready for. But seeing the Live Near Your Work Program advertised and looking into that, it all of a sudden became feasible.”

Emily Kordish, Human Resource Services benefits manager and the LNYW coordinator, said of Lawson: “Shea was extremely pro-active and resourceful. She really utilized our resources and website and got everything together on her own to get this done. It was a very seamless and positive process working with her.”

Home Sweet Home

Lawson, a city native who went to high school at the Baltimore School for the Arts before earning a bachelor’s degree in history at Johns Hopkins, is thrilled with her purchase, a rowhouse that was built in 1900 and had been refurbished in the past year.

“I didn’t have a specific type of house in mind when I started looking,” she said. “I just looked at everything in my price range and any place that had decent parking options. The house I found has a spacious, open floor plan that still manages to feel cozy and inviting, with solid workmanship on all of the interior features. All of the inside was redone. Half of the basement is finished. And they put a parking pad in the back.”

As for the neighborhood, Lawson says she liked “the close-knit and friendly vibe of the street and block,” and adds that her proximity to M&T Bank Stadium and other downtown attractions was a plus.

“I can see the stadium lit up at night from my back bedroom window, which is a fantastic view for a lifelong Ravens fan like me,” she said. “It will be convenient to my new digs in Pigtown without being overwhelmingly intrusive. It’s the best of both worlds!”

Lawson was extremely pro-active in pursuing the grant, but she also praised Kordish and the program’s partner organizations for helping make her homebuying experience a success.

“It’s been very smooth. The program is run very well,” Lawson said. “Everyone I’ve encountered who’s a part of it — Emily Kordish, Live Baltimore, GO Northwest — they’re very much enthusiastic about it and want to get you the information you need. Also, the Live Near Your Work website has a lot of good information and is really well done.

“I got a lot of help from a lot of good people in the program and from my realtor and my lender — everyone made it easy for me to communicate with them. The Live Near Your Work Program, you can tell they are passionate about this, they want it to work. It’s not just the money UMB has put up, it’s that they’re engaged.”

— Lou Cortina

Housing Fair on March 25

The Southwest Partnership is holding housing fair Sunday, March 25, that is open to the public and will feature UMB’s Live Near Your Work Program. The fair runs from 11:30 a.m to 4 p.m. Click here to register.

More LNYW Information

To learn more about the LNYW Program, click here.

To read more about the program’s launch, click here and here.

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeMarch 16, 20180 comments
Read More
School of Nursing building

Four Nursing Students Awarded Grants to Participate in Global Health Projects

Four University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) students have been awarded grants to participate in the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Center for Global Education Initiatives (CGEI) grant program, which supports students traveling abroad this summer to participate in global health initiative projects.

Clinical Nurse Leader master’s student Elyse DeLaittre; Bachelor of Science in Nursing students Julie Factor and Sarah Litts; and PhD student Amy Nelson received grants to participate in various projects. CGEI is also providing guidance to the students regarding travel planning, cultural preparation, funding resources, and safety and security.

“We are very excited for Amy, Sarah, Elyse, and Julie. Traveling to another country to address critical global health challenges forces our students to shift their cultural stances and opens their eyes to other ways of providing health care,” said Yolanda Ogbolu, PhD ’11, MS ’05, BSN ’04, CRNP-Neonatal, assistant professor and director, UMSON Office of Global Health. “Global health service-learning experiences are important pathways for bi-directional learning and are often transformational experiences.”

Nelson and Litts will travel to Costa Rica with four other UMB students and three faculty members from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law to participate in the project titled, “A comparative analysis of emerging infectious disease outbreak preparedness and response in Costa Rica and the U.S.” The team will examine how the United States and Costa Rica governments responded to the 2016 Zika outbreak from clinical, pharmaceutical, health care, and community perspectives; compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of the two different approaches; and assist in conceptualizing how to implement in the United States successful practices used abroad, while overcoming potential barriers. Additionally, students will learn how to engage the community during infectious disease outbreaks.

DeLaittre, three other UMB students, and two faculty members from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) will travel to Gambia to participate in the project titled, “Health system strengthening in The Gambia: A continuation of prior work.” This project will build upon the foundational work laid in previous UMB visits in 2014 and 2016, with the aim of providing  Gambian health leaders with the knowledge and resources to fortify the country’s health system. Previously, UMB has served as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health in support of WHO’s Global Plan of Action on Worker’s Health. The team will provide technical expertise and content knowledge focused on the health care environment to assist low- to middle-income countries in implementing practices to ensure basic worker protections. Additionally, the group will work to prioritize and implement health care worker protections as one pillar of health system strengthening and sustainability.

Factor, two other UMB students, and a UMSOM faculty member will go to Rwanda to participate in the project titled, “First assessment of injection drug use practices and associated HIV risks in Kigali, Rwanda.” Students will partner with a team of Rwandan medical and nursing students to develop a survey to implement a pilot study at a clinical site in Kigali. The team will seek to ascertain the prevalence and associated behaviors for injection drug use in addition to processing data and presenting the results at an international infectious disease conference.

UMSON’s Office of Global Health predominantly focuses on nursing students, while CGEI is a Universitywide academic resource center for UMB faculty and students who are interested in global education opportunities. CGEI promotes and supports interprofessional global education, identifies global themes that can be contextualized locally, and facilitates academic work related to global education.

“The summer grants program spearheaded by the Center for Global Education Initiatives provides an extraordinary opportunity for our nursing students to join other UMB students and faculty in interprofessional learning opportunities within a global context,” said UMSON Dean Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Our students will participate in what will undoubtedly be an incredible learning and service experience that reflects our commitment to interprofessional education and to diversity and inclusion.”

Kevin NashBulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, University Administration, USGAFebruary 22, 20180 comments
Read More