Space and Place in Public Art and Urbanism—Preminda Jacob will teach ART 329, a special topics art history course that will deepen students’ understanding and appreciation of community-based artwork by asking them to collaborate in small teams with members of a local community to create site-specific art projects. Teams will update each other on their field experiences throughout the semester and will be graded on an illustrated, written report based on their personal experience of working with their off-campus community partners. By engaging with the practical dimensions of community-based artwork, students will learn how collaborative work functions at the ground level in designing and producing innovative and impactful art projects with restricted budgets. To ensure that students are well prepared for the off-campus experience, they will be required to enroll in the Shriver Center’s practicum on community service and learning (PRAC 096).
Engineers Without Borders—The UMBC chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-UMBC) is a student-driven group that is completing an ongoing clean water project in Isongo, a small agricultural community in Western Kenya. This semester, Lee Blaney (Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering) will expand EWB-UMBC’s work to engage students in the arts, humanities and social sciences as collaborators. Initial goals include: (1) making a video documenting the project and its impact; (2) designing a bilingual English-Swahili flyer to promote good hygiene in the Isongo community; and (3) creating a play to actively convey the flyer’s message. The broader EWB-UMBC project will continue for five years and has the potential to profoundly impact both life in Isongo and the careers and perspectives of UMBC students involved in this work.
Save Our Trees: Stop the Ivy—Many of UMBC’s older trees are being strangled by English ivy (hedera helix), a non-native invasive vine (NNI). Mary Rivkin (Education) and Donna Anderson (Manager, Landscape and Grounds) will offer EDUC 299, a one-credit course that explores the problem of NNIs and challenges participants to protect UMBC trees. The course will include in-class instruction and hands-on work in the outdoors and will require shared leadership and collaboration among participants. Phil Cho (Project Manager, Construction Services) will assist.
American Culture in Global Perspective: Ideas and Issues in Critical Heritage Studies—Michelle Stefano, UMBC folklorist-in-residence and American studies program coordinator, will offer a series of field trips and an all-day seminar in conjunction with AMST 352 to encourage students to think more critically about the heritage enterprise. Students will visit four heritage sites: the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH), Accokeek Foundation of Piscataway Park, Delta-Cardiff Heritage Area, and The Kennedy Center. At these sites, students will be able to gain a deeper understanding of heritage-related issues by engaging with source communities, heritage and museum professionals, community outreach staff, as well as cultural policy researchers and tourism specialists.
Food: An Interdisciplinary Exploration—Through INDS 430, Jill Wrigley will introduce students to the “food system” framework utilized by researchers, practitioners and advocates in the fields of food security, food safety and nutrition. Students will explore the components and stakeholders of our food system along the food supply chain (i.e., seed to table), and the intersecting benefits, problems and challenges the food system generates for public health, the environment and social equity. This semester, the course will vigorously engage students in understanding their and UMBC’s place and functions within the food system. Students will research, propose and, when possible, implement interventions to improve flawed links in the food system and food environments impacting the UMBC community and nearby residents (e.g., cultivating food, promoting food literacy). A growing body of research demonstrates that garden-based learning and culinary education have a positive impact on dietary choices. To that end, this project will focus on providing tools and supplies to create experiential learning spaces for both the UMBC community and some K-5 students in our neighboring communities.
3Mapping Baybrook: Arts, History and Culture in the Classroom and Community— Nicole King and Stephen Bradley will bring together students from AMST 422 and ART 390 to engage with the local community and learn about environmental justice. Students will gain an interdisciplinary understanding of the complex environmental issues that exist in industrial locations such as Brooklyn-Curtis Bay and utilize practices from various disciplines to produce original historical research, art and design projects. Students will also produce a series of podcasts, in collaboration with Marc Steiner, for WEAA radio. This innovative civic project will culminate in a public event in the South Baltimore community of Baybrook.
Media Influences on Environmental Discourses and Action— Rita Turner’s MCS 499 will examine the role of media in influencing discourse and action around environmental issues. Students will explore how information and attitudes about modern environmental problems can be communicated, altered and reproduced through varying forms of media, considering linguistic, rhetorical, conceptual and visual modes of influence. Specific media portrayals and coverage of particular environmental issues will also be analyzed. Students will then work with Baltimore-area organizations to design media products that investigate and communicate socio-ecological problems in the region and seek to encourage active response from the community, engaging both members of the UMBC community and residents in Baltimore-area neighborhoods.
Mill Stories—Bill Shrewbridge and Michelle Stefano will teach students from MLL 495/695 and AMST 403 in the second phase of the Mill Stories project. The project will examine the impact of deindustrialization on the relations between people, place and community, focusing on the Sparrows Point Steel Mill in Dundalk. Students from AMST 403 will interview former steel workers and community members, in collaboration with Marc Steiner. MLL 495/695 students will record and produce videos based on the interviews from AMST 403. The completed works will be incorporated into the project website, Mill Stories, and the digital stories will be screened in Dundalk.
Building Intergenerational Relationships through Technology—Galina Madjaroff will teach AGNG 499, which will pair UMBC students with senior citizens at the Arbutus Senior Center, Springwell Retirement Community and Charlestown Retirement community, all located in the Baltimore area. In the Springwell Retirement Community, this project will require that students have one-on-one meetings with older adults to help them learn how to use a piece of technology (e.g. a computer, iPad, etc.). In the Arbutus Senior Center and Charlestown sites, the students will be leading basic technology courses for a group of seniors interested in acquiring new skills. As a final class project, students will be required to compile a digital presentation of their experience and share it with fellow students in their courses, as well as present at a campus event that will be held in April. Students will also be keeping weekly logs on the course blog site to reflect on their experiences.
The Longwood Apartments Project— Constantine Vaporis and Julie Rosenthal, Asian Studies, have partnered with Food on the 15th, a Howard County, Maryland non-profit, to develop a free food pantry for the residents of Longwood Apartments in Columbia, Maryland. This is a community outreach project involving Asian Studies students as well as the entire UMBC community and residents of Howard and surrounding counties.
UMBC Kinetic Sculpture Race Team— Steven McAlpine will teach INDS 400, a required course for all students on the UMBC Kinetic Sculpture Race Team. The Kinetic Sculpture Project is an interdisciplinary collaborative effort that spans three semesters of building, testing and racing a human-powered (kinetic) sculpture representing themes of sustainability. Students will research existing kinetic sculpture designs, how kinetic sculpture races are organized, how to plan a project timeline, and the role of universities in maintaining the vitality of urban centers such as Baltimore. Essential course questions include: How do we document the design process in a meaningful way? What are the challenges of integrating artistic elements of design with technological requirements and constraints? How can we best represent and explore issues of sustainability in this “upcycle” themed sculpture?
Race, Poverty and Gender— Jodi Kelber-Kaye will teach HONR 300, through which students will work and volunteer for two non-profit partners in Baltimore: Moveable Feast and the International Rescue Committee. Along with experiencing the range of services the non-profits provide, teams of students will work with the organizations to produce projects determined by these organizations as helping them more effectively reach their goals. These completed projects will be presented to community stake holders. Students will also read about historical and current issues relating to race, poverty and gender in Baltimore while applying what they learn to the needs of the non-profits, as well as reflecting on the connections between course readings, their work for the non-profits and their own development as leaders of social change.