Courses & Course-Based Projects Supported by BreakingGround Grants

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. (Awarded 2013-2014).

Marina AdlerApplied Sociology: Putting the Sociological Imagination Into Practice Locally— Marina Adler’s course (SOCY 698) will offer students the opportunity to conduct action research with local communities on issues of access to healthy food. Students will research projects addressing food deserts, food security, and environmental problems. This research targets the intersection of local social inequalities, public health issues, and social change. Students will collect data through various methods in research teams; volunteer; document community needs; develop action plans; and make recommendations for change. (Awarded 2014-2015).

Marina AdlerApplied Sociology: Putting the Sociological Imagination into Practice Locally — Students in Marina Adler’s course (SOCY 698) conduct community-based action research in Curtis Bay, working to understand and contribute to community well-being with respect to economic opportunity, food access, and a healthy environment. (Awarded 2015-2016).


Tory-Williams-faculty-photoBackyard Animal Behavior Workshop— Students in Tory Williams’ course will form small teams and embark on group projects that involve delivering interactive presentations on animal behavior to students at Lakeland Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore City. Each college student within a group will be responsible for different aspects of the project (e.g., communicating with Lakeland teacher(s) to best cater presentations to grade-levels, developing hands-on activities for Lakeland students for an active learning experience, documenting presentations to be shared with both the Lakeland and BreakingGround communities). Students will gain an aesthetic appreciation for contributing to the local community and the skill of ‘learning through teaching.’ Goals for the Lakeland students include having fun, learning about science, and increasing motivation to explore science. (Awarded 2014-2015).

Panos Charlambides - SquareBaltimore City Water Supply Aging Infrastructure— Panos Charalambides will teach students from ENME 220H how to use their technical engineering knowledge to improve their communities. Students will learn about critical water treatment issues in Baltimore City, as well as create and use historical and engineering data to develop model and non-model pipe failure estimates. They will then be given the opportunity to help Baltimore City engineers with their efforts in maintaining the city’s water supply network system. (Awarded 2014-2015).

Bill ShewbridgeMichelle StefanoNicole King - SquarebradleyBaltimore Traces—Baltimore Traces is a collaborative teaching innovation that brings several courses together to work with the Center for Emerging Media (CEM), a Baltimore non-profit founded by radio host Marc Steiner.  It builds on previous interdisciplinary collaborations including Mill Stories (Michelle Stefano and Bill Shewbridge) and Mapping Baybrook  (Nicole King and Steve Bradley)  Students involved in the project will contribute to producing audio and video oral histories focused on Baltimore residents and neighborhoods. Public events have been central to the project, and this semester the project is planning an event at the Chesapeake Arts Center on April 28. This event will feature a screening of “Mill Stories: Remembering Sparrows Point Steel Mill” in addition to a community discussion of possible futures. (Awarded 2014-2015).

GalinaMadjaroffBuilding 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. (Awarded 2013-2014).

Michelle StefanoCritically Engaging with Heritage Ideas and Issues in Critical Heritage Studies— Michelle Stefano will lead students from AMST 420 to explore the complexities of heritage-related issues at the local, national and international levels. Students will participate in discussions about readings regarding cultural landscapes, international cultural policy and community outreach and cultural representation. They will meet with heritage professionals by attending a lecture and discussion at the National Museum of the American Indian and Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. (Awarded 2014-2015).

successlogo5_trans-300x94Discover Food: Seed to Table II— In Kelsey Donnellan’s course for students in UMBC’s SUCCESS program (a four-year independence program for students with intellectual disabilities), students will build on food and nutrition skills developed in a previous course. The students will practice safe food handling, apply advanced recipe writing, develop a class cookbook, and improve transferable skills in the kitchen. This will be truly integrated class with SUCCESS students and their peer mentors, because through this process all students bury themselves as seeds of change.

Bill Shewbridge Michelle StefanoDocumenting Cultural Heritage in Partnership with Communities: Sparrows Point, Baltimore—Using audio-visual technologies to research, document and disseminate culture has become increasingly commonplace and is powerful way to preserve and share cultural memories, especially from the perspectives of those who embody and own them. Bill Shewbridge (New Media Studio) and Michelle Stefano (American Studies) are collaborating to bring UMBC students to the Sparrows Point Steel Mill community where they will partner with active and former steelworkers to document local cultural heritage by producing oral testimonies and audio-visual digital stories. This project will move beyond traditional cultural documentation from an outsider perspective to instead focus on the value of supporting communities’ own efforts to share their experiences. (Awarded 2012-2013).

Dawn Biehler square Environmental Justice—Dawn Biehler’s GES 424/624 teaches students to think critically about the ways race, class, gender and geography have shaped communities’ experiences of the physical environment in the U.S. This semester, students will learn directly from Baltimore residents about diverse perceptions of the environment and will develop GIS mapping skills through assisting in the identification and geolocation of amenities and hazards in the community. This project is linked with a four-year National Science Foundation grant to study pest hazards and related environmental issues in Baltimore. Results of interviews with residents and mapping activities will be shared with the community through events and displays at local libraries and community centers. (Awarded 2012-2013).

Environmental PoliticsRoy Meyers will teach a new course, Political Science 309 (Environmental Politics), helping students understand how political beliefs and political behaviors about environmental policy are formed and influenced and how political institutions affect decisions on environmental policies. All students will engage in political activities on environmental policy, such as writing letters to officials and agencies; working with electoral campaigns and interest groups on environmental issues; and attending hearings, decision meetings and demonstrations, giving students a range of hands-on experiences in political life and reflection on what they have learned. (Awarded 2012-2013).

Jill WrigleyFood: 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. (Awarded 2013-2014).

Impacting Baltimore through EngineeringPanos Charalambides will teach Mechanical Engineering 220 (Mechanics of Materials), with an honors component focused on social problem-solving. Honors section student projects will identify critical structural, architectural and functional issues in the greater Baltimore Region, with all students in ENME 220 seeking specific engineering solutions. Implementation pathways and related challenges will be identified in conversations and interactions with community leaders visiting the project presentations. (Awarded 2012-2013).

Jill WrigleyIntroduction to Food System with Civic/Engagement and Food Literacy Collaborative— Jill Wrigley will bring together students from INDS 232 and the SUCCESS program to study the core components of the food system and the challenges it presents to public health, environmental sustainability, social justice and equity. The class will also introduce students to public entities, institutions and community members who are working to better the food system. Students will read about and participate in interventions, including working in the UMBC Community Garden, making plant-based, whole food recipes and preparing fall plantings. (Awarded 2014-2015).

stevenmcalpineKinetic 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? (Awarded 2013-2014).

Steven McAlpine--SquareKinetic Sculpture Race Team— Students in Steven McAlpine’s Kinetic Sculpture Team course (INDS 430) will build, test, and race 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. (Awarded 2014-2015).

Learning from Older Americans — Carolyn Forestiere, Political Science, prepares political science majors to conduct scholarly research in the social sciences in POLI 301. Students will work directly with a target population—older Americans—as a means of generating data to analyze based on real-world research issues and encouraging empathy. Students will go on a series of field trips to assisted living communities in the Catonsville area to directly interview residents and collect unique data. They will return after their papers are complete to debrief their interviewees and the staff of the facilities that care for them. (Awarded 2012-2013).

Nicole King - SquareSardinia_Italy_001-smMapping 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. (Awarded 2013-2014).

Mapping Baybrook: Arts, History and Culture — Nicole King and Stephen Bradley will connect American Studies 422 (Preserving Places, Making Spaces in Baltimore) and Visual Arts 390 (Imaging Research Fellows), engaging South Baltimore community members in an innovative civic project, co-producing original historical research and arts projects. The course will culminate with the community debut of Mapping Baybrook—a digital mapping project that documents Baybrook, a low-income industrial community in South Baltimore. (Awarded 2012-2013).

Rita Turner (Lecturer in Media and Communication Studies)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. (Awarded 2013-2014).

Shewbridge_BillMichelle StefanoMill 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. (Awarded 2013-2014).

Theo GonzalvesPower, Place and Identity—AMST 420/630, taught by Theodore S. Gonzalves, will introduce students to ongoing conversations in American Studies, with emphasis on current controversies and scholarship surrounding the study of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. This semester, students will focus on local spaces and personal experiences involved in the civil disobedience and trial of the Catonsville Nine, developing content for an app conveying those stories. This course is central to a larger project generating a community dialogue that commemorates the 45th anniversary of the Catonsville Nine actions. Students and community activists will explore the historical significance of those actions as well as how we think about social protest, civic duty and citizenship today. (Awarded 2012-2013).

Kelber_Kaye_JodiRace, 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. (Awarded 2013-2014).

Mary RivkinDonna AndersonSave Our Trees: Stop the IvyMany 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. (Awarded 2013-2014).

Social Action in BaltimoreJessica Guzman-Rea will focus Social Work 200 on civic engagement in the Baltimore area in relation to the practice of social work, including issues of poverty, hunger, health care or homelessness. Readings, speakers and civic engagement in the community will encourage students to develop their own ideas on social issues and to connect their ideas with successful social action-orientated projects and presentations. (Awarded 2012-2013).

Preminda JacobSpace and Place in Public Art and UrbanismPreminda 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). (Awarded 2013-2014).

Student Success Ambassadors Program—Jackie Wilson, Cassie Bichy and Ericka Thompson, from the Learning Resources Center and Residential Life, will partner with the Shriver Center on a service learning program to complement the LRC 101A curriculum: Academic Success for Lifelong Learning. Current LRC 101A students will showcase their academic skills for success to students in K-12 at-risk school systems and at the community college level, tackling real-world problems such as retention and performance in educational systems where students are not yet prepared for college-level success. (Awarded 2012-2013).

Kate Drabinski, UMBC (square)Studies in Feminist Activism—Kate Drabinski’s GWST 200 focuses on the history and present of feminist activist movements. Students will produce digital stories about local activist movements as well as their own activist projects at UMBC and in the surrounding community, creating an archive of what it means to do activism here at UMBC and beyond. (Awarded 2012-2013).


Steve BradleyTeaching Artist = Change Agent — Steve Bradley’s pilot course, taught in partnership with Pat Cruz, Chief Innovation Officer at Young Audiences/Arts for Learning Maryland (YAMD), empowers civic-minded college students to create positive social change through engagement with PreK-12 students and teachers in Maryland public schools. Students in the course learn about the opportunity to develop careers as “teaching artists,” defined as professional artists who also work with students and teachers, having first been trained in public school operations, regulations, educational standards, and curriculum design. (Awarded 2015-2016).

Amy Hurst - SquareTechnological Solutions for AccessibilityAmy Hurst will teach a graduate level course in Information Systems on the fields of assistive technology and accessibility to serve older adults and individuals with disabilities. Students will learn about assistive technologies focusing on the needs of individuals who experience cognitive, motor and sensory impairments. Through readings, a service learning assignment, and interacting with guest speakers active in the local assistive technology and accessibility community, students will either solve accessibility problems for individuals in the community or contribute to assistive technology research. (Awarded 2012-2013).

Theater of Lived Experience—Alan Kreizenbeck will teach Theater 390 inviting a mix of students with and without intellectual disabilities to devise a series of scenes and monologues based on memorable events in their lives, to be presented publicly as the culmination of several weeks of rehearsal. The instructor will stage the various scenes/monologues and will arrange them into a performance that is both entertaining and meaningful. Theatre’s primary function is to tell stories—stories with resonance for both the audience and the performers. Performing personal stories can enlighten and educate an audience and enlarge their appreciation of the many components and variations of the human experience. Enacting a personal story—their own or someone else’s—lets the performers reveal themselves in a safe manner and allows them to experience artistic creation as something that is both personal and public. (Awarded 2012-2013).

Elaine MacDougallUnderstanding Factors Influencing Literacy in Baltimore Communities— Elaine MacDougall’s ENG 100P/ENG281 class will work with the Reading Partners Program, a tutoring intervention, to collect data about factors influencing literacy achievement for elementary level students. Students will interview parents about reading practices and develop a routine to implement the “Read 15” initiative, which encourages students to read for 15 minutes a day. They will also think critically and reflect on their service and the role of the community in increasing literacy rates in Baltimore City. (Awarded 2014-2015).

West Side Stories: Public History and Urban RevitalizationDenise D. Meringolo, Public History Graduate Program, will teach this community-based public history graduate-level practicum course in collaboration with Baltimore Heritage, a nonprofit historic preservation organization. The project explores the potential of historic preservation and urban public history to promote positive social change in the economically depressed and unevenly developed West side of downtown Baltimore. (Awarded 2012-2013).



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