UMBC is committed to reinventing undergraduate teaching by employing innovative teaching methods, providing students with extraordinary opportunities, and creating spaces that allow students to take their learning out of the classrooms. Examples of innovative teaching and learning include:
Meyerhoff Scholarship Program
UMBC's Meyerhoff Scholarship Program is a national model for educating talented students from all backgrounds in science, engineering, mathematics and computer science. The university is a leading producer of African Americans who go on to receive Ph.D.s and M.D./Ph.Ds. Currently, 200 Meyerhoff alumni have completed graduate degrees, and 250 more are in graduate school.
Chemistry Discovery Center
The University's Chemistry Discovery Center is a radical reinvention of Chemistry 101 that has led to a dramatic increase in student performance and participation. Created by chemistry professors Ralph Pollack and William LaCourse, the Center supplements large lecture classes with team-based problem-solving sessions in a high-tech learning lab. Read more online.
Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day/Undergraduate Research Awards
Providing undergraduates with wide-ranging opportunities for research and creative achievement is a vital part of UMBC’s culture. Founded in 1997, Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day gives students valuable experience preparing for graduate school or future careers. Many of the associated projects are funded by Undergraduate Research Awards, competitive grants of up to $1,500 given annually to support student research over an academic year.
The Scholars Programs at UMBC
UMBC scholars design their futures through innovative programs of study. Scholars programs also include internships, research and study abroad experiences. Programs include: Center for Women and Information Technology (CWIT) Scholars Program, Humanities Scholars Program, Linehan Artist Scholars Program, Meyerhoff Scholars Program, Sherman Teacher Education Scholars Program and Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars.
Living Learning Communities
Living Learning Communities in UMBC's residential halls provide a range of academic and social activities with like-minded colleagues and are an example of the University's commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. Students take classes and participate in community service together, receive academic support with ready-made study groups and frequently interact with faculty outside of the classroom.
CNMS Active Science Teaching and Learning Environment - CASTLE
The CNMS Active Science Teaching and Learning Environment (CASTLE) responds to the need for appropriate space on campus to host new active learning initiatives in science and mathematics and is part of a continuing emphasis on student success and retention. CASTLE provides flexible, small group learning space appropriate for multiple disciplines.
Retriever Learning Center
Undergraduates dreamed up the Retriever Learning Center, a place where students can work and study together at all hours. Its development was driven by the idea that inspiration strikes at any time. The center, which opened in fall 2011, was funded by the student government and through alumni and parent gifts. The 24/7 space is located in the Albin O. Kuhn Library and allows students to create highly-customizable group study experiences in a safe, comfortable environment.
Imaging Research Center
Since its inception in 1987, the Imaging Research Center has developed successful academic programs for undergraduate and graduate students focused on exploring new technologies and their use for interpreting and presenting content. These students work as partners with researchers, artists, scholars and industry specialists to create large-scale, high profile works.
Entrepreneurship and Community Service
UMBC encourages students to connect what they learn in the classroom to the world around them by engaging in entrepreneurship activities and community service.
Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship
UMBC is building entrepreneurship programs across the campus, with support from a $2-million grant from the Kauffman Foundation. The award acknowledges the success of UMBC's Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, created in 2000 through a gift of $1 million from the Alex. Brown Foundation and charged with serving as a leading university entrepreneurship center for the Baltimore region.
UMBC's ACTiVATE program reflects its commitment to entrepreneurship, technology transfer and workforce development. ACTiVATE trains mid-career women to start their own businesses based on technologies developed at area universities and research institutions and has won several national awards.
The Shriver Center at UMBC helps faculty to connect their research and teaching to relevant social needs and students to link academic study to professional practice and community service. Initiatives include: Internship, Cooperative Education, Research, Service-Learning (including K-12 Partnerships), The Shriver Peaceworker Program, and The Choice Program.
Over 160 students have participated in Project HEALTH Baltimore, which mobilizes college students to work with community organizations and urban medical centers to connect low-income families to resources critical to their health, safety and economic survival. Student volunteers work in collaboration with physicians, nurses, social workers and lawyers to solve the complex needs of underserved populations.
UMBC students engage in academic competition, using the skills they have learned in the classroom to face-off against students from around the world. Some teams include:
UMBC students compete in the sport of intercollegiate cyberwarfare, and in 2010 finished first place overall at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Cyber Defense Competition Qualifying Rounds.
UMBC is one of a handful of U.S. universities to offer scholarships for chess: the UMBC Coca-Cola Chess Fellows program funds four full scholarships (including food and housing stipends) for students who combine extraordinary chess skills, academic excellence and community service. In 2010, the UMBC chess team won its 6th national chess title in the President’s Cup (the “Final Four” of college chess), making them the National Collegiate Chess Champions.
Society of Automotive Engineers
Mechanical engineering students are applying classroom theory in design and manufacturing situations through the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the Baja SAE Collegiate Design Series. The SAE team designs, builds and races off-road vehicle for a series of annual national and international endurance races. UMBC finished in second place overall for the 2010 season.
Supporting STEM Education
UMBC is committed to increasing the number and diversity of STEM educators. Two programs that are accomplishing that goal are:
UMBC's ADVANCE program, funded by the National Science Foundation, is helping to increase the number of women teaching in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The ADVANCE "Faculty Horizons" program provides incoming post-doctoral fellows and upper-level graduate students, particularly women, with the support and skills necessary to become successful tenure-track faculty members in STEM, and the support continues with mentorship, workshops, fellowships and other networks aimed at insuring positive outcomes.
PROMISE: Maryland's Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate is a UMBC-led collaboration between Maryland’s public research universities. The $2.5-million program seeks to increase the diversity and number of sciences and engineering Ph.D. students who go on to academic careers.